When it comes to wellness dog food options and diets, the furry ones are exactly like people. They’re omnivorous and can live happily off a meal plan that includes everything from meat to grain, vegetables, and fruit. However, their meals need particular attention, as a dog must be cared for. The primary way of doing that is by feeding it correctly, according to its breed, size, and needs. Here are the best 5 wellness dog food options made easy.
Getting to Know the Basics on Dog Food
The age when we used to keep dogs around the house and feed them scraps from the table is long gone. The world has changed, and so has the environment both we and our dog population inhabit. If the environment has changed, so have the dogs. They now require particular attention and the healthiest meal plan we can offer them so that they can lead a fit and happy lifestyle.
- How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?
This question is one that needs to be addressed in detail and very soon because the main health problems dogs have stem from incorrect food dosage. We either don’t know how much to feed them each day, don’t have time to do the research and carefully measure every meal for them or we simply love them so much we want to see them nice and spoiled. All these three situations are big mistakes that lead to dog obesity, diabetes, heart conditions and even the impossibility of them exercising or even walking normally.
How many dogs have you seen that were simply too fat? A lot of them. To avoid this happening to your favorite pet, you need to take into consideration the following three factors when choosing a wellness dog food option.
- The dog’s age
- Its activity level
- Its ideal weight
Let’s take a simple example to describe what these factors mean. A senior Australian Shepard dog needs a lot of food because he’s still growing and he runs and exercises a lot, which means he basically needs fuel to keep him going. A complete, wet meal is required several times a day. A small Chihuahua aged 10 is usually a lap dog, so he doesn’t like to exercise himself too much. A very small portion is required for this dog.
Some other secondary factors you can take into consideration when choosing your dog’s food are its breed, the disease he either suffers from or is prone to, and last but not least, his preferences when it comes to foods. It’s no use feeding a dog chicken-based bowls if he prefers beef, no matter what it says on the package.
- Get to know your dog’s breed
The breeds that we have in ownership now are either very old or a result of hybridization. Independently of their source, we are aware of a lot about them. This means we have knowledge of their internal workings and, most importantly, the diseases each breed usually suffers from.
For example, Huskies are predisposed to autoimmune diseases, Bulldogs have respiratory problems because of their smashed-in faces, pugs evidently have troubles with their eyes, German Shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia and the list could go on. Make sure you choose their meals to help them avoid these ailments.
- Get to know the dog food you are buying
Getting to know the dog food you are buying is essential in the wellness dog food options game. Read the labels carefully and ask your vet about any ingredient that seems out of place. Do not buy labels that spell out uncertain ingredients, such as ‘fat’. It should say ‘chicken fat’ or ‘pork fat.’ It’s an excellent idea to know the source of everything your dog eats.
The Best Wellness Dog Food Options
We know your dog’s wellness is crucial to you, so we’ve put together a list of the best meal options out there, along with their description and important tips you need to know before deciding.
#1. The Raw Natural Wellness Dog Food Option
The past few years have seen quite a debate among specialists on whether or not we should re-introduce raw food into our dog’s diets. They use the term ‘re-introduce’ as dogs, for the better part of their history, have eaten raw food, just like their ancestors, the wolves. However, people have started to feed them cooked food based on the idea that, since it’s better for humans, it must be better for dogs as well.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Researchers have found that raw food has a lot more nutrients than when cooked. However, as good as this sounds, this doesn’t mean it’s fit for your dog as well. For example, dogs that don’t get a lot of exercise or the so-called ‘lazy breeds’ such as the Great Dane, for instance, may not be able to process and absorb all the nutrients they receive via raw food.
However, it’s safe to say that uncooked food is better than its cooked counterpart, as it is the closest a dog can get to what he would normally eat in the wild.
Here are some tips you must strictly follow if you wish to start your dog on a raw natural food meal plan.
- Never feed your dog raw fish or pork. They both have parasites that will kill the animal. Raw fish has flukes, a pest that sneaks its way into a mammal’s liver and damages it. Raw pork has trichinosis, the larvae of the Trichinella Spiralis worm. Undercooked pork is just as bad, so it’s best you stay away from pork altogether.
- All the meat should be organically raised
- Sick and old dogs should not be fed raw meat, as their systems are not quite capable of processing it.
- Always cook all the grains you plan on giving your dog
- Do not cook bones because, when cooked, they soften and break into shards. Those shards are usually sharp and can even perforate your dog’s stomach or intestines.
- Eggs and dairy products are a fantastic source of protein if you dog likes them
- As far as vegetables go, you should stay away from spinach, rhubarb, onions, and tomatoes.
#2. The Raw Lamb Wellness Dog Food Option
When it comes to meat, dogs have surprisingly fewer options than we would have ever imagined. As pointed out above, pork should be avoided as it’s fatty and improper cooking ca be fatal for your dog. Fish is tricky as well, because of the parasites it has, seafood is right on the same page, even if it is fresh from the ocean, as is game meat. Wild animal meat may have a series of bacteria that could, potentially, harm your furry friend, even if cooked.
Therefore, it’s down to chicken and beef to fulfill his meaty needs. Not anymore, though, because you can replace or alternate it with lamb meat. Luckily, this so-called ‘red meat’ is readily available and relatively moderate in price. You can either prepare it at home yourself or buy special dog food that is based on lamb meat.
Here are some tips centered around your dog and its lamb-based diet.
- No matter if you prepare it at home or buy it as pet food, lamb should always be the primary ingredient.
- Make sure the meat is 100% organic
- Store-bought brands should have no chemicals, additives, salt, sugar, colorants, or preservatives.
- Make sure there are no potentially harmful ingredients.
- Verify that the animal has not been fed antibiotics or greens exposed to herbicides or pesticides.
#3. Vegetarian or Vegan Wellness Dog Food Option
As stated in the beginning and contrary to popular belief, dogs are not carnivorous. They are omnivorous. This term used to describe them means they can eat anything and live just fine on a meat-free diet. The misconception that dogs are carnivorous comes from associating them with wolves. However, one must understand that a dog has different needs than a wolf.
Dogs are far less active than their wild counterparts, live in cleaner environments, drink cleaner water and eat more sanitary food. They also don’t fast as much as wolves do between meals. All these differences lead to the conclusion that, unlike wolves, dogs can thrive on a vegan diet.
There’s a difference between vegan and vegetarian dog diets. A vegetarian diet allows you to feed your dog some traditional foods while the vegan one does not permit animal products whatsoever. No matter which one you choose, the main thing you need to understand and remember is that you must find a source of protein for your animal companion. They need a lot more protein than humans do, an aspect which can be easily overlooked.
In a vegetarian diet, you can still feed the dog dairy products and eggs, which are a marvelous source of protein. As far as vegan dog diets go, things get a tad trickier. There are plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and grain to feed it so that it stays balanced and healthy, but it may not like it. Honestly speaking, the old saying ‘it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks’ rings true here. Unless you plan on starting your dog on a vegan diet from his first days as a brand new puppy, chances are you’ll have a hard time convincing him to eat apples instead of meat.
Here are some tips to help you along your way towards vegan or vegetarian dog diets.
- Always check with your vet prior to starting the animal on such a diet. If he agrees, make sure to visit him regularly. The dog’s urine needs to be tested every few months to ensure his diet is keeping him balanced.
- The best way to cook most vegetables for dogs is to boil them. Avoid deep frying where you can.
- It’s also good you prepare the vegetables very well and cut them into smaller pieces, as dogs have a much smaller digestive tract than we do.
- Buy some vegetarian or vegan treats and biscuits to accustom your dog to its new diet. Reviews show they actually work and, best of all, you can get coupons for both dry and canned treats. The coupon is printable out of the internet and can get you a considerably reduced price.
#4. The High Fiber Wellness Dog Food Option
Dog owners who have switched from a traditional diet to a high-fiber one as far as their dog is concerned, have done so because of the animal’s gastrointestinal system. Including more fiber in its core diet may prove to be the answer to a series of ailments such as the following.
- Obesity – if the food is high in fiber, that means it’s low in calories. Highly nutritious as it is, high-fiber food will keep the dog fuller for longer and help it lose weight. Regular food is easier to digest, and the dog will only become hungry in a far shorter amount of time.
- Constipation – it’s a real nuisance for the little mates. They suffer far worse than we do for not being able to relieve themselves, so a diet rich in fiber will ease that pain. Fiber absorbs moisture and causes the feces to bulk. They’re a lot easier to expel that way.
- Diabetes and sugar levels in the blood – fiber is known to slow down the sugar intake and help systems process it better.
- Anal gland disease and diarrhea – the best sign that your dog is currently facing this problem is the way it drags its bottom on the floor. They do so because their anal glands are infected or abscessed, which makes them uncomfortable. When the feces are bulkier because of the high protein intake, they will put more pressure on the anal glands and force them to work better.
#5. The Low Sodium Wellness Dog Food Option
Veterinarians usually recommend low sodium diets for dogs who suffer from liver, kidney or heart diseases. Apart from that, specialists say that a dog should not be put on a low-sodium diet, even if it is an adult or old one. Sodium is a good thing when it comes to animals. It prevents their cells from dehydrating or otherwise swell up, and it keeps their muscles and nerves healthy.
Also, try not to forget that dogs like their food tasty just as much as we do. They are not capable of understanding that something so trivial like salt might damage them, even if they are sick. It will bring them down, and you will have an unhappy dog.
To make sure your dog’s food doesn’t have any salt in it, in case it is sick and truly needs a diet such as this one, the best way to go is to prepare it yourself at home.
The bottom line is that no matter which wellness dog food option you choose, there are two things you need to keep in mind: that it should be biologically personalized so that it matches your dog’s needs and that it should be healthy. It’s the only way to truly care for a pet.