A dog owner can get the most out of a well-managed diet by making sure he or she is getting the right kind of food, according to an article published today by the nonprofit Veterinary Journal.
“Most dogs have their own unique diet, so I think the only way to make sure you are getting the healthiest diet possible is to make certain the ingredients are good,” said veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Pendergrass, who specializes in treating and managing canine health issues.
“And it really depends on the diet you are feeding your dog, and what type of food you are providing your dog.”
Pendergrass’ article is titled “Are You Feeding Your Dog a Food That Is Not Healthy for Your Dog?” and was published in a special issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
In it, she explains that a dog’s diet can be influenced by the type of foods it eats, what it eats for health and the type and amount of exercise it is getting.
“Some dogs will thrive on a diet that is high in protein, which is a great source of vitamins and minerals,” she said.
“But there is also a chance they will thrive off a diet of lower protein, such as grains or legumes.
This can be problematic if you have a diet high in these foods that are not balanced by the right kinds of vegetables and other healthy nutrients.”
While most dogs get enough protein from their food, Penderfields’ research shows that some dogs need more protein from the right foods to get their energy needs.
Penderfields also believes that a lot of what we think of as healthy foods, such in the form of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, are in fact more of a challenge for some dogs to digest.
“What you see in the food that people are eating now is actually a lot more processed and packaged, and it’s really hard to digest those things,” she explained.
“So what you’re really seeing is an unhealthy food that’s really not high in nutrients.”
The article points out that even though the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends eating a balanced diet, there are many other foods that have different nutritional profiles.
Pendergrasses research shows there are two major types of foods that can have different nutrient profiles and therefore make a dog or dog-owner’s diet more balanced.
“There’s actually two different kinds of foods, one of which is really high in carbohydrates, and the other is high up in fats,” PenderGrasses said.
For example, some dogs like to eat a diet low in grains, while others like to be fed a diet full of vegetables, fruits and legume products.
“If you have one diet that has the highest amounts of carbohydrates, then that’s a recipe for a dog who will be eating that diet, and then a dog that has a higher intake of fat and higher intake (of) cholesterol and high intake of sugar and protein,” Pendingers article explains.
“The other type of diet that people tend to use is one that has high amounts of protein, and that can be really a recipe to give a dog high energy, and a high energy diet that may not have a lot in the way of vitamins or minerals.”
What about a dog diet that does not meet the AAP recommendations?
“It’s a lot harder for a person to make a change in their dog’s diets if there’s no current health-related concern in the dog,” said Pender.
“It’s also easier for a veterinarian to say, ‘If your dog is not eating a food that is low in protein and high in fat, then it’s probably a problem.'”
Dr. Penders advice for the dog owner is to get a dog food that contains a balanced protein, high fat and a balanced amount of nutrients to make it a dog of her dreams.
“This means that the foods that she is eating are really good for her, but also, if they are not high-protein, then they are high in carbohydrate, so they are really low in calories, and there’s not enough of them in her diet to provide her with the energy she needs,” she added.