The Very Best Diet for Dogs, According to Vets

The Very Best Diet for Dogs, According to Vets

You are what you eat isn't just a mantra for people. It goes for pooches, too. A high-quality diet, after all, is key to helping your dog live longer and healthier. Here are the facts you should know about choosing the best food for your dog with tips on storing and serving, too.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all diet for all dogs

Cute funny dogs eating dry food at homeAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

While some dogs do well on a plant-based diet, others don't. Same goes for meat-based diets. "The more decades I spend in veterinary medicine with an emphasis on nutrition, the more I'm convinced that diets for dogs are highly individualized and you have to pay attention to how your dog is doing on the diet you're feeding," says Ernie Ward, DVM in San Francisco and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. If it's not working, switch, you'll know if you see these telltale signs your pup isn't feeling right.

Evaluate a diet for its nutrients, not its ingredients

The Golden Retriever eatingChendongshan/Shutterstock

Your personal food philosophy will most likely determine what you feed your dog. While some people might think a meat-based diet is best for their dog, others may believe a plant-based diet is. And that's OK, as long as you follow this rule: "Make sure whatever diet you choose is nutritionally adequate," Dr. Ward says, adding that there are very few commercial diets available in the United States that he takes issue with. The one exception? Raw diets, which he says may cause nutritional inadequacies in dogs.

A compelling new reason to consider a plant-based diet for your dog

young Jack Russell Terrier dog near bag with organic herbs and vegetables on grey backgroundSimonVera/Shutterstock

Dogs (and cats) have a tremendous impact on the environment, so much that one study found that they're responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat-eating in this country. Because animal agriculture is responsible for up to 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, it makes sense that switching dogs to a plant-based diet could help quell the effect.

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