The humanisation of pets is leading to serious health issues for dogs, with an increase in diet trends not supporting the correct balance of nutrients they need to thrive.
Generally, ‘human food’ and human-type diets are very poor for dogs and while giving leftovers here and there seems harmless, this food tends to be more carb-based and lacks many essential vitamins and minerals that dogs need.
Cheap commercial diets can also be harmful, as well as poorly planned, misunderstood, or home-made raw diets, which often lack many of the nutrients a dog requires.
The pet dietary supplement industry is booming and is set to reach $100 million by 2024, according to Future Food Systems.
Emily Turner, who is a Vet for natural supplement company, Field Day, says it’s important to educate Australians on the dog superfood trends to listen to and the ones better off ignored.
“Grain-free diets are a big no-no from me, and I think most of the veterinary world at the moment. There is strong evidence that grain-free diets can lead to cardiac issues in dogs, and something called dilated cardiomyopathy, which can be fatal,” she says.
Turner adds that there are many superfoods that humans have known about for decades but they’re also beneficial for dogs with specific health issues, including St John’s Wort, Green Lipped Mussels and Hemp.
The most common nutrients missing from dogs’ diets are generally vitamin B9, B12 and vitamin D as well as magnesium and zinc.
“A lack of these nutrients is not always due to diet. For some dog’s it is the result of an inability to absorb nutrients due to various medical conditions, however diet is a common form of carbohydrates and good protein sources can also be lacking in some of the lesser well-balanced diets.
“Common signs of deficiencies include poor hair or coat condition (dry, dull, uneven looking growth). Poor nail health including visibly brittle or discoloured nails. Lethargy or lack of energy and enthusiasm in daily life.
“These signs tend to be the most common things we note in cases where diets are less than adequate,” explains Turner.
“Whether you provide your dog with dry biscuits, wet food or make it yourself at home, meal toppers or supplements and the superfoods found in them, can assist in keeping your furry friend’s health and wellbeing needs in paw-fect shape.
“Supplements are also a great choice for dogs with specific health issues, such as anxiety, arthritis, gut issues, or skin problems. For example, Green Lipped Mussels aren’t found in regular dog food, but they are full of Omega-3 fatty acids. When taken as part of a healthy, balanced diet, they can help support joint health and mobility by reducing cartilage degradation and inflammation.
“Specially created with a vet nutritionist, Field Day’s meal toppers are scientifically formulated to not only improve your dog’s health and wellbeing, but also to maintain peak condition and nutrition from the inside out.”