If you grew up with a dog as a pet, there’s a good bet that your parents fed him whatever was most affordable at the grocery store. These days, however, this is much more discussion about what is the best thing to feed our dogs. From organic to homemade to raw food diets, everyone seems to have an opinion about what is best. The truth is, it really does matter what you feed your dog.
Which food is best?
The best option for most dogs is a meat-based brand of dog food. The least expensive brands on the shelf are typically comprised of mostly grain and corn, which are less nutritionally good for your dog. Always read the labels before you buy any kind of dog food for your dog. It should contain no less than 25 to 30 percent protein, around 18 percent fat, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which will help fortify their immune systems, encourage good cell function, and keep their metabolism running efficiently. Fortification with calcium and phosphorous will promote healthy bones and teeth, which can deteriorate as your dog ages. Look for ingredients such as lamb or poultry meal, not by-product, and healthy fats such as poultry tallow (not animal fat).
Just like humans, animals can develop food allergies. In most cases, this will be in response to a certain ingredient in the food you are feeding your dog. Symptoms of a food allergy in your pet can include skin issues, digestive upset, or respiratory issues. If you suspect your dog has an allergy, it’s best to talk to your vet. They can help you to pinpoint the problem and will make recommendations for the best food for your dog’s situation.
Are treats OK?
Everyone likes to give their dog treats now and again, but are they actually safe? When given in moderation, yes. Treats are good for your pets as long as they don’t contain high levels of artificial colors, flavors, or high amounts of soybean oil. Instead of buying store-bought treats, try giving your dog fruit such as chunks of banana or apples. Stay away from raisins, though, as they contain compounds that are toxic to dogs. Cooked pieces of beef or chicken can be a safe and delicious treat, too.
They can also have bits of cooked beef or chicken. In addition to treats, it is a good idea to provide your dog or puppy with a high quality, human grade pet vitamin. These supplements provide antioxidants, which fight cancer causing free radicals, as well as digestive enzymes needed for digestion that are lost in processing of dry dog food.
Feeding the senior dog
If your dog is getting on in years, he will need some adjustments to his diet. This is because they will likely be experiencing similar symptoms to aging humans, including dental problems and difficulty chewing, weight issues, and diminished eyesight. As your dog ages, he will require a reduction in his overall calorie intake but not in their protein, so bear this in mind when feeding your senior dog.
What you feed your dog can have a profound effect on his overall health, energy, digestive function, immunity, and more – even his longevity. If you are unsure what to feed your dog, consult your vet and look to websites such as http://dogfood.guide and www.all-creatures.org for guidance.