A balanced diet is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy dog’s life. But what is the most suitable diet for dogs? Hanna Stephan, nutrition veterinarian at Terra Canis, tells us what’s really important in your pet’s diet and what ingredients you should look out for when buying their food.
Balanced nutrition is food based on the lifestyles and needs of dogs. Due to the nature of their organism, dogs require a species-specific diet. This need determines the right proportion of meat, vegetables and fruits and natural ingredients.
The aim of a species-appropriate diet is to provide the dog with all the nutrients it needs to live and thus contribute to a healthy and happy life. Veterinarian Hanna Stephan, who is responsible for product development at Terra Canis as a nutrition expert, explains how it works.
Wet food or dry food: which is better for the dog?
There is a very wide choice of products to feed your dog. A choice so wide that it is sometimes difficult to navigate. One of the first questions to ask is whether the dog should eat wet or dry food instead. There is no one size fits all answer to this question, because each dog has very individual needs and preferences. However, a few basic tips can make this choice easier.
Wet food, the choice adapted to the needs of dogs
In general, wet food is a better choice for most dogs because this type of food is more natural. Life in nature speaks for itself: the prey of wild dogs and wolves consists of juicy meat. Most of the time, wet dog food has a higher meat content with a lower starch content. This means that this food is perfectly adapted to the nature of dogs.
Healthy and dry food
A dog can also eat dry food healthily, as long as the ingredients and composition are correct. Dry food should have high quality raw materials, as well as a high percentage of protein. Veterinarian Hanna Stephan recommends:
“If you are going for a dry diet, high meat kibbles are the best choice. In addition, it must be ensured that the dog drinks enough. »
During the production of dry foods, the meat and other ingredients are almost completely dehydrated. If the dog eats exclusively or mainly dry food, the need for water increases. The dog’s increased hydration needs can be met by drinking plenty of cool water on the one hand, and soaking the dry food in lukewarm water on the other hand, in order to moisten it.
Is a grain-free diet better for my dog?
When deciding on a species-appropriate diet, one thing is particularly important: the ingredients. Dogs have difficulty digesting grains and some are sensitive to foods containing grains due to previous illnesses, food allergies or intolerances. Poor grain tolerance is in the dog’s very nature, says veterinarian Hanna Stephan:
“Due to the structure of their digestive tract, with a relatively short intestine, dogs as carnivores and omnivores are by nature not equipped to tolerate large amounts of grain. »
Cereals are high in carbohydrates which are difficult for dogs to assimilate. This can lead to an overload of the digestive system if there is a high intake of these. If you have a food-sensitive dog, switching to grain-free wet food may make sense. By avoiding hard-to-digest cereals and potentially allergenic gluten, the animal’s digestive tract will be spared with the consumption of grain-free foods.
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What is a diet adapted to the nature of dogs composed of?
Healthy dog food has a balanced composition of raw materials. In addition to a high proportion of meat, fruits, vegetables and herbs provide vitamins, fiber and micronutrients. The optimal balance between the ingredients is crucial, because the dog can only receive all essential nutrients through the right ratio of ingredients.
Meat as a source of animal protein for dogs
It is always meat that should be the main food in the dog’s diet. High-quality muscle meat and offal are the main source of energy for dogs and cannot be replaced by other raw materials, veterinarian Hanna Stephan points out:
“As an energy supplier, the dog’s metabolism primarily uses animal protein, which is the only species-appropriate nutritional basis as far as the dog is concerned. »
The meat content of dog food should be at least 50-60% to meet the energy needs of the dog. 100% food-grade meat, such as that offered by Terra Canis, is particularly healthy and appetizing. Indeed, the brand only offers fresh meat and quality offal in order to please your dog with a delicious meal adapted to his species and his needs.
Vegetables, fruits and herbs provide fiber and vitamins
Although meat is central to a dog’s diet, dogs are not strictly carnivores. As omnivores, in addition to animal protein, they also need fiber in the form of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet in dogs, as it stimulates digestion and contributes to better assimilation of food.
In addition, vegetables, fruits and herbs provide your dog with essential vitamins and minerals. These ingredients are the best way to provide your dog with all the nutrients he needs in a totally natural way.
Micronutrients from natural ingredients
In addition to meat, vegetables, fruits and herbs, natural additives complete the ideal menu for the dog. Dogs and their ancestors have adapted optimally to the intake of natural ingredients over millennia. Veterinarian Hanna Stephan explains why vitamins and minerals from natural ingredients are better for dogs than synthetic additives:
“The more natural the origin of the nutrients, the higher their bioavailability and therefore their benefits for the dog. »
Natural additives from eggshell, pumpkin seeds, linseed oil, brewer’s yeast, pollen or algae therefore have a particularly high bioavailability and can be easily absorbed by dogs. In the case of synthetic vitamins, on the other hand, a significantly larger amount would have to be consumed for the same amount of vitamins to be assimilated into the dog’s body.
High-quality dog food is characterized in particular by a natural composition and a high bioavailability of nutrients. In this way, your animal will receive all the essential micronutrients. These include vitamins, minerals and trace elements as well as secondary plant substances, enzymes and fibres. These nutrients ensure that the daily needs of the dog are covered and that your four-legged friend receives a healthy and species-appropriate diet.