Dog Food Types

Dog food companies all advertise their food as the best of all the dog foods on the market. Dog food companies try to make them their foods seem the meatiest, the healthiest and the tastiest. However, the only thing dog owners should really focus on is the nutrition of the dog food.

Dog owners have several choices when it comes to the type of dog food to feed their pets. Here”s some information on each.

Types of Dog Food

Dog food usually comes in three general forms:

  • Canned Food (Moist)Merits: Canned food generally has a good taste, is easily digestible and has a long shelf life.Drawback: Canned food is the most expensive type of dog food.
  • Dry FoodMerits: Dry food is typically affordable and reduces tartar build-up on dogs” teeth.Drawback: Dry food often presents a storage problem. Food can get stale and lose some nutritional value.
  • Semi-MoistMerits: Semi-moist food is easy to store, typically tastes good and is easily digestible.Drawback: Semi-moist dog food tends to be more expensive than dry dog food.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Dogs

Most quality dog foods provide ample nutrition for dogs. However, adding a vitamin or supplement can be beneficial to your dog”s health and can improve coat quality. Adding a vitamin or supplement to make up for low-quality dog food, however, isn”t recommended.

Providing your dog with too many supplements and vitamins can be detrimental to your dog”s health. Check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any vitamins or supplements.

Dog Foods for Different Stages of Life

Just like people, dogs need different types of food at different ages and stages of life. Here are some tips on giving your dog the appropriate food:

  • Adult Dogs:Adult dogs need a simple, regular diet. Most well-known dog food brands are appropriate and will have all of the necessary nutrients for a dog”s dietary needs. Use appropriate servings and adjust the quantity you feed your pet to keep him at a healthy weight.
  • Older Dogs:After about age 7, dogs should be switched to a dog food that is specially designed for older or aging dogs. Some older dogs may not eat as much, while others may gain weight due to less exercise. If your pet”s weight changes as he ages, get tips on feeding from your veterinarian.
  • Performance Dogs: Performance dogs need to have more energy than dogs that are kept as pets. Therefore, a special diet may be necessary to help these dogs deal with physical exertion and high stress levels. Performance dogs include:
    • guide dogs
    • hunting dogs
    • police dogs
    • racing dogs.

Professionals that work with performance dogs are usually knowledgeable about diet needs of these types of dogs, but veterinarians can also provide guidelines. Usually, a high-energy, high-fat diet is recommended.

  • Pregnant Dogs:Dogs that are pregnant or lactating need extra energy and, therefore, need extra nutrients in their diets. Malnourishment can harm both your dog and her puppies, so make sure she has enough energy to supply milk for her litter of puppies.Talk to your vet about feeding your pregnant or lactating dog.
  • Puppies:Puppies need extra nutrients in their diets. However, it”s important to not over-feed a puppy. Certain dog breeds are more likely to be obese, so over-feeding can have lasting effects. Puppy food usually comes with serving size suggestions. In addition, your veterinarian can tell you how much food to give your puppy.

The Dos and Don”ts: Human Food and Dogs

Many people give in when their dogs beg for human food. Dog food is far more healthy for your dog, but if you must give your dog a bit of your food, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid feeing your dog any kind of chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is the worst: 2.2 ounces is a lethal dose for a 25-pound dog.
  • Bones can break dogs” teeth, especially dogs that are aging.
  • Feeding your dog eggsis okay, but never give him raw eggs.
  • Foods that contain a small amount of vegetable oil can improve the look of your dog”s coat.
  • Milk is high in lactose and may give dogs diarrhea.
  • While dogs love raw meat, it has too much protein and too little calcium for them and should be avoided.

When to Feed Your Dog

Feeding your dog can follow whatever schedule suits you. Some people prefer to leave food out for the dog to eat as he pleases, while others prefer to feed their dogs before leaving for work and after returning home for the evening. Whatever works best for you and your dog is the appropriate choice.

Also, many pet stores now sell automatic dog feeders that release a pre-determined amount of food at intervals throughout the day. This can help for dogs that won”t regulate their food intake or for owners who are not at home frequently.