In ancient times, Dogs were not seen as anything special and were primarily utilitarian. The rise of pet culture and the importance of dogs in human lives increased with time.
Now a majority of us share an inseparable bond with our pet dogs. The canines are a source of happiness that gives and never demands anything in return. Pet dogs are known to avail various benefits to their humans, including stress reduction, security, and teaching responsibility towards the kids. Trained and service dogs aid in the betterment of patients with heart diseases, autism, anxiety, and depression.
Dogs are a gift to humankind, and it is essential that we treasure this gift with all our hearts.
Our four-legged friends are not very demanding, but it is necessary to take proper care and shower them with love and affection as they do.
Well-balanced proper nutrition allows your dog to be active, healthy, and live a longer life spreading happiness all around. The essential food nutrients your dog needs are Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat, Minerals, and Vitamins in the same order of importance and quantity.
What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet means providing or intake the right amount of food in accurate proportions of every essential nutrient suitable for your dog in every meal. A balanced diet caters to the dog’s bodily needs to maintain healthy and hearty functioning.
A balanced diet for your dog should contain protein (any animal meat), vegetables, whole grains, fat, and micronutrients like omega-three fatty acids to aid healthy skin and brain functioning, and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for the larger breeds and older dogs.
According to vets, pet dogs require more than 50 essential nutrients, including the key ones like Vitamin C, minerals, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
The essential nutrients you can provide your dog through food are:
Proteins: Body tissues in the body are made up of proteins. It is crucial to avail your pets with protein to continue their body’s internal and external functioning efficiently.
Fats: These nutrients avail instant energy to your dogs. It also aids in keeping your dog’s skin and coat/hair healthy. Some of the essential fatty acids are Linoleic acid, Omega-6, and Omega-3. Fatty acids in the regular diet are very crucial because your dog’s body cannot make enough essential fatty acids on its own.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are plant derivatives, and your dogs can get essential carbohydrates through grains and vegetables. Carbohydrates are vital for the healthy functioning intestines in your dog.
Vitamins and Minerals: every living body needs numerous nutrients like vitamins and minerals for performing chemical reactions that aid in bone formation and maintenance of the bones. A balanced diet includes vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, Calcium, and Phosphorus.
Water: One of the most significant elements in a dog’s diet is water. Water makes up for half the bodyweight of a Dog. Always make sure your dog has ready access to plenty of fresh and clean water all the time.
Raw Food in Diet
Raw Foods in a dog’s diet is a bit of a controversial topic. This has been an old practice as the greyhounds, hunting dogs, and sled dogs used to have raw food for maximum energy and efficient functioning of their bodies. Some studies show that the raw food diet is much healthier than the commercial grain-based pet foods.
A raw food diet typically consists of the following items:
- On the bone muscle meat
- Whole bones or ground bone
- Raw eggs
- Broccoli, spinach, celery, among many other vegetables
- Organ meats like livers, kidneys, and many others
You can also choose packaged raw dog food. It is a better and safer option.
Benefits of Feeding Raw Food
The Raw food diet has numerous benefits, and a few are listed down below:
- Promotes stronger bone health
- Development of shinier coats
- Healthy and cleaner teeth
- Improved energy levels
- Smaller stools
- Aids indigestion
- Enhances skin health
Foods to Avoid
Although our pets are members of our families, our dogs cannot eat everything people eat. It is not safe or healthy for them to eat everything humans can. Given is the list of food items that you need to keep your dogs away from.
Chocolate: The dogs find the smell of chocolate especially amusing and would lead you to drop some down for them, but remember, chocolates are incredibly toxic for dogs and shouldn’t be given to them.
Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic are highly harmful to dogs. These vegetables cause oxidative damage to the dogs’ red blood cells, resulting in blood cell rupture and turning into anemia.
Citrus: The Citric acid found in fruits like grapefruit, lime, lemon, and oranges can impact the dog’s digestive system and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes even depression of the central nervous system.
Raw yeast dough: While it is ok for your pet dog to eat bread in small quantities, raw dough is an immediate no. The yeast in the raw dough can cause gas in the dog’s digestive system and result in painful stomach aches or even cause rupture or gastric dilatation and volvulus.
Salty food: Although salt is an essential component in maintaining healthy muscle and nerve functions. It is important to note that dogs with chronic diseases like kidney, liver, or heart issues may suffer from a problem by consuming salt. Generally, your dog’s salt consumption should be in a limited quantity.
Although the commercial pet foods are labeled “natural, complete, and balanced,” your dog’s nutrient requirement can be unfulfilled. Hence it is vital to consult a well-experienced vet to avail a properly balanced diet for your dog depending on your pet’s nutritional requirements, body weight, height, and age. The dogs dedicate their entire lives to their humans. The least we can do is avail them of the best possible diets and nutrients.