Keeping your dog happy and healthy is every owner’s priority. It doesn’t matter how many walks in all weathers, a lot of your dog’s health is down to their diet. Keeping their tummies healthy is a sure-fire way of keeping them walking, running and playing for longer. Here are a few tips to keep your pup healthy and happy, so you can keep that packable rain jacket to hand a while longer!
Making sure your dog is eating the right dog food can be difficult with so many choices available on the market. Some are more expensive than others too. Ultimately, the choice should be based on your dog’s needs. Feedem, a dog food retailer offers some advice you should follow to make sure your pet gets the right nutrition without breaking the bank in the process. Take a look at our dog food guide to find out more.
Your four-legged friends need a variety of nutrients just like you do. This helps to keep them healthy. These includes:
- Fat/oil: Fats and oils are important for your dog, as they are a huge energy source and give your dog healthy skin and that shiny coat. Omega 3 and 6 are important types that must be in your dog’s diet. These are often included in the recipes of some dog foods, while they are also available in supplements. Just remember that consuming too much fat can cause weight gain and other health problems in your dog.
- Protein: Protein aids growth and repair, and is an important energy source for your dog. Protein is usually gained from meat and fish, as it is the most natural and digestible form for canines. However, it can be quite expensive, so some dog foods use an alternative protein source — like vegetable protein — which are cheaper yet more difficult for your dog to digest.
- Minerals: Often referred to as ‘ash’ because of the way its nutrient content is measured, there are many minerals your dog will need. Important minerals include:
- Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.
These are involved in many processes in your dog’s body and are largely absorbed from the food they eat.
- Fibre: Although there is some debate around the benefits of fibre in canine diets, it’s widely believed that it helps aid water absorption when excess water is present in the colon, preventing diarrhea. It can also help prevent constipation, as it can draw water from surrounding tissue if there is too little water in the colon. Fibre is found in many grains and vegetables.
- Vitamins: There are 13 vitamins your dog needs. Because of the difficulty associated with preserving vitamins when cooking at high temperatures, some dog food brands have trialed low-temperature baking or cold-pressing.
All of the above should be considered when you choose the right dog food for you best friend. Ideally, it should offer a blend of all of the above to ensure your dog is getting what they need from their diet. Of course, you should take into consideration your dog’s individual requirements too — for example, if they have a condition like diabetes or any allergies. If in doubt, seek the help of your vet. Some dogs also have a personal preference, and they can get used to a certain brand meaning changing their food may take some time.
Give your dog time to adjust
Dogs tend to get used to a particular type of dog food, so if you change it up, you’ll need to give them time to adjust. This is often best achieved by initially introducing the new food mixed with their old food. Slowly introducing the new food is often key to success.
When mixing old and new food, maintain roughly a 75:25 split between the old food and the new. Keep it like this for a couple of days, before changing the split to 50:50 then 25:75 old to new. This isn’t always needed — it depends on how sensitive your dog’s stomach is or how fussy they are. With any food, you should always check the recommended feeding guides as provided by the dog food manufacturer.
Keeping your dog food fresh
It is important that any food you buy for your dog is stored correctly to keep it fresh. If you don’t, the food is likely to go off quicker meaning there might be a lot of food wastage which leads to wasted money. The best option is usually an airtight container. Remember to keep fresh foods in the refrigerator and store dry foods in a cool, dry place.