Ensuring that your beloved pup adheres to a healthy diet is integral to being a caring pet parent. Unfortunately, it’s easy to succumb to those darling puppy eyes and toss over a few pieces of not-so-healthy human food. Although we may limit the number of such nibbles, these “treats” sometimes do more harm than good.
Like many animals (humans included), dogs have a hard time resisting the urge to eat after they’re full. As a result, obesity is a genuine concern for dogs that consume more than they should, whether from human food or dog food. As a loving pet owner, pay attention to what you’re feeding your dog and how much you’re feeding them.
Honestly, alongside daily exercise, dogs are a lot like people! Like us, dogs need proper nutrition and the right amount of food to stay healthy. Since dogs are not pure carnivores, dogs benefit from eating both meats and vegetables. And dogs that are inactive vulnerable to gaining excess weight. Which may lead to them enduring the health complications of obesity. But, while we may be like our canine friends, their diets do not look exactly like our typical meal plan. Let’s look through some ideal dog foods.
Foods To Feed Your Pup
There is undoubtedly an overlap between people’s food and dog’s food. Proteins like chicken, salmon, and cooked eggs, can all be consumed in portion-controlled amounts. They’re leaner than other protein choices and help balance your pup’s protein-to-fat ratio. And if you choose salmon, go for Alaskan. Alaskan salmon is a greater quality of fish and has more nutritional value for your dog.
An additional human food to give in small amounts is peanut butter. Look for organic, natural brands whenever possible. Avoid brands with added sugar or those containing xylitol, a sugar alternative that’s deadly for dogs. You can also add fruits and vegetables to your doggy’s diet. But use the glycemic index to gauge sugar content.
Some choices of low glycemic fruits to feed your pup include blueberries, apples, and starches like sweet potatoes and corn. You can provide your dog popcorn, coconut, or honey for the occasional treat.
The Right Amount Of Food
In addition to the right foods, you want to make sure you’re feeding your dog the right amount of food each day. Consider their breed, their size, and how active they are to portion out the right amount. Aim to provide your dog with a diet of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals from safe foods. Feed your dog small portions of carbs like bread or rice for digestive support.
If your dog can tolerate it, occasional treats may also include some sources of dairy products like hard cheeses and yogurt. If you’re uncertain about what or how much to feed your dog, contact your veterinarian to learn about your options. Aim to provide your dog with lean cuts of protein to help them keep their energy up and to avoid accidental overeating. Choose lean cuts of beef and chicken most of the time.
Spotlight On Salmon
Salmon offers immune health benefits for dogs and aids in the shine and health of their coats. The Omega-3s in salmon may also assist with reducing inflammation, keeping your pup’s joints healthy. Many top-of-the-line dog food brands use salmon as a prime ingredient.
Spotlight On Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes benefit dogs by providing a gentle source of fiber to address issues like constipation and diarrhea. Sweet potatoes also contain essential vitamins that support a healthy coat and strong muscles. Make sure that your sweet potatoes are thoroughly cooked so your dog can receive the benefits!
Benefits Of Chicken & Peanut Butter
Chicken breast provides ample protein and Omega-6 fatty acids, all of which support the health of your dogs’ skin, coat, and bones. Peanut butter is full of fiber, nutrients, fat, and protein, making it a well-rounded snack for your pup. Placing peanut butter inside dog toys gives your dog a chance to exercise in their natural hunting instincts. This benefits their physical and mental health too!
What About Dog Food?
Buy dog food with the complete nutritional package to support your dog’s health. When it comes to dog food, wet food is typically the better option. It contains more water and fewer carbs, making it easier for your dog to digest and stay hydrated.
Ask your vet for recommendations on the best brands. As a rule of thumb, look for dog food with all the components of an ideal diet. For a complete diet, the dog food you purchase should contain at minimum:
- Essential vitamins and minerals
- Fatty acids
- Amino acids
Toxic Foods to NOT Feed Your Dog
Foods that can be toxic to dogs include: chocolate, onion, caffeinated beverages, citrus fruits, garlic, raisins, and grapes. Do not feed your dog macadamia nuts or high sodium human foods like bacon. It is a myth that typical breakfast bacon is safe for dogs to consume.
Uncured, unsalted bacon may be acceptable depending on your dog, as dogs can consume pork in small amounts. Avocado is also on the list of potentially toxic food for dogs, so do not feed your pup this fruit and fat source.
Support Your Dog’s Health With The Right Foods
Most of all, watch those table scraps! You want your pup to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Follow the dietary guidelines above and check with your veterinarian for additional guidelines. But don't worry, with what you've learned today and the help of a vet, you're on your way to caring for your pup’s dietary health.