How to Tell if Your Dog’s Diet Needs an Overhaul, According to a Vet

How to Tell if Your Dog’s Diet Needs an Overhaul, According to a Vet
This article is sponsored by Lyka.

I’ve recently adopted the title of ‘dog parent’ and by recently, I mean we’ve had our bundle of fluffy Spoodle goodness for one glorious year. Despite a year of cuddles, discipline and training, I still worry that my dog, (his name is Theodore, Teddy for short), isn’t getting the right nutrients. 

Sure he’s been growing at the right pace, has a good routine, and loves his walks and playtime, but sometimes he randomly goes off his food, and other times it’s like I’m not giving him enough. I mean, some days he’s always giving me puppy dog eyes after eating and oh God – is this how parents of kids feel for 18 years?!? 

To put my dog-parent worries to bed, I spoke with Dr. Matthew Muir, a Clinical Director at his own Integrative Veterinary practice, All Natural Vet Care in Sydney and the co-founder of Lyka. The dog food subscription service offers fresh, human-grade meals that are specifically tailored to your dog, to help boost their health and life longevity.

So, if you’re a canine helicopter parent like me, then read on for all the best doggy nutrition tips.

What are some tell-tale signs that your dog isn’t getting the right nutrients? 

The number one sign is that their coat isn’t lustrous. Instead, it’s dry, brittle, sometimes patchy, and neither glossy or soft. This can mean excessive refined carbohydrates, low bioavailable protein, zinc and omega 3, which is common.

Digestive upsets and (sometimes) arthritis are also manifestations of nutrient imbalances. Extreme nutritional deficiencies can be life-threatening in the short term. 

When should you go to the vet if you’re concerned about your dog’s diet/ digestion? 

Evaluation of a dog’s diet should happen at every wellness check, which should happen every six months. Beyond this, if your dog is suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea, is trying to eat a lot of grass, dirt, pebbles or other foreign bodies, has bad smelling wind, is suffering from weight loss, weight gain, itchy skin or even epilepsy, it’s time for a nutritional re-evaluation. 

Can dogs have food allergies? 

Food allergies and intolerances can occur from birth, but they are actually very rare in veterinary science. 

Food sensitivities can develop over time due to an imbalance between the gut microbiome/gastrointestinal tract and the immune system. These are very common and provide a clue that your dog’s diet isn’t working.

Is there a way to tell between a dog being greedy versus a dog still being hungry because they’re not getting the right food?

While dogs have been domesticated for many years now, just like humans, elements of their behaviour are based on survival instincts from millions of years ago. They still think they may not have enough food for next winter. 

As such, dogs can have a scarcity mindset with food and use their “puppy dog eyes” to extract more calories than needed from us! 

Simply, if a dog is under or overweight, has a dry coat, has more than two bowel motions per day, has terrible smelling wind or has itchy skin, it may be worth considering that their diet may not have the most appropriate protein, omega oil and carbohydrate balance. Or there’s another imbalance in nutrients causing havoc on your pup’s metabolism. 

How does a happy and healthy dog behave?

Happy and healthy dogs are engaged, curious and have energy! They are able to regulate their energy and enjoy downtime as well. They will like to run, make friends, enjoy their meals and have regular bowel movements!

How can Lyka help to boost your dog’s health?

All you need to do is simply answer a few questions about your dog on Lyka’s website (think: their weight, breed, age, and any food sensitivities). Then voila, Lyka will deliver fresh, pre-portioned meals straight to your door.

With 85-95% of each recipe containing the highest quality Australian-grown ingredients (which are sourced locally from farmers) you can be confident your furry friend is getting all the nutrients they need. Lyka is also the only carbon negative pet food company in Australia. What a feat. 

In that case, I think Teddy will be just fine. 

Inspired to up your dog’s nutrition?

Use the code HACKER20 for a 20% discount on your first Lyka box. 

Offer expires on May 31st 2023 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, first-time customers only.

This advice is general in nature, see your dog’s veterinarian if you’re concerned about their health.

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