Every dog owner has a responsibility to ensure that their pet is eating the best food available. This seems like an easy task, but it can get complicated when you begin to consider all the options out there. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 common mistakes that many dog owners make and what they should do instead to ensure that their pets are well-nourished.
1. Feeding Your Dog Too Many Treats
Many dog owners get frustrated when their dogs do not eat enough of the dry kibble that they have been given. As a result, many people offer extra treats to ensure that their pet is getting the nutrition it needs. The problem with this approach is twofold: first, too much sugar and salt can lead to obesity or other health risks. Second, a pet can only eat so many treats before they become sick of them, which means that your dog may not be getting the nutrition it needs.
Instead of giving extra snacks, consider adding other healthy ingredients to the food or making a homemade treat in order to avoid these problems. You can make your dog’s kibble more enticing by:
- Adding a couple of tablespoons of wet dog food to their kibble
- Adding cut up vegetables to the food so that your dog gets a taste of fresh produce
- Mashing some bananas or pumpkin puree into their dry food
2. Not Feeding Your Dog Enough Protein
Low protein diets are bad for dogs because they can lead to muscle atrophy and several other health problems. Although there are some exceptions, in general dogs need at least 25% protein in their diet.
If your dog is eating kibble or canned food, then it should already have enough protein for most needs unless you’re feeding an exceptionally small breed. Large breed dogs may benefit from higher protein diets, but as always, discuss any dietary changes with your pet’s vet before diving into a new diet.
3. Not Feeding Your Dog Enough Calories
Dogs have higher caloric needs than humans. In general, a good rule of thumb is that your dog should be getting 110 to 130% of the calories per day that an equivalent-sized person would need for their weight to stay stable. If your pet’s been on a diet and has lost a lot of weight, you will want to feed them more food.
A good rule of thumb is to follow the package directions on your kibble or wet food. Not all dog foods have the same calorie counts.
4. Giving Human Food to a Dog
You might not realize it, but many human foods are bad for your dog. Human food contains a lot of sugars, fats, and preservatives that can lead to obesity or other health problems.
If you insist on giving your dog table scraps, opt for safe, raw fruits and vegetables. A little fiber won’t hurt your pet, but a salty or sweet snack made from processed foods isn’t good for anyone: you or your dog.
Some examples of dog-safe fruits and vegetables include broccoli, carrots, apples, and berries. Here is a more exhaustive list of what fruits and vegetables your dog can and cannot eat.
5. Allowing Your Dog Access to the Trash or Other Unsafe Edibles
The trash is one place you do not want your dog eating from because it is full of harmful chemicals and toxins.
Another place you do not want your dog eating from is the kitchen counter, where there are all sorts of unsafe edibles that could make your pet sick or even kill it.
If you have kids around who tend to leave food out in the open, lock up these items so they are not accessible to your dog.
And sometimes, dogs will eat items that are not even food, such as sanitary products, wrappers, and napkins. All these things, while not inherently toxic, could cause major bowel issues in your dog that can lead to surgery and even death.
Good Nutrition = Longer Life
A good diet is not just about eating well, it’s about living well. If you avoid these 5 common dog nutrition mistakes, you will be setting your dog up for a long and healthy life.