We’re constantly hearing about how important nutrition is for our health and wellbeing. It seems like the amount of fruit and vegetables that we should be eating goes up every week and trying to eat enough healthy food is an uphill battle. It seems even more difficult when all of the food in the supermarket is full of junk, even the stuff that you think is healthy. If only it was simple for us like it is for animals. Just eat the same food and not have to worry about it at all. The thing is, it isn’t that simple for dogs either.
You might not realize it but there is a lot of difference between the different types of dog food that you can buy. A lot of the bigger brands are actually full of bad stuff that your dog shouldn’t be eating, and it doesn’t have much nutritional value either. While you might not think that it’s as important for dogs as it is for us, you’d be wrong. There are all sorts of illnesses that your dog could get due to a lack of nutrition. You can try to avoid that by getting some supplements from sites like topdogvitamins.com and adding them to your dog’s food in order to make up for any deficiencies they might have. It’s also important that you take more care when you’re looking at food to buy, and spend a bit more money to get the good stuff. As a general rule, the first four ingredients listed should be some kind of meat products and there shouldn’t be loads of additives in there. Look for any brands that only have a few simple ingredients in there and steer clear of ones that are full of strange sounding chemicals that you’ve never heard of.
Taking those measures to make sure that your dog is getting the vitamins that they need is important but you also need to be vigilant and look out for the signs of these illnesses that are caused by bad nutrition.
Obesity is a big problem in humans and one that we’re struggling to tackle. The two main reasons are bad food and not enough exercise. You wouldn’t think that dogs would have a problem with obesity because they don’t eat overly fatty food and they exercise a lot. But you might be surprised to know that around half of the dogs in the United States suffer from obesity. Dogs that are overweight have a much higher risk of developing heart problems and they’re also prone to getting arthritis because of the extra strain on their joints. The problem is, a lot of dog owners with obese pets think that their dog is a perfectly normal weight because they don’t have a good sense of how big they should be. That means that they won’t realize if they’re over feeding them or not walking them enough. Always keep a close eye on their weight and make sure that there aren’t any drastic changes happening. If you start to see their weight going up, you need to cut back on their food and make sure that you’re exercising them regularly.
As I already said, obesity massively increases the chances of dogs getting heart disease but that’s not the only thing. Us humans are often told that having too much salt is bad for the heart and we should avoid it. Well, the exact same is true of dogs, which is quite difficult when a lot of the food out there has a high salt content. Too much salt in the blood causes water retention in blood vessels which increases blood pressure and puts strain on the heart. It’s difficult to tell in the early stages so always be aware of what you’re feeding them and don’t just think about the dog food. If you’re giving them scraps from the table on a regular basis then they’re probably getting a lot of salt from that as well so just be careful.
Anybody that’s ever had bladder stones will tell you that it’s incredibly painful and it’s no different for your dog. They’re usually caused by an imbalance of minerals in the body. That means that if their diet isn’t balanced, they might have too much calcium or magnesium in their body which will then develop into a bladder stone. Lowering the amounts of these minerals is a good way to stop kidney stones from forming in the first place. In some cases, they can be dissolved by special food but the more serious ones might have to be removed surgically. You’ll be able to tell if your dog is suffering from kidney stones because they’ll have discolored urine and will sometimes start going more or less frequently than normal.
Pancreatitis happens when a dog’s pancreas becomes inflamed because of a release of digestive enzymes. The main reason that dogs develop this issue is that they’ve got too much fat in their diet. Most foods won’t have that much fat in them so they’re probably getting it from any extras that you’re giving them at the dinner table. If they do develop pancreatitis you need to make some big changes to their diet. All of the fat needs to be cut out right away and you need to make sure that their diet is easily digestible. A lot of the normal dog food brands aren’t great in that situation so you need to speak to your vet about some other specialist food options. You can also feed them things like plain rice which won’t be too heavy on their stomachs. Whenever you make changes to your dog’s diet you should see your vet to make sure that you aren’t increasing their fat intake unnecessarily.
This problem is one of the easiest to spot in dogs because you’ll obviously notice when you take them for a walk. Unfortunately, while it’s the easiest to spot, it can be one of the most difficult to diagnose because there are so many different reasons that they could be suffering from diarrhea. To start with, there are a couple of different types that they could have. If they’re going to the toilet lots of times in a day then they’ve probably got small bowel diarrhea. However, if they’re straining to go to the toilet, they’ve got large bowel diarrhea. One of the most common causes is a lack of fibre in the diet, much the same as humans. You need to include both soluble and insoluble fibre in their diet. There are special foods that you can buy which are packed with fibre, ask your vet about where to get them. You can also get supplements to add to the food to give them an extra boost. While they’re suffering from diarrhea, their stomach is going to sensitive so you need to alter their diet until they’re well again. Just like dogs suffering from pancreatitis, they’ll need a diet that’s very mild and soft on their stomach. Either get some special food from the vets or make up your own using plain rice and biscuits. It’s also a good idea to monitor their water intake and make sure that they’re drinking enough. Diarrhea could also be caused by eating foods that aren’t suitable for dogs so make sure that you know what they can and can’t have.
You’ve probably realized that you need to watch what you eat if you want to be healthy, but it’s important to know that the same goes for dogs. They’re just as susceptible to a lot of the same health problems as we are so you need to keep an eye on what they’re eating.