There are countless dog nutrition products available and they all come with their own merits. You can’t ask your dog what he or she prefers and, like small children, they’re notorious for scoffing things that are bad for them! So what’s the best possible nutrition for feeding dogs and how do you make sure you get it right? We’re Pooch & Company, a company dedicated to wholesome natural dog food, better dog health and happiness as well as a trusted source of sensible tips about general dog nutrition.
Sensible tips about the best nutrition for your dog
We know that dogs are just like people in that they’re all different, each with their own likes, dislikes and unique physiology. Some dogs adore wet tinned food, others will turn their noses up at it. Whatever they prefer to eat, all dogs thrive on a properly balanced diet. So how do you find out what suits your pet best and make sure they enjoy a healthy, happy life? Here are our top tips for getting your dog’s diet right.
The poop factor
Your dog can’t tell you when they’re feeling iffy. But their poop can speak a thousand words! If your dog’s poo is runny, an odd colour or anything but firm and brown there’s something wrong, and it could be their diet. Try changing their food and see if it improves matters. If not it’s probably a good idea to visit the vet for a check-up.
Other signs and symptoms of doggie dietary problems
Look out for lethargy, persistent ear and skin issues, flatulence, aggression, hyperactivity, weight gain and weight loss, all of which can signal your dog’s diet isn’t quite right. Of course aggression and hyperactivity are also behavioural problems, with deeper rooted reasons, so cannot be treated with a change of diet alone.
Dogs often like to eat everything you put down for them just in case there’s no more later. In our experience it’s a natural response. But they can put on excess weight just as easily as us. It’s best to remove uneaten food straight away, remembering to always leave your pet plenty of fresh water. Note from Vicky: never leave food down for your dog. If they can pick and choose when they eat, that puts them at the top of the pack, and behaviour problems start there!
Is variety the spice of life?
You can feed your dog on complete dry food, semi-moist food or wet tinned food with or without biscuits. You can even make your own dog food at home. We humans tend to think a variety of food is a good thing. We soon get very bored with eating the same thing day in, day out. But it’s different for dogs. Varying their diet can cause serious digestive problems so find what suits them best and stick with it. Unlike us they’ll happily eat the same food every day for life.
If you introduce a whole new diet or a new element to your dog’s diet, do it gradually over at least seven days so you can monitor their reaction accurately.
About ‘complete’ dry dog food
In the case of dried complete foods, you tend to get what you pay for. We know from experience that premium foods usually contain the best quality ingredients and because you feed your dog less of the good stuff, cheap dry food is often a false economy. If your dog isn’t used to dry food they should acclimatise to it eventually. Help them out by soaking the food in a small amount of warm water to soften it, or mix it with wet food and gradually wean them onto 100% dry.
Why not test drive our Super Premium Natural Dog Food, crammed with delicious natural ingredients and without so much as a hint of nasty additives?
About moist and tinned dog food
The same goes for moist and wet foods. We find that quality really does count, and buying the good stuff means you won’t need to feed your dog anywhere near as much.
About DIY dog food
You can DIY. But dogs’ dietary needs and complex and it is very difficult to get it right unless you’re an expert. It’s best to buy ready-made dog food, specially balanced by animal nutrition experts, from a reliable source like our website. It’s especially important when, like humans, dogs can react badly to additives and chemicals.
About doggie treats
Choose natural dog treats. Cheap treats can be as bad as processed foods are for humans and can cause much more harm than good. Avoid treats high in sugar, colouring, dairy products or fat and steer clear of doggie chocs unless they’re totally free of sugar and lactose.
Treats are supposed to be exactly that – a treat. Keep them for special occasions even if they’re the healthy kind. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 15% of your dog’s diet, ideally a lot less.
We love chocolate. But it is very bad for dogs. Never, ever give your dog chocolate or leave them alone with it. It can cause liver damage and even death. And remember dogs can get toothache too. We all know how horrible that is, so avoid biscuits and sugary treats completely.
We sell delicious Super Premium treats with no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. They’re gluten free, hypo-allergenic and are free of nasties that can cause food intolerances.
Happy feeding time
The way you present your dog’s food matters too. Here are our top tips for happy feeding times:
- Don’t add supplements to your dog’s food unless the vet advises it. Just buy good quality food in the first place
- It’s best not to feed your pooch before getting in the car or before exercise because they can suffer car sickness and even stomach dilation, a life-threatening bloating of the stomach. Feed them at least an hour before instead
- Some medium and large dogs need a raised bowl so they don’t ingest a load of air with their food. Some breeds are more susceptible than others. If you’re not sure whether or not your dog is at risk, ask your vet or seek advice from a reputable breeder
- Never take your dog’s food away while they are eating. It stresses them out and can lead to food aggression
- Don’t encourage your pet to beg when you’re sitting down for a meal. You’ll only make a rod for your own back!
- Some dogs eat so fast they can choke on their food. It’s usually anxiety about food that does it. If your dog has a tendency to gobble their food down, which can make them windy and ill, you can buy special anti-gulp bowls to help them slow down and eat in a way that’s better for their overall health
Think dog, not human
Some dogs are so human-like it’s easy to forget their dietary needs are very different from ours. Many foods we think of as treats can damage your pet’s health and well-being. So buy good food, avoid unhealthy ‘treats’ and keep them on the happy, waggy, woofy straight and narrow!