Here’s How You Choose The Healthiest Food For Your Dog
Do you know what dog food is suitable for your dog? Refrain from grabbing any random brand of dog food you find on the store shelves. It’s no better than feeding your dog junk food.
If you want your dog’s health to stay in prime condition, you must choose the right dog food. There are plenty of factors to consider before spending your money on certain dog food. The following guide will ensure that you always choose the healthiest food for your dog.
Doing Your Research
To know what you should feed your dog, you must first determine its nutritional needs. There are a few ways you can figure this out. One way to go about this is through research.
Research is the main way to find the right food for your dog. You can look up the dog breed or size to learn more about what kind of dog food to feed them. There are plenty of resources online like articles and consumer reviews that can help you find the right product for your dog.
You can also check out newspaper dog food reviews or ones published in dog or pet magazines. Vets often give out handbooks, so use these as reference materials while looking for the right food.
Before deciding on a dog food brand, look up some reviews. You can find reviews on dog food in online shops or maybe comparison articles like this Royal Canin vs Blue Buffalo dog food review.
Some reviews are left by seasoned owners who have priceless experience raising dogs, so you will find plenty of information. Industry experts often write comparison review articles who know the pros and cons of almost every existing dog food.
Checking reviews will help you figure out what is good and bad about a dog brand or which particular product will suit which dog breed. There is plenty you can learn from reviews, so keep an eye out for those when you do your dog food research.
There are many dog food myths that people consider as fact. Following these myths while feeding your dog can not only be bad for your dog but may also deprive them of healthy food.
When doing your research, consider debunking these myths and learning more about the food you can feed your dogs.
For example, a lot of people think that all dogs are only carnivores, but that is false. Although some fruits and vegetables can be toxic to dogs, some plants such as carrots or strawberries can be an excellent treat for dogs.
Another such myth is that you can’t give raw proteins like eggs and red meat to dogs due to salmonella. This is rarely true as dogs have stronger digestive organs and are less susceptible to such bacterias.
So, unless you give them uncooked poultry or pork, or the raw item is not clean, it should be alright.
Understanding Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
Some specific nutrients are crucial for your dog’s health. Understanding their nutritional profile can help you ensure they are eating the right food. A key aspect that sets your dog’s nutritional needs is its age, physical state, and level of activity.
Puppies are growing, and they need more than double the calories of an adult dog, which is around 990 kcal. Adult dogs require more calories than aged dogs; however, their metabolic rate and level of activity are also important.
Nutrition requirement reference articles and online sources can guide you with things like the resting energy requirement and how much calorie is needed per pound of body weight.
Other nutrients like certain vitamins and minerals are also vital to dogs' health. So, do check out the dog food nutrition label to see if it has all the required nutrients needed for your dog’s wellbeing. Talk to your vet to learn more about your dog’s nutritional profile.
Deciphering Dog Food Labels
Did you know that the meat used in dog food can come from anything? From roadkill and dead animal carcass to even euthanized pets! It is inhumane to feed your dog meat from its species, so it is crucial to know exactly what is in your dog food.
To ensure that your dog food doesn’t have something disgusting, you must learn to decipher the label. Being thorough is important as producers will look for loopholes to avoid saying what is in the product.
If your canned dog food says it’s made of beef, tuna, salmon, etc., check out what percentage of the food is that particular type of meat. Your canned dog food should be 95% of that specific meat.
If it is a mixture of two types of meats, then the product will contain more of the first item mentioned. Except for water, no other ingredient should make up more than 1-3 percent of that dog food.
Figuring Out The Breed
Before you can do some research, you need to know your dog's breed. Knowing the breed helps to know the ideal weight and height of the dog, which are crucial when determining the right food for them.
Some dog breeds are easy to find, especially when they are purebred. For example, if you know that you own a Great Dane, you can simply look up what are the best food options for that breed.
Some well-known mixed breed dogs are easy to figure out as well, especially when they have their name. For example, with Golden doodles or Pomsky, you would know what to look up.
But things get tough when it's an ambiguous mixed breed. Try asking your vet about it; they can accurately guess the breed based on their experience.
Being Careful With Human Food
Dogs will drool when they look at your food, but be very careful while giving them something from your plate. While it is a myth to think that dogs absolutely can’t eat human food, it is still important to know what they can eat.
For example, you can give blueberry and pineapple to your dog without worrying, but not cherry as its stone has cyanide which is highly toxic for dogs.
Peanut butter is a great treat, but it must be a variety without any added sugar. Even the sugar-free kind shouldn’t have artificial sweeteners. Some artificial sweeteners like xylitol are toxic for dogs.
So, figure out what human food you can give your dogs before giving them anything from your plate, and never let its puppy dog eyes convince you to give it chocolate!
Wet Or Dry Food?
You can feed your dog both wet and dry food, as they both have their benefits. Perhaps the main difference for dogs is that most of them will prefer wet dog food over dry ones. This is because canned dog food is palatable for them.
Based on the nutritional profile, wet dog food tends to be more nutritious. Dry dog food is made up of 46-74% carbs, 18-32% protein, and 8-22% fat. Wet dog food has 28-50% protein, 18-57% carbs, and 20-32 % fat. Dogs should be eating more protein and fewer carbs.
However, the main problem with canned dog food is convenience. They are more likely to perish, as leaving it outside after opening will spoil it. Wet food auto dispensers are difficult to find and often expensive.
Dry dog food is easy to serve. They have a longer shelf life and are better for your dog’s dental health.
Being Careful With Homemade Food
If you feel like you can’t depend on dog food and have the time to make food for your dog, you can try serving your dog homemade food.
The two things you need to keep in mind are your dog’s nutrition and what it can’t eat. For example, like humans, some dogs are lactose intolerant. So, you need to figure out if your dog can or cannot handle dairy products before serving them something with dairy in them.
As mentioned before, some regular human food can be toxic to dogs, so do your research and find out what your dog can or can not eat.
To ensure the food you make for them is adequate in nutrition:
1.Opt for putting dog-friendly veggies like green beans, celery, etc.
2.Go easy on carb-loaded grains and starches.
3.Add dense, good-quality protein to your homemade dog food.
Before selecting dog food, read the label to see what it is made of. Try to buy high-quality food to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs.
You can make your dog food at home, but make sure you only add ingredients that your dog can tolerate. Let your dog eat better so that it can live a long and healthy life with you.