As pet parents we want to feed our dog the best food and treats that we can. After all, they are what they eat and we want them with us for as long as possible, right?
Feeding your dog food and treats your veterinarian recommends or that you know are healthy will save you money on vet bills, keep your pet trim and fit. There is also no problem with feeding your dog a snack or two — as long as they are healthy!
How to feed your dog healthy meals and treats
If your dog requires special food because of allergies or because he is a senior, diabetic or overweight your veterinarian is your best go-to source. After you’ve spoken to him or her and if your dog is healthy, here are some of our favorite ways to keep our pups healthy.
Speaking of treats! Check out this recipe from The Dog Chef for carob chip cookies.
- Read the ingredients. Look for foods that have proteins as the first ingredients. Try to avoid feeding your dog food with a lot of fillers — or empty carbs — as that won’t fill him up in a healthy way. Carbs can also lead to health issues just like they do in humans.
- Measure the food. Do you know what the serving size is for your dog’s age, weight and activity level? It’s best to use a measuring cup to ensure your dog is not getting too much food and that she is getting enough food. Read the label and see what the recommended serving size is.
- Treat with care! If you give your dog treats when he or she is a good boy or girl (and when isn’t he?) take care you don’t overfeed. As an example, if your pup is supposed to have one-cup of food a day, set aside some of the kibble to use as treats throughout the day. Don’t use extra kibble as treats in addition to the one-cup per day.
- Avoid table scraps. Don’t feed your pup food from the table UNLESS it is healthy food! My dogs are beggars at the table and I am a softy so I do feed them from the table BUT they get pieces of green beans, peas, apple slices, carrot pieces or pumpkin and squash bites. They get a treat and I don’t feel guilty feeding them from the table.
- Feed fruits and veggies that are in season. Many dogs enjoy fresh fruits and veggies. If you’re feeding them fruits and vegetables, feed them the ones that are in season, just like the ones you eat. Right now, pumpkins and squash and other root vegetables are in season. They are delicious and nutritious for your pup. Here are our favorite pumpkin treats that your pup will gobble right down!
Here are a few reasons to consider for feeding your dog a healthy diet.
- Dogs who are at a healthy weight will live longer.
- Diabetes is becoming more common in dogs and cats because pets are obese.
- If you feed your dog a healthy diet, he will be ready, willing and more importantly, able to join you on long walks.
- Your dog relies on you to take care of his needs and being a responsible pet parent means you pay attention to what goes into his body.
- You will save on veterinarian bills when your pet is healthier.
Bottom line: Nutritional enrichment is as important as social enrichment, physical enrichment and mental enrichment. Our dogs deserve the best and it’s up to us to make sure their lives are enriched in every way — every day!
What is your dog’s favorite treat? If you have a favorite recipe, share it with us on our Facebook page!
After your dog has had a delicious meal and some exercise for the day, now is the time to give her some mental enrichment by snuggling up on the couch and watching DOGTV together. There is no better way to bond than with watching our scientifically-developed programming together!