Did you know that almost 40% of pets have a skin-related allergic reaction to food? And unlike humans, most dogs stop producing lactase once they are weaned? This means most dogs begin facing difficulty digesting milk and milk products after they cross the seven-week mark.
Why are we telling you this? Because dog diets are not a fad or a trend. And it’s time to think about their meals beyond packaged wet and dry food.
If you’re wondering, what is the healthiest diet for your dog, your search can end right here. We did some digging (pun intended) to compare the nutritional benefits of vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, and lactose-free diets on dogs.
In this article, we’ll share the benefits of each diet along with some must-try recipes for your dog.
We’ve known for a while now that a dog’s digestive tract can handle vegetables. But is there any real benefit in putting dogs on a non-meat meal plan? Let’s take a look!
- Less smelly dog poop
- No digestive problems
- Less prone to diseases such as cancers and hypothyroidism
It is challenging to find vegetarian recipes for your dog, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. You can choose to spice up your pet’s meals but going the classic way—boiled rice with any or all veggies—is a safe bet. Not to mention it’s less time-consuming in the kitchen!
You can substitute boiled rice with vegetable soups, oats, milk, curd, and sweet potatoes—they’re all equally if not more starchy. And guess what—dogs need glucose from carbs! Here are some simple meal ideas you can explore.
Need an alternative to home-cooked meals? How about wet vegan dog food? Wet vegan food is basically ready-to-eat meals for dogs that are not Kibbles. These pre-prepared meals may incorporate vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, cereals, vegetable oils, soya, and other non-animal-based foods.
These meals are nutritionally adequate for dogs as they’re properly formulated and balanced.
Most people believe that since dogs have descended from wolves, they are carnivores and need animal-derived protein. That isn’t true, as even wolves are known to feast on berries, pears, apples, and grass!
So, is a vegetarian diet better for dogs? Maybe. No confirmed evidence supports the fact that a vegetarian lifestyle is healthier for your dog.
So why do people do it? Perhaps due to increasing concerns surrounding the consequences of animal farming, religious beliefs, health, animal welfare, and the environment.
Where does that leave us? Putting your dog on a vegetarian diet is your decision. And if you make a meat-less choice for your pet, you still need to ensure it has a protein-rich diet.
Protein is found in plants, albeit animal-based protein has a higher level of amino acids essential for your dog’s health than plant-based proteins. So consult with your dog’s nutritionist or vet, and don’t forget to conduct thorough research as well before introducing major dietary changes.
Diet fads will come and go, but dogs need a balanced diet that provides a variety of nutrients. so opt for protein-rich diets.
Need some help with recipes? Take a look at what we’ve selected!
Even though most dogs have difficulty digesting lactose-rich foods, that doesn’t stop them from begging for milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and the like. And while a few teaspoons won’t harm your pet, it’s best to keep them away from lactose-rich foods. Here are some of the benefits of a lactose-free diet for your dog.
- Healthy digestive system
- Prevents diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress
- Prevents allergies
- Prevents abdominal discomfort
Lactose-free alternatives to common foods like ice cream are as simple as pureeing vegetables or fruits of your choice with coconut milk and freezing them. Surprise your dog with new dog treats and pamper it every opportunity you get.
This way, you get a fun day experimenting in the kitchen and loads of tail wagging. Here’s a simple recipe for Lactose-Free Frozen Yoghurt that you must try at home.
Is lactose-free dairy good for dogs? Yes, a lactose-free diet is the best option for your dog. Most dog food brands avoid dairy in their product as it leads to tummy troubles. They can experience extreme discomfort, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea.
You can opt for alternative options such as raw kefir and coconut milk, as they are lactose-free. This way, you can compensate for dairy while reducing the possibility of tummy issues. And with the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables that dogs can eat, you add to the treats, you’ve got the healthiest diet for your dog!
A healthy gluten-free diet begins with an understanding of the benefits of grain-free dog food. Many dog owners have observed their pooch’s allergies and symptoms reducing after switching to a gluten-free diet. Here are more benefits of gluten-free diets for dogs:
- Helps in weight management
- Healthy digestive system
- Perfect fit for dogs with allergies
- Enhanced nutrition
- Healthier coats
- Higher energy levels
Gluten-free meals for your dog could be as simple as vegetables and protein mushed together. You could also opt to spend a weekend making yummy treats with gluten-free flour mixes.
There are so many recipes, but we’ll start you off on our absolute favorite—Crunchy Gluten-free Dog Treats.
Is gluten-free better for dogs? Yes, a gluten-free diet is a great choice, especially if your pet has allergies. Even if your pet doesn’t have food-related sensitivities to merit a gluten-free diet, they will benefit from lowered carb intake. Plus, grains are typically included in dog meals as “fillers.”
Putting your dog on a gluten-free diet means substituting nutrition-poor fillers with vegetables and fruits, an all round win-win.
Before picking a certain dietary lifestyle for your dog, we urge you to ensure that it is the healthiest diet for your dog. Consult your vet and keep in mind that your dog requires a high-protein and nutritionally wholesome meal.