From nicely packaged bags of dog food to bones from the butcher, there’s no shortage of options to feed your furry friend, but what’s best for them?
While you may find differing advice about what is most nutritious for your pooch, Marie Jones, canine nutritionist and founder of Billy + Margot, shares a few nuggets of wisdom so your dog can be on it’s health A-game.
The one thing you shouldn’t be feeding your dog
Instead of what you should be feeding your dog, Marie says it’s often more about what you SHOULD NOT be feeding them.
“Grains are a huge problem,’ she tells. “A dog’s digestive system is not designed to easily digest the complex carbohydrates found in grains.”
While she explains that the occasional treat containing grains is well tolerated by most dogs (unless they have an intolerance or allergy), daily consumption of large quantities can cause all sorts of health issues such as bad breath, skin and ear conditions, flatulence, larger and smellier stools, and coat shedding to name a few.
“A grain-free diet is best to help dogs thrive,” she states.
So, what’s the best diet?
Marie says that you simply have to consider what makes up a healthy diet for humans: it’s all about balance.
“It’s important to provide a balanced diet that contains all nutrients dogs need in the correct percentages: 70 per cent protein from animal sources (meat or fish), 30 per cent carbohydrates (from vegetables and fruits) and fats,” she details. “The food will also need to contain the correct levels of vitamins and minerals.”
Marie adds that the food within this balanced diet should be high quality and suit the palate of the dog.
“If a dog is fussy, pet parents may opt for wet or fresh food, which is more palatable, or for practical reasons, many pet parents prefer the convenience of dry food,” she says. “While others, for personal reasons, prefer to feed a raw diet, but there’s no reason why people can’t mix and match or even alter what they feed.”
One last point Marie makes is to try and change up the protein you feed your dog in order to help prevent intolerances.
“As long as the dog is not intolerant or allergic to a protein (beef, for example), pet parents should try to rotate the protein every two or three months,” she advises. “Also, every pet parent should make a conscious effort to read and understand their dog’s food labels.”