If you had a family dog growing up, your pet may have had a diet of table scraps or bagged kibble. Now, more dog owners are trying to feed their dogs healthy and nutritious foods. The pet food aisles are bursting with so many options it can be overwhelming to sort through all of the brands. Dogs have individual needs, and dog foods aren't one-size-fits-all. Before selecting a diet type for your dog, you need to consider several factors such as: â€¢ How old is your dog? He may require special nutrients in his food at an older age. â€¢ Does your dog need to lose or put on weight? Several foods on the market help your dog bulk up or slim down. â€¢ Does your dog have any health problems? Dogs with cancer, diabetes, allergies, etc, may need specialized diets. â€¢ How much can you afford for dog food each month? Even though good dog food isn't cheap, youâ€™ll want to get the best you can afford. Raw Diet Raw diets for dogs have grown in popularity and are closest to a dog's natural diet. They consist of raw meat, fruit, vegetables and bones, also known as the B.A.R.F. Diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). Many believe raw food diets have several advantages including smaller stool, fewer allergies, and higher energy levels. Raw foods are also high in protein and low in carbohydrates compared to the content of some canned food or kibble. Some negative aspects of raw food include a greater risk of contracting E.coli or salmonella for humans, the potential for an unbalanced diet for the dog, and choking hazards due to whole bones. You can make raw food for your dog at home, or purchase a bag from a major brand. Your dog's veterinarian can recommend suitable brands as well. Canned Dog Food Many dog owners find it convenient to open a can of dog food when their dog is hungry. Canned food is often higher in protein than kibble, with fewer carbohydrates. Dogs also receive a lot of moisture from canned food which helps their urinary tract. Canned food is often favored by picky dogs and easily digested. However, there area a few drawbacks to feeding your dog canned food. For instance, you can't leave the food sitting out for hours like dry kibble, and all open cans must be refrigerated. Additionally, open cans are only good for two days. Many owners like to give their dogs both dry and canned food for the variety it provides. Dry Dog Food Dogs have been eating dry kibble for years. In fact, it's a staple for many dog owners. Some believe dry food helps keep their petâ€™s teeth clean due to the tartar-scraping action of the kibble. Dry food is an inexpensive choice and can sit out for more than two hours, unlike canned food. However, many dry dog foods contain a variety of byproducts -- factors some dog owners do not like. Before selecting a brand of dry dog food, read the label carefully and choose the one with the best ingredients. You will discover some brands are healthier than others. When it comes to feeding your dog, there are many diet options. Before deciding what to feed your dog, you may want to consult with your veterinarian and do your own research online in pet-centric forums and websites. Your dogâ€™s health depends upon what you choose, so give as much consideration to his diet as you give to your own.
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