If you think something's not as fishy as it should be about your dog's dinner, you may be right. To address a variety of health issues and allergies, some veterinarians, groomers and trainers recommend dog food manufactured with fish and potatoes or rice as the primary ingredients.
Some of the reasons a pet-care professional may suggest a fish-based diet include yeast infections of the ears, skin or paws. If your vet has diagnosed a food allergy, she may recommend you try a fish diet. Dogs with allergies to wheat or an animal protein may feel better when their food is switched to a more tolerable protein since the body responds to specific proteins differently. Your groomer may suggest a fish-based dog food to help cut down on hot spots resulting from food allergies. And, if your dog is having trouble focusing due to itchy and dry skin, painful ears or tummy troubles, your dog's trainer could advise a fish diet.
Salmon is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. These elements support and strengthen your dog's immune system and help keep her coat strong, shiny and healthy. Many commercially available dog foods are made with salmon as the main ingredient. Some also contain sweet potato, others contain rice. Sweet potato provides beta-carotene, which supports eye health, and fiber for healthy digestion. Some brands also contain other vegetables and fruits to add flavor, vitamins and minerals.
Whitefish is also commonly used in commercially prepared dog food. Whitefish provides the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids dogs need to address a variety of health issues including heart disease and arthritis. Dogs with behavior problems such as anxiety and stress benefit from omega 3 and 6 fatty acids because these elements support healthy cell growth. Products made with whitefish and salmon is sometimes mixed with sweet potatoes, brown rice or barley.
The first ingredient listed on a dog-food label is the one most prevalent, followed by ingredients listed in order quantity. Grain-free products are the best for those switching their dogs a fish-based diet because of allergies since grains such as wheat, corn and soy are frequently the troublemakers for dogs suffering from allergies, so look for "grain-free" on the label. Fish meal is sometimes listed as the first ingredient in some of the more high-end pet foods and those products are made with a variety of fish species available at the time of the manufacture. Look for products preserved with natural chemicals, such as vitamins C and E, herbal oils and spices instead of harsher chemicals such as propylene glycol, a version of antifreeze.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.