What and how often to feed your dog is an all-too-common dilemma for pet owners. Proper nutrition can save your pup from health issues as well as save you time and money long-term. You are what you eat. Your dog’s diet is the one most important factor along with exercise and general care that will contribute to your pooch enjoying a long and healthy life.
Eating habits can make or break dietary nutrition and when not taken seriously can lead to obesity or malnutrition and all of the problems connected to these conditions. Here are ten tips to get your dog on track to healthy eating, an improved diet, and overall well-being.
1. The Best Dog Food
Right! So, what is the best dog food for my pooch? The pet food industry spends lots of money on advertising and marketing, but it’s important to get beyond all that when selecting. Do not believe everything you read or that cute dog commercial on the TV.
Timberwolf Organics reminds responsible pet owners to read the ingredients label on any commercial pet food that you are considering.
They continue, “Ingredients will generally be listed with larger amounts first dwindling to lesser amounts. Know the lingo, what the ingredients are, and if they are good for your dog. Use the internet to do research.”
2. Do Not Serve Only Store-Bought Dog Food
Most commercial dog foods are manufactured to have a rather long shelf life of one to two years. They generally meet nutritional requirements through synthetic chemical additives.
While they undoubtedly can contribute to an overall general diet, adding the occasional real meat or fish, together with fruits and vegetables can go a long way in providing necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as well as increasing fiber content for digestive tract health.
Many commercial pet foods have filler grains that are not easily digested by canines and can trigger allergies and food intolerances.
3. Treat Your Dog to Appropriate Vegetables and Fruits
While some fruits and vegetables can be toxic to your canine, not all are. Do your homework and integrate them several times a week into your dog’s dinner. Celery stalks can be given as a crunchy treat to chew on aiding teeth and gum health.
Veggies can also be pureed and added to your pooch’s dinner. Look for organic fruits and vegetables, as you don’t want to feed genetically modified plants to your canine BFF.
4. Offer Your Dog Fresh Quality Raw Meat
In the wild, your canine will not be cooking over the campfire. Try to avoid cooking meats that you offer your pet, and if you feel better cooking meat, sear it externally as opposed to cooking it completely. Overcooking meat causes it to lose nutrients and depending on how you cook it, carcinogens may develop from the cooking method.
5. Wash Non-Organic Food Before Feeding
Many commercial farms use pesticides, so if your budget doesn’t allow for organic produce, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your dog. Soak produce in a mix of one part apple cider vinegar and four parts water for a minute to rid it of unwanted chemicals and pesticides.
6. Avoid Grains
Dogs do not require grains in their diets to be healthy. In the wild, canines would not eat grains, and many have intolerances to wheat and gluten. Instead of offering rice, consider legumes or sweet potatoes. They are easily prepared, have high protein content, are tasty, and are infinitely more digestible.
7. Avoid Tap Water
Most municipalities put fluoride and chlorine in the water. Too many chemicals can have adverse effects. Consider collected rainwater, filtered water, or distilled water, so your pooch isn’t swallowing all those chemicals. You can also use a liquid water purifier added to the drinking bowl.
8. Start Dental Care Early
Yes, it would be nice to brush your dog’s teeth every day or so, but how many pet parents do? To keep dental issues and periodontal disease at bay, give your dog a nice raw bone to chew on, or crunchy vegetables are an alternative like celery stalks and raw carrots.
9. Do Not Overfeed Your Dog and Keep Treats to a Minimum
Dogs should be fed an appropriate portion to maintain their ideal weight based on breed, age, any health issues, and if they are spayed or neutered. If your dog tends to be overweight, feed it in the morning as opposed to the evening, so that pooch has the entire day to work it off.
If the pooch is underweight, feed him or her in the evening before going to bed. Dogs will naturally gain weight as they age, so don’t start them off heavy when young, or they’ll be on the road to obesity before you know it.
Limit treats and consider making healthy ones at home as opposed to store-bought treats.
10. Avoid Using Commercial Cleaning Products on Pet Dishes
When cleaning pet dishes, chemical residue from cleaning agents can remain on the surface only for your dog to ingest. Use natural white vinegar as a cleaning solution as it is organic and turns odorless once it has dried.
Finally, add in exercise, good grooming habits, and regular check-ups with your dog’s veterinarian to stay on top of things. Your canine BFF will thank you for it.