Being a dog parent is also like rearing a new infant. It’s normal to want the best for your little one. A part of the basic needs of your dog is food. When you take home one to be a part of your family, you also have to feed them well. Some dog parents prefer food scraps and leftovers, but it’s best to buy them dog food.
If you choose the latter, you have to know, too, that there are so many dog food options, starting with ancient grains for dogs, among others. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, the confusion will get the best of you. When it’s the nutrition and health of your dog are at stake, there’s no room for wrong decisions.
Fortunately, there are pointers to help you simplify this choice. This article will help you choose the right food for your dog.
1. Consider Your Dog
Every type of dog food brand has its respective advantages over the competition. So, it isn’t to say that there’s one brand that’s best for your dogs. Like in human beings, what works for one may not be the best for another. You have to account for every dog’s needs based on their characteristics.
Along this line, some of the characteristics of your dog you have to factor in include:
- Age – Puppies have different nutrition needs from senior dogs. Puppies, in particular, need a higher calorie count than senior dogs. The kind of food your puppies eat can drastically influence their health and immune system during adulthood. For adult dogs, you have to be particular about the protein content. Too many calories and protein may lead your adult dog to become overweight. Focus on providing vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and calcium.
- Health Status – Whether or not your dog has allergies or is suffering from any medical condition, consider if they can be sensitive to some food. If your dog has any special dietary needs, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. They’re the best professionals to give you the most accurate tips on what types of nutrients your dog will need.
- Level of Activity – Working dogs may have more nutritional needs than small, domesticated, indoor dogs.
- Weight – Dogs come in all sizes – there are small, teacup dogs, and bigger ones. Whatever the size is, the fact remains the same: dogs also need to have the correct diet; formulated according to their weight. For instance, giant dog breeds need dog food with glucosamine to support their healthy joints. Toy breed dogs, on the other hand, need food in small and kibble sizes.
The lack of awareness on feeding your dog based on their specific needs may only do more harm than good. So, be very particular about what they need based on their characteristics.
2. The Vet’s Recommendations
A physician is to human beings, as a veterinarian is to a dog. For any matter you have about your dog’s nutritional needs, do consider your vet’s recommendations. You can’t go wrong with following what they say because it is the best for your dog.
Veterinarians are trained professionals. They can expertly know your dog’s medical history, needs, physical and behavioral issues. Especially if you’re thinking about changing your chosen dog food, always consult with your veterinarian first. It is to be sure you’re buying what’s best for your dog.
3. The Ingredients Or Nutrient List
As you would with buying human food, check and read the label. Surely you don’t want to be spending on dog food only to find out that it isn’t complete with the needed nutrients. Notwithstanding your dog’s health and medical condition, however, there are generally six nutrients every dog food needs.
- Proteins – are usually found in eggs, chicken, corn, or salmon.
- Minerals – are essential for well-balanced nutrition. Magnesium, for example, is highly needed by dogs to support strong bones and teeth.
- Carbohydrates – are found in barley, rice, and corn. Your dog needs carbohydrates to have ample energy supply throughout the day.
- Fats – usually found in vegetable and fish oil. They are necessary for healthy skin and nails.
- Vitamins – for your dog’s organs to function well and stay healthy.
- Fiber – so your dog’s digestive system can operate properly.
4. The Choice Between Canned Or Wet
There are two main dog foods you can choose from; canned or wet. The choice here really boils down to your dog’s preference. So, you may first have to go through trial and error before figuring this out.
Not all dogs like to eat wet food as much as they do dry. Apart from preference, there are some points regarding wet and dry dog food you have to be mindful of. Here’s a brief background about each:
Wet Dog Food
If your dog doesn’t like drinking a lot of water in a day or they have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to stay hydrated, you can receive that extra hydration through wet dog food. Plus, they contain fewer calories than dry food, so those are some convincing pros.
Dogs with disfigured teeth and difficulty chewing will also do better with wet dog food. The only caveat to wet dog food is that it loses its freshness quite fast. You have to be sure your dog can finish the supply you have before it goes stale.
Dry Dog Food
It is the most common type of dog food, well accepted by most dogs. It’s also the most convenient and cleanest way to feed your dog. If you’re out and about, you can keep dry dog food in the bowl for a couple of hours without having to worry about it going bad.
Dry dog food is also better for your dog’s dental health. It cleans any dirt and bacteria from your dog’s teeth while they chew.
The struggle of finding good dog food is real. If you’ve tried going out to look for one, you’ll agree with this statement. It is the reason why this guide exists. It’s as if brands will be screaming at you to choose their offer. Among all the different varieties out there, you have to take home one that’s trustworthy and legitimate. That way, you’re sure of all the good nutrients your dog needs. If you still have doubts or questions in your mind, you can always ask your veterinarian, too, for insights and advice.