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Is Your Dog’s Diet Healthy?

Your dog’s dry food diet may not include all of the nutritional requirements your pet needs to be healthy. While these kinds of foods do provide nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, they are designed to be used in a balanced diet.

It is vital to provide your dog with the proper nutrition.

Every day, your dog has to consume a well-balanced diet to obtain all of the nutrients he needs to be healthy and active.

When it comes to your dog’s weight, according to Bella and Duke, nutrition is just as essential as exercise.

Why is Diet so Important?

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A healthy diet means providing your dog with the necessary nutrition that will help them to grow, maintain a healthy weight, develop to their full potential, and remain active throughout their lives. It can also promote healthy joint, tissue, and cartilage growth in younger dogs.

A healthy diet will also go a long way to helping your dog overcome any injuries they may sustain during their lifetime, be it small cuts and grazes or something more serious.

For the sake of convenience and affordability, many owners feed their dogs commercial pet foods like dry and canned food.

Because canine nutrition is so important to keep your dog healthy, there are several options to dry kibble and canned foods that can provide tremendous nourishment for your dog.

Life Stage Feeding

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Life stage feeding refers to feeding your pet what they require at each stage of their life. Just like human babies need different kinds of food as they age, a fully grown adult dog will need a different kind of food from a newborn puppy.

Puppy

Puppies should be given four meals every day until six months old, then three meals per day.

Puppy food should be tailored to the age and breed size of your dog. If you are uncertain about what food to feed a puppy, always consult with a dog nutritionist. Feeding a puppy the correct food is vital to their overall growth and development at an early age.

Adult Dog

Feed your adult dogs once or twice a day if they are 12 months or older.

Smaller breeds expend more energy than large breeds, they should be fed 2-3 small meals each day. Less is more.

Senior Dog

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As your dog gets older, he or she will require a more mature diet.

For smaller dogs, this is around 7 years, while for larger dogs, it’s about 5 years.

Diets for older dogs might include assisting with joint support and lowering nutrition levels that your dog’s body may struggle to handle as they age. Senior dogs also have a harder time digesting processed foods, so try to limit the amount of processed food your are feeding them.

Raw Food Diet

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Some dog owners prefer raw diets versus prepared meals for their pets and raw food does have advantages.

We recommend purchasing full and commercially prepared raw foods to ensure that your dog gets all of the nutrients he or she requires form this kind of food – these can be found at pet stores and supermarkets.

Do not attempt to prepare your own raw diet at home since it is extremely difficult to ensure that your dog receives the proper nutritional balance in a homemade diet. Unless you are a professional, certified dog nutritionist, always go for prepared, commercial goods.

While some animals are ok with plant-based foods, some are not at all. This also applies to the meats. Dogs are omnivores and it often falls down to the dog’s own personal preference. If they enjoy plant-based foods, ensure that they are still getting all the vitamins and nutrients they will need from meat.

Processed Foods Aren’t Healthy

High-grade foods have harmful effects on the dog. Food cooked at high temperatures or through extrusion processes cannot provide the fresh nutrients you get by eating whole food.

When dogs consume processed food as with humans there are increases in chronic inflammation which can manifest as chronically elevated liver enzyme levels, immune thyroiditis, and inflammation in their intestine.

Processed foods are to dogs what microwave meals or fast food is to humans. We can absolutely eat it and you can definitely survive off of it, but it won’t be pleasant. It will be very unhealthy over a long period of time.

Snacking

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Not many people consider how snacks can impact the health of their four legged friend. Things like treats, spare cuttings, bread crusts, and other bits and pieces that you feed your dog will have an impact on their overall diet.

Treating your pooch from time to time is absolutely fine, but be conscious not to over-feed them between meal times.

Not only can this practice lead to a physically unhealthy dog, it can contribute to mental health aspects such as anxiety.

With set, rigid meal times a dog understands when they are going to be fed. Interrupting this cycle of feeding times too often can cause confusion about feeding times and lead to anxiety around food.

This differs from dog to dog and some dogs may not even take much notice of this at all – but it is worth considering.

Final Thoughts

Excessive weight growth in dogs is a big concern and overweight dogs are becoming increasingly more common. It is important to monitor your dog’s diet to ensure they remain healthy.

As some last parting advice:

  • Treats should not account for more than 10% of your pet’s overall calorie intake.
  • Other fruits and vegetables that might help your dog loose weight include strawberries, apple, carrot, broccoli, as an occasional treat.
  • Natural, healthy treats are better for the overall health of your dog.
  • Try to feed them raw food as much as you can.
  • Avoid processed foods for senior dogs.

If you are in doubt about your dog’s overall health, always consult a vet. If you need professional advice for creating a healthy diet for your dog, consult a pet nutritionist. Take care of your four-legged friend.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com