That age-old question - what should I feed my dog and why? This has to be one of the most asked questions by pet parents, and the truth is there’s no easy answer!
Remember - dogs are not small people! They like routine, and are happy to eat the same food over and over
Provided it smells good that is! Make sure your kibble is nice and fresh!
Look for a food that matches your dog’s age, adult size, and amount of exercise
Just because your pooch is a “working” breed, doesn’t mean they need working dog food!
Your pal may need a diet that meets a specific need such as a kidney, diabetes, weight loss, or allergy diet
Your vet practice, and the MyDogDoc team, are the best people to advise you!
A trip to the local pet store will have you staring down rows upon rows of food varying wildly in price and all promising to be the best - no wonder we’re all asking the question! In the 1970s we went to the pet shop, we bought Dog Food and that’s what our dog ate, nothing fancy. In the 1980s we started to look beyond the food, and started to think about nutrition - we started to see variations depending on age and activity levels. Fast forward to today and we’re not only choosing a food for our pet pooch that is designed for their age, size and activity level, we’re also choosing foods to prevent health problems based on breed! The pet food market has come a long way and as a result our pets are living longer and healthier lives.
But, you’re still staring at what seems like millions of options and thinking ‘where do I start?’! I think the first step is always to remember a dog is not a small person - seems obvious, right. Dogs love a good routine - a lot of pet parents will joke that their dog can tell the time! They love to know what’s happening and when. The same food, in the same bowl, in the same place at the same time is doggy heaven!
Did you also know that humans have around 9000 taste buds and dogs have only around 1700? Dog’s don’t hang around and savour meals like we do, they base their food choices on smell and eat quickly. So if you think your dog is going off his or her dry food but still loves their wet food, don’t rush out and pick a different brand immediately. Have a little think - when did you open the bag of food? Pouches of food are opened fresh each time, smell amazing and are demolished quickly! A huge bag of biscuits that’s been open for a while starts to lose its smell and so becomes less appealing. Buying smaller bags helps to combat this - and also helps the food to keep some of its values such as omega 3 (for shiny coats) which start to disappear after a few days of opening the bag!
So, fun facts aside, what do we need to think about when choosing a food for our canine companion?
Look for a food that matches your dog’s age. Puppy and Junior foods will support your younger dog and help them to grow and develop their bones and muscles. If your pup has been neutered try to opt for a food designed for neutered dogs - once those hormones have gone then middle-age spread becomes more apparent and a food designed for neutered dogs can help to keep their waistline in check! Our golden oldies will benefit from a food designed for their age group to help maintain a healthy weight and activity level.
Think about how big your dog is or is going to be if they’re a puppy. A baby Toy Poodle and a baby Great Dane are extremely different and will grow at vastly different rates - a puppy food designed for their breed size will support this growth. Adult foods designed for medium and larger breeds will often have some joint support supplements built in! The kibble size will be different as well making eating it more enjoyable for your pooch.
Is your dog a sofa-surfer or a workaholic? It goes without saying that dogs who much prefer the company of a snuggly blanket to going out to work all day will have different energy requirements. A common misconception is that if you have a collie dog then they need a working dog food - not so! Working dog food is full-to-bursting with energy and your chilled out Sunday afternoon will become a whirlwind if you don’t have sheep to round up!
Last but definitely not least, think about your pal’s specific needs. Has your vet discussed weight issues, kidney issues or food allergies? If they have they’ll also be discussing diets with you as a lot of medical conditions will respond well to changes in the diet. If you think your dog food isn’t agreeing with your best friend, speak to a vet and discuss your concerns, they’ll be more than willing to discuss their diet with you! In short, if you find a food that ticks the boxes regarding your pooch’s age, breed size and any health concerns you may have (and it smells good enough to eat!) then you’re probably onto a winner.
If you’re still unsure - ask the MyDogDoc team, we love to talk about food!