Since your dog can buy its food or tell you what it needs, you must make the right choices for your pet. Today, our The Animal Medical Center of Fort Oglethorpe vets will provide you with a guide on dog nutrition 101 to help you make the right choices for your pet.
Ask Your Vets Advice
There are so many brands of dog food available but it is important to know what kind is best for your dog. Your vet will be able to provide a lot of information on the right food because they know what factors to consider when choosing dog food. Those factors include:
- Consider your dog’s size. Many brands offer foods that are formulated specifically for the needs of growing puppies. If your puppy falls into the large or giant breed category, you must select a food designed for large breed puppies. These formulas usually include altered calcium and phosphorus levels to accommodate the rapid growth of larger dogs.
- Manage disease with diet. Certain types of diseases can be managed using food prescribed by your veterinarian. For example, low-protein diets are often prescribed for dogs with kidney disease.
- Combat the aging process. Older dogs, like older humans, may need nutritional supplements to feel their very best. Dog foods formulated for senior dogs often have higher levels of antioxidants and glucosamine to fight inflammation and support joint functioning for dogs with arthritis.
Treats can be a huge ally during the training process, but don’t overdo it. Too many treats can lead to canine obesity, a condition that often results in diabetes, high blood pressure, and orthopedic problems – all of which will greatly shorten your dog’s lifespan.
Be Stingy With Table Scraps
Feeding your pup table scraps, much like being too generous with the treats, poses the risk of adding unnecessary calories to your dog’s diet. Contrary to popular belief, treats and scraps rarely “fill the gaps” in a dog’s diet. Instead, these extra morsels often lead to an even greater nutritional imbalance. In addition, many dogs are allergic to human foods like wheat and chicken, which can give them itchy skin or ear infections.
If you must indulge your begging pet, some vets recommend healthy treats like raw carrots or green beans.
Consult Your Vet About Homemade Food
While homemade diets have their advantages, like the ability to tailor meals to fit your dog’s specific needs, it’s best to develop a homemade diet under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist. Seemingly minor substitutions in a dog food recipe can result in a diet that’s unbalanced, nutritionally deficient, or, even worse, toxic to your dog.
Understand the Risks of Raw Food Diets
While proponents can be very enthusiastic about a diet that more closely resembles what a dog might eat in the wild, there’s little scientific evidence that suggests there’s any advantage to feeding your dog raw bones and meat.
Not only do raw diets pose the same risks as homemade diets in terms of being potentially unbalanced or nutritionally deficient, but raw diets run a higher risk of food-borne contamination like salmonella. What’s more, tiny fragments of raw bone can puncture your doggie’s digestive tract.