9 Tips from Famous Vets on Dog Nutrition and Feeding
1. Dogs need moisture in their diet
Dogs are carnivores, so they need high quality protein, preferably from wet dog foods with plenty of moisture. If dogs were to hunt their own food, it would be 70 percent moisture.
If you compare that 70 percent number to the 12 percent moisture of most dry dog foods, you immediately see how a diet of kibble and pellets alone could be harmful. Dogs that only eat dry dog foods are in a constant, low state of dehydration, which damages their kidney function and may be at risk of kidney disease.
2. Dogs don’t need a lot of starch, grains or carbs
Some of the most popular commercial dog food brands are all made in a very similar way. These dog foods are usually high in corn, wheat, soy and rice, but dogs have no biological need for these foods, according to Dr Karen Becker.
Pet parents who focus on high quality protein-rich dog foods will have no problem avoiding starch, grains and carbohydrates in their canine’s diet.
3. Balance is important
The best way to make sure that your dog’s diet has the correct balance of vitamins, nutrients and enzymes is to make sure they’ve been tested and researched.
Nutrition deficiencies will cause dogs and cats to develop health problems with their bones, organs and endocrine system much faster than a human would – sometimes before they’re even six months old.
Your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist will be able to tell you the correct balance of nutrients that your dog’s body needs. This depends on many factors including his age, weight, and activity level.
4. Homemade isn’t automatically healthy
Owners that cook their dog’s food or provide them with raw meat obviously have good intentions, but it isn’t easy to always provide a balanced diet for dogs strictly from cooking homemade dog food meals and using only the regular ingredients.
Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and a variety of trace minerals are all important to a dog’s long-term health. The right balance in their diet shouldn’t be a matter of guesswork.
5. Propylene glycol isn’t a healthy ingredient
Propylene glycol is a common preservative found in some dry dog food brads and semi-moist pouches. While it’s an approved ingredient by the FDA, it’s related to antifreeze, and many veterinarians consider this to be unhealthy for dogs.
Many of these suspicious ingredients cause health issues in dogs and it’s best to avoid them. Learn how to read dog food labels and check dog food recalls to see a trend of which companies would be best to avoid in the future. Some dog foods have been directly linked to several canine diseases, and we mentioned those in the below linked article.
6. Pet food is big business, but it can’t always be trusted
Americans spend as much as $16 billion a year on pet food. There’s a lot of competition for that money, but many owners have no idea what’s in their dog’s food. As a result, there’s a lot of controversies surrounding the pet food industry. The pet food recalls of 2007 alone should teach us how disastrous it can all be for our dog’s health.
7. Look for ingredients you know on the label
Avoid artificial ingredients, preservatives, flavors, and colors. The first ingredients should be a recognizable one, such as meat, grains, fruit or vegetables.
Ingredients like corn, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy and beef products are all common allergens, so we need to be aware of how our dog digest them and what they can do to pets.
8. Know what beef and meat byproducts mean
As many as 64 percent of people don’t know what meat byproducts might include, according to a survey by Wellness Pet Food. If you don’t know what something is on a pet food label, look it up online.
In this case, meat byproducts could include any part of a whole animal carcass like:
- the stomach
Many vets advise against giving your dog foods with meat byproducts, and recommend choosing organic dog food brands, particularly those of human-grade quality.
9. Dry food can be beneficial for dogs who overeat
Dogs love wet dog food. They’ll often eat as much of it as they can get, so it might be better to use it as a treat for overweight dogs.
Either way, work out how many calories your dog needs with your veterinarian and stick to a good dietary plan with your canine to avoid diabetes and getting your dog fat.
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