Best Diet For Your Dog

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is getting a well-balanced diet. By providing her with a well-balanced diet, you are making sure that she has the best chance of living a long and healthy life. A proper diet also provides energy and goes a long way in giving her a beautiful coat. Overall, proper dog food nutrition can increase the average life expectancy of a dog.

Dog food should be nutritionally balanced. That means there is the right amount of energy and nutrients to meet your pet body’s needs. There is no “best food” because individual dogs do better on different foods. However, there are some things to look for when you’re choosing your canine best friend’s daily diet.

When choosing a diet for your dog the first thing to do is to consider your dog’s age and breed. Young pups grow very quickly in their first year of life, so a growth diet is appropriate for them. They can be changed to an adult maintenance diet when they have finished growing. For most dogs, this is around 12 months of age, but giant breeds such as the Great Dane often continue to grow until they are 2 years old. Senior dog diets tend to be lower in salt, and also lower in calories, to meet the needs of that life stage.

Dog Food Nutrition Basics

For many dog owners, the primary source of dog food nutrition comes from commercial food. This can be in the form of dry dog food, semi-moist food, or canned dog food. Quite often, these are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.

However, it is becoming increasingly popular to feed your dog homemade dog food. The problem with this is that it can be a challenge to provide a well-balanced diet. If you want to make your own dog food be sure to do your research to make sure you are providing your dog with the proper nutrition.

The food you choose should have Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) claim that they are suitable for your dog’s age. These foods have undergone feeding trials, and have been shown to be nutritionally balanced so they will keep your dog in good health.

Ideally, the manufacturers of dog foods should have a veterinary nutritionist on staff. This allows the company to constantly improve their food formulations as new knowledge about dog nutrition comes to light.

Natural Vs Commercial Dog Food

There has been an ongoing debate about natural vs commercial dog food, one that is important for all dog owners to be aware of. After all, the food that you feed your dog is going to have a major aspect on your pet’s overall health, so you want to make sure that you choose the best food possible for your dog.

Natural dog dood

When it comes to natural vs commercial dog food, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. One of the most major advantages to natural dog food is that you know you are giving your dog only the purest most natural ingredients possible. This means your dog will have better digestion and be less likely to get diarrhea or constipation.

Commercial dog food

Commercial dog food tends to have more additives and preservatives, and although still provides your dogs with essential vitamins and nutrients, at the same time are filling your dog with ingredients that, if anything, are going to end up hurting them. Many commercial dog foods result in making dogs overweight and this is then a whole other problem that has to be dealt with.

Best commercial & natural dog food

In the discussion of natural vs commercial dog food, one of the best ways to decide which you want to feed to your dog is by taking a look at the top few products in each category. For natural dog foods, for instance, there is the holistic original dog food brand by Riplees Ranch.

This dog food includes ingredients such as chicken meal, brown rice, steamed oatmeal, chicken fat, rice bran, whole ground flaxseed, beet pulp, salmon oil, natural chicken flavors, chicory root, dried whole egg, yucca schidigera, glucosamine HCI, marigold extract, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes.

While in the discussion of natural vs commercial dog food, one of the most popular commercial dog food brands is Purina dog food. Purina pet food is premium quality for healthy, happy pets, and the Purina Company is always sure to use their knowledge and expertise to consumers’ benefits. Purina truly advances the science of canine health care and nutrition and has provided millions of dogs around the world with unsurpassed nutrition and excellent pet care products.

Besides taking the debate of natural vs commercial dog food into consideration, there are other things you should think about as well when it comes to your dog’s nutrition. Making sure they get plenty of exercise, for instance, is also going to make a difference in terms of their overall health and happiness.

Vital Food Groups For Dogs

The three basic food groups that make up a well balanced diet are:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Good fats

Here is further information on Dog Food Standards by the AFFCO: link.

In addition to these basic elements, dogs also need vitamins and minerals. For example, one important nutritional need is vitamin B1. However, B1 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is only stored as small amounts in the dog’s body. For this reason vitamin B1 needs to be taken daily. Vitamin B1 is important to help your dog metabolize fats and proteins. It also helps them to convert food, or carbohydrates, into energy. It is also important to maintain healthy skin, hair eyes, and the liver.

Types Of Diets For Yor Dog

There are so many choices when it comes to feeding your dog, it can be hard to know what to give him. Which of the many different types of kibble is best for him? Should you cook his meals yourself? What about raw diets? Can dogs be vegetarian?

One thing to keep in mind is that any food for your dog should fit in your family budget. There’s no point in feeding him a premium quality kibble if that makes it hard to afford the necessities for your family.

By the way, follow this article in case you weren’t sure how often and how much should you feed your dog.

Home Cooked Goodness

Many people prefer to cook their dog’s dinner themselves. They prefer to know exactly what goes into his meals, and the quality of the ingredients.

This is fine, however, it’s very important to make sure that his food is nutritionally balanced. This isn’t always easy, and excess nutrients can be as harmful as deficiencies. Calcium is a good example of this. Too little dietary calcium causes rickets, a preventable bone disease. Too much calcium in growing pups may contribute to orthopedic problems such as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).

If you do want to make your dog’s meals, then have the recipe created or checked by a veterinary nutritionist. That way you know you aren’t doing him any harm.

Raw Diets

There is a group of dog owners who prefer to feed their dogs raw food, including meaty bones and vegetables. After all, this is what wolves would eat in the wild, and our dogs should eat like wolves. shouldn’t they?

dog raw diet

The answer to that is no. Over the years, dogs have adapted to do well on commercial foods containing more carbohydrates than a raw diet. Most raw diets haven’t undergone any formal feeding trials; most of the feedback on them is anecdotal.

Raw diets can, in fact, be harmful. There is the risk of salmonella poisoning from raw food, which can also affect people. Some commercial raw food producers use high-pressure pasteurization to kill bacteria, but not all have these safety procedures in place. The American Veterinary Dental Association now recommends that dogs not be fed raw bones, because of the risk of tooth fractures and intestinal obstructions.

Convinced that aw diet is right for your dog? Then read how to easily switch your dog’s food to raw diet.

Treats and Snacks

Most, if not all, dogs enjoy a treat every now and again. Rawhide is a popular choice because it keeps your dog occupied for longer. Vegetables and fruit are a great addition to any dog’s dinner bowl to add low calorie bulk to his meal. Watch how many treats you give him because the calories can add up, and they can have a big impact on his waistline!

You may need to try a few diets before you find the right one. Ultimately, the best dog food for your dog is the one that has been AAFCO tested in a feeding trial is tasty is affordable keeps him in good health and condition.

Hypoallergenic Dog Food

The only way you can check if your dog has a food allergy is to conduct a feeding trail. This involves feeding him a hypoallergenic dog food for up to 12 weeks, to see if his itching and scratching resolves. Check our resource on identifying food allergy symptoms in dogs.

Dogs tend to become allergic to a protein or carbohydrate that is in the food they have been eating for quite some time, such as chicken, beef, corn, wheat or soy. A hypoallergenic food won’t have any of these ingredients and instead will have unusual protein and carbohydrate sources so they won’t cause any reactions.

There are several types of hypoallergenic dog foods available. Some will suit your dog better than others, so you may need to try a few. The food trial must involve food that your dog can’t be allergic to, so something they have never eaten before.

Novel Protein Hypoallergenic Diets

Most prescription hypoallergenic diets contain novel, or unusual, proteins and carbohydrates, such as kangaroo, rabbit, pea, sweet potato or oats. Most dogs wouldn’t have been exposed to these ingredients in their normal diets.

The prescription diets that are available from veterinarians do cost a little more than the hypoallergenic diets from the pet store. However, you do get what you pay for. Tests on foods have shown that the over the counter products aren’t necessarily free of allergens. There is often cross-contamination during the manufacturing process, and they may contain traces of soy, beef or poultry. This means that when it comes to doing a food trial, they may well be a waste of your hard earned money.

Hydrolyzed Protein Diets

The process of hydrolyzing protein breaks down the individual components into particles that are so small that they don’t cause allergies. This sounds good in theory, but many dermatologists believe that they can still cause reactions in dogs.

Generally speaking, around 75% of food allergic dogs will respond to a hydrolyzed protein diet.

Home Cooked Hypoallergenic Diets

Some people prefer to cook their hypoallergenic diet for their dogs, using just one protein source and one carbohydrate source. This is fine, as long as they are only used for the duration of a feeding trial. They aren’t nutritionally balanced so are not a good choice for long-term feeding.

Depending on the results of a food trial, your dog may respond best to a home cooked diet. If you do want to continue this method of feeding, then it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian who is a member of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. They can develop a diet specifically for your dog that has all the nutrients in the right amounts to keep him in the best of health.

Whatever hypoallergenic food you choose for your dog, it’s important that he doesn’t get any other foods, treats or snacks during the 12-week trial. This isn’t easy, especially if you have other pets or young children who want to share their leftovers with him. However, if you can diagnose his food allergy, and identify what foods aren’t good for him, you can control his itching without resorting to long-term medication.

Vegetarian Diets

There are vegetarian diets available for dogs and cats, and many have successfully undergone feeding trials to show that they are nutritionally balanced enough to feed a dog long term. However, they aren’t a good choice for a food trial for food allergies. There may be some cross-contamination during the manufacturing process that means they contain traces of other proteins and carbohydrates. Also, some dogs are allergic to vegetable proteins such as wheat and corn.

Active Dogs Require Additional Supplements

Not even the best commercial dog food that is available today on the market contains all the necessary ingredients that are required to sustain the nutritional needs of a working dog. For this reason, active dogs require additional nutrients so that they can keep working hard. A well-balanced diet for your working dog should contain a high-quality meal consisting of 40% to 45% fats and close to 50% protein.

A list of four additional supplements that you can add to your working dog’s diet is provided below that will help you to better balance his nutritional needs.

Antioxidants

A daily dose of antioxidants is beneficial for active dogs and should be included in their daily diet. This helps their body to stay healthy because with regular and intense exercise the chances of their body being damaged by free radicals and oxidation increases. Antioxidants have the power to block the harmful effects of free radicals and reduce their numbers. They also help to strengthen blood vessel walls and improve circulation. Therefore, you should make sure that your dog gets a dose of antioxidants every day.

Dogs get antioxidants from eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in colors such as grapes, grapefruits, broccoli, carrots, peas, and dark green vegetables. If your dog does not like fruits and vegetables, he can still get the antioxidants necessary for his body by taking supplements.

Most supplements include carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. Some supplements also contain amino acids which are the building blocks of cells. The dosage for each dog will vary depending on his weight.

Vitamins and minerals

The more your dog exercises, the more his body demands vitamin C and vitamin B-complex. Vitamin C helps to combat stress and support the immune system. Whereas vitamin B-complex helps your dog’s blood, muscles, and skin to be healthy.

Fruits and vegetables are good for your dog because they are rich in vitamins and minerals, so are kidney and liver. But if you have a dog that is finicky, you may have to give him vitamin and mineral supplements which you can find in chewable tablets. If you have a small dog, you can give him 50mg of vitamin C per day. If you have a big dog you can give him 500mg of vitamin C per day. For a dog that weighs 35 lbs., vitamin B-complex should contain between 4 to 5 mg of niacin.

Probiotics and enzymes

They help with the proper digestion of the food that dogs eat. Probiotics and enzymes also help dogs from having stress-related stomach problems like diarrhea and nervous vomiting. When you give your dog these two supplements, it’s best if you give him in chewable tablets.

Omega-3 fatty acids

These fatty acids have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are necessary for the overall good health of your dog. They also prevent and cure skin problems in dogs while at the same time decrease arthritic stiffness. Cod liver oil, fish oil, and flaxseed oil are excellent sources of Omega-3.

How Safe is Your Dog’s Diet

Many dog owners would like to know whether the food they feed their dogs is safe for them or not. So, if you want your dog to be around for a long time, you’ll have to give him the right diet to keep him strong and healthy. But if you do not feed him with the proper diet, he could suffer from certain medical conditions that would affect his life and take him away from you much earlier than you would want. Some of these medical conditions that your dog can suffer from would be allergies, diabetes, heart failure, kidney disease, and urinary tract infections.

Not because you feed your dog scraps from the table means that he is healthy. Medical research shows what type of food is best for our dogs. Certain meats and vegetables are good for them but dry food is even better. The watery type of dog food is not as good because they contain too many preservatives. Just make sure that whatever type of food you give your dog it contains a lot of carbohydrates, minerals, protein, and vitamins. Please note, however, that carbohydrates are so important for your dog that you should see to it that it makes up 50 % of his diet. What you should not give your dog though is alcohol, broccoli, and chocolate because these are unhealthy and very harmful.

Some dogs are given special consideration over other dogs. For instance, dogs that suffer from diabetes require more protein and less carbohydrates. Dogs that suffer from allergies require modified protein such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. But if your dog has stones in his bladder, you need to feed him a diet low in protein and make sure that he gets sufficient antibiotics.

If you have an obese dog, you should cut down on the amount of food you usually feed him and give him two thirds of it instead. Make sure that you feed him no more than two meals a day. You can help your dog to digest his food properly and increase weight loss by increasing the amount of fiber he takes. All of this though will depend on what the veterinarian recommends.

When it comes to your dog’s diet, it doesn’t matter what condition he’s in, just be sure to take him to a trained specialist. He will be able to recommend proper treatment guidelines that will help you to decide what is the right diet for your dog.

As a concerned dog owner, you’ll always want to do what you think is best for your dog. You’ll always want to feed him the right diet to keep him strong and healthy. However, not everything you do for him is the best thing. So, with a little research, you can find out what is the best food for him to avoid discomforts, pain or even death.

Buying Your Dog The Right Bowl

There was a time that we thought as long as our dogs were fed daily they were getting everything they needed to live a long and happy life. But fortunately advancements have been made in the veterinarian world and research has proven that there is a lot more to feeding a dog than justproviding food for him.

We now know that dogs – like humans, require specific diets and nutrients. The days are gone that one has to choose from only a few select brands of dog food in the grocery store. There are now stores that cater only to our pets and their needs. In those stores we can choose from dozens of brands of food that were carefully blended in order to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for our dogs. In some cases, we can even have the diet custom blended for our special dog. As responsible pet owners, we also know that water is essential to a dog’s health and that water consumption should always be encouraged.

In addition to learning about our pets’ nutritional needs we have also learned more about how to make their meals more relaxing and enjoyable for them. In very recent years we have learned about the advantages of using particular dog bowls or dog bowl styles. We’ve heard it said before that presentation is everything and when discussing our dog’s food that remains true. Although your dog, like mine, may be willing to eat off the floor at times, it is to his advantage as well as yours to provide him with an appropriate dog bowl.

Tips when choosing a bowl for a dog

  • The bowl should be big enough to hold a full feeding for your dog. If the bowl is oversized it is easy to give the dog more food than is required which can result in your dog becoming overweight. If a bowl is too small you will find that your workload is needlessly increased.
  • It’s important that the dog is able to reach the food without difficulty. This means that the diameter of the bowl must be appropriate to the size of the dog’s face and nose. If your dog has long floppy ears it is necessary to find a bowl that will allow his nose and mouth to reach the food but at the same time one that does not allow the ears to fall into the food.
  • Buying a bowl that has rubber feet or a rubber rim around the bottom will minimize tipping, spilling and sliding. This makes eating more enjoyable for your pet and fewer clean-ups for you.
  • Elevated dog bowls can make eating a more pleasurable experience for your dog because he will not need to bend his neck so far to reach the food. This aids in proper posture and digestion. If your dog has pain related to stiff joints or arthritis this may be something you will want to consider.

Self-feeding system for a dog

Although being a responsible pet owner is always our goal there may be times in which we simply cannot be available for our pets as often as he/we would like. For those times it might be wise to invest in an automatic or self-feeding system. These are simply bowls that have a large reservoir containing a substantial amount of food. As the dog eats more food will fall into the bowl. Similar bowls are available for water. These can be ideal if you will be away from your pet for an extended period of time.

As time passes we are sure to learn of other ways we can accommodate the needs of our pets. For now most are happy with the love and care provided by a responsible owner – perks include things like dog bowls that are right for the individual dog.

How to Make Homemade Dog Food And Treats

During the past 15 to 20 years, people have become a lot more health conscious about the type of food they eat. In the same way, they have also become much more conscious of what type of food is best for their dogs. So rather than feeding the standard manufactured foods to their dogs, they have decided to make their own dog food. Homemade dog food and treats are not difficult to make and with some planning and doing a little homework you can make healthy delicious and economical meals for your dog.

One of the main concerns for many people who choose to cook their own dog food is whether they will be able to provide their dog with completely balanced nutrition. Of course, you can accomplish this by cooking meals for your dog using the same approach you do when cooking for your family. However, do not cook the same meal every day. Instead, cook a variety of food so that your dog can get all the nutrients he needs to maintain good health. You may not be able to provide your dog with all the nutrients that his body needs in one meal, but he can get all of his nutritional needs within the course of one week.

To get his nutritional needs, you will have to feed your dog several different sources of protein, a source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and some fat. You can start by giving him lamb and rice, beef and potatoes, chicken and pasta, all with some vegetables.

You can also add nutritional supplements to the homemade dog food. This can include fish oil, a good green blend of kelp and alfalfa, organic apple cider, vinegar, honey, a small amount of fresh crushed garlic, Brewer’s yeast and molasses. Just make sure that the food has sufficient calcium which can sometimes be lacking. Also, make sure that you pay close attention to the ratio between calcium to phosphorus in your dog’s diet. It should be 800mg to 1000 mg of calcium to every pound of cooked food that you feed your dog.

When you cook a diet for your dog using raw meat without bones, make sure that you feed him with at least half meat products like muscle meat, heart, liver, kidney, eggs, and dairy which include yogurt and cottage cheese. You can also feed him canned fish with bones such as pink salmon, jack mackerel and sardines. You can either give your dog raw meat and raw eggs to eat or you can give him cooked. The liver mixed with some kidney should make up about 5 percent of his total diet. You should make sure that you feed your dog a variety of beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, dairy and canned fish with bones. You can also feed him different parts of the food like the heart.

Your dog’s diet should not have more than half of cooked grains, pasta and vegetables. You can also feed your dog small amounts of fruit. Dogs do not have any nutritional need for carbohydrates but they are a good source of calories and are less expensive. If you notice that your dog suffers any allergies from these ingredients you can omit them if necessary and see how your dog reacts. You can also give him healthy leftovers.

The list provided below is a good sample of a daily cooked meal for a 40 lb dog.

  • 8 to 12 ounces of muscle meat/heart/fish/leftovers
  • 1 to 2 ounces of liver or kidney
  • 1 to 2 eggs daily or every other day
  • 1 to 4 ounces of yogurt or cottage cheese
  • 2 to 8 ounces of cooked grains, pasta or veggies (no more then half the diet, max) and 1000 mg of calcium

When you feed your dog a sample of the food provided above, watch his weight, coat, and condition and make whatever adjustments necessary to suit his weight or make substitutions to the ingredients.

You can also make homemade treats for your dog using the same principles as the homemade dog food. Make sure you use healthy ingredients and be creative. Dogs love treats made from liver, cheese, peanut butter or from sliced pieces of chicken or beef. You can also use these same ingredients to make cookies or cakes. Even baby foods such as beef baby food can make a great cake. Then you can make a terrific icing from yogurt or you can puree cottage cheese which gives you a great icing that dogs love. All in all, you can take the healthy foods that your dog loves and make some great treats for him.

Final Considerations

There is a ton of information available discussing both the benefits and pitfalls of various dog diets. However, it is actually up to you to make the final decision to provide a well-balanced diet for your dog.

So, if you want to feed your dog a commercial diet, then just make sure it is a high-quality food that contains everything your dog needs. If you decide to make your own food at home, then just educate yourself to make sure you are providing your dog with a healthy diet..

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