Does My Dog Need Special Food?
I get this question a LOT. The short answer is, maybe. All dogs are different, even within breeds and classes of dogs. Not every Chihuahua is the same and not all sporting breeds are the same. This needs to be handled on a dog by dog basis and preferably with veterinary supervision.
If your dog has a weight problem, they may benefit from a food or diet change. If your dog is highly active or a working breed that really does work, they may need a different type of food. Aging dogs and certain breeds of dogs should have their individual needs assessed and food changed as their needs change.
What Dog Foods Do You Recommend?
I am not brand or dog food loyal. We, like most people, go through times where we may have to buy less expensive foods and compromise on quality for a bit. Usually we supplement any kibble diet with raw foods (normally chicken) to help supply the basic nutritional needs.
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The recommendations I have are the following.
- Talk to your vet – They may try to sell you on what they carry in the office and that’s ok. Pay attention to the ratios they suggest and then read labels. Yes, dog foods have labels – nutrition labels.
- Pay close attention to ingredients. Some cheaper brands will list corn first. Others may contain corn syrup or fillers that are not beneficial to your dog.
- Watch for allergy symptoms. Paw licking, air licking, head shaking, scratching, and other behaviors could be a tell tale sign of a food allergy. Removing corn or grains often alleviate this.
- Feed you dog according to their job. If their job is holding down the couch, choose a food with less fat. If they work the farm or are highly active they may need a food like pro plan athletic. Look at the protein and fat content and judge which type is best.
- Change SLOWLY! This is my most important tip. Do not make an abrupt food change. Do it gradually or your dog can suffer terrible stomach upset.
Nobody knows your dog better than you. Make informed choices and your dog will thank you. Speak to your vet and other dog lovers for information and opinions.