An unbiased guide to dog food selection for your pooch
One thing is for sure, in today’s world, we are completely spoilt for choice. Starting from choosing a television show to binge-watch or types of cereals to choose from to something as small as the variety of ice-cream flavours. Naturally, there is a myriad of dog food options to navigate your way through and find the right one for your beautiful puppy. Trust me, I know the struggle is real.
THERE IS A MYRIAD OF FOOD OPTIONS FOR DOGS
What you want is wholesome nutrition for your pooch so that they can live their best life: With a good furry and soft, healthy, shiny coat, a lot of energy with clear bright eyes, no digestion issues or brittle nails. It is indeed a task, specially because all the commercial food out there claims to be the best. In fact, just like we have for humans, dog food these days too seems to be following fads such as no grain food etc. And then there is the option of feeding home-cooked food. It is all very confusing. We don’t have a magical answer but to help you out with this, we have for you, few expert guidelines to at least set you on the right path. After all, all we want is a happy and healthy dog.
First and foremost what we need to know is that a dog’s nutritional needs change as per its age. For instance, a puppy benefits most from protein. This is especially important for their development and growth and is a key nutrient in the mother’s milk. Along with this Vitamin B12 is also very important for a puppy for development and crucial for healthy teeth and bones. Royal Canin has an entire range dedicated to puppy food, that too according to a breed and size of a
puppy. On the other hand, senior dogs require fibre rich foods that are easy for their digestive systems. Farmina Pet Foods have orange and apple combined with seafood and chicken. These have fibre as a key nutrition which is much needed for senior dogs.
Secondly, activity level is an important indicator of the nutrients that a dog needs. Most dogs who are in apartments don’t get too much exercise as compared to a police dog for example. Hence, such a dog will require foods that are low on complex carbohydrates and fats and rich on lean proteins, vitamins and minerals. The Pedigree wet food options in chicken with gravy are a great option for lesser active dogs as that is low on carbs and high on protein. There is also a very protein-rich dog food — Arden Grange which is extremely rich in protein and low in fat. An extremely active dog will require a balance of carbohydrates and fats and protein along with minerals and vitamins for proper functioning and a lot of energy.
Size and breed:
Naturally, the next point of difference that comes in nutrition is the breed and the size of a dog. Big dogs require nutrition that will take care of their joints and that can be found with protein and minerals like magnesium. Sodium given in the right amount helps boost a healthy heart. The breed of a dog is crucial. Surprisingly, Indie dogs are most often not seen as ideal dogs. In reality, however, Indie dogs tend to have a good body and a stronger immunity making their nutritional needs simpler than to that of a pug for example. Your dog also may be allergic to grains or digests
them slowly, this is when you would require special food like Farmina N&D Low Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Adult Breed Dog Food. There is also more unknown brands such as Taste of the Wild which have no grains at all.
DIFFERENT DOGS HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS
A Fussy Eater:
There are times that your pooch may be extremely fussy, this is when people tend to go towards homemade food option. Sometimes, however, you may be busy but also require good food on a budget, you can look at Hill’s Pet Nutrition on Amazon or their website. They have a huge range for fussy eaters and it is not too expensive.
Now, keeping all of this in mind, the essential thing a dog parent has to do is to read the ingredients. I cannot reiterate this enough. It may be Pedigree or Royal Canin, what we need to do as per the requirement of our little creatures to read the labels. A food product lists its ingredients according to the weight of an ingredient so the thing that you see first on the ingredient list is what is most prominent. Look for a source of protein because dogs, after all, are omnivorous and require protein as a foremost nutrient.
A rotational diet has maximum benefits
A well balanced day for a dog should contain the six most important nutrients — protein, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, good fat and fibre. Your vet will be able to guide you on which specific nutrient your doggo needs the most and accordingly you can figure out his balanced meals.
Of course, none of the commercial foods out there is a complete one for your dog. Therefore, most of the times, experts recommend a rational type of system where you feed your dog the different foods depending on the nutrient you want to focus on. Most companies such as Farmina and Royal Canin have nutritional support systems that help you plan for your pooch after properly understanding their nutritional needs. I like a mixture of home food along with commercial food. This helps not just your fur baby but also your pocket.
However, you have to be very specific about what human foods you are feeding your dogs. A lot of well-intentioned owners tend to think that normal human food is good for your dog. That is wrong. Many things such as chocolate, raisins, grapes, seeds are an absolute no-no for dogs. In fact, it can be poisonous, even in a small dose. Most dogs are also lactose intolerant — something that people are unaware of. But other products such as curd, paneer are a good
source of protein for your dog in small dosages.
Consult your vet and find out what your dog’s needs
Chicken, salmon, soya chunks, boiled vegetables such as carrot, beans, pumpkin, squash along with whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats, quinoa, wheat etc. are a good source of nutrients for a doggo. Most importantly, salt and sugar are an absolute no go for a dog.
The best way to give your dog a wholesome diet is to first consult your vet on the needs of your dog. Just like all humans require different nutrients for our own specific needs, so do our fur babies. This is especially important because some dogs may be allergic to certain foods and you can figure that out when they start licking their paws too much or are low on energy or are continuously vomiting and getting diarrhoea.
Once you know what it is then the best bet is a rotational and a mixed diet of both home and commercial food. It takes a while for a dog to get used to different foods when you swap it but you can pace it out. After all, we have to protect them at all costs.
While dogs are creatures of habit — can you imagine having the same meal for your entire life? I think not.
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