2001-Fri Jun 23 15:05:57 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Since your dog can’t go shopping or read labels, it’s up to you to make good, sound decisions about your dog’s diet. This guide will teach you what to look for next time you’re cruising the dog food aisle.
Though it may seem obvious, many pet owners don’t realize how important a balanced, high-quality diet is to their dog’s overall health. A healthy diet will help ensure that your dog enjoys strong bones, healthy teeth and gums, a robust immune system, a lustrous coat, and a long and happy life. In fact, feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet can even cut down on costly unplanned vet visits.
With so many options available, choosing the right bag of kibbles can seem like a daunting task. Just remember: Your dog will love you no matter which one you pick. Perhaps the best way to sort through your options is to ask your vet which brands and/or formulas they recommend for you dog.
Even if you select an ideal food for your dog today, his nutritional needs can change over the course of a lifetime:
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, it’s important that you 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.
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.
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.
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. Ouch!
As always, it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet before making any radical changes to your dog’s diet.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Thank you for subscribing.