A happy and healthy dog means a happy fur mom/dad. We know you love your fur baby, so you put in time and resources to acquire the best food. But you may feel overwhelmed when shopping for dog food, as the aisles are long and stuffed with many different brands.
Which one will give your pet the best nutrients? Which nutrients does your dog need anyway? These and more questions will help you differentiate one brand from the other. It’s better to do all the research before you buy dog food instead of getting something that leaves you wondering if your dog is getting enough nutrients. Let’s discuss what the experts suggest to ensure that your pooch is getting the right nutrition.
How to Get Your Dog the Right Nutrition
Provide Food That Suits Your Dog’s Life Stage
There are different nutrition needs for each stage of your pet’s life. For example, a puppy between 8 and 16 weeks may have difficulties adjusting to the new food. At that age, your pup needs regular and small portions. Therefore, you may want to make gradual changes only until the puppy can eat the preferred diet without getting a stomach upset.
It’s a different experience for an adult dog between 12 and 24 months old. At this stage, you can include some cooked and raw meat.
Give Appropriate Pet Food
Those begging puppy eyes are powerful when they want to have a taste of your meal, so you’ll have to fight the urge to share human food with your dog. Some foods your dog may like aren’t healthy, including chocolate, onions, and citrus fruits. Also, avoid giving your cat food to your dog as that food is specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of cats. The nutritional imbalance could lead to stomach upset and illness.
When providing dog food, go for the ones with whole-food ingredients that are familiar to you. You can give your pet a wet, dry, or combination diet. Whether vegetarian or raw diet, the food you give your pup should be complete with all essential nutrients.
Your choice should also consider the pet’s dietary needs if your doggo has a medical condition or allergies. For example, hypoallergenic dog kibbles allow dogs with intolerances to enjoy various flavours without you worrying about worsening their digestion.
Dog food should have essential nutrients like proteins, fats, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. A dog’s body only makes 13 amino acids, yet 23 types are needed. Hence, the food you provide should fill in the gap. For example, when you feed your doggo some shellfish or finfish in moderation, you’re giving your pet high-quality protein that’s a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
The only way to ensure your dog gets all nutrients daily is to reduce threats that may affect your pet’s feeding schedule.
Always Read Food Labels
In each packet, you’ll see a product name, net weight, ingredients list, feeding guidelines, intended species, and a nutritional adequacy statement. The product name tells you the main ingredient inside.
As such, there’s a difference between a product with the name beef and another stated as beef flavour. Nonetheless, ingredients only tell you what’s inside, not their quality or how the manufacturer sourced them. Therefore, the rating and reviews will come in handy.
Give Your Dog Enough Food
Your dog needs enough nutrients for various activities and for metabolism. There’s a recommended amount indicated on dog food packaging, and your vet can also help you know how much food your dog needs. Giving your pet too much will increase the chances of obesity and other conditions like diabetes and arthritis.
Here’s a simple way to know how much food is too much. If you have a pup under 12 weeks old, you can feed your fur baby up to four meals daily. From 12 weeks, you can reduce the daily meals by one. For dogs over six months old, give them two meals daily.
Check Your Pet’s Health
Your pet’s body will show signs of good nutrition. These signs include:
Bright and clear eyes
Good energy levels
A clean coat without skin flakes
Good body condition score
Healthy, ideal weight
For dogs with various medical conditions, body signs can also confirm whether the food is making them worse or better. Your vet can guide you if your dog is facing such issues.
Regular dog food can provide all the nutrients required unless your dog has a medical condition or your vet advises you otherwise. Hence, you only need to give your dog enough food each day. The food should be suitable for your dog’s life stage, whether your pet is a pup or a senior dog. That way, you’ll have a lively, active dog with good body weight, a clear coat, and bright eyes.