More than 15 million households in India own dogs. Some owners prepare homemade food for their dogs. But, many parents prefer commercial dog foods like dry kibble and canned wet foods.
Commercial pet foods are highly regulated and could better meet the nutritional requirements of your dog than home-cooked food. But in a sea of dog food products, one could easily get lost.
This guide will help you know what to look for in dog food and pick what meets your pooch’s unique nutritional requirements
Figuring out your dog’s unique nutritional needs
- How old is your dog? It is a good idea to go with age-specific dog food.
- Does your pooch have any food allergies? If yes, it is crucial to know the allergen and its commercial names.
- How active is your furry buddy? A laid-back pooch does not have high-energy requirements.
- Is your dog overweight? Consult a vet and get advice about the ideal weight and recommended foods.
- What does the vet say? Your vet understands your dog’s health needs better than anyone else. Talk to them about your dog’s nutritional needs. Include their recommendations in your choices.
What to look for when it comes to choosing dog food
The product name and description
The product name or brand name will give you an idea of the contents. Many products contain words like lamb or chicken. However, the proportions vary.
The label “pure lamb” or “pure chicken” means that the product contains at least 70% lamb or chicken. The label “lamb or chicken dinner,” “lamb or chicken platter,” or “lamb or chicken entrée” means that it contains at least 10% lamb or chicken. Products labeled “with lamb/chicken” contain at least 3% lamb or chicken, and the wordings lamb or chicken flavor mean the lamb or chicken content is less than 3%.
The ingredient list on a dog food label will tell you what is in the food. It gives information on the components and source.
This is crucial, especially if your dog has food allergies or special dietary needs. For instance, if you want to feed your dog protein from specific sources, look at the list of ingredients. However, it does not give a clear picture of the quality of components.
You can expect most fresh dog food to be cooked rather than raw. For example, dogs can eat raw chicken, but unless the ingredient list specifically says ‘raw’ you can assume it’s cooked.
What to pick
Now that you know what to look for, here is what you should pick to meet your dog’s unique nutritional requirements:
Pick foods suitable for your dog breed
Is your dog a large breed or a small breed? Large breed dogs require nutrition to boost musculoskeletal health. They are more susceptible to issues like hip dysplasia than smaller breeds. So, pick foods that promote musculoskeletal health right from puppyhood to adulthood. On the other hand, small breeds like the Frenchies and Shih Tzus have small mouths. They may choke on large kibble. They also don’t require as much energy as the large-breed dogs. So, pick low-calorie dog foods that are easy to chew and swallow.
Pick age-appropriate dog food
Just like humans, dogs have age-specific nutritional needs. Puppies have different requirements than adult dogs. Also, senior dogs have unique requirements.
It is easy to pick puppy food like (royal canin maxi puppy) because many manufacturers prepare products to meet different growth stages. As for the adult dogs, the food should meet the activity needs. Highly active dogs require plenty of calories and vice versa. Senior dogs require fewer calories. But they need foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids to counter issues like arthritis.
Talk with your vet and see what food is appropriate for your dog’s age.
Pick allergen-free dog food that meets your dog’s health needs
Your dog could have food allergies like a sensitive tummy or a health condition that restricts the diet. Or your dog could be a picky eater. Whatever the case, finding the right foods for a dog with special dietary needs could be tricky. Instead of scrolling through many products and wondering if they are appropriate for your dog’s condition, consult your vet and get recommendations on what to feed him.
Wet or dry dog food?
The subject of wet dog food or dry dog food is still a matter of debate. Whereas dry food has the advantage of not requiring refrigeration, wet food is easier to chew and swallow and may contain a higher amount of fresh protein. Dry dog food could also be more expensive but in many cases of higher quality.
The choice is up to you (or your dog). But remember to seek the vet’s opinion before you settle on a diet.
Ultimately, you are in charge of what goes into your dog’s gut. Observe your furry friend and see what he likes or dislikes. Also, check out if his stool is firm and healthy. If your dog is active and has a healthy appetite, you are probably making the right choices regarding dog food.