Just like humans, each dog has its own nutritional needs. For example, some dogs have allergies and require gluten-free dog food. Portion sizes also vary, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to feeding a dog. As dog owners, there are many things to keep in mind regarding the food your dog eats. Some foods are highly nutritional, while eating others can have serious or even fatal consequences.
Canned or dry food?
Overall, canned food tends to be healthier. It contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates and calories. However, dry dog food is less expensive, easier to store and better for removing tartar from teeth. Dry dog food also allows dogs to satisfy their natural instinct to chew, but chewing can be problematic for older dogs or those with missing teeth or gum problems. It can be hard to decide which is best, but the decision needs to be based on your dog’s needs and your budget.
Some dog owners prefer to make their own dog food so they can monitor the ingredients used. They can avoid preservatives and fillers and tailor it based on their dogs’ food preferences and needs. This is a good idea for those who have the time to make their own special blend of dog food.
Numerous recipes abound on the internet, but it is important to be aware of a dog’s nutritional needs – specific amounts of vitamins and protein are needed to keep your dog at his optimal health. Allrecipes.com has a nutritious dog food recipe that is ready to eat in 30 minutes. ThriftyFun also has videos and recipes to create a dog food that is best for your dog’s nutritional needs.
Obesity is not a problem solely plaguing humans. Most dogs have hearty appetites and can eat all day long if allowed to do so. It is never a good idea to keep food out for your dog all day. It is important to closely follow serving sizes listed on the dog food bag with a measuring cup. Simply estimating it can result in larger serving sizes than required. However, it is important to monitor your dog to assess if he is eating too much or too little. If he seems hungry later in the day, you may want to feed him twice a day. Conversely, if he seems to be gaining weight rapidly, he should eat less than the recommended amount. Obese dog care covers weight control in dogs in more detail.
Vitamins and supplements
Most dogs do not require vitamins and supplements as long as they are eating a healthy dog food and seem fairly active. Those eating a special vegetarian or raw meat diet may need supplements, but this should be discussed with your vet first. Too much of a good thing can cause serious health problems for your dog. For example, an overabundance of calcium can cause bone and cartilage damage in puppies, and excess vitamin A can cause damage to blood vessels.
Lear more at dog supplements.
Going organic can result in excellent health for your dog. Organic foods often have high levels of protein and no preservatives, filler, food coloring and pesticides. Most organic foods also contain whole grains, which aid in your dog’s digestion. Overall nutrition in organic food can make your dog’s coat shinier and cure any instances of itching or skin allergies.
So what’s not to love? Well, the price can be significantly higher than for non-organic dog food, so it may not fit into most dog owners’ budgets. In addition, careful scrutiny is needed when buying organic dog foods, since the standards are for human foods. There are no standards developed yet for organic pet foods, so dog owners need to ensure that their dogs are getting enough nutrients.
Many vegetarian dog owners tend to influence their pets to become vegetarians as well. With dogs, though, it can be difficult because they are omnivores that receive nutrients from a variety of food sources. For example, dogs get amino acids and protein from meat. Eggs can help boost protein levels in dogs, and brown rice and legumes are also healthy alternatives. Nutritional deficiencies are likely to occur in dogs on vegetarian diets, so it is important to keep your vet informed of any changes in your dog’s diet. He or she may want to put your dog on supplements or test him for common ailments.
Many dog owners swear by a raw meat diet. That’s all wild dogs ate thousands of years ago, right? True, but dogs didn’t live very long back then, either. Parasites and other ailments killed them off early on. This is why the raw meat diet has caused controversy among veterinarians who claim that raw meat contains harmful bacteria. The risk is not only for dogs, but for owners who handle and prepare the meat.
Raw meat enthusiasts are growing in popularity despite the risks. Some dog owners pay a premium price for chicken and beef, claiming that it has made their dogs happier and healthier. In addition, many dog owners have been scared away by the numerous dry dog food recalls in recent years.
Those who choose this route should ensure that their dogs are eating the freshest and highest-quality meat available. In addition, it is important to watch out for bones, particularly in chicken.
Foods to avoid
A dog may eat everything in sight, but that doesn’t mean he should. Many foods that are good for humans can be poisonous in dogs. Chocolate and coffee can cause hyperactivity and heart problems, which can lead to death. Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting and tremors. Raisins and grapes can cause kidney problems, although the exact cause is unknown.
Many people feed their dogs raw eggs because they believe they will give their dog a shiny coat. On the contrary, raw eggs decrease the absorption of vitamin B. which can actually lead to coat problems. Many owners feed their dogs milk as well, but since dogs are lactose intolerant, milk can cause diarrhea and stomach upset.
Dangerous foods for dogs covers what foods should be avoided in more detail.