Healthiest ingredients for your dog food
When shopping for dog food, it can be easy to spot things you know aren’t good for your fur-babies. Corn, added sugars, and scientific sounding gibberish are easy things to avoid.
But that leaves the question, ‘What should go in my dog’s food?’. Some ingredients might be obvious, like real beef, chicken, and lamb, but what about things like sweet potato, blueberries and squash?
You should always consult a professional if you think your dog has specific dietary needs, but learning how to spot healthy ingredients is an easy way to make sure that your pup stays in tip top shape.
Just What Do Dogs Eat?
When thinking about what is best for your dog, you should consider what dogs are meant to eat. Most canines are what scientists call ‘facultative carnivores’. What this means is that while dogs derive most of their nutrition from meat, they also eat plant materials when available.
When looking at dog food, the non-meat ingredients are just as, if not more so, important to your dog’s health as the meat ingredients.
Whether you’re buying food already made or preparing it yourself, sweet potatoes are an excellent way to ensure your dog is getting a number of important vitamins and minerals. Also known as yams in parts of North America, sweet potatoes are naturally rich in beta carotene, Vitamin C, and potassium.
In addition to vitamins, sweet potatoes are also a great source of natural fibre. Fibre is an important component of a dog’s diet because it helps to regulate their digestive system and prevent upset stomachs. Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber and low in sugar, which is an important consideration for dogs with diabetes.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil has been used as a food additive for over a thousand years. The health benefits of cod liver oil have been well established by scientists, and the good news is that it’s just as good for your dog as it is for you. There’s also a good chance that the pungent, fishy aroma and flavor is something that your dog will love to eat.
Cod liver oil is naturally high in Vitamin A and D, both of which are essential nutrients. Cod liver is also very high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids which have long proven heart health benefits. This special compound can help to manage your dog’s cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
When checking the ingredients on your dog’s food, spinach is something you should be glad to see. Spinach is naturally rich in Vitamins A, K, B2, and B6, all of which are essential for a happy and healthy pooch. Spinach is also high in antioxidants which can help to prevent numerous forms of cancer and disease.
Another notable health benefit is that spinach is rich in Iron. Healthy iron levels maintain positive blood flow, circulation, and energy levels in older animals. Iron is also found in high levels in animal products, but there are times when you may want to limit your dog’s fat intake.
Do you notice your dog being especially gassy and bloated or having loose and oily stools? Temporarily cutting down their meat intake will help fix those problems, but you should supplement their diet with things like spinach to ensure proper digestive health.
Your dog’s diet should primarily consist of meat and certain vegetables, but you also need to make sure that they are getting adequate servings of fruit. Some fruit, like grapes, raisins and tomatoes need to be avoided, but blueberries are a safe and delicious addition to your pet’s diet.
Like spinach, blueberries are rich in antioxidants that help fight off dangerous free radicals. They are also packed full of Vitamin C and healthy dietary fiber. Blueberries are a great ingredient in prepared dog food, and your dog may also enjoy eating them raw.
As they are fruit, blueberries are also high in natural sugars. While your pup may love the taste, the calories in fruit can add up quickly and is something you’ll want to pay attention to.
Do You Know What Your Dog Eats?
Admittedly, you may not want to know EVERYTHING your dog eats while out in the yard, but do you know what’s in the food you make or buy for them? A little diligence at the grocery store can go a long way to maintaining your dog’s health.
That said, an easy way to ensure you’re getting the best dog food ingredients is to research your options ahead of time and buy online, directly from the manufacturer. When you find a company that you trust, you take the hassle out of shopping around because you know that your dog is getting wholesome, healthy ingredients in their food.