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Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs

If there’s one thing we know for sure about Fido, it’s that he loves food. However, while your pup may happily gobble down anything you put in his dish, all pet foods are definitely not created equal. Here, a vet discusses doggy nutrition.

Reading Labels

Choosing the right dog food can be intimidating! Pet food manufacturers use slick marketing techniques to make their products look as good as possible. However, pet food labeling practices can be deceptive. Get into the habit of reading labels. Look for products that list meat as the first and most numerous ingredient. Avoid brands that contain high amounts of carbohydrate-heavy fillers such as wheat and corn, which really aren’t that great for dogs. Premium foods generally do have higher amounts of nutrients and better quality, so get Fido the best brand you can afford. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Life-Stage Nutrition

Your dog’s nutritional needs will change as he ages. Puppies require nutrient-dense food with lots of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals, as well as suitable carbohydrates, to help fuel their rapid growth and playful frolicking. Adult doggy diets should focus on maintaining and promoting good health. Your canine buddy’s diet will still consist of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, but his food will be formulated differently than a puppy’s. Once Fido becomes a senior, his needs will change again. Older pooches still require lots of protein, as otherwise they can lose muscle mass, but their overall calorie consumption may need to be lowered. Senior dogs may also benefit from eating more Omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants, like Vitamin E and beta carotene.

Treats

It’s fine—and actually beneficial—to give your furry friend snacks, but don’t go overboard. While the occasional piece of bacon or sausage won’t hurt Fido, in general, try to offer him healthier treats. Sliced deli meat is fine. Cooked, plain, boneless meat, chicken, or fish is also safe. As a rule of thumb, keep treats to about 5 percent of your pet’s daily intake.

Serving Sizes

Serving sizes vary greatly from dog to dog. Fido’s ideal food portions will depend on his age, breed, health, weight, and lifestyle. A Chihuahua only needs a fraction of the calories a Great Dane requires! Ask your vet for recommendations.

Do you have questions about your dog’s diet? Contact us, your pet clinic, anytime! We are always happy to help!

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