Owning a pet dog is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Research has shown that a dog can improve your mental and physical health and your mood. They offer unconditional love to their family and they really are a joy to be around. It can be hard to find ways to show how much your dog means to you, but many owners start with their diet. Your pet’s diet will play a part in how they look, behave and how healthy they are. There is a lot of information that surrounds feeding your pet dog and many different types of food available, which can make things overwhelming and confusing. To help you out, here are 7 diet and nutrition tips for your family dog.
Control Portion Sizes
Just like humans, if you feed your pet too much food, they will gain weight. Overweight dogs will be more at risk of developing health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and joint problems. In order to reduce this, you should control your pet’s portion sizes and stick to the recommended amounts of food and treats for your breed and size of dog. If you have a super active dog, then you will need to feed them the correct amount of the right food that will support their endurance and energy output.
Read the Labels
Reading the labels on your dog food packaging is crucial before making a purchase. Packaging can tell you many things, such as the amount and the different types of ingredients. Commercial pet food brands can be sneaky, so understanding how to read the packaging is highly recommended to ensure your pet is being fed good food. For example, just because a food is labelled as ‘chicken flavour’ does not mean that it has to contain chicken and the flavour could have been made artificially.
Research a Raw Diet
There are many pros and cons that surround raw pet food, so you need to fully understand what you will be getting yourself into before you consider this option. A raw diet can be expensive and time consuming, but Bella & Duke’s healthy dog food makes raw feeding an easy and cost-effective option. Their food contains no grains, fillers or nasty preservatives. They have a number of feeding guides available, which explain how to feed your pet this healthy dog food and the benefits of doing so.
Consider Hypoallergenic Food
If your pup suffers from a sensitive tummy, itchy skin, or allergic reactions, then you should consider feeding them a hypoallergenic pet food. This can help your dog because hypoallergenic food contains fewer or none of the ingredients that tend to cause a negative reaction in pets (allergens). Most hypoallergenic pet food does not contain wheat, soya, beef, dairy and artificial ingredients, such as preservatives, flavours and colours. These are the most common allergens seen in commercial brands.
Look into Grain-Free Options
Your dog will need to consume carbohydrates for energy. However, if they eat too many carbs, then this can lead to weight gain, a lack of energy, the wrong bacteria in the gut, plus a number of other health issues. Recently, grain-free dog food has become very popular. This is because the grains that usually bulk up many readymade dry and wet pet foods are replaced with other ingredients. These tend to consist of vegetables and other high-quality ingredients that are usually good for digestion.
Adjust as They Age
The age of your pooch will determine the best diet and quantities for them. You should also take their health status into consideration. When your puppy is growing, they will require much more calories and nutrients compared to an adult dog. This is why puppy food tends to contain more fat and protein to support growth. When your dog is entering their senior years, they will require less calories, more fibre and an adequate amount of fat and protein. Many mature pet foods also support their health.
Look After Their Teeth
Taking care of your dog’s teeth and gums is extremely important. Just like people, pets can get gum disease and other health problems from having poor dental hygiene. Brushing your dog’s teeth and booking them in for professional cleans is advisable, but finding creative ways to improve their teeth and gum health via their diet is much more enjoyable and consistent for your furry friend. For example, fresh vegetables and raw bones make perfect natural dental chews for your pup to gnaw at.
Before you make any changes to your dog’s diet, you should speak to your vet. They will be able to advise you on the best way to make the transition and if it is worth doing so. The positives of feeding your dog a higher quality diet will take time to become visible, but the results will make it worthwhile.