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Haven’t Changed Your Dog’s Diet in a While? She Might Be Missing Key Nutrients

Posted by on April 22, 2020 in Pet Health with 0 Comments

Think about the type of food you regularly ate as a teen. Can you still put away a large pizza in one sitting without feeling sick or gaining a few pounds? Chances are strong that if you reverted to your old diet, your health would tank.

The same is true for dogs, but most pet parents never think of their four-legged friends' diets from that perspective. Instead, owners continue to feed their pets the same kind and quantity of food for life. Your dog seems to love the kibble, and the price is right, so why rock the doghouse?

Here’s a reason to make a food fuss: Pooches need the right nutrients to meet their needs during distinct life stages, for varying activity levels, and in different seasons. Pet parents should evaluate and plan Rover's diet based on where he is in life — not how eagerly he inhales his dinner.

Pooch Nutrition in a Nutshell

Each phase of life puts new stressors on a dog's body, necessitating different nutrients. Young animals are building cells and tissues, while older animals are working to maintain them. For that reason, puppies require more protein, fat, DHA for brain development, calcium for bone growth, and other vitamins and minerals. If you're a Shih Tzu owner, for instance, who is looking for the Best food for Shih Tzu dog, you should make sure that all of these ingredients are present in the food you're giving to your furry friend. Aging animals, on the other hand, respond well to foods with omega-3 fatty acids and muscle-supporting protein. All of these ingredients are vital to improve the mobility of a senior dog and prevent muscle inflammation that can eventually cause arthritis.

Let's add another layer to the confusion: Dog breeds age at different rates. Small dogs can mature in less than a year, but they won't be seniors until they're about 12 years old. Larger dogs grow out of puppyhood more slowly, but they become seniors much faster.

Each breed might have specific nutrient requirements at different life stages. For example, older beagles need about 50% more protein than their hound counterparts. As all mutt lovers know, some dogs have no clear lineage. Figuring out their breeds might take Sherlock

Holmesian-detective work (or a dog DNA test). Check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is receiving breed-specific nutrition requirements.

Additionally, dogs with medical conditions such as diabetes or pregnancy will require different foods than a dog of similar breed, age, weight, and activity level.  If you ever wondered if low sodium dog food brands are good for your pet dogs, check online.

When to Fetch New Food

Could it be time to upgrade your pup’s food formula? Nutrition is complicated — whether it's for your dog or yourself — but our pets count on us to make smart food choices for them. Although every animal is unique, look for the following signs that might indicate it's time to switch things up:

  • She stops eating or liking her food: Some pups are naturally pickier than others, so if your dog gradually or suddenly stops eating altogether, take action. Leaving this problem unaddressed for a long period can put your pup's safety and health on the line. Whenever your pup doesn't eat, they won't be able to receive the nutrition that their bodies need in order to grow and develop. These can result in bigger problems in the long run.

Your first step should be to take Sassy to the vet to make sure nothing is seriously wrong or that she hasn’t developed a food sensitivity. A vet will properly diagnose your pet, identify any underlying health problems, and come up with the necessary solutions. Aside from making sure that your pet eats again, working with a vet can also put your mind at ease since you won't have to worry about your pet's overall health.

If your pet is simply picky, go on the prowl for another nutrient-packed food or flavor to ensure she stays healthy and active.

  • He is slowing down or showing signs of decline: We all get older — pets included. If your good boy is showing cognition loss or has problems getting around, investigate available foods that are rich in protein, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids. Those nutrients will improve his quality of life as he ages. Although these ingredients are a must for aging or senior dogs, you might need to add more ingredients to the list, especially if your furry friend is suffering from any health condition.

If your dog has developed a kidney problem, for example, it's best if you look for dog foods that are high in protein but low in phosphorus. These compounds can help your dog's kidney in getting rid of toxins from the body while relieving any symptoms associated with kidney disease.

  • She has changed her activity level: Have you and your dog recently begun a daily running regimen? Or have you started a new job that has cut your walks in half? Significant activity changes should also mean food changes to maintain weight and avoid malnourishment or obesity.
  • His poop is different: Dog poop can tell you a lot about your sweet fluff ball. If his poop is hard, for example, he might need more fiber or water in his diet. Try added supplements or fiber-rich food. Wet dog food can help with proper poop, too. If his stool is consistently soft or runny, consider feeding him the canned pumpkin and keeping him hydrated by pouring the broth over his food until you can visit the vet.
  • She is pregnant, about to be pregnant, or nursing puppies: Is your dog bound for puppy mothering? Are her little ones already here? Mamas have specific and important nutritional needs. A lactating or soon-to-lactate female dog is supporting herself and her puppies, so you'll want to give her food designed for reproducing or nursing dogs. Your vet can help guide you, but a food designed for puppies can work in a pinch.=
  • His skin or coat seems different: Dry skin, brittle fur, and a lackluster coat can indicate your dog is lacking enough fatty acids, zinc, or vitamin B. Supplements fortified with coconut or salmon oil can help — as can switching to a fish-based food. Just make sure the food is complete and balanced before you make a change.

Tips for Transitioning Food

Transitioning food is important for your dog's health. Ease your pup into a new diet by slowly adding the new food into the old. On the first day, present your pooch with a mixture of 25% new food and 75% current food. On day two, go for a half-and-half combo. By day three, switch to 75% new and 25% old. On day four, offer a full helping of the new food. Some dogs might need to make the transition more slowly; in those cases, stretch each percentage change over a few days.

Making gradual and slow adjustments to your dog's diet is essential when transitioning to new dog food. Doing this will help your dog adjust easily and prevent them from suffering an upset stomach. As a pet owner, this transition can also help you assess whether or not the dog food you want them to eat can provide the benefits you have been expecting. If you ever wondered if can dogs eat seafood, you can check online.

In Conclusion

Pet parents have to make daily decisions for their pets' health, and food is a significant part of that. Your dog's health needs will change over time, and so should his diet. Monitor your buddy’s nutritional and caloric needs, paying careful attention to adjustments in his activity levels and overall health. When in doubt, reach out to your vet.

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