Our guide will help you know more about what is best for your dog regarding nutrition.
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of health for humans and dogs. The food we opt to serve to our furry friends should be of a high nutritional value, as it helps them grow, get energy, and boost their immune system. Dog owners should always consider the type of food, the nutritional value, the ingredients, the age of your dog, weight, and lifestyle before buying dog food.
Nowadays, many varieties and options are available to dog owners, and knowing what is beneficial and what isn’t, is not always easy. Our guide will help you know more about what is best for your dog, when it comes to nutrition.
How much food should you feed your dog?
Most brands usually indicate the daily food intake on the packaging, but figures may vary from one to another. If feeding your dog at least twice is recommended, consistency in meal times, meal types, and amounts of food served is also important. Erratic feeding schedules as well drastic changes in the type of food served can lead to digestive disturbances.
Indeed, overfeeding your dog can lead to obesity, predisposing dogs to heart, liver, or kidney disease, sometimes diabetes, while underfeeding can lead to malnutrition. For humans, feeding your dog healthy food and a balanced diet is crucial for its well-being.
What are your dog’s nutritional needs?
Regardless of age, weight, reproductive stage, and lifestyle, dogs require basic nutrients in each serving. These include carbohydrates, fats, water, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. These are essential in running body functions, and they should be served within acceptable ranges as an excess or deficiency can lead to poor health.
When choosing what to feed your dog, always go for the highest quality food within your budget. Reading through the packaging before purchase helps one know the ingredients used. Still, it also helps to compare if the food content is within the guidelines outlined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Certain health conditions may require specialized formulated diets like kidney disease. Such diets are designed to supplement what may be lacking in the diet or contain nutrients that help to control or manage the condition.
How does your dog’s condition affect your choice of food?
Feeding an all-purpose diet all through may rob them of essential nutrients that may have consequences.
Senior dogs require a low-calorie diet, high in protein and low in sodium occasioned by their low energy requirements. At this age, many suffer degenerative diseases (i.e., arthritis) and therefore may need specially formulated diets. Generally speaking, make sure that your dog has no underlying conditions, even if he is a young puppy.
Puppies and middle-aged dogs require high-energy food rich in protein and calcium. This can be attributed to the constant growth, repair of tissues and bones that come with their lifestyle.
Giant breed puppies should be fed with a good balance of protein and calcium to support the high rate of bone growth to prevent joint problems later in life (i.e., hip dysplasia), while a weight management diet that is low in calories should be put on obese dogs. On the other hand, malnutrition dogs should be put on a high-calorie protein diet or fed additional times a day to reach the optimum weight.
How do ingredients inform your choice of dog food?
When it comes to ingredients, always opt for food containing easily recognizable whole food ingredients. These are thought to be of the higher nutritional value as they are less altered during the manufacturing process and are easily digestible.
It worth mentioning that an appealing ingredient list may not translate to a nutrient-rich diet. Many manufacturers use the ingredient list as a marketing tool with little consideration of the ingredients’ nutritional value.
Pet owners should also be wary of artificial coloring, flavors and additives, and animal by-products. These usually have no nutritional value but are added to entice pets to eat. They also may be a source of allergies and predispose pets to cancers later in life. Alternatively, opt for foods containing real animal protein.