Health is a subject close to my heart especially as far as Stella in concerned. In fact, a lot of our nutrient and supplement requirements are quite similar!
Our favourite pet shop is on the Rip-Off Britain TV show today discussing food labelling for pets but would you know what to look out for?
Essential Nutrients for Your Dog’s Diet
All dog owners want to keep their precious pets healthy and well-fed. Making sure your dog gets the right amount to eat is one thing, but a healthy diet is more complicated than that. To really keep your dog in peak condition, you need to make sure he or she gets enough of the right nutrients.
A lot of dog food brands have tried to capitalise on this, emphasising their nutritional content and claiming that only their products will keep your dog healthy, but many of these claims are extremely questionable.
If you really want to make certain that your dog receives a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet you should make sure they receive enough of the following:
Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)
Vitamin A is an essential part of your dog’s diet. Good sources of vitamin A that are safe for canine consumption include green vegetables, carrots and healthy oils such as flax oil and coconut oil. Symptoms that can help you identify a deficiency of vitamin A include poor night vision, a weak immune system and dry skin.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin or vitamin B2 is vital for canine health, and in extreme cases a lack of this vitamin can cause heart failure. More commonly, it can lead to eye problems, fainting and flakiness of the skin. Good sources of riboflavin for your dog include vegetables, especially leafy greens, and wholegrains.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 can most readily be gained through vegetables and grains. Niacin deficiency can also prove fatal in very serious cases. Symptoms include a black/brown tongue and swollen lips or gums, diarrhoea with blood, and in some cases seizures. However, it is also possible to have too much niacin which can cause skin, stomach or liver problems so take care and consult your vet if in doubt.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Insufficient amounts of vitamin B6 can cause serious problems for your dog, including kidney problems and epilepsy. It can be obtained through oats, peanut butter, bananas and sweet potatoes among other sources. However, too much pyridoxine can also be harmful so take care.
Healthy oils as well as peanut and almond butters are probably the most canine-friendly sources of vitamin E. Avoid avocadoes, which are fairly well-known as a source of vitamin E but can be harmful to many dogs. A wide range of problems can indicate vitamin E deficiency, including issues with your dog’s eyes, liver, muscles, heart and nervous system.
Vitamin K is associated with blood clotting, so serious deficiency can make your pet vulnerable to bleeding. However, it is easily-obtained through leafy green vegetables such as kale or spinach. If you are worried about deficiency, mix these types of food into your dog’s meals.
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Vitamins aren’t the only essential nutrients that your dog needs. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids help to promote healthy joints, organs and muscle. They are good for digestive health and for the heart. Your dog needs more omega-6 than omega-3. Healthy oils such as coconut and flax or ground flaxseed sprinkled into their food can help ensure dogs get a good supply of the omegas.
(Metacam is another brand of Meloxicam, the arthritis medicine Stella takes, it’s been a Godsend for her in her senior years)