It certainly isn’t uncommon for a dog’s diet to consist of the same food every day, but could you imagine feeding your family the same fast food combo meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 7 days a week? Well, truthfully, it isn’t much different. A dog diet that includes a wide variety of ingredients and textures is just as important for ensuring adequate nutrition and a long and healthy life. If your dog has been eating the same kibble for quite a while, it might be time to start switching things up. Here’s a detailed look at why a dog diet with plenty of variety is the best thing for your pup’s health, and how you can find a variety of healthy dog food sources in Powell River.
What Happens When Your Dog’s Diet is the Same Each Day?
Most dog owners have experienced the unpleasant surprise of a sick dog whose stomach wasn’t prepared for a change in food— but this is actually a symptom of poor gut health from eating the same thing over and over. Just like if we ate nothing but McDonald’s fries every day, we’d probably feel a bit wonky after eating a hearty steak dinner with a side salad. And, similarly to a lot of junk food, many basic supermarket kibble brands are loaded with fillers and empty calories, often sourced from corn. Corn doesn’t offer much for dogs in terms of nutrition, and it’s got a significant amount of sugar (after all, it’s where we get high fructose corn syrup from), so a ton of starchy corn isn’t exactly the hallmark of a healthy dog diet.
Extra empty calories lead to weight gain, and when your pup is carrying around extra pounds, it can cause joint pain, poor heart health and circulation, and a host of other health problems. By switching things up and opting for dog food recipes with wholesome ingredients, high protein and little-to-no grains, you can help prevent so many canine illnesses, and will likely end up saving yourself a few expensive trips to the vet.
The Benefits of a Dog Diet with Lots of Variety
It’s no surprise that just like with our own diets, a dog diet with a wide variety of different ingredients means a diverse assortment of vitamins, amino acids and nutrients for dogs, to support their proper function and development. But when we examine the stats a little more closely, there are many specific benefits and improvements you’ll see after switching up your dog’s diet, including:
- Less likelihood of developing allergies. Surprisingly, a dog diet comprised of the same few ingredients can actually make your dog more susceptible to developing an allergy or intolerance to those ingredients. By mixing it up and integrating new foods, your dog’s digestive system will be much better off.
- More water intake. Instead of sticking with plain dry kibble, rotating between dry food, wet food, and fresh, unseasoned meat can help your dog stay better hydrated, which is particularly important during these hot Powell River summers. Proper hydration reduces the risk of kidney disease and other digestive issues, so it’s super important to ensure your dog diet of choice includes some good sources of water.
- Improved gut health and balanced intestinal flora. Like we mentioned before, when a dog gets sick from eating a new food, that’s a sign that their digestive system isn’t very healthy and is overly sensitive. To strengthen their gut health and promote the development of healthy digestive bacteria, slowly integrating new foods over time will help them to build up their immunity.
- An enthusiastic eater. We’re all well acquainted with the “puppy dog eyes” we’re met with whenever we sit down for mealtime. Imagine if our dogs were that excited about all of their own meals! Well, with a healthy, varied dog diet, you’ll see that same enthusiasm each time you fill their bowl.
Safely Transitioning to a More Varied Dog Diet
Since a simple dog diet with one basic food staple can lead to a sensitive stomach, it’s important to take a little extra care in introducing new foods. Here are some tips for making sure the transition goes smoothly, and your dog is getting the nutrition they need:
- At first, introduce a little bit of new food at a time. Accompany their current food with a little bit more of the new food each day, gradually replacing the old food. Keep introducing other options like wet foods, unseasoned meat (raw or cooked), and even greens like broccoli or spinach.
- Make sure you aren’t feeding your dog anything toxic to them. Lots of foods that are safe for us to eat, like citrus fruits or grapes, are pretty harmful to dogs. Always do a quick google search before introducing a new food, just to make sure whatever you’re planning on feeding them is safe.
- Opt for wholesome kibble brands with high protein and low grain content. We carry plenty of healthy and affordable options for pet food here at our location in Powell River. One of our favourite lines is Nurtrience, a Canadian brand with three fantastic formulas: Canadian Pacific, Fraser Valley, and Prairie Red, all containing different blends of fish and dehydrated meats like chicken, turkey, bison, boar, and beef. If your dog is a picky eater who loves dry food, you can cycle through all three of these flavours to keep things varied and ensure they’re getting loads of protein, plus a wide assortment of amino and fatty acids.
- Try experimenting with some raw dog food recipes. While buying fresh meat for your dog daily could prove to be pretty expensive, there’s no harm in treating your pal to a fresh meal once in a while. A raw diet for dogs can have incredible results on all aspects of their health— even the shininess of their coat, and the freshness of their breath! If you have a bit of extra ground pork or chicken, or even some carrots and beans, you can make something healthy and tasty to add into your dog’s diet.
- Practice safe hygiene when handling and feeding your dog raw meat. Raw meats can carry some pathogens that are harmless to dogs, but not so harmless to us, so it’s important to disinfect any surfaces that come into contact with the meat.
Variety keeps life exciting, and a happy, healthy dog is worth a little extra maintenance. Not only can a varied, high-protein diet potentially add years onto your pup’s life, but it could end up saving you some costly trips to the vet, so it’s a pretty sound investment all around. If you’d like to get started on integrating new foods into your dog’s diet, talk to one of our pet experts at Mother Nature and we’ll set you up with some quality food that’s sure to please the pooch.