The key to success in any domesticated canine's diet is finding the best fit for their needs. Because there are a multitude of factors to consider with just the food type alone, it is best to begin the hunt to find the best food for your pooch by first really understanding your furry friend. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Is my dog big, medium or small?
Dogs of different sizes have different nutritional needs, so it is best to determine this step first.
Puppies are active and have a ton of energy, so at 6 months, according to the AKC, or American Kennel Club, puppies can eat twice daily. Follow the serving sizes that are provided on the food package label, however, your veterinarian can always give you a customized dietary regimen that is perfect for your bestie.
Small dogs in general can be susceptible to certain nutrition-based diseases, depending on the breed, like hypoglycemia, diabetes and obesity. For small pups, pay very close attention to fat and carbohydrate content to make it is balanced properly with other important ingredients like protein. Consult with your veterinarian for the best results.
Medium dogs, like small canines, might have a bit of trouble getting their mouths around larger pieces of kibble, so you would be a kind puppy parent to seek out a meal that was comfortable for them to munch. Medium canines also need to have a good amount of protein and calories to make it through their day, which means their food, whether it be dry or wet, should have a good proportion of protein packed-in.
Large pooches need the most calories to keep their energy levels up and their bodies healthy. It is important to concentrate on protein levels as well as kibble size. Some larger hounds might have an easier time with larger kibble pieces, and the larger the pieces, the less likely it is for Fido to choke while excitedly feasting.
Another important thing to remember for larger breeds is that they can develop hip and joint problems during their lifetime. Search for food that contains ingredients like glucosamine, which can support joint and hip health. Fatty acids like EPA and DHA are also helpful for larger hounds in adding to the calorie-count.
2. Is my dog a puppy, a teenager, middle-age or a senior?
Nutritional needs for pooches will change throughout their lifespan. For instance, puppies will need more fat in their diet, and seniors will need more calcium to make sure their bones stay healthy. A statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) saying that the food is “Complete” and “Balanced” would also be a good hint that you would be safe to choose that brand, no matter what stage of life your companion is in.
When Rex is in the middle of his life, a balanced diet is most appropriate.
Probiotics and antioxidants are an important part of any mutt’s diet, but especially for puppies and seniors. Make sure to take special care to find foods containing calorie-dense foods with vitamins, minerals, real foods, fruits and vegetables. If there is a long list of items on the ingredients that you cannot understand, then it might be a good idea to either check with your veterinarian or move on to the next food choice.