Guest Blog: Healthy Eating Habits for Dogs

The importance of a healthy diet

Like humans, animals need a diet providing every nutrient they need to maintain a healthy life and dogs are no exception. Depending on which animal, a different amount of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins is necessary to produce energy for their actions and have their body function properly. That is what pet food manufacturers are trying to do: the aim is to find the perfect formula to provide your dog all the nutrients he/she needs on a daily basis. Different types of dog food are  produced to meet the differing nutrient needs of your four-legged friend at various stages of his life, from puppyhood to living his/her final time on earth. If your dog has medical conditions that require different diets, you can also find these, with various formulas to fit specific needs. Diet plays a crucial role in a dog’s life,  and with a healthy diet, you can prolong the time your dog stays with you.

Protein

Protein is used to make up your dog’s cell, forming his body; without it, your dog would not have any skin, hair, or muscle. Besides being the constructor, protein is also the mechanic to fix the cells when they are damaged or to replace them if new cells are needed. If your dog is young, growing or pregnant, this nutrient is even more important for their body to function properly. Due to its contribution to a dog’s life, those are usually the first ingredients mentioned in dog food labelling, and enough of it will ensure the development and the health of your dog’s muscles.

Fatty acids

With the right amount of two fatty acids which are omega-3 and omega-6, your dog’s hair coat will be shiny and vibrant. They also keep the skin moist, preventing his hair from splitting, breaking and falling out. Enough omega-3 included in his diet also provides anti-inflammatory factors to reduce itching and irritations as a result of weather or allergies.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for dogs that will keep your dog active and energetic. They are found in grains, starch, and sugar.

Aside from being the source of energy, carbohydrates often also accompany fibre which helps the process of digestion and excretion. Digestibility is important to make sure no nutrients are wasted, and the fiber left after the process ensures that the waste products come out smoothly. A proper dog food is the one that can provide enough energy and nutrients without producing too much stool for you to clean up.

Vitamins and minerals

Every package of dog food should contain vitamins and minerals, which are important to keep dogs healthy, assisting the metabolism and immune system, helping digestion and disease-fighting. Without a reasonable amount of vitamins and minerals, your dog would eventually become ill.

How to maintain a healthy diet

High-quality dog food and treats contain formulae to provide your dog what he needs, so these are what you should give your dog as the main source of nutrients. A tip to choose a suitable brand of dog food is to look at the first five ingredients, which will make up the majority of the bag. Meat and vegetables should be two among those five, above grains and meat by-products.

Sometimes, people use fillers in dog food to reduce the cost and provide more food with less energy, in particular for dogs that are overweight. Dog’s compatibility to different foods vary: some dogs may suffer from food sensitivity or intolerance. If he shows signs of sickness such as vomiting, diarrhea or skin conditions, you should consult your vet, and between you, work out what he cannot eat and change to the brand that has a substitution for that ingredient.

Since having a different digestive system, dogs cannot always eat human food, and some that are harmless to you can hurt or kill your dog if he has access to it. Therefore, you should make sure that your dog will never be allowed to ingest grapes, raisins, chocolates, avocados, yeast dough, nuts, alcohol, onions, chives, and xylitol. If you want to make your own dog food, work with a certified veterinary nutritionist in advance to make sure that it is a balanced diet.

Just like humans, snacks or treats can add a few extra calories to the diet, and may easily exceed the amount you need. Therefore, it could be stored as fat can cause your dog to put on more weight than he should be allowed. You should reduce the calories from treats by replacing the store bought ones with the homemade and healthy ones, such as baby carrots, rinsed canned green beans (to wash the exceed salt) or cooked sweet tomatoes.

Since dogs tend to be active all day, they also need lots of fresh water to replenish the amount lost through panting and to digest food. You should give them constant access to water by changing their water bowl at least once a day. Bacteria and algae can grow in the bowl, especially in warm weather so you should clean it with washing-up liquid regularly. Rinse and let it dry before refilling it with water.

Author Bio:

John Braise is a professional blogger who has years of experience writing and giving advice to those who are in trouble with taking care of their pets. With a very special love for pets in general and dogs in particular, he yearns for providing information and guidance for those who have the same desire for looking after their dogs in the best ways. Also, he fancies penning helpful and valuable dog care tips to make owners feel at ease with their four-legged buddies on http://gohappydogs.com/

 

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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