Dogs are our furry best friends, so it’s only natural that we want to give them the best of everything, including food. Of course, giving them the best brand of dog food is great, but sometimes, it’s not enough.
Plain dog food is not up there regarding health standards, which is why sometimes, we have to make things spicier when it comes to the dog food we give them (not literally, of course). But how exactly do we do that? Here are some tips on how to improve our dog’s diet.
Always Do the Label Test
Dog food advertisements always hype up brands, which is, of course, very natural. However, if you want to be a smart consumer, you shouldn’t give in easily to the hype. Why? The people that produce these ads don’t know the formulation of the dog food, and for a good advertiser, it’s easy to make plain dog food seem like the best there is in the market since it’s their job.
This is especially true if you’re switching from puppy food to adult dog food because your dog has transitioned to a more active state. How do you know if a dog food brand is good for your best friend? It’s easy; check the label. Then, you can check each ingredient and see if they’re good for your dog. Once you have checked that all ingredients are good, you should put them in the potential brands you want for your dog.
Introduce Fresh Whole Foods
Fresh whole foods such as vegetables and fruits add another dimension to your dog. These whole foods have enzymes that are good for your dog. Not only that, but they are also full of fiber that improves your dog’s digestion system. If you see in your regular dog food that there are whole foods included in their ingredients, then don’t be too excited.
Many of the nutrients in whole foods are destroyed in the cooking process, leaving little to nothing regarding the nutrients these whole foods have. Also, manufacturers often add synthetic imitations of those foods found in nature, and they put whole foods on the label. However, unlike the nutrients you get from whole foods, these synthetic imitations are not as effective.
That said, how do you introduce your dogs to whole foods? It’s simple; you can put them as toppings to your dog food. Just ensure they’re in the form that makes it easier for your dogs to digest. The usual methods are grating, chopping, etc.
Avoid Cooking Meats
Of course, if you want to give your dog food a rich source of protein, introducing them to meat is the best way. Luckily, you don’t have to toil in the kitchen before giving your dog the meat since they prefer it raw.
All species in the world, except humans, eat raw meat, including dogs. However, if you’re insistent on cooking your meat before you give it to your dog, it’s highly recommended that you only sear it on the outside instead of cooking it all the way through.
Follow the 10% Rule
No more than 10% of your dog’s total calorie count should come from treats, chews, supplements, etc. To be thorough, you can list your dog’s total calorie count and the foods they usually get it from.
From that list, only 10% should only come from their freebie allowance, which you can now create a special menu. This is a common mistake that new dog owners make. They give a lot of treats to their dogs, which not only destroys their diet but can also make them obese.
For example, if you feed your dog many high-caloric treats, you should subtract his kibble to make up for the difference. However, don’t subtract too much, as doing so will deprive your dog of the necessary nutrients in the kibble.
When it comes to cheese, things get a little more complicated. One cube of cheddar cheese contains about 69 calories. This is equivalent to 5% of an 80-pound German Shepherd. Of course, it wouldn’t be a problem if fed with the right amount. But how about for small dogs like a 5-pound Yorkie?
That one cube of cheese would be equivalent to nearly four times his recommended calorie intake, which in human terms is one Big Mac. So, always count your calories, and your dog will thank you.
Avoid Gluten of Any Kind
Have you ever noticed how your dog’s farts and poops smell unusually bad? This is because many dog foods on the market contain a lot of gluten. This ingredient is usually added to dog food to prevent fats from becoming rancid.
However, this causes waste products to retain, which can cause a strain on our dog’s liver and kidneys. Gluten in small portions is not very bad for our dogs, but you have to remember that it’s commonly found in dog foods and is sometimes more than recommended.
Do Not Over or Under Feed
No matter what kind of foods your dog is eating, what kind of nutrients you’re introducing, or what type of diet you’re incorporating into their meal times, it would all be for naught if you’re overfeeding your dog. If he’s overweight, you can feed your dog earlier in the day, so he can have time to work out those foods.
Likewise, if your dog needs to gain weight, you can feed him hours before bedtime so that he won’t work the food off. If you notice your dog is too skinny, that’s normal, especially in the younger and active years. However, when they’re old, it’s easy for them to gain weight, so neglecting their food intake to the point of obesity in their younger years is setting them up as a failure in the future.
Dogs are our best friends, so making them as healthy as possible through their diets is key to giving them the best life. By keeping them healthy, they will live out their lives content and happy alongside you. They’re only here temporarily, so let’s make them as healthy and happy as possible.
This is a partnered post.