What is best for your furry friend? Every pet parent faces the food dilemma. Here are some choices, suggests Dr Jeyapriya. S, Ph.D Scholar, Department of Livestock Products Technology Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana.
Pet foods are specialized diet formulations for domesticated animals, designed to meet their nutritional requirements. The quality of food you feed, directly impacts your pet’s health. Good quality food would improve upon their quality of life and increase their longevity. The notion that dogs eat anything that is given to them, does not necessarily mean that they have to. It is important that the diet be a well balanced one and should help maintain good health, vitality and proper weight management.
What to feed your dog..
It can’t be overemphasized that nutrition is critical for your dog’s health and well being. Plenty of water: Just as with humans, optimal nutrition begins with ensuring that your dog has access to clean and plentiful water. Water makes up more than half of the total body weight of a dog. Dry food to water ratio: Give about two and a half times as much food as water.
Don’t skimp on carbohydrates: carbohydrates should always be a part of your dog’s diet. The majority of dog meals are dryand include 30 to 70 percent carbs. Make sure your dog doesn’tget too much carbs either. Excess carbohydrates are stored asfat in the body and can eventually contribute to obesity. Rice andveggies are high in fibre and provide an excellent supplyof carbohydrates.
Add fat To their diet to boost their energy: Fats have a significantenergy content in comparison to carbs. Fish, chicken, meat, andoils are all good sources of fat. Plants provide some fats, as well.Healthy skin and coats benefit from fats.
Increase Immunity and Disease Prevention: Make sure thatevery meal you offer your dog contains enough vitamins andminerals. Minerals and vitamins maintain a healthy metabolismand immune system in your pet. Minerals like calcium help tokeep their bones strong, while iron is necessary for good bloodcirculation. These can be found in a variety of animal andplant sources. Homemade vs. commercial Foods: apparently most pet ownersprefer to feed their dog the leftovers from their dinner table,which is OK. However one must ensure that the meal containsthe correct nutrients mix and proportions. It is preferable to feedyour dog commercial pet food if you can afford it. This is due tothe fact that they contain the required vitamins, veggies,grains, and meat.
if something is listed as an ingredient, then it is required that it only constitute 3% of the food.
- The best way to choose a healthy dog food:
Know what’s in the pet food before you buy it. If a food is labelled as containing a single component, it must constitute at least 95% of that ingredient, excluding water. If a particular combination of ingredients is promoted, it must account for at least 95% of the food. If a food claims to be entirely made of chicken, for example, then chicken should account for 95% of the total weight. If something is listed as an ingredient, then it is required that it only constitute 3% of the food. caveat emptor.
- Check against the list of AAFCO recommended ingredients
Dog and puppy nutrition profiles have been developed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This information will give you an overview of the foods available, but keep in mind that labels can be deceiving. choose food with meat based items listed as the first two or three ingredients. avoid foods that contain excess chemical preservatives and high amounts of fillers like wheat, corn and soy.
- Keep in mind your dog’s age and activity level
Your dog’s energy and nutrition needs are based on multiple factors including growth, activity, reproductive status and age. Dog food is geared for feeding during certain life stages of the animals. a young growing pet will need more calories than an older pet. a pregnant or lactating dog will also need more calories than its spayed or neutered counterpart.
- Take grains and glutens into consideration
Some pet owners prefer to avoid grains in their dog’s diet. For dogs who are allergic to grains, they must be avoided. allergies to other components, such as meats, are, nevertheless, far more frequent than allergies to wheat. People with gluten allergies are widespread and many pet owners pick gluten- free food for their dogs, assuming that the same is true for dogs. Gluten allergies in dogs, are actually quite uncommon.
- Ask for vet’s advice
Request a physical condition evaluation for your dog from your veterinarian and make sure you understand the essentials. The most important thing to remember is to be able to only feel your dog’s ribs with your fingers and not be able to see them.
- Decide between canned and dry foods
Most pets will do fine on either one, but, on occasion, you may find a pet that is sensitive to a particular form of diet. They may develop symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. This shows that their system cannot process that food correctly. cost too, could be the deciding factor. canned foods are generally more expensive than dry food options but they are about 75% water.
- Know what to avoid:
We have all sat down to eat only to find ourselves staring into the most imploring set of eyes hoping for a little tidbit to fall into their mouth. This, of course, begs the question of what pets can’t eat when it comes to people food.