Keep Your Dog Guessing – Why It's a Good Idea to Have a Variety of Food Options for Your Dog Variety is the spice of life

BY | May 05 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Keep Your Dog Guessing – Why It's a Good Idea to Have a Variety of Food Options for Your Dog Chendongshan / Shutterstock.com

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Stella & Chewy's Perfectly Puppy Freeze Dried Raw Beef and Salmon Dinner Patties Grain Free Dog Food

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It’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or even snack time), and are you reaching for the wet dog food or the dry dog food? Or the chicken, duck, beef jerky, salmon, or natural biscuit snack? Are you trying the new vegetarian, vegan, or raw meat diets? Keep your dog guessing. Can it be healthy or unhealthy to rotate a dog’s food?

You take your dog for daily walks, expend their energy with indoor exercises, make routine playtime just the two of you, or give them socialization time with other dogs or with kids. As an awesome dog owner, you have researched to find the best commercial dog food brand, to choose a home-cooked, authentic vegetarian, vegan, or raw meat diet, which also has its pros and cons.  Your research is very important to choose which food your dog should indulge. 

Dogs’ need for activity and use for humans necessitates a high-protein food diet that fuels the dog’s body, mind, and high energy needs. High-protein meats like beef, lamb, pork, rabbit, and chicken are often seen as a dog’s protein, but as we will learn, a combination of plants can become a whole protein.  Food can be a great source of comfort for both pets and their human parents. Order pet food online to avoid going out. Also, it’s a good idea to order many smaller packs of different pet food products. Buy pet food toppers and a combination of canned as well as dry food. This will keep things interesting for your pet.

Varieties of Dog Diets: Choose the Right Formula

Commercial Dog Food

Puppies, adults, and seniors will require different commercial dog foods. There are age-specific formulas, grain-free brands, limited ingredient brands, allergen-free brands, and cheap brands. Different brands can feed specific dog groups, such as animal nutritionist Paul Iams’s Eukanuba especially for the sporting and working dog groups, or Blue Buffalo and Royal Canin’s small/petite brand, especially for small breed dogs.  A household dog might have the genetic disposition that will develop into common allergies to corn, soy, dairy, wheat, egg, fish, or chicken, so the owner must find the right allergen-free formula. There are so many household pet commercial food brands out there and they speak about their quality diets and high-quality formulas. 

Vegan Diet

Meat-free vegan diet with a proper, regulated diet with a few added supplements of missed vitamins (for a home-cooked meal). A dog can have a long, happy, and active lifestyle through veganism and its diet. It doesn’t mean that all a vegan dog needs to avoid meat in his diet. A vegan dog needs ample nutrition and necessary missed vitamins for a completely plant-based diet with grains. However, a dog owner must be informed by their local vet that nutrition or vitamins are their dogs missing by switching from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet, especially if their pup has pre-existing conditions or illnesses. A myth-buster may be that dogs require meat to have protein, except that plant-based protein sources are lentils, oats, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. A vegan diet can also benefit a dog’s range of life and give it better weight, better breath, and healthy skin and coats. 

Vegetarian Diet

Vegan and vegetarian diets can look very similar such that no ingested meat will occur, but they have important differences, such as animal products such as eggs and milk in their diet. Some dogs may add fish (i.e. pescatarian) to their vegetarian diet. Even though a vegetarian diet will also be plant-based, a meal could add egg, cheese, and a multivitamin with their plant meal. Know that a combination of plants can create a full protein, even in vegan diets.

Raw Meat Diet

This diet can mirror dogs’ ancestral diets that lived on raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps, but with an evolutionary diet, can our current domesticated dogs eat like that? These days, it is finally appropriate to feed dogs a proper raw food diet with grass-fed, cage-free, wild-caught proteins fortified with added vitamins and minerals for your dogs, such as freeze-dried Stella and Chewy Beef Patties. Current raw meat diets also have cons such as disease from uncooked meats, but these diets are the most natural diet in the wild.

How to Rotate Variety of Foods

Queen Elizabeth’s prior royal chef Darren McGrady shared with Hello! Magazine that the Queen’s corgis had a “posh” diet, and their protein alternated every day and sometimes the chef would add cabbage or rice to their menu. Rotating a dog’s diet can be easier than we think. A rotating variety of foods is all about a variety of a pet’s food from different proteins to food forms. 

Discussion: Is it healthy or unhealthy to provide a variety of dog foods for every meal? 

Benefits: PetMD advocates for rotating dog food than keeping a consistent diet. The dietary alternatives will excite your pet while they experiment with different flavors, textures, and diets. This unique diet may offer more complete nutrition. With rotation feedings, every meal is a new tasty adventure. With research, the correct rotation of dog food can reduce allergies and increase water consumption.

Be aware: Some dogs may be uninterested in rotating their diet since they prefer a consistent diet with certain textures, flavors, and even brands that they always have in their diet.  Many sources have said that changing foods can take a while to rotate within a pet’s stomach or changed diet. Before you change a consistent diet, be in touch with your veterinarian before you do so. Be aware of your pet’s food sensitivities and, of course, their allergies. Also, keep track of which food you are giving your dog, because they may have difficulty processing new food. That as the pet’s owner, we might not choose the correct variety of food rotation, which may reduce water consumption and cause adverse reactions.  

In conclusion, a rotation of a variety of dog food options will keep your dog guessing at all mealtimes and have multiple benefits such as reducing food allergies, bettering hydration, and offering more complete nutrition. However, a dog might require three months between every diet rotation for its stomach to properly adjust. Again, your research is very important to choose which food your dog should indulge.

Here’s how Senior Pets are Driving Growth of Functional Pet Foods

Functional foods are in the news for the right reasons and are driving pet food industry growth. According to a market research firm's survey, 67 % of cat owners and 72 % of dog owners believe high-quality pet foods are essential for preventive healthcare. A majority of those surveyed agreed that pets with health concerns benefit from functional foods formulated with specific nutrients.

With amazing advancements in veterinary medicine and care, pets are now enjoying healthier lives and have longer lifespans. Senior dogs have different nutritional needs based on changes in body functions, activity levels, or eating habits. Smaller breeds are considered "senior" when they reach 8 or 9 years of age while giant breeds like Great Danes are deemed to be seniors at the age of 5 or 6 because of shorter life expectancy.

The need for functional foods in senior pets

Although most dogs and cats are healthy at and beyond this age, some older dogs or cats develop some age-related conditions. These can include:

  • Problems with vision
  • Digestion related problems, food intolerances
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Lumps
  • Skin issues
  • Dental problems, excessive drooling
  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • Joint pain or osteoarthritis
  • Impaired mobility or reduced exercise levels
  • Behavior changes such as irritability, aggression, or confusion
  • Impaired sleep pattern
  • Reduced immunity

Senior pet foods may need several modifications in terms of nutrients, digestibility, texture, added supplements for joint or heart health, fiber, omega-3, or antioxidants. Functional foods confer health benefits that are beyond those provided by fats, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Halitosis or bad breath can seriously impact the close relationship between owners and dogs. A randomized study found that when sixteen dogs of all age groups including seniors were fed a diet containing fish meal, bioflavonoids, fish oil, beet pulp, FOS, Yucca Schidigera, and other functional ingredients, there was a considerable decrease in bad breath. A functional food-based diet was also tested on fifteen adult dogs. Researchers found that the functional food diet decreased all major symptoms of bacterial infection such as foul odor, erythema, discharge from the ear, and ear blockage. A specially formulated diet with functional ingredients also helped boost immunity in dogs and cats. Highly digestible foods were effective in controlling chronic diarrhea in cats.

Functional food categories for senior pets

The functional pet food industry is witnessing remarkable growth in these areas:

  • Dental and Oral health formulas
  • Coat, skin, and hair formulas
  • Mature/Senior formulas
  • Joint and mobility
  • Weight management formulas
  • Digestive formula
  • Hairball cat food formulas

These foods contain a specific mix of functional ingredients ranging from fruits, vegetables, bran, whole grains, botanicals, and plant components such as fructooligosaccharides, inulin, turmeric, supplements including collagen, chondroitin, coenzyme Q10, prebiotics, and probiotics.

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