By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog health insurance agency.
As your puppy transitions to adulthood, their nutritional needs change as well. Here are five tips to ensure your adult dog stays healthy by getting the proper nutrition.
1. Choose a High Quality Food
There are so many options when choosing a food to feed your adult canine companion. You can feed your adult dog either canned or dry food, but dry food tends to be better for their teeth. The most expensive food isn’t always the best food, but extremely inexpensive food isn’t typically high quality. If you are unsure which food is the best to feed your dog, consult with your veterinarian. They will discuss canine nutrition with you, and they can suggest a few options that are scientifically backed to provide excellent nutrition. Is your dog a small breed? Does he or she hunt or perform agility? Is your dog mostly a couch potato? Your veterinarian can help you select the best nutrition based on your dog’s individual needs.
2. Avoid People Food
When it comes to people food, it’s typically best to avoid it in dogs. Most meats and dairy products are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis and diarrhea. Processed foods may cause upset stomach as well. Grapes and raisins are very toxic to dogs and should never be fed to your canine companion. There are a few exceptions such as green beans, carrots and apples that are safe and healthy to feed dogs as treats.
3. Portion Control
As your dog leaves puppyhood behind and becomes an adult, his metabolism will slow down. It is very easy for adult dogs to become obese. In 2013, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention announced that 53% of dogs in the United States are overweight! Recent studies have shown that obese dogs live on average 1.8 years less than normal weight dogs. Additionally, obese dogs develop arthritis, diabetes and cancer at a much higher rate than dogs that maintain a healthy weight. If your dog is overweight, initiating portion control is the best way to help them lose weight. Consult with your veterinarian to discuss a weight loss diet, exercise regimen and portion control (including limiting treats and people food!). Keeping your adult dog at a healthy weight is the best way to help them live a longer, healthier life.
4. Dental Health
Dogs need dental care just like we do! Most dogs need their teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and polisher at least once a year. In between these dental cleanings, you can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy by brushing their teeth daily and providing oral health chews. There are diets available that are made specifically to clean your dog’s teeth with every bite. Additionally, there are rawhide chews and other oral health treats and toys that help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Make sure that the product is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and bears the VOHC “Seal of Approval” on the product to know that the product is tested and proven to help keep your dog’s mouth healthy.
5. Choose Healthy Treats
When choosing treats for your adult dog, be sure to check out the ingredients. All natural foods make the best treats, and these include carrots, green beans, apples and bananas. Avoid processed treats as these tend to be high in sodium and fat. Additionally, jerky treats imported from China have been suspected to cause illness in dogs, although the exact culprit as not yet been identified by the FDA. It is best to feed your dog natural, raw fruits and vegetables as treats.
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