Covering Everything You Need To Know About Dog Diets And Dog Nutrition
Dogs love to eat. They will typically eat anything, anytime, and anyplace. However, dog diets are a little more complicated than most people think. Dogs have specific dietary needs and need a balanced diet in order to stay happy and healthy. This article will discuss everything you should know about dog diets, what foods are best, and why.
We Are Pet Professionals, Not Veterinarians
Full disclosure, we are not veterinarians or pet nutritionists. However, we are highly experienced and well educated when it comes to pet health, behavior, and dietary needs. This article is designed to be a list of recommendations and explanations regarding dog nutrition and dog diets.
Dogs Are Omnivores
A common misconception regarding dogs is that they are strictly meat eaters or carnivores. This is false. Dogs are actually omnivores, meaning they can eat both meat and plants. According to Fetch by WebMD.com, dogs don’t need vegetables in their diet, but they certainly help dogs get their essential vitamins and nutrients. Not all vegetables and fruits are safe for dogs to eat though. For example, apples are great for dogs, but the seeds are toxic. Be sure to research any vegetable or fruit before giving it to your dog to avoid health complications of accidental poisoning.
There are many different vegetables that can be incorporated into a dog’s diet for extra nutrition. Things like green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots contain important vitamins for dogs’ kidneys, muscles, and nerves. Most of these vegetables also add additional fiber to your dog’s diet, giving them more regular and healthy poops.
Fruits are great for dogs too! They are typically sweeter which makes them more appealing to most dogs’ taste buds. Each fruit can provide something unique to bring to the nutritional table. For example, bananas have lots of potassium, apples are full of Vitamin A, and oranges are packed with vitamin C. Try to incorporate a healthy blend of different fruits into your dog’s diet to cover all of your nutritional bases.
Dry dog food (kibble) is the most commonly used form of dog food in the world. This is because kibble is fairly inexpensive, has a longer shelf-life than other types of dog food, and is very convenient to manufacture, ship, and purchase. Kibble is created through a mass food manufacturing process called food extrusion. To learn more about the specifics of food extrusion, check out sciencedirect.com.
Things To Avoid:
When it comes to buying dry dog food, it’s important to check the nutrition label. The list of ingredients will give you a better idea of the quality of the food. Ingredients you should avoid are chemical preservatives like MSG, Ethoxyquin, and Nitrates. You should also avoid corn syrup, corn meal, and food dyes as they provide no nutritional value.
Things To Look For:
Dogs need digestible forms of protein in their diet in order to get the proper amounts of amino acids. These digestible proteins come from meat. The types of meats you should look for in dry dog food are whole meats like chicken, beef, and lamb. Avoid meat byproducts and bone meal when possible.
The opposite of dry dog food is wet dog food. Wet dog food usually comes in a can and is made up of a mixture of animal meat, vitamins, and plant matter. The consistency is rather soft resembling that of a stew or meatloaf.
Wet dog food has the highest moisture content compared to other types of dog food. This is great for helping dogs stay hydrated. Wet food is also very appealing to most dogs. It can be used as a topper for dry dog food to help encourage picky eaters to eat. Wet food is also easier to chew compared to dry food making it ideal for senior dogs or dogs with teeth issues.
Once dogs try wet food, they are often reluctant to ever eat dry food again. Wet dog food is usually more expensive compared to dry food too. Like dry dog food, some brands of wet food can be misleading. Always check the nutrition label and the ingredients before buying.
According to the A.K.C, a raw diet for dogs consists of muscle meats, organ meats, raw eggs, ground bone, dog-safe vegetables and fruits, and a dairy like yogurt. Essentially it’s a balanced mixture of raw ingredients that are jam packed with vitamins and minerals.
Raw diets are the most ideal diets for dogs. It cuts out all of the unnecessary preservatives, chemicals, and byproducts that some other types of dog food have. Dogs on raw diets often have shinier/softer coats, increased energy, better dental health, and healthier poops.
Although a raw diet is the healthiest diet for dogs, it is also the most expensive. The cost of raw meats and vegetables alone are akin to that of a human diet. Your dog will appreciate a raw diet, but your wallet won’t.
Dog treats are great for rewards and training purposes, but should never be relied upon for sustenance. They are a form of treat, not a form of food. For more information about dog treats, check out our previous article called Dog Treats 101.
Don’t Be Fooled By Prescription Diets
Oftentimes, veterinarians are quick to write out prescription dog foods to dog owners. Unless your dog suffers from a legitimate illness, this is usually unnecessary. While it will vary from case to case, be cautious when buying or adopting a perception dog food diet. Nothing against veterinarians, but many prescription based dog foods are just a label and contain similar ingredients to that of regular dog foods.