7 Tips on Healthy Eating for your Dog – Dog Health & Nutrition!
Am I feeding my dog a balanced and healthy diet for Dog Health? Can I give fruits and vegetables to my dog? Is a homemade meal more wholesome than a commercial one? These questions may sound like feeding is a difficult chore for dog owners.
However, it’s not. Feeding your dog becomes way easier when you learn about the dos and don’ts of what to feed your pet. A proper and balanced diet is key for your furry companion to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Jerry Klein, a chief veterinary officer of the AKC, highlights that factors such as breed, age, size, and health determine the nutritional needs of your pooch.
If dogs don’t receive proper nutrition, they can develop health issues. The health issues not only cause your pets discomfort and distress, but they are also very expensive.
A pro tip in case your dog suffers from a medical condition that requires costly treatment, consider getting pet insurance. For example, Pet insurance for french bulldogs covers medical treatment of fatal diseases so that owners can get appropriate treatment when required.
Here is a comprehensive guide on feeding your doggy a balanced and nutritious diet.
1. What Food is Preferrable for Dog Health?
The food that you feed your doggy depends on its nutritional requirements. These can be fulfilled by feeding commercial dog food products or homemade meals.
Which kind of food should you give your canine friend? Homemade meals or commercial dog food? This depends on your budget, your time, and the advice of the vet.
Do you prefer meals that consist of natural ingredients and complete dietary requirements? Choose meals made by commercial food brands that use completely natural ingredients. You can even prepare nutritious meals at home with guidance from your vet.
If your dog suffers from a food allergy, then feed a commercial meal that doesn’t consist of those substances that your dog is allergic to.
- Commercial Food
Most commercial dog meals consist of all the daily dietary requirements essential for a doggy’s health. They consist of grains, meat, vegetables, and fruits. With numerous dog food brands, owners can get confused about which one is best for their dog.
Seek advice from your veterinarian, who can give the best guidance about which commercial meal to feed your dog. In the market, select a commercial diet that is appropriate for your pooch’s age and health.
- Complete and Balanced Commercial Meal
When looking over the food package, observe the ingredients list so that it doesn’t consist of allergens in case your dog has a food allergy. Also, search for a statement given by the Association of American Feed Control Officials that states the meal is ‘balanced’ or ‘complete.’
A ‘complete’ meal means that it consists of all the dietary essentials for a dog. ‘Balanced’ means that the meal contains adequate proportions of nutrients.
- Dry or Wet Based Food
Both types are rich in nutrients. Incorporating both into your dog’s diet is beneficial. Dry food is great for a dog’s dental health as it helps in teeth exercise. This food type is widely available in the market and affordable. Wet foods come a little bit pricier.
A major advantage of dry foods is that they don’t require refrigeration, making them convenient for storage. In contrast, water-based foods require refrigeration, although they do have a long shelf life.
Wet dog food comes with the additional advantage of higher water content. This helps in increasing water intake in dogs that don’t drink enough water. If your doggy is a picky eater, then perhaps try giving it wet food.
When selecting dry food or wet food, keep in mind your dog’s nutritional requirements, life stage, health, and breed. It’s preferable to seek advice from your vet before buying readymade foods.
2. Homemade Meals?
Can cooking dog meals at home be beneficial for your dog? Yes, this is as long as you prepare meals that provide all the daily nutrients for your dog. When searching for recipes, look for credible sources.
Before considering preparing a home meal, ask your vet about which recipes to follow and credible sources. On the internet, many homemade dog food recipes can be found. However, not all of them consist of complete nutritional needs. Some may even use ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
Your vet is the best guide for making an appropriate homemade recipe for your dog. If your vet is not a nutritionist, consult a certified veterinary nutritionist for better guidance on making home-based dog meals.
3. Doggy Treats?
Treats are add-ons to your dog’s daily intake and should make up only 10% of its calorie intake. There are numerous options available in the market, from small crunchy biscuits to soft and flavorful treats.
Make sure that the snack you choose is safe for your dog to eat. Seek a recommendation from your vet about the best treat to give your dog.
4. Forbidden Foods
There are a few food items that are dangerous for dogs to eat. These include:
- Grapes or raisins: – This results in irreversible damage to the kidneys and can cause death.
- Onions: – Causes destruction of red blood cells (Heinz body anemia) and kidney damage.
- Chocolate: – Consists of a chemical called theobromine that causes harmful effects on the kidney, lungs, heart, and the central nervous system.
- Seeds and Fruit Pits: – Choking hazard and contain cyanide, a poisonous chemical for dogs.
- Macadamia Nuts: – Not fatal, but increases heart rate and body temperature in dogs. It can also cause vomiting, weakness, and tremors.
- Caffeine: – Similar to chocolate, it can damage the heart, lungs, kidneys, and the central nervous system.
- Alcohol Drinks And Yeast Dough: – Contain ethanol, a harmful chemical that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression in dogs.
- Rotten/Expired Food: – Expired food is a major health hazard. This can result in muscle paralysis and intensifying weakness in dogs.
5. Human Foods that are Safe for Dogs
Although human food isn’t recommended, few foods can be given as treats or as an add-on for enhancing the flavor of your dog’s food. Unseasoned and cooked lean meats are a healthy source of proteins for dogs.
Some fruits and vegetables can also be incorporated into a dog’s daily intake. If you include fresh foods, make sure that they’re low in salt, fat, and sugar. Limit feeding human foods as treats for your dog. Beneficial human foods include: –
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potatoes
6. Quantity of Food to Feed my Dog
How much food should you place in your dog’s food bowl? This depends on the following factors.
- Your dog’s age (adult or pup)
- Body health of your dog
- Your dog’s routine (energetic or idle)
- Your dog’s daily calorie intake
For example, an adolescent German Shepherd that protects and herds a farmer’s cattle will have a higher intake of food due to its energetic routine. Whereas, an elder Rottweiler that mostly relaxes indoors may have lesser food intake.
For your dog to be fed properly, ask your vet about its recommended daily intake. The veterinarian can give proper information on the amount of food your dog should eat daily.
7. How many times should I Feed my Dog?
Veterinary nutritionists recommend that a pup of age 6 months or younger should be fed up to 3 or 4 times daily. Once your furball crosses the age of 6 months, you can start feeding it twice a day.
Adult dogs can be fed meals once or twice a day. This varies based on how much physical activity your dog can do daily.
Who would like their dog to become obese or underweight? It’s best to ask your vet about the right time and number of meals to feed your dog daily.
The factors mentioned above affect both the amount and the number of times your dog can eat meals. The serving guidelines mentioned on food packets don’t meet the requirements of a dog of every age, health condition, or physique.
Rather, the guidelines provide insufficient or excess of the daily recommended amount. That’s why talking with your vet is a viable option.
8. Best Material for Feeding Bowl (Bonus Tip)
Using plastic bowls for giving food and water to your dog? Not a good idea. The material can easily develop cracks on surfaces allowing harmful microbes to grow. These microbes can get into food particles which can lead to food poisoning, infections, and even food allergies.
Many dogs develop an allergic reaction on their chin or face when they come in contact with a plastic bowl. The allergic reaction causes a rash or acne to develop on the face.
To prevent such mishaps, many veterinary experts recommend using stainless steel bowls for providing food or water to your dog. They’re robust and don’t develop scratches easily, leaving any room for bacteria to grow.
Your dog’s physical and mental health has a direct link with their diet. A balanced diet is key for your dog to live a healthy, active, and long lifestyle.
You can feed your dog a nutritious diet by feeding commercial or homemade meals. Before selecting the type of food, reach out to your vet. They can give the best advice on what is suitable for your dog depending on its nutritional needs.