Nutrition is a key building block for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Don’t be fooled by the erroneous notion that a dog can exist on table scraps and low-quality food — even if they seem to enjoy just about anything they can get their chops on. Look at it this way: feeding your dog the people food and treats is essentially the equivalent of preparing yourself a meal comprised of junk food. Even if the taste is palate-pleasing, it lacks essential vitamins and nutrients needed to sustain energy levels and long-term health.
Of course, there’s not a one-size-fits-all food that will satisfy every dog’s needs. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the main considerations you should take into account when choosing the best diet for your four-legged friend.
The Importance of Quality Dog Food
Pets are family, so when you take on the commitment of a furry family member, be prepared to go all-in, from playtime to mealtime. The best dog food is formulated in a way that vital nutrients can be easily absorbed. This means your dog will be able to digest the food and gain nourishment from it before getting rid of waste products during the next bathroom break.
What to Look For in the Best Dog Food
Your dog’s diet should be a mix of meat, some fruits, veggies, and whole grains, all of which supply an extra dose of vitamins and minerals. It’s not uncommon to see these nutritional powerhouses on the ingredient list of the best dog food, along with a human-grade (aka high-quality) meat, of course. Remember, don’t fall into marketing tactics. Always read labels to double-check ingredients and nutritional sufficiency and talk with your vet about nutrition and food choices.
Dos and Don’ts of a Doggy Diet
As aforementioned, dogs can also enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but there are some that should be absolutely avoided because they are considered to be toxic to dogs or they can cause severe digestive distress. There are also some additional non-fruit and vegetable foods listed. Keep in mind that even though a particular food is listed under “yes,” it should be given to your pup in moderation. Get creative and look up some healthy DIY dog food recipes to give Fido some variety!
Just like dog food, no two dogs are alike. When crafting the perfect diet for your furball, you have to consider its age, size, activity level, and whether or not they have any special needs. Let’s take a closer look.
Age: From the formula to the size and texture, dogs have different needs throughout their lifetime. Puppies need more protein to support muscle growth whereas seniors need a formula with nutrients to support digestive health, achy joints, weight gain/inactivity, and possible dental issues. Young to middle-aged dogs in decent health tend to respond to dry food with some wet as an occasional treat.
Size: Just like you wouldn’t eat like a champion prizefighter, a chihuahua isn’t going to chow down like a St. Bernard. Some dogs are more receptive to a diet that’s more conducive to their size. For example, a small pup may go for bite-sized kibble that’s easy to digest whereas a larger breed of dog could profit from a larger chunk formula comprised of specific ingredients that support joint health.
Activity level: Is your dog spry and speedy or slow and soft? Just like humans, activity level plays a big role in a dog’s diet as it’s all about calories in and calories out. A dog is at its ideal weight if you’re able to feel its ribs through a slight cover of fat. The more difficult the ribs are to feel, the more serious a weight issue. In this case, it’s important to get your dog on a food that supports healthy weight loss. It’s not a bad idea to speak to your vet to make sure all of your dog’s other vitals are on the up and up. On your side, help your pup out by staying active.
Special Needs: Other considerations such as allergies and illnesses can be difficult to pinpoint, so if you detect that your furry friend isn’t feeling up to snuff, book an appointment with your vet asap. Don’t try to play the role of doctor as it can be easy to make a misdiagnosis if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Use your KONG Club app to reach out to one of our veterinary experts and discuss your dog’s nutrition.
How Much Food Is Enough?
When it comes to how much food to feed your dog, take all of the above elements into consideration: size, breed, age, activity level. While you don’t want to underfeed your dog, overfeeding them can lead to weight problems that can be difficult to combat with age. Typically, the packaging will provide feeding guidelines. However, if you’re not sure what your dog’s specific needs are, ask your vet. Also, always make sure fresh, clean water is on-hand as dehydration can lead to false signs of hunger.
Let KONG Club Help Keep Your Dog Healthy
Now that you’re more aware of your pup’s dietary needs, you can use your KONG Club membership to build Personalized Pet Plans aimed at building a foundation of life long health for your pooch.