Nutrition is the foundation for a healthy and energetic life. When your pet is not getting the right combination of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, he or she does not have the same level of energy. A chronic bad diet may lead to health complications or consistent problems. By taking steps to improve your pet's diet, it is possible to reduce health risks and ensure that your pet remains energetic and full of life at each stage of development, growth, and aging.
Read the Label on All Pet Foods and Treats
When buying dog food, training treats, or other special treats for your pet, look at the label. The label on your pet's food will list the ingredients of the food or treat based on the amount in the food. For example, it may list crickets, beef, or even a grain as the first ingredient.
Pay attention to the first three to five ingredients on the packaging. If the first ingredients contain any products that are harmful or concerning, then select a different pet food. For example, if the first ingredient is soy, corn, or wheat, then you want to avoid that pet food. Your dog's digestive system differs from a human digestive system and it may cause health problems if your pet has too many grains, gluten, or related ingredients.
Focus on pet foods that offer protein sources as the primary ingredients. Ideally, you want a sustainable and healthy source of protein like crickets or other edible insects. Insect protein sources offer a sustainable food option that also provides your pet with natural prebiotics.
Limit Treats in a Pet's Diet
Limit the number of treats you give to your pet. You do not want to give your pet too many calories from special treats because it may contribute to obesity or weight gain in your pet.
Focus on using treats for training and good behavior. Make sure that treats do not exceed 10 percent of your pet's diet. You also want to read the label on any treats to ensure it meets the same high standards you set for your pet's dog food. Select treats that offer nutritional benefits for your pet.
Pay Attention to the Shelf Life of the Food
Pay attention to the shelf life of any food you intend to give your pet. Any pet food that has an excessively long shelf life raises concerns for your pet's health.
Since pet foods may have a long shelf life due to preservatives, canning, or similar processing, it does not always provide optimal nutrition for your pet. Opt for food options that must be eaten within a reasonable amount of time. Select fresh staple foods for your pet and limit foods with a long shelf life. As a rule, consider foods that contain high levels of preservatives or long-term preserving methods of cooking as a junk food option for your pet. It does not offer the same nutrition as fresher food options.
Consider Insect Proteins
When you are looking for ways to improve your pet's diet, consider insect protein sources. Dog food made with insect protein is a sustainable option that offers a myriad of health benefits.
A dog food that contains insects may use the entire insect or most of the insect in the food. It does not have the high levels of waste associated with more traditional animal products. It also uses less water to produce a pound of food and offers natural sources of fiber through prebiotics. Insects also contain a large amount of natural minerals and vitamins your pets need to maintain muscle mass at each stage of life and to avoid certain health risks as they age.
Avoid Human Foods
Do not feed your pets any food off your table. Human foods, such as grapes, avocados, or chocolate, may cause harm to your pets. Depending on the food item, it may cause an emergency situation that requires immediate veterinary care.
If you want to give your pet a treat, then offer actual dog treats and foods designed for your dog. During hot summer months, give your dog cold water rather than dairy products. Keep in mind that your dog has a different digestive system and may have difficulty with certain human food items. Always consult a veterinarian if you have concerns about an item your pet has eaten off a counter or table.
Taking measures to improve your pet's diet starts with selecting the right foods. By focusing on foods that contain insect proteins and have a short shelf life, you are able to provide your pet with the nutrition he or she needs for long-term health. The key is reading the labels, evaluating your options, and selecting the best options based on your pet's age, current health, and your long-term goals for your pet's well-being.