A Comprehensive Nutritional Guide for Dogs
Have you ever visited your veterinarian to ask what foods you should feed your dog? I bet, more than once! Dog foods vary a lot based on their nutritional values, so yes, it's always lovely to chalk out a well-balanced diet plan for your dog instead of randomly feeding your pet any dog food you can get your hands on. Easier said than done, right! That's why we have come up with this comprehensive nutritional guide for dogs. You'll not only learn what, when, and how much to feed your dog but also educate yourself about many helpful tips regarding feeding your pets.
ABCs of Dog Digestion
Although belonging to order Carnivora, dogs can eat meat as well as plant-based food, just like us humans. On the other hand, cats in fact are true carnivores, and they must eat mutton and meat-based products only. A balanced diet is mandatory for dogs to stay healthy. Feeding dogs with only one type of food, whether plant-based or meat-based, will lead to health issues. Although proteins and fats are primary sources of energy for dogs, they are also equipped with digestive enzymes to assimilate carbohydrates.
Domesticated dogs have evolved to digest cooked foods more efficiently as compared to raw foods. Feeding uncooked foods to your dog can create many health issues, especially in puppies and the ones with weak immune systems. That's why it's best to feed properly cooked, balanced foods to your dog.
Nutritional Requirement for Dogs
Water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins are the six essential nutrients. These essential nutrients must be included in a dog's daily diet and are involved in all of the body's vital functions. For many nutrients, a minimum dietary requirement is known. The maximum tolerable level of certain nutrients, as per toxicity levels, is available.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials has established nutritional guidelines (AAFCO). The nutritional content of commercial pet foods must comply with the AAFCO guidelines. Make sure your dog's food complies with AAFCO guidelines. Remember that these are only suggestions; depending on your dog's health, he may require more or less than the prescribed quantities.
What Will Be An Ideal Dog Food?
The best piece of advice regarding pet food that anyone can offer is to give your dog the highest-quality food you can afford. The differences between a premium food and a budget food are found in the ingredients' quality and source, not on the nutrition label. Even though two dog foods contain the same amount of protein, their digestibility is significantly distinct.
The ingredients in pet food are present in weight order. When each component makes it to the batch of food, it is weighed, and ingredients like fresh meat contain a lot of water lost during processing. As a result, a dry diet with corn as the first ingredient could be nutritionally superior to the dry diet with meat as the first ingredient.
The best way to choose food for your pet is to seek advice from your dog's regular veterinarian. No one knows your pet's biology better than his veterinarian, and he's also well-qualified to suggest you the best pet foods for your dog.
In case you decide to go pet food shopping on your own, here are our tips for you:
- Choose diets that contain actual, identifiable whole-food ingredients. Find a new diet if the majority of the mentioned ingredients are unknown to you.
- Make a low-calorie diet a priority. The majority of adult indoor dogs that have been spayed or neutered have low energy requirements. Your dog's diet should have a low-calorie content per cup, preferably less than 350 calories.
- According to the AKC, puppies six months and younger can consume dog food three to four times a day. They can eat twice a day at six months of age. Adult dogs can eat one or two times a day, depending on how much physical exercise they get.
- Overfeeding your dog is the worst thing you can do to him. It can make your pet overweight, which eventually leads to many serious health issues.
How Much Should I Feed My Pet?
Many variables determine how much your should be feeding your pet. The variables include your pet's weight, age, daily exercise level, and whether your pet is neutered or not. The daily calorific needs of your pet are thus calculated as follows:
30 x weight in kg (or pounds divided by 2.2) + 70 = daily caloric needs
It would be best to keep in mind that this formula may or may not be suitable for your pet. Some pets require fewer calories than the formula, while some pets require more than the calculated value.
With markets flocked by pet food brands claiming to offer high-quality, nutritious pet foods at reasonable rates, it can get challenging to choose the right one. You should narrow down your search to a dog food brand that you can count on. Your veterinarian can provide the best assistance in helping you choose the best pet food brand and type for your dog.