At the start of a new year it’s become the norm for people to spend a bit more time thinking about the food and drink that they put into their bodies. From ‘dry January’ and cutting out sugar, to more exercise at the gym, it’s clear that us humans like to start the year with a fresh approach to our diets.
It makes sense, then, that approach to what we eat doesn’t stop with ourselves or our families, but extends to our dogs, too. We asked our friends at Pooch & Mutt to provide their rundown of top dog food trends to help boost your pup’s health.
What is functional food?
First up, what is functional feeding? Functional foods are those that have potential benefits beyond the basic nutritional values. For example, us humans might choose to include more fatty fish such as tuna and salmon to boost the health of our hearts. Sometimes, these foods have been supplemented with extra health giving ingredients to boost the goodness they naturally provide, like yoghurt
We are getting educated
With up to 30% of the UK owning at least one dog (PFMA, 2016), it’s no surprise that you can now easily get a healthy subscription box for both your pooch and yourself through the letterbox tomorrow morning. It’s becoming easier to stay informed about what you and your dogs are eating, and easier, too, to get hold of healthy food. Here are a few ideas for how to promote healthy dog diets this year.
Why go Grain-Free?
Ever heard the saying ‘good health starts with what we eat’? Grain-Free dog foods are becoming increasingly popular – it’s a similar trend to supermarkets expanding their range of gluten free foods. Replacing indigestible carbohydrate sources with more digestible ones such as sweet potato and pea protein can work to settle your dog’s sensitive stomach. According to The Guardian pea protein is set to lead the way as a plant-based protein source in 2017.
Fit for function protein sources
When considering protein sources it’s a generally good rule of thumb to find high-percentage protein. This indicates that the food isn’t packed with cereals that are often the cause of digestive upset. If your dog is lucky enough not to be allergic to any protein sources, you can choose a meat to match the needs of your dog in the same way you would choose food for yourself. Consider the options – functional food doesn’t have to be boring! Lean chicken is a great option if your dog is prone to weight gain. Salmon is a great protein for dogs with sensitive digestive systems or joint issues. Plus, the extra Omega 3 found in salmon will do wonders for the shine on your four-pawed friend’s coat! If like us, and our buddies at Pooch & Mutt, you want to ensure you’re feeding your dog locally and ethically sourced meat, why not look into UK-sourced feeds as well as companies with an Ethical Award.
Working with allergies
The main reason many people choose a grain-free dog food is because their dog suffers from an allergy. The foods which most commonly cause allergies in dogs include beef, dairy and corn. Signs of allergies in your dog can include, itchy or reddened skin, inconsistent stools and frequent ear infections. However, many foods and treats on the market offer a complete nutritional profile whilst remaining grain-free. If your dog is showing symptoms of a possible allergy, it’s best to seek the advice of a vet who will be able to both treat your dog’s symptoms and steer you towards kinder ingredients.
Pro-tip: Soak some of your dog’s daily food allowance in a little warm water and stuff into his/her favourite toy for a boredom busting play session!
Remember: when switching your dog’s diet, you should do this gradually to avoid any tummy troubles. Replace only about a quarter of their existing feed for the first two to three days and increase from there.
Feeling inspired? Check out Pooch & Mutt’s Pinterest board to help you and your dogs get started this January.
Pooch & Mutt provide health food for dogs, basing their whole outlook on the belief that ‘good health starts with what we eat’. Dogs deserve to live healthy lives, and Pooch & Mutt have currently got a health food bundle offer at Ocado.