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.

Dog Diet

Bagged Food

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

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.

Fat

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

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 Food

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.
By Lauren Colman on Aug 20, 2013 at 6:00 am 0 Comments

For many pet owners, maintaining an environmentally conscious lifestyle can be difficult. Although humans have reached the point where green solutions to common problems are aplenty, there is still a considerable amount of progress to be made in the animal kingdom.

Green Dog

Unfortunately, many pet products lack biodegradability, can be hazardous to the environment and can even degrade the health of your furry friends.  If you’re concerned with the effect that these products have on the environment, never fear, there are green solutions for pet owners everywhere.

Containment

Keeping your pets contained and safe from harm is priority number one. To the dismay of many pet lovers, runaways, thefts and other related deaths are still rampant in the animal world and claim so many lives each year. Fortunately there are ways to extend the lifespan of your pets while still preserving Mother Nature. 

  • A wireless dog fence can save you money, reduce consumption of natural resources and allow for complete control of your pet’s environment. It’s also easy to install, an excellent space saver and entirely humane.
  • Constructing a dog house or scratching post from materials around the house isn’t as difficult as some people make it out to be. It may be a bit of a weekend project, but your pets will love you for it.
  • Dogs and cats are great at entertaining themselves. Whether it’s an empty plastic bottle, or a discarded paper bag, giving them something to play with will keep them happy and loyal.

Waste

If you’re like most people, stepping in dog doo can really ruin your day. As common as it is, what most people don’t realize is its effect on the environment. Even though it’s a dirty job, cleaning up after your pet is not only a service to your community, but also a quick and easy way to upkeep environmental conditions.

  • Using environmentally sound disposable bags to clean up fecal matter reduces overall waste and prevents harmful bacteria from seeping into the Earth.
  • Most kitty litter is made from clay obtained through strip mining. You can combat this by only buying biodegradable litter made from wheat, corn, reclaimed wood or old newspapers.
  • If your pets don’t “make it to the newspaper” in time, use environmentally friendly household cleaners to assess the mess.  

Treats

It should come as no surprise that the foods you consume have a direct effect on your wellbeing. The same is true for your pets, and although it may be easy to buy the same dog food every time, paying attention to ingredients can be beneficial to your pets. You may not be able to get your cat to go vegan, but supplementing her diet with healthier options is highly recommended.

  • Introducing pumpkin into your dog’s diet through homemade treats can soothe stomach pains and ease digestion.
  • Frozen cat treats made from blended sardines and krill are a healthy snack for the hottest of summer days.
  • Before adopting a vegan diet for your dog or cat, be sure you do your research. Dogs have an easier time adjusting, but cats have been known to develop urinary tract issues when not fed adequate amounts of meat. Consult a veterinarian before making any drastic changes to what your pets eat. 

Pupsicles - Gus Sits

Ensuring the health and safety of your pets doesn’t have to be harmful to the environment. In fact, many green solutions prove more advantageous to both the wellbeing of your pets and the ground they walk on. So, next time you’re at the pet store, be conscious of your purchases and reach for a greener alternative. After all, this world is as much theirs as it is ours.

When Adam Holmes isn’t scooping poo, he’s lost in the lines of his notebook, writing about pet care. He’s had dogs and cats all his life and does his best to stay up-to-date on how to keep them healthy.
By Lauren Colman on Aug 07, 2013 at 6:00 am 0 Comments