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Simple tips to find the right food for your dog

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 23-10-2021 Lifestyle Desk
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As a pet parent, one of the biggest responsibilities is to keep your pet healthy and strong. And the first step to it is a nutritious diet. "Healthy and fresh food will keep the dog’s hair coat shiny, strengthen their immune system, and keep them active and overall healthy," said Dr Shantanu Kalambi - Chief Veterinarian, Supertails.

But when it comes to choosing dog food, there are many options out there, making it tricky to choose the right one. "Before making the choice, consider a few factors like your dog’s age, breed, and size, and choose what suits your dog the best. And if you still aren’t sure, always consult with a vet to know your dog’s nutritional needs better," he suggested.

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Here are a few steps you can follow to make the right choice for yourself:

Get to know your dog better:

Consider your pet's breed, age, exercise level, and allergies, if any are known, while choosing their food. Most commercial manufacturers offer food for dogs of all ages and breeds. If you have a young dog, you can select puppy food from the options available for your dog's breed. "Puppies and younger dogs have a higher calorie requirement than adult dogs, so do lactating dogs as compared to non-breastfeeding mothers. It is advised to regularly consult with a vet and adjust the meal quantity and quality for continuous growth," he shared.

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Find the nutritional balance:

There are many schools of thought when it comes to feeding a pet. Briefly, here are a few of them:

*Home-cooked meal: A large community of parents prefer feeding their dogs freshly cooked meals. While it makes up for a natural, preservative-free meal, there are some things we should keep in mind while preparing food for dogs at home. The food we cook at home for humans is not always good for dogs, common spices that we use in our food could make your dog sick, like salt, sugar, chilli powder. . If planned and prepared appropriately, home-cooked food can give your dog good quality nutrients, so consult with your vet about the best practices while choosing this diet

Commercial diet: In general, packaged food options are ready to serve for your pet. One can find a range of wet food, dry food, treats, and chews that make life very easy for a pet parent. They work well because they have a lot of nutrients in a single packet. While you choose, however, try to find an option that is not too high on preservatives. And when you do, try to balance it out with some portion of home-cooked food.

B.A.R.F diets: BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food, a high-protein diet that includes meats, bones, and uncooked vegetables as it helps in making the muscles stronger. We advise giving a raw diet only under special conditions and under professional supervision. Since the diet is low on carbohydrates and fats, dogs on BARF diets can become deficient in micronutrients. Moreover, raw meat has very high chances of giving your dog a stomach infection, especially in India, where tropical temperatures aid bacteria growth. We advise pet parents to provide for the meat requirements of their pet with cooked meat, which is easy to digest.

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Read food labels carefully:

"One of the simplest ways of finding what works for your pet is to begin reading food labels more carefully. It is advisable to opt for brands that use high-quality ingredients and are low on added chemicals and preservatives. Even if your family is vegetarian, your dog requires a diet that includes meat-based protein, so when you select packaged food, look for meat products," he said.

It is essential as a pet parent to make sure your little buddy is healthy and enjoys the food every day with a good nutritional intake. A dog is happy when their food is wholesome and nutritious.

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