Dog Nutrition

We always give the parameters of an appropriate diet that fits the specific breed and/or genetic profile.

Cat Dental Service Image

What Kind Of Food Is Best To Give An Adult Dog?

I always give the parameters of an appropriate diet that fits the specific breed and/or genetic profile. I look at age, which also ties into activity level. I’m also looking at whether they need a higher calorie content, lower calorie content, something with good fat, and if that fat is a lean fat profile. You name it. Keeping those considerations helps us gear the best recommendation of food possible. The other thing to remember is whether your pet is spayed or neutered. This will lead to our decisions for the appropriate diet as well as if you are considering breeding your pet. These are all good topics to bring up at your exam so we can fine-tune the best diet choice for your pet.

What Kind Of Food Is Best To Give A Senior Dog?

It falls into the same category as adults. However, there are some changes. The first would be that I’m looking for a lower calorie content food, something that I’m not changing the amount of food they’re getting each meal too much, so they don’t feel like they’re being deprived, but knowing that the calorie per cup is relatively less than what their adult food is. The next thing I look for is a senior balance mix of fat, protein, phosphorus, and sodium. Primarily, this helps ensure that I’m getting lean muscle support, so I’m not encouraging or seeing any muscle wasting on those senior pets.

What Are A Dog’s Nutritional Requirements?

There’s a list of six basic ones that I look for in a diet: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and a vitamin mix.

How Can I Ensure My Dog’s Getting A Balanced Diet?

This one is good, especially right now, as there has been a boom of dog food options out there from different brands to manufacturers. You name it. There’s no right or wrong, but I’m sure there can be a wrong and/or a major right. If you want to assure yourself and feel comfortable that you’re picking a diet that is proven to be balanced, that has been regulated, and meets standards, you’re going to be looking for the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which you would commonly hear as AAFCO.

If you see that the diet that you’re considering or have chosen for your pet meets those AAFCO standards, then you know that that company is adhering to veterinary-approved dietary recommendations.

Is Dry Food, Wet Food, Or A Combination Of Both Best For Dogs?

The answer to this is as different as all the different types of pets out there. It depends. I would start out by feeding them primarily dry food just to get them used to the kibble. Most dogs like the crunch, and it’s easily something you can keep in the home. However, I do have some dogs that are extremely picky and prefer all-wet food or have a health condition that requires more water. If this is the case, then balanced canned food is absolutely okay. There’s the rest of us, like me, that occasionally want to feel like we’re giving our pets a little treat. In that case, you can keep balanced canned food to mix with your dry food. I will recommend not mixing up the types of food or brands of food often or trying to do it as minimally as possible because we do see that if you start changing dogs’ diets a lot, they will get stomach upset.

Dog Nutrition – FAQs

Can I Feed My Dog Human Food?

The short answer to that is no, but the honest answer is we’re probably going to anyway. Some foods that are okay to give dogs are carrots, apples, bananas, and broccoli if they’ll eat them. There’s quite a list of human foods that are safe to give, but I would say focus on moderation. It should not be taking up anywhere near the bulk of their regular diet intake of certified food. Whether you’re just giving a couple of bites of it or an occasional treat, that is okay. The foods that you want to avoid at all costs would be things that are toxic to them, like raisins, onions, and garlic. However, there are other things to consider. Things like fried foods, high-fatty foods, sugary foods, and the dreaded chocolate. We have plenty of blog material and resources on our website if you want to dive deeper into what things to avoid feeding or what things are safe to feed. As always, you can always call our clinic if you have any specific questions because, I’m going to be honest, you’ll get those cute puppy dog eyes looking at you, and you’ll want to cave in. Not all of us can be perfect and not feed because, I mean, come on. You can’t have that guy look up at you; you’ll give him a snack. So make sure it’s moderation, the right option of food, and that you’re not doing it all the time.

How Do I Know If The Food I'm Giving My Dog Is Making Them Sick?

The obvious signs right off the bat are if you’re noticing vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and/or just generally not acting themselves. Those would be the easily identifiable symptoms that you would notice if your pet isn’t handling the food that you’re feeding them correctly. Of course, there is quite a long list, but that’s something we’ll discuss during your exam if this is your primary concern.

Can Changing My Dog's Diet Suddenly Cause Harm?

It could. I have plenty of dogs that handle transition just fine. However, I have an equal amount of dogs where, if you make the slightest change to their diet, you are going to upset their GI system terribly. You’re basically looking to maintain their gut biome as happily and peacefully as possible. For some pets, that means finding a diet and balance that works and sticking with it. I know as humans, we want to add that variety and share what we’re eating with them, but if it’s not good for your dog and/or it’s not healthy or a good option for any dog, it is best just to take the higher ground and not do it.

How Does An Elimination Diet Work?

An elimination diet is generally a prescription diet that is a strict diet focused on taking out all of the high allergic triggers. These diets need to be followed to the T of veterinarian recommendations, making sure they’re not getting any other outside food sources into their system. This will allow us to monitor to see if any of the previously ill symptoms we were looking to get rid of start going away once they are on the elimination diet. From there, your veterinarian may decide to gradually introduce other foods to see which triggers those allergic responses again so we can take that out of the equation, or we have some pets that just right off the bat do so well that they stay on that allergenic specific diet.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Eaten Something Toxic To Them?

The obvious symptoms you’ll look for are drooling, foaming, stumbling, lethargy, usually hanging their head down low, tucked tail, vomiting, and diarrhea. These are all signs that something good is not happening, so if you suspect in the slightest that your dog might have gotten into something poisonous, whether it be food, a chemical, or a substance, call your local emergency clinic, the poison helpline, or any of these options right away. It’s important to seek medical treatment sooner rather than later to make sure we get your pet back on track to a healthy state.

Dog Nutrition – FAQs 2

Is Wet Food More Nutritious Than Dry Dog Food?

Not necessarily. If you are choosing a food that is AAFCO certified and assured as a balanced diet, it doesn’t matter if you feed wet or dry food. They’re going to have the same nutritional value. The difference lies in preference and/or medical conditions that might contribute to choosing one or the other.

Are Prescription Diets Better For My Dog?

Not necessarily. I have plenty of dogs that need to be on a balanced over-the-counter diet. On the other hand, if your dog’s a candidate that one of our prescription diets would help make it have a happier and better life, then prescription diets are another great choice. Neither one is better than the other. It’s more just based on the individual dog and their dietary needs. If you have any questions on over-the-counter diets versus prescription diets and/or what recommendations we might have, give us a call. We’d always like to help answer those because we know your pet through exams, and by answering your questions, we can better fine-tune your nutrition recommendations.

If My Dog Eats Grass, Does That Mean We Are Missing Something In Their Diet?

This one’s a little tricky because, let’s face it, sometimes dogs are dogs, and they like chewing on things like your shoes, sticks, rocks, and grass. For most dogs, if you see them eat grass, then that’s just them being a dog eating grass. However, if you see it excessively and they are starting to eat copious amounts of grass followed by throwing up, it could be a sign that they are lacking fiber content or some sort of bulking agent in their food. So let us know, and we can do other tests to make sure everything else is running well in your dog’s diet or your dog’s health. Then we can assess doing a diet change as needed. Again, this is a rough one to answer. We need to know a little bit more about your pet, but if you’re just seeing it occasionally, it’s usually safe to say that your pet will be fine, but keep an eye on it and check out for the frequency.

Will Human Food Make My Dog Overweight?

They can. If you are feeding your dog your scraps after every meal of what you have to eat, and giving them some too, if everybody in your family, you might not realize, is also doing the same thing, those calories add up fast. We can show you comparisons, especially on your dog’s breed and size, and the equivalent of what you’re feeding them would be in our terms. You’d be surprised by the equivalent of how many double cheeseburgers they are eating in comparison to what they should be for their size. So be mindful of that. They don’t need as much food as you think they do or as they would like you to think that they do.

Will Free-Choice Feeding Make My Dog Overweight?

It can, and that too falls in the line of if your dog will just eat until the bowl’s empty and you’re keeping that bowl full all of the time. In that case, it will contribute to a higher calorie intake. Whereas if you’re feeding set meals with a measured amount, then you know for a fact they’re getting their daily requirement of calories, and they’re not exceeding an excessive amount. Also, going back to the previous one, if everybody in your family is contributing, if you have little kids or some of us big kids in the house, I’m sure you have some of those that are giving food to your pet, keep that in mind when feeding them as well. If they are getting a copious amount of calories, something has to give. So make sure that there’s a rule in the house that you’re only giving a dedicated treat and nothing else to help control how much your pet is eating so you don’t see their waistline expanding.

What Are Some Other Myths About Dog Nutrition That You Hear As A Veterinarian?

I will say this is the biggest hot-button issue question we get at some point from every owner. Should I feed my pet a grain-free diet? Nine times out of 10, the answer is no, you shouldn’t. Most pets we find are not allergic specifically to grain. What we’re most looking for is ensuring their diet is balanced and nutritionally sound. I have very few pets that are indeed showing signs of an adverse reaction to grains, and those have been monitored by a veterinarian, and then the appropriate grain-free or restricted diet of some sort is added on.

There are some cases, but not as many as we want to think that that’s the easy fix to solving your pet’s problems. This question has many avenues to go down and is tailored to every pet’s needs. So please bring it up on your next visit. We can talk about options and if that is the right choice for your pet without going into a tangent but also bringing it up. You might have seen in the news that there have been cases of cardiomyopathy in dogs fed primarily grain-free and legume-rich diets for a long period of time. This is a heart condition that they’ve noticed specifically with these dogs, and that, in particular, is alarming and something we want to watch out for. So that is why we push, and we just keep trying to ram it home. Ensuring you find an AAFCO-approved diet that is nutritionally sound and balanced and has all of the nutrients your pet needs is very important.

If you still have other questions and you’d like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (317) 721-7387, or you can email us at But please do reach out, and we’ll get back to you as fast as we can. Don’t forget to follow us on social media,