Do you know pets can suffer from diseases quite akin to their owners? Quite so, and many of these problems arise not from malnutrition but from wrong nutrition. We all know how important a balanced diet is for health; how as humans we suffer when proper diet is not in place. The same goes for dogs too. When they don’t get the correct and balanced nutrition they lose that natural bounce. A close look at some mistakes will help steer you back on right track of dog diet and restore health for dogs for the rest of their active, living years. Here are the top five nutrition mistakes made by pet owners-
- Not giving your dog the suitable diet– Build and breed are the two criteria that should decide the type of diet, and quantities. A Chihuahua obviously has different needs from a Great Dane. If you are feeding your dog(s) home food, be sure to plan the diet accordingly. Watch out for allergies too, avoid feeding something they can’t adjust to. Another element is age and growing stage. Pups have tender digestive and skeletal systems, so their needs differ from that of adult dogs. The same goes for pregnant dogs, lactating dogs and senior members. Let your pet have well-balanced, nutritious, healthy and tasty diet. Change their diet regularly so they don’t have to be the same boring stuff. Make sure to include foods that are good for them like lean meats of steamed or boiled, boneless and fatless chicken, turkey and lamb, with no salt and spices for their protein needs. Rice, wheat and potatoes are good sources of carbohydrates, while fruits like banana, apple and orange, and vegetables like carrots and cucumbers are rich in minerals and vitamins. Do a preliminary homework of feed ingredients and their nutritive value. The rest will be smooth sailing.
- Not keeping tabs on calories – Dogs are notorious eaters. They will eat everything thrown at them and in whatever quantities. Owners must learn to be aware of the potential dangers of too much food and too many calories as this will adversely affect their health, resulting in problems in the joints, internal organs. It may also lead to tough diseases like diabetes and cancer. So, keeping their breed, size, age and body condition (whether they look just the right weight, underfed or overfed) count the calories you’ll give them. Searching online can get you nutrition and calorie calculators though these are just approximate tools to help you.
- Not visiting the Vet – Visiting the Vet is a must, even if the dog doesn’t appear sick. It is canine primeval behavior not to show their sicknesses. Instinct tells them they must keep the hunt on. So you may not know if your dog is sick till he’s far gone, and he refuses to eat. Vets are specially trained to notice and will be the right people to suggest remedial measures, including diet and nutrition. This will save you from unnecessary troubles and the dogs from avoidable health problems like those of joints, kidneys, skin and others. This preventive measure will save your expenses, and pain and stress for the dog. You may also give them some good joint pain relief like pet bounce for dogs. You can easily mix this homeopathic medicine in their food or water.
- Feeding your dog table scraps – Dogs are adorable beggars. Too many owners can’t resist giving their pets treats from the table. But from early on dogs should learn not to expect anything more than the food necessary for their healthy growth and well-being. The problem with tasty titbits like scraps of meats, bones, pizzas, biscuits, and others is that dogs, which will eat anything as much as supplied, will find them tasty but will surely ingest unhealthy and unsuitable amounts of salts, spices and sugars. This will also lead to obesity and later on, in their senior years, health issues like organ collapse, digestive and other disorders will occur. At that stage it may become too late to reverse the situation.
- Not letting the dog gradually adjusts to new diet – Homemade recipes are best for dogs. They can be suitably tailor-made to suit the dog’s peculiar needs. You can give your pooch a change of menu here and there even without much altering the main ingredients, and thereby the dietary contents. Other owners swear by formula food. So far so good. But what if somebody persuades you to change to formula food, or vice versa? You agree, but you also see that your dog’s usual bounce disappearing. Why so? The dog is so well adjusted to standard fare that sudden change from one type of food to the other may have caused an upset to the digestive system. To avoid adverse consequences, you must make that transition in a gradual manner over a period of two to three weeks so that your dog adjusts to the new menu without hiccups. One more thing, when changing to formula food, read the label keenly and notice the dietary information – not just the ingredient information – along with the fine print.
These common mistakes are not trivial but can have a range of repercussions on pets’ well-being. A wrong diet may result into health complications like joint pains, diarrhoea, food allergies, pancreatitis, heart diseases etc. Plan their diet wisely, make it a point to feed them joint pain relief like pet bounce for dogs, never skip appointments with the vet and you will see your dog happy, healthy and active all the time.
Kathreen Miller is a pet health expert at Petbounce natural pain relief for cats. She lives in Chicago with her daughter and a dog named “Buddy”. She regularly contributes her write-ups to pet health-related websites and blogs. In her free time, she loves listening to music, watching TV and traveling.