One of the most important decisions a dog owner needs to make is in selecting the best suitable food for his/her pet dog. Proper dog food nutrition plays a vital role in dog’s wellness and behavior. It can also directly affect every aspect of the dog’s life. Why is it so important to choose the best suitable dog food for your pet?
The growth, behavior, habits, health and overall well-being and appearance are all directly connected to its proper nutrition. Choosing the right food for your pet can be overwhelming considering there are so many dog food products out there and so many articles written on the subject.
There are two types of dog food, namely, commercially prepared and home-prepared. Commercial dog food includes packaged foods you can readily find at the pet store or grocery stores. They are classified as dry, wet and semi-moist. Home-prepared dog foods come in the form of home-cooked meals and raw food. Each of the following dog food preparations come with their advantages and disadvantages. Dry dog food provides a complete meal, is less expensive, less odorous and does not attract flies. It also exercises the mouth, reduces build up of tartar on the teeth and produces healthy teeth and gums. Aside from its affordability, pet owners also prefer it dry dog food for its convenience. It is much easier to store, measure out and serve. The downside is, some dry foods are sprayed with animal fat and could be high in gluten.
There are also a fair number of pet owners who go for wet or canned dog food. Studies have shown that the canned version has significantly higher values of moisture and protein. It also has less preservative and many dogs find it more palatable. The drawbacks to canned dog foods include, your pet can gain weight more easily and it has a short shelf-life once the can is opened.
The semi-moist version is the least nutritional of the three and contains many artificial flavors and colorings. They are also expensive and may be given as treats to your pet.
When you do make your purchase, it is important to read the labels properly. High quality ingredients are important for a healthy food. Some cheaper brands are made from inexpensive ingredients that do not provide the best nutrition. Always make it a habit of reviewing the list of ingredients on the back of the bag.
The next type of dog food on the list is the home-prepared options. Home-cooked is essentially food that you make yourself. Some pet owners choose this because it is freshly made, can be made from high quality ingredients with no preservatives or coloring and more food variety for your pet. This can also be more time-consuming and expensive than the other options. Raw dog food can be of two kinds, the prey model raw and the BARF –biologically appropriate raw food. A prey model raw diet closely resembles the diet of carnivorous canines while BARF is consists of raw human food with bone, fat, vegetable and fruits.
The best approach to a home-cooked dog food is with the help of a veterinary nutritionist. They can help you come up with a diet for your dog that will meet all his nutritional needs.
There is no one perfect dog food for your pet. It can be a mix or a combination of any of the food types. It is important to be flexible and pay attention to your dogs overall health. Ideally, you should be able to make the right diet decision for your dog through a combination of research and consultation with your veterinarian.