In truth, a dog has very specific nutritional needs that are very much similar to ours. If you don’t meet them, your dog can develop digestive issues, or even get sick. If nothing else, they will rarely have normal, healthy bowel movements and we all know what that means for you.
What a Dog Needs
First, ask yourself what a dog really needs. Dogs do not need table scraps and they don’t need empty filler. Better yet, they don’t really know the difference, especially if you never give them table scraps to start with.
Unfortunately, commercial dog foods are generally lacking in nutrients and vitamins a dog needs, so if you’re using standard dog food, you may need to supplement it in some ways. In the wild, a dog would get its nutrients from freshly killed prey, roots, berries and fruit, grass, and insects in a pinch.
You’re not going to go out and get your dogs some ants to eat, but there are some things you can do to supplement their diets.
Getting Your Dog the Right Nutrients
To start with, reconsider the dry food you feed your dog. If it is a bland, store brand with a corn base, it’s not doing the job. There are some natural and organic foods that contain less fillers and more nutrients.
If you want to go the whole foods route, consider the dietary needs of a dog. This means getting chicken or beef into their diet to ensure the animal proteins they need. Organic meats are best to reduce antibiotics and other chemicals.
You’ll also need to supplement foods by reducing fat intake. If you don’t have lean meat to feed them, reduce any fat from other sources. Avoid hot dogs or cheese for example. Additionally, despite the argument that they are carnivores, dogs can gain quite a bit from fruit or veggies.
However, some fruits and vegetables are not good for them. Stick to whole, fibrous foods. Apples are good, as well as whole grains and certain grasses. Additionally, fatty acids from eggs or fish are good, though avoid any fish that could have bones.
Your dog should also not be eating too much. A 50 pound dog should only east 2-3 cups of food a day at the most, split between two meals. A dog doesn’t need three or four meals a day (unless it is a large enough breed or your schedule dictates it).
Additionally, have set food times for your dog. Simply putting down a bowl of food and leaving it full is a very quick way to get your dog very fat. Dogs will eat whatever you put in front of them, and they will quickly grow lethargic because of it.
Another good tip is to make your dog work physically and mentally for their food. A walk before eating is good, as is making them sit and wait for the food bowl. This stimulates the instincts that tell them to hunt for that meal each day.
Feeding a dog is not like feeding a child. You don’t need to ask them what they want or try to mix it up with variety. If you’ve ever seen how excited a dog gets for boring, dry kibble, you know that they’re perfectly happy eating whatever they get.
Moreover, they’re healthier if you stick to a steady, well balanced die