Matthew had recently taken in a new pup and was overwhelmed with the amount of choices and ingredients in the dog food section. How do you make sure that you are selecting the right healthy food for your pup? How do you decipher the labels to ensure that only the nutritionally-rich foods are making it onto your pet’s plate? Read on to find out how to make the best decision when it comes to choosing the right kind of healthy dog food.
1. What Do Dogs Need in Their Diet?
A Balanced Diet Keeps Dogs Happy and Healthy
A healthy, balanced diet is essential for keeping your canine companion in tip top shape. In general, dogs need some of the same nutrients as humans; including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Here’s what you need to include:
- Protein – This is a half of the elemental components of a canine diet. Protein is required in order to build and maintain muscle, repair tissue and create enzymes that assist bodily functions. It is typically found in meat, eggs, fish, and dairy.
- Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates provide the body with energy and are important for your dog’s digestion. Foods rich in carbohydrates also contain important vitamins and minerals. Sources of carbohydrates include starches found in cereals, grains and vegetables.
- Fats – Fats are essential for keeping a dog’s skin and coat healthy, and for providing energy. Fats are found in meat, dairy, nuts and vegetable oils.
- Vitamins and minerals – Vitamins and minerals are necessary to help improve a dog’s appetite and digestion, and to regulate cell development. In addition to providing basic nutrition, vitamins and minerals can help reduce the risk of infections and diseases.
- Water – Water is essential to a dog’s health and should be available to your dog at all times. Unless your dog is an avid swimmer, it should not replace water in your pet’s diet.
It is important to remember that no single ingredient or food group is a complete diet, so variety is key when bringing together the components of a healthy diet for your pup. Consult your vet for specific nutritional needs for your individual pet, as requirements may vary according to breed, age and activity level.
2. Locating Healthy Dog Foods
Contrary to popular belief, what is marketed as healthy dog food often times isn’t! To make sure your furry friend is getting their nutritional needs met, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what’s on the label and what’s not. Here are a few tips to locating the right kind of food:
- Know the ingredients: Look for recognizable ingredients – while some unknown ingredients are proven to be healthy and beneficial, it’s always a safer bet to start with what you know.
- Check for preservatives: Look for natural preservatives like parsley and rosemary instead of more questionable artificial ingredients like BHA and BHT.
Your canine pal is what they eat, so taking the time to read labels with care is essential for their well-being. If it’s not the best for you, chances are it’s not the best for them either. Search for higher grade brands with quality ingredients that are ethically sourced, to ensure your furry buddy’s health and happiness!
3. Taste Test: Giving Fido the Best Nutrition
It’s no secret that giving your pup the best nutrition means a longer and healthier life. So when it comes to Fido’s daily meals, it’s important to consider what you give him. Here are three things to consider when selecting the best food for your pup:
- Look for complete nutrition: Many store-brands only offer simple foods that don’t necessarily provide all the nutrition needed for a happy, healthy pup. Select a food made with natural ingredients that is specifically designed for your pup’s age and activity level.
- Know your pup’s tastes: Even the healthiest food in the world won’t do your pup any good if it’s not something he’ll eat. Be sure to read reviews and talk to other dog owners to find out what Fido may (or may not) enjoy.
- Test it out: Try different brands until you find the one that fits! Take the time to not only taste test yourself, but also watch your pup’s reactions to the food. Only give him food that he actively seeks out and enjoys.
Remember, your pup’s diet will greatly influence his energy levels and overall health. Take the time to find the food that fits his needs and he’ll be happily chowing down in no time!
4. Making Feeding Time Fun and Nutritious
Making meal time enjoyable and nutritious for your kids is a delicate balancing act. Both taste and nutrition are equally important concerns when you are planning meals. Letting your children eat healthier doesn’t mean that meals have to be boring and stiff. Here are some tips to make feeding your kids something they look forward to:
- Offer a variety of food to choose from. Providing different food types can help your kids explore the plethora of food available and make their meals seem more interesting.
- Let them create their own meals. Give your kids materials like play-dough, cookie cutters, or clay to have them make something with their food.
- Give them a choice over the order of dishes. Ask them to pick between two dishes and let them decide which one to begin with. That gives them a feeling of autonomy and makes mealtime more enjoyable.
Eating habits develop early and nutritious eating should be a priority. While getting outside help to promote healthy eating is still important, it’s also beneficial to let your kids have some control over their own meals. Showing them that meals can be nutritious and fun, and that healthy eating is something to look forward to, will help in setting lifelong healthy habits.
For those of us who are dog owners, making sure that our fur family is happy and healthy is of the utmost importance. Eating the right kind of food is an important part of keeping our furry friends in the best of health. Hopefully, with these tips, you now feel more confident in your ability to choose the right kind of healthy dog food for your pup. Remember: happy, healthy pups make for happy, healthy owners, too!