The top priority of most dog owners is that their pet is as happy and healthy as possible. Just as it is for humans, the foundation of good pet health begins with their diet. While difficult to know exactly, several scientific studies estimate that as many as 25% of dogs suffer from some form of malnutrition.
Foods that are high in carbs, fats, and sugars can have wide ranging impacts on your dog’s health, including problems such as joint health, hearth health, and life expectancy. Knowing what exactly you should feed your dog can be confusing, but there are a number of easy things you can consider when choosing the best dog foods for your pup.
Consider Your Dog’s Lifestyle
It can feel silly to think about your dog in terms of having a ‘lifestyle’, but different dogs will have different dietary needs based on their day to day activities. Do you have a medium-sized hound dog that wants nothing more than to nap and fart in your bed? The food that’s healthiest for them will differ from the food that’s best for a herding dog that spends the day working.
Similarly, you also need to take a moment to consider your dog’s pre existing medical problems. Does your dog have bad joints, or trouble get up and down stairs? Has your vet ever mentioned diabetes, or heart disease? Many of these kinds of problems are associated with your dog’s lifestyle and providing proper nutrition can help manage, or, in some cases, even cure these conditions.
Healthy Joints Keep Dogs Moving
A major consideration for both large and small breed dogs is the health of their joints. If you notice your dog is having trouble walking, using the stairs, or getting into and out of the car, it’s very possible that they may have arthritis.
If you suspect your dog may have arthritis, you should speak with your vet, but there are also several food choices you can make to keep your dog healthy. Eating food rich in healthy fats, such as salmon and cod, contributes greatly to joint health as does eating color rich vegetables such as carrots and butternut squash.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your dog is overweight. Joint problems often go hand in hand with canine obesity, and properly managing your dog’s weight is the most important thing you can do to alleviate joint pain. Feeding your dog lean proteins, such as turkey, instead of calorie dense meats like duck or beef, is a good way to keep them happy and their weight in check.
Your Dog Deserves Good Hair Days
Maintaining the health of your dog’s coat and fur is an important aspect of pet ownership. This of course applies to dogs with especially thick coats, like Huskies and Malamutes, but is just as important for smaller dogs with more wiry hair. While proper grooming and hygiene is necessary, the health of your dog’s fur begins with its diet.
If you notice that your dog’s fur has lost some of its luster, or becoming thinner than usual, it’s possible that your dog is not getting enough essential fats and amino acids. You can remedy this problem by including flax seeds, fish, and oil supplements in your dog’s diet.
Skin Health is Hair Health
Many of the common problems associated with coat health can also mean that your dog is having skin problems. Dry skin, dandruff, and constant itching may mean that you need to change your dog’s diet. Switching to single source protein and vegetable dog foods can help soothe irritated skin and help your vet determine if your dog has food allergies.
When you feel gassy, bloated, or have trouble going to the bathroom, would you say that you feel happy? Your dog can suffer from digestive irregularities much the same way you can and oftentimes this distress can be linked to their diet. While your dog should be getting ample amounts of animal protein, eating too much fat rich and oily foods can upset their digestion.
Luckily, the solution is as easy for them as it is for you: Fibre. Dietary fibre is a key component of good digestive health and can be found in foods that your dog loves. Several healthy, fibre rich foods include sweet potatoes, leafy greens, whole grains, and pumpkin.
A Healthy Dog Means a Healthy Diet
One thing all dog owners have in common is that they want to spend as many happy and healthy years with their dogs as possible. The health of your dog begins with the food that you feed them every day. When deciding what to feed them, you need to think about what problems your dog might have and what foods may help be most appropriate.