Diet Fads For Your Dog? What Fido Really Needs in His Bowl
While some dog owners are content with feeding their pets generic kibble, this diet doesn't always provide proper nutrition. Dogs need a variety of nutrients, much like their human caretakers. An improperly balanced diet can cause problems ranging from lackluster fur, to life-threatening undernourishment. Certain foods can be added to your dog’s diet to prevent these ailments. The amount of these foods varies with each dog, so consult your vet before making any dietary changes.
Always look at the label. Any product that uses cornmeal as its base, isn't a good choice. Dogs don’t naturally consume a high amount of grains, so it doesn't make much sense to base their diet around them. Select a food that is made of a protein like chicken or beef instead. It is best to choose a pre-prepared food that is well balanced. Other nutritious foods can be added later if needed.
Protein is the building block for your pet's muscles. As such, it is vital for dogs to have the proper amount of protein. Weak muscles and skin problems are often a sign that your dog needs more protein in its diet. Fish, eggs, chicken, and beef all help alleviate protein deficiency.
Be aware of the fat content. Too much can cause liver problems, and too little can cause skin issues. If you find your pet's skin is flaky and dry it may be time to think about adding more fat to their diet. 10% -15% is the recommended range.
Grains should not make up the majority of a dog’s diet, but they may still be included. Grains are a good source of carbohydrates. Some may argue that they cause digestive problems, but the inclusion of grains is up to you. Monitor your pet for gluten allergies if you switch their food. These allergies are relatively rare, but it never hurts to be alert. Talk to your vet if your dog becomes itchy as this may indicate an allergy.
Raw diets are based on the idea of a dog’s diet in nature. Meat and vegetables comprise the majority of raw diets. With a raw diet, there is less room for fillers like cornmeal. Purchasing raw food from a reputable sourcemaximizes the benefits of a raw diet. Many users report a shinier coat and overall improved health when they switch to a raw diet.
Whichever food you choose, make the appropriate adjustments for your pet. Good nutrition is the first step in ensuring the extended health of your four legged friend.
Brooke Chaplan is a writer and blogger from Los Lunas, NM. She loves to run, hike and bike and you can contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan. For more information on raw food diets visit rawpetfood.com.