Your dog's diet: what's the best food for your dog?
Just like us humans, your dog needs a balanced diet to help manage their weight and keep them fit and healthy.
Let's take a closer look at what to consider when choosing the right diet for your dog.
Dog food to suit your pet… and your budget
Prices of dog food range dramatically, from premium brands to budget options. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for; the more expensive brands tend to have been researched extensively, and often contain carefully balanced vitamins and minerals.
Cheaper dog food can be made from inexpensive ingredients - harder for your dog to digest and offering less nutritional value, which means that the dog's body uses less of it. This has 2 principal effects:
- You'll need to feed your dog more of it
- Your dog will produce a lot more poo
Dogs respond to food in their own way, so it’s impossible to recommend one particular type.
Dry food - dog biscuits or dry kibbles - can help to keep your dog's teeth clean with it's rough texture. Canned foods can also be a good choice, but bear in mind that certain wet foods can contain up to 75% water - which provides no nutrition whatsoever.
Some dogs enjoy a combination of wet and dry food, and you’ll probably need to try out different brands and feeding schedules before settling on one that works best.
As your dog matures, their dietary needs will change. Puppies, with their immature digestive and immune systems, have different dietary needs to older dogs.
Young dogs typically need more calories to fuel their energetic lives, while older dogs - who are often less active - may need less food, a lighter diet or a diet that's gentler on their digestive system.
Consider your dog’s health too. If they have a chronic condition, such as arthritis or a sensitive stomach, your vet may recommend a particular diet to help them.
Always check the ingredients! By law, pet food manufacturers must list their ingredients by weight, so by choosing a diet that has meat, fish or egg at the top of the list, you'll ensure you’re feeding your dog a protein-rich diet.
If ingredients don’t sound like foodstuffs, be wary of unnecessary additives and preservatives. Vitamin E and C are good natural preservatives.
If you plan to make changes to your dog’s diet, always do this gradually to allow their digestive system to adapt.
Am I feeding my dog well?
If your dog is energetic and bright-eyed with a shiny coat and is neither over nor underweight, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re feeding them well. It may not be nice, but check their stool too – if the food is working, your dog will produce consistently well-formed, firm stools.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s wellbeing, or if you suspect they may have a health condition or a food intolerance, speak to your vet for more advice.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
A constant supply of fresh water is vital to your dog’s health and wellbeing.
Make sure you change their water daily, and keep the bowl topped up throughout the day. You may want to consider a fountain, which provides fresh water all day long. Online pet stores and retailers such as Amazon have a great selection.
Need more info?
For help choosing the right food for your dog, speak to your local vet.