Creating a proper meal plan or diet for your dog is not something to be taken lightly. While you might think that your dog can survive on kibble and scraps from food that you eat, you might want to give planning your canine’s diet the attention it requires, so that it provides the nutrients that your pet needs for its growth and well-being.
1- Research Helps
Doing research goes a long way towards helping you create the perfect diet plan for your dog. Research can help you understand which foods to avoid and which ones you can allow your dog to have in small quantities. For example, a little bit of research will show you that raw potatoes are quite harmful to your dog and that you should keep any sort of grapes and sweets away from your dog’s reach to avoid serious health complications. Research can also help you find what kind of food is healthy for your dog to have. Foods that are good for your dog include various fresh fruits and vegetables, coconut oil, and raw meat.
2- Adjust Diet to Fit Medical Needs
If your dog has medical issues such as a chronic disease or specific breed dietary restrictions, you need to put those into consideration when you are trying to create the perfect diet plan for your dog. If, for example, your dog has kidney problems, then you need to tailor its diet by limiting red meat. This is because red meat could cause increased levels of uric acid, which is bad for the kidneys. If your dog has to lose weight, then you need to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in its diet, and even introduce some exercise into its daily routine to ensure that it loses excess weight.
3- Stop Overfeeding
One of the most severe issues that arise because of a pet owner’s behavior is overfeeding. Overfeeding your dog can lead to various problems, most commonly obesity. Overfeeding is usually done because a dog’s owner keeps giving it human food scraps that may be full of fats and other unhealthy substances. Sometimes, it is because of continually giving dog treats which can be harmful. People think that treats do not have that many calories, so they can feed their dog treats as much as they want to. This is entirely wrong, however, because most commercial treats have substances that can be harmful if eaten in larger quantities. Setting a meal schedule for your dog and keeping up with it is going to ensure that you are not over or underfeeding your dog in any way.
4- Ensure Balance
Balance is essential in any kind of meal plan, no matter who the diet is for. There are six main food groups and you need to ensure that your dog has sufficient intake of all the food groups. Dogs need different quantities of each food group. For example, they require more protein in their diet and limited carbohydrates. Of course, a dog’s diet hasn’t always been balanced over the years. If you look at the complete history of dog food, you will find that because dogs essentially are descended from wolves, they did not eat anything except raw meat at first. Throughout the years and with the domestication of wolves into dogs, more food groups were introduced to dog diets. This is because when dogs were domesticated, their owners began feeding them their scraps, which certainly did not include raw meat.
5- Limit Human Food
Human food is not always safe to give to your dog. Certain foods that you would never even think of being dangerous for your canine friend can cause severe discomfort, pain, and can also be lethal. Foods that we take for granted, such as raw or cooked onions, which can be found in many human foods, are entirely poisonous for dogs. Gluten, including corn, can also cause indigestion and gas for your dog if eaten in small quantities and can be the cause of more serious health issues if consumed in larger quantities. Bacon is another food that you need to limit when creating your dog’s diet plan. Your dog should not be eating junk food of any kind because it is chock full of chemicals, harmful additives, and preservatives.
6- Check Food Labels
Most of the time, people think that certain dog food brands are better than others simply because of the brands’ marketing. If you want what is best for your dog, instead of getting the food with the best commercial or packaging, check the food label. You need to find out the ingredients in the food that you are feeding your dog. You also need to find out nutritional information such as serving sizes and caloric intake. Food labels can also help you understand what preservatives are in use so that you can find out if the food poses any danger to your dog’s health.
7- Avoid GMOs
Genetically modified organisms or GMOs are evident and absolute don’t when it comes to your dog’s diet. When creating your dog’s diet plan, try including as much fresh and organic produce as much as possible. Anything that has been genetically modified contains hormones that can be very harsh on your dog’s body and can be carcinogenic. While most prepackaged food, nowadays, claims to be GMO-free, you should still try finding organic and fresh food to feed your dog.
8- Create a Meal Log for Your Dog
This may seem a bit extreme, but it is quite helpful. If you live with people with unsynchronized schedules, then your dog may be eating double if not triple what it should be. To ensure that does not happen, and to ensure that your dog gets fed, you can create a meal log. Whenever you feed your dog, you can just write down a note so that everyone at home knows and does not feed it before its next scheduled meal.
Using these nine great tips, you can easily create the perfect diet plan for your dog. Remember that you need to personalize the plan to fulfill the nutritional requirements of your dog. If you are still having issues trying to create a well-balanced meal plan, then you can consult with your dog’s vet for more information about what works best for your dog’s health.