Dog nutrition has always been a popular topic among dog lovers and animal health professionals alike. The importance of the matter has lead to better understanding of the problems associated with nutrition as well as to changes in dog food products standards.
There is no doubt that adequate nutrition is essential for the proper development, health and longevity of dogs. However, many dog owners find it difficult to decide which dog food ingredients and products are beneficial for their pets.
Although there is no universal characteristic of what is good dog food, there are several useful rules that can help dog owners in providing their pets with healthy dog food.
- Do not “humanize” your dog’s diet. Canines are carnivorous animals and they have unique nutritional needs. Assuming your dog can eat the same food as you is wrong and potentially dangerous. Wrong diet can ruin your dog’s health and even reduce his or hers life span.
- Make a list of safe dog food ingredients. There are foods a dog can eat, foods that are unsuitable and foods that are strictly forbidden. Dogs can eat any type of meat (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, game meat, and fish), dairy products (cheese, butter, milk, and yoghurt), grains (corn, wheat, rice, etc.) and vegetables. Sugar, cocoa, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, onions, garlic, moldy foods, some fruits and nuts must not be included in a dog’s diet.
- Stick to hypoallergenic foods. Food-related allergies are common among dogs. They can occur in canines of perfect health without any warning. Although there are no real rules for prevention, certain foods are less likely to cause allergy than others. A diverse diet including varied protein sources also helps keeping allergies away.
- What is healthy dog food? Good dog food is not only food that contains safe ingredients but food that is well balanced and nutritional. Each meal must consist of 30% meat, 30% grains and 30% vegetables. This balance as well as the amount of daily food consumption must correspond to the dog’s breed, age and any specific health conditions (such as pregnancy, lactation or disease).
- Homemade vs. commercially manufactured food. There is no rule about which type of food is better. Homemade and ready-made dog foods can be equally beneficial, if they contain dog-friendly ingredients and meet your dog’s nutritional needs, or dangerous, if they are made of low-quality ingredients and are not well-balanced. A healthy dog diet usually consists of a combination of home cooked meals and readymade food products.
- Say NO to dog treats. In dog’s world, junk food would be called dog treats – dogs love them but they can hardly be considered good dog food. Usually dog treats contain chemical ingredients, preservatives, sweeteners, aromas, flavors and colorants that have deteriorating effect on dogs’ health. If you want to spoil your dog with a little tasty snack, prepare it at home.
- Be careful with dog food recipes. Unfortunately many of the dog food recipes you are likely to come across contain unsuitable and even dangerous ingredients or are not well-balanced and thus will not be able to provide adequate nutrition. Make sure the recipe is safe prior to preparing the meal and feeding it to your dog.
- How to buy good dog food. The key to finding the best food for your dog is in selecting several products suitable for his or hers breed and age and comparing their ingredients. Usually the first five dog food ingredients can indicate whether or not you are looking at quality package of dog food. Avoid foods that contain any chemical substances, artificial flavors, colorants or sweeteners.
- Create a healthy eating regime. Regardless of its quality, excess food usually leads to excess weight gain, especially in less energetic or older dogs. Weight gain can be avoided by giving your dog only the amount of food it actually needs once a day or divided into several meals.
For further information on good dog foods, we suggest you check out the highly recommended Dog Food eBook and audio package today!