Trying to figure out the right dog food for your canine companion can seem overwhelming, but there are several things to consider that can help make the decision easier. Today, our Long Island vets share some tips that can help you make the right decision for feeding your dog.
One of the most basic needs of any living thing is proper nutrition, and your dog is no different. Due to 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 researching, 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 about their opinions and advice 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 brands of commercial dog food are available in both dry and 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 oversight; 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 a number of reasons: potentially saving money, fears around commercial dog food recalls, or a specialty diet. 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.
Suddenly changing your dog's food can make it more difficult for them 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.
Remember, you know your dog best!
Ultimately, you know your dog better than anyone. Your insight into their daily life, activity level and overall health makes you the final say in what your dog eats. 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.