Keep Your Dog Happy (and Well-Fed) with These Healthy and Nutritious Foods and Snack

Just because your dog may try to eat everything doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Though dogs instinctively snack on bones and nibble on the grass at times, their human caregivers are responsible for providing good nutrition and keeping them healthy. Here’s some tips from DGP for Pets on how to navigate your pup’s nutritional needs.

What is Proper Nutrition for a Dog?

Though each breed is different, all dogs have similar nutritional needs at each stage of life. Dogs need essentials like water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, explains the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

The ASPCA recommends measuring your dog’s food depending on their size, energy levels, and age. Your veterinarian can offer recommendations, but monitoring your pet’s behavior (and weight) can help you tailor a feeding plan.

Limiting treats and establishing set mealtimes are best practices, along with getting enough exercise. The food you choose matters, too.

Avoid Additives in Dog Food and Treats

Like human food, dog food often contains a long list of ingredients. While some additives might be necessary (to preserve freshness, for example), simpler ingredients are often healthier for your canine.

Pet food labels are required to include nutrition information, so reading package information is crucial. Understanding the terms and knowing whether they are regulated (“natural,” for example, is not) can help you make healthier purchases.

Choose Healthy Food and Supplements

Especially for picky pups, the right food and supplements are crucial for overall doggie health. Good quality food — in the appropriate portion sizes — may also help extend your dog’s lifespan, says Preventative Vet.

Experts recommend choosing foods with single proteins (or vegetables) as the first three ingredients. For example, healthy all beef dog food options list beef, beef lung, and beef liver first on their label. In contrast, a package that says “with pork” or has an ingredient like “dog beef stew” may be deceptive and contain less meat than indicated.

Preventative Vet also suggests supplements for pet maintenance and prevention of health issues. For example, nutritious supplements for joint health may avoid inflamed joints in older dogs.

Treat Time: What’s Good for Dogs and What to Avoid

Too many treats, no matter how “healthy” they are, aren’t beneficial for your dog. But when it’s time for a well-deserved treat, it helps to know which options are best.

Healthy Human Foods for Dogs

Some human food can be healthy and safe for pets, but dogs shouldn’t eat from their owners’ plates, and not only because it’s bad manners to beg. When giving your dog “people food” snacks, avoid oils, spices, and anything that could upset your dog’s tummy.

Human snacks suitable for pups in moderation include apples, carrots, unsalted and plain peanut butter, bananas, and even cucumbers. Feeding off your plate is likely a no-no, though.

Experts say training dogs not to beg and feeding them table scraps will only encourage that behavior. Save a bit of human food for appropriate treat times, or shop around for healthy doggie snacks, to keep you and your dog happy.

What Kinds of Bones Are Safe for Dogs?

Selecting the right type of bone for your dog is one way to keep them safe and healthy. Bones satisfy a dog’s need to chew and can add minerals and nutrients to their diet, according to the American Kennel Club. It’s not as simple as tossing your pup the leftovers from dinner, though.

The best bones for dogs include raw beef, turkey, and chicken options, among others. Experts advise against giving dogs cooked bones and recommend supervising them while they chew. Alternatively, pet parents can purchase artificial bones that eliminate some safety risks for dogs.

Feeding your dog can be complicated, but it’s hands-down the most important part of pet ownership. Reading labels, checking ingredient lists, and consulting expert veterinarians can help you make the best buying decisions that keep your pup healthy.


Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash

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