My Dog Is On Limited Ingredients And Cant Gain Weight Is A Premium Dog Food Really That Much Better For Your Dog?

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Is A Premium Dog Food Really That Much Better For Your Dog?

===========The Scoop on Premium Dog Food========

If you are interested in premium dog food, then I will probably not tell you about the importance of diet to keep your dog active and healthy. You already know you want something better than “average” for your furry friend.

But how much do you really know about what constitutes a premium food and what the needs of your particular pet are? I’m not a vet, but I do know something about health and nutrition. (As a family dentist who practiced for twenty years, I saw the effects of poor dietary habits on human health – and especially on human teeth!!).

Like you, your dog has to deal with the effects of stress, age, effort, a polluted environment, and food grown in nutrient-depleted soil. Unlike you, he must get practically all his nutrition from one meal. Sure, you may give him a few treats or the occasional table scrap (not too much I hope!), but otherwise he eats from the same bag or can go out day after day. You want him to get complete nutrition from that one food.

============Complete nutrition?================

Even the experts don’t seem to agree on exactly what complete nutrition is. Perhaps this explains why there are so many premium dog food formulas. There is one thing they do agree on, however: premium dog food is better for your pet then economy and grocery markets. Although you will pay more, you usually get what you pay for.

Experts agree that because they are premium foods more nutrient dense and easier to digest, your dog does not need to eat so much. One study even concluded that if you feed your dog the recommended amounts on each package, you end up saving money on the premium formulas. That’s because your dog has to eat much less of it. (You’ll also save on pooper scoopers!)

Another way to know if your dog is getting a good diet is just to observe him. Are his eyes bright, his coat silky and shiny, and his skin free from dryness and itching? Is he at a healthy weight? What about his energy level? This can vary from one animal to another, but if you get to know yourself, you will know when your dog is not feeling up to it.

Of course, any ongoing health issues should be investigated by your veterinarian, and the same goes for any special dietary needs. But in general, you will know if your friend is doing well on the diet you feed him. If you​​​​are​​seeing​​signs​​that​​he​​is​​not,​​try​​a​​different​​formula​​or​​a​​different​​brand​​of​​premium​​dog​​food.

Introduce new foods gradually, especially if you have a picky eater. And while we’re on the subject, it’s always nice when your dog enjoys eating his food. This has a lot less to do with taste than with smell. Dogs have fewer taste buds than us, but about 40 times as many smell receptors. So make sure that he eats with gusto, and doesn’t just pick at his food.
Here are some basic guidelines you can follow:

=============Essential nutrients==============

Every dog ​​needs the right amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Your dog needs all of these in proper proportions to stay healthy. Needs vary with life stage, breed and activity level. Dog food companies make premium dog food for all life stages, from puppy to senior. An average adult dog needs a daily intake of about five ounces for every ten pounds of weight, with essential nutrients in the following proportions:

Protein -23% of total intake

Fats -5% of total intake

Carbohydrates -65% of total intake

Additional vitamins and minerals your dog needs: Vitamins A, D, E, B-complex, Niacin, Biotin, Folic Acid, Choline, and Pantothenic Acid; Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine and selenium.

It is generally agreed that dogs do better on a protein source that is primarily meat rather than soybeans and grains. Check the label. All US food labels must list ingredients in order of their quantity. If meat by-products are mentioned, they should come after the real meat, not before it. Meat by products are a lesser source of protein, and are basically what’s left after the good quality meat has been removed. “Crude protein” can be a similarly bad source because it can include parts of the animal that can’t even be digested or absorbed by the average dog (hair, pelvis, etc.).

Omega fatty acids are a hot topic in human nutrition these days, and have been found to be just as important in the diet of dogs. Both must be present, and in the right proportion. Most premium dog food companies have done this research and adjusted the ratios, but as always, ask your vet if you are unsure.

============Wet versus dry=============

You can buy premium dog food in just about any form, but which one is the best? Again, most experts seem to agree. Dry food is less likely to accumulate on the teeth, less likely to harbor bacteria if left out for too long, and results in firmer, more compact stool. Semi-moist food is convenient, but for some reason (I’m not sure what) doesn’t offer the same nutritional benefits as premium kibble or canned food.

That said, I have also heard arguments suggesting that a diet of only dry food can be a strain on a dog’s kidneys. So, to be on the safe side, check with your vet.

============Life Stages=============

Puppies need more calories and essential nutrients than adult dogs. They need up to twice as many calories per ounce of body weight and need to get 25% to 30% of their energy from protein depending on the breed.

Most premium dog food brands take this into account in their puppy formulas, but it doesn’t hurt to check the label. By six to eight weeks old, a puppy should be completely weaned and eating its dry food consistently. After that, different breeds reach their adult weight at different rates, anywhere from 9 months to 24 months of age. So it is difficult to give an age or weight at which you should take your pet from puppy food. Again, your vet can help here.

Also, remember not to try to “rush” the growth process by overfeeding. If she grows too fast, a dog can develop bone growth diseases. A puppy should get three to four meals a day, because he is growing fast, but still has a small belly, but do not exaggerate with the size of the portions.

Grown ups dogs must eat according to their size and energy requirements and must be fed two meals a day. This is often referred to by the premium dog food companies as a “maintenance diet”.

Unlike cats, dogs are not strictly carnivores. In fact, a dog is more of an omnivore and will eat just about anything, whether it’s good for him or not! A certain amount of vegetable matter is part of a dog’s natural diet. Dogs love vegetables like broccoli, carrots, zucchini, peas and beans, and fruits like bananas, apples and melon. These also make great low calorie treats!

One thing you should never feed your dog is chocolate – it contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic to dogs.

Senior dogs need a premium dog food that will help head off and manage the effects of aging. Because different breeds vary so much, it is difficult to give an age at which you should switch to a senior diet. The ASPCA recommends using weight as a guideline, offering the following:

Small breeds or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds: 7 years old

Medium breeds or dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds: 7 years old

Large breeds or dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds: 6 years old

Giant breeds or dogs weighing 91 pounds or more: 5 years old

The ASPCA recommends that you start dealing with the symptoms of old age before they are obvious. Just like us, dogs will begin to accumulate more body fat as they age, even if they consume fewer calories. (At least we are not alone!). Muscle mass will tend to decrease, but this does not mean that you should lower your older dog’s protein intake. If anything, protein is more important than ever to help maintain muscle mass, so avoid senior dog formulas with reduced protein.

One thing you want to feed him less of is calories. Obesity is a real problem with adult dogs, And many owners do not even realize that their dog is overweight. Besides portion size and calorie content, one way to prevent an overweight dog is to resist giving him table scraps. Most human food is not good for your dog.

============How much to feed=============

How is your dog’s weight? You should be able to feel your dog’s spine and ribs with light finger pressure, but not actually see them. If you have to “dig” to find them, your dog is overweight and if you can actually see her ribs, she is underweight.

If you​​​​are not sure how much to feed, you will love the interactive Dog Food Calculator on the PetsMart home page! It is the result of a lot of research that has been published in scientific journals and accepted by industry experts. You can determine the right amount of food to feed your dog and find out how long that 40-lb bag will last!

============Supplements=============

When you are all set to feed a nutritionally complete premium dog food, do you still need supplements? This is another hotly debated topic. As a rule, it seems so most dogs do just fine without supplements. For certain dogs and certain conditions, supplements can make a difference. For example, a dog that does not thrive and there is no other medical explanation for it can improve with supplements. Or, dogs with certain skin conditions are known to improve on supplements. Because there is a danger of doing more harm than good, you absolutely must discuss supplements with your vet.

If you​​​​ decide to use one, choose one that is made from natural sources and is designed as a multivitamin specifically formulated for dogs. That way, she will get everything in the right amounts and proportions. Add it to the diet twice a week so you won’t overwhelm or suppress your dog’s own internal regulatory mechanisms.

=======Special diet===========

There are many reasons why a dog may be put on a special diet. Some dogs are very sensitive to certain ingredients in commercial dog food. Even if you feed them the best of premium dog food, if your dog is not thriving, it is possible that their diet is a problem for them. Owners have resorted to alternative diets—holistic, raw food, even kosher—to optimize their pet’s health. Some choose these diets simply because they believe they are better, not because their dog has problems.

We will discuss special diets in a future article. For now, I hope you have gained some useful insight into the benefits of premium dog food over economy brands.

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