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Your dog depends on you for all his nutritional requirements. Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy pet to help resist disease and illness, to maintain a lean, healthy weight, and to give your furry friend a shiny coat.
Each dog is different, and your dog's lifestyle (active or sedentary? young or old? hunting dog? racing dog? lap dog? healthy? pregnant?) is the main factor in determining his individual nutritional requirements.
Water is key. Your new best friend needs plenty of fresh water daily...it is one of the most important things you can provide your dog. While a dog can go without food for a while, he will quickly dehydrate without water. This is especially important during the summer months when your dog is outside in the heat. We can't stress enough how important it is to ALWAYS have a fresh bowl of water available for your dog. (A medium size dogs requires about two quarts of water each day!)
If your dog is a normal, active, healthy dog, he only needs a small amount of protein daily. However, young and active dogs need more protein for growth, and older active dogs need more protein as well. The proteins you feed your dog need to come from an animal source.
Carbohydrates help provide your dog with energy, as well as help keep the intestines functioning properly. Most commercial dog foods use corn as their source of carbohydrates. As important as carbs are, however, they should make up no more than about 50% of a dog's diet.
Fats are an essential part of Fido's diet, but they need to be properly balanced with other nutrients. If you're feeding your dog the proper amount of a good, commercial dog food, he should be getting the right amount of fat in his diet.
Your dog doesn't really need a lot of minerals. As long as you feed him a complete, balanced diet, there is no need to supplement with minerals. Most commercial dog foods will provide him with all the minerals he needs.
Dogs require the same vitamins from their food as you do, except for Vitamin C (dogs are able to make their own Vitamin C). Vitamins that are water soluable (such as the B vitamins) need to be replenished every day. Fat-soluable vitamins (like A, E, K, and D) stay in your dog's system longer. It's important that your dog maintain a healthy diet to keep him from developing serious health problems.
For more specific information on the nutritional needs of your dog, talk with your vet.
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Copyright 2009 by Lisa Pallardy. For permission to reproduce this article in electronic newsletters or on websites, please contact the author at Lisap@barktalk.com This article was originally published at http://www.BarkTalk.com
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All Dog Foods are Not Created Equal
Your dog's health and wellbeing is important to you and your family. Not to mention keeping down the cost of veterinarian bills! So you need to carefully consider the food that you give to your dog. People sometimes just pick the first dog food bag they see at the store. Don't do that! It's easy to overlook the importance of what you are feeding to your dog but it is essential to pick the food that best suits him at all times through his life.
To keep your dog healthy he needs plenty of fresh water and should be fed good quality dog food in amounts just right to meet his energy requirements. Always follow the guidelines on the package for recommended feeding amounts.
Picking a dog food
The first challenge in choosing the correct dog food is picking one that has overall quality. The term that comes up a lot is human grade. Human grade implies that the product is good enough for us to eat. Many commercial dog foods are made from materials unusable or less desirable for human consumption. Often the meat that is used in dog food is of a quality considered unfit for humans to eat.
Major companies try to provide balanced proportions of vitamins and minerals for maximum benefit to your dog. Although you may see that many brands of dog food have almost identical labels, a reputable company will provide an explanation for each supplement and how it benefits your dog.
Always read the label to see what proteins, vitamins and minerals are being provided by the food. Try not to use store brand dog food they may short change your dog on much needed nutrition.
Studies have shown that the primary ingredient in dog food should be meat-based protein, not corn meal, flour or corn gluten meal. According to reviews a better quality food results in a healthier coat, fewer digestive problems and firmer stools. Pet-nutrition experts agree that the best dog food is made from human-grade ingredients like meat, whole grains and vegetables. Get the best quality that you can because good nutrition is essential for a long, healthy life.
Types of dog food
There are many varieties of dog food to choose from. The three most popular types are dry, semi-moist and canned products. Check the color of your dog food. Usually if it's been made from natural ingredients it will have soft earth tones and contain no preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.
Raw dog food is becoming more popular. More and more veterinarians recommend feeding your dog raw food. They feel that this is the best choice and is the healthiest food for your dog. After all, you've never seen your dog enjoy commercial dog food the way he enjoys a good meaty bone.
Raw food advocates concede the diet costs more than a traditional diet, but they argue it's worth it. Try making a mixture of ground turkey, rice and carrot as your own dog food. Your dog will thank you for it.
If you decide to go the commercial route, try and choose a good premium dog food since it contains more energy and protein than an economy brand. Unfortunately not all brands contain high quality and natural ingredients, so always check the label. It is best if you seek advice from your veterinarian before deciding what is best to feed your dog or puppy. He will know your dog's dietary needs and you will find that veterinary offices and feed stores often carry excellent and natural dog food.
All Natural Dog Food
Many natural dog foods contain only fresh, natural and wholesome ingredients. Not only are the protein ingredients digestible, but the carbohydrates in the food are digestible. Natural dog food has 100% nutritional value which is important for healthy strong dogs. Chicken, egg and fish are examples of protein that is provided in a natural product. There are also ingredients in natural dog food that really help the health of your dog's skin and also your dog's coat. One of the main draw backs of natural dog food is that it has a shorter shelf life and may spoil before it is used.
Dried Dog Food
A good high quality dry dog food will work out to be more economical than the generic brands even though they cost more per pound. A vast majority of dog owners opt for dry food for its convenience and ease of storage. The cheaper brands are made from soybean, corn or rice, while many premium brands are made with all-natural, human-grade ingredients.
Vegetarian dog foods
There are dog foods specially formulated for dogs that are allergic to wheat, corn, and/or chicken. There are also vegetarian dog foods available which are marketed to owners who do not want their dogs to consume meat products. Most vegetarian dog foods use soy as a protein source. If your dog has allergies consult your vet before putting him on a specialized diet.
Overall it's usually best to let dogs enjoy dog food and not ours, even though they may prefer what we're eating! Of course you can feed your dog treats from time to time. Every dog needs some TLC afterall!
David Amos is a dog lover and long time dog owner. For more information about dog food go to http://www.onlinedogcare.com/dogfood
Lisa Pallardy, President BarkTalk.com | 9602 W. Lake Camelot Drive, Mapleton, IL 61547 | 309.696-1025 Lisap@BarkTalk.com» Concerned about privacy? Read my Privacy Statement