Guest post from PETstock Vet
Just like us, our dogs are what they eat. Their happiness relies on them being healthy and one of the easiest way to achieve this is to ensure they’re being fed a nutritionally balanced diet.
Whether it’s wet, dry, raw or home-made food, our pets require the same benefits from their diet as what we require as humans, including:
- Vitamins & Minerals
There are many different varieties of food available that cater to your pet’s needs depending on their breed, age and health. Consider the different types when deciding what you should feed your dog..
Let’s break this down further!
You may have heard some terms flying around when people talk about their pet’s diet and here we will break them down and the show the benefits of different diets.
Super premium dog food
What is super premium dog food? Well, as the name suggests, it is food that is created using superior or high-grade ingredients. Super premium food is completely balanced for your pet, providing all the essential nutrients they require without any hidden nasties or fillers. Due to the research and care that goes into creating super premium food, there are many different varieties to suit the health needs, life stage and development of all pets. So, what are the different types of premium food?
Breed specific dog food
Developed based on the specific attributes of your dog’s breed, breed specific dog food takes into consideration what your buddy was initially bred for, the strengths of their breed and any health issues they may be prone to. This food provides balanced nutrition depending on what your dog needs to be their best.
Natural dog food and Holistic dog food
Natural and balanced, these foods are jam packed with fruit, vegetables and meat as well as nutrients essential to your pet’s health.
Natural or Holistic pet food consists of only natural ingredients without chemical alterations. It generally has no added colours, flavours or preservatives, just the best ingredients nature has to offer.
Grain free dog food
The most common grains found in dog food are: barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa and rice. Grain free varieties, offer a nutritionally balanced food without these grains and this is often enticing to pet parents as the first ingredient of many grain free varieties is meat such as chicken, beef or salmon (meaning this is the ingredient that features most prominently in the food) followed closely by ingredients such as sweet potato or pea starch.
Grain free dog food has really taken off in the last few years and many pet owners who switch their buddy to a grain free diet, record seeing positive changes in their buddy’s health.
Super premium puppy food gives your best friend all the essential nutrients required during this precious stage of your dog’s life, helping them grow and develop into happy adults. Puppy food is also available in natural, holistic, grain free and breed specific diets so you can be assured your buddy is starting off on the best paw. If you are not sure which food is best for you puppy, chat to your vet or head in store and speak with the friendly team as they will be able to talk you through the options.
Mature dog food
Depending on the breed, your buddy is considered ‘mature’ from about seven years old. Mature food varieties are designed for older dogs who have started to take life a bit easier and, as a result, had a change in their nutritional needs. With large breed dogs, this change will take place at around five years old.
Senior or Mature foods contain ingredients that address your pet’s health needs as they get older; such as glucosamine to support their joints, as well as other vitamins and minerals that help them age gracefully.
Special needs dog food
Like humans, our buddies may have special needs that can be addressed within their diet.
Special needs varieties can assist your pet with factors such as:
- Health maintenance
- Weight loss
- Dental/oral care
Many pet owners have turned to feeding their buddies a raw diet and the good news is, there are products that help you do this safely, ensuring your dog is still getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients. BARF, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, is a diet based on fresh, raw animal meat, bones, fruit and vegetables along with other tasty nutrients like live probiotics, cold pressed ground flaxseed and kelp powder.
BARF food comes in patty form and is either sold fresh or frozen in the fridge at your local PETstock store and is a great alternative to feeding a premium pellet.
Homemade pet food
Cooking for your buddy as their sole source of food is not generally encouraged unless under the direct supervision of your vet. It is recommended to feed your buddy a balanced pet food as manufacturers put a lot of time, money and research into developing your pet’s food to ensure it delivers all the vital nutrients to live a long and happy life.
In saying this, there are food supplements that can assist you in creating a homemade diet. When added with fresh raw meat, these provide your buddy with a nutritional, balanced diet and can have a significant impact on pets who suffer from ailments that can be assisted with a specific diet such as itchy skin and arthritis.
If you are looking to feed your buddy a homemade diet, please consider the following:
- Do your research – it is important to know what you can and cannot feed your buddy as well as the core nutrients they rely on.
- Speak to your vet before you make the transition and seek their advice on the diet you are planning to feed your dog. As a minimum, remember:
- Must be balanced between protein, plant based foods, grains and ‘good’ fats.
- Only use good-quality, human grade foods and avoid fatty cuts of meat.
- Avoid scraps and left overs. These should be given in moderation to your dog, as a treat only.
Bad and toxic food for dogs
There are certain foods that can be fatal to dogs and should be avoided completely. These include:
- Cooked bones
- Grapes and sultanas
- Lily plants
- High energy human food, including barbecued or cured meats
Also avoid feeding fatty marrow bones and only feed raw eggs in moderation.
Supermarket pet food
What is supermarket dog food?
Supermarket brands are usually found in the pet food aisle at the local supermarket and, despite the fact that they are referred to as ‘supermarket foods’ many are also available on the shelves at your local PETstock. The cost per bag (or can) of a supermarket food is less than it’s super premium counterpart as it’s generally classified as budget food.
When feeding a supermarket food variety, owners are usually required to feed a greater volume to their dog as the nutritional quality is lower. This generally equates to more waste (and more cleaning up of dog poo) along with a higher frequency of purchase.
Supermarket pet food is a good alternative if your budget will not stretch to super premium food and PETstock stock a good range of supermarket brands. These are also available in large bags so you are able to stock up and save. We recommend chatting to the friendly team at your local PETstock store as they will be more than happy to run through all the options available and provide the nutritional content and recommended feeding guides to help you choose the best food your buddy and your price range.
What’s the difference between dry dog food and wet dog food?
As long as you’re feeding your dog a super premium food diet, the nutritional value of dry and wet food is quite similar. However, pets who eat a wet-food-only diet may experience dental disease, as wet food tends to cause plaque and tartar build up. The manual action of chewing dry kibble can help reduce this. A good solution is to feed your pet a dry food diet with wet food mixed in; your pet will love the combination of textures and it’ll help keep their gums and teeth healthy!
Before finding your next holiday on the Holidaying with Dogs website, we recommend that you put the phone number of the local vet in your phone. Call 13 PETS (7387) for your local PETstock VET location.
Do you have any food favourites for your dog? Or even tips on feeding a fussy eater? Tell us about it in the comments box below.