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Your Dog's Health


Nutrition

For dogs, like for people, food affects every part of their lives. After all, food is what makes animals grow and prosper. So, of course, the type of food your dog is fed is very important to his overall health and well being. But with so many different brands and varieties of food, it can be overwhelming to pick one, and even harder to pick the right one. Even harder, your dog may end up being a picky eater, making finding the right food nearly impossible. But don't fret. With so many options out there, the right one for your dog is waiting. Here are things to consider when choosing a dog food:

girl feeding her lab

Dogs' stage of life: a puppy needs a lot more calories, protein, vitamins and minerals than an adult dog because he is in the growing stage. Puppy food is especially made to meet these needs. Thus, an adult dog eating puppy food will most likely become overweight. For older dogs, senior food is available that is more easily digested.

Look at the Ingredients: protein is crucial for dogs so look for a dog food that has meat (poultry, lamb or beef) as the first ingredient. Avoid foods that have corn as the main ingredient and are grain-based instead of meat-based! Also look at the amount of carbohydrates, fiber and fats.

Compare the Guaranteed Analysis: This chart lists the percentages of ingredients in the food. Protein should be at least 20% for adult dogs, fat at least 18%, and be sure that omega fatty acid is present.

If Switching, Do it Slowly: A sudden switch could give your dog some stomach problems. So when transitioning to another dog food, start by mixing in a small amount of the new food in with the old food. Each day, increase the amount of the new food and decrease the old food until you're left just feeding the new.

Federally Accredited Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Woodworth talks about nutrition for dogs: