Whilst dogs do require a lot of energy and financial expenditure they also give us a lot back in terms of love, affection, support, warmth and happiness.
For this reason, it’s important we keep our dogs in the best shape possible and the best way to do this is to focus on their nutrition, as ultimately just like we are what we eat, our pets are what they eat too.
Whilst cats are a little more refined in their taste, their canine counterparts are by no means the fussiest of diners, and in many households across the world you will find a dog patiently waiting to lick the plate of his human’s evening meal, or wagging his tail, putting up his paw, or doing any other performance necessary for dog treats – which are a great way to express love, but just like giving a child a biscuit, you can overdo this generosity to the point it is detrimental to your dogs health.
Whilst the topic of feeding your dog sounds simple enough, it’s easy to forget the impact food has on our pets and there’s clearly some lack of awareness given how many dogs are taken into vets each day due to what they have ingested; normally human food that has been given out of love from a caring owner.
It can be hard to look after a dog, particularly with a busy schedule, as there is a huge time commitment involved.
However, looking after your dog’s diet doesn’t need to take any extra time; it’s just about being mindful to a few simple principles – some of which are listed below.
Let’s face it, we all love our pets and we can rarely resist the tail wag that comes at the end of dinner, and those doting eyes, that plead with you to finish what you’ve left on your plate!
It can feel almost cruel to not succumb to those ‘starved’ eyes that look up as though that one little piece of steak is the answer to their prayers; but from a dietary perspective, tough love would appear to be the kinder way forward in the long run.
Whilst you might view chocolate as a psychological treat (and so might your dog) there are a number of foods that are poisonous to dogs – including chocolate, avocado, and the sweetener xylitol.
Discard The Hype And Check Out The Label
There’s a lot of marketing hype around dog food. You need to look past this and head for the label on the back.
A lot of dog food is heavily processed and full of ‘fillers’.
You want to check the label, just like you would with human food, to confirm the main ingredient is a high protein meat and not all filler or junk.
In the same way you wouldn’t want to give children too much candy, as it would be bad for their health, too many treats can be unhealthy for your dog.
That said, offering treat based rewards is a fantastic way to train your dog; but try to find healthy alternatives that aren’t filled with additives or fattening biscuits.
Tasty treats don’t need to be unhealthy for your dog, and if you consider the effect of munching several biscuits a day would have on a human – it is the same for dogs.
Do Not Overfeed
On that point, we love our dogs so much that we often overfeed them – after all, there are only a few ways we can express that love; the predominant channels being walks, cuddles, and food.
The latter, can lead to an overweight dog, particularly if you’re guilty of dishing out
the dog treats to compensate for not spending enough time together during the day.
If you have an overweight dog in need of a doggy diet, one of the best tips is to feed earlier in the day and increase exercise.
Humans spend billions on natural healthcare in the form of vitamins and supplements; yet animals benefit from these too.
A chronic condition that plagues most dogs, as they get older, are conditions like arthritis – supplementing with preventative remedies like aloe vera
and essential omega oils can help.
Dogs need to drink little and often, as dehydration can cause serious health problems, and even death.
The higher the temperature, amount of exercise, and panting – the more your dog needs to drink.
If your dog eats only dry food then access to a plentiful supply of clean drinking water is even more important.