Feeling lost in choosing the right food for your dog? You’re not alone… There are so many different brands, different mindsets, different ingredients… For ordinary people, this is not an easy task!
One of the things you can easily do that allows you to assess whether you’re feeding your dog well is to see some of the signs…
Here are the signs you need to pay attention to when assessing the food you give your dog:
Digestion and stool
Yes, like it or not, stool reflects digestion and the quality of the diet. A good diet is reflected by a limited amount of firm-textured stool. If your dog has multiple stools a day, or if they are soft, or bulky (sometimes almost as much as the amount of food you give), raise a red flag and ask yourself questions. In fact, undigested nutrients end up in the feces and increase their volume… Therefore less stool equals better absorption of nutrients. Some dogs will have soft stools due to food intolerance, this is also a point to watch. We therefore want a limited and firm amount of stool. In addition, other digestive disorders, such as frequent vomiting, gastric reflux, is not normal, and if this is the case for our dog, then we must also question the diet and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
Skin, hair and smell
When the diet is adequate, the nutrients necessary for skin health and hair production are sufficient, and this is reflected visually on the dog. A shiny, silky coat with normal hair loss is a sign of good nutrition. If your dog has a dull coat, itching, dandruff, and has an endless moult, this may be due to a diet that does not suit him. Also, a well-fed dog often has little or no body odor. Finally, itching and especially licking between the pads can be signs that the animal does not tolerate its food well.
Secretions of the ears and eyes
Increased secretions in the ears and eyes can be a sign that your dog’s diet is not optimal. Poor absorption of nutrients irritates the digestive system and thus the immune system, which can cause an increase in the secretions of the ears and eyes, and even promote the development of ear infections, for example.
The weight of the animal
We must not hide the fact that many humans are overweight and so are our dogs. Several studies have shown that obesity is very harmful to health and joints. It is therefore important to monitor your dog’s weight regularly. As I often say to help people, generally speaking, you should feel the ribs slightly, but not the dog’s spine. I advise you to establish your dog’s healthy weight with your food consultant or veterinarian and weigh your dog at least once a month so that you can readjust the diet if necessary. Excess weight in dogs is very common and very harmful to their health. We see far too many dogs with the barrel shape, as I call it.
A good diet will be reflected by a dog that has beautiful healthy teeth and without tartar. Bad breath, excessive accumulation of tartar can be a sign of poor balance in the diet and digestion problem. Check your dog’s teeth regularly, tartar is harmful to health.
The behaviour of the dog
Over the years I have practised in food consulting, I have seen how much food affects a dog’s behaviour. In dogs that do not digest their food well and where positive changes in their diet will be made, there will often be a noticeable improvement in their behaviour. A dog with equal energy, calm, posed is often the result of a good diet. Dogs don’t talk, so they can’t tell you that they have a stomach ache or that they have food problems— you just have to think about how you react when your stomach hurts… It is enough to become anxious, intolerant and moody, especially if it has been going on for several years… If your dog has behavioral problems, make sure that it is not because of a bad diet that irritates him.
A good immune system
Healthy eating is the foundation of a healthy immune system. Nutritional deficiency, food intolerance will inevitably affect the dog’s immune defense system. This can be reflected by a dog that is often sick, has sore bones that do not heal, often has ear infections, etc. When our dog is often sick, we must make sure that it does not come from a diet that does not suit him.
These are many small signs that can be observed in your pet that will help you know if its diet is adequate or not. Nutrition is the foundation of health and longevity!
Source: Karine Simard, Agronome, M. Sc.
Canine Food Consultant