It can be completely overwhelming and frustrating when you are trying to determine the best nutritional needs for your dog. While selecting the best type of food is important for your dog, it is equally important to take into consideration the dog’s age, weight, breed and activity level, not to mention choosing the best nutritional needs for dogs that are suffering with sensitive stomachs, allergies or other health problems. To help you make an informed decision, here are a few nutritional tips to help keep your dog healthy.
Talk to Your Veterinarian About Nutrition
First and foremost, if you want to get some clarity about your dog’s nutrition, the best person to talk with is your veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to examine your dog to determine if obesity is a concern, arthritis or another health problem may be a concern and what foods and/or supplements may be beneficial when addressing these concerns.
There are several types of multi-vitamins available that are designed to help your pet meet their nutritional needs. Your veterinarian may suggest a multi-vitamin as a supplement to help replenish lost vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C or calcium, which can help to reduce or slow down the symptoms of arthritis. If you prefer to give your dog a multi-vitamin before talking with the veterinarian, be sure to select the type of vitamin that is best suited for your dogs breed, age and weight and keep in mind that a multi-vitamin is not a substitute for eating a healthy diet.
Giving your dog digestive enzymes and/or probiotics can be beneficial for supporting a healthy digestive system. These enzymes which are typically found in vegetables, fruits and raw meat can get lost during the heating process while dog food is being cooked. Dog owners who prefer not to give their dogs raw foods can often supplement their diet with digestive enzymes in the form of a liquid or pill. When your dog has a healthy presence of probiotics and enzymes, they will be able to properly absorb the nutrients they need for good health.
Choosing Wet or Dry Food
Every dog is different when it comes to their food; some prefer wet, while others prefer dry. There are benefits to both and it is worth trying different types to see which your dog prefers. However, it is important to avoid changing the type of food too quickly or too frequently. Consistency is essential to maintain a healthy dog. The best way to determine whether your dog will best benefit from wet or dry food is to discuss options with your veterinarian. Remember, if you are changing your dog’s food, or changing to a different brand of either, it is important that you provide foods that are best suited for your dog’s age, weight and breed and to introduce the changes gradually.
Whatever you decide to feed your dog and whatever supplements you choose to provide in addition to their food, it is important that you keep a close eye on their behaviors when changes are made. For example, if your pet is sleeping more than usual or frequently scratching since you changed their food or added a supplement, the dog may be having a reaction to the food/supplement and you should make an appointment with your vet before making any additional changes to their diet.
Contact us at New Hope Animal Hospital to learn more information about the nutritional needs for pets or to schedule an appointment for an examination to determine if your pet’s nutritional needs are being met.