Dogs are infamous for eating anything they can get their paws on. Whether you find them digging through the trash, gobbling up last night’s dinner, or you catch them eating questionable items on the floor during your daily walk, dogs are happy to eat everything they see as edible – but not all of it is good for them! Sometimes, we give them food that might not be the most beneficial when it comes to their health.
Certain breeds are worse than others when it comes to eating anything! Most Labrador owners will know that their dog will eat sticks, leaves, and mud just to gobble something up. It would be great if our dogs could ask what is okay for them to eat, but they can’t, so as their owner you need to make sure that you're as informed as possible when it comes to what is best for their tummies. Once you know what is best for your pup, it can support their overall health in more ways than one.
We know it can be hard to have confidence in finding the right food for your dog, especially with so many conflicting ideas and advice out there. That’s why, here at Petlab Co., we have looked into it for you…helping you to understand what you should be looking for when it comes to buying food, what is best for your pup’s health and a few simple ways to improve their diet. So... What should dogs eat?
When you think of dog food, sloppy meat or dry kibble may come to mind, yes? These ready-made pet foods are fine for your dog to eat as they can sometimes provide beneficial sustenance for your pup - but is it really what they should and need to be eating to support their need?
Naturally, dogs have a meat-heavy omnivorous diet – their sharp canine teeth aren’t there just too look pretty. They enjoy and need to eat a certain amount of meat products to optimise their diet. Due to their relationship with humans, dogs have evolved to digest and gain benefits from eating vegetables, fruit, and rice, too. This balanced diet has become as extremely important, as they will need to gain benefits from meat, veg and/or rice.
Unfortunately, pet stores and supermarkets are filled with pet foods all claiming to support your dog’s needs, but many are packed with harmful and unnecessary additives, fillers and grains that call all react badly with your dog’s digestive system. Without the correct vitamins and nutrients, your pup’s health will suffer, which is why it is good to know the alternatives to these shop-bought pet foods…
Most dogs love meat! Not only do they love the taste, but both cooked and raw meat have some incredible health benefits for our fluffy companions. A dog’s digestive system is built to eat and digest meat – it’s what they are naturally programmed to consume to function, providing all the essential vitamins, proteins, fats, and minerals your dog needs. Not only can it offer these benefits, but meat also contains a lot of water, too, helping to balance your dog’s hydration levels.
Organ meats are best for your pup; liver, kidney, and heart are three particularly great meat choices due to their high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – all extremely important when it comes to your pup’s health. Providing these types of meat options to your pup will give them an abundance of vitamin A, iron, niacin and omega 3, which will provide support to their joints, organs, skin, and coat.
When buying food for your four-legged friend try to make sure that the meat is human-grade. Avoid pet meat and animal products on the bone as these will contain preservatives that can be bad for your dog’s health.
Avoiding shop-bought pet food is easy when you know what your dog enjoys eating and what will support their health. Fruit and veg are great substitutes and additions to meat. Bulking out your pet’s dinner with the odd bit of pumpkin, grated carrot or sweet potato can do wonders! Many dogs lack fiber in their diet, so popping the odd carrot or cooked pumpkin to their dish can deliver a suitable amount, along with improving their bowel health.
Apples, blueberries, cucumbers, broccoli, and spinach are just some of the fruit and veg that can seriously benefit your pup’s diet – and they don’t mind the taste. Of course, this is dependent on your dog’s preferences, but you can easily finely chop these yummy foods up and bury them into their favourite meat. Most fruit and veg are packed with vitamins and fibre – all necessary to keep your pooch healthy and happy.
Petlab Co. Pro Tip: If you have a pup that has an allergy to all meats, try to add the fruit and veg to the food you provide for them.
Not all fruit and veg is good for your pup! Some can be toxic and cause serious illness. Avoid:
If you discover that your pup has eaten any of the above, please seek medical assistance as your furry friend will need to be examined, with the potential of a procedure to remove the toxic food.
Grains in dog food is a hot topic at the moment. Although it isn’t poisonous, it is in the top five allergens that dogs have sensitivities too, with 2% of dogs suffering from this intolerance – showing signs in their later years. Corn and wheat are heavily used in lots of pet-shop dog foods, giving an owner of a sensitive dog little option when it comes to finding suitable food. This type of allergy can cause; dry skin, diarrhoea, obsessive licking, and itchiness, which will result in an unhealthy and unhappy pup. With the varied amount of nutritional value, many puppy parents have wondered whether they should remove it from their pup’s diet.
As a puppy parent, it is your role to make sure that you’re providing sustenance that will benefit both the inside and outside of your furry friend. Try to remember that all dogs are individuals, so their digestion and health needs will differ from one dog to another – some may have a grain allergy whereas others may have an allergy to specific meat. Knowing what diet your pup needs will make feeding them a lot easier and help you alter their food to suit them best, providing them with internal and external support.