Identifying the Right Diet for Your Dog
And the role that food can play in lengthening their life span
Gluten-free? Grain-free? Low GI? Dry or wet? The sheer amount of diets you could feed your dog these days is mind-boggling. What’s a pet owner to do?
According to the 2018 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) annual survey, if you’re confused about what to feed Fido, you’re not alone. Add to the mix numerous pet food recalls and FDA investigations and it’s no wonder diet questions are top of mind of pet parents.
The best way to know what is right for your specific dog is to consult with your vet. Your own vet knows your dog’s history and can run tests if you suspect your pet might have a food sensitivity or allergy.
Here are a few of the popular doggie diets to explore with your veterinary professional.
In the APOP survey, the trendy grain-free diet seems to be losing support. In 2017, 45% of dog owners and 22% of vets believed this was the way to go, but in 2018 the number reduced to 40% of owners and just 13% of vets who also own a dog. While this diet is popular, studies show that the most common allergy in dogs is to beef, followed by dairy.
Low Glycemic Index
Low GI diets are gaining some traction in the pet food world. The APOP study found 27.7% of dog owners and 20.3% of vets who owned dogs reported that low-glycemic foods were healthier for dogs. But 62.5% of dog owners and a whopping 41.4% of veterinary professionals said they didn’t know if low-GI foods were good for dogs.
This type of diet could be appropriate for a dog with diabetes or gastrointestinal issues.
As mentioned, beef is the most common allergy around and chicken is right up there with it. Because protein is essential for your dog, finding an alternative is imperative if your pup has a sensitivity. Some of the top alternative protein sources include; salmon, duck, turkey, bison, and ostrich. Look for grass-fed, free-range sources to ensure that the animal wasn’t exposed to steroids and hormones. Feeding your dog a wide mix of proteins can help keep him from developing an allergy down the road.
According to the APOP study, this tried and true dog food is still the reigning king, with over 78 percent of dog owners saying they fed their pet dry food most or all of the time.
This is a far more popular option for cats than dogs. Only 14% of dog owners said they used canned food most of the time.
While this diet mimics what ancient dogs in the wild used to eat, it isn’t an overly popular choice for modern pet parents. The APOP survey found that nearly three-fourths of dog owners never feed raw or homemade food to their dog. A raw food diet is more than just putting raw food in the dog bowl. For it to be balanced, vets suggest adding things like bone, marrow, and vegetables to the mix.