Having a dog at home doesn’t only give you joy and comfort, but it can also improve the quality of your life. Whether you’re a dog parent for a while now or just about to be one, one of the first things to consider is what and how to feed your furry pal.
A dog’s diet is essential for their growth and overall health. And much like humans, a balanced diet is recommended too so they may acquire all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. The first few days could serve as a trial-and-error phase as you get to know what works best for them, thus it requires careful planning and preparation.
There are a lot of variants and sources to choose from when it comes to dog food. To start with, here is a list you might want to consider:
- Generic or store-brand dog food: Usually the least expensive food option which is available in many supermarkets.
- Premium or branded dog food: Commonly sold in different flavors and uses various combinations of ingredients, both organic and artificial.
- Organic commercially-produced dog food: Produced without genetically-engineered ingredients, or synthetic hormones, and usually free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
- Prescription food: Specialized dietary plan recommended by veterinarians for dogs with medical conditions.
- Raw or cooked whole food: Homemade dog food made with natural ingredients such as animal protein, vegetables, and grains.
Most dog parents are interested in giving their dogs a raw diet because of the many benefits, mainly to their health, coating, and appearance. On the other hand, some fur parents want to stick to a kibble diet because of the combined benefits and convenience it brings.
To help you weigh in your options and decide which one would work best for you and your furry friend, you may consider checking the following points below:
Raw Food Diet
Dogs are omnivores, and they benefit from eating meat and plant food to meet their daily nutritional needs. Should you decide to give the raw food diet a try, you may give your dog different meats and byproducts such as organs and bones, raw eggs, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They can be homemade, though some stores sell dehydrated or freeze-dried variants.
A raw diet is believed to help make a dog’s coat shinier and improve the skin and teeth, while others also observed an increase in energy in their pets and better stool movement. These are some of the common reasons why many dog owners are interested in considering this for their dogs.
So, if you are thinking of giving this diet a go, here are some important considerations you may find helpful:
Consult with your veterinarian
It’s always best to consult your dog’s veterinarian first before your dog tries on a diet, especially raw food. In some cases, raw food may not always be suitable for some dogs, as their digestive system may not be strong enough to adjust to it.
On the other hand, some dogs may have medical conditions and would require cooked food since a raw food diet may not have the right nutritional balance they need for their health.
More so, if you’re caring for a dog who performs specific tasks such as service dogs or herding dogs, you may want to consider the working dog nutritional requirements to keep your dog strong and healthy.
Select quality meat
When selecting meat to serve your furry companion, one of the best options would be human-grade meat to ensure that the meat quality is up to standard. With that in mind, the products should not contain any preservatives that may be harmful to your pet.
Observe proper food and kitchen hygiene
Cleanliness and safety should be prioritized during food preparation. Generally, raw ingredients may carry bacteria that are usually eliminated through cooking. However, as you’ll be serving the food raw, you may need to take extra steps to ensure that the food is fresh and clean. Aside from this, you may also need to keep the kitchen and feeding area sanitized to avoid unwanted contamination.
Consider the risk of infection
Given that you will handle the food raw, there may be a risk of being infected by spreading bacteria around your home, which can be harmful to other family members living with you.
With that in mind, experts advise against giving pets raw food if there are infants or young children in the household. More so, it may not be ideal if you live with someone who is immunocompromised, as the risk of infection is higher for those with medical conditions.
Kibble is considered the most common go-to dog food option widely available in pet stores and groceries anywhere. Aside from its availability, pet owners prefer kibble because it can be quickly served and requires little to no preparation. On top of that, many variants, especially the store-brand variety, are relatively inexpensive.
Due to the abundance of choices, selecting the best one for your dog can be challenging. There are several factors that you can consider when choosing kibble, and here are some of them:
Dog food formulation
There are a lot of brands that offer kibble that is specifically formulated for dogs of different ages. For instance, if you have puppies, you can pick those formulated for the growth stage, and as they grow older, you can gradually switch to adult and senior stage formulations.
Meanwhile, some brands also offer dog food for all ages. This option may be more convenient, especially if you’re feeding multiple dogs of different ages.
The ideal kibble formulation should contain ingredients, such as animal protein, grains, and vegetables. As you read the product label, you may want to take note of the additives on the ingredient list. It might not be as detailed, but it can still give you an idea of what dog food contains. This is especially important if your pet has specific nutritional needs or food sensitivities. Most pet owners opt for those with less artificial color and flavor as these might harm the dog’s health in the long run.
It’s crucial to read the product label before purchasing any commercially-produced dog food. It may include a long list of information such as the net weight, suggested serving size, nutrition facts, and the like. It’s important to know which ones are key to selecting a good product.
Additionally, when it comes to brands, some may be considered superior to others because of their name and trustworthiness. With that in mind, consider consulting with your veterinarian for kibble brand recommendations and which can be best for your pet’s needs.
When purchasing dog food, it’d be best to always factor in your dog’s dietary requirements, which are often based on their age, size, and health condition. And depending on their health status, their veterinarian may require them to follow a diet program to ensure that your pet receives the amount of nutrition they need.
On the other hand, if there are no special dietary needs, a good tip worth considering is to think about the kind of food your dog prefers when buying food. Much like humans, dogs have their favorite foods, too.
By keeping all of these tips in mind, you can be on a good start in making a more informed decision on which type of food and diet can work best for your furry friend.