As a dog mom, one of my biggest concerns has always been “what should I feed my dog?” Having had a dog with irritable bowel disease, I can attest to the havoc that can take hold on a dog’s digestive system with even the slightest diversion from a diet that works (the dreaded table scrap!). Complete nutrition starts with puppy food and works its way through the entire life span of our precious canine family members.
Here are six keys to keep in mind when feeding your dog. As with any news affecting the health and well-being of your dog, check with your veterinarian prior to any dietary changes or additions.
Protein is indeed at the core of a dog’s bodily tissues. Puppies need between 22 and 28 percent of the calories in their puppy food to be protein content. Growing bodies need more protein. If you opt for a dry food or canned food, read the label closely. Ingredients are listed in order of weight, so something like lamb meat or meal is a good source of quality protein.
One Does Not Fit All
The old adage that dogs need only one type of food without variety is no longer the standard. We know better as pet parents, so we do better. The variety and types of foods we feed is rich in variety– dry food, canned food, soft-moist food, rehydrated/raw diets, home cooked, natural/organic, and the list goes on. According to Dog Food Analysis.com, “Changing foods, importantly the contents of those foods, every so often helps to give them the variety their bodies were designed to thrive on.” If one diet works for your dog and he/she has allergies or a sensitive stomach, rotating his or her diet may not be beneficial.
Let the buyer beware when dog food shopping. Dog Food Advisor.com offers unbiased dog food reviews and dog food ratings searchable by brand or star rating. Dog moms and dads can find the the best dry, canned or raw food for their dog.
Know Thine Label
Do you know how to read a pet food label? Does the idea of knowing exactly what to feed your dog ever leave you feeling confused? I attended a seminar focusing on pet nutrition at BlogPaws Pet Bloggers’ Conference this summer. The very informative one-hour presentation was given by Daniel S. Aja, DVM. An easy-to-read and simple-to-apply presentation was dissected for Fidose of Reality readers, so check out the dog food info link here.
Dehydrated, raw, human-grade pet food: If you told me to feed that to my dog 10 years ago, I might have looked at you as if you spoke a foreign language. Today, I feed dehydrated, raw, human-grade pet food to my dog. Founded by Lucy and Charlie Postins in 2002, The Honest Kitchen is what I feed my own dog. Dexter had a number of allergies and was not fond of dry food. So we did a trial of this food based on the recommendation of a friend’s dog, who was thriving on it. Coupled with Dr. Harvey’s veg-to-bowl (to sneak some extra veggies in to a dog who isn’t too fond of them), I feel good in what I feed my baby boy. Consider thinking outside the box when it comes to puppy food, dog food, and ensuring your dog receives complete nutrition; oh and having your dog enjoy the food is a bonus, right? One size, nor food, certainly does not fit all.
As a teenager, the “I love dogs” bug bit me. It was during this time I remember the vet telling my mother that our aging dog should have less protein in her diet. The times they are a’changin.’ Today we know that senior dogs should maintain a steady, if not increased, level of protein so they can maintain good muscle mass. The extra protein a senior dog’s system does not need will be excreted via urine, burned off in exercise, or stored as fat.
How to feed and what to feed can leave any dog parent dizzied and wondering if what we make or purchase is the “right way.” If it works your dog’s nutritional needs, consider it right; and never be afraid to ask questions of your vet, seek a holistic or veterinary nutritionist consult, and follow your “gut,” pun intended.
What’s in your dog’s bowl?
Disclosure: The above is a sponsored post but all opinions and content expressed are purely my own, Carol Bryant, for Fidose of Reality.