As with humans, diet undoubtedly affects the level of athleticism in any dog. While a certain dog food may not directly affect your pup's ability to run, a healthy one may aid in increasing stamina and vigor if given appropriately. If your dog is overweight, suffers from joint pain or has other medical concerns, a change in diet may help aid to ease some of these ailments. Before changing your dog's diet, however, it is recommended to talk to your veterinarian to ensure that you are making the healthiest choice for your pup. There may be other ways, in addition to a change in diet, to get your furry friend back to his strong and fit ways.
A Possible Need for Change?
Even though many of us tend to have conversations with our dogs, we have to remember that dogs can't tell us if they aren't feeling their best. As a dog owner, the best you can do is monitor changes in mood as well as physical activity that might lead us to believe that something isn't quite right. Keep a lookout for obvious difficulty with common activities. Some telltale signs that a call to your vet might be necessary include your dog running slower and exercising less than normal, listlessness or trouble going up the stairs. It is also just as important to keep an eye on your pup's weight, as an overweight dog tends to get less exercise leading to other health problems.
Dog Food and Joint Health
David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
Naturally, an overweight dog is likely to have joint trouble due to the extra pounds he is carrying around with him. Aside from that, though, joint problems and pain can happen to the healthiest of dogs. There are various types of medications, foods and supplements to aid in strengthening joints. Foods are available that already have some additives in them like fish oils that assist in decreasing inflammation, according to WebMD veterinary expert, Sandy Eckstein. Glucosamine, sometimes taken with chondroitin, is another supplement that may aid in the treatment of patients with certain types of arthritis, according to research conducted via the Mayo Clinic.
Shopping for the Right Food
Choosing the right dog food can be difficult. In addition to talking to your veterinarian to determine what food might be best formulated for your dog's specific needs, there are a few things that you can consider to make the choice less daunting. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, it is key to look for Association of American Feed Control Officials certification to make sure the food you choose has at least the minimum amount of vitamins and minerals that your dog needs. Also look for meat and meat meal as top ingredients, followed by vegetables and whole grains (unless the food is grain-free). Avoid corn, soy, by-products and artificial ingredients as these are primarily cheap fillers and may be allergens.
First Things First
If a lag in your dog's exercise or athletic routine has you worried, the first thing to do is consult your veterinarian. Ruling out any major health concerns is crucial to ensure the proper treatment for your pup. Sometimes, a small change in diet can work wonders when researched properly. A well-fed and well-exercised dog makes for a happy one.
Jen Tenenbaum received a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University in 2004. She started as an intern for NPR and periodically works as a copywriter and blogger. She also has experience as a dog trainer and kennel caretaker.