You feed your pet daily and provide fresh water, you take walks and go for annual veterinary exams, but are you overlooking the five most important factors that really matter when it comes to your dog’s overall health?
1. Know what’s in your dog’s food and treats!
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat” and the same holds true for pets. One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is not reading the ingredients listed on their pet’s food. Unfortunately, there are an abundance of “bad” ingredients found in many of today’s popular pet foods. Examples include corn, wheat, soy, by-products and sugars. These ingredients are not conducive to a carnivore’s natural diet and when consumed regularly, can contribute to the development of allergies, diabetes, obesity, and chronic ear infections. In addition, make sure your dog’s food is free of artificial colorants and chemical preservatives such as BHA/BHT, Ethoxyquin, Menadione, Sodium Bisulfite Complex and propylene glycol. These chemicals have been linked to certain types of cancers and organ failure when regularly ingested over a long course of time.
2. Add moisture to your dog’s food daily!
Dry kibble was designed for the convenience of pet owners, however, does not act as an adequate source of natural moisture when fed solely over a long period of time. Dogs eating a dry diet tend to be in a partial state of dehydration due to the lack of moisture found in dry foods. Additionally, dogs eating this type of diet cannot depend solely on water intake to provide the necessary hydration for their skin and vital organs. It is often forgotten that carnivores, like humans, hydrate their skin and organs through wholesome foods that retain their natural moisture. If you do rely on dry food for your pet, incorporate a variation of food toppers such as premium canned, dehydrated/freeze dried, raw or home cooked foods to provide the additional moisture needed to maintain their best health.
3. Keep meal time interesting by rotating proteins and vegetables!
Often dog’s become bored with their food, making meal time undesirable. Keep your pet interested in feeding time by rotating proteins and vegetables; always doing a slow transition to new foods initially. Additionally, incorporating a good probiotic for optimum nutrient absorption ensures a well-balanced digestive tract.
4. Do not over vaccinate, be your dog’s own advocate!
Depending on your dog’s social activity, many vaccinations are not necessary beyond the age of two. If your dog is not frequenting the dog park or being boarded on a regular basis and tends to be a “home body,” following their full-course of vaccinations, ensure you are speaking to your dog’s health care provider about the “necessity” of each vaccine that is “recommended." Of course, by law, your pet must receive their Rabies every three years but there is always the option of tittering to see if your dog’s blood still contains the antibodies for defense. Over vaccinating every year increases your dog’s chances of developing an autoimmune disease.
5. Keep your dog’s teeth clean!
Severe plaque build-up, if left untreated, will destroy your dog’s teeth. The accumulation of harmful bacteria in your dog’s mouth can also impact your dog’s vital organs. A common myth that suggests dogs only require dry food to keep their teeth healthy is untrue. In fact, a diet rich in carbohydrates is more harmful to your dog’s oral heath when compared to a diet that contains wholesome proteins. The starchy carbohydrates coat your dog’s teeth, promoting the build-up of plaque. If your pet does not enjoy chewing on a bone or toy, wipe their teeth regularly with a dry washcloth, a gauze pad or a toothbrush. For dogs that already have severe plaque, a visit to your vet should be scheduled for an oral exam and professional cleaning.
Should you like additional information on keeping your dog healthy or overcoming minor health issues through holistic food nutrition, stop by our grooming and holistic health food center for dogs at:
333 Silverside Avenue
Little Silver, NJ