Keeping up with your dog’s health is just as complex as keeping up with our own. Just like humans, dogs need a mix of proteins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and water. By keeping up with your dog’s nutrition, you’re in turn: keeping their muscles strong, keeping their fur coat shiny, aiding in their digestive system, preventing constipation, and building up their immunity to countless diseases. Making sure your dog has dog food filled with all these different and crucial things might sound like a daunting task, but it’s probably a lot easier than you think.
You just need to keep these tips in mind when picking out healthy food for your dog:
1. Dog age and activity level
How old your dog is should be one of the first things to consider when putting together a diet for them. A 6-month-old puppy who is still growing and plays all day is going to need more calories and nutrients than a 10-year-old dog who’s just a couch potato. Your dog’s size can also play a role, with some manufacturers making dog food specifically for larger or smaller breeds.
2. Read labels
Reading all the labels on every dog food package is probably the most effective way of knowing what’s in each brand and if the product has all the things your dog needs. Protein is crucial in a dog’s diet, so going for high protein dog food is a must. You need to make sure that on the list of ingredients, the meat is at the top of the list. This means that the meat is the most prevalent ingredient in the meal. Another thing to do is to make sure they state the name of the meat in the list of ingredients like “chicken” instead of being listed as “meat by-products” or “meat meal” because then it is probably some man-made mixture of ingredients with probably less than 50% of it being actual meat. Also, phrases like dinner or entree mean that they only have to have 25% of the named ingredient, so if it says “beef dinner”, it’s possible there is only 25% beef in that meal.
3. Ignore TV commercials
Dog food companies spend millions of dollars on advertising every year to get you to buy their products, so don’t be so quick to trust what they are saying. Terms such as premium or gourmet are nothing but marketing terms and shouldn’t factor in your final decision.
4. Dogs with food allergies
If your dog is an allergy dog, picking healthy dog food can be an even harder task, as you need to avoid foods that’ll cause an allergic reaction in your dog. You’ll need to have your dog take an allergy test to determine what exactly your particular dog is allergic to, then an in-depth conversation with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet and what they recommend your pet to eat and what they should avoid. For example, if your dog has an allergy to gluten, your vet might recommend gluten free dog food.
Finding the perfect dog food for our pet can be a hassle, but it’s worth it. Keeping our pets as happy and healthy for as long as possible is its own reward!