Ensuring a dog has a healthy balanced diet is one of the most important things you should do to care for a dog. Poor nutrition can affect every aspect of the dog’s life, including everything from behaviour, the body’s ability to function, heal, fight disease and everything in between.
Sign of a poor diet
Some signs a dog may not be getting all the nutritional requirements needed, can be obvious. A poor diet which is missing some important nutrients can cause skin conditions such as dry, flaky or scaly skin, reduced elasticity, pressure sores, ear infections and itchy skin. It can also have an effect on the appearance of the coat causing it to become dull, lifeless, brittle, dry, split ends, change in colour, hair loss, slow or no growth. There are many reasons these symptoms may occur, but an unbalanced diet should not be one of them.
Obesity in dogs is a huge problem and is not caused by overfeeding alone. An unbalanced diet can easily cause a dog to gain weight, if the food they are consuming is full of unnecessary ingredients which are used to ‘fill them up’, it is likely that the level of vitamins and minerals etc are low, so the dog will need to eat more, to obtain the required amount to keep healthy.
A poor nutritional diet can also cause changes to the dog’s mood and behaviour. Without a balanced diet a dog may become lethargic, unable, or unwilling to exercise and suffer with mood swings. A poor diet may also affect the dog’s attention span, character, manner, performance and attitude. A dog needs a healthy balanced diet in order to maintain a good level of immunity. The immune system plays a very important role in keeping the dog healthy, a weak immune system can leave a dog susceptible to all kinds of diseases, Illnesses and the effect of parasitic infections.
Long term impact of an unbalanced diet
A nutritionally unbalanced diet can have a very serious negative impact on the development of joints, bones and muscle mass, especially in young growing puppies. In adult dog’s poor nutrition can lead to muscle loss and reduced bone density as well as reduced cartilage and joint issues including dysplasia and arthritis.
In order for a dog to fight off illness and disease, maintain a healthy gut and ensure good organ health, a balanced diet is essential. Some illnesses which may be directly caused by an unbalanced diet include :
- Heart, Liver and Kidney disease
- Bladder stones
- High blood pressure
- Vomiting and diarrhoea which can lead to dehydration