Whether you’re a first-time puppy owner or an experienced dog lover, we want to do all we can to keep them healthy and happy. A lot of this is down to their diet — keeping their tummies healthy is a sure-fire way of keeping them walking, running and playing for longer.
There are so many dog foods available out there — just take a look at our huge range of natural dog food, for example — so it can be difficult to know which is the best dog food for your four-legged friend. Ultimately, the choice should be based on your dog’s needs. However, there are some pointers you should follow to make sure your pet gets the right nutrition. Take a look at our dog food guide to find out more.
Give them what they need
Just like humans, dogs need a variety of nutrients in order to keep them healthy. This includes:
- Protein: Protein aids growth and repair, and is an important energy source for your dog. Protein is usually gained from meat and fish, as it is the most natural and digestible form for canines. However, it can be quite expensive, so some dog foods use an alternative protein source — like vegetable protein — which are cheaper yet more difficult for your dog to digest.
- Fat/oil: Fats and oils are important for your dog, as they are a huge energy source and give your dog healthy skin and that shiny coat. Omega 3 and 6 are important types that must be in your dog’s diet. These are often included in the recipes of some dog foods, while they are also available in supplements. Just remember that consuming too much fat can cause weight gain and other health problems in your dog.
- Fibre: Although there is some debate around the benefits of fibre in canine diets, it’s widely believed that it helps aid water absorption when excess water is present in the colon, preventing diarrhea. It can also help prevent constipation, as it can draw water from surrounding tissue if there is too little water in the colon. Fibre is found in many grains and vegetables.
- Minerals: Often referred to as ‘ash’ because of the way its nutrient content is measured, there are many minerals your dog will need. Important minerals include:
- Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.
These are involved in many processes in your dog’s body and are largely absorbed from the food they eat.
- Vitamins: There are 13 vitamins your dog needs. Because of the difficulty associated with preserving vitamins when cooking at high temperatures, some dog food brands have trialed low-temperature baking or cold-pressing.
When choosing dog food, it should offer a blend of all of the above to ensure your dog is getting what they need from their diet. Of course, you should take into consideration your dog’s individual requirements too — for example, if they have a condition like diabetes or any allergies. If in doubt, seek the help of your vet.
Give your dog time to adjust
If you’re changing your dog’s food, it’s important that you give them time to adjust. As creatures of habit, slowly introducing the new food is often key to success.
When first introducing the new food, mix it in with the old food — roughly a 75:25 split between the old food and the new. Keep it like this for a couple of days, before changing the split to 50:50 then 25:75 old to new. This isn’t always needed — it depends on how sensitive your dog’s stomach is or how fussy they are.
With any food, you should always check the recommended feeding guides as provided by the dog food manufacturer.
Store it right
Whatever you choose to feed your dog, it’s really important to store the food right to keep it fresh. The best option is usually an airtight container. Remember to keep fresh foods in the refrigerator and store dry foods in a cool, dry place.
To find the perfect dog food for your pooch, shop our full collection of dog food.