Nama‘slay’ Nutrition—Superpower of Food for Your Pet

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Manvi Gupta
Being a pawrent is such a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Dogs enter our lives and rule over our heart with cute tail wags, sloppy kisses, puppy eyes, and just pure love. Amidst all this love, don’t let nutrition take a back seat!  –by Manvi Gupta

As pet parents we want the very best for our furry friends. In this quest nutrition becomes the top priority. Food is such an integral part for our pets’ wellbeing and overall health. As a mother of a five-year-old Beagle and a dog food cook, here are my top five nutritional tips that will hopefully help you with better pet parenting.

Love at every life stage
Puppies, adults, and senior dogs have different nutritional requirements.So, make sure you feed the right food according to the life stage of your pet.

Puppy hood is the growing phase, and they need a calorie rich diet to ensure bone and muscle growth. Hence more protein, calcium, and minerals are required.Adult dogs require a balanced diet with meatto ensure weight management, muscle strength, joint health, and immunity. Just like humans, senior dogs require a lot of care and love.

Weight woes no more
Obesity in dogs is a common problem and can cause long term health problems especially in their old age. Like humans, petsalso need a fine balance of exercise and diet.

Poop gives the inside scoop!
Believe it or not, your pet’s poop can tell you a lot about what’s happening inside, and it’s important to know what to observe in his poop.

  • Consistency- Healthy dog poop should be compact, moist, and holds its shape when picked up. If the poop is runny or watery, this could be a sign of intestinal upset.Similarly, if the poop looks or feels too hard or dry, your pooch may be suffering from dehydration or constipation.
  •  Shape- Typically, your pup’s poop should be shaped like a log and should maintain its shape when picked up or moved. Look out for pebble-like or rounded poop as this could be a sign of dehydration.
  •  Quantity- The amount your pet poops depends on his size and breed. A Shih-tzu cannot poop the same amount as a Saint Bernard. Larger than normal poop may mean that your pet’s food isn’t being digested properly as it should be, and they are not getting the necessary nutrients from it.On the other hand, smaller poop may be a sign of a loss of appetite due to an illness or a blockage in the digestive process.
  •  Frequency- The number of times your pet poops each day should be consistent, whether that’sonce or four times per day. As long as it is the same every day, there’s no need to worry. Typically, most dogs will go once or twice a day.
  •  Colour- A healthy pup’s poop should be chocolate brown in color. Green stool could indicate that your dog is eating grass, perhaps to soothe an upset stomach. Black or marooncoloured poop, could be a sign of bleeding in the stomach or the small intestines. If the poop contains blood, mucous, or has worms then immediatelyconsult your vet!

Sassy seasonal changes in diet
In India, summers can get very hot and winters can get bone chilling (brrrr). Changes in the diet can help dogs cope with the weather in a better way.
• Summer diet: Make sure your pethas access to cool, clean drinking water always. Fruits and vegetables like apple, banana, cucumber, carrots make a great treat in summers. They can be frozen so that your pet can play and lick at the same time. Fresh, wet food is great for hydration.
• Winter diet: Dogs burn more calories in the winters just to keep themselves warm.Instead of increasing or decreasing their calorie intake or portion size, change the type of meat they eat during winters. You can add red meat like mutton to their diet. Make sure to ask your vet about the quantity.
Get over sick days with comfort food!
It’s heartbreaking to see when your pet is under the weather. Despite all efforts diarrohea, vomiting, and indigestion are common problems. Don’t give your pets packaged food (for humans). Stick to a basic home-cooked diet or a mixed diet with a balance of dog food and home cooked meals.If your pet is ill, simple food works as medicine. If the problem persists or your pet is inactive and is not eating properly, please visit the vet at the earliest.

Say ‘No’ to these nasties
Certain human foods are toxic to dogs. It is important to ensure we avoid the following:

• Chocolate– It can be poisonous for your pet and can cause kidney failure.

• Grapesandraisins–Can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure.

• Avocado–Can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

• Macadamia nuts–Affect your pet’s muscles and nervous system resulting in weakness, swollen limbs, and panting.

• Onions and garlic–In all forms, whether powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated, both of these can destroy your pet’s red blood cells.

• Caffeine– It can be fatal for a dog. It can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. Do not give these to your pet. It’s also present in some cold medicines and pain killers.

• Alcohol– It has a huge impact on dogs even in small doses. It can lead to sickness, diarrhea and even central nervous system damage.

Puppy eyes…hypnotise!
Once you’re a pet parent, you never eat alone. Every food you eat, every bite you take, chances are your furry friend will be watching you. Who can escape those cute puppy eyes?? While it may take all our strength, we must not give in. Not only can it lead to weight gain, it encourages unwanted begging behaviour.Along with nutrition, exercise, and good hygiene are very important to making your little one thrive happily.

Exercise (for the mind and body)–We must ensure our pets are well exercised. Take them for regular walks and give them lots of sniff time. Sniffing is likereading a book – it’s their way to explore the world and it keeps them mentally stimulated. Good personal hygiene is crucial for the overall health of your pet.

• Regular baths, cleaning of ears, clipping of nails and massages are a must.

• Make sure to wash your pet’s collar, harness and leash regularly post walks or at least once a week.

• Wash their food and water bowls regularly. Use natural pet-friendly cleaners.

And for a continuous supply of happy woofs and lovable licks keep those belly rubs coming and give them all your love!

(Manvi Gupta is founder of Nuts Over Mutts which specialises in cooking customised fresh dog food, using human grade power ingredients, without any preservative. She is passionate about dog food and nutrition, and obsessed with how her Beagle named Poppy who enjoys her meals.)