One of the biggest responsibilities you will have as a pet owner is making sure that your dog receives sufficient amounts of dog food. Dog Nutrition is vital for your dog because it can affect their longevity and quality of life.
Giving your dog foods that are made from high-quality ingredients would boost their bodily functions, allowing them to stay healthy and active.
The foods you give to your dog and when you’re giving these food items to them are important responsibilities that should not be disregarded. Giving foods that aren’t suitable for your dog’s age, breed, or medical condition can adversely affect their health and wellness.
In worse cases, this mistake can even be fatal. This is likely to happen for individuals who do not have any experience in taking care of dogs or on how to properly feed them.
If you don’t want to commit this mistake, take note of the following dos and don’ts when it comes to dog nutrition:
- Add Fish To Your Dog’s Diet
Contrary to popular belief, making sure that your dog eats right is not a challenging task. There are actually human foods that you can share to your dogs and not compromise their health during the process. Fish, for example, is a great food to add to your dog’s diet because this can provide countless nutrients, such as:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: These are important building blocks to your dog’s development and growth. Fish, fish meal, and fish oil for dogs naturally contain omega-3 fatty acids that can boost your pet’s vision and brain development. This is especially important if you’re taking care of puppies.
Adult and senior dogs, on the other hand, can also benefit from omega-3 fatty acids because these can support joint health. This means that by giving your dog omega-3 fatty acids, they will become less susceptible to joint pain and arthritis.
- Protein: Feeding your dog fish regularly allows them to receive sufficient amounts of protein. This is an important nutrient that can support strong muscles and enhance other functions of your dog’s body, such as the repair of muscles and tissues, hair growth, and new skin cell formation.
- Flavor: Feeding your dog with the same dog food every single day can become dull over time. This can become the reason why your dog will lose their appetite to eat. If you don’t want this to happen, feed your dog fish every now and then.
Fish has a naturally distinct flavor that helps improve your dog’s appetite. Depending on your dog’s nutritional requirements, you can solely feed fish to your dog or mix fish to their meals. If you’re leaning towards the latter, you can gradually introduce fish to their diets by mixing it with sweet potatoes or other rice formulas.
- Don’t Feed Toxic Foods
As mentioned, there are human foods that you can safely share with your dogs, but this doesn’t mean that you will share all of your food with them. Foods that are healthy and scrumptious to humans don’t always create the same effects once fed to dogs. Unknowingly feeding your dogs with toxic foods can take a toll on their health and can become the reason for their death.
Make sure that this doesn’t happen to you by excluding the following food items from your dog’s diet as these are considered toxic:
- Avocado: While avocados are considered as healthy treats for humans, these can be very deadly once you share them to your furry friend. Avocados contain high levels of fat that can put your dog at risk of excessive weight gain and heart disease.
- Chocolate: Feeding your dog even an icing made from chocolate is a big no-no. Chocolates contain theobromine that is considered as a toxic chemical to dogs. When ingested, chocolate can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and even death among dogs.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods of any kind can be very cruel once fed to your dog. Eating anything spicy will cause stomach ulcer and severe pain to your dog. Avoid taking chances and keep your dog safe when you’re eating spicy foods. Clean the area after eating so your dog won’t feast on food scraps on the floor.
- Share Your Veggies
Eating your vegetables is important for you to achieve optimal health, but are you aware that this still remains true when it comes to your dog’s nutrition?
Vegetables act as supplements to your dog’s healthy diet because these are packed with different powerful micronutrients.
Colorful vegetables naturally contain phytonutrients that can help your dog fight age-related diseases and improve their brain and eye functions. However, since dogs are carnivores, keep in mind that they don’t have to become dependent on vegetables or eat vegetables only.
When feeding vegetables to your dog, make sure that the amount is only about 10% of their daily diet; variety is still key when it comes to your dog’s nutrition.
Listed below are some of the healthiest vegetables you can feed to your dog:
- Broccoli: If you’re planning to introduce vegetables to your dog’s diet, start by encouraging them to eat broccoli. This vegetable can add variety and flavor to your dog’s meals, enticing them to eat more. Broccoli is a great source of manganese, phosphorus, and selenium that can help flush out toxins from your dog’s bloodstream.
The variety of vitamins and minerals in broccoli can also boost your dog’s immunity and improve their organ functions.
- Pumpkin: If your dog is suffering from irregular bowel movement, incorporate pumpkin to their diets. Because of their high fiber content, pumpkins can effectively regulate bowel movements, keeping your dog safe from constipation and diarrhea.
Aside from this, pumpkins can also improve your dog’s eye health, boost their immune system, and moisturize their skin and coat. This type of vegetable also aids in weight loss and helps in keeping your dog stay hydrated.
- Sweet potato: Sweet potato, regardless if it’s mashed or purred, can be very healthy for your dog. This vegetable is an excellent source of fiber that helps alleviate symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Eating sweet potatoes can make your dog feel fuller for longer periods, helping them lose weight.
- Don’t Overdo The Treats
Giving treats to your dogs is essential because this can encourage positive behaviour and stimulate their brains. Since treats are usually given to dogs whenever they respond to commands, these can encourage them to follow your orders and become obedient as they grow. But, although beneficial to their development, you should not overdo giving treats as this can also lead to health risks.
For one, giving your dog too many treats can put their health at risk as treats that are commercially available today contain high levels of dairy, garlic, onion, wheat gluten, and liver. When taken in large quantities, these ingredients can cause obesity and heart failure.
Moreover, going overboard with the treats can also have consequences on your dog’s behavior. For one, this can encourage them to grow up being spoiled. If your dog gets a treat all the time, the idea of training them for positive behaviour will be useless.
If you want to give treats the right way, consider the points below:
- Refrain from giving the same treats for the same behavior: Familiarity breeds boredom. If you give the same treats to your dog over and over again, they might lose the interest to follow your orders. Make sure that this doesn’t happen by giving different treats for different behaviors.
For example, if your dog learned how to sit, you can give them a piece of chicken; on the one hand, you can give them a bit of cheese if they learned how to lie down. By giving different treats, your dog will always wonder what they will receive next, encouraging them to consistently listen to you.
- Use low-calorie treats: As mentioned, dog treats contain calories that can lead to weight gain and make your dog at risk of diseases. Make sure that these don’t happen by giving your dog low-calorie treats. Instead of buying treats from online or offline stores, opt to feed your dog with natural treats. Frozen green beans are great examples because these are crunchy, healthy, and cheap.
- Limit treats to less than 10% of your dog’s diet: Providing your dog with excessive amounts of treats in one day can gradually deteriorate their health. Pay attention to the nutritional content of your dog’s treat and determine the amount of calories it contains.
Moreover, it’s important not to give out table scraps to your dog as a form of a treat as these can add unnecessary sugar and fat to your dog’s diet.
Talk To A Vet
When deciding which type of food or diet to give your dog, always consult your vet before making a decision. Vets are equipped with the necessary education and experience to give safe recommendations when it comes to your dog’s nutrition. Never decide on your own as this can only result in more harm than good.