Essential #5: Healthy food
You might think your dog will eat anything but there’s more to it than that. “Think carefully before choosing dog food,” Elizabeth Eichler advises. “It doesn't have to be the most expensive food on the market, but it's important that is contains good-quality ingredients to provide a healthy diet for your dog.”
But how can you tell which dog foods are best? Katie Swords had this advice: “Make sure you choose a food with a high meat content. Read the ingredients – if it’s claiming to be chicken, then that should be one of the first ingredients listed. Also look at fat content and the number of additives. Some pet food can be the equivalent of feeding your pet a burger for every meal.”
And when it comes to treats, the same rules apply: “Too many treats can lead to weight gain, which in turn puts stress on a dog’s heart and joints,” explains Carlie Mesquitta. “Stick to a healthy, balanced diet, and only bring out the treats on special occasions to ensure your pooch doesn’t end up with a paunch.”
Nicholas Kynaston thinks outside the supermarket-box when it comes to buying treats for Barney. “I buy Barney half-marrow bones from the butcher. They’re meant for human consumption, but they’re great for his dental health and he loves them,” he explains. “Another one of his favourite treats is dried pig’s ears. They look quite gross, but dogs love them.
But before you go bananas in the butchers, Trevor has a word of warning: “You have to be careful what kind of bones you give a dog. For instance, you must never give a dog chicken bones, as they splinter.”