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Who do you believe when it comes to your dog's health?

We all care about the health of our pets and, in particular, keeping them around as long as we can. After all, they are a part of our family. But when it comes down to what you feed them, who do you believe?

I've recently talked to many dog owners who tell me they are really cutting down on commercial dog food and dog treats because of the latest poisoning scare. In particular, what is really frightening, is that a handful of dog food manufacturers produce most of the brands. So if one bad supply comes in, it affects many different dog foods and dog treats.

People are also telling me that they are starting to feed their dogs more "people food" in an effort to protect them from the risk of tainted dog food.

On the other side of the coin, we have the vets. When little Rocki was in the hospital, the aides and the vets all said do not feed them any people food. In fact, when we mentioned our dogs loved lettuce, one told us that lettuce causes diahhrea. I've never seen either of my dogs get diahhrea from eating lettuce, but it got me thinking. Mind you, this is the same place that is peddling a certain brand of dog food and, if you read one of my previous posts, you will see that they charged a case of this dog food to my vet bill without even consulting me.

A friend of mine, who breeds Scottie dogs, said that his vet told him that fresh vegetables were good for the dogs and that he recommended that my friend continue to feed his prized dogs their favorite veggies.

Another friend of mine related the story of his dog, Snoops, who died at the ripe old age of 21 years. Snoops was a white lab who never even so much as got a whiff of of commercial dog food. Once a week, my friend's mother made up a big pot of rice and a big pan of ground beef. She mixed it together and Snoops had rice and ground beef every single day of his life. According to my friend, Snoops did supplement his diet with grass, bugs and fresh mud. However, his main staples were rice and beef. 21 years, eh? Not bad.

I believe we all try our best to be responsible owners and do what's best for our pet. However, with so many conflicting opinions, how do we decide?

I think talking to your vet and other dog owners is a good start. Keep in mind, though, some vets are selling certain brands of dog food so be aware that their opinions may be biased. If you think that buying commercial dog food is the way to go, find out what to look for and which brands are best. If you want to feed them "people food", teach yourself what's healthy and what's toxic. If you are a vegan or vegetarian and your beliefs carry over to the feeding of your pet, read about what to give them for proper nutrition. If you go to my Squidoo page on Shih-Tzus, I've compiled a list of books that hopefully cover different points of view so you can make an informed decision.*

*at the time of writing I had compiled 5 books. However, only three are showing up. Hopefully the server is working properly very soon.


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