Figuring out the right dog food for your canine companion can seem overwhelming, but several tips can help make the decision easier. Today, our Brookhaven vets share some advice that can help you choose the best food for your dog.
One of the most basic needs of any living thing is proper nutrition, and your dog is no different. Because of the vast array of dog food options and opinions from dog experts and lovers alike, it can seem like a daunting task. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making decisions about what food to feed your dog:
Learn about nutrition options.
There's an endless collection of information about canine nutrition online, which can be an excellent resource to start you off. While doing your research, it's important to be mindful that not all information will be reliable or applicable to your dog's unique case. If you have any questions or doubts about feeding your dog, you can also ask others like dog breeders, trainers, and groomers for their opinions regarding their favorite dog food. A local pet store may also be a good resource for advice on feeding your dog, although the best source of information will always be your veterinarian.
Familiarize yourself with different kinds of dog food.
Most commercial dog foods are available in both kibble (dry) and canned (wet) forms, although more recent options include dehydrated or freeze-dried food that you add water to before giving it to your dog. Commercial dog food has the advantage of having to adhere to particular standards; the nutritional information on dog food brand packages comes from the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). When shopping for dog food, remember that your dog's needs and preferences are as important as the nutrition in their food! Size, age, and health conditions all affect which dog foods could be best suited for your pet.
For some people, making their dog's food at home is appealing for several reasons: potentially saving money, fears around commercial dog food recalls, or a specialty diet. However, keep in mind that creating an appropriate meal for your dog requires close attention to ensure that it has the nutrition that your dog needs. If you're considering making your dog's food, consult your vet for advice.
Slowly introduce the new food.
If you change your dog's food too suddenly, it can make it more challenging for your pet to adjust to the switch. Try adding gradually increasing amounts of the new food mixed into the food your dog is used to eating. As your dog transitions to the new food, keep an eye out for any signs of illness such as an allergic reaction or an upset stomach. If you have concerns about your dog's reaction to their food, contact your vet right away to have your dog examined.
No one knows your dog as well as you do!
Ultimately, you know your dog better than anyone. Your valuable insight into their daily life, activity level, habits, and overall health makes you the final say in your dog's diet. With proper nutrition, appropriate portions, and regular checks with the veterinarian, your dog is sure to enjoy trotting to the food bowl for years to come.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.