Dog Nutrition Tips for Maintaining Canine Health

Nutrition is an important aspect of canine health. Improper nutrition can negatively affect your dog's health. Feeding your dog a healthy diet can help maintain his health and shorten recovery time should he get a mild illness. There are several ways to maximize the nutrition in your dog's diet including choosing the most nutritious foods, choosing foods that mimic what dogs eat in nature, providing the proper hydration, and feeding a varied diet.

What Dogs Need to Eat

The best diet for canine health is pretty simple. The only ingredients dogs absolutely need are basically lean meats, raw bones and a little bit of vegetables. Although some supplements can help with certain health problems, if a food has more than one or two added supplements, the basic nutrition is probably not good enough to begin with.

Maximizing Each Calorie

Dogs can get obese if they have too many calories so you want to make each calorie count. This means choosing a food where each ingredient offers necessary nutrition. Some dog food formulas contain fillers such as corn or soy or contain other grains that dogs don't really need. Raw food is the best for dogs because each calorie contains nutrition your dog really needs. It avoids ingredients such as grains and sweetners that will just pack on the pounds. Even many preservatives have empty calories so it's best to choose a food that has a shorter shelf life and few preservatives listed if any at all.

Avoiding Fillers and Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Many ingredients in low quality dog food are at best unnecessary and at worst toxic or even deadly. Dogs don't do well with gluten, liver, corn, soy or other ingredients that have basically unrecognizable names like propylene glycol. Some preservatives are toxic when eaten in large amounts. Dogs often get into their food and will eat the whole bag. This is never good for them but with non-toxic ingredients, at least your biggest concern will be a tummy ache and vomiting or diarrhea.

What Dogs Eat in Nature

Since the canine digestive system hasn't changed much with evolution, the best diet for dogs is very similar to what they would eat in nature. Dogs in nature get a lot of lean protein and a lot of liquid in their food because they basically eat animals they have hunted. A raw food diet that is formulated specifically for a dog's body is the closest you can get to what a dog would eat in the wild. Dogs digest water through the stomach so food that is infused with moisture is the best for them.

Providing a Varied Diet

Feeding a dog a wide range of healthy ingredients helps prevent allergies. A hard food is good for the teeth so it's good to include some high quality, natural kibble or hard treats in the diet. The ingredients in canned and raw food are closest to their natural whole form so a diet that includes these types of food is good for your dog's overall health.