Food, nutrition, diet, feed, formula, weight, pounds, obese, arthritis, proper, disease, nutrients, digestion, stool, eat
What is the best diet to feed my dog? That is a question I am frequently asked by concerned pet owners. You may try to educate yourself by examining labels, or going to the manufacture's web site and reading their claims. You might decide to ask your breeder or seek the assistance of the high school student working at one of the major pet supply stores, but none of these sources has the training and expertise that your veterinarian and his or her staff can offer you.
Your veterinarian can advise you on dietary choices for your dog based on its age, weight, organ function, and unique medical history. What your pet eats can affect every aspect of its life.
Life stage diets may not be appropriate for all dogs in that stage. A food that is designed for a puppy may be excellent for a toy poodle but may contribute to degenerative joint disease in the later years of a Rottweiler. Many large breed dogs are genetically predisposed to joint abnormalities. If they bulk up too quickly by eating a diet formulated for a small dog that needs more calories per mouthful, it can put unnecessary strain on their growing bones. This early stress can translate into arthritis later on in life.
And speaking of puppies, who isn't charmed by a chubby puppy waddling down the street? Studies have shown that chubby puppies are like chubby children, they tend to pack on the pounds in their adult lives as well. In fact, 70 percent of obese puppies grow up to be obese dogs! Studies have shown that a slim dog compared to its chunky litter mate can expect to live 15% longer with less heart, lung, and joint ailments. If your dog is more fat than fit, your veterinarian can design a weight reducing program of proper nutrition, moderation in treats and appropriate exercise.
Diets can also be used as therapeutic agents. They can help control diseases such as heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, bladder stones, sluggish brain function, arthritis and liver disorders, to name a few. The balance of nutrients in these therapeutic foods are specifically created for unique medical conditions and may not be balanced for another dog not dealing with one of these conditions. If you own multiple dogs, ask your veterinarian which diet is best suited for each pet.
It is hard to put a price tag on good health. The diet that your veterinarian recommends may seem to cost more than the diet that you can purchase at the grocery store. You may be surprised to learn that it may actually be more cost effective when you consider digestibility. Digestibility is basically how much nutrition your dog can obtain from each mouthful of food. A food composed of an inexpensive protein source, and packed with a lot of fillers may seem like a bargain, but your dog might have to eat 4 to 5 mouthfuls of the poor quality food to equal one mouthful of a premium diet. The poorer quality food also translates into greater stool production, which means you may even have more poop to clean up!