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Choosing Dog Food: 8 Mistakes to Avoid as a First-Time Dog Owner

As a new dog owner, you’ll want to provide the best nutrition for your pup.  Proper nutrition is essential for your furry friend’s overall health and wellbeing. However, with so many varieties and brands of dog food available, choosing the perfect one becomes a challenge. To help you make an informed decision, here are eight common pitfalls that people make and how to avoid them to ensure your pup remains healthy and happy.

1.  Not Reading the Label

The packaging and marketing taglines may seem appealing when buying dog food for the first time. But don’t be fooled! Many novices make the mistake of not reading the labels and checking the ingredients. For instance, some dog foods contain excessive fillers, by-products, or artificial additives that offer little to no nutritional value. These products should be avoided as they can cause allergies and/or other health problems.

Controversial ingredients like ethoxyquin and propylene glycol are considered safe for dogs. However, some dog owners tend to avoid them. Ask your veterinarian or research online if you’re unsure about a particular ingredient on the dog food label.

2.  Not Considering Dog’s Unique Needs

Every dog is different! Each dog has individual needs based on age, breed, and activity level.

  • Not Considering Dog’s Age: Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. For instance, puppies require more protein and calories for growth, whereas senior dogs will need foods that are easy to digest, have fewer calories, and include joint-supporting ingredients in their dog food.
  • Not Considering Dog’s Breed & Size: One of the important factors to consider when choosing dog food is the breed of the dog. For example, a big dog breed like a Labrador retriever will require a high-calorie diet than a small dog breed, such as a basset hound.
  • Not Considering Dog’s Activity Level: A highly active dog like a German Shepherd needs a higher calorie content than a less active dog such as a Maltese.

Selecting food according to your dog’s individual needs will help them stay healthy and happy at every stage of their life.

3.  Buying Cheap Dog Food

Buying cheap doesn’t always mean buying the best. Just as we don’t compromise when buying human baby food, we shouldn’t do it with dog food either. Some cheap dog foods may contain low-quality ingredients that may harm your dog.

On the other hand, just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean the dog food is good for your pup. It may have ingredients that may cause allergies or other health problems. When buying dog food, it’s important to balance price and quality. It’s all about experimenting, and if you’re still unsure, check with a veterinarian about the ingredients and whether it’s good for your dog or not. As a responsible dog owner, buying good quality dog food ensures good health and a happy pup.

4.  Storing Dog Food Improperly

This is another reason why you should read labels properly. Dog foods should be stored in tight and sealed containers. That way, the food stays fresh and prevents pests from entering. Keeping it dry and cool is also essential to prevent it from going bad. Follow the directions on the label, and your dog will thank you for it!

5.  Feeding Human Food

Feeding table scraps is a common mistake that many dog owners make. While some dogs may be able to digest human food, others might not. Moreover, some human foods are not nutritious for dogs. Having too much may lead them to getting sick.

Therefore, it is a good idea to stick to dog food and avoid feeding them human food to prevent them from getting ill. As a first-time dog owner, you are responsible for what they eat, and a healthy diet will improve your dog’s quality of life.

6.  Abruptly Switching to Another Brand

This is another mistake many first-time dog owners make. Your little pup has gotten used to a particular brand of food. But due to unavailability or budget issues, you plan on changing the brand. Doing that suddenly can disrupt your pup’s digestive system and lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or vomiting.

Therefore, it is vital to transition to a new food gradually, safely and successfully. How to do that? Begin by gradually mixing small amounts of the new food with the old one. Then, increase the proportion gradually over a week or two till your pup gets adjusted to the new dog food.

7.  No Food Variety

Even without any issues, it is a good idea to change dog food brands so your dog can have a variety of food. Eating the same food day after day can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

So as they age and grow, introduce a variety of dog foods. You can rotate between different types of food and mix in wet food with their diet. This way, you can ensure they receive all the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

8.  Disregarding Regular Check-ups

Selecting dog food is a process that takes time. As they grow, their nutritional needs change. Therefore, regular veterinary check-ups are vital to monitor your dog’s overall health. Your vet can recommend any adjustments or modifications required on your pup’s diet.

On a Final Note

Selecting the right dog food can seem challenging. However, by avoiding the above common rookie mistakes, you can make an informed decision when choosing the perfect dog food. Remember to read the labels, consider your dog’s individual needs, store food properly, and stay in touch with your vet. Provide a variety of food but be careful when switching to new brands. With a little research, experiment, and care, you can provide your little furry friend with a nutritional and balanced diet that would set them up for a long, healthy, and happy life by your side.