Food is crucial in maintaining health – both in human and animal, including your dog. Consuming the right food in the right amount can help prevent your dog to fall sick. A dog who consumes sufficient nutrients will be healthy both in its outside appearance and inside. A right diet can keep him from seeing his veterinarian due to unfortunate sickness. That sounds the best, right? But what can be called the right diet for a dog? Is it the same as human’s diet?
In a way, it is almost the same. Dog also needs balanced diet containing carbs, protein, fat and oil, as well as mineral and vitamin. The difference lies in the source of those nutrients. Since your dog is carnivore, you can’t expect him to fulfill his daily vitamin from fruits – at least not without introducing and maintaining a habit first. So, where can he get those from? You don’t have to go far! In this article, you’ll find information about balanced diet in a dog and how to prepare such diet for your beloved companion.
What is Balanced Diet
Balanced diet gives the body all the nutrients it needs to function properly. Dog needs carbs, protein, fat and oil, also minerals and vitamin. Balanced diet can give your dogs all of those. Often, dog owner thinks that a chunk of bone and meat is all he needs to keep a dog healthy. However, bone and meat only provides some nutrients – mainly protein and fat. Without any combination with other food with different nutrients, the dog’s diet will not be balanced. It will keep the dog full, surely, but it won’t provide him with what his body needs.
Keep in mind that not every single meal of your dog has to be nutritionally balanced, as long as you feed him a wide variety of food. For example, you can feed your dog heavy with protein in the morning and then give him more carbs and fat in the afternoon. The key here is to give him wide variety of foods containing nutrients he needs we mentioned above. Dog’s body works like human. You don’t need to eat complete nutrients during every meal, but you make it up by consuming wide variety of food – maybe you eat egg and bacon for protein in the morning, then fried rice for carbs during the day, and finally salad for dinner for the fiber and vitamins.
Ingredients for balanced diet
Dog is naturally a carnivore, so meat will make up at least half a portion of his diet. Meat contains protein, fat, and in smaller degree some minerals and vitamin as well. Dog eats all type of meat – from beef to pork to poultry. Generally, it is better to feed him darker meat rather than white meat. However, too much dark meat is not advisable at all since it contains a lot of fat. Too much fat from meat can cause obesity in dog – which then will lead to a number of complications such as heart problem and lethargy. Give your dog lean meat as often as possible.
Raw Meaty Bones
Bones are another source of protein and calcium for dog. Also, they love the hard texture since they can gnaw on it with their teeth. Of course, don’t feed him only the bone. Choose meaty bone which still has chunks of meat on it. Remember to always give your dog his bone raw.
Other nutrient sources: fishes, eggs, organs
Fishes, eggs, and organs have the nutrients a dog needs outside the meat. However, they don’t need a large amount of them. The advisable amount for these foods is up to 5% of a portion of your dog’s meal. You can mix these food with his meat if he refuses to eat them on their own.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables give your dog helpful digestive nutrients and vitamins. Fruits and whole raw vegetables make cheap and fulfilling snacks for dog. They don’t need a large amount of these, however. If your dog doesn’t like it as snack, you can puree the fruits and vegetables and mix a small amount of it with your dog’s food.
If you think there is a missing source of nutrients in your dog’s diet that you can’t easily get the ingredients, you can add supplements and vitamins in your dog’s diet. The most commonly needed supplements and vitamins for dog is calcium. Usually dog’s diet lacks in calcium, unless you give him raw bone. The next most common is oil, especially fish oil which contains essential fatty acid of omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid.
Vitamin A and D can also be found in fish oil. Other vitamin that you may want to add into the balanced diet is vitamin E – since usually the homemade diet lacks the source of it. Just like with any other vitamin, be careful not to overdose your dog with it. Too much vitamin in the body can be toxic instead of useful.
This includes potato and sweet potato. They can be excellent carbs source for your dog, and cheap alternatives compared to premium food. You should cook these vegetables before giving them to your dog so he’ll be able to digest it.
Homemade or Premium Food?
Homemade dog food and premium food has their own advantages. Premium food for dog usually already has all the nutrients needed packed. All you need to do is to buy the box, pour the contents on the bowl, and let your dog enjoy it. Premium food, however, can be quite costly and the cheaper counterparts don’t have the same amount of nutrients your dog needs.
Homemade food needs to be prepared. It takes time and effort, although it is significantly cheaper. You’ll want to carefully note all the food you give to your dog to see whether you’ve already given him all the nutrients he need or not.
Again, the key emphasis here is to give your dog a wide variety of food, unless he is eating premium food already. Balanced diet keeps your dog healthy and therefore, happy – and isn’t it the most important thing of all?