As we enter a New Year, fresh starts abound. Resolutions aren’t just good for people though. They’re also beneficial for the 1 out of 3 pets in the U.S. who qualify as obese.
Without opposable thumbs to pen their nutritional goals, you’ll have to help prioritize your pet’s health in the coming months. Need some tangible health-focused ideas? These dog nutrition resolutions will help them start off on the right paw.
- Thou shall not sugar. Sugar should be limited, if not entirely eliminated, from your pet’s diet. Check treats and kibble for ingredients that end in ‘ose,’ a sugar derivative.
- Don’t go off price alone. When purchasing healthy dog food, make sure you’re focused more on the ingredients than the price tag. Very likely, neither the most or least expensive brands will hold up best. Just because a particular line is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your pup. Conversely, cheaper dog food is unlikely to provide quality kibble.
- Read labels closely. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce and place every ingredient in your pet’s food, do your research. Whether you look it up online, ask your vet, or contact the manufacturer directly, make sure you fully know everything you’re about to serve your fur baby.
- Watch out for food allergies. Allergic reactions to pet foods are more common than some pet owners realize. Be it a grain allergy, gluten intolerance or aversion to certain proteins, cats and dogs can suffer food sensitivities that show up in a myriad of ways. However, many symptoms start with the skin. From constant itching to hot spot lesions, watch for signs that indicate you may need to switch to a dog food for allergies.
- Prioritize protein over carbs. When reviewing your pet food’s ingredients list, make sure an American-sourced protein is one of the very first ingredients listed. Also, keep in mind that grain-free dog food doesn’t necessarily guarantee you appropriate carb-to-protein ratios.
- Measure meals. Eyeballing your pet’s food is a good way to accidentally overfeed them. Instead, speak with your vet or follow the recommended feeding guidelines on the back of your holistic pet food label.
- Make dental care a priority. Healthy teeth and gums are an important part of your pet’s overall health. If you’re not ready to commit to daily brushings, you should at least take a look at the food and treats in the pantry. Certain healthy cat and dog treats can minimize tartar and plaque, helping clean as they chew. This is especially important for senior animals who are at an increased risk of dental issues.
In the end, a list isn’t going to do the work for you, but it’s a good place to start. It’s ultimately up to you to help your pet make 2018 their healthiest year on record.