A Taste Test: What is the Best Nutrition For Your Dog
What do our dogs really think of what we scoop into their bowls each day? Do they prefer the crunch of dry food or the soft flavors of canned? Do they really taste the ‘hint of salmon’ or the ‘turkey rub’?
Like any good pet parent, I am always interested in the new way forward when it comes to my dog’s nutrition. Although raw dog food diets are controversial, studies show that the popularity of the diets that emphasize raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables, is rising. We are told that focusing on a raw diet is not only healthier for us, but also for our furry friends.
Various questions come up when shopping for monthly supplies: Is rawhide safe? How often should I allow an extra treat or two? What are the healthiest brands? Should my dogs eat hard or soft foods? Is it worth the extra expense to buy raw? Or even cook their food myself?
My dogs let me know, as any human does, what they like or don’t like. They might be feeling brave and willing to sample something new or they may take one look at it and give me the look. You know the one. It is always worth the extra five minutes spent talking to your Vet or local holistic pet shop owner about health when it comes to food, treats, and supplements. There is a wide range to choose from and doing your research before deciding what to spoon into their bowls will give you peace of mind and ensure optimal health.
Web MD states: “When it comes to nutrition, dogs are a lot like people. They’re omnivores, meaning they can live healthy lives while eating a variety of food. Meats, vegetables, and grains all can be a part of a dog’s diet. But also like us, dogs need balanced, moderately-sized meals that fuel their activities, not an overindulgent diet that will expand their waistlines and put them at risk of diseases like diabetes.”
Dry Food vs Wet Food: On one hand, canned foods tend to have higher-quality protein, and more of it, as well as fewer preservatives and fillers. On the other hand, the dry foods sold by reputable companies are just as nutritionally balanced but dry foods can also have more meat by-products. Kibble lets dogs satisfy their urge to chew, and it’s good for knocking tartar off of teeth. But some dogs have delicate gums, or in the case with IVDD kids, they find chewing hard to do, so wet food is the way to go.
Dry foods tend to be less expensive and easier to store, but these days, keeping wet leftovers in the fridge is no issue; just remember when taking wet food out of the fridge you may need to microwave or add a touch of hot water to get those aromas going again! Dry food only remains palatable and fresh for up to a month and since dogs are mainly attracted to what smells good, canned food is usually more enticing to the finicky eater. In the end, you should choose what suits you and your pets’ lifestyle, but always pick nutritionally balanced food.
Snacks:I remember how exciting it was when I first learned that feeding my dogs human health foods, like carrots, pineapple, green beans, eggs and apples was not only OK but recommended! Nutritional treats like these allow them to receive their daily nutrients and help break down the protein they get from their dog food. They also have lots of vitamins that are good for their bones, eyes, hearts, lungs, and more! Foods like apples have a great source of fiber and an egg is a good source of protein and helps those shiny coats. My dogs go crazy when they know I’m chopping up veggies or fruit for their bowls—and I get to nibble on a few of their treats too!
Whatever you decide to feed your brood, the main goal is keep them at a good weight. For instance,Dachshunds should not be portly; excess weight doesn’t cause IVDD, but it doesn’t help dogs affected with IVDD and may make their case worse or recovery more difficult. You should be able to touch your Dachshund lightly on the sides and feel his ribs. If you have to dig around to feel them, it’s time to cut back the calories!
Food choices can be especially important during the healing process too—especially those healing from IVDD related issues—since a dog needs to have proper total nutrition for the body to rebuild, for the discs and spinal cord to heal, and for nerves to regenerate. Healing continues for many weeks and months and it takes a lot of energy and nutrients to get them back on track!
Be sure to confer with your vet before changing prescription diets for dogs with health issues and stay up to date on the latest recommendations for the best nutrition for your dog.