Personalized Dog Food Guide
By Hungry Bark | October 11, 2020
A good diet and exercise are keystones to staying healthy. The type of diet you eat depends on your lifestyle and your specific dietary needs. A pro-athlete has different nutritional requirements than your average person, and allergies and sensitivities need special considerations.
What about dogs? After all, aren’t all dog foods formulated to meet a dog’s specific dietary needs? There are guidelines for dog food, but not every food is up to the same standard. There’s more to finding the right food then just pulling a bag off of the shelf. This personalized dog food guide will walk you through all of the steps, so you can be certain you’re making the best choices for your canine companion.
To start, let’s talk about nutrition and find out why personalizing your dog’s diet is important.
Why Your Dog’s Food Is Important
Not all dog foods are created equal. Some are formulated in a way that barely meets the minimum standards and are (sometimes severely) lacking in important nutrients. Some dog foods are stuffed with fillers that can contribute to obesity and cost you money because they leave your dog hungry.
Good dog food has a balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals, that support your dog’s skeletal and muscular systems and keeps their immune system functioning properly. Well-formulated dog food does not have excess fillers and is nutrient-dense so your dog is satisfied after eating. This helps prevent over-eating and is beneficial in helping them maintain a healthy weight.
For dogs with special dietary needs stemming from allergies or intolerances, food is particularly important. Their diet can play a role in skin allergies, as dogs with an allergy to one thing are more prone to developing further allergies. High-quality dog foods are more transparent about the sources of their ingredients and any possible cross-contamination.
Selecting The Right Dog Food
Just like people, different dogs have different nutritional needs. When choosing the right food for your dog, keep a few things in mind, so you can be sure the food you select is the best one for your dog.
- How active is your dog? Dogs that are involved in hunting, agility, and other high energy activities, need food that provides adequate nutrients as well as enough calories.
- Does your dog have allergies? If you have a dog with allergies you will need to find a food with novel proteins, and you’ll need to make sure to avoid your dog’s specific, allergy-triggering ingredients.
- Does your dog need to lose weight? If you have a dog who is over their ideal weight, finding a food that is nutritionally dense to help prevent overeating will help your dog get back to their ideal weight. Read more: how to help dogs lose weight.
What stage of life are they in? Puppies and older dogs have very different nutritional needs. You want to be sure to find food that is either designed specifically for their age or is designed with all life stages in mind. Read more: how long to feed a puppy, puppy food.
Reading the Dog Food Label
There are a few things you should look for on your dog food label as well. Pausing to read the label and learning more about the way ingredients are listed will help you make the right choice when selecting food.
- Look for a named animal protein like chicken or duck. Avoid any food that only names “meat meal”. This means the origins are uncertain, and it is low quality. Meat meals are perfectly good sources of protein, but make sure the source of the meal is labeled such as “turkey meal” or “beef meal” as it’s important to know what kind of meat is in the meal.
- Look for meat near the top of the label. Ingredients are listed by weight, so the closer to the top of the label it is, the more of this ingredient it contains.
- Look for whole fruits, vegetables, and grains. If the ingredient is whole, it means the nutrients provided by that ingredient are actually present in the food.
- Look for probiotics in the food. Probiotics for dogs help aid in digestion and help keep your dog’s gut biome healthy. There is evidence that gut health has an effect on cognitive and immune function.
Look for superfood ingredients for dogs. They provide antioxidants, omega-3’s, and a host of other health benefits.
Hungry Bark Custom Meal Planner
You want to give your dog the very best, but you’re not quite certain how to proceed, and you’re afraid you may make a mistake.
Dog food labels can be confusing, and if your dog has specific needs, you may be hesitant to move forward. Hungry Bark can help. The Custom Meal Planner takes only a few minutes to fill out, and you’ll emerge with a meal plan tailored specifically to your dog.
Simply create a profile for your dog, provide a little information about their weight, their overall health, and your specific goals for them. Hungry Bark will recommend a kibble, any supplements your dog might benefit from, and will let you know if your dog requires a little boost of protein, a Protein Mix-In Topping to add flavor, or a little extra nutrition to their food.
Hungry Bark allows you to set automatic delivery of your dog’s food, so you never have to worry about running out. Plus, with free delivery for orders over $50, Hungry Bark is committed to making sure your dog’s food is delivered on time.
Hungry Bark food is made in the U.S.A in a kitchen and not a factory. All ingredients are sustainably sourced, so you know exactly where ingredients come from. All recipes are veterinarian approved, so you know that their kibbles and supplements are perfectly balanced for the optimum health of every dog.
If that isn’t peace of mind, what is?
If you have any questions about how to make sure your dog is getting the best diet possible, don’t be afraid to call your veterinarian. They can give you tips based on your dog’s health history and make recommendations about what to look for. If you have a dog with severe allergies, check with your veterinarian before starting them on any new food. They will tell you which ingredients to steer clear of.
Nutrition is important. Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet, while addressing their unique needs will keep your best friend happy and healthy for years to come!