Whether you've got a bouncing puppy, a working collie or an older mutt at home, one of the best things you can do for your dog is to ensure that they're being fed the best diet possible.
And while there are a whole range of premium dog food brands out there that can help your canine companion gain all the nutrients they need for a healthy and active lifestyle, an increasing number of owners are turning to natural feeding.
This involves feeding a diet that is close to what your pet's ancestors would have lived on in the wild, with the aim of ensuring your pooch gains as much of the food's value as possible.
However, this sort of food isn't for every dog or every owner, so it's worth learning a little about this diet before taking the plunge and opting for natural feeding.
What is natural feeding?
If we look back to the origins of the domestic dog, we will see that for thousands of years canines lived and hunted out in the plains of Africa and the forests of the Americas living off whatever they could find.
This consisted of prey such as deer, rabbits and antelope, as well as scavenged and grazed food including leftovers from other animals' meals and nuts, apples, berries and other wild fruits.
As a result, dogs have developed to thrive on a diet consisting mainly of raw meat and bones, supplemented with vegetables and nuts, herbs and cooked beans.
Natural feeding works on the basis that dogs will get the most from their diet by eating as close to what their ancestors did as possible, so focusing on raw meat and bones.
This means following what has been called the raw dog food diet (also known as the BARF diet). On this diet dogs are fed a variety of raw meat and bones often supplemented with liquidised vegetables.
One of the easiest ways to feed this diet is through pre-packaged frozen dog food that can be bought online, since this tends to be one of the safest and most affordable ways to feed naturally.
Why choose natural feeding?
Dog owners are often concerned about the quality of the ingredients that go into the big-name brands that many pets are fed on, particularly with regard to the protein sources.
By feeding your dog naturally you can easily see for yourself that prime cuts of meat are being consumed by your pet and that there are no added fillers that could reduce the nutritional value of the food.
Since the food is much closer to what your pup's ancestors would have eaten, many vets and pet nutritional experts believe that it is the diet that is best suited to canines and provides them with the greatest nutritional value.
Indeed, owners who have switched their pets onto the raw dog food diet have reported that their pooches have shinier coats, healthier teeth and gums, better breath and more energy, all within just a short period of time.
Written by: Hannah Dyball