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The Importance of Nutrition in Your Pet’s Health

Posted by Chad on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at 6:16 pm.

This guest post is brought especially to you by Dog Fence DIY’s staff veterinarian Dr. Susan Wright. Dr. Susan Wright is a huge advocate of dog’s getting proper nutrition and exercise. Dog Fence DIY will help you choose the right system for your doggie, help you install it, and also help train your pet to use their new system. Dog Fence DIY carries the Innotek SD 2100 system at the best available price.

As dog owners, we are responsible for taking care of our pets. This means controlling internal and external parasites, protecting him from infectious diseases with vaccination, and taking him to the vet when he’s ill. However, many people don’t recognize the importance of good nutrition in keeping our dogs in the best possible health.

The food your dog eats is the fuel that powers his body, and the nutrients in his diet allow him to function at his best. There is an ideal amount of each nutrient that your dog should eat per day, and deficiencies can be harmful. For example, too little calcium in a growing dog can lead to the bone disease known as rickets. On the other hand, he can also have too much of a good thing, with excess calcium intake in a pup being implicated in orthopedic conditions such as osteochondrosis dissecans. It’s important that you feed a nutritionally balanced food, to avoid such excesses and deficiencies.

Unlike people, dogs don’t use carbohydrates for energy. Their main energy source is the fat in their food. The amount of energy your dog eats, and how much is used up in exercise, is directly related to his body weight. With over 40% of our dogs being overweight, veterinarians are starting to see a rise in the frequency of obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. If you manage your dog’s nutrition so that he stays lean, he’ll live up to 15% longer than if he is allowed to become overweight.

I personally believe that what you feed your dog is also one of the biggest influences on his coat condition. A good quality food with adequate amounts of fatty acids will result in a soft luxurious coat and healthy skin. Fatty acids are a natural anti-inflammatory and will help to soothe any mild allergic skin conditions, and add a shine to his coat.

Another area in which nutrition directly impacts dog health is dental health. Tinned food and kibble on their own can allow tartar to accumulate on your dog’s teeth, and lead to gum disease. It is now well recognized that bad teeth will affect his heart, joints and immune system. If you feed him a raw meaty bone regularly, it will keep his teeth clean and help to prevent the illnesses associated with rotten teeth.

Dog food manufacturers are now starting to recognize the importance of nutrition in keeping our furry friends healthy. They have developed prescription diets containing specific nutrients to manage several disease conditions. Some foods contain glucosamine and chondroitin to treat arthritis in dogs; others have specific protein sources to control allergies.

When choosing a food for your dog, don’t be tempted to purchase the cheapest kibble on the shelf. This is false economy. You’ll save money on the purchase price, but you’ll pay the price in a dry coat, itchy skin, and possibly diarrhea and weight loss. Choose a mid-priced food with meat listed as one of the first two ingredients. This will be less costly than a premium food, but your dog is likely to be healthier than if he’s fed a cheap food containing mostly cereal.

Never underestimate the importance of good nutrition in maintaining your dog’s general health. Feeding your dog a quality diet is one thing you can do on a daily basis to keep him in the best condition possible.


One Response to “The Importance of Nutrition in Your Pet’s Health”

  1. Nutrition & Your Pet’s Health | Says:

    […] taking him to the vet when he’s ill. However, many people don’t recognize the importance of  good nutrition  in keeping our dogs in the best possible […]