Are you a new dog parent? Congratulations, your life is about to get so much more beautiful. If you’re wondering where to begin your pet parenting journey, let’s help you with the first step, finding the right food for your dog.
With the pet food market becoming bigger every year, it may get overwhelming to pick the right combination of food that your puppy likes and that has the optimum nutritional value for a growing dog.
Here’s how to choose the best dog food option that suits your pet.
Get to know your dog better
While picking food for your pet, consider their breed, age, activity and allergies, if known. Most commercial brands have food options for different age groups and breeds. If you have a young dog, you could choose from puppy food among the options laid out for your dog’s specific breed.
Puppies and younger dogs usually need more calories than older ones. Lactating mothers need more calories as well, so switch the food quantity and quality up accordingly. For specific quantities, it’s best to speak to a vet so your dog gains weight in a healthy way and gets stronger as they grow.
For many of us, an important filter could be affordability. Here’s a quick break up of dog food brands in India.
Find the nutritional balance
Now that you’re a pet parent, it’s time to start looking at the food you give your dog for its nutritional value. There are many schools of thought when it comes to feeding a pet. Briefly, here are a few of them:
- Commercial diet: This is made of majorly packaged food options that are ready to serve for your pet. You’ll find a range of wet food, dry food, treats, and chews that make life very easy for a pet parent. A lot of commercial food options work well because they pack a lot of nutrients in a single packet. While you choose, however, try to find an option that isn’t too high on preservatives.
- Fresh home cooked meal: A large community of parents prefer feeding their pets meals that are cooked fresh. While it feeds dogs natural, preservative-free food, it may be time consuming for many to prepare each meal for their pet. The food we cook at home for humans may not always work for dogs, so it’s important to consult your vet about best practices while choosing this diet for your mutt.
- B.A.R.F diets: BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food, which is a protein heavy diet with meats, bones, and uncooked vegetables. This is meant to make dogs muscular. While it makes for a good option, our vets at Supertails advise to opt for this only under professional supervision. Since the diet is low on carbohydrates and fats, dogs on BARF diets can become deficient in micronutrients. Moreover, because of raw meat, there are frequent cases of infection and stomach issues that arise from ingesting parasites that would’ve been killed if the meat was cooked.
While these are different schools of thought, it’s observed that the best way to feed a healthy dog is by finding a balance. Speak to your vet to design a diet chart that works for your family.
Read food labels carefully
One of the simplest ways of finding what works for your pet is to begin reading food labels more carefully. It’s advisable to opt for brands that use high-quality ingredients and are low on added chemicals and preservatives. Even if your family is vegetarian, your dog requires a diet that includes meat-based protein, so when you select packaged food, look for meat as an ingredient.
It could be a while before you really get to know what your little buddy loves the most, and there is a lot to experiment with in the market. Here’s where you could explore a wide range of pet food products and find what’s best for your dog.