Health & Nutrition

Preparing a Healthy Diet for Your Dog

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shutterstock_264954887Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important aspects of your dog’s daily lifestyle, and if overlooked can lead to numerous health problems down the road. Of course, selecting the best ‘Dog Food’ or ‘Raw Food’ for your dog is a difficult task, but in order to prepare a healthy diet and extend the life your schnauzer, you need to focus on more than just dog and raw food. You need to offer a balanced nutritious diet. That’s why today, we will share a few important food elements to include in your furbaby’s daily diet:

Carbohydrates – For Energy

According to the NAS (National Academy of Sciences), nutritionally balanced diets for dogs should include at least 50% carbohydrates with 2.5 to 5% fiber, depending on the breed (and the size of course). For example, 2.5% is perfect for smaller breeds, but for large breeds, a diet with 4.5% fiber is recommended.

So, why should dogs eat carbohydrates? Well, dogs are able to convert certain carbohydrate sources into simple sugars that can easily be absorbed by their body, thus providing them with the adequate energy they need to play, dig, socialize, jump, and run. Moreover, carbohydrates also provide dry kibble with its texture, thus allowing food to be shelf-stable and easy to eat.

Protein – For a Healthy Life and Body

According to a research study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, it was revealed that adult dogs should get at least 10% of their calories from protein. This is simply because DOGS NEED MEAT. And, this meat gives them the protein they need for survival. However, this doesn’t mean you stay limited to feeding your dog meat. Instead, focus on providing protein from other sources, including soy, legumes, fish, poultry, eggs, and meat.

Dairy – For Stronger Bones and Teeth

Similar to how humans require vitamin D and calcium for strong bones and teeth, dogs do too. Therefore, it is imperative that you treat your dog with little dairy products in order for it to develop stronger bones and teeth. Milk is usually advised, but since many dogs can experience acute intestinal distress, like vomiting, gas, or diarrhea, small bits of cheese are often a better option. Another good alternative to regular cow’s milk is using goat’s milk. Goat’s milk has been shown to be tolerable for people who have lactose intolerant issues. So it’s safe to say that it will be a good alternative for your dog.

However, for some dogs, dairy may not be the best option. This is mainly due to some smaller breeds being prone to Oxalate stones in their bladders, causing huge difficulties for them while urinating. Additionally, the stones form high calcium levels in their systems. Therefore, it is better to add only a small amount of calcium to the diets of many smaller dogs.

Fats – Development of Body Cells

Last, but not the least, some fats are imperative for your dogr, as they provide the energy for cells to function and transport vitamins throughout the body. It also helps in keeping the skin and fur healthy and prevents flaky, dry skin. Additionally, Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fat sources also improve the learning abilities and eye functions of dogs. The best source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids is found in fish. If you want to add more of these fatty acids to your dog’s diet, add a table spoon of fish oil or even sunflower oil to your dog’s morning meal.

Water

Probably one of the most important pieces of your dog’s diet is water. Not only does it keep your dog hydrated, it’s also important in the dog’s system to move around important nutrients and carry them in and out of cells. It helps greatly with digestion and nutrient absorption. It helps keep joints lubricated and cushioned to aid in their ability to walk or run properly. Lastly, it aids in helping to remove waste from the body’s system and keeps the liver nice and clean.

You will want to always have fresh, clean water available for your dogs. If you have to leave them outside and it’s warmer than average, your dog will benefit from water because it helps to cool the body down. In the summer, change the water at least two times a day so that it remains cool and does not get too warm. During the winter, you will want to make sure the water stays thawed so that your dog does not have to use so much energy to warm the water in the body.

Things to avoid feeding

Dogs can and will eat just about anything they find or you put down for them. It’s important to remember that there are certain foods that any dog should not consume.

Salt/sodium-is best to avoid altogether as it tends to increase the risk of bladder stones in dogs.

Chocolate- while yummy for us humans to eat, effects both the heart and nervous system and can be fatal.

Onions/chives-do damage to red blood cells and can cause a dog to become anemic.

Macadamia nuts-are shown to cause muscle weakness, tremors and vomiting.

Walnuts-if left to get wet they will get moldy and that mold creates a toxin that is sometimes fatal.

Bones-even though for hundreds of years, dogs have been eating them, come species bones can splinter and crack and cause tears in the stomach lining, the intestines or the throat. It’s best to avoid them altogether for safety.

While this is only a partial list, many more human foods are bad for your dog. With all the dog treats you can now buy in store, it’s silly to try to add human food because it can be so detrimental to your best fur-friend.

Always consult with your vet and when preparing a healthy diet for your favorite pup, and make sure to add these important elements in their daily foods. There are several different brands of dog food out there. I know that with a little research, you can choose the one that is right for your dog.

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