Q: Which type of protein is best for my dog?
A: Animal based proteins are the best for your dogs. Dogs are biologically adapted to derive trion from animal based products from effectively than plant based ones. Also, proteins derived from meat and other animal based are complete which means they have all ten amino acids required by your dog. Apart from these, certain dogs sometimes become allergic to some specific kinds of protein such as chicken, beef. However dog owners need to understand that there is no right or wrong regarding this. Not all dogs develop allergies to the same kind of proteins. It is all about which proteins are best tolerated by your dog and also loved at the same time.
Q: Is it possible to feed my dog too much protein?
A: Ideally while shopping for dog food, you might want to choose for product that exceeds your dog’s requirement of protein intake. It is quite common for dog owners to wonder if feeding too much protein is harmful for their dogs. However, all extra protein in your dog’s body is used up in various ways such as some it is excreted through the urine, while the remaining will be burned up as fuel (calories) or even stored by the body as fat. There is usually nothing to worry about regarding extra protein unless your dog has kidney problems.
Q: What’s the difference between meat and meat meal?
A: Products that have “chicken” written on the label of the packaging means fresh muscle meat. Such fresh meat like chicken have a high content of water in them. When these are cooked a lot of moisture is released which makes the final product to have a lot lower protein content in them. On the other hand, meat meals are simply the dehydrated versions of fresh meats that have their moisture and fat removed. These dried meat is then ground into the form of powder and has a lot more protein content in them than fresh meat. Meat meal is generally used as concentrated form of protein in dog food products.
Q: How do I know how much to feed my dog?
A: There is not one single answer that meets the feeding requirements of all dogs. Every dog is different with their own individual requirements when it comes to correct food proportions. The best way to determine your dog’s needs is by first choosing a food product which is meant for your dog’s breed size (small breed or large breed), age, stage (puppy/adult/senior) etc. Then follow the instructions as recommended on the label of the product which is generally according to your dog’s weight and age. Feed according to these recommendations for a few weeks and do not give your dog extra treats or table scraps during this period. Keep a close eye on your dog’s progress, bodyweight, energy levels etc. If you notice him putting on extra weight, you must cut back on the feeding proportions while if your dog starts losing weight you must consider feeding him more.
Q: Is it okay to mix dry food and wet food?
A: Both dry and wet food have their own pros and cons. It is your decision what kind of food you want to give your dog after which your dog finally decides to whether or not to accept it. While dry food is am easy and convenient option chosen by most dog owners, wet food seems to be more appealing to dogs. If you want your dog to be benefited by both of these foods, you can use dry food as staple diet and add a bit of wet food in it as a supplement. This way your dog will receive benefits of both the type of foods without having to compromise on any one of them.
Q: Can I give my dog table scraps from time to time?
A: There are a lot of foods meant for humans which are also safe for dogs. But then there are also some that aren’t. If you want to feed your dog table scraps, make sure that they do not contain any of the harmful ingredients as provided in the list present in this article. You must also make sure that the table scraps have low content of sugar, salt and fat in them. It is also safe and much better if you go for treats specially formulated for dogs and are made from high quality ingredients.
Q: What is the proper way to store my dog’s food?
A: Generally it is not ideal to buy any pet food that your dog cannot finish up in four to six weeks. The nutrients in dog food start breaking up gradually with time. Hence, food that has been stored for long do not have the qualities of a high quality dog food. While storing dog food, you can choose to keep the food inside the original bag and then lock the entire bag inside an airtight container. While opened cans of dog food should be used up much faster and must not be kept any longer than two to three days. In case of other types of dog food such as freeze dried, raw or frozen, you can follow the storage instructions of the package.
Q: How is puppy food different from adult dog food?
A: Puppies and and adult dogs require the same basic nutrients for their good health and well being however, in different quantities. In case of puppies, they need higher amounts of proteins and fats in order to sustain healthy growth along with several vitamins and minerals in different amounts than adult dogs. In order to make sure your puppy has a healthy growth, feed him size specific puppy food till he reaches about 80% of his expected adult size. After that, switch to size specific adult dog food.
Q: How do I know my dog is getting enough to eat?
A: Always keep a close eye on your dog’s weight energy levels to determine if your dog is getting enough to eat. A lot of times, putting on or shedding a few kilos can have an underlying reason rather than just food. Make sure you visit the vet at least twice a year and keep a check on your dog yourself even between these visits. Visual score is another way to determine if you are feeding your dog enough. A healthy dog will have a tucked abdomen and a noticeable waist along with a thin fat layer over the ribs. Make sure these layers are not thick enough that you cannot feel his ribs. On the other hand, if the ribs are visibly protruding, this means your dog has less muscle mass and a low body score. Again if you notice too much of fats in the abdominal and waist area, it means your dog has high body score which is unhealthy as well.
Q: What is the difference between a dog food allergy and a food intolerance?
A: A food allergy is usually an adverse reaction to food which gets mistakenly identified as something harmful by your dog’s body. On the other hand, food intolerance usually triggers abnormal gastrointestinal responses to certain ingredients. Some of the examples of food intolerance are diarrhea, vomiting etc. Food intolerance can also cause some other problems such as skin problems and recurring ear infections.
Q: What is a limited ingredient diet?
A: Limited Ingredient Diet or LID is a kind of diet that has less number of ingredients in order to decrease the chance of any kind of food allergies for sensitive dogs. Most of these kind of diets are made with novel sources of protein and carbohydrates which means new and different kind of ingredients that have not been tried by your dog before. This is done because new foods have lesser chances to trigger food allergies. If you notice your dog to have developed certain kinds of food allergies, you can switch to LIDs for a few months until your dog has completely overcome from it. During this time you can give your dog potential allergens in order to figure out what your dog is actually allergic to.
Q: Should I consider making my own dog food?
A: You can choose to make your own dog food at home however, it will be a very complicated process. As mentioned earlier, a dog’s system differs in a lot of ways than us, humans. Your dog needs a precise blend of nutrients in order to sustain good health which is quite tricky to achieve at home. If you still choose to make your own dog food, always consult a vet or an animal nutritionist first regarding a good recipe. However, it is always much easier and safer to opt for commercial dog food than homemade ones.
Q: Which type of dog food is the best?
A: There is no definite answer to this question. The best dog food depends on your dog’s preferences along with his individual needs. Dry dog food is the most popular option opted by dog owners however, a lot of dogs have been seen to do better with wet dog food due its higher moisture content and palatability. When it comes to choosing brands, do not assume products with pretty packaging to be the best for your dog. Instead you must implement all the instructions from this guide while choosing the best dog food from the market.
Q: What are the benefits of raw dog food?
A: The main benefit of raw food is that it has not been processed and is still in its natural form. Raw food is free of harsh manufacturing processes, high temperatures, additives, preservatives etc which might make it lose some of its nutrients. However, raw food does not have a long shelf life as opposed to dry food it. There is also the risk of spreading various bacterias and food borne illnesses from raw food. However, you can choose some of the other ingredients instead such as frozen raw food or freeze dried food. These type of foods have the same benefits as that of raw food but are more convenient to use.
Q: If my dog needs to lose weight, can I just feed him less?
A: Only feeding less is not the best option if you want to make your dog lose weight. Nutrition is extremely crucial for your dog’s well being and cutting down on it too much might cause severe problems. If your dog needs to lose a kilo or two, making him exercise more and cutting down on the treats is a better option than feeding him less. But if your dog needs to lose several kilos, you should consider switching to a healthy dog formula along with increasing his daily exercise and limiting his treats. If your dog needs to lose weight, talk to your veterinarian first before making any changes to his diet or exercise routine.
Q: How can I tell if my dog is overweight?
A: It is important that all dog owners understand that even dogs of same breed do not weigh the same. This is because the weight range sometimes gets affected by breeding. However, it is not difficult to tell if your dog is overweight. If you notice that your dog has a discernible waist, has layers of fats over his hips along with the base of his tail, and you cannot feel his ribs though the skin, it means that your dog has put on some unhealthy weight. You might also notice him to waddle while walking. Dogs who put on unhealthy weight find it difficult to exercise and often experience shortness of breath. Some dogs are also seen to develop bad temper on excessive weight gain.
Q: What should I do if my dog develops digestive problems when I switch foods?
A: You must understand that your dog’s digestive system is far more sensitive than yours. You must be very careful while switching your dog’s food. Make sure you slowly transition your dog from one food to another even if the product is from the same brand. You can start by mixing small amounts of the new food into his old food and slow increase the amount. Do not go all at once as it may upset his stomach. Once you see that your dog is well adjusting to his new food you can make the final switch. During this time if you ever notice any digestive problems in your dog, go back to the previous step and continue for a few more days until he gets better. Keep reading on this guide to know more about how to switch your dog’s food effectively.
Q: What should I look for when shopping for dog treats?
A: Treats play an important role in training your dog and in other purposes as well. Just like choosing the best quality staple food for your dog is imperative, so are treats. Follow the same rules as choosing dog foods while shopping for dog treats. Choosing all meat treats is the best idea here. You can also opt for treats with fiber content if you are using treats as a supplement for fiber.
Q: Is it okay to make my own dog treats?
A: Yes, in fact making your own dog food is a great idea. T is also much safer to prepare treats at home than making your dog’s food because your dog will have all his nutritional needs met by a properly formulated dog food that are available in the market. However, while making your own treats, make sure all the ingredients are safe and healthy for your dog.
Hopefully by now you have understood the importance of good dog food for your dog’s well being and diet. As a dog owner you must not only know about the importance of proper nutrition in your dog’s life but you must know how to choose the best dog food. Do not compromise with your dog’s diet and make sure that you purchase food of the highest quality that you can afford.