One of the most important things any dog needs is a well balanced and nutritious diet. Choosing the right food is one of the biggest factors to ensure your dog is healthy and happy.
How to pick the right food for your dog?
How are pet parents supposed to know which food is good for their dog? When we have so many options available, it can be difficult choosing. To make this important choice easier for you, follow these steps;
Wet food or Dry kibble?
A common question dog owners will wonder. Which is best? There isn't exactly a definite answer, though. Both have their benefits, and it greatly depends on the dog.
Dry Kibble is very popular among dogs and their owners as they allow dogs to eat at their own pace without risk of the food going off. Dry kibble is easy to store and generally comes in larger quantities. It is also believed that dogs prefer the 'crunchiness' dry kibble gives when dogs eat.
Wet food is great for dogs who have difficulty chewing, dogs with smaller mouths or with missing teeth as it is softer for them to break down.
Mixing wet and dry foods also works great, but you should be cautious that you're not over feeding your dog with double portions.
Pay attention to your dog and their behaviour
There are some things to watch out for, which are good indicators that your dog isn't eating the right food;
Irritable Skin - Your dog may be experience some discomfort if your dog trying to scratch itself or bite themselves, as this is a sign of irritable skin. This is a common allergic reaction to a food type in their diet.
Coarse fur - A dog with a rough textured coat is usually caused by a lack of something in their diet. Added Omega 3 and Salmon oil is great for improving the condition of a dogs fur.
Unhealthy stools and wind - Healthy dog poop should be dark brown, formed and firm. If your dog's stool is off colour or they have diarrhoea, is an indicator that the dog is having problems digesting their food. The problem may be caused by more serious issues so it's worth consult ing your vet.
Understand what's best for your dog
Every dog is different, and react differently to different foods.
Check the ingredients
Take a moment to read and understand the ingredients and supplements that is included in the food. This is important to be sure you're feeding your dog good quality food. Some ingredients may sound unfamiliar to you, or you may wonder why certain ingredients are used. We have a page here explaining what these are and what they are used for.
Compare the ingredients
Look at the quantity of the ingredients in relation to each other. For example, meat content compared to carbohydrate content. As a rule of thumb, foods containing a higher meat content to carbohydrates are higher quality as these provide more nourishment to dogs.
Foods with a higher carbohydrate source are generally cheaper and of lower quality. But these foods are not necessarily 'bad' if you feed it to certain types of dogs. Foods with a high carb content are designed for very active dogs, usually working dogs. If you feed these foods to a dog will a moderate level of activity they will likely gain unwanted and unhealthy weight.
Things to avoid
There are several things which are not good for dogs but are found in some low-quality foods mainly because they are cheap replacements for more quality, healthier and nutritious ingredients. Some of the most common you should avoid are;
Ethoxyquin - Thought to be related to several diseases in dogs, such as cancer, kidney and liver damage and blindness.
Artificial colours, flavours and preservatives - There are many reasons these should be avoided. Artificial supplements are linked to several diseases and health conditions.
Wheat Gluten - Contains almost no nutritional value and is used as a binder.
Changing your dog's diet
If you have identified the current food you're feeding your dog isn't right for them and you want to change their diet, you should do so in stages. Simply mix in the new dog food gradually, increasing the amount of new food each day. For example;
On day 1, estimate 20% amount of new food and 80% current food.
Day 2, estimate 40% of new food mixed with their current feed.
Each day add a little more, we suggest in 20% increments maximum each day. Smaller increments would work well too.
- November 29, 2016
- Christine Valentin