Is Dog Food Really the Best Thing to Feed Your Pooch?

We all love our furry friends and we want to make sure that they are getting everything they need to be happy and healthy. Many of us are questioning our own diets more, choosing to eat whole foods and vegetables, and it’s only natural that we would extend this same line of questioning to our pets’ diets, too.

How do you tell if your dog is getting the right nutrition?

According to the ASPCA, for a dog’s diet to be nutritionally complete, it must contain fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It’s important to note that the levels of vitamins required by dogs are relatively small and can be easily obtained through the correct diet. Unless you have been directed to do so by a vet, you shouldn’t be giving your dog a vitamin supplement. Over supplementation can cause poisoning in your dog, which is actually a more common issue than dogs not having enough of the vitamins they need.

If your dog is not getting the right nutrition then there will usually be some physical signs such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Body odor
  • Flatulence
  • Skin issues
  • Dandruff
  • Dull coat or excessive shedding
  • Increased or unusual bowel movements
  • Obesity or weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it could mean that you need to re-evaluate your dog’s diet. The best way to approach this is to discuss it with your vet, who will be able to rule out any other possible causes and advise you on the best course of action.

What about a raw meat diet?

Diamond pet food has written an informative article focused on other forms of meat meal in pet food. In the article, they talk about the trend towards feeding dogs a raw meat diet, which is based on a belief that if unprocessed meat is better for us, then surely, it’s better for our animal companions as well?

The answer to this question is not black and white. From both eating whole raw meat, or eating pet food, your furry pal can have a well-balanced diet. The benefit with pet food is that it has been specifically formulated to ensure that your pet is getting precisely the nutrition that they need. According to Diamond, pet food ‘manufacturers write very specific purchasing requirements based on nutritional specifications for purchased ingredients, and they test ingredients to confirm specifications are met before delivery is completed. AAFCO ingredient definitions, which are strict legal definitions of what can or cannot be in pet food ingredients, are just the starting point for these specifications.’

What about a vegan diet?

Having taken up a plant based diet themselves, vegans might be wondering if a plant-based diet is right for their pet. For cats, the answer is an outright no. Cats are obligate carnivores; they absolutely need a meat based diet to survive. For dogs, they actually could eat a plant-based diet. However, ensuring that they get the nutrition they need is difficult and should only be attempted under the supervision of a veterinary nutritionist, otherwise you could make your doggy friend quite ill.

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