07 Oct Everything You Need to Know About Feeding Your Dog
By Ressie Joseph
Dogs deserve a healthy and well-balanced diet to live happier, longer lives. The collection editor of Animals journal Dr. Giacomo Biagi highlights the role of nutrition in improving the functionality of the dogs’ organs and lessening the risk for the onset of diseases, which in turn boosts their overall quality of life.
While there’s no set formula for what or how your dog should eat, learning more about what sustains your dog’s nutritional needs can help you make informed choices about which type of food best suits your furry friend.
Dog nutrition 101
A dog’s nutritional needs may vary according to breed, life stage, or activity level. However, no matter what type of dog you have, WebMD notes that dog nutrition still requires the right balance of nutrients.
These essential nutrients include proteins to supply the amino acids for building and repairing your dog’s muscles and tissues; fatty acids like linoleic acid and omega-3 for healthy hair and skin; and carbohydrates to provide your dog with adequate energy. Vitamins and minerals are also important for your dog’s growth and development.
Commercial dog food
Now that you know the basic components of dog nutrition, here are different categories of dog food you can choose from.
Commercial food options for dogs often come in dry or wet forms. Dry food or kibble can be economical as it doesn’t quickly spoil, is easy to prepare, and is generally better for your dog’s dental health.
Meanwhile, wet or canned food can be an option for dogs with health issues, such as mouth pain or missing teeth. Its smell and texture can also be more appealing and appetizing to some dogs. Since wet food has a higher moisture content, it can serve as an additional source of hydration.
Dry food and wet food don’t differ too much when it comes to nutritional value and digestibility. What you need to keep in mind when buying commercial dog food is to check the labels and ingredients properly. A guide by PetMD on dog food nutrients states that commercial diets with an AAFCO statement should mean that they are complete, balanced, and fortified to meet nutritional requirements.
Homemade dog food
It’s also completely possible to opt for non-commercial food by feeding home-prepared meals to your dog. If you’re worried about which ingredients contain nutritional value and are appropriate for dogs, Rick Woodford’s book on healthier dog food comes with easy-to-follow recipes—ranging from stews and broths, to rice and vegetable dishes. Based on intensive research on canine nutrition and manuals used by veterinary nutritionists, these recipes can make the transition from commercial to home-based diet more seamless for both owners and pets.
While it requires a great deal of care and commitment to cook fresh and healthy meals, it can make mealtime more interesting for your dog and create a bonding experience between you!
Playtime and cuddles may be ways to spend quality time with your dog, but you can make these moments delicious and nutritious by having treats on hand. While most treats won’t cause weight gain, you still shouldn’t overindulge your dog with treats and have them exceed their prescribed caloric intake.
Our shop TOP DOG Barkery makes delicious treats that are guaranteed to be healthy for your pet, as we don’t add any sugar, salt, or preservatives! Treats can be more than just tasty snacks; you can also give your dog treats as a reward for good behavior. Also, make sure to sneak in a belly rub or a head pat every time you hand out a treat!
Having a variety of food options may be overwhelming at first. Still, the selection process can be smoother if you also consult with a vet regarding your dog’s specific dietary needs. Take your time in getting to know your pet’s eating habits and preferences, and be sure to diversify food choices from time to time, too.