Owning a dog is one of the best joys of life. As a dog owner, it’s important you take the best care possible for your sweet and adorable pup, no matter their age. One of the biggest questions dog owners ask themselves is what food is best for their dog. Depending on your dog’s age, medical needs and even their preferred flavors, there are lots of foods out there perfect for your pup. Here’s how you can find the best diet for your dog!

Get educated

Much like how educating yourself on how a dog collar and leash set keeps your dog safe, it’s important to educate yourself on different diets and foods for your dog. There are many foods on the “do not eat” list. In fact, eating these foods can potentially poison your dog or cause them to get violently ill. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to take care of your pet and make sure they’re healthy and safe. Knowing what foods you can and can’t feed your dog is a large part of that!

Be consistent

An important part of your dog’s diet is to remain consistent. Don’t change their food up frequently, unless directed to by your dog’s vet. Feed them at consistent times of the day, including giving them treats or medication. If you’re constantly changing up their food or when they get fed, your dog will never get into a routine. Routines are good for dogs because they thrive on a schedule. A dog on a schedule will be much more well-behaved than dogs who aren’t, and this includes with their food! Being consistent with your dog’s diet will help their bodies adjust to the nutrients coming in. If you change their food too frequently, then they might miss important nutrients they need to thrive. And no one wants that! 

Talk to your dog’s vet

Your dog’s veterinarian is a medical professional who knows what your dog can and cannot have. They can recommend foods that are best for your pet, or they can guide you through a more natural and holistic diet if you’re interested in preparing your dog’s food yourself. Your vet can caution you about different food brands, ingredients and even help you figure out whether your dog is having a reaction to any of the ingredients in their current food. It’s important to remember that vets provide you with professional opinions, but their opinions are more grounded and reliable than many other opinions you can find online. They’ve studied this for years, and many have personal experience with the food they recommend.

A frenchie wearing a shirt next to a bowl

Ask your friends

Get ideas from your friends and family members about what they feed their pups. You’ll quickly find that each dog owner has their food preferences – and that’s because each dog is different! Even dogs from the same litter can have different food preferences. Just like humans, dogs have taste buds. And, while they don’t have as many taste buds as humans, they certainly have a sense of taste. This means your dogs will have their own preferences on what they like to eat! Your friends can give you ideas on what to include, but you’ll always want to watch your dog’s reaction to specific foods to really get a feel for what they like and don’t like. 

Consider your budget

Dog food isn’t cheap. And, if you have to feed your dog prescription food, you’ll probably be paying more than other pet owners who aren’t. The budget you have can determine what food you end up feeding your dog. It’s important to remember that a lot of people will pressure you to feed your dog fully organic food, but that can cost a lot of money. It’s okay if you can’t afford the fanciest dog food on the market. What’s important is that you take the time to consider your own budget and feed your dog something that your vet recommends is best within your budget. 

Give true consideration to wet food

For a long time, many vets and pet experts felt that wet food was worse for your pet’s teeth than dry food. However, many vets have found that there really isn’t any difference in plaque and tartar buildup on dogs’ teeth regardless of the type of food they eat. What matters is that you get your dogs’ teeth cleaned regularly and pay attention to whether or not they start eating less, have swollen cheeks or bleeding gums. Wet food can be great for older dogs because it’s a way for them to stay hydrated and has less carbs than dry food. Plus, for dogs that are pickier than others, wet food tends to have better success with them than dry kibble. 

Do real research

It’s important to get your information from credible sources. If you are seriously considering an all-natural diet for your dog, making their food yourself or feeding them a mixture of human foods, be sure to get items and cook them in a way that’s healthy for dogs. Get your information regarding nutrition on food labels from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which provides quality information on what dogs should and shouldn’t be eating. Find dog food companies that go above and beyond the minimums that the AAFCO lays out for dogs’ nutritional needs. 

Remember that age matters with diet

Puppies need different nutrients than adults do, and elderly dogs need a different diet than younger dogs. Remembering that, as your dog gets older, they might need to change their diet will help you keep them safe and healthy!

Get them moving

A dog’s diet is only as good as the exercise they have during the day! Get them outside to run and play, and make sure they have a FitBark they can wear to ensure you know where they are while they’re outside running around. Get in on the fun, too. You’ll feel much healthier as well.