One of the most important decisions that you can make as a dog owner is what you will be feeding your dog. Some people think that they can grab any brand of food from the shelf at the local grocery store and it will be fine but that is not really the case. Your dog should be getting high quality food that provides him the very best nutrients to meet his unique needs. Each breed of dog has different needs and each dog will also have unique food needs especially at certain stages of his life or with any health changes:
1. Weight management and exercise needs
One of the most important food decisions is not just about how much food is right but making sure your dog is getting enough of the right nutrients without being overfed. High calorie/low nutrition foods are cheap but result in overweight dogs. Like people, overweight dogs can suffer from health issues that include:
- Painful joints
- Heart disease and breathing issues
- Kidney disease
- Premature death
Trying to keep your dog active before he gets too overweight is key but will be of little use if he is still fed a poor diet.
2. Dog food allergies
Is your dog scratching his ears? Does he seem to be miserable especially after eating? Are there other symptoms like swelling of the face, diarrhea or vomiting and a loss of weight? Food allergies are more common than people realize and some breeds are at higher risk for them than others. It is important to start with testing to find out what your dog is allergic to and then to find the right type of food from there.
3. Gluten free dog food
Even if your dog is not intolerant of gluten, feeding him a grain free diet may be beneficial for other reasons. There are some warnings to consider before you opt for these foods. High quality foods will still contain some grains and that is fine. Grain free foods are often more expensive and may be too high in fat and proteins for some dogs. Check with your vet before switching.
True gluten allergies in dogs is very rare.
4. High protein dog food
For an otherwise healthy dog, the average high quality dog food is a good choice. As long as he is happy, healthy and thriving on his current dog food there are few reasons to change. However, if your dog is overweight or has other health issues, the vet may recommend a high protein food to help him eat fewer calories without feeling like he is starving. High protein foods should not be given to dogs with known problems with their kidneys or liver
These foods tend to be very expensive. Check the protein source before switching foods for your dog.
Always follow the vet’s recommendation for the best food for your best friend so that he can be a happy and healthy member of your family for as long as possible.