What to feed your dog and how to read labels is a question on every dog parents mind from puppyhood through their golden years. In the past 8 years we’ve witness remarkable transformations in the pet food industry expanding the choices from the household names like Purina and Beneful for kibble and Cesars to home-cooked style meal-prepped subscription services. We saw a rise and fall of Raw food , we’re in what seems to be a total normalizing of the grain-free diet and now we’re witnessing a rise in hip and joint as well as other pet food supplements for household pets.
Regardless of if youre dog is on prescription diet or you home cook for your pet, here are 5 easy ways to enhance your pups overall nutrition. Obviously, please do your own homework and consult a veterinarian or pet nutritionist for further guidance.
# 1 Yogurt
Giving your dog plain organic yogurt on a daily basis can be a fantastic way to help your dog with their gut health. Why does gut health matter? Your dog has a very elaborate GI system that needs help from additional outside sources such as a yogurt (a natural probiotic) which helps your dog digest and extract nutrients from its food more efficiently. Giving your dog yogurt on a regular basis can help your pup repopulate its natural gut flora.
Adding a raspberry or blueberry (which is a pre-biotic) can also help the probiotic colony sustain itself as pre-biotics feed the probiotics. You can freeze the ingredients in an ice tray or a kong if you’re worried about running to the grocery store too frequently/you don’t eat these ingredients and you don’t like to waste food.
#2 Single Ingredient Dog Treats
While the bully stick and dried pig ears haven’t exactly be touted as such, these two chews really are kind of the mainstreet “OG” single ingredient dog chew easily found in every American pet store counter or bin. The process of dehydration for preservation is becoming more popular in the pet space making room for lamb and beef lung treats. At the farmers markets, you can find dried chicken feet and jerkies. Trader Joes has dehydated chicken thighs, salmon skin treats.
There are now several companies that market single ingredient treats and chews and even have them in a subscription box form. Each of the treats and chews has a list of benefits each provides which can help you see the benefits of your pet receiving these valuable nutrients from all natural sources.
#3 Spring or Filtered Water or Natural Alkaline Water for Your Pet
There are many additives to our natural water supply which are added and can vary from state to state. If your dogs hydration matters to you, consider getting your pet a water filter thats built in or a table-top water container. Water with a PH below 7 is considered acidic and above 7 is considered alkaline. Akaline water has many ingredients such as potassium and magnesium which as essential for bone density and heart health, nerves and muscles. Naturally alkaline water becomes such from running through streams which collect these various minerals in their natural state.
#4 Whole Seasonal Fruits and Veggies
Eating seasonally and locally can help your pets overall digestion and vitality when you buy locally from the farmers market, CSA or your own garden. Locally grown seasonal whole foods ensure freshness which is essential for the body extracting nutrients from the food. While I won’t make the deep dive and go into the dog dosas and TCM there’s a lot to be said about giving your dog local apples, pumpkins, carrots and potatoes.
#5 Organ Meat & Seafood
Not so popular in terms of household staples for the average American pet family is using organ meat in home cooked meals. Though it is a common ingredient in many commercial dog food brands, many pet-home dog parents miss this key ingredient for their pet’s protein and innocuously stick to breast, thigh meats or ground meats. Organs and innards have many benefits to your pets overall health as they are rich in minerals not found in other body parts. Farmers market, the butcher and even mainstream grocery stores such as Safeway may have these available for purchase. Canned seafood without salt can also be found in your local trader joes and many times these sources of fish can be packed with lots of omega 3s which are essential for your dogs heart health.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/dFgtAO0qBVk
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