With all the different brands and formulations available, buying dog food and dog treats can seem like an overwhelming task at times. Here are a few things you DO NOT want to do if you want to keep your dog healthy and well fed.
Portions adapted from Balancing Pet Food and Treats by Ashley Gallagher, DVM
A dog's diet and health are intrinsically connected. So what better person to give you a recommendation on dog food and treats before you make a purchase than your veterinarian? He or she can assess your dog’s body condition and make a scientific recommendation based on the results. A veterinarian can also point out any possible negative reactions your dog may have due to his current state of health. For instance, did you know if your dog is currently on a therapeutic diet certain canned foods cam actually negate the benefits the diet is providing?
In addition to providing recommendations on a well-balanced diet, your veterinarian can ensure Fido is on a "calorie conscious" diet. Most pet food manufacturers will provide the number of calories (often listed as kilocalories or kcal per cup) on their websites as well as a chart of recommended feeding guidelines on the back of the bag of dog food or treats. But this guideline may not accurately account for your pets unique calorie needs. Your veterinarian is best at making a calorie recommendation to keep Fido at a healthy weight, especially if you want to mix dry and canned food as well as treats in their diet.
While tasty, most dog treats are not balanced for the nutritional requirements your dog needs to stay healthy — much like a big piece of chocolate cake is for us. Therefore, treats such as rawhides, biscuits, table scraps and other "people food" should not account for more than 10% of your dog's daily calories. Feeding too many dog treats can lead to a deficiency or excess of certain nutrients and cause illness.