If you are what you eat, as they say, what about your beloved four-legged friend? What role does nutrition play in your dogs life, especially in its health? As a vet will quickly reveal, for your dog to remain healthy, it must take in the right nutrients for both its size and age.
This revelation, then, puts you on the spot. Are you properly feeding your dog? To know whether you are doing so, here are some signs your dog isn’t getting the nutrients it needs.
1. Wrong Weight
The first sign of a poorly fed dog is also the most obvious – its weight. As a general rule, an animal’s weight should match its breed, size, and age. If it falls on either the obese or the emaciated side of the scale, you’re doing something wrong.
For instance, if you own an obese pet, you’re feeding it too much fatty food or junk food and not enough of wholesome foods. On the other hand, an emaciated pet lacks vital nutrients in its diet and might need health supplements for dogs.
2. Slow Growth
In puppies, the most obvious sign of poor nutrition is slow growth. But sometimes, puppies grow slowly despite you feeding them regular dog food. Surprisingly, that’s the problem.
As a vet will tell you, puppies need more fat, calcium, and proteins than bigger dogs. For this reason, they need puppy food designed for their breed. However, withdraw this food once the puppy matures, for it causes obesity in adult dogs.
3. Shabby Coat
After low weight and slow growth, the next thing you’ll notice about a malnourished dog is its shabby coat. And when you look underneath the dull, unkempt fur, you find red, itchy, dry, and flaky skin.
These tell-tale signs show your dog’s diet lacks fatty acids. So, where do you find these acids? The most common place is in fish or flaxseed oil.
4. Bad Breath
The next thing to watch out for is bad breath. And contrary to what you think, doggy breath is far from normal. Instead, it indicates poor oral hygiene, meaning you’re not brushing your dog’s teeth or you’re feeding it wet food.
As a result, bacteria-harbouring plaque builds up in your pet’s mouth, causing gum disease, teeth loss, bone re-absorption, and blood infection. To remedy the problem, do more than brush the pooch’s teeth. Also, feed it dry foods and chew sticks, which clean the teeth.
5. Poor Bowel Movements
A dog’s bowel movements say as much about its health as does its breath, weight, growth, and fur. What’s more, it’s just as obvious. A healthy dog on a healthy diet has regular, effortless movements. In addition, its stool is firm.
In contrast, a malnourished dog on an unhealthy diet has irregular bowel movements, and it either suffers from either diarrhoea or constipation. Fortunately, these two go away if you switch the dog’s diet from low- to high-quality dog food.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, then they might be missing essential nutrients in their diets. Try supplementing and improving their diet first, and if you don’t see any improvements, contact a professional as soon as possible to assess the situation.