Anyone with a dog knows they’re hardwired to snack on some pretty icky stuff (cat poop, garbage, dead animals), so when it comes to mealtimes, it’s hard to imagine a dog not liking their super-premium, meat-first, top-dollar, fancy ultra super dog food, right?
Actually, pickiness at mealtimes is a common problem for pet parents and a major source of stress when shopping the dog food aisle. If you’ve ever stood in worry, staring down a row of dog food wondering what bag to take home to your dog next — this article is written just for you with help from our friends at Chewy.
It’s important to feed a balanced, nutrition, species-appropriate diet. But, it doesn’t matter at all what’s in your dog’s bowl if your pup won’t eat it, right?
Meal toppers and gravies can help make a meal more palatable, but if you’re not careful they can often add unnecessary calories or can introduce potential allergens for dogs who are sensitive to certain ingredients. So, it’s important to find a food that is not only healthy, balanced, and appropriate for your dog, but also tastes good to your best furry friend.
Why Dogs Need to Eat Food Specifically Made for Dogs
It may seem silly to some, but many people wonder why dogs need to eat dog-specific food. Why can’t they just eat meals with their humans? After all, they are omnivores, like us, aren’t they? There are many reasons your dog needs to be fed a species-appropriate dog food:
Dogs should eat around 25-30 calories per pound of body weight to maintain their weight. So, a 10-pound chihuahua should eat 250-300 calories per day. A 70-pound lab mix would eat 1,750-2,100 calories per day — as many calories as a grown adult human! Dog food provides them with their daily calories, so long as you’re measuring the amount you feed them.
Vitamins and minerals
There are specific nutritional needs that dogs have that they can only get from the food they eat. Just like our own diets, dogs get essential vitamins and minerals from food. And, their needs are quite different from ours. For example, dogs require a certain amount of taurine in their diets to maintain their heart health and vision.
Nutritional deficiency can lead to diseases like malnutrition and obesity. Feeding a species-appropriate diet, that is balanced and meant for dogs, is the way to ensure your dog is getting proper nutrition.
Finally, food that’s not meant for dogs sometimes simply can’t be easily digested by them. Problems may be mild, like stinky toots, to very serious like vomiting and diarrhea or worse. Other times, So, before you ever feed your furkid from your fork, make sure it’s safe for them to indulge.
Now that you know you need to feed your dog food that’s specifically made for a dog, Chewy has three suggestions to make your picky pup enjoy mealtimes:
3 Easy Ways to Make Your Dog Enjoy Mealtimes More
1) Rotational feeding
Can you imagine having to eat the same meal every day for the rest of your life? This is basically what our dogs go through, so you can easily imagine why they get bored with their meals. For this reason, Chewy recommends rotational feeding, not only to keep dogs interested in their meals, but also for the health benefits.
Rotational feeding is the practice of rotating (or swapping between) what you feed your dog. For example, rotate between proteins, such as chicken, duck, turkey, and so on.
Usually, you would need to do a slow switch before changing your dog’s food. But, with rotational feeding, you stick with the same brand and formulation to prevent your dog from getting an upset stomach. Select Chewy Formulas have similar nutrient profiles making rotational feeding simple and easy. Meaning you can safely rotate between proteins giving your pup a variety of tasty formulas to choose from. Click here to explore Chewy`s variety of nutritious and tasty formulas.
2) Combination feeding
Make your dog’s meals more exciting by adding canned food to a usually all-dry diet. Not only does wet food add palatability and much-needed hydration, but it’s also lower in calories which is great for all those “big-boned” dogs that need to slim down. Just remember, when you supplement your dog’s dry food with canned food, you should reduce the amount of dry food you feed them.
3) Entice them with treats
What would we do without dog treats? They can be used to reward good behavior, help you establish trust with a new dog, or reinforce an existing bond. They are an enormous help when training your dog. Simply put, treats make dogs happy, and that makes us happy! They are a superior alternative to feeding your dog table scraps because they’re so much healthier…well sometimes. Look for treats that are healthy and have the same high-quality standards as the food you feed.
Check with the Vet
If your dog is suddenly being picky but has always been a good eater, the first thing you should do is have them seen by a veterinarian. Rule out health issues, dental disease, or other factors that might be contributing to picky eating.
Choosing the Right Food
Now that you know your dog needs a species-appropriate diet that tastes great, Chewy recommends looking for food that:
Offers a wide variety of formulas so you can find one or more that your dog loves
Is formulated for rotational feeding
Has limited ingredients to support nutritional needs
Uses meat as the very first ingredient
Includes premium ingredients
Offers dry food, wet food, and treats
For help selecting the perfect meal for your dog, consider Chewy. Unlike many commercial pet foods, Chewy recipes follow a limited-ingredient, meat-first philosophy to ensure the absolute best nutrition possible for your best friend.
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