Trying to figure out the right dog food for your canine companion can seem overwhelming, but there are several things to consider that can help make the decision easier. Today, our Gainesville vets talk about what diet is healthiest for your dog and what food may be best to provide for all of their nutritional needs.
One of the most important things when it comes to pet care is ensuring that your beloved companion has a complete, nutritional diet. Unfortunately, the number of options and endless information out there can make it seem impossible to know what to choose. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making decisions about what food to feed your dog:
Learn About What Foods & Diet Are Best for Your Dog
There's an endless collection of information about canine nutrition online, which can be an excellent resource to start you off. While researching, it's important to be mindful that not all information will be reliable or applicable to your dog's unique case. If you have any questions or doubts about feeding your dog, you can also ask others like dog breeders, trainers, and groomers about their opinions and advice regarding their favorite dog food. A local pet store may also be a good resource for advice on feeding your dog, although the best source of information will always be your veterinarian.
Keep in mind that premium dog food brands will include meat for protein, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruit, and omega-fatty acids which help your dog keep a healthy, shiny coat. This premium dog food will also typically contain fewer fillers such as corn, wheat or soy.
Learn The Differences Between the Types of Dog Food Available
When it comes to the leading brands of dog food you can typically find both wet and dry forms of food, although more recent options include dehydrated or freeze-dried food that you add water to before giving it to your dog. Commercial dog food has the advantage of oversight; the nutritional information on dog food brand packages comes from the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). When shopping for dog food, remember that your dog's needs and preferences are as important as the nutrition in their food! You should also be sure to keep the size, age and breed of your dog in mind when choosing a dog food as different breeds and energy levels have different nutritional needs.
For some people, making their dog's food at home is appealing for a number of reasons: potentially saving money, fears around commercial dog food recalls, or a specialty diet. Creating an appropriate meal for your dog requires close attention to ensure that it has the nutrition that your dog needs. If you're considering making your dog's food, consult your vet for advice.
Introduce New Foods Slowly to Avoid Issues
One thing you should always avoid is unexpected changes to your dog's diet. Sudden changes can cause issues with your dog's gastrointestinal system and more, especially if they have any sensitivities. Try adding gradually increasing amounts of the new food mixed into the food your dog is used to eating. As your dog transitions to the new food, keep an eye out for any signs of illness such as an allergic reaction or an upset stomach. If you have concerns about your dog's reaction to their food, contact your vet right away to have your dog examined.
Monitor Your Dog for Any Usual Symptoms
You know best the type of lifestyle that your dog leads and what they may require out of their diet. Your insight into their daily life, activity level and overall health makes you the final say in what your dog eats. With proper nutrition, appropriate portions, and regular checks with the veterinarian, your dog will likely live a long, happy and healthy life as your trusted family pet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.