All pet parents want to do everything that they can to help keep their pups happy and healthy, one of these things is feeding them a healthy diet. Our South Plainfield vets share the things you need to know when it comes to your pup's diet and what the best food for dogs is.
What Ingredients Do Dogs Need In Their Food?
While each dog has their own health requirements in general a dog is not a pure carnivore. Dogs can benefit from some non-meat ingredients for the extra minerals and vitamins, but the bulk of their diet should be meat.
There are vegan options available but if this is something you are interested in consult your veterinarian about it. Not all dogs will benefit from eating these types of food so you should always consult your vet.
There are also diets that involve not using commercially produced dog food but feeding them raw meat and vegetables that are human food grade. This takes more work and you should consult your veterinarian if this is an option you wish to explore.
The more common diets involve commercially produced wet or dry dog food. If you are trying to pick a dog food the best thing you can do is to look at the label. Check the label for information on what is in the product. When looking at the label meat should be one of the main ingredients.
Another way to tell if it's one of the better options is to look for an endorsement by the AAFCO. It will appear on the packaging similar to the following “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles”. The AAFCO will not tell you it is the best food but it will at least guarantee that they meet the minimum requirements for most dogs.
What Your Dog Needs In Their Food Based On Age
What your dog requires in their food will be largely affected by their age as your dog will need different nutrients at different stages of their lives.
A puppy should be given a food that is puppy formula. Some puppies will be fine with a food label ‘for all a stage of life’ but it is best to consult your veterinarian about your specific puppy.
Senior dogs are normally dogs that are 7+ years old. Often less active, their weight needs to be monitored more so does their diet.
What Type Of Food Your Dog Should Eat Based On Breed
If your dog is a big breed variety they will need a diet that is rich in nutrients that will help support their large skeleton and muscles.
If your dog is a smaller breed then the choice of food is more often to do with avoiding choking hazards. Small hungry dogs can choke on kibbles made for larger dogs.
It is best to pick a food made for the size of your dog.
The Difference Between Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food
Dog owners want to know which is best for their dog, dry or wet. There are a number of pros and cons for each though and it will ultimately depend on their individual dogs needs.
The best way to pick is normally asking yourself ‘which one will my dog eat’ . Some dogs are picky while others will eat whatever is in front of them. The second question is lifestyle. Wet food requires refrigeration after opening it. Do you have the facilities to refrigerate the food and will it spoil before your dog actually eats it?
Slowly Introduce New Food
Suddenly changing your dog's food can make it more difficult for them to adjust to the switch. Try adding gradually increasing amounts of the new food mixed into the food your dog is used to eating. As your dog transitions to the new food, keep an eye out for any signs of illness such as an allergic reaction or an upset stomach. If you have concerns about your dog's reaction to their food, contact your vet right away to have your dog examined.
Remember, You Know Your Dog Best
Ultimately, you know your dog better than anyone. Your insight into their daily life, activity level and overall health makes you the final say in what your dog eats. With proper nutrition, appropriate portions, and regular visits with the veterinarian, your dog is sure to enjoy trotting to the food bowl for years to come.