Getting and caring for a dog is life-changing. Some owners weren’t even dog people when they started out. But when they found the right canine that got along with them, they happily adopted it and gave it a warm, loving home.
When it comes to dog care, there’s always something new that you need to learn. Each dog is unique and has different needs, whether those involve food, medicine, or exercise. It’s good to learn about the basic requirements for your dog’s breed, but it’s equally important to get to know your dog on a deeper level and find out what their habits and preferences are.
Diet and nutrition are some of the most important aspects of dog care. There are basic dos and don’ts that every owner should know and practice. But keep in mind that you still have to make some adjustments based on your dog’s specific needs, especially if they have health issues like allergies. Here are some of the ways you can keep them healthy with a balanced diet:
- Always Read Labels And Ingredient Lists
Many owners choose dog food as the central part of their dog’s diet. However, there are so many brands available on the market, so it can get overwhelming. It can also be confusing if you rely on commercials to decide which brand you should stick to.
The best way to go about it is to look at the labels and check the nutrition facts and list of ingredients. Do this for several brands and make a comparison to make sure you’re getting the right one.
- Know What Not To Feed Them
It’s a known fact that certain foods are toxic to dogs. Although you might enjoy them, you should never feed them to your furry friends. Some types of food can also be tricky because the main ingredients are safe for dogs but the way they’re prepared isn’t necessarily healthy for your dog. For example, according to pawster.com, pickles aren’t safe for dogs because of their high sodium content. It’s better to stick to dill and cucumbers instead.
- Stay Away From Grains
There are some specific foods you can technically feed to your dog, but it doesn’t mean they’re suitable for your dog. In particular, grains can cause digestive issues, stinky stools, and gas among dogs. Fortunately, there are plenty of other types of food your dog can eat and enjoy without causing them any pain or health problems.
- Start Feeding Your Dog Lentils
Instead of grains, lentils are a better choice for dogs because of how nutritious they are. Lentils are already known as a good source of plant-based protein for people, and it’s the same for dogs. They’re also a fantastic source of fiber and iron while being low in calories. While they’re filling, they won’t cause high blood pressure, so lentils are an excellent food for diabetic dogs.
- Feed Them Raw Meat Or Cooked Meat
Meat is an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. It’s necessary for keeping your dog energetic, strengthening their muscles, boosting hormones and enzymes, and promoting cell repair. Raw meat has specific benefits such as giving your dog a shinier coat, cleaner teeth, and healthier skin. But you should know that it also has risks, such as bacteria. If you’d like to introduce your dog to a raw food diet, you should do further research on what kind of meat you can feed them and how to prepare it.
- Always Have Water Available
People are often advised to stay hydrated and have a tumbler of water with them at all times. More specifically, people are told to drink eight glasses of water a day. Despite that, you should also make sure not to drink too much because doing so can lead to water intoxication.
For your dogs, you’ll need to see to it that they consume the right amount, too. This would depend on how heavy the dog is, so take note of this formula: one ounce of fluids per pound of body weight. However, if you have a really active or a lactating dog, they’ll probably need more water. What’s more, if you have puppies that are already eating solid food, you should give them water as well.
A warning sign you should look out for is if your dog drinks too much water all of a sudden. This could be due to a health issue, so it’s best to have them checked by the vet right away.
- Give Them Antioxidant-Rich Food
Did you know that your dogs also need food with anti-inflammatory properties and foods rich in antioxidants? Antioxidants help improve their immune system, give them energy, and promote joint health. To bring more of these into your dog’s diet, here’s a list of food that’s safe for dogs and also rich in antioxidants:
- Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
- A bit of mango or tomato
- Cooked potatoes, carrots, and yellow squash
- Steamed green beans, spinach, broccoli, and kale
There are so many kinds of safe, healthy food that your dog can enjoy. But it’s critical for you to read labels, do your research, and know all your dog’s health needs in order to avoid any mishaps. And don’t forget to provide them with a wide variety of food so they can try new things and get more nutrients. Most importantly, never feed your dog anything that’s toxic to them, and give them just the right amount to prevent them from becoming overweight.