Before buying or owning a musical instrument, there are some important details that you should know about to help you choose your instrument, to maintain it and on how to use it properly. The same is true with owning a pet, more particularly dogs. Many music enthusiasts who come to me to learn playing the piano or other musical instruments are dog owners. Sometimes, they will share stories about their challenges of having a dog. Perhaps one of the most common challenges they encounter is choosing the right food for their pet.
Factors to consider when choosing dog food
When deciding on what type of food is suitable for your dog, consider its age, gender, body composition and activity level. In general, dogs need the a balanced diet composed of the six nutrient groups which include fats, oils, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and water. Some good quality commercial dog food should be able to have this nutritional balance.
Food options available for dogs:
- Kibble (dry food) – It is considered to be the most economical and convenient as it does not need refrigeration. It is normally classified into ordinary and hypoallergenic dog food.
- Canned (wet food) – It has the advantage of long shelf life and is easy to find in many supermarkets. It can be expensive though.
- Semi-moist – This kind of dog food is normally shaped into burgers, pork chops and other meaty products. It is generally high in sugar and is known to cause dental disease in the long run. Additionally, many brands contain preservatives and artificial coloring which are not good for dogs. It contains less nutritional value but they are best as occasional treat.
- Home cooked – Although time-consuming to prepare, one of the advantages of a home-cooked diet is you know what you put in it. Of course, that is if you know what type of ingredients should be added in your dog’s food.
- Raw – Normally, this kind of diet includes raw meat, including bones and organs. This type of food is okay for many dogs as they generally have strong stomach acids to digest it.
Economy versus premium commercial dog food brands
Just like in most commercial products, you get what you pay for when buying dog foods. Most economy brands are made from cheap ingredients and contain less nutritional value. They generally contain filler ingredients which can be harmful to your dog. On the other hand, premium brands generally use high quality ingredients, with higher nutritional value and with less filler. You will know this by reading the label before purchasing.
Dry food versus wet food
Both types of food have advantages and drawbacks. Dry foods are easier to store and serve and they are also normally more affordable than wet foods. Dry foods also help reduce tartar buildup when chewing. However, if your dog needs more water intake, this type of food may not be as beneficial as wet foods.
Mixing dry food with wet food
Generally, it is okay to mix dry and wet foods to feed your dog unless your dog is on a special diet requiring a specific type of food. For instance, dogs on a dental diet need to be on dry food while dogs on urinary diet should take wet foods with high water content.
These facts are intended to be used as guidelines only. If you often ask yourself, can dogs eat bananas and other fruits? Maybe yes, or may be not depending on the condition of your dog. It is safer to ask your veterinarian for advice on the best food for your dog.