What Is The Best Diet For Dogs?
Recently I was contacted by someone visiting topdogtraineruk who said, “I am getting a new dog, I have been learning how and when to train my dog, But what should I feed it?” I thought that is a good thing to write about here, the best diet for dogs. After exercise and mental health, diet is the most fundamental attribution to the wellness of a dog. As I go about my daily life, I often see overweight dogs; this is often a poor diet amongst other things. It doesn’t matter whether your dog is overweight or not; you need to get them on a proper diet.
There are a few general topics that need to be covered when it comes to your dog’s diet.
- What you should feed your dog.
- How much you should feed your dog.
- How Frequently you should feed your dog.
- Can you feed my dog bones and titbits?
What You Should Feed Your Dog.
Just like humans are bombarded with various diets for themselves, there is also a deluge of diets for their dogs. It is big business. In the UK the pet food industry was worth 2.7billion pounds in 2018. The USA pet food industry market was worth 24.6 billion dollars in 2016. The choice is vast, and due to competition, the marketing is savage.
I would recommend you choose one of these commercial dog foods because it is difficult and time-consuming to make balanced homemade dog food. So which food should you choose? First I would recommend you use dry, complete food. You are more likely to feed a balanced diet. Next, make sure the diet is made for the type and life stage for your dog. For example, if you have a working dog, you may need a working dog food which is higher in some nutrients because a working dog is generally more active and requires a slightly different diet. Do not buy Working food because it is cheaper, thinking it is the same as other food and it just doesn’t have VAT. You will find there is food for small, medium and large dogs. The life stage of your dog is usually split into, Puppy, young dog Adult dog and senior dog. Each food is balanced for the lifestyle and growing stage of dogs that age.
Personal Choice With Dog Food.
As I mentioned, marketing is a big thing concerning dog food. There are three areas manufacturers focus, ingredients, flavour and texture. Some manufacturers list lots of natural ingredients or say they are fit for human consumption. Over the years, regulations in the UK have changed a lot, for the better. Now all ingredients have to pass a vets inspection as “Fit for consumption”. On the pet food label, you may see the term “Meat and meat derivatives”, this is a legal term for proteins from animal sources. Labelling, in this way, is a labelling choice of the manufacturer and not an indicator of quality standards or nutritional values for your dog. There is one reason to check labels, and that is if your dog has an allergy or a food tolerance. For example, some dogs have a tolerance to wheat or certain cereals; this can cause problems with their skin and cause excessive scratching. So ingredient lists can be beneficial in these circumstances.
Next is flavour. Flavour is purely down to what your dog prefers. Some dogs prefer certain flavours over others. Some dogs seem to get bored if they have the same taste, so you may want to try rotating the same food but a different flavour.
Finally Texture, This again is only relevant to the point of, what will your dog eat. For example, my dog will only eat soft, moist chunks. I even tried softening hard kibble, but she refused to eat. My vet said she would eat when she is hungry. I want my dog to eat because it wants not because it has to or go hungry.
Some medical conditions require a special diet; for example, dogs who suffer from pancreatitis need a low-fat diet. Your vet will advise you about this, and you must heed their advice. However, you can look at alternatives. Vets often sell or prescribe only one or two brands.
Quantity – How Much Should You Feed Your Dog.
Questions about “quantity” are frequently asked. The answer is simple. Start with what it says on the packet. I recommend weighing the food the first time in a cup for measuring. Mark the container and you don’t need to weigh it every time. Just fill to the mark you made. If your dog still gains weight or is losing weight, it is worth speaking with your vet and ensure it is up to date with its worming regime.
If your dog is already overweight, speak with your vet or the nurse, and they will be able to advise you on feeding and exercise for your dog to lose weight safely.
Eight Reasons Not To Feed Your Dog Bones and Scraps
Some people feed their dog scraps and bones as the bulk of their diet. They justify it to themselves using many reasons; they range from, it is what they have always eaten to it is cheap. The bottom line is it isn’t good for your dog, here are eight reasons not to feed your dog bones and scraps.
- Bones can create sharp splinters when bits are breaking off. These can get lodge in your dogs intestine or stomach causing injury.
- Human food has a lot more calories than dog food.
- Human food often is higher in fat than dog food; this can cause problems such as pancreatitis.
- Some human foods such as grapes and chocolate are poisonous for dogs.
- Excessive vegetables can cause extreme wind. Flatulence might not be a problem for the dog, but it could be for you.
- In time dogs eating scraps may learn not to eat their regular food and only eat scraps.
- When a dog associates human food as their food, they may start misbehaving when they smell human food at mealtimes.
- When you mix human scraps and regular dog food, you can not regulate what you are feeding your dog, so an unbalanced diet can cause a dog to gain excessive weight.
As you can see, choosing What to feed your dog, how much to feed them and when to feed them is not difficult; it just takes a little effort. Once you sort out your dog’s diet, you must be consistent.