Nutrition is an important way to keep your dog healthy, and a healthy dog means more time with you and less time at a vet! So what should you be looking at to ensure that your dog is getting a balanced diet?
A slow transition from one food to another is suggested to avoid an upset stomach and diarrhea. Begin a transition with 75% of the old food and mix in 25% of the new. Continue on this for a few days while monitoring how your dog’s poops look. If they remain solid, then continue with 50% of the old food and 50% of the new food. Stick with this for another few days while monitoring their poop. If everything looks good, continue on to 25% old food and 75% new food.
After a few more days, you should be ready to transition completely to the new food. Keep in mind that some dogs may be pickier about switching foods and others may have more sensitive stomachs and might require a longer transition period.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
We all love our dogs, and sometimes to show that affection, we may overtreat and overfeed. However, maintaining a healthy weight ensures that the dogs are not carrying around excess weight which will stress their joints and internal organs. An overweight dog is also more likely to develop diseases like diabetes, liver problems and joint issues. A dog at a healthy weight will have a slight hourglass figure. If you take 3 fingers and press them lightly at the torso, you should be able to easily feel the ribs.
There are many factors that may affect a dog’s weight. For example, some breeds are more prone to gaining weight, old age may also affect metabolism and lack of exercise can also attribute to weight gain. Please consult with your vet if you would like to start a weight-loss program as losing weight too quickly can be harmful to your dog’s health.
Dog treats are a great way to train a new pet their new name or simple commands. However, keep in mind that overtreating can cause your dog to pack on some extra pounds. Limit treats to 10% of their total food intake for the day. Never feed table scraps as this will cause your dog to reject their dog food. People food is high in sodium and seasonings which can’t be properly processed by a dog’s body.
Some raw fruits and vegetables make for great treats and snacks though! Beware that some fruits, such as grapes, can cause acute kidney damage. Also keep away from onions and garlic! A quick search online can help let you know which ones are okay to feed.
Dental health is a very important part of a dog’s overall health as well. Gingivitis (gum disease) can lead to heart disease. Dental chews can be a great way to scrape away any tartar on their teeth and keep gums healthy! As with any chew treat or toy, keep an eye on your dog while they enjoy their treat!
Types of Food
As you delve deeper into the world of dog food, you’ll discover that there is more than just dry food and wet food. It is important to research the company and brand of food you are thinking of buying and ensure that the ingredients are high quality (no animal byproducts). Spending a little more on a higher quality food now can help keep your dog healthy and out of the vet’s office.
Outside of kibble and wet food, raw diets are now becoming more popular as well. Raw food can either be frozen or freeze-dried. They are typically a mixture of a raw protein along with veggies and fruits. It is not recommended to feed raw meat from a supermarket since meat acquired there is assumed to be consumed cooked. No screening will have been done to ensure that the meat does not contain any harmful bacteria that the dog’s gastrointestinal tract can’t handle. Some dog owners even cook for their dogs. Be sure to consult with a vet to ensure that the food that is being prepared contains enough vitamins and minerals and is well-balanced.
Have any questions about dog food? Come to one of our stores! Our team members can help you choose the perfect food for your pooch.