Ensuring your dog has a balanced diet is a great way to improve their overall health. Here are some tips on how to create a healthy diet for dogs.
How much money do Americans spend on their pets each year? Turns out it’s a staggering $95.7 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Just about $37 billion of that total went toward feeding our furry friends, both meals and treats. And yet many of the nation’s dogs are nevertheless under-nourished. That’s because most of us simply don’t pay a lot of attention to the dog food we buy.
If you want your canine companion to live a long, healthy life, it’s time to change that. Here are five tips for a healthy diet for dogs.
Be Cautious About Feeding Your Dog Commercial Kibble or Canned Food
Those big bags of kibble you routinely drag home from the grocery store are not the best thing to feed your dog. They are certainly convenient — just throw a scoop in Fido’s bowl a couple of times a day — and they’re relatively inexpensive. But making these commercially processed foods a staple item in your dog’s diet is like feeding your children snack crackers for every meal.
By all means, keep kibble or canned food on hand for emergencies. But the basis of your pup’s daily diet should be higher-quality feed that includes whole foods and little else. Do your research, read labels, and don’t fall for the marketing hype that plays on your emotions.
Homemade Food Can Be Part of a Healthy Diet for Dogs
You make meals from scratch for your family frequently, so why not cook for Rover too? Consider switching to homemade dog food, but be absolutely sure you know what this entails.
For starters, you must follow recipes in order to provide the right amounts of necessary nutrients. It’s not OK to substitute raw chicken for raw beef because that’s all you have on hand. You will also need to measure ingredients meticulously, by weights if possible, rather than by cups and tablespoons — or worst of all, by eyeballing it.
Factor in Your Dog’s Age…
Neglecting to take your dog’s age into consideration is a big mistake. Different life stages call for different nutrients. Additionally, older dogs are more prone to diseases and conditions that may require an adjusted nutritional approach.
…and Activity Level
Similarly, dogs that love to run and play will have different dietary needs than more sedentary animals. It’s important to determine how many calories of which types of foods your dog requires. Stick to that limit so your pooch doesn’t pack on the pounds.
One of the best pet feeder tips is not to give your dog unrestricted access to kibble. Canines are as prone to emotional eating and overeating as humans are!
Protein Is Good, But So Are Grains
You may have heard grain-free dog food touted as healthy, but it’s not as good as you might think. A grain-free diet takes a toll on the dog’s kidneys, giving them a bit of a rest from the constant need to break down protein. Don’t ditch grains wholesale. Choose the healthiest ones and incorporate them into your dog’s diet carefully.
The Best Way To Show Your Dog Love and Affection
It’s fun to give your pet treats that he or she clearly loves to eat, but if you really want to show your dog how much you care, take the time to develop a healthy diet for dogs in your life. That means customizing their nutrition to their age and activity level and researching foods before buying them.
What kind of food does your dog eat? Have you ever made dog food from scratch? Connect with us on social media and share your thoughts!