Posted 7th Sep 2016
The Houndsley Brothers have made it their mission to ensure that we know exactly what we should be feeding our dogs. Teaming up with Forthglade, they are giving advice on choosing the right food for your dog.
How do you choose what's best for your dog?
Know what's in your dog's food
When shopping around, it is important not to be pulled in by healthy sounding ingredients and photos of glossy-coated dogs. These will tell us very little about the actual nutritional value of the food. Instead, you are better off looking for a natural dog food, free from artificial additives and derivatives. Dogs require around 40 essential nutrients on a daily basis, so you should ensure the diet you are feeding your dog provides all of these in their right form and quality.
Dog food which is labelled 'complete' must contain all of these. You can also combine a quality, complementary dog food with a nutritious mixer as a way of ensuring your dog gets what it needs.
Keep an eye on their weight
You can easily check your dog's weight by eye. Stand above your dog and look down - if your dog is at its ideal weight, you should be able to feel their ribs quite easily but not see them. Your dog should also have a definite waist behind the ribs. Now, look at your dog from the side - it should have an obvious abdominal tick. If in doubt, check with your vet.
Don't be tempted to overfeed your dog
We've all had our dogs staring balefully at us, subtly persuading us they are hungry and in need of more food. However, base the amount of food on how your dog looks, rather than acts.
Consider age, breed and activity level
Keep an eye on your dog's body and coat. If your dog is getting what they need, their skin and coat should be healthy and their stools should be firm and brown.
So what does your dog actually need?
Puppies have very high nutrient demands as their body grows. It is important to choose a quality and nutritious food that is based on your dog's size. Small breed puppies have a significantly higher energy requirement, with smaller mouths and teeth. This means they need easy to chew, energy-dense food. If they grow too fast, large breed puppies will be at risk of joint problems, meaning that they need less energy-dense good to encourage a slow and steady growth.
Look out for high quality animal protein at the top of the ingredients list, along with vegetables, whole grains and fruits. A highly active dog will require more food, while a smaller dog needs a nutrient-dense diet. Bear in mind that it is best for an adult dog to be slightly on the lean side. Lean dogs live an average of two years longer than their podgy friends.
As dogs get older, joint support found in glucosamine and chondroitin is more important than ever. It can be difficult for our senior dogs to digest fat, so it is crucial to consider the fat levels, but also the type of fat in your dog's food. Omega-3 fatty acids are the best for this, while other supplements that should be considered are vitamin B complex, vitamin E and digestive aids such as pre-probiotics.
Image and text courtesy of Forthglade