We all want the best for our canine friends, and keeping them healthy has a large amount to do with proper nutrition. A high calorie, low nutrient diet can lead to a poor coat, bad dental hygiene and internal problems, to name just a few issues. To avoid these, here are some guidelines when it comes to dog food:
- Good dog nutrition needs a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
- Dogs are mostly carnivorous but can eat some non-meat foods such as human-grade raw meat, meaty bones and some vegetables.
- Ensure that bones are raw (not cooked) to prevent them from splintering and hurting your dog. They also need to be large enough that your dog will not swallow them whole.
- The occasional treat of fish, such as boneless sardines, tuna or salmon canned in springwater are enjoyed by most dogs.
- It is best to thoroughly check what vegetables are safe for your dog as some are toxic, such as onions, garlic, avocado, unripe tomatoes and mushrooms to name a few.
- Cooked pasta can also pad out a dog’s diet, but avoid sauces with onions or mushrooms.
- Clean grass (no pesticides or chemicals) is also important for your dog’s health.
- The RSPCA recommends commercial food that is appropriate for your dog’s life stage (puppy, adolescent, adult or older dog) and complies with the Australian Standard: Manufacturing and Marketing Pet Food AS 5812:2011.
- Read the labels of commercial food and look for a balance of about 30% protein, 18% fat and the presence of Omega Fatty Acids.
Of course, the above is only a guideline and your dog may need a specific diet if they have any health problems such as kidney, liver, dental or weight issues. Be sure to speak to your vet if you are unsure.