Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dogs with Special Dietary Needs

We live in a health-conscious society, and people are more aware than ever before of the importance of what goes into their body. In some cases, this has even led to entire dietary movements. Just consider all of the following diets, each of which requires significant lifestyle changes on behalf of the person:

Vegetarian diet

Vegan diet

Gluten-free diet

Paleo diet

Low-carb diet

Given our heightened awareness regarding the importance of what we place in our bodies, it only stands to reason that some dog owners are increasingly concerned about what goes into their pet’s diet as well. This has led to a heightened interest in everything from raw meat diets to hypoallergenic dog food.

However, it should be noted that putting together a diet that’s both healthy and delicious for your dog is easier said than done. It’s easy enough to source fresh meat that your dog will enjoy eating, but a diet that consists exclusively of meat is not going to provide all of the vitamins and nutrients required to keep your dog in top shape. This is where scientifically formulated food comes into play.

Proper Nutrition for Your Dog
If it lived in the wild, your dog would subsist largely upon animal products. This would include meat, organs and even raw bones, the set of which deliver a powerful selection of nutrients and vitamins. However, when you go shopping for raw food to feed your dog, it’s easy to overlook the importance of, say, offal for iron and other vitamins, or of bones for added calcium.

However, high quality pet food is going to be made from real animal products to begin with. Lesser brands are prone to cutting corners with plant-based fillers that can boost the appearance of nutritional content (such as protein) without actually supplying your dog with real nutrition that its body can break down.

That’s why it’s a good idea to feed your dog a base of high-quality kibble that meets all of its nutritional requirements from the outset. This allows you to supplement with special treats and snacks that you pick up when grocery shopping, without having to worry that your dog may not be getting the complete nutrition that it requires.

Even Dogs Can Have Allergies
Just like people, some dogs are naturally more sensitive to some ingredients. This could be outright allergies or something more subtle – such as difficulty digesting gluten. If you feel that your dog may be experiencing an adverse reaction to something in its diet, the first thing that you should do is schedule an appointment with your vet to determine what – if anything – is causing the problem.

Your veterinarian will then be able to recommend a high-quality hypoallergenic dog food that will be easier on your dog’s tummy. Anyone who has ever suffered from food allergies themselves can testify to the relief experienced once the allergen is removed from the diet. Needless to say, your dog will feel and act like a new animal – with more energy, less discomfort and an all-around brighter demeanour.  

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