Want the Healthiest Life for Your Dog? Start With a High Quality Diet
If you’re like most people, you treat your dog as a member of the family. In the same way you aim for your children to be nourished with a high quality diet, you want the same for your four-legged kids. The good news is that with proper hydration, nutritious food and weight control, you can keep your canine companion in the best possible health.
Like humans, dogs must have water to survive. Without an adequate supply, your dog will become dehydrated and is at risk for serious illness. Water carries nutrients to cells, helps to maintain a steady body temperature, lubricates joints and pushes waste from the system. Almost every function of the body relies on being properly hydrated.
Leave a water bowl accessible at all times so your dog can drink freely throughout the day. If you are using a water softener in your home, it’s perfectly fine to fill your dog’s bowl from your tap. Just confirm with your veterinarian that your tap water is appropriate for your pet.
Buy Quality Foods
When it comes to food, the kind you provide has a direct effect on your dog’s health. As with proper hydration, a high quality diet impacts almost every body function. Skin conditions, infection and digestive issues are often mitigated with a healthy diet. Attributes like muscle tone, bone strength, temperament and energy are boosted by providing nutritious food to your dog.
When seeking out the best products, look for foods that contain meat and ingredients classified as human-grade. While some grain is beneficial, high levels of wheat, soy and corn should be avoided, as they may cause allergies and are typically only used as fillers. Also watch out for added sugars or artificial flavors, as these are difficult for your dog to digest. In the same way you provide quality food for your children, you should do the same for your canine companions.
Make Your Own Foods
If you want to give your dog the healthiest possible diet, consider making your own food. When properly prepared, homemade dog food can provide complete and balanced nutrition that is tailored to your pet’s needs. If your dog requires a special diet, making your own food provides assurance that he is only ingesting the nutrients he needs. You will be confident that there are no harmful ingredients, and that no extra calories are coming from added fillers or flavorings. To make sure you are meeting your dog’s nutritional requirements, consult with your veterinarian before switching him to a homemade diet.
Monitor for Weight Gain
One of the most critical components of a healthy diet is balancing nutritional needs with maintaining an appropriate weight. While your dog’s age, medications, level of exercise and genetics all affect his weight, diet is the biggest factor. If you regularly feed your dog table scraps, free-feed him or don’t accurately measure his food, you could be adding unwanted pounds to his waistline. In the same way that poor quality food impacts a dog’s health, so can too much food.
To ensure that what you feed your pet is having optimum impact, work with your veterinarian to create a diet plan. Monitor for changes in weight or size, and put your dog on a routine of receiving appropriately-sized meals at regular times. If your dog is a beggar, try offering water or a small healthy snack like baby carrots; just be sure to count these as part of your dog’s daily intake. With good oversight, your dog will stay fit and trim.
Your dog is part of your family, and you want him by your side for many years to come. Providing him with a high quality diet that keeps him hydrated, well-nourished, and at a healthy weight is the best way to help your dog live his best possible life.
Jenn Lee, is a family blogger and proud parent of Reggie the Golden Retriever .