The health and happiness of your furry friends can be hugely impacted by what you feed them. Choosing a good diet, with high-quality food and treats is essential for their overall health and well-being and can help to minimise the risk of obesity and other life-long health issues. Just like us, your dog should eat a balanced diet each day to give them the nutrients they need to keep them fit and active.
Below are just some of the benefits of feeding your dog a nutritious and healthy diet:
1. Better overall health and wellness: Feeding your dog a balanced and nutrient-rich diet helps to ensure that they receive all the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to stay healthy and active.
2. Improved digestion: A healthy and nutritional diet can help improve the digestive system of your dog and reduce digestive problems.
3. Stronger immune system: A good diet can help boost the immune system of your dog, making them less susceptible to infection and illness.
4. Healthy weight: Feeding your dog a nutritionally balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of obesity and related health problems.
5. Stronger bones and joints: A diet rich in calcium, phosphorus, and other essential minerals can help support healthy growth and development of bones and joints in puppies and can also support and maintain the health of bones and joints in adult dogs.
6. Improved coat and skin health: A proper diet is essential for good skin and coat health, as it provides dogs with the necessary nutrients to keep their fur shiny, smooth, and healthy.
7. Mental and emotional well-being: Eating a nutritious diet can also have a positive impact on your dog’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
With so many foods to choose from, finding the right one can be a bit of a minefield. Ultimately, you need to decide which food best suits your dog – you’ll need to consider things like the type of food, quality of ingredients and cost to fit with your budget. Here are a few tips to help you choose:
Look for high content, quality proteins as the first ingredient (e.g., lamb 70%), and avoid labels with animal derivatives or animal meals.
Make sure it is life-stage appropriate – some foods are specific to puppies, adults, and seniors, whereas others are suitable for all.
Choose a food that is labelled ‘complete’, so you know it contains all the nutrients that your dog needs.
Avoid foods that contain large amounts of fillers like grain and cereal, as well as artificial colours and preservatives.
Similarly, treats should be made from high-quality ingredients and given to your dog in
moderation. If you are feeding treats, don’t forget to reduce the amount of their main meal
to compensate for the additional calories.
When you transition your dog onto a new food, it is usually best to do this gradually over a few days. Sudden changes to diet can cause upset tummies, especially if they have sensitivities. Also, make sure you weigh the food out to ensure you aren’t serving overly generous portions. Feeding guides often need to be adjusted to meet individual dogs’ requirements, so don’t be afraid to alter the quantity of food being fed to maintain a healthy weight.
Chloe Heaton is the founder of The Innocent Hound, winner of New Food Product award at PATS 2019. The Innocent Hound uses British meat, sustainably caught fish and quality ingredients to make a range of air-dried food and treats. The Innocent Hound’s unique air-drying method uses a cool airflow to gently dry the products – they are not exposed to temperatures above 40 °C, so the products are dry but raw. The food offers the benefits of raw feeding but with the convenience of a kibble. Visit www.theinnocenthound.co.uk to find out more.