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World statistics show that most of the pet owners who seek assistance for food poisoning are cats and dogs’ parents. Unfortunately according to research, the poisoning episodes often occur due to a lack of knowledge of the serious harm some food products pose to pets.
As a dog parent who wants the very best for your furry friend, you must learn everything about how to be a responsible pet parent. Part of this learning involves knowing what and what not to feed your pooch.
To help you keep your pup safe from food poisoning and other food-related health threats, here are the dos and don’ts when it comes to feeding your pet.
Do Give Your Pet a Nutritious Diet
Feed your dog a nutritious diet made up of protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
If you’re not sure of your dog’s nutritional requirements, you can always use the food guide on your dog’s food label. The guide will provide the nutritional needs of dogs based on their age and weight.
Also, when choosing your dog’s diet there are a few factors that you should consider as detailed below.
Puppies and adult dog diets are different. This is because puppies, adults, and senior dogs have different nutritional needs. Puppies require food rich in carbohydrates, meat-based protein, natural fats and oils, phosphorus, calcium, and omega fatty acids.
When it comes to senior dogs, a low-calorie diet is recommended as most senior dogs’ energy levels are low. Younger senior dogs are also at a high risk of being overweight. In addition, some senior dogs have health issues that require a special diet. For instance, if your pooch has osteoarthritis you should consider giving them anti-inflammatory foods.
Therefore, it is vital to feed them the right food that is fit for their age. Raised Right Pet Foods is formulated by vets and pet food experts to help you provide nutritious meals for your pet. They categorize the pet foods according to pets’ ages and you can even customize your order to fit your pet’s specific needs.
Large breed dogs are more susceptible to bone and joint issues than small breed pups. So, you need to feed your German shepherd or Great Dane with foods that can promote joint and bone health. On the other hand, small breed dogs should be fed on small breed foods as they have their unique nutritional needs.
Their Active Level
If you have an athletic Greyhound or any other active dog breed for a pet, you’ll need to feed them a low-carb diet that is rich in protein to refuel their energy. Working dogs also need a high-protein diet made up of animal protein to maintain their strong muscles. Less active dog breeds such as the Chow Chow or the Basset Hound should be fed a low-calorie diet.
Do Read Food Labels
Before you buy any dog food, carefully read the food label. Take note of the ingredients and check if the diet has the minimum amount of nutrients required for dogs as per the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO) requirements.
Don’t fall for advertising slogans such as “gourmet”, “super-premium” and “premium” as these aren’t always proof of quality. Also, be wary of high processed foods and diets with high levels of carbohydrates.
Additionally, look out for foods with additives and preservatives such as MSG, corn syrup, Sodium nitrate, and BHA as these can be harmful to your pet.
Remember, you can always seek advice from your vet if you’re unsure of certain pet foods.
Do Give Your Dog Enough Water
Ensure your pet always has access to clean water.
Water helps in digestion and absorption of nutrients. Water also helps release toxins and waste from your dog’s body. Also, water maintains your pooch’s body temperature and keeps them hydrated.
Always have water available for your dog in a clean bowl. If you’re planning to walk or play with your dog outdoors, ensure you carry cool water for them, especially when it’s hot.
Do Feed Your Pet in a Clean Bowl
Dogs just like humans don’t like being fed on dirty bowls.
Besides, dirty containers can cause illness to your pet.
Your dog shouldn’t share bowls with other pets in your home and they shouldn’t eat from your plate either. The best thing is to buy your pup their own feeding and water bowls. Also, ensure you clean the bowls regularly.
Ceramic and steel bowls are the best as they’re easy to clean.
Don’t Give Your Pet Too Many Treats
Giving your pup too many treats isn’t good for their health.
Treats provide very minimal nutritional value to your furry friend. They should only be given as rewards or incentives and never as a substitute for meals.
Besides, since most treats have high sugar levels, they can put your pet at a higher risk of being obese. Past statistics show that in North America, 25-30% of the dog population is obese.
Unfortunately, according to one study, obesity reduces your pet’s lifespan by almost two years.
If your pooch is overweight, limit their treat portions. You can also swap sugary treats with more healthy treats. Healthy foods that can be given as treats include carrots, watermelon, cooked sweet potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, apples, green beans, cucumbers, and bananas.
Don’t Give Your Dog Toxic Human Food
Most human foods are toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, many dog parents are ignorant of this fact.
According to a review study published in the Journal of Frontiers in Veterinary Science, most of the reported cases of pet poisoning in the last decade involved human foods such as chocolate-based products, onions, leeks, macadamia nuts, raisins, and grapes.
To keep your dog healthy, avoid giving them these toxic foods:
- Chocolate or any product that has chocolate
- Coffee and tea
- Onions, chives, and garlic
- Grapes and raisins
- Milk and other dairy products
- Foods with artificial sweetener xylitol such as candy gum and baked goods
- Cooked bones
If your dog consumes any of these food items even in small portions, take them to the vet immediately as some of these foods are fatal.
Feeding your pet a nutritious diet will keep your dog healthy and also give you peace of mind.
Hopefully, the above dos and don’ts will act as a guide when you’re choosing the best foods for your dog.
In case you have more questions relating to your pup’s diet, you can always ask your vet or engage us in the comments section below.