Not all dogs need the same diet and there are several factors that need to be considered when picking the right food for your pet.
Most of a dog’s diet should be made of protein, but carbs and healthy fats are allowed, too, and can all work together in making your canine’s body function properly. In today’s article, we look at five ways on how you can make better choices for your dog's diet.
How to Make Smart Choices for my Dog’s Diet
Ask your vet
All responsible pet owners know that their dogs have to be taken to the vet more often during it early stages of development. But while vaccination shots are important, they are not the end all and be all of your pooch's over-all health.
Your vet is the best person to ask if you are having trouble telling what you’re supposed to feed your pet. They will either recommend a specific diet based on your dog’s health status, or they can at least tell you which human food can be dangerous and can even put your dog’s life at risk - such as chocolate, for example.
A question never hurts, so make sure you ask the next time you take your dog to the vet clinic for a check-up.
What is your dog’s age?
Puppies, adults, and geriatric dogs all have different dietary needs. Puppy diets are made to be richer in calories and also richer in protein and certain minerals such as calcium or phosphorus.
Adults can benefit from a varied diet especially if they don't have any food allergies. By contrast, senior diets have to be tailored to that animal’s specific health status.
Most senior diets are lower in protein and fat and generally contain more carbs, whether from healthy sources such as pumpkin or unhealthier ones such as grains. This might not be the right choice for your pet in some cases, so be sure to consult your veterinarian for more information.
How’s your dog's health?
Some dogs have gas, others might suffer from chronic conditions affecting their liver or kidneys, and there are also dogs that can develop allergies to a variety of ingredients.
Knowing how healthy your dog is means knowing what you should and should not feed them.
These days, there are many prescription diets available, and some are very good at alleviating most of your dog’s symptoms. And if you want to make sure that your dog doesn’t ingest any potentially carcinogenic ingredients, you have to do some research about what binders and artificial colours pose this risk.
Unfortunately, in the past several decades, food intolerances or allergies have become more and more common in dogs. Some dogs can develop respiratory symptoms, others can get skin allergies, and there’s also a category of pets that can develop digestive symptoms.
While some pets are born this way, so you will have to feed them something different all the time, others can develop food intolerances as a result of being fed the same food time and again.
Varying between one type of food and another is the best way of preventing food allergies in dogs. Lamb and salmon diets used to be considered hypoallergenic, but since they’ve become so common these days, that is not the case anymore.
This means that you should vary between different types of protein on a regular basis.
Picking the right canine diet also depends on your dog’s dental health. Unfortunately, no one likes brushing their dog’s teeth, but if you thought that you could go without this procedure once every couple of days, think again.
Like humans, dogs can develop bacterial plaque and tartar on their teeth. In time, poor dental hygiene can lead to periodontal disease, which is not only painful but is also associated with other health conditions.
Some dogs have a higher risk of heart conditions if they have poor dental health. If your dog already has problems with their teeth, feeding them an all-canned diet might be a better idea.
What do high-quality ingredients mean?
Natural, homemade dog diets are sometimes the safest option you have on your hands, especially since there are so many dangerous ingredients in certain commercial dog food these days.
Several examples of ingredients you should be on the lookout for are the following:
Food dyes (many are carcinogenic)
Most vets recommend against feeding dogs a raw diet, and for a good reason, too. Bacterial contamination is too difficult to manage in this case, and the last thing you might want is to put your dog’s health at risk.
However, most vets will not advise against cooking your dog’s food at home - provided that you avoid any potentially dangerous ingredients, like spices, sugar, seasonings, or anything else you might add to your own food.In the end, dogs tend to thrive on diets that are age and health-appropriate and that have clean and natural ingredients.