Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog
Knowing what to give your dog, in which proportions and the frequency are of fundamental importance towards keeping a healthy dog. The best food choice is that which maintains a well-balanced diet meeting all the nutritional needs of your canine companion. Dogs have varying dietary needs. The best food for another one may not be necessarily the best food for your dog. Just like human beings, they require a wide variety of nutrient supplies in varying proportions throughout their lifetime. It is thus, advisable to seek veterinary advice to help establish a healthy feeding schedule that best addresses the nutritional needs of your dog. Here is a general pointer that will guide you through your choices of the best feeds:
Look for the Nutritive Value
When drawing up the feeding program, you need to factor on all the crucial nutrients recommended for every dog. You then supply these nutrients in altered proportions reflecting the specific needs of your pet. The particular requirements fall into various categories such as age and activity levels, current weight, lifestyle and health conditions.
Some dogs may require much of a particular nutrient to address a specific deficiency while others may need a regulated supply of a particular nutrient to stay healthy. An overweight pet, for instance, may require a reduced amount of calories but an increased supply of fiber to keep it healthy.
A portion of dog food containing quality ingredients and well-balanced nutrients is easily absorbed and has a lasting impact on the health of your pet. There are six fundamental nutrients for every dog. These include carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin, fats, minerals, and fibre.
- Carbohydrates are energy-rich foods. They include barley, rice, sorghum and corn
- Proteins are useful in reinforcing dog’s muscles, bones and skin. Chicken, corn salmon, barley, soya bean meal or eggs are the common sources of proteins.
- Fats too are essential for healthy skin as well as energy. Fats are found in Fish and vegetable oils.
- Vitamins are widely available in most of the food sources above. Vitamins A and E are found in eggs, and brown rice is a good source of potassium while beef and liver are good for iron. Vitamins are good in boosting the immune system of your pet.
- Minerals like magnesium help in strong bone and teeth formation. Sodium in proper amounts is useful for a healthy dog’s heart. Minerals are widely supplied in many food types listed above.
- Fiber is useful for the dog’s digestive system. It can be found in beet pulp and cellulose.
What are the Specific Nutritional Requirements?
Age and Level of Activity
Age categories include puppies, small and toy breeds, senior dogs and large and giant dog breeds.
Puppies undergo massive cell division and constant growth. A complete diet with plenty of proteins is, therefore, necessary to facilitate muscle development and healthy tissue. They are also in the most playful stage of their development. Much of their energy goes into dashing around during play. Plenty of energy foods that are easy to digest are required to keep up with the high levels of activity. Such foods include rice, kibble and smaller pieces of meat.
Other nutrients required in the puppy stage are calcium and phosphorus that facilitate healthy teeth and bone formation. Vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants, will improve immunity and promote health.
Small and Toy Breeds
Chihuahua and Jack Russell terrier among other smaller breeds have a higher rate of metabolism. Food with high-energy content is required at regular intervals. Extra fats and proteins with easily digestible carbohydrates should be included in the recipe.
Giant Dog Breeds
These breeds include Mastiffs, St Bernards and Great Danes and are known to reach adulthood quickly. This means age complications may arrive earlier than usual. A diet with fatty acids, omega-3, omega-6, chondroitin, and glucosamine is useful at the age of five to facilitate healthy joints.
Larger breeds and older ones are prone to arthritis. A diet rich in fatty acids and omega-3 will significantly reduce inflammation. Glucosamine and chondroitin are quite helpful with general mobility and immunity.
Senior dogs are less active hence lighter recipes with reduced calories, and fats are advisable to avoid massive weight gain. High-quality protein is highly recommended to maintain muscle tissue. Salty treats may lead to heart diseases, and kidney problems hence should be avoided. Seaweed or kelp are good sources of iodine that enhance thyroid functioning.
Dog’s Health Conditions
Overweight dogs commonly suffer from heart diseases, joint pains, and type 2 diabetes. Avoid too many treats here. Go for lighter foods with fewer calories and more fibre and in proper proportions.
Those with flat faces such as French Bulldogs and pugs are prone to breathing and dental problems. Wet foods, which are easier to chew, would be the best choice.
Pets suffering from allergies and intolerances should be served with hypoallergenic foods that contain easily digestible proteins such as chicken, turkey, and well-cooked vegetables.
Choosing the best food for your dog is about picking on that which includes high-quality ingredients with right proportions of nutrients best suited to the particular needs of your dog. Get in touch with your vet to identify the specific nutritional requirements that will work effectively.