The road to a healthy life goes through a balanced diet. Constructing a balanced diet for your dog can be a complicated task, but that does not mean you can skim through it. What your furball eats affects its health and longevity extensively. A nutritional diet isn’t a luxury for your pet but a necessity. As opposed to the popular practice of feeding table scraps to dogs, a balanced diet is a diet specifically designed for your dog, keeping in consideration its breed, age, and dietary preferences.
Mostly the concerned dog parents do extensive research on dog diet plans, the dos, and don’ts related to their diet. The vets say ‘what should I feed my dog’ is still the most popular question between doctors and pet parents. The answer is a balanced diet. Now, what is a balanced diet? As the name suggests, the key is to balance the nutrition in the meal. The macro and micronutrients should be balanced along with vitamins and minerals keeping in mind the dietary restrictions for dogs.
Some people believe that pets need a completely meat-based diet as they belong to the carnivore family. There is some truth in that statement. Cats do need a meat-based diet plan, but dogs are similar to humans. Dogs can sustain on an omnivore diet and even on a plant-based diet as they can fulfill their nutrients needs from an herbivore diet.
It is beneficial to incorporate both meat and plant-based products smartly in their diets. The primary nutrients for dogs are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. These nutrients need to be a part of the dog’s regular diet as they are responsible for the primary functions of the body. The minimum nutritional requirement for all the breeds is predetermined, and the deficiency in any of the elements can lead to diseases and growth hampering.
Protein is necessary for the critical bodily function of your dog. It is responsible for muscle development and tissue repair. The amino acids in protein are responsible for healthy hair. The protein requirements of your dog can be managed by including animal products like poultry, beef, pork, and by-products of these in its diet. On the vegetarian side soybeans, and some grains like corn, wheat can also provide protein. If your dog has low-quality fur, it can be because of the low value of protein in its diet. You can try increasing its protein intake a little for a shiny coat.
Just-like “you are what you eat.”, your dog is the fats it eats. Fats go right into the cell membranes of every cell in its body. Healthy cell membranes are the foundation of good health while unhealthy membranes can make the cells less efficient, affecting your dog’s organs and entire body. If your dog is on a meat-centric diet, its fat needs are probably getting satisfied. If not, the popular choice is to give coconut oil. A little coconut oil in its food will help maintain healthy skin, fur, and digestion system. Coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties making it the primary choice. The other option can be salmon oil that is good for coat and over-all health too.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy and also heat when metabolized. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin legumes (beans) are a good source of carbs. These can help maintain the necessary calories and keep weight on skinny and very active dogs. Carb based diet can be cost-cutting too, but this should not be a reason to bulk up your dog on carbs, each element should be stabilized in a meal. Quantity should be limited to overweight dogs. Starchy foods must be cooked before to be digestible.
Fiber is crucial for the digestive health of a dog. As the dietary choices of dogs have evolved, very few people feed fruits and vegetables to their dogs but they are still a rich source of fiber. Fibre supports digestive health, as well as provide antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients that contribute to health and longevity. Deep colored vegetables and fruits are the most nutritious.
This one goes without saying. Water is an absolute requirement of any specie on the planet. Technically a dog needs about an ounce of water per pound of its body weight per day. If your dog is drinking more or less than the designated quota, you must make the adjustments or maybe even ask for help from your doctor to increase the feeling of thirst in your dog.
Vitamin and Minerals:
General bodily functions depend on vitamin and mineral intake of the body. Boosting immunity to fight diseases, sustaining energy, and other tasks fall under this category. Some of the foods like carrots, spinach, egg yolks, seeds, nuts, tofu, yogurt, broccoli, and raw bones can be included in their diet in moderate amounts to complete their diet. This way, the dog won’t be left out of any nutritional need. Also, remember to keep switching the food items from time to time.
Packaged food or homemade food
While the packaged food is processed and has a shelf life, it does take care of the nutritional factors. The packaged food is a blend of protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins- all in the right amounts making them a good choice. Some pet owners try to avoid feeding their pet shelf food because of the chemicals and preservatives present in them. Homemade-made meals, other than the one prepared by a Veterinarian, lack nutrients. A dog’s nutritional needs change with the age, and an ordinary person is bound to miss out on those. The purpose of the ready-made foods is to meet the bodily needs of every dog at any given age. It is ideal to feed your dog pet-food only. It is nutritionally balanced, guarantees growth, digestion, diversity, palatability, and safety.