The recent pandemic has turned our way of life totally upside down. Humans are social creatures and going for so long without human interaction was definitely getting to everyone. One of the most surprising effects of the pandemic, however, has been a delightful one. Animal shelters have been reporting very high numbers of adoptions and fosters across the country, and some even had to close down because all their animals found homes!
One of the first challenges you’ll face as a pet parent is what to feed your baby. Dogs, in particular, are functional omnivores. This means that while they might not seek out broccoli in the wild, they are able to digest it and gain nutrition from it if they are fed vegetables.
What Should You Feed Your Dog? The easiest answer is that you should feed your dog that fulfills his nutritional needs, that is affordable for you, that he or she likes, and that fits into your life. Dog food can be broadly classified into homemade dog food and store-bought dog food.
Homemade Dog Food Homemade dog food can be further classified into raw food and cooked food.
Cooked Food Cooked food is generally a mix of meat, vegetables, and grains that have been cooked and mixed together. This is either made fresh daily or is made in bulk and frozen for storage. If you’re planning to go this route, here is a list of common vegetables that is safe for your canine friend to eat:
- Green beans (Make sure to get the low-sodium variety if you’re buying canned.)
- Green, leafy vegetables: In small quantities, these are great. They can be problematic in higher doses.
- Brussel sprouts, cabbage: While this is edible for your dog, make sure you don’t give them too much unless you want a gassy pooch!
There are some things that humans eat that are poisonous for dogs. They are:
- Garlic, and anything in the garlic family
Raw Food Raw food is the closest to a wild dog’s diet that you can offer as a pet owner. When feeding raw food, maintain the highest levels of hygiene when handling the food. A good raw food diet should consist of the following:
- 1/3rd of the diet should be meaty bones like necks, tail bones, and ribs.
- 1/3rd of the diet should be organ meats like heart, kidney, liver, and lungs. Too much liver is bad for dogs, but they are beneficial in small amounts.
- Lean meats like chicken breast and turkey.
- Good fats that should be part of the other components of the diet. You can give fish for omega 3 fatty acids which give your dogs a shiny coat!
This will form the basic diet for your dog. On top of this, you can give dog-friendly vegetables and fruits to make sure your dog doesn’t get bored and to supplement nutrients as well.
Store-Bought Dog Food Store-bought dog food can be dry or wet food. They can be in the form of dry pellets, which is the option that is most commonly chosen by pet parents around the world. They are cost-effective and give your dogs balanced nutrition without the margin for human error that is there in homemade food. This is also a great option for pet owners who work multiple jobs or for other reasons, don’t have time to fuss around in the kitchen. While any brand off the shelf is good for your dog, if you can afford it, you should choose premium brands that have less ‘filler’ material and use more natural products.
Whether wet or dry, high-quality dry dog food like Tuffies Nutrisource Performance Dog Food is a good balance between the wholesomeness of homemade food and the convenience of store-bought food. Check the ingredients list when choosing your brand. The first ingredient shouldn’t be a grain, as the first ingredient is usually the one that is present in the highest quantity. The primary source of protein should be from animal sources, and if it has probiotics in it, then even better!
Wet dog food is also an option for pets. Dogs can refuse to eat dry food, and as dogs get older, many dogs lose the ability to chew harder pellets. In such cases, wet and canned dog food is a great option that delivers the needed nutrition in a convenient form for dog owners. Many puppies are also started on wet food before moving on to dry food as they get older.