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Is A Premium Dog Food Really That Much Better For Your Dog?
==========The Scoop is a premium dog food=========
If you’re interested in premium dog food, I probably don’t need to tell you about it importance of diet keep your dog active and healthy. You already know you want something better than “average” for your furry friend.
But how much do you really know about the contents of high-quality food and the needs of your pet? I’m not a vet, but I know something about health and nutrition. (As a family dentist who worked for twenty years, I saw firsthand the effects of bad eating habits on people’s health – and especially on people’s teeth!!).
Like you, your dog has to deal with the effects of stress, age, strain, a polluted environment, and food grown in nutrient-depleted soil. Unlike you, he must obtain practically all his nourishment from one food. Sure, you can give him a few treats or the occasional table scrap (hopefully not too much!), but otherwise he’ll eat from the same bag or can eat day after day. You want him to get full nutrition from that one food.
Even the experts seem to disagree on what constitutes perfect nutrition. Perhaps this explains why there are so many premium dog food formulas. However, they agree on one thing: high quality dog food is better for your pet like economy and grocery brands. Even if you pay more, it’s usually true that you get what you pay for.
Experts also agree that because premium foods are more nutritionally dense and easier to digest, your dog doesn’t need to eat as much. One study even concluded that feeding your dog the recommended amounts in each package would save you money at premium restaurants. This is because your dog needs to eat much less. (You also save on buckets!)
Another way to know if your dog is getting the right diet is just to observe him. Are his eyes bright, his coat silky and shiny, and is his skin free of dryness and itchiness? Is she at a healthy weight? What about his energy level? This can vary from animal to animal, but once you get to know yours, you’ll know when your dog isn’t well.
Of course, any ongoing health issues should be investigated by your vet, and the same goes for any special dietary needs. But you usually know if your friend is doing well on the diet you feed him. If you see signs that he isn’t, try a different formula or a different premium dog food.
Introduce new foods gradually, especially if you have a picky eater. And while we’re on the subject, it’s always nice if your dog enjoys eating his food. This has much less to do with taste than smell. Dogs have fewer taste buds than us, but about 40 times more smell receptors. So make sure he eats with interest and not just picking at his food.
Here are some basic guidelines you can follow:
Every dog needs the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Your dog needs all of these in the right proportion to stay healthy. Needs vary by stage of life, breed and activity level. Dog food companies make first-class dog food for all stages of life, from puppies to seniors. The average adult dog needs about five ounces for every ten pounds of body weight daily, and the essential nutrients are in the following proportions:
Protein -23% of the total intake
Fats -5% of the total intake
Carbohydrates -65% of the total intake
Other vitamins and minerals your dog needs are: vitamins A, D, E, B, niacin, biotin, folic acid, choline and pantothenic acid; Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine and selenium.
It is generally agreed that dogs do better with a protein source that is primarily meat rather than soybeans and grains. Check the sticker. All US food labels must list the ingredients in order of quantity. If meat byproducts are listed, they should come after the actual meat, not before. Meat byproducts are a poor quality source of protein and are basically what’s left after the good quality meat has been removed. “Raw protein” can be an equally poor source because it can contain parts of the animal that the average dog can’t even digest or absorb (hair, beaks, etc.).
Omega fatty acids are a hot topic in human nutrition today and have been found to be just as important in canine diets. Both must be present and in the right proportion. Most premium dog food companies have researched this and adjusted ratios, but as always, ask your vet if in doubt.
===========Wet vs. dry============
You can buy premium dog food in almost any format, but which is the best? Again, most experts seem to agree. Dry food is less likely to allow plaque to build up on the teeth, less likely to collect bacteria if left out for too long, and results in firmer, more compact stools. Semi-moist foods are convenient, but for some reason (I’m not sure what) don’t offer the same nutritional benefits as good quality nibbles or jars.
However, I have heard claims that a diet containing only dry food can strain a dog’s kidneys. So check with your vet just to be sure.
===========The stages of life============
Young need more calories and essential nutrients than adult dogs. They need up to twice as many calories per ounce of body weight and should get 25 to 30 percent of their energy from protein, depending on the breed.
Most premium dog food brands take this into account in their puppy recipes, but it doesn’t hurt to check the label. By the age of six to eight weeks, the puppy should be completely weaned and eat its dry food constantly. After that, different breeds reach their mature weight at different rates, from 9 months to 24 months of age. So it is difficult to give an age or weight at which your pet should be weaned off puppy food. Again, your vet can help with this.
Also, remember not to try to “speed up” the growth process by overfeeding. If it grows too fast, the dog can develop bone growth diseases. Your puppy should get three to four meals a day because he is growing fast but still has a small stomach, but don’t go overboard with the portion size.
Adult dogs must eat according to their size and energy needs, and should be fed two meals a day. Premium dog food companies often call this a “maintenance diet.”
Unlike cats, dogs are not strictly carnivores. In fact, a dog is more than an omnivore and will eat almost anything, whether it’s good for him or not! A certain amount of plant-based substances is part of a dog’s natural diet. Dogs love vegetables like broccoli, carrots, zucchini, peas, and beans, as well as fruits like bananas, apples, and melons. These also make great low-calorie treats!
One thing you should never feed your dog is chocolate – it contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs.
Senior dogs need premium dog food to help them get rid of and manage the effects of aging. Because different breeds vary so much, it’s hard to give an age when you should switch to a senior diet. The ASPCA recommends using weight as a guideline and offers the following:
Small breeds or dogs weighing less than 20 kilos: 7 years old
Medium breeds or dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds: 7 years old
Large breeds or dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds: 6 years old
Giant breeds or dogs weighing 91 pounds or more: 5 years old
The ASPCA recommends you begins to address the symptoms of old age before they are apparent. Like us, dogs begin to accumulate more fat as they age, even though they consume fewer calories. (At least we’re not alone!). Muscle mass tends to decrease, but this does not mean that you should reduce your older dog’s protein intake. Protein is more important than ever to help maintain muscle mass, so avoid feeding older dogs with less protein.
One thing you want to feed him less of is calories. Obesity is a real problem for adult dogs, and many owners don’t even realize that their dog is overweight. Aside from portion size and calorie content, one way to avoid an overweight dog is to not give it table scraps. Most human food is not good for your dog.
===========How much to feed============
What is your dog’s weight? You should be able to feel your dog’s spine and ribs with light finger pressure, but you won’t be able to see them. If you have to “dig” to find them, your dog is overweight and if you can see his ribs, he is underweight.
If you’re not sure how much to feed, you’ll love the interactive dog food calculator on the PetsMart home page! It is the result of considerable research published in scientific journals and accepted by experts in the field. You can determine the right amount of food for your dog and find out how long a 40 kg bag will last!
If you are ready to feed nutritionally complete high-quality dog food, do you still need supplements? This is another hotly debated topic. As a rule, it seems so most dogs do well without supplements. In certain dogs and under certain conditions, supplements can make a difference. For example, a dog that is not thriving and has no other medical explanation may improve with supplements. Or dogs with certain skin conditions are known to benefit from supplements. Since there is a risk of doing more harm than good, you absolutely should discuss supplements with your vet.
If you decide to use one, choose one that is made from natural sources and is designed as a multivitamin developed specifically for dogs. This way he gets everything in the right amounts and proportions. Add it to the diet twice a week so as not to overload or suppress your dog’s own internal regulatory mechanisms.
There are many reasons why a dog may be placed on a special diet. Some dogs are very sensitive to certain ingredients in commercial dog foods. Even if you feed him the best high quality dog food, if your dog is not thriving, it is possible that his diet is a problem for him. Owners have turned to alternative diets—whole, raw food, even kosher—to optimize their pet’s health. Some choose these diets simply because they believe they are better, not because their dog has a problem.
We will discuss special diets in a future article. For now, I hope you’ve gained some useful insights into the benefits of premium dog food beyond budget brands.
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