Besides physical activity, having a nutritious and balanced diet for your dog is one of the best ways to avoid long-term health issues and fight off potential diseases.
Changing to healthier alternatives and whole foods can improve your dog’s diet by helping them to live longer and avoid unnecessary trips to the vet.
Your dog’s diet is also a basis for good immune health. The bacterial balance in the gut microbiome is heavily influenced by diet.
A diet containing a reasonable amount of good fibre and live bacteria from wholesome fresh foods is important in maintaining a healthy microbiome.
1. Consider a diet for its nutrients, not ingredients
Put simply, an ingredient is the raw material that acts as a “vehicle” to deliver vital nutrients to the body.
Ingredients and nutrients are both very important. However, it is the nutrient that is absorbed by the body, not the ingredient.
Read the label and note the target life stage of your dog, ingredients, nutritional information and calories.
Below are the nutrients important for your dog’s health and well-being:
- Proteins supply energy and contain amino acids for growth development and muscle tone.
- Carbohydrates are a necessary source of energy, and an excellent source of fibre to help nourish the good bacteria in the gut.
- Fats give your dog energy. They supply fatty acids which promote a healthy nervous system, provide a healthy skin and coat and make pet food taste better.
- Vitamins are important for many bodily functions including maintaining the nervous system, clotting of blood and boosting the immune system.
- Minerals are necessary for the healthy function of muscles and nerves.
2. Include fresh food in their diet
Highly processed foods are bad for your pet. This is because they have been cooked at high heat or undergone an extrusion process.
These processes will lessen the nutrient and vitamin content compared to good quality fresh foods.
Fresh foods either raw or gently cooked are a great way to improve your pooches’ health.
They contain live enzymes (probiotics) and fibre that aids digestion.
It allows them to better absorb the nutrients, promote regular bowel movements and firmer stools.
Below are some suggestions for adding some fresh foods to their diet:
- To begin with, reduce the total amount of processed food by about 20%.
- Nutritious food’s high in lean protein, vitamins & minerals e.g., raw beef liver and raw chicken heart
- Ingredients high in essential fatty acids like raw salmon and chicken egg (without shell), or incorporate fish oils in regular feeding
- Antioxidants – Vegetables and fruits
- Purple pigmented – e.g., beetroot, red cabbage, blueberries
- Yellow and Orange – e.g., carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin
- Green pigmented – e.g., spinach, broccoli, kiwi
- Low calorie meal boosters – e.g., bone broth (or Tummy Time probiotic broth)
3. Always provide fresh and clean water
Your dog needs adequate water intake each day to stay healthy and hydrated.
Dogs tend to drink water only when they are thirsty and much of their water intake comes from their food.
Water regulates your dog’s body temperature, aids digestion and waste removal.
If you have a dog who tends to ignore their water bowl why not add (Tummy Time broth link) to their water or food for optimal health and immunity.
4. Don’t overfeed and limit fatty/sugary treats
With every life stage of your dog, the food they eat and the right amount of food they need also change.
Overfeeding your dog will lead to weight gain, can shorten their life span and lead to some cancers.
The perfect meal size depends on the calorie content, metabolic rate, pet’s weight, and physical activities of your dog.
Make sure you only give them the calories they need. Feed them earlier in the morning so that they have enough time to burn off the calories through physical activities.
Treats… Just like us, too many treats can cause weight gain in your dog.
While it may seem like you are just treating your dog, overindulging or high calorie treats aren’t good for them and could lead to health problems.
Cut down on high calorie treats and feed your dog healthier (lean, clean, high protein) ones like Beg N’Bark Clean Treats.
5. Daily exercise
Exercising regularly can help boost your dog’s metabolism and encourage them to be more active.
If you’re wondering why your dog doesn’t eat a lot, it may be because they have a slower metabolism and doesn’t get hungry as quickly.
Start with small changes in exercise and soon your pet will be begging to do more!
The type of exercise you choose can depend on several factors, the most important being their current level of mobility, their age and weight.
What you do want to see is a progressive improvement in your dog’s fitness level and muscle tone without injury.
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