Dog Food and Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of your dog's life. However, it is commonly the least thought of, compared to exercise and lifestyle. Whether you prefer dry kibble or wet canned food, the nutrients your dog needs are the same. Quality commercial dog foods, either wet or dry, are regulated and have undergone extensive testing by veterinarians and scientists. Unlike other house pets, dogs get their nutrients from meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Due to this, you may be confused why your dog's food bag has ingredients like carrots, blueberries, or corn. High quality ingredients will not contain any meals or by-products. These are used as fillers and serve no nutritional purpose.
What is Best for My Dog?
Obvious differences in choosing a food are things like age or size, but we often overlook important aspects of our dog's food and nutrition. The first focus is lifestyle, this being whether your dog is a working dog, or one that spends its days on the couch. Working dogs need a special diet to account for the calories burned, maintaining a healthy weight, and the type of work completed. A K9 Police officer may need a different diet than an Agility dog. They complete different tasks and therefore need different nutrients to remain healthy. We also need to factor in the type of dog. Huskies and other long haired dogs will need different nutrients to maintain a healthy, shiny coat and skin. All commercial dog foods will include a recommended feeding chart on the packaging. This chart is a baseline for the amount of food your dog will need based on the weight of your dog. Your dog's needs may be different based on the above factors, as well as your veterinarian's recommendations.
Fresh Vs Prepared Dog Food
A newer trend in both dog food and baby food is fresh food. Fresh dog foods are gaining popularity, but several factors need to be kept in mind when thinking about whether this is right for your dog. First of all, time is a major consideration. Not only the added time to shop, but also the time to prepare the food for every meal. Space is another consideration that needs to be addressed. More ingredients, more storage containers, more space for your dog's food in your fridge or cupboard. Lastly, money is a deciding factor for many of us. Fresh ingredients often cost more than prepared foods, and dog food is no different. Think back to a time when you wanted to get away from boxed or prepared dinners and make everything from scratch. The cost of all the ingredients and seasonings often far outweigh the benefit in our mind. If you decide to feed fresh food, we recommend finding recipes created or approved by Veterinarians. This will ensure your dog is getting all the nutrients needed, while avoiding any dangerous foods.
Food Allergies in Dogs and Effects in Dog Food
You may have never experienced a dog with a food allergy, and while most dogs never suffer any, some develop allergies as they get older. I have a nearly 10 year old dog. Several years ago, we had to deal with a severe skin issue. She developed hot spots all over her back and belly and was scratching herself bloody. After some serious research, I found that a common hot spot cause is a gluten allergy. I never thought of an older dog suddenly becoming sensitive to gluten, but my research showed that it is quite common. After changing her diet and finding a gluten free dog food, she stopped having the hot spots and doesn't scratch herself up. Many common people allergies or sensitivities can also be exhibited in dogs. These include gluten, dairy, even corn! If you suspect your dog of having an allergy, talk with your Vet for recommendations on dog food and nutrition or environmental changes.
Man's Best Friend
We all want what is best for our pet! So any time that you are in doubt, contact your veterinarian. They are trained to discuss the unique needs and health of your dog. Experienced trainers can also assist with recommendations, as we have usually all had plenty of dogs to pull experiences from. In order for your dog to be happy and healthy, don't disregard the importance of dog food and nutrition.