Find the Right Food for Your Dog – 7 Tips for Healthy Feeding

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Mikki Hogan, dog trainer and publisher of is an avid dog lover to the extreme. She works actively in animal rescue, fostering special needs dogs as well as whole families and enjoys filling all her time with animal activities. When she's not busy with her dogs Mikki enjoys spending time with her family, writing for the net and socializing on FaceBook.
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The people in your home aren’t the only ones who need to be concerned with the foods being eaten. Your pet’s health is directly related to the food you put in his dish, and because he can’t open the fridge on his own, he is relying on you to make healthy feeding choices. Use these 7 tips for feeding your dog to raise a healthy and happy member of your family.

1 – Become an Expert at Reading Labels

All dog food is not created equally, and the first step you can take toward giving your dog a healthy diet is to pay attention to the labels and know how each ingredient might impact your pooch. If you look on many sources of kibble the first ingredient you will see is corn – but can you imagine just feeding your dog a can of corn? Active dogs need quality proteins and healthy carbs (sound familiar?), and some dogs need more nutrients and vitamins than others. When you start to pay attention to the labels on the dog food you can begin to recognize how what you feed your dog impacts his behaviors and his health.

2 – Know the Difference in Quality of Proteins

Just because your bag of dog food might say “high in protein”, it does not necessarily indicate the quality of protein. The type of protein will determine how well your dog is able to digest it and use it for nutrition. When excess of low-quality protein is ingested, the kidneys have to work overtime to process it, straining the dog’s system. Dogs are also not genetically designed to consume and digest soy proteins and other vegetable proteins easily. Inactive dogs also need less protein, so it should not be the sole consideration for choosing a food.

3 – Consider All of Your Options for Dog Food

Pet owners are no longer locked into choosing between just 3 brands of dog food for their pets. There are flavors of all combinations, dry, wet, and “moist” options. And that is just standard kibble. You also have organic dog food options without the added fillers that might negatively upset your dog’s system. There is also the choice to use raw food diets for your dogs. This option might take longer to get used to and not always be as convenient, but you might see extremely rewarding health benefits for your furry friend.

4 – Feed According to Your Dog’s Age and Breed

Dogs have different nutritional needs at different stages in

their lives. Puppies (up to around 1 year of age) require more frequent feedings – just like babies. Senior dogs, those 6 years of age and older, tend to have slower metabolisms and sometimes more sensitive digestive systems. Larger breeds, such as the Newfoundland, have longer “puppy time” and are actually metabolically considered puppies until age 18 months.

5 – Choose Dog Food That Addresses Health Needs

Things like allergies, sensitivities, diseases, and infections all impact the health of your dog. It is important to choose dog foods that provide supportive care for these issues. For example, treatment for liver disease in dogs can often be partially done through diet. Even less severe conditions like constipation can cause your dog to be miserable, but can also be treated through good diet choices.

6 – Consider Organic Food Choices for Your Dog

I’ve known a few dogs to eat socks and still seem as healthy and fit as possible, but it is important to remember that even though the food we choose to feed our dogs today seems to agree with their systems that it might add up negative side effects over time. By-products, chemical processing, additives, and preservatives are commonly found in commercial kibble. If you’re concerned about your pet’s health, especially if he shows signs of sensitivities such as vomiting, consider an organic diet that doesn’t include all those “extras”.

7 – Learn About Raw Diets

Think about your own food intake and imagine if you never had any fresh fruits, vegetables, or proteins – you would probably notice a difference in how you felt and your overall health. The same can be said for your dog. A raw diet doesn’t mean you have to offer a freshly butchered chicken at each meal. Some great options to feed raw to dogs include carrots, zucchini, raw meat, uncooked meat bones (larger ones), and even fresh fruits. I have a friend with a Shih Tzu that only likes fresh apples for a treat. Pumpkin is another great natural raw food that can have digestive benefits for treating diarrhea. Just remember to introduce raw foods slowly and one at a time so that you can watch for sensitivities or allergies.

Mikki Hogan has her dream job. As a freelance writer, dog trainer and site publisher she combines her love of writing with her love for dogs. Whether she’s writing about what to do for a constipated dog or educating pet owners on canine good manners her articles aim to entertain and educate.