Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern
We all want to keep our furry friends happy and healthy. But did you know that 88 percent of dog owners think that nutrition for humans and dogs is similar while, in reality, it’s extremely different? PetMD teamed up with Hill’s Science Diet to create MyBowl for Dogs (the equivalent to MyPlate for humans) to display the proper pet diet. They briefed us about why Fido doesn’t get a seat at the dinner table.
Carbohydrates should make up about half of your dog’s meal. These are essential for keeping canines playful and active. You want to look for the words “whole grain” on the nutrition label. These will keep blood sugar levels steady and help your dog feel fuller longer.
- Good sources: Whole grain wheat, brown rice, whole corn, pearled barley and potatoes.
Protein will ideally fill 25 percent of your dog’s bowl. Fresh meats and meat meals provide nutrients for strong muscles and are essential for your pet’s growth, maintenance and energy. One to two sources of protein should be part of the first few listed ingredients on a dog food bag.
- Good sources: Chicken, lamb, pork, eggs and soybean meal.
Vitamins and Minerals aren’t just necessary for humans—dogs require them as well (and they’re especially important for puppies). Think of them filling about 10 percent of the bowl. Fruits, veggies and plants provide essential vitamins that strengthen your dog’s immune system and create the proper balance for your pet’s good health.
- Good sources: Produce, mineral supplements.
Fats and Oils make up the remaining 15 percent of the dog bowl. These are required for vitamin absorption, providing energy and normal nervous system function. (And make food taste better!) The right balance of fats such as omega-6 and omega-3 help promote a healthy heart and skin, as well as that shiny coat. Some fatty acids also optimize brain function.
- Good sources: Soybean oil, pork fat and olive oil. (Avoid fats like beef tallow and lard.)
What about exercise? And is wet or dry food better? Keep reading to learn three important pet wellness lessons.
Well, this dog’s Sunday activity makes our weekends look lazy. Dozer, a 3-year-old goldendoodle from Maryland ran from his home on May 15 and decided to join the Maryland Half-Marathon. He is reported to have snuck in at mile five and was seen at various points of the race by several runners. Here’s a video of him crossing the finish line at 2 hours and 14 minutes:
When race organizers heard about this pooch’s feat, they awarded him a medal. Now he even has his own runner’s page at the Maryland Half Marathon website where fans can donate funding for the University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center. He’s raised more than $17,000 to date. Good job, Dozer!
As the host of The Biggest Loser, Alison Sweeney’s life revolves around fitness. So when her vet told her that her pup Winky was overweight, she immediately took action. “My whole family’s health is important to me, so I knew I needed to do something,” Alison said.
According to a recent study, more than half of pet cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight. The main culprits? Lack of exercise and overfeeding. To get Winky back on track, Alison and her son Ben scheduled walks and set up a diet. It only made perfect sense for her to team up with Hill’s Science Diet’s Million Pound Pledge, a national initiative to get pets fitter and lose a combined million pounds.
Here’s what you can do to jumpstart your buddy’s fitness:
- Make walks or physical activity a priority. Put it on your schedule and find ways to make it fun and challenging so you can get a workout out of it, too.
- Avoid letting your pet get scraps from your meals. It might only seem like tiny morsels, but your puppy snacking on “a cube of cheese would be the equivalent of us eating about two cheeseburgers,” says Alison.
Do you have fun ways to get fit with your pet? Share ‘em with us!