The Basics of Canine Nutrition
By now you have understood the importance of providing your puppy high quality food for his good health and overall well being. Think of your puppy’s body as a multi part machine that needs fuel to keep working. Any deficiency of fuel will make the parts of the machine to break down and ultimately the entire machine will be negatively affected. If you do not feed your puppy with high quality dog food in order to meet his body’s nutritional needs, his body will stop functioning properly and will also develop various medical issues. Never compromise your puppy’s health with low quality dog food just because it is cheap. Cheap food will show its negative effects on your dog and you will have to pay the price.
You have already learnt about the importance of protein and amino acids in your dog’s food along with guaranteed analysis, ways of choosing the right dog food etc earlier from this article. Let us now look at some of the differences between cheap dog food and expensive dog food and how do they affect your dog’s body.
Cheap Dog Foods vs. Expensive Dog Foods – What are the Differences?
The most important factor that you need to remember is to never shop by price.
Since now you know about your dog’s nutritional needs, let’s get into learning the differences between cheap and expensive dog foods. The first thing that you need to remember is to never shop by price. Do not choose dog foods just because they are low in price. In most cases, inexpensive dog foods have ingredients which are of low quality. Manufacturers of these kind of food products go for inexpensive proteins and fillers to cut down their costs. Such foods are incapable of meeting your dog’s nutritional needs and may also have a harmful impact such as digestive issues and food allergies as well. Cheap dog food products mostly include ingredients such as corn, wheat, dairy products, eggs soy etc.
You need to shop smart in order to give your dog the best possible food. Before going to shop for dog foods, you can do an online research about various top brands of dog food that are locally available at stores near you. You must also remember to have a thorough look at the guaranteed analysis and the list of ingredients on the package of the food product in order to make sure that the product meets your dog’s nutritional needs and also does not contain any ingredients that could potentially harm him. Make sure it has enough protein and some amounts of fat without fiber contents going overboard. Also make sure the nutrients are derived from animal based sources rather than plant based sources.
Ingredients to Avoid
Usually commercial dog food products with shorter list of ingredients are better than the ones with a lot of ingredients. This is because the products that have a lot of ingredients in them also have plenty of chemicals, supplements and other additives. The main problem with supplements in your dog food is that your dog’s body is biologically adapted to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals better from natural ingredients than supplements another synthetic products. If any product has a lot of supplements and synthetic substances, it means that the nutrients from natural ingredients were probably destroyed to some extents during the manufacturing process. This is also why raw foods and freeze dried foods are good for your dog since they are not exposed to high heat and harsh manufacturing processes.
Apart from supplements and other additives, you must also be careful that the product is free of certain potentially damaging ingredients for your dog that we have already covered in earlier part of this article.
Veterinary Care for Your New Puppy
Vaccinating your puppy is very important to ensure his good health and overall well being. If you have purchased a puppy from the breeder, probably your puppy has already received some of the important shots of his first year during his time with the breeder. Talk to your breeder about the vaccinations that your puppy has already received. Make sure you take your puppy to the vet as well to know about what are the the shots that your puppy is yet to receive. Generally, in the first year your puppy will need shots every three to four weeks in order to establish immunity. After that he will only require booster shots every year or once in three years.
The specific vaccinations that you need to give your puppy depends on where you live. Some of the common vaccinations are rabies, parvovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, adenovirus, canine influenza, lyme disease, bordetella, leptospirosis etc. your puppy must receive the first shots for these disease within six weeks of his age while the rest of the shots must be given after nine to six weeks of age. For rabies and bordetella, your puppy needs just one dose of vaccine shot whereas, he needs two shots for leptospirosis, canine influenza and lyme disease and three shots for distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus and parainfluenza.
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention
Apart from vaccinations, you will also have to take preventive measures for fleas, ticks and even heartworm for your dog. Flea bites are known to irritate the skin and may also cause allergic reactions in many dogs. Also, flea infestation is very difficult to eradicate once it has started hence, it is a good idea to take all preventive measures to avoid it. Ticks are known to carry a numerous dangerous diseases such that of lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever. Make sure you take preventive measures for ticks too. You must also give your puppy heartworm preventives starting at six months of age.
Taking preventive measures for fleas and ticks is quite easy. You can simply opt for various topical tick and flea preventive that are available commercially. You can also ask your vet to suggest you a good brand of preventive. Make sure you never buy a preventive just because it is low in cost as you may later pay a very fatal price. Low quality flea and tick preventive can be very dangerous for your dog and so opting for high quality preventives is the best and safest choice for your dog. Make sure that the product you choose prevents from eggs, larvae as well as adult ticks and fleas.
Heartworm prevention is something that is neglected by a lot of dog owners however, it could have a very fatal effect on your dog. Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites only. When mosquitoes feeds on an infected animal, they also take some of the heartworm larvae with it which develops inside the mosquito for the net few days. When these mosquitoes feed on healthy dogs, the larvae gets deposited in the dogs’ bloodstream and enters the heart, where they develop into adult heartworms and spread to other organs. If your dog is infected by heartworms, he may show symptoms like decrease in energy levels, persistent cough, weight loss, loss of appetite etc. If you fail to treat him on time, he might develop some serious health issues such as lung disease, heart failure and even damage of other organs. However, it is a very tricky situation since symptoms for heartworm do not usually show before six months of being affected. Hence, it could be too late by the time you catch it. Therefore it is imperative that you take preventive measures for heartworm for the well being of your dog.