You know how the old adage goes – January 1 rolls around each year and we make resolutions to get healthier and more organized in our lives. Which I think translates into a perfect time to consider your pet’s diet and ways you can improve their health simply by making some small adjustments to what they eat each day. Here are some simple ways that you can improve your pet’s health easily (with a little help from our staff):
Rotate proteins – as long as your pet is not sensitive to certain proteins, rotating between proteins in the same manufacturer could keep sensitivities at bay, increase your pet’s overall health and deter feeding boredom. How would you like to eat chicken day in and day out? How healthy do you think you would be if you ate the same food each and every day? Here is a good article about amino acids and the important role they play in your pet’s diet (https://thebark.com/content/canine-nutrition-basics). Rotational feeding gives your pet a broader exposure to all of the necessary amino acids for good health. Here is a good article about rotational feeding (https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/blog/benefits-of-rotation-feeding-for-your-dog/).
Consider adding raw – kibble is the most convenient way to feed pets a well-balanced diet. That being said, kibble can also be heavily processed making it more difficult for your pet to digest and absorb nutrients from all of the ingredients. Feeding a premium kibble mixed with some raw pet food options or even canned food will give good variation to your pet’s diet without much effort at all. Raw food does not have to mean giving your pet raw meat or even a pre-made raw diet. You can incorporate raw by simply adding fresh, raw vegetables to your pet’s diet. A simple way to do this is by incorporating Northwest Naturals Fruit and Veggie cubes with your pet’s meal (http://nwnwordpress1.nw-naturals.net/wp/nuggets-fruits-and-veggies/).
Help your pet shed extra weight – just like humans, pets suffer from a variety of medical issues connected to obesity. Those extra pounds might look cute on your chubby pet but they can be dangerous if they are left to lurk. Health issues like diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, arthritis and even certain cancers have been linked to obesity. We all know what those sad eyes look like when they see the reduction in food in that bowl – so there are some creative ways that you can reduce the caloric intake for your pet while not denying them a full belly. The Green Bean diet is a very effective way of getting the weight off of your dog while still giving them the bulky feeling of a full belly (https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ktudor/2012/apr/green_bean_diet_for_dogs-14140).
This adds extra fiber to the diet without adding extra calories thereby helping the body to shed unwanted fat. I should warn you though that returning to normal kibble intake after weaning your pet from the green beans might be cause for gaining the weight back. Be sure the amount of kibble you are feeding your dog is appropriate for their weight, age and activity level. While many of the weight management foods do have low-calorie/low-fat recipes – they can be fairly heavy in carbohydrates which can convert to sugar and compound the weight problem for your pet. Here is a great article by Dr. Karen Becker about low-fat pet foods (https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/08/17/low-fat-diet-for-dogs.aspx).
Consider the treats – we talk a lot about the importance of what diet to feed your pets. What is species appropriate or what will help them shed pounds. I do not want to end without talking about the importance of considering what treats you are feeding your pet as that is part of their diet, too! When new customers come into the store to seek a premium diet they often do not think about the treats that they give as part of the diet that needs to be changed. The same ingredients that should be avoided in food should also be avoided in treats like corn, wheat, soy and sugar. As well as chemical additions like BHA, food coloring and even additions like high fructose corn syrup.
We always have a fully trained staff on hand ready to tackle any of your nutritional questions about your pet. We definitely do not intend to be nutritional experts in place of your vet and are happy to work alongside your vet in finding what foods best work for your pet.