New Year’s Resolutions to Feed Your Dog Better
New Year’s is a time that most people review the past year and resolve to make improvements for the coming year. With that in mind, I offer 5 resolutions that will help a dog parent ensure that their dog is fed the proper amount of food and fed healthier, more species appropriate food.
Resolve to know the caloric content of the foods and treats that my dog gets
For reference, the average dry dog food contains about 400 calories per cup, and the average canned dog food contains about 260 calories per cup. However, any specific dog food can contain a lot more (or a lot less) calories than the average food so it is important to know the exact calorie amounts of your dog’s food so that you can gauge feeding amounts.
Resolve to measure your dog’s food portions.
Knowing the calorie amounts of your dog’s food is a great start, but it will do your dog no good if you don’t use the information to measure out their food portions. Use a measuring cup or a SmartFeeder to ensure that your dog is getting the proper portions for their age and activity level.
Resolve to read the full ingredient list
It is easy to focus on the large print and the marketing language that is present on the dog food packaging and advertisements. However, a diligent pet parent will read the food labels carefully and focus on the ingredient list to make sure that the food they are buying is high quality and contains no cheap fillers and is free of artificial ingredients.
Resolve to know the carbohydrate content of the dog’s food
Dogs require diets that are based on animal or fish meat and that are relatively high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Unfortunately, most dog food labels only report “guaranteed analysis”, which makes it harder to determine the actual macronutrient profile of a food. Use a “dry matter” calculation to figure out if your dog’s food contains enough protein and fat, and thus, an acceptable amount of carbohydrates.
Resolve to treat wisely
Most dog parents give their dogs treats throughout the day either as training rewards or as between meal snacks. However, many treats contain subpar ingredients including added sugars and are not very nutritious. Like with food, it is smart to read the ingredient list on the treat label to make sure that the treats are free of artificial ingredients and added sugars. If you can’t find a treat Brand that makes healthy snacks (there are many!), then use kibble instead.
Happy New Year!