Characteristics to be Considered in Choosing a Diet for your Dog
As all pet owners know, a new puppy in your life means a dynamic within your family that includes another being who has their own personality, behavior, preferences, and quirks. Whether you are enjoying life on your own or with a house full of people, including a dog, changes things—it is man’s best friend, after all. With the addition of a new dog or a current one with new health circumstances, diet is important. The choice of dog food cannot just be based on one characteristic while neglecting the rest. Whether your dog is a purebred, a mixed rescue, or has had health changes, you will want to visit a veterinarian to discuss health and nutrition. This is a time to discuss food options and to hear what diet the vet thinks will benefit your dog. There are a lot of dog characteristics that can play into your food choices such as:
- Health history
- Exercise regime
- Family dynamics
- Taste Preferences
What Diets Are Available for Your Dog?
Different diets are available for puppies, adults, and seniors, some specialized for miniatures, small, medium, large, and giant breeds and there are more variables for dogs with health problems and others for activity levels. There all so some limited options for vegetarian and vegan. But whether your pet is 5 pounds or 150, healthy or frail, he needs a diet with quality nutrients. Healthy protein and fat with the right vitamins and minerals are crucial. A diet should be centered on a named protein with good fat to get omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There should be no unnamed ingredients, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in your dog’s diet. There will be less chance of allergic reactions if it is kept simple. There are basically three types of food to look at for your dog’s diet: raw, dry, and wet. These types can be blended together and be served as your dog prefers to meet their nutritional needs. As always, do not forget your dog needs hydration in his diet. Make sure they have access to fresh, clean water during the day.
The Best Raw Food Diet Options for Your Dog
It’s important for all dog owners to understand the commercially prepared raw options are not all equal. If you choose to feed your do a raw diet, then you need to be wary of E. coli in both homemade and store-bought raw foods. It is difficult to get the calcium and phosphorus levels needed so you need to be cautious about nutritional balance. Your raw dog food options from the store are often frozen, freeze-dried, or vacuum packed and should consist of some if not all of the following:
- Muscle meat
- Bones, either whole or ground
- Organ meat
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
- Apples or other fruit
Example: Vital Essentials Raw
This product comes in various forms. There is a meal boost topper that is sprinkled on top of a regular meal for fussy eaters or give a protein boost in their diet. There are patties to be crumbled or nibs that look similar to dry food yet are raw. All products are made with farm fresh raised beef, organs, and bones. It is grain- and gluten-free with protein and amino acids. There are no artificial ingredients or hormones, no antibiotics, fillers, or flavorings. It is a meal ready to go at any time with no preparation needed. A great well-balanced meal for your pup.
Pros: No fillers, real meat, gluten-free
Cons: Inconsistent bite-size, some digestive upset for some dogs
Best Dry Food Diet Options for Your Dog
Dry dog food not only has to have good taste but quality ingredients that support the health of your pet. You may not be able to find a food that meets all the beneficial qualities you want for their diet but if you read the nutritional labels closely you will be able to include a significant number of them. Offering it blended with other foods can make up any nutritional deficiencies in a dry food diet.
Example: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free
This product is formulated with the unusual but healthy proteins of buffalo, bison, and roasted venison. The grain-free recipe with peas and sweet potatoes makes it easy to digest. It has antioxidants, prebiotics, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and minerals with amino acids. A great choice with novel ingredients that your dog will not only think tastes good but will help their overall health as well. A great staple in their healthy diet.
Pros: Highly digestible, good antioxidants, good nutrient absorption
Cons: Can cause stomach upset if a new product
Best Wet Food Diet Options for Your Dog
Wet food is usually enjoyed by most dogs and should have similar nutritional values as both the raw and dry food diets. A wet food diet is good for dogs who are missing teeth, have small
jaws or any dental issues. They are good options for picky eaters and also offer extra hydration for those who don’t seem to drink enough water during the day.
Example: Wellness Core Grain-Free
This formula has a high level of quality animal protein with no fillers or grains. It has good vitamin and mineral supplements to boost the nutrient content of your dog’s diet. It has flaxseed and an omega blend for healthy coat and skin and can be eaten on its own or be mixed with some dry food. Either way, they will get a healthy bowlful of tasty food with balanced nutrition.
Pros: good balance of nutrients, easy for small mouths or dogs with dental issues.
Cons: Pricier, strong smell
Whether you have a tiny Yorkshire terrier, French bulldogs, or even the heaviest of Boxers, there are many great nutritional options for your beloved pet. Once you have taken a good look at the characteristics, any potential medical issues, and have talked to their veterinarian, you can make an informed choice on which diet to follow. Choose raw, wet, or dry or mix them up for a balance. A good, healthy diet means the greater possibility for a long and happy life.