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Choosing what kind of food is going to be best for your furry family member can be a daunting task. Once you begin browsing an online pet store you quickly realise that there are so many options to choose from and so many different brands.
To ensure your pups overall wellbeing and health, it is important to make sure they receive a well-rounded diet. Unlike cats, dogs are not strictly carnivores. In fact, an all-meat diet will not provide all the nutritional needs your dog requires. The six basic nutrients that you should ensure you maintain in your pup’s diet are protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and water.
Age and life stage
When choosing a diet for your pooch, it is important to tailor it to the age and life stage of your dog. It is also important to know when to switch your pup’s food through their various life stages. Puppies need a diet high in energy and protein compared to adult dogs. Protein is necessary to help your young pup build new tissue. Pregnant dogs require a diet dense in calories and protein. As a minimum, you should be feeding a pregnant dog food that is 22 per cent protein. Senior dogs don’t need nearly as many calories as an adult dog and they require a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants can assist in slowing down the aging process.
Nutritional requirements vary between small and large dog breeds. Compared to larger breeds, smaller dogs require more calories per kilogram and commercial dry food pellets are tailored to be smaller in size for ease of consumption. The size of your breed will also dictate the best age for you to switch your dog’s food based on their life stage. Smaller breeds can be switched from puppy to adult food after one year of age. Larger breeds should be switched to adult food at around two years of age. Smaller breeds of dog should be switched to a seniors food diet at seven years of age, whereas larger breeds of dog need to be switched to a seniors diet after five years of age.
Weight and portion size
Just as important as deciding on a nutrient-rich food source is making sure you know the correct portion size that you should be serving to your pup at meal-time. The best way to determine the portion size required for your pup is to make sure you know your dog’s weight and feed them accordingly.
Food allergy or intolerance
Be mindful not to feed your pup too much human food as this could lead to a fussy eater who will refuse to eat their own food. As a dog owner, you should also take the time to read up on foods that can be poisonous to dogs if ingested. Chocolate, yeast, caffeine and grapes are foods that should never be fed to your lovable pooch.
Choosing a brand to fit your budget
When choosing a diet for your pet is important to choose dog food brands that are within your budget. Decide on your budget and choose brands and products that provide the best quality and nutrition for your pup that is within your budget. When choosing a brand it is also important to do a little research on the brand’s reputation. An important fact to know about if you are choosing between processed foods or natural unprocessed meat is that commercially processed dog foods are tailored to meet the dietary needs of your dog. If you opt to feed your dog fresh meat you will have to take extra precautions when preparing your pet’s food to guard against foodborne infections such as salmonella.
So click back to that online pet store tab and start tailoring the perfect diet for your pooch! Remember to take into consideration all the topics above and you will be able to confidently choose the best diet for your furry family member.