One of the most important needs you have to fulfill with your dog is feeding them, but this is often not as simple as just picking a bag of dog food with a name you recognize. Some dogs have special nutritional needs, while others might have allergies. This can make it more challenging to choose the right food. Here are some tips for choosing the best food for your dog.
Think About the Dog's Special Needs
Before you do anything else, think about the special dietary needs your dog might have. Some dogs are overweight so they need to have a dog food lower in fat, while other dogs need more fibre due to a health condition. If you have a senior dog, you typically want to switch to a senior-friendly food as they get older. This will have a good balance of fibre, fat, and protein, plus will be on the lower fat side as senior dogs tend to be overweight. You can also ask your vet if they have recommendations for good senior dog food brands.
Check the Labels
It is also important to start reading labels before choosing a dog food. This allows you to avoid what commercials tell you or just choosing a familiar brand, and really analyse what is in the dog food. You should know how to look on the ingredients for actual meat products or meat by-products. Ground corn is often found in dog food, which is a grain and many dogs have an allergy to. You also want to look for corn syrup, starch, and other additives that are usually not necessary for proper nutrition.
Consider Possible Allergies
Many dogs have food allergies, though you may not realize it until your dogs starts exhibiting symptoms. If your dog is itchy frequently, has chronic ear problems, is struggling with frequent diarrhea, or has inflamed skin, it might actually be allergic to its food. Some common food allergies for dogs are wheat, soy, corn, dairy, and eggs, though it can also be from the type of meat in their food. If you suspect a food allergy, speak to your vet so you can determine what the allergy is and make sure you choose the right food.
Reintroduce New Food Gradually
When you do decide to switch your dog's food, it is essential that you not just switch the entire bowl of food at one time. This often causes stomach upset and diarrhea in dogs. Instead, introduce it slowly by adding just a little bit of the new food with their old food, then gradually adding more of the new food and less of the old food.