What's for Dinner
So you’ve just adopted a new pup, or perhaps you’re a seasoned dog owner, but either way you have no doubt wondered what’s the best food for my four legged furry friend? Feeding your dog a good quality food is an investment in their future health and well being.
If we lived in a perfect world, all dog food would be created equal but that’s just not the case. Just as every pup is different, when choosing a food for your dog, the choices can be overwhelming. Finding a brand that is healthy, affordable, and more importantly, is appealing to your dog, may not be so easy.
The majority of pet owners feed their pup's dry kibble, which is generally readily available at pet
stores and is easy to store and transport, especially if you travel a great deal. Kibble also helps to reduce tartar on your dog’s teeth. Some of you may prefer to feed your pup canned wet food, which again is usually available at pet stores and is also easy to store, however, leftovers should be refrigerated.
All of these processed foods are made to be appealing to your pup and should contain all the
necessary nutrients to keep your pup healthy and active. All commercial quality dog food goes
through very rigorous testing in Canada and all pet food is highly regulated.
There are many brands of food on the market and, if your dog doesn’t have any allergies, it’s just a matter of finding a food that your pup likes and is high in protein like meat, fish or chicken being the first ingredient. Dogs can also get nutrients from grains, vegetables and fruit, and these ingredients shouldn’t be considered “fillers” as they can be a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, some foods use chicken by-product meal as one of the first ingredients which can consist of feathers, beaks and feet ground up as filler. These foods should be avoided.
If you have an older pup or one that has few teeth left or is a picky eater, you may be advised to find a good quality canned food, or one provided by your vet that is easily digestible. This may also be the case if your pup has food allergies.
Raw food is also an option for pet owners and is becoming increasingly popular. Raw food is often a good option if your dog has allergies and may be recommended by your vet for that reason. If you do decide to go with a raw food diet, you must choose a high quality raw dog food and be sure that it is stored and served properly. You should also consider the fact that there is always a risk of contamination with raw food, such as salmonella, E coli or other bacteria. In some instances, raw foods may be too high in fat or proteins and can be more harmful than good. Also with raw food, it can contain bones which could potentially cause choking or do damage to your pup’s teeth. The other consideration is storage and transporting the food, especially if you travel a great deal. If you do travel and keeping raw food frozen is a problem, you would be further ahead to opt for “freeze dried” raw.
Regardless of what you decide to feed your dog, it’s important to remember that all dogs don’t have the same nutritional needs. Dogs need different nutrients in different quantities over their lifetime. Puppies should be fed a “Puppy” formula dog food, which is generally higher in protein and calories that young pups require to grow and have good bones. They need those extra calories because they are very active at this stage in their life. Also, large breed dogs have different nutritional needs than small breed dogs. When dogs are one year to eighteen months of age, they should be fed an “Adult” dog food. However, if your dog reaches their adult weight before they are one year old, switch them to adult food sooner to help prevent weight gain. Depending on the breed of your dog, once he or she is seven or eight years old, or is becoming less active, you need to switch to a “Senior” dog food.
There are many things to consider when choosing a food for your pup, so be sure that you do your
homework, speak to your vet to get his recommendations, read labels carefully and get your pup off to a good start with a high quality food.