A dog is a great addition to your family life, but taking good care of it is not easy if you want to do it well. As you and your family fall in love with your new family member, you want to ensure that he gets the best possible treatment in your home. This includes exercise, quality interaction and nutrition.
Since nutrition is the most complex aspect, how to ensure that you feed your dog healthy and nutritious food that is in line with his specific needs? Let’s dive into some details.
What Are Essential Nutrients for Dogs?
A good diet for dogs must include several essential nutrients which ensure lasting health, such as proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. Before making a dog food purchase, check the labels to see which of these nutrients are included and in which quantity.
- Proteins. They aid in the formation of healthy cells and cell repair in case of illness or injury. If your dog is athletic or in a growing stage, proteins support muscle tissue growth.
- Fatty acids. There are many different types of fats in food, but only fatty acids can be said to be healthy for dogs because they are a good source of omega-3 and vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Fibre is essential for good digestion.
- Vitamins and minerals. For a healthy daily intake of vitamins and minerals, your dog needs either a varied diet or food formulated specifically to include all essential vitamins that promote healthy skin, bones and tissues.
How to Create a Nutritional Profile for Your Dog?
Knowing what are the essential nutrients in a healthy canine diet and which food provides them is an important step, but it’s only half the journey. The next thing to do is to determine what are the specific needs of your dog. Depending on criteria such as age, size, breed and health state, your dog has a unique nutritional profile.
To keep your dog healthy and happy, custom dog food recipes that speak to his needs are the simplest solution. You can find dog food subscription services that look at all the factors that affect your dog’s health and determine with scientific accuracy his nutrition needs to create balanced recipes.
When establishing the dietary needs of your dog, here are the important criteria to look at:
- Age. A puppy that is just barely growing muscle has different food needs than a senior dog that struggles with joint problems. Puppies are also active and consume a lot of energy while senior dogs are more sedentary. A protein-rich diet, for example, is essential for a puppy, much more so than for a dog at another stage of life.
- Physical activity. Do you take your dog for extended walks or does he join you while jogging? If you have an active dog, his diet must include a higher number of calories so he can maintain optimal weight. If your dog doesn’t do any exercise beyond a short daily walk, feeding him to much can lead to weight management problems. Both underweight and overweight dogs develop severe health problems.
- Health condition. If your dog has a specific health condition, diet plays an important role in keeping his condition under control. In this case, it’s best to discuss with the veterinarian and ask him to help you make an informed decision. Even healthy dogs can have food sensitivities and allergies. Minor underlying conditions can also be treated with proper nutrition.
- Size. A small dog needs less food than a large dog. What about a small active dog versus a large breed sedentary dog? There are many nuances to consider here, but the size and breed of your dog can tell you a lot about the diet he needs. A good way to establish a healthy diet is to monitor weight changes. A sudden increase or decrease in weight it’s a sign that your overfeeding or, respectively, underfeeding your dog.
- Food preferences. Many dogs express a preference for certain foods and a total dislike for others. The best way to tell is to check how enthusiastically your dog approaches his bowl. If you feed your dog food he doesn’t like very much, he might eat less and suffer weight loss. The opposite can happen too, with your dog overeating his favourite food and gaining excessive weight or suffer from frequent indigestion.
Dogs are individuals with specific needs. A diet that works for one dog might be inappropriate for another. Although establishing a balanced and correct diet for your dog’s stage of life and health state will require a bit of research and trial-and-error, there are plenty of helpful resources you can consult online or offline. Your pet friend deserves the greatest attention and care.