Adopting a dog is one of the most noble things a dog lover can do. It means taking a dog who has been abandoned and giving him a new home – a place to belong. In many cases, adopting a dog also means that you could be literally saving a life, especially if you adopt from a high-kill shelter.
As wonderful as adopting a dog is, it does come with certain challenges. When you first bring your new dog home, you should expect there to be an adjustment period. He may be nervous and withdrawn at first – you may even find out that he has some behavioral issues that weren’t obvious when he was at the shelter. But with time, and with plenty of love, your new dog will become a part of your family and, if you are lucky, your new best friend.
So, what do you need to do to make your adopted dog feel right at home? You can start by feeding him a high-quality, nutritious diet. The quality of your dog’s diet will have a direct impact on his total health and wellbeing, so don’t settle for a low-quality brand just because you want to save a little bit of money. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips for choosing a dog food for your adopted dog.
Where Should You Start?
Dog foods come in all shapes and sizes, so that makes the choice a little bit tricky. When you adopt a dog, there is also a chance that you might not know much about his past – this means that you may choose a dog food only to discover that your new dog is allergic to one of the ingredients. So where do you start?
The best thing you can do for your new dog is to choose a high-quality product from a reputable brand. Choose a dog food that is made with a premium source of animal protein like poultry, meat, or fish. If you want to limit the risk for food allergies or sensitivities, go with a product that contains a single source of animal protein – ideally, a novel source of protein like venison, rabbit, or duck. In addition to quality protein, your dog’s food should also include healthy animal fats like chicken fat or fish oil. Fats provide your dog with a concentrated source of energy as well as important fatty acids to maintain his skin and coat health.
Another factor to think about with your dog’s food is the type of carbohydrates it is made with. Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal are considered highly digestible for most dogs, though some dogs are allergic or sensitive to grains. If you want to reduce the risk for allergies, go with a grain-free recipe made with alternative carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, green peas, or tapioca. It is okay if the dog food contains more than one type of carbohydrate but you should make sure that the total carb content is not too high – look for something with 5% crude fiber or less.
How Do You Make the Transition?
Once you have chosen a dog food product for your adopted dog, you should take a few days to transition him onto the new diet. Dogs are notorious for experiencing digestive issues with even a slight change in diet, so you don’t want to make any sudden changes. This means that you’ll need to find out from the shelter what kind of food your dog is eating when you adopt him. Then, over the course of 5 to 7 days you should mix that food with increasingly larger portions of the new food until your dog has been completely transitioned onto the new food.
Bringing home a new canine companion is an exciting and wonderful thing, but don’t get so caught up in the thrill that you forget to fulfil your basic duty as a dog owner. It is your job to make sure that not only does your adopted dog feel welcome in his new home, but you must also provide for his basic needs and that includes choosing a high-quality dog food to feed him.