What to consider when looking for your dog’s nutrition
Pet owners are becoming more interested in quality nutrition, and what ingredients they feed their pets. As a nutrition focused vet, I see that as a real positive.
Food is the first medicine: what you put in, you get out in terms of health and wellbeing. But, it can be confusing trying to decide what food to buy. There are lots of varieties out there: dry kibble, tinned meat, home prepared recipes and even raw food. Different options have appeal to certain pet owners. Some place convenience and shelf life above meat type, or raw over cooked, or dry kibble over tinned food.
One method is not automatically superior to or healthier than another, and there can be a range of quality in each category, which makes it all such a confusing landscape of overwhelming choice.
For me, the basis of great pet nutrition regardless of format or brand follows three simple rules:
- Start with high quality ingredients
- Tailor your pet’s diet to their individual needs
- Feed the right amount to prevent obesity
Our approach at dog nutrition specialist tails.com starts with the knowledge that every dog is different, with unique dietary needs. Providing the correct levels and ratios of essential nutrients such as fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals is vital at each life stage. Providing the right amount of food is just as important to control excessive weight gain, keeping dogs in healthy condition and extending their lifespan. As a result, every dog gets his or her own recipe, tailored to their specific nutritional needs.
Young dogs need appropriate levels of high quality, easily digestible protein in order to grow and develop in a healthy way. Fat is required as an energy source as well as for maintaining cell function and healthy skin amongst other things. The type of fat used can provide health benefits, with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids being hailed as true superfoods for health. These are extremely beneficial for vision and mental development in young animals, immune function and healthy skin and coat.
Vitamins and minerals in the correct quantities can help to keep a dog’s organs working correctly, maintain hormonal balance, support skeletal health and prevent various nutritional diseases. Other ingredients high in antioxidants protect the body from harmful chemicals, supporting the immune system’s natural defences.
Supplements in the diet such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help older dogs with stiff joints to improve their mobility and keep active, a significant improvement for many senior dog’s quality of life. Diet can even help as the brain ages and older dogs develop senile changes, with the addition of Omega-rich fish oil shown to slow the effects of aging.
At tails.com, we take all these considerations for each dog into account when designing their ideal food blend. This tailor-made means every dog gets their own recipe, recognising that every dog is different gives them the maximum health benefit from their diet possible.
And the results speak for themselves; healthy dogs living long, happy lives.
By Sean McCormack, Head Vet at tails.com
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