There are so many different types of dog food for sale that it can be difficult to decide which food to offer your dog. As if it wasn’t difficult enough to make a choice, one person will tell you that fresh meat is best while the other swears by dog food. It’s important that you look at what your dog does best. Read more about dog feeds at doggolab.com.
All biochemical processes that take place in the body of your dog depend on the substances that enter the body through food. It is therefore not difficult to imagine that nutrition plays an important role in the overall health of your dog.
The quality of dog food is largely determined by the composition of raw materials and nutrients, the bioavailability and digestibility, the energy density, the consistency and appearance, the appreciation by the animal and the shelf life. The amount of feces produced gives a good indication of the quality of the feed. In general, the quality of dog food is better when the dog produces less and sturdy stools. Healthy food also ensures a beautiful, shiny coat and often makes dogs more lively.
The feed of lower quality is often cheaper per kilogram, but more must be given. As a result, the difference in the cost per meal between cheap and healthy dog food is often less than expected. Dogs that receive poor nutrition have a poor coat, a lot of thin stools and are less comfortable with their skin. Most owners do not even notice the latter. However, when they switch to a good quality dog food, they suddenly see the dog revive.
If you choose dry food, make sure that the water bowl contains sufficient water around mealtime. Dog food is quite salty and therefore arouses thirst.
Dry food contains little water and therefore has a long shelf life. There are many different providers of dry food for dogs. The differences in quality between different brands of dog food are large because there is no proper legislation in the field of quality requirements for dog food.
Certain dog food manufacturers do a lot of research and use high-quality raw materials. This also explains the price difference between the good dog food that you can buy at the vet or pet store and the cheap dog food that is for sale in the supermarket. Well-known brands of dog food are Hills, Royal Canin, Eukanuba and Pro Plan.
Cheap dog food often contains more vegetable proteins, which are of lower quality. In addition, cheap dog food does not contain all essential amino acids in sufficient quantity, which can cause problems such as extremely large amounts of hair, skin flakes, itching, and scratching. Because this cheap dog food is also poorly digested, the dog needs a larger amount of dog food and produces more feces.
Wet or canned food consists of 70 to 90% water. Due to the strong odor, this food is preferred by many dogs. However, dogs cannot chew on this, which results in tartar. It is therefore important to alternate wet food with dog food or to offer the dog other chewing options.
Nowadays there are also more and more commercial suppliers of fresh meat for dogs. Within the fresh meat dog food, a distinction is made between NRV (Natural Raw Food), BARF (Bones and Raw Food) and KVV (Complete Fresh Meat). At NRV whole prey animals are fed and no vegetables are added. At BARF, the diet is composed of adding various food components (such as muscle meat, organ meat, bones, and vegetables) based on percentages. KVV is ground, frozen, ready-to-eat dog food and therefore no longer contains recognizable pieces of meat, as is the case with BARF and NRV. Vegetables are also added to KVV dog food.
According to the law, only raw materials of a quality that are suitable for human consumption may be used as fresh dog food for pet animals. Because of the Aujeszky virus, which is almost always fatal for dogs, dogs should not be fed unheated animal pig products.
Assemble dog food yourself
It requires a lot of work to prepare the dog’s own prepared food and often the result is less healthy than good-quality commercial dog food. A common mistake is, for example, that the dog receives the wrong proportions of the minerals calcium and phosphorus. This can result in all sorts of disorders in the bones and joints of your dog. If you still want to put together the food for your dog yourself, study it thoroughly and possibly ask your vet for advice about possible food-related problems occurring later.
You are advised to give your puppy a special puppy food up to the age of 6 months. Because puppies grow so fast, they need more protein and calories in their food. After 6 months you can switch to an intermediate form that contains less energy than puppy food, but still contains the right ratio of nutrients to achieve good, balanced bone growth. The dog can switch to adult dog food when it has grown.
Senior dog food
From the age of 6 to 7 years old, you can consider switching to dog food for the ‘senior’ dog. This dog food contains less energy because older dogs have a lower energy requirement. This allows you to prevent your older dog from becoming overweight.
The right amount of dog food
The most common food-related problem in the dog is overweight. This is not surprising since dogs are rarely still working today and they often have less opportunity to move around. Moreover, we like to spoil our dogs. However, being overweight is a serious problem.
Follow the instructions from the food manufacturer. However, bear in mind that breed, temperament, lifestyle and individual aptitude all play a role in determining the ideal amount of dog food. It is therefore important that you adjust the amount of dog food that you give to the condition of your dog. If your dog is overweight, give less food and supplement the diet with vegetables such as green beans and carrots or fruit such as strawberries or apples (without a core). Dogs cannot digest fiber, but this supplement to the diet will satisfy hunger. The image below can help you determine whether the weight of your dog is correct.
Pregnant or lactating bitches and dogs that have to deliver a high level of activity have a higher energy requirement and therefore need to consume more calories. Dog food must also be adjusted for this by giving more or by choosing a product with a higher energy value.
How often do I have to feed my dog a day?
In an adult dog, dog food is generally distributed over 2 meals per day. In some cases, it may be wise to divide the amount of dog food into 3 to 4 times a day. For example when your dog has a sensitive gastrointestinal tract.
Puppies are also fed more often per day. Puppies receive 4 meals a day between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks. From 12 to 24 weeks they receive 3 meals a day. And when the puppy is older than 24 weeks, you can switch to 2 meals a day.
Composition of dog food
Dog food must be composed of the following 6 groups of nutrients: water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. And that in the right proportions and quantities. Below is a brief explanation of each of these 6 groups of nutrients.
Water is needed in the body for transport of nutrients to tissue, maintains body temperature and aids in the digestion of other nutrients. Water is the most essential nutrient for survival. A dog dies already with a loss of 15% of the amount of water in the body. Water must always be available for the dog, but if you choose dry food, make sure that the water bowl is always full around mealtime.
Carbohydrates are short or long chains of sugars and are known as ‘fast’ energy suppliers. The fastest energy supplier among carbohydrates is known as grape sugar. Dogs do not really need carbohydrates, because they are able to convert other nutrients into glucose through their own metabolism. Nevertheless, carbohydrates are good energy suppliers. In addition, food containing natural carbohydrates contains dietary fibers that are important for proper intestinal function.
The dog needs proteins as building blocks for building and repairing many tissues such as muscles, tendons, skin, hair, and blood. Together with other nutrients, they ensure the formation of enzymes and hormones that regulate metabolism. Proteins are needed in the formation of antibodies, which help fight infection and they can be used to provide energy.
A distinction can be made between animal proteins and vegetable proteins. For example, vegetable proteins come from soy and are of a lower quality than animal protein, because not all essential amino acids are present in the right amount in vegetable proteins. If there is a shortage of proteins or proteins of a lower quality, problems can arise in the construction of tissues, the metabolism and the defense mechanism against diseases. This can manifest itself in poor appetite, poor growth or even thinning and a poor condition of the coat.
Fats are actually the most important supplier of energy. Dietary fats provide your dog with 2.25 times more calories per unit weight than protein or carbohydrates. A deficiency of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) results in skin damage, a poor condition of the coat and can even lead to reproductive problems. In addition, fats are involved in the absorption, storage, and transport of the fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, and K).
Minerals perform many functions in the body. Calcium and phosphorus, for example, are important for the skeleton and teeth and sodium and potassium are important for regulating the correct moisture balance. Minerals are also closely involved in metabolism.
A distinction is made between macrominerals and micro minerals or trace elements. The macrominerals must be present in large quantities in the dog food: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, and sulfur. The microminerals or trace elements must be present in the diet in a much lesser amount: iron, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, cobalt and iodine. Other trace elements that have only recently been discovered are fluorine, chromium, nickel, silicon, tin, and vanadium. Little is yet known about the function of these relatively new trace elements.
It is very important that the minerals are present in the right proportion and in the correct amounts in the dog food. For example, in dogs that only eat muscle meat, calcium deficiency occurs. The body will remove calcium from the bones because the body still needs calcium. The skeleton is descaled so that fractures can easily occur. This is called ‘all meat syndrome’ and is typically a disease for puppies. Because nowadays full use is made of complete dog food, this is becoming less common. However, too much calcium can also cause bone problems.
Vitamins play a very important role in all kinds of biochemical processes and cannot be produced by the body. The daily requirement for vitamins is very low and often amounts to just a few mg per day. In general, a deficiency but also an excess of vitamins can be harmful and eventually lead to death.
|Fat-soluble vitamins||Water-soluble vitamins|
|Vitamin A||Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)|
|Vitamin D||Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)|
|Vitamin E||Nicotinic acid|
|Vitamin K||Pantothenic acid|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)|
|Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)|
Quality dog food is important for the health, resistance, and fitness of your dog. Especially when your dog is still growing. There are major differences in the quality of various dog food. You can buy better dog food at the vet or pet shop. Healthy dog food provides a beautiful, shiny coat, less and firmer stools and often makes dogs more lively.