The subject of nutrition is wide and varied. Many dog foods have been created to satisfy the needs of the owner. For example, complete dog food has been created to make the process of feeding easier for the human. What could be simpler than picking up a hand full of food and dropping it into the bowl?  Bark Busters advice is to thoroughly research the food that is appropriate to age of dog and the breed you have chosen.

If you decide to go for a processed type of dog food then make sure that it is a genuine good quality food. The most expensive brand does not necessarily mean that it is of good quality. Unfortunately most pet foods these days are made with powdered meat meals and fillers.  They are also packed with cereals (wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats etc) which aren’t part of a carnivore's natural diet.  They are processed and cooked to high temperatures and then have to contain synthetic artificial vitamin supplements to comply with regulations to be called “complete”.  Many foods are also packed with additives because they have to stay on the supermarket shelves for a long period of time. We all know what some additives and E numbers do to children; well it’s no different for dogs too! are genuine good quality processed foods out there.  Look at the ingredients on the packet or tin and look at the protein content and where the protein comes from. Remember that dogs are carnivores and they find it harder to process plant material than meat and the protein content could also be made up of plant protein.  A good place to start your research is to type holistic dog foods into you search engine and start to research the different types.  Look for food based mainly on meat with some fruit and vegetables and preferably grain free.   Brands with no grain you could consider are Eden and Origen .  Click here for details of Edens holistic dog food Click here for details of Orijens natural dog food.  Origen is available both in pet shops and via many online stockists.  For brands with small amounts of wholegrains you could consider Acana and Lilys kitchen.   Click here for details of Acana low carbohydrate dog food  and click here for Lilys Kitchen ethical pet food   Lilys kitchen do offer a grain free version as well as low carbohydrate foods and good quality canned dog foods.     

 Natural feeding is becoming more and more popular again. Prior to the advent of processed dog food we all fed naturally, there was no choice. Natural feeding is simply feeding your puppy or dog as nature intended with raw meat / bones, vegetables and fruit. There are many discussions on the pros and cons of feeding processed or natural, but another good place to start is to type BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) into your search engine and also natural dog food where you will find details of both more premium processed food and raw foods.  For a brand that is 100% organic top quality raw dog food click here for Honeys Real Dog Food.  For a local Essex supplier of both meat only and complete raw dog foods click here for Doushals Dog Delights.  For a well priced brand that is commonly available in pet shops click here to see Prize Choice.  This company also has a better quality raw dog food range called Natures Men (click here) which is now available in many outlets including selected Pets At Home.  

At the end of the day, it is all about finding the balance that suits your and your pets' lifestyle.  A dog that has a well balanced diet is less likely to suffer from the extremes of constipation or diarrhoea, blocked anal glands, allergies, itching and flaking skins, greasy fur, mites and ear infections.  When it comes to behaviour, dogs are much less likely to be constantly begging or trying to steal food.  It can also stop or reduce excessive barking if a dog is barking to be fed.   As good nutrition constitutes a vital part of your dogs ability to think clearly and reduce stress levels it can also have an impact on any anxiety your dog displays, hyperactivity and even aggression.   This is not hard to understand.  If we as humans are eating badly we are more likely to become irritable and have a much poorer concentration span than if we are eating a well balanced, nutritional diet, and the same applies to our dogs.  Additionally when we are well nourished we are able to perform at our peak.  A dog will use a lot of mental energy simply to focus on what they are being asked to learn and perform the tasks they have learned, so correct nutrition directly contributes to the good training of your dog.

For myself I have seen numerous examples of significant (and sometimes dramatic!) changes in a dog's behaviour after the introduction of better quality food.  Of course there can and will be other contributing factors (starting a training program for one!!), but if you are going to spend time and money on training your dog then why not give the training the best chance of success by making sure your dog has the best diet you can buy for the budget you can afford?  Your dog can only benefit from it.    

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