The dog food world can be overwhelming. Is it better to feed a grain-free food? Canned food? How about raw?
Adding to the difficulty is the fact that every dog is different. The healthiest diet for one dog might not be the best for another. All kinds of factors come into play such as the dog's breed, age, activity level and weight. Not to mention, some dogs have allergies or sensitive stomachs.
So how can you make sure your dog is eating a proper diet? Here are some tips.
Diet and Nutrition Tips
Talk with your dog's vet about nutrition.
If you seek canine nutrition advice from anyone, it should be your dog's vet. The problem is, most vets will recommend a standard dry dog food such as Science Diet. This type of food is OK, but Science Diet is a corn-based food that also contains animal by-products.
If you'd like to discuss some healthier, meat-based options for your dog, ask specific questions such as, "I've been looking into a grain-free diet for my dog. I like these three brands. What do you think?" Or, "I would like to add some variety to my dog's diet by feeding natural, canned food once per week. What would you recommend?"
Give your dog a multi-vitamin.
Consider supplementing your dog's meals with multi-vitamins for dogs. Hopefully your dog is getting all the vitamins she needs from her food. But, just as taking a daily vitamin can't hurt for humans, extra vitamins can benefit dogs as well.
Consider switching to a natural dry dog food.
Natural dry dog food made without animal by-products, corn or chemical preservatives will cost a bit more than a standard dry food. But, if you can fit it into your budget it's one of the easiest ways to improve your dog's nutrition. If cost is an issue, consider mixing a natural brand with a standard brand.
Feed canned or raw food once a week.
Canned food is often more expensive than dry dog food, but it's an easy way to add some variety to your dog's diet. There are natural and organic brands of canned food available. Another option is to feed commercial raw dog food. Raw dog food typically contains raw meat, organs, bones and veggies ground up in a patty format. Not everyone is comfortable feeding raw, but it is an option to consider.
Supplement with digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics for dogs can help support a healthy digestive system. These live enzymes are typically found in raw meat, fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, these enzymes are lost in the heating process to cook the food. Since some dog owners are not comfortable feeding raw food, another option is to supplement the diet with digestive enzymes for dogs. The enzymes and probiotics will help your dog properly absorb nutrients.
What are some other tips for optimizing a dog's nutrition?