Finding affordable healthy dog food for your pet can be difficult, mainly because the supermarkets stock so many brands, and they all say they’re well balanced and healthy, but are they really? Like humans, dogs benefit from a balanced diet, but there are also other factors which contribute to what is a healthy diet for your dog, so let’s take a look at those now.
What is in Healthy Dog Food?
First things first, dogs need protein, look at their teeth, they’re designed for tearing meat apart. There ten essential amino acids in protein that dogs need. They are amino acids their bodies can’t make on their own, so they have to gain these building blocks from their food. Protein also contributes to the carbon chains needed for glucose which is a dog’s energy source. Dog’s will selectively choose foods themselves which are high in protein.
Fats are also necessary for dogs as they provide the energy, particularly animal fats and those derived from plants. Fat also tends to enhance the taste and texture of dog food, so dogs enjoy it too. Essential fatty acids are also needed to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
Carbohydrates are also essential for dogs as they are the main energy contributor. Carbohydrates from cereals, legumes and plants are often included in dog food to provide this source of carbohydrate. Fiber derived from carbohydrate rich foods is also essential to digestion and regulation of blood glucose levels. However, non-fermentable fibers such as wheat bran and cellulose contain little energy and contribute very little to your dog’s diet.
A healthy diet for a dog can contain up to 50% carbohydrate, 5% fat and 10% protein. However higher protein levels are preferable as proteins are essential to a healthy dog, building strong bones and muscles, and contributing to immune health and physical health. A dog given a protein rich good quality dog food will have higher energy levels and also be more satisfied following a meal for longer, therefore eat less food overall, thereby maintaining a healthy weight.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are certain ingredients you should consider avoiding if your dog is suffering from poor health, and these are the five main allergens that affect dogs, which are chicken, soy, potatoes, wheat gluten and corn. The grains, corn and wheat gluten in particular can play havoc with dog’s immune systems and contribute to overall poor health. If your dog has an intolerance toward grains then switching to a grain free dog food could solve many of their health issues.
There are several mineral additives in foods which can greatly aid your dogs health. These include calcium for formation of bones and teeth and blood coagulation. Phosphorus for DNA structure and energy metabolism. Magnesium for enzyme function and hormone function, Sodium for nerve impulse generation, Potassium for transport functions, Chlorine for transfer of extracellular fluids across cell membranes. Iron for synthesis of blood components, and copper for connective tissue formation and blood cell formation.