Are doggie diets really just a fad? We all know diet and exercise are important for people, but on what level is this the same for dogs? Nutrition is such an important part of dog wellness. While no two dogs are alike, there are some basic rules to follow to make sure your dog is getting the nutrients they require. As always, consult your veterinarian for any specific nutritional questions related to your furry friend.
We asked Registered Nutritionist and dog owner, Isabel Smith for her tips on keeping healthy and active with your dog.
Is there anything specific that you do to help boost your dog’s nutrition?
While exercise is super key for my dogs (and for all dogs), so is paying attention to what they eat. Because I’m a Dietitian, I’m naturally paying attention to ingredients in food and treats, but I also end up adding some colorful (mostly vegetable) cooking scraps to their bowls too- like carrots, beets, and occasionally a piece of apple or banana. I try to keep their food and eating as natural as possible, to help keep them healthy and trim! Here’s a list of top 5 no guilt foods you can feed your dog:
- Sweet potato
Looking for healthy homemade dog treat inspiration? Check out our post on dog treat recipes here.
It’s a well known fact that people get a rush of endorphins when they walk or run, do dogs get the same?
When they've had their walk or run I notice a definite difference in my Yorkies, Sasha and Henry’s mood and energy when they’ve had good, tiring exercise in the morning versus when they haven’t. Sasha who's quite an anxious dog is more relaxed and calm. I also notice it's good for their musculature when they're better exercised, Sasha and Henry are leaner and more agile- so it's an all around win!
What is your “go to” place to take your dogs for some exercise in the City?
Though my two dogs are little they have a lot of energy, so a morning walk in Central Park is my favorite way to start each day. Central Park is great because there are off-leash hours every day from 7-9, and during that time my Yorkies love to meet other dogs and run around- and I’ve made some fun doggie-acquaintances too. I always have a tennis ball and some treats in my pocket to help motivate my little friends to walk on mornings they’re a little more sluggish.
How much exercise do small dogs, like your Yorkies, really need?
Small breed dogs like mine often end up getting very little exercise because it’s assumed that because they’re little they don't need much - which is wrong. In fact, dogs suffer many of the same health issues that humans do – including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Anything that you’d recommend for a human to do, to prevent many of the previously mentioned diseases, dogs and other mammals need too - and one of the most important is exercise.
What is your top advice to give to dog owners?
If I could recommend anything to most dog owners, it would be to exercise your dogs more than you think you have to (sometimes vigorously), and pay really good attention to what you feed your dogs. Don’t be afraid to add a veggie or two here and there!
To learn more about Isabel Smith Nutrition & Lifestyle, you can follow her on Instagram or visit her website.