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Dogs are not generally considered to be overly picky eaters, and most dogs will eat all sorts of foods that are offered to them, as well as in some cases seeking to subsidise their own meals with things that they scavenge when out on walks!
This is because dogs are considered to be opportunistic feeders, and while they can (and will) hunt for food, they are also adept scavengers, and in the wild, will happily scavenge for food as much as, or more than, they will hunt. By default, this kind of behaviour in the wild dog generally leads to them consuming a varied and balanced diet. However, in the domestic setting, we as dog owners are the ones responsible for fulfilling all of our dog’s dietary requirements!
While complete dog foods in dry form or in tins or pouches may look very similar to each other and appear very uniform, all dog foods are not created equal. The quality of the ingredients, combination of ingredients and what proportions they are present in can all vary quite considerably between different foods, and this is something that all dog owners should be aware of.
Different types of foods and different combinations of ingredients can actually directly have an impact on your dog’s energy levels, temperament and behaviour, and so it is worth finding out about this in more detail in order to get a complete picture of your dog’s reactions and how they get on or not with different types of foods.
Read on to learn more about how what you feed to your dog can affect their temperament and behaviour.
Carbohydrates are present in dog food additives such as grains and cereals, which are often used to bulk up cheaper dog foods in the place of meat-based proteins. While the vast majority of dog foods contain grain and cereal based proteins, these are not actually a necessary part of the diet, and essentially, simply serve to make your dog feel full rather than being of high value nutritionally.
If your dog’s food is very high in carbs, this can cause them to go through peaks and troughs in their blood sugar levels, rather than receiving the slow-release energy that they really need. This in turn can lead to highs and lows in your dog’s energy levels, erratic behaviour, and even mood swings!
While your dog’s diet should not be overly fatty or too high in fat-based proteins, nevertheless, dogs still need some fat in their diets. A diet that is incredibly lean and contains low or virtually no fat can cause a decrease in the serum levels of the blood, which in turn can cause grumpy, moody behaviour and even lead to a propensity to aggression.
Sugar is not good for dogs, as it offers a short-term boost of energy with little to no nutritional benefit, which in turn causes an associated drop in energy levels after a time, in a much more pronounced way than carbohydrates do. Too much sugar can cause your dog to become hyperactive but then quickly lose their energy, and a high sugar diet will not provide the right combination of energy-releasing ingredients to keep your dog going all day.
Dogs need a reasonable amount of protein in their diets in order to maintain their energy levels and stay healthy, and a lack of suitable protein can cause a wide range of health issues including lethargy and listlessness. However, too much protein for your dog’s needs can potentially cause your dog to become pushy or dominant.
The diet of the dog does not require grains and cereals, but it does need to contain plant matter, to provide slow-release energy, starch, vitamins and minerals, and to provide a balanced diet. A lack of vegetables in the diet can cause a dull coat, lack of energy, and general poor condition and bad health.
Dogs in the wild eat a lot of bone-based food, and chewing and gnawing on bones helps to keep the teeth in good condition, and provide essential calcium. If your dog is fed on wet food only, they may be more apt to chew on things, as the texture of the food itself does not provide everything your dog needs to keep their teeth and mouths healthy.
Dry, complete diets are easy and economical to feed, but they can prove to be rather uniform and dull for your dog! Added to this, dry foods are of course by their nature low in moisture, which can lead to your dog not getting enough moisture and potentially suffering from dehydration. Over time, this can affect the liver and kidneys, causing health problems and making your dog feel uncomfortable or grumpy. Try to feed a variety of foods to keep your dog interested and to keep their diet healthy.
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