Tips to improve your dog’s diet
As dog owners, we all want to protect our precious doggos, showering them with utmost affection and love so that they can live their best lives by our side. When it comes to our furry friends, nothing improves their quality of life more than proper sustenance that packs mouth-watering flavour, while being beneficial for their health and coat at the same time.
From learning how to interpret nutritional values to knowing the various types of food to include, check out these seven easy ways to improve your dog’s diet so that feeding time will be something you both can look forward to:
1. Check the ingredient list
This tip is not just for kiasi worrywarts. After all, you’re spending money on dog food and giving it to your precious pets, so take a moment to read the ingredient list. Don’t fall for the trap of buying foods with the biggest and flashiest labels and buzzwords to trick unsuspecting dog owners.
Product labels always list ingredients by weight, in descending order. Amongst the hodgepodge of ingredients, make sure to avoid dog food that lists a carbohydrate as the first ingredient. This is because protein and necessary fat for your doggo is best sourced from meat, so getting a carbohydrate-dominated food is essentially feeding your dog subpar grub.
Other ingredients to avoid as much as possible include vaguely-named meat terms like “meat meal”, as well as artificial preservatives and colouring listed as jargon like BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and artificial colouring Blue 2, Red 40, Yellows 5 and 6 and so on.
2. Get dog food with anti-inflammatory properties
To ensure your pup is in tip-top condition, source for food with anti-inflammatory properties to help them combat inflammation and improve their health. Benefits include reducing arthritic pain, swelling and stiffness, as well as increasing joint mobility and digestive aid so they can stay active and not be bogged down by ailments as years go by.
You should source for dog food that includes certain superfoods with anti-inflammatory properties. For example, The Grateful Pet – the only pet superfood company in Asia Pacific, uses ingredients like New Zealand green lipped mussel, Reishi Mushroom a.k.a. lingzhi, and dandelion root extract, which help with joint care, immune system support, as well as liver and kidney support.
3. Learn how to interpret nutritional values
To truly ensure your doggo will tuck into a hearty and healthy bowl of food, it’s not enough to just take the crude protein, fibre, and fat value on the label as-is. These values are known as “as-fed” values, which is mostly made up of moisture in the food, leading to an inaccurate representation of the actual amount of nutrients present.
Instead, you should check for “dry matter”, which is the actual value of a nutrient assuming moisture is removed. Here’s the rundown of the formula:
Look at the moisture content (e.g. 77.5%), then take 100% minus this value to get the percentage of dry matter (22.5%). Then, divide the “as-fed” protein value (e.g. 12.1%) by the amount of dry matter (22.5%) and multiply it by 100.
(12.1/22.5) x 100 = 53.8%, which gives you the actual value of the “dry matter” nutrient, resulting in a more accurate representation of the nutritional value in the food.
4. Include fresh food in their diet
Another top tip is choose to include fresh food that’s either raw or gently-cooked. Gently-cooked food is essentially a fresh meal prepared at controlled temperatures, for a convenient yet nutritious way to boost your pooches’ health.
Jumping to the science behind it – a dog’s digestive tract is pretty short, so it’s more biologically suitable for them to eat fresh food that’s easier to digest. Gently-cooked as well as raw food achieves just that, helping with better nutrient absorption, as well as regular bowel movements and firmer stools.
Gently-cooked Free-range Lamb from The Grateful Pet
You can get ready-to-feed frozen packages of raw or gently-cooked dog food from The Grateful Pet, which offers a spate of flavours suiting various dietary needs and taste preferences, whether it’s Salmon & Sardine or Free-range Lamb.
Gently-cooked meals are prepared at temperatures less than 80°C so as to retain more nutrients from the ingredients, as compared to going through the trouble of boiling meat yourself just to subject it to high temperatures.
5. Avoid over-feeding & limit treats
To allow your dogs to freely enjoy their food without worrying about them gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, you should portion the food according to their needs.
For instance, if you would like your pooch to lose weight – without starving them, of course – try feeding them earlier in the day and bringing them for walks an hour later to work the food off, which helps avoid issues like indigestion and bloating. On the flip side, feed them more regularly and closer to bedtime if they’re on the skinny side and could stand to gain a few pounds.
As for treats, you should limit them, along with other supplements, to less than 10% of your dog’s total daily calorie count.
For convenience and nutritional accuracy, The Grateful Pet has pre-packed pouches of frozen food that take into account the daily calorie requirements for your dog, depending on their weight. All you need to do is feed your dogs the stipulated amount of pouches for a healthy and personalised meal based on their needs.
6. Introduce organ meats to their diet
Image credit: Better Humans
For a boost of nutrition during mealtimes, ensure your pup has muscle meat like beef as well as organ meat like heart, liver, and kidneys included in their diet. This is because these entrails are packed with rich nutrients like vitamins and minerals, in addition to being a source of high-quality protein and fat.
For a convenient and easy way to incorporate organ meat, consider replenishing your dog’s food with The Grateful Pet’s slew of dog food flavours, that are rich in lean animal protein because they are made with no less than 70% fresh muscle and organ meats.
This saves you the trouble of sussing out exactly how much to include, especially if you’re prone to getting queasy when having to get down and dirty with squishy organ meats.
7. Make sure your dogs are hydrated before feeding
Image credit: Pixy.org
An often neglected aspect of your pupper’s diet is water, which as you may already know, is essential for basic body functions and good health. Some dogs may not eat their food because they are dehydrated and thirsty, which hinders their urinary and digestive function – causing them to be unable to properly eliminate waste matter.
Animals typically only drink water when thirsty, but to ensure they are taking in a healthy amount of liquid, the rule of thumb is providing them with 50-60ml of water for every kilogram they weigh.
More ways to keep them sufficiently hydrated include using an auto-replenishing water bowl, adding water or bone broth to dry kibble at a 1:2 ratio, as well as giving them fruits and vegetables as snacks.
Tips to improve your dog’s diet
Having a proper and balanced diet for your doggo is the best way to dodge long-term health issues and susceptibility to diseases, as well as improve their standard of living and overall happiness, with less discomfort and trips to the vet.
From including gently-cooked food to avoiding over-feeding, nailing the easy tips above trumps following any fancy diet trends and short-lived crazes not backed by science and results.
If you’re looking for a brand of dog food that will fit the bill of improving your dog’s diet, The Grateful Pet offers a plethora of flavours of ready-to-feed food. You can choose from eight gently-cooked recipes (from $38/box) ranging from Grass-fed Beef to Wild Kangaroo, as well as seven raw recipes (from $39/box) including Crate-free Pork and Grass-fed Venison.
Each box contains eight pouches of pre-packed food, each weighing 250g. Aside from being rich in lean animal protein with muscle and organ meats aplenty, The Grateful Pet doesn’t scrimp on nutritious superfoods, like New Zealand green lipped mussel and prebiotic elkhorn seaweed, so you know your pet will be getting hefty nutrient boosts.
All recipes are also balanced and complete according to The Association of American Feed Controls Office (AAFCO) standards.
Both gently-cooked and raw recipes are hygienically prepared in a temperature-controlled environment according to strict safety standards, especially so that the latter can be tested against pathogens like E. coli and salmonella, while preserving the nutritional integrity of the ingredients.
Besides being able to replenish your dog’s food anytime you want, The Grateful Pet also offers a food subscription service that is just a click away, and you can customise the desired number of boxes to be delivered every two or four weeks.
The best part – you will also be doing good, because a portion of proceeds from every sale will be channeled to animal shelter, Causes for Animals, to help with rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
Image credit: Megan Khoe
As a dog owner myself, I let my two picky pups try The Grateful Pet’s Gently-Cooked Free-Range Lamb and Raw Grass-Fed Beef, and found them scarfing down their dinners way quicker than with their usual diet of kibble with cooked chicken. Heck, they even looked at me with those irresistible puppy eyes afterwards, as if requesting for seconds.
Your doggo should ready their stomachs to chow down on flavour-packed nutritious goodness, because TSL readers get to shave 10% off their first order with the code <TSLPUPS> from now till 30th June 2021.
With these tips, The Grateful Pet’s string of dog food flavours available and the exclusive discount to boot, don’t wait any longer to improve your dog’s diet and lifestyle.
This post was brought to you by The Grateful Pet.
Photography by Ian Sim.