What Do Dogs Eat? Tips To Give Your Pet The Right Nourishment
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Being a pet parent is no walk in the park, especially for those who are new to it. The sheer amount of information available on how to care for your pet can be daunting. While seeking guidance from a veterinarian is always recommended, there are a few easy things you can do at home to ensure your pet enjoys a healthy diet and receives the right nutrients.

Dogs have a diverse diet as they are omnivores, which means they can eat a wide range of foods such as meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. Their eating habits are mainly influenced by their evolutionary background as descendants of wolves. However, due to domestication, they have adapted to thrive on a broader selection of foods compared to their wild ancestors.

When deciding between commercial dog food, homemade meals, or a raw diet, it's essential to ensure that it fulfils your dog's nutritional needs. Customising the diet plan based on your dog's age, breed, size, and health status is crucial, along with being aware of general guidelines and specific food items that should be avoided. Providing your dog with the correct food is a key factor in preserving their overall health and well-being.

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Things your pet's diet should include

Muscle development, maintenance, and overall health are vital for dogs, and amino acids play a key role in achieving these goals. To provide dogs with the necessary nutrients, it's essential to incorporate high-quality protein sources from animals into their diet, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Commercial dog foods often contain protein derived from animal sources like chicken, beef, lamb, and fish meal.

Fat is a concentrated source of energy and also plays a role in nutrient absorption and skin health for dogs. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 can be found in animal fats and plant oils. Meat, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil are all sources of fat in a dog's diet.

Carbohydrates are not a must, but they can provide energy and fibre for your dog. Dogs can get carbohydrates from grains like rice, barley, and oats, as well as from vegetables like sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots, and fruits like apples and blueberries. If your dog struggles to digest certain grains, there are grain-free alternatives to choose from.

Dogs need vitamins and minerals to support their immune system, maintain healthy bones, and regulate metabolism. Commercial dog foods are designed to provide all the necessary nutrients, including added vitamins and minerals. It's crucial to make sure your dog's diet is well-balanced to avoid any deficiencies or overloads.

It's important for dogs to have water to stay hydrated, regulate their body temperature, and support their bodily functions. Keep a bowl of fresh, clean water available for your pup at all times, especially after meals and playtime.

Types Of Food For Dogs

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Home-Cooked Meals: Cooking meals at home gives you complete control over the ingredients, allowing you to customise them to meet your dog's specific dietary needs or preferences. Protein-rich options like chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, and eggs are great choices. To add carbohydrates, you can include cooked rice (brown or white), oats, or quinoa. Don't forget to include cooked vegetables such as carrots, spinach, green beans, peas, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, making sure they are free from harmful additives. 

For essential fatty acids, you can add small amounts of vegetable oils like coconut oil, fish oil, or olive oil. Occasionally, it's beneficial to include calcium, vitamins, and minerals to ensure a well-balanced diet.

Commercial Dog Food: There are different types of commercial dog food to choose from, depending on your dog's needs. Packaged options are formulated for different life stages and health concerns, such as weight management or sensitive stomachs. Dry Kibble is convenient and provides a balanced diet, while canned wet food helps with hydration. Semi-moist food offers a mix of dry and wet food, but it may not always be as easy to find.

Raw Diet: If you're considering adding raw food to your pet's diet, it's crucial to plan it carefully and seek advice from your veterinarian. Raw food can pose a risk of bacterial contamination, so it's important to handle it hygienically and ensure the freshness of the meat. A raw meal can include a variety of options, like raw chicken, beef, lamb, fish, or turkey, along with bones (bones must not be cooked as they can splinter and cause internal injuries). You can also incorporate pureed raw vegetables such as carrots, spinach, apples (seedless), and berries to provide additional nutrients.

How Much And How Often Must Your Pet Eat?

The nutritional needs of a dog vary based on factors such as age, size, activity level, and metabolism. To ensure your furry friend receives the right amount of food, it's advisable to follow the feeding guidelines mentioned in commercial food packages. If you prefer preparing home-cooked or raw diets, it's always a good idea to seek guidance from a veterinarian. Typically, puppies should be fed 3–4 times a day, while adult dogs require feeding twice a day. Seniors, on the other hand, may need to be fed 1-2 times a day, depending on their activity level.

When transitioning your dog to a different diet, make sure to do it slowly over a few days to prevent any tummy troubles. Begin by blending small portions of the new food with the old food, then slowly increase the amount of the new food while decreasing the old food.

Strictly Avoid

Certain foods for dogs must be avoided as they are considered toxic for them. Pet parents often end up feeding a dog from their plate out of guilt. This may be harmful to your dog’s health. Even small amounts of food such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, avocado, alcohol, caffeine and Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free products) can be harmful and sometimes even fatal for your pet.