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What should my dog eat?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Wondering what should my dog eat to keep your pup healthy for a lifetime?

Wondering what should my dog eat to keep your pup healthy for a lifetime?

Just wander through the pet food aisle of any good sized grocery store and you’ll understand why people are asking the question “What should my dog eat to stay healthy?”  There are dozens of brands, and even more choices in flavors, food types (canned, dry, semi-soft)

Then there are the labels. Each microtype ingredient list is enough to confuse even experienced pet owners. And if you head for a pet supermarket, there are even more options. So what’s a dog lover to do?

The good news is there are some simple rules to help you find the right food for your puppy or dog. Follow these, and the choices will be much easier!

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Buy domestic

I am not big on the whole “Buy American” thing (I typically buy whichever product works best, regardless of where it’s made.) But when it comes to the health and safety of your pet, looking for a food manufactured in the U.S. or Canada has become critical. Certain countries like China don’t regulate pet food manufacturing as well, and sadly many pets have died because of it.

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Where’s the beef?

Or chicken? Or salmon? No, this is not a flashback to an old Wendy’s commercial (although those were great).

It’s the question you need to ask when you look at the ingredients on a bag, can or roll of dog food. Dogs are omnivores (meaning they eat many things), but to stay healthy, they need lots of protein. And that means meat.

But many commercial pet foods are mostly fillers, by-products and refined grains. That might make those foods cheaper at the check-out, but your dog (and your wallet) will suffer later on when the health problems kick in. And let me tell you, vet bills are a whole lot higher than the cost of quality dog food!

What’s the calorie count?

Different dogs need different amounts of calories to stay healthy and fit. And it’s not just about how much you feed them. You need to make sure the amount of food they get contains the right amount of nutrients, too. So if your dog is less active or is up in years, look for a lower calorie, high nutrition dog food.

Or if you have a dog who spends as much time on the trail or bike path as you do, look for a calorie and nutrition dense food to keep them performing at their peak.

Do make sure to feed your dog the right amount of food for their size. Even if a dog begs for more food, overfeeding can put your pet at risk for all kinds of illnesses and disease.

Think special needs

Certain dogs have special needs so the question of what do I feed my dog might be more complex. For instance, puppies need certain nutrients and more fat than adult dogs. Feeding a puppy an adult food can result in poor growth, illness or even death, so it’s important to make sure you have a quality puppy food for the little ones.

A senior dog also has special food needs. Choosing the right food can help stave off joint, heart and kidney problems, giving your beloved pet more healthy years with you.

Food allergies and food sensitivities can also be a factor, so pay attention to labels and avoid irritating ingredients.

Taste

No matter how healthy a dog food might be, the answer to the question of what should my dog eat has to include something about what your pup likes. Even the healthiest food on the market won’t do any good if Fido turns her nose up at it! 
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Fortunately, most premium dog food makers understand that dogs have taste preferences just like humans. That’s why they make different flavor blends. In most cases, even picky eaters will find one or two they like.

To table scrap or not to table scrap

When it comes to dog owners, that really is the question. But unfortunately the answer is far from simple.

Many dog owners supplement pet food with leftover meats, veggies or cheese. Others avoid giving their pets any kind of “people food.”  The choice is really yours, but if you do opt to share, make sure the food is safe for dogs.

Food that contains onions, grapes, raisins, or chocolate can be deadly to pets. Foods high in sugars, salt, or foods that are spicy are also generally bad for dogs.

The final word

There are lots of factors to consider, but when it comes to telling someone what should I feed my dog, I like to keep it simple. Buy the best dog food you can reasonably afford. Your dog deserves a healthy life — and the right food can make that possible.

 

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