As a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure that your dog is healthy and happy and making sure they eat properly plays a key role in this respect. After all, food is a love language for all pets. However, since your furry friend can’t express their feelings in words and tell you about their nutritional preferences and needs, ensuring a healthy and balanced diet is not always as simple and straightforward as some may think.
Sure, feeding your dog is a lot easier today than it was a decade ago. The rapid growth of the pet food industry, fueled by scientific research, advancements in food processing equipment and the growing awareness regarding the importance of a proper diet for pet wellbeing has led to an increasing number of brands offering an ever-expanding range of nourishing pet products, including wet and dry foods, premium goods, treats, snacks, chews and supplements. With so many products lining the shelves of pet food shops at the moment, owners can’t complain they lack options.
But the problem stems from choosing the right options. Since each dog is unique, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. This means there are numerous variables that you need to take into consideration when deciding what and how you should feed your dog to help them thrive. So, in this guide, we’re going to address some of the most important pet feeding aspects and dilemmas, and hopefully, that will help you make better food choices for your beloved pet.
Dry Vs Wet Food
There are many types of dog foods available on the market with all sorts of different ingredients and nutritional values, but they can be separated into two main categories: dry and wet foods. So, which one is best for your pooch?
You’ll be happy to know that both wet and dry food can meet your pet’s dietary requirements, so you can choose both, or you can stick to just one type, depending on how your dog responds to these products. Wet food is easier to chew and has a higher moisture content, making it more suitable for older dogs with teeth problems or dogs that require more hydration. It’s also the ideal choice for picky eaters as it’s usually tastier. On the other hand, dry food helps with oral health and is also more convenient for pet owners, especially since it tends to be cheaper.
The Burden Of Sifting Through Pet Food Brands And Products
As we’ve already mentioned, the pet food sector has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade. Companies such as Alfraequipment that specialize in dosing and weighing equipment have contributed greatly to the development of the global animal feed market, which was valued at nearly US$ 500 billion in 2022.
This means there are now more pet food brands and products than ever before, and the offering keeps expanding. While this is definitely good news for our four-legged buddies, it can’t be denied that the wide variety of options places an extra burden on pet owners’ shoulders. So, what can you do to cut through the overwhelming number of choices and make the decision process less complicated?
You might be tempted to rely on ads for guidance, but that means giving in to marketing gimmicks. The smartest thing to do is to consult the label and check the ingredients listed there. Then you can use Google to do your own research and learn more about these ingredients or talk to your vet about them. In time, you’ll learn what ingredients to avoid and what formulas are better for your pooch, and that will help you narrow down your options.
Too Much Or Too Little?
The quality of the food you choose for your dog matters a lot, but so does the quantity. Overfeeding your pet is just as bad as underfeeding them, as this can lead to a variety of health issues from weight gain or loss to digestive problems. Therefore, you need to figure out the optimum quantity of food that you should feed your dog every day, and also create an adequate meal schedule.
Once again, you should look at the feeding instructions written on the package and check the recommended feeding amounts. Starting from there, you can adjust the portions depending on your dog’s weight and activity levels. If you have a lean and hyperactive dog, you can increase the amount, but if your pooch is a bit lazier and has a tendency to gain weight, it’s best to reduce feeding quantities.
To Feed Or Not To Feed Your Pet Table Scraps
A lot of dogs have a habit of begging for food at the table, and if your pet does the same you probably know that it’s very difficult to say no when they look at you with those adorable puppy eyes. But it’s best not to give in to their cuteness given that many human foods are not adequate for dogs. In fact, some foods such as raisins, chocolate, onions, and garlic, that people have no issue consuming are toxic for dogs. However, if you want to give your pet a healthy treat, stick to fresh whole foods that are safe for dogs, and limit treats to two times a day.
Do Puppies Need Special Food?
Given that puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, they should be fed puppy food that can support healthy development. So, this is not a marketing trick to push more pet food products to consumers. Puppy food has more nutrients than adult dog food, as puppies need more vitamins and minerals to support optimal growth. Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you give your pup adult dog food every once in a while, but it’s definitely better for them to eat products that meet their specific dietary requirements.
Choosing the right foods for your dog often requires a learning curve, but being patient and doing your research will help you figure things out.