A well balanced and nutritious diet is extremely important when it comes to keeping your dog healthy. Deciding what to feed your dog can be a big challenge. Many experts will agree that the right diet for your dog is a significant element to good health.
1. High-protein diet
Protein is a source of essential amino acids and supplies energy for dogs. According to PetCareRx, dogs need 20 amino acids for good health. Dogs synthesize 10 of the amino acids themselves. However, the remaining 10 amino acids must come from healthy protein sources.
Since protein is high in calories, it’s easy for a dog to become obese if they are given too much. In fact, current studies show that about half of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Too much protein can also overwork the liver and kidneys.
2. Specialized formulas
Instead of buying high protein dog food, try to look for specifically formulated food for your dog’s size and lifestyle. For instance, a large or active dog will require more protein than a small breed or one that gets average exercise. However, puppies require more protein than an adult dog because they are developing and still growing.
3. Gluten-free diet
A gluten free diet is not necessary for all dogs. In fact, gluten type grains are high in fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, plus they are a good source of vitamins B and E. However, some dogs are actually sensitive to gluten. Likewise, gluten free dog food can help with health issues that are connected to gluten sensitivity. There are also certain breeds that have a genetic tendency to gluten sensitivity, such as Border Terriers, Wheaten Terriers (soft coated), and Irish Setters. On the other hand, other dog breeds can also be gluten sensitive. Some of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity include:
- Bald patches
- Scabs and sores
- Excessive hair loss
- Swollen or reddened skin
It is highly recommended that you take your dog to a veterinarian if your pet has any of the above symptoms as your dog may be gluten sensitive or they may have other health issues.
4. Food allergies
Although the percentage of dogs that have food allergies is quite low, there are some ingredients that dogs can be allergic to. The most common food allergies in dogs include beef, chicken, wheat, soy, eggs, and dairy. Food allergy symptoms can include extreme scratching and itching, paw chewing, skin inflammation, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Determining if your dog has food allergies can be quite challenging. Basically, you can either have blood testing done or do food trials. Overall, blood testing is expensive and can be inaccurate. If you suspect that your dog has food allergies, consult with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may also have suggestions for creating a “food trial“ type diet.
Obesity in dogs can occur if they do not get enough exercise and if your pet overeats. Likewise, the majority of obese dogs are prone to diseases such as diabetes, bone damage, arthritis, and heart failure. The good news is that there are many ways to combat dog obesity:
- Healthy diet
- Scheduled meals
- Regular exercise
Your veterinarian may prescribe a healthy lifestyle that can help your dog lose weight. For instance, your veterinarian may recommend a low-calorie diet and regular exercise routine for a number of weeks or months.
The best diets are those that have been designed by your veterinarian, pet food companies, and scientific researchers. These special diets cater to your dog’s needs and have the best interest for your dog’s health and well-being.
Remember that diet is directly linked to health. Consult your veterinarian if you are ever in doubt of what to feed your dog.