dogs Healthy pets

8 Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Diet

Poor nutrition may result in severe health concerns in dogs, including emaciation, weight loss, frequent infections, obesity, allergies, fur loss, and rickets. These health problems are caused mainly by the quality or amount of food given and may also be triggered by parasite infestations or other medical conditions. If you see signs of malnutrition in your dog, a professional vet should assess its daily diet and gastrointestinal health to create proper meal and treatment plans.

Nutritional imbalances may also affect several conditions such as congestive heart failure, growth disorders, kidney disease, pancreatitis, and obesity. Proper nutrition in daily treats and food intake is key to maintaining a healthy, happy canine. A balanced, healthy diet boosts your dog’s immunity, prevents diseases, improves digestibility, promotes muscle tone and body condition, and enhances their hair and skin coat health. This article discusses eight ways to improve your dog’s health.

  1. Avoid overfeeding your dog and limit treats

Overfeeding your dog results in obesity and increases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and reduced lifespan. Consider feeding your canine friend grain free weight management dog food and other foods that can help control their weight. If you aren’t sure of your dog’s ideal weight, consult your vet to ensure they are not overweight.

Get advice from your vet regarding portion control to ensure you aren’t underfeeding the dog. Engage them in regular exercises, including walking and running. You can keep treats for training purposes or reward good behavior. Once you know your dog’s ideal weight, track it using a scale to note fluctuations immediately.

  1. Don’t use processed foods as staple foods

Thanks to marketing tricks and techniques, some pet parents believe that processed foods are the only safe meal they can feed their dogs. Processed food is usually cooked, meaning its chemical structure has been altered. This destroys most of its nutritional value and makes it hard for the dog to digest. The pancreas is forced to work harder, drawing other enzymes from the dog’s bloodstream.

This may leave it physically vulnerable as the blood enzymes are meant to protect the body, not assist digestion. Some processed foods contain grains, causing the lactic acid accumulation. They also have high fiber percentages, offering zero nutritional value to the dog. Processed foods contain preservatives, artificial coloring, unhealthy fats, and binders.

  1. Embrace fresh, whole foods

Fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy contain a lot of live enzymes and are nutrient-rich, positively impacting your dog’s overall health. They’re also excellent at treating, remedying, and avoiding many health problems. Fruits and vegetables have good insoluble and soluble fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They’re low in fat and filling. They boost the dog’s immune system, help the body remove toxins, prevent colon cancer, lower inflamed anal glands risk, and ensure good oral, eye, organ, and teeth health. Fresh fruits and vegetables also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke.

  1. Add dietary supplements to your dog’s diet

Sufficient daily nutrients and vitamins are essential for your furry friend’s life. Food alone may not always meet your dog’s nutrient requirements. Using dietary supplements can help cover any deficiencies in your pet’s daily diet, provide your pet with the necessary nutrients, boost their immunity, increase absorption rates, enhance skin and coat, maintain healthy digestion, promote healthy aging and improve cognitive development. Before starting your dog on supplements, consult your vet for advice and recommendations.

  1. Read dog food nutrition labels

Pet food nutrition label is meant to help you make informed diet choices. While some foods may be recommended by the vet, researching any ingredients you don’t understand can help determine their pros and cons. The food could be suitable for a specific diagnosed condition but may bring many other issues. It would be wise to ask your vet to recommend alternative fresh, healthy foods.

  1. Avoid gluten

Gluten can be dangerous for a dog’s gut, especially if they’re gluten intolerant or sensitive. Gluten sensitivity means the canine will react to the protein element in grains, including rye, barley, and wheat, and may result in multiple severe signs and symptoms like the ones with Celiac disease. Gluten is safe for most dogs, but if you realize that your pet is intolerant, seek immediate treatment because it may damage your furry friend’s overall and gut health if neglected.

Gluten intolerance symptoms in dogs include stomach problems, skin conditions, excessive scratching, foot chewing, coat condition, weight loss, and chronic ear infection. Although there is no treatment for gluten intolerance in dogs, you can effectively manage the condition by investing in a gluten-free diet.

  1. Count the calories

Some dogs have varying dietary requirements based on their breed despite belonging to the same species. You should know your pet’s calorie requirements to ensure the correct calorie count. Consult your vet to determine the canine’s precise, up-to-date weight for accurate calorie calculation. Knowing how many calories your dog requires is the first step toward creating a healthy meal plan—factor in your dog’s target weight based on whether it is over or underweight. Everything your canine eats should be accounted for in the calorie intake. Treats can also impact calorie intake, so ensure they’re healthy and given in limitation.

  1. Use MCT oil for dogs

MCT oil, also called medium-chain triglycerides, is a supplement-based type of fat. It has smaller molecules that make it easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides, generating energy quicker. To produce MCT oil, you can use palm kernel or coconut oil. It’s good for your dog’s brain, obesity, and skin health. MCT oil improves digestion, reduces the severity and number of seizures, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces chronic inflammation, and manages metabolic disease via microbiota modification.

The oil dosage varies based on dog size. When choosing an MCT oil for your dog, read product labels for ingredient list and quality, purchase researched backed brands, buy products meant for dogs and consider asking your vet if they can recommend any good oils.

A proper dog diet prevents severe health conditions and ensures good health and happiness. Consider using these tips to improve your dog’s diet.  

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!