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Determining Your Dog’s Dietary Needs

September 19, 2020

When you’re a dog owner, you tend to stop by the pet aisle and peruse the toys, treats, and training items. You also start noticing the slight differences found in today’s dog food options. While food trends come and go, finding the right chow for your canine starts with a few key choices, including grains, meats, and nutrients.

Let’s start by taking a look at the differences in grains and how to decide if a grain-free diet is necessary for your pet.

Whole vs. Refined Grain

The most common types of grains found in dog foods are wheat, oats, corn, rice, barley, millet, oatmeal, and quinoa. If the entire grain is used in the food, then it’s labeled whole grain. If it has been refined, the manufacturer will use the label refined grain. The difference is in the micronutrients. Specifically, whole grains offer vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorous, and fiber.

Going with (or without) the Grain

Many dogs don’t require a grain-free diet, but there are reasons pet owners choose one of these foods – especially for pets with allergies.

Dogs do digest complex carbohydrates found in grains and their bodies can utilize the energy in those carbs over a longer period of time, but a diet low or free from grains may help with food allergies. Thanks to all of the dog foods available, it’s easier than ever to locate a food for specific pet allergies. Some of the more common food allergy symptoms in dogs include the following

  • Increased Itchiness
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Hair loss (bald patches)
  • Inflamed skin and/or hot spots
  • Loose stool/diarrhea
  • Chronic licking or chewing
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Sores and scabs

Breeds that run a higher risk of food allergies include retrievers, boxers, Chinese shar-pei, cocker spaniels, collies, German dachshunds, Dalmatians, Lhasa Apso, German schnauzers, Wheaton terriers, English springer spaniels, and West Highland terriers.

It can be tricky to identify the ingredients that affect your dog. If they exhibit allergy-related symptoms it’s recommended you put them on a limited ingredient diet and then slowly reintroduce proteins and grains. This will help pinpoint the food allergy.

Introducing New Food

No matter what type of food you choose, be sure you introduce it slowly by mixing it with their current food. The transition should take about seven days. While making the switch, notice your pet’s reactions, including preferences for taste.

Grain Free Isn’t Necessarily Carbohydrate Free

Grain-free foods might still contain complex carbohydrates, including peas, lentils, chickpeas, potato, and sweet potato. That’s not a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re trying to limit your pet’s diet.

You’ll Find Your Dog’s Favorite Food at Coastal

If your dog is a picky eater; has dandruff or a dull coat; food allergies or sensitivities, feeding them premium-quality food may be the answer to many issues. GO! Solutions nutritionist-formulated dry and wet food recipes are created especially for dogs who “shouldn’t eat this” and “can’t eat that”; to support pets who could benefit from healthy skin, a shiny coat, and a new attitude; and, for dogs who just can’t get enough of those delicious, drool-worthy animal proteins.

NOW FRESH™ is full of nutritious ingredients like 100% market-fresh meat or fish. 100% fresh omega 3 & 6 oils from coconuts and canola. Discover recipes for Puppies, Adults, and Senior dogs. 0% grains, gluten, wheat, beef, chicken, corn, or soy, 0% rendered meats, by-products, added growth hormones, or artificial preservatives

While you’re in the pet aisle, be sure to check out all the treats, collars and leashes, beds, and pet favorites at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal.