How pets eat depends primarily on their guardians and developed eating habits. And although dogs are eager to eat what is left, for example, after lunch or dinner of household members, such a model of nutrition is extremely harmful to animals. What pets like to taste is not always healthy and not always necessary for them. What can dogs eat? How to ensure proper nutrition of pets?
What dogs should eat
Dogs should be fed complete food. It is a complete and balanced food, which means that it provides all the necessary nutrients in the right amounts and proportions. Preparing the right food for dogs requires extremely thorough and specialized knowledge, so it is worth relying on proven manufacturers of food for animals.
Depending on their age, activity and health situation, dogs have different nutritional needs. Puppies that develop very intensively, have a fast metabolism and spend a lot of time playing actively, and their needs include for protein and fats is high. For adult dogs or seniors, the situation is changing – high fat levels can lead to a disturbance of normal body weight, as the metabolism of older dogs is slower and activity is usually lower. Ready food is tailored to such needs – we can adapt it to the age of the quadruped, using products such as “junior”, “adult” or “senior”.
All necessary nutrients should be included in the diet of your pets. These are:
- proteins: they serve, among others, building, regenerative and immune functions (both of animal and plant origin)
- fats: they are primarily a source of energy, as well as an essential element in the process of transport and absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
- vitamins: support the proper functioning of the body, its immunity and endurance. The essential vitamins for dogs include vitamins A, D, E, K and those from group B.
- minerals: help maintain many body functions (e.g. hematopoiesis, bone mineralization). The necessary macro- and microelements are: calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, manganese, iodine, copper, magnesium and chlorine.
As mentioned earlier, all the nutrients that dogs need are included in complete ready-to-eat foods. It is recommended that the quadruped receive both wet and dry food. Wet food has about 4 times lower calorific value than dry food, so it helps to keep the dog slim. It is also an attractive food and helps to maintain the proper level of hydration in the body. Dry food helps, among other things, to maintain the animal’s oral hygiene. A mixed diet (dry and wet foods) should be used in a 1: 1 ratio in terms of the weight of the products. Four-legged friends must have constant access to clean and fresh water.
What not to give your pet
What ingredients cannot be included in the diet of our pets? This group includes many foods that are consumed by humans. Dairy products, sweets, certain vegetables and fruits, and meat products such as cold cuts and sausages, although often eagerly eaten by dogs, can be extremely harmful to them.
When it comes to vegetables and fruits, you should avoid giving your dog onions, garlic, citrus, avocados, and grapes, both fresh and dried. All these products are extremely harmful and can seriously deteriorate your pet’s health. For example, onions contain a substance called sodium thiosulfate. It is very toxic to dogs and can cause red blood cell breakdown, anemia and digestive disorders; Its consumption sometimes leads to renal failure.
Dogs are also not allowed to eat dairy products. At puppy age, lactase activity disappears, which reduces the digestive capacity of the sugar in milk, called lactose. The consumption of lactose by your pets can lead to digestive disorders. This is especially true for puppies. It should be remembered that they should not drink cow’s milk instead of mother’s milk – not only because of the lactose in it, but also because of the composition which does not meet the nutritional needs of young dogs. If the puppy does not have access to the bitch’s milk, we should provide him with special milk replacers.
The four-legged friends cannot be served meat products, such as cold cuts, sausages or dishes prepared by us. Dogs should not be served bones or raw meat and offal. Bones pose a risk of tooth damage and intestinal obstruction. On the other hand, untreated animal products can be a source of dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria.
Dog treats – what we can give to our quadrupeds
If we want to diversify the dog’s diet by giving our pet additional treats instead of human food, it is worth reaching for those prepared by food producers. Snacks are complementary foods that provide our pets with additional nutrients.
Snacks for dogs are a great motivating element of training, they strengthen the bond with the handler, they also constitute an additional source of energy and vitamins. What snacks can we choose? There are many dog treats available on the market (e.g. in the form of cookies), which are perfect as a reward while learning. It is also worth getting interested in snacks that have additional health-promoting properties. Dog treats include:
- Health-promoting delicacies, e.g. dental snacks, which are tasty and support proper oral hygiene.
- Delicacies made of dried meat and animal-derived raw materials – are exceptionally tasty and safe – unlike products such as smoked ears or tracheas, which carry a microbiological risk and can become a foreign body in the dog’s digestive tract.
- Snacks for training and pleasure – among them there are various types of delicacies of different shapes and sizes – bars, springs, cookies, etc.
- Chewing and chewing treats – larger chews that allow you to meet one of the basic behavioral needs of the dog – the need to chew and chew. In this way, pets can cope with stress and frustration and release emotions.