How to keep your dog happy and healthy is a significant concern for new pet parents. However, a surprising number of experienced pet parents still don’t know precisely how to provide the proper dog nutrition for their pets.
In most cases, people assume that dogs need to or want to eat much like humans. That they like variety in their diet, they will want to eat small, frequent meals, and they can eat a lot of different kinds of food.
While this is true to some extent, if you want to give your dog the best diet possible, it will help to learn a bit about the nutritional requirements of our furry friends.
Dogs aren’t picky eaters. They will eat nearly anything you put in front of them. The problem is that if it isn’t meeting your dog’s needs or the food exceeds their requirements, this could create a range of health problems, compromise your dog’s life quality, and shorten its life span.
Here is what you need to know about dog nutrition.
Store-bought dog food vs. fresh food
You can either get your dog some store-bought dog food or feed them fresh food you make at home. In most cases, people don’t have the time or energy to prepare special meals at home, so they feed their dogs what they eat.
While this can work in some cases, this isn’t a good choice in other situations. For instance, eating mac and cheese doesn’t meet your dog’s nutritional needs.
Similarly, relying entirely on home food isn’t always a convenient option. Packaged dog food makes it a lot easier to manage your pets’ diet. Also, homemade food might not always have the nutritional value your dog needs.
Dog food, on the other hand, provides what the dog needs in every meal.
Type of dog food
The biggest challenge for people who want to go the dog food route is finding the right food for their dog. There are countless varieties to choose from, all claiming to be the best solution.
A general rule of thumb is to get the best dog food you can afford. Remember, this will be something you will be spending on frequently, so the bill can add up.
Moreover, shopping for dog food every week is also quite a chore. So most Australians find subscription delivery more convenient; this way, you’ll never be short on dog food.
Sometimes stores are out of stock; maybe you can’t find the flavor you need, or it isn’t available in the bag size you want.
Look for local producers if you want excellent quality dog food in a bag. They provide fresher food made with locally sourced materials. This way, your dog can also be part of the action in helping out the local community.
Dogs are good beggars. Especially if you have a snack or a bag of food around that they like. Even after an extra serving, they will be sitting next to you, asking for more.
Like some humans, dogs tend to overeat. In the wild, they can only eat as much as they can hunt, but with humans, food is available in abundance.
Too much food leads to obesity in dogs, and this can cause other health problems. Some main issues are joint problems and cardiovascular challenges due to excess fat. Especially if your dog doesn’t have a very active lifestyle, even going just slightly over their required calories can be a significant problem.
Many people misunderstand dog nutrition and assume that dogs only eat meat and bones. While these might be their preferred options, they also eat baby carrots, celery, some fruits, and cooked grains. Ideally, you want to give your dog a mix of protein and fat with small amounts of carbs. Their digestive system maximizes protein and fat, but it can also handle some carbs. If you are feeding them any grain, cook it to human standards.
Before you get your dog some dog food and a new feeding bowl, get in touch with a vet and discuss your dog’s age, size, and lifestyle to get a better understanding of dog nutrition so you know how much and what you should be feeding your dog.
The vet can give you a base plan of what you need to do and what you need to avoid.
Just like humans, the nutritional requirements of dogs change with age. Since they age much faster than humans, we must consider these things more frequently.
Your vet will give you all the tips you need and even help you with creating nutritionally balanced meals for your dog specifically. This way, you can be sure your dog nutrition plan provides what your dog needs for optimal health.