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What’s in your dog’s bowl?

What’s in your dog’s bowl?

One of the more complicated decisions a dog owner has to make centers around nutrition.

From the Blog Editors at Pet Plan Insurance 1/22/16:

“On an appropriate diet, your pet should have formed stools – not too much, not too frequently. Your pet’s coat should be rich in color and not dry or brittle. He should have good energy, ideal weight and good muscle tone. Vomiting, loose stools and picky eating aren’t normal – consider re-evaluating your pet’s diet if any of these signs occur.”

With so many pet-food options available, Fido’s diet considerations can be overwhelming.

For many dog owners, the choice boils down to cost.  The biggest bag of dry kibbles from “big box” stores may seem to be the financially logical choice, yet is it the best food source and long-term health plan for your dog?

To quote Dr. Soltero in his “Guide to Healthy Nutrition for your Pet and Family”:  “A healthy diet consists of a good quality protein, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, with essential supplementation to provide the body what it needs to have a healthy immune system.”

Furthermore, he states: “Grass-fed meat is higher in nutritional value and contains higher amounts of essential fatty acids which are important to every cell in your body and immune system”.

Many Veterinarians agree that the best diet for dogs should include a combination of quality ingredients, focused on 3 main categories and food suggestions below.

Please consult with your Veterinarian for the best diet combination, while also considering your individual dog’s need, breed, size, age and your household budget.

A grocery short list:

PROTEIN:

-Wild Fish (not farm raised)

-Tofu

-Grass-fed Meat

-Chicken & Eggs (“range-free” is best)

-Lamb (almost always grass fed)

PLEASE AVOID FEEDLOT MEAT!!

FRUITS & VEGETABLES:

-Sweet Potatoes (contain high-quality protein similar to eggs with essential nutrients, such as carotenoids, copper, Vitamin C, E and fiber).

-Pumpkin (a miracle food in my opinion). Not only is it a good source of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, its fibrous qualities help solidify a loose stool or get things moving when they’re not.

-Broccoli (great for Vitamins A, B & E, with added benefits of protein, calcium and magnesium)

-Green beans (rich in iron and vitamins)

-Carrots (chock-full of fiber)

-Apples (good source of Vitamin A, B and fiber…(sans the seeds & core of course)

CARBOHYDRATES:

-Various potatoes

-Pumpkin

-Wild Rice

-Whole-grain pastas

SUPPLEMENTS:

-Goat yogurt (probiotics are touted today for their healthy bacteria benefits).

Suggested servings:  Small dogs: 1 TB per day. Medium-sized dogs: ½ C. Large dogs: 1 C/day

-Olive Oil (anti-aging properties and beneficial fats).

Suggested servings: Small dog: 1 teaspoon. Medium-sized dogs: 2 teaspoons: Large dogs: 1 TB per day

-Essential Fatty Acids (Flaxseed Oil, Fish Oil, Primrose Oil, Borage Oil)

If your pet is sitting by his food bowl, with complete disinterest, consider a new approach.

According to Dr. Tony Buffington in Vetstreet, MAY 11, 2015:

“Fundamentally, pets choose the foods they eat based on smell, taste and mouth feel.  What this means from a nutritional perspective is that it is helpful to offer new foods as a choice at meal time.”

Additionally, food puzzles are pouring into the pet care market that provide physical and mental exercise, slow down the fast eaters and add a little fun to the feeding process.

Dr. Buffington recommends that food puzzles be introduced at mealtime.  “Place a portion of the usual meal in the feeder, placed next to the pet’s typical food source.  Owners should stick around to observe pet reaction while also ensuring that he is able to retrieve his meal from the puzzle consistently.”

It should also go without saying that if your dog is overweight his diet needs to be carefully weighed!

At a minimum, consider lowering his daily caloric intake, switching to a weight-loss food program, adding more fiber and water, decreasing the treats and increasing his exercise!

Chew on this: The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that 58% of dogs tip the scales beyond healthy guidelines. Obesity-related diseases include Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and many types of cancer.

For a quick check-up on your dog’s weight, in proportion to healthy breed guidelines, visit: http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-weight-translator/

Your dog’s health and wellness are a top priority at Doolittle’s Doghouse.  We include dog walking and exercise in our daily dog boarding rates. Let’s walk through life together!

Hugs,

Tori

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