There are more dog food brands out there than you can shake a stick at, right? Standing in the pet food aisle can be a little overwhelming and even a bit intimidating for many of us. With brand after brand of breed specific, activity level, life cycle, flavor, allergy or sensitive, bags of food to choose from, it's enough to make your head swim.
What if the brand you have been advised to purchase is out of your price range or is available at a location that is only open to card bearing members? We all want to do the right thing for Poochie Poocherton but may have budget restrictions or have limited access to transportation to continuously refill the kibble jar. Keep in mind, there are many different quality brands to chose from and at the end of the day the decision is yours so don't feel that you have to "keep up with the Joneses'" in order to feed Fido.
(For the mobility challenged or uber busy pet parent, there are delivery options available to help keep your K-9 companion in full supply of noshables, yay!)
As you may suspect, not all pet foods are created equally and, a high price tag does not guarantee a high quality food, treat or, rawhide chew. If you are out shopping, have a look at the ingredient list on the package and check for a high quality, meat based, digestible protein to be listed in the top 3 ingredients.
Making your own dog food and treats is certainly an option if you have the time and resources. There are of course plenty of recipes out there for you to look at to help you make the decision if you want to be Le Grande Gourmet du Chiens or if you would rather go the store bought way. Either way is fine as long as Poochie is getting the correct nutrition. If portion control is of concern to you, check the side panel of your chosen dog food brand which should display a chart similar to the one shown here.
Of course there is a list of items NOT to feed your dog and as pet owners you should be careful of what human type foods you are feeding Fido. Dogs can be very engaging with those big "feed me" eyes but that doesn't mean they need to be eating either from your plate or, from the toxic list. Dogs have entirely different dietary needs and metabolisms than us humans and we owe it to our pets to educate ourselves a tiny bit on proper pet nutrition.
If your pup hoovers up their food in seconds flat and looks eagerly around for more, try to keep in mind that dogs love to eat so don't go off the deep end worrying about starving your dog or that they have a nasty case of worms. Keep in mind also that appetite can vary during the different life cycle stages and sometimes can dip or escalate depending on the season. Skipping a meal every now and again is perfectly normal but a continued disinterest in food is an indication that something could be off.
You can visually assess your dog against the dog body condition chart provided here to get a sense of what a good body mass for Fido looks like. If you are having any concerns about weight or health, the best course of action is to schedule a vet appointment to make sure all is well.