Unconditional love. Unquestionable loyalty. Cuddles on demand. There are an infinite number of reasons to love your dog, but real love is never easy. Oftentimes we have to take the good with the bad. For all the things they give us to love about them, there are just as many things that make us scratch our heads, hold our noses, and sometimes even gag.
Our sweet pups don’t try to gross us out on purpose. Many of the things that make us say “ew” aren’t even their fault! A lot of our dogs’ unfortunate habits and symptoms can be directly traced back to the bag, box, or can of dog food that you have in your kitchen right now. Dog nutrition plays a key role in every function of the dog's body.
If your dog is guilty of any of these super-gross habits, consider whether the real culprit might be their diet. The root of a healthy dog's lifestyle is their essential nutrients, nutritious food, and vitamins and minerals.
In addition to inadequate nutrition, many of these issues may be signs of larger problems, so make sure you consult your veterinarian if you see any of these issues persist.
What Goes Into a Nutritional, Balanced Dog Food?
A complete and balanced diet includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Water is also essential to life and is needed daily. This may seem very simple and easy with the basic ingredients broken down, but understanding how each nutrient is used in a dog’s body, understanding the processes, and knowing how much of each nutrient is needed for a healthy dog at all life stages is very complex.
A large portion of energy in the diet comes from fats and proteins, followed by carbohydrates. The energy content of a diet determines the quality of the food and how much food should be consumed on a daily basis. The diet should meet the daily energy requirements of your dog’s individual needs.
In fact, this process is so complex that an entire specialty in veterinary medicine is dedicated to small animal nutrition—the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. But as a pet parent, the main things you need to know about dog food nutrition are:
The guidelines created by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for pet foods
The nutrients in your dog’s food and what they do
There are technically six essential nutrients that are required in order to support life and function in dogs. These are:
Carbohydrates (including fiber)
Fat and essential fatty acids
Symptoms of Dogs Eating the Wrong Foods
Dog flatulence is notoriously toxic. Whereas our human loved ones might have the tact to walk away before they pass gas, our dogs have no problem blowing a stinky toot right next to us on the couch. You may have accepted by now that your TV buddy has frequent bubble guts, but imagine a world in which you can finish a show after dinner without sitting in a cloud of dog gas. One where you don’t have to hit pause so you can let the room air out.
Your dog may not complain much, but we all know how painful and uncomfortable a gassy belly can be. Gas is a symptom of several issues, but stomach upset caused by dog food is a common reason many pet parents miss.
Not all dog foods are created equal, so they won’t all be a good match for your pup, even if there’s a similar breed pictured on the packaging. Canned food and other commercial pet foods can cause your dog to have many sensitivities. On the other hand, their food may contain common belly-bubbling ingredients you may not know about.
Switching out the contents of your dog’s bowl may help cut your dog’s frequent farting – and help you breathe much, much easier. A fresh, all natural food is one way to ensure your dog is getting exactly the nutrients and ingredients they need, and not those gas-inducing additives.
Feces are unpleasant in all shapes and forms, but nothing is worse than the dreaded poo-puddle when it comes to your dog’s time to go out. Diarrhea is (almost) impossible to pick up at the park, extremely smelly, and also painful for your pup. You’ve likely seen them continue to squat after they’ve already gone without anything even coming out. This is because they still feel like they need to go even though they already have. Humans experience a similar sensation. It’s definitely not a good feeling. Furthermore, diarrhea can cause dehydration if your dog isn’t replacing the water they’re losing, and that can cause many other problems for your poor pooch.
A dog can even lose weight and not get enough nutrients from having diarrhea too frequently. A high quality diet will prevent these ailments, giving your canine supplements they need, keeping a healthy body weight, and avoiding weight loss and nutrient deficiency.
Diarrhea is just one more issue that might be traced back to the box, bag, or can you have in your pantry. Or it could be a one-time occurrence from eating food from something they weren’t supposed to. If your dog is continuing to suffer from diarrhea frequently, talk to your vet and express any concerns you may have about the food they’ve been eating. Most dogs get diarrhea from time to time, but it could also be related to health conditions and health issues.
3. Excess Shedding
Have you ever denied a dog a hug because you knew they’d leave you covered in fur? It’s not fair to a dog who just wants a little love to tell them “no,” but sometimes we’d like our clothes to be clean when we walk out of the door. We want our dogs to be in our hearts – and not their hair to be on our clothes or furniture.
Every dog sheds, but excessive dog shedding might be a sign of an unhealthy coat and poor nutrition. It can leave you, your home, and your family covered in dog hair even if you brush constantly. If your dog leaves more hair on the couch than they have on them, consider whether your pup is getting everything they need from their bowl.
A dog's skin goes through many life stages, and shedding can be related to a dog's individual coat type, daily diet, or other medical conditions.
Learn more about shedding in dogs from our recent blog: Dog Shedding Season Has Arrived
Pet dander consists of microscopic flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds, and other animals with fur or feathers. Nobody likes it when Fido flakes all over the furniture. Least of all, Fido. Dog dander can be a big irritant for allergy-prone humans. Real big. Think runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and even skin rashes. But for all the discomfort dog dander can cause humans, our furry friends are the ones who suffer the most. Flaky, dry skin is no picnic for pups. All the scratching your dog will do to relieve the itch dry skin can cause will just shake loose even more skin flakes.
A great way to fight flakes and itchy skin? A good shampoo!
WE RECOMMEND: THE SENSITIVE ONE Shampoo by PRIDE+GROOM
Itchy skin and the accompanying flakes can also be a symptom of a larger problem: poor diet. Sometimes it is best to tackle the problem at its source. A high-quality diet tailor-made to your dog’s specific needs can help you forget the flakes and relieve your dog of itchy, dry skin.
5. Excessive Heavy Breathing and Panting
There are some breeds that we just accept are going to be noisy breathers. The short-muzzled pups like Pugs and Bulldogs usually get a pass, but other breeds should not be heard struggling for air. If your dog is panting and snorting after a short walk, you may consider whether your dog is obese or out of shape.
Obesity isn’t something that happens overnight, so you may not notice that your dog is growing larger in front of your eyes. A dog's breed, lifestyle and exercise habits contribute to their overall body fat.
We try our best but sometimes those little charts on the food packages can be difficult to decipher. The nutritional requirements for a healthy life in a dog differ from animal to animal. It's important to closely monitor.
Many foods seem to leave our dogs hungry even after we’ve fed them the recommended amounts, and we find ourselves slipping them table scraps and a few extra treats here and there. Pet owners do it out of love but our dogs can become soft and squishy before we notice. Noisy and heavy breaths are hard to ignore and no fun for your pup. Pay attention to their waistline before they reach the point that they’re panting. A healthy weight is important to maintain.
This chart is a good rule of thumb to follow:
6. Eating Their Poop
Dogs put some really weird things in their mouths. Without a doubt, the most disgusting thing a dog can do is eat poop. What’s really mind-blowing is that it’s SUCH a common issue among dogs! If your dog has been eating poop outside, just know that you are not the only human out there who receives big, wet, chocolate-covered kisses!
Dogs that eat poop probably don’t do it because they love the taste of their own processed waste. Our pups eat weird stuff because they’re trying to fill the gaps left in their diet. Poor nutrition and nutritional imbalances have an impact on many dogs and their overall health.
The food you buy off the shelf is often made to keep your dog feeling full – not give them the nutrients they need. It’s full of fillers and by-products that humans wouldn’t bother to eat. Your dog requires proper nutrition to survive and will eat grass, sticks, rocks, and even poop in a misguided attempt to get it.
The best solution to this problem is to give your dog everything they need in their food bowl (NOT the toilet bowl!) Nutritious food made with high-quality ingredients can help keep your pup from picking up any more poop.
It’s a fact: dogs drool. Some dogs drool more than others, such as your Mastiffs and St. Bernards. Some dogs, though, should not be so moist around the mouth. We love our puppy kisses but they’re not so pleasant when you’re sitting in a slobbery puddle after!
Drooling can sometimes be a sign of an upset stomach. A dog's daily diet can lead to this health condition of excess drooling. It’s one of those little red flags that many people miss because we just accept that we must love our dogs through the drool. However, if your dog seems to be salivating more after meals, you may want to check their food. Expired food, table scraps, and treats pulled out of the trash can all cause tummy trouble, but it may also be that your dog’s food isn’t well suited to them.
8. Excessive Licking
Some people don’t seem to mind, but it can be a huge annoyance when you’re trying to sleep or watch TV, and can hear your dog slurping it up on their paws, belly or other body parts. The constant “lick lick lick” can drive you nuts after a while.
Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them! But it could also be related to health issues, digestive issues, or a weakened immune system.
Excessive licking can even be a sign of food and skin allergies. Many allergens, like dairy, soy, and eggs, are used in even the top big brand-name dog foods that we trust. Even when getting the proper nutrients, allergies can play a big role in a dog's condition. If your dog suffers from food allergies, you can cut a lot of the licking out of your life by switching to allergen-free food.
For treating skin issues and allergy related itching topically, a great shampoo for sensitive skin will come in handy. It's great for every age from puppies to adult dogs.
WE RECOMMEND: THE SENSITIVE ONE Shampoo by PRIDE+GROOM
Nothing says “yuck!” like a pile of vomit on your clean carpet. Your first instinct might be to shout, “Oh no!” but we know that this one definitely isn’t something our dogs are doing on purpose. Throwing up is a sure-fire, can’t-miss-it sign that something is wrong with your dog. Whether temporary or ongoing, it is definitely something you want to bring to the attention of your vet.
Like diarrhea and excessive drooling, vomiting can be a sign of an upset stomach or nutritional deficiencies. Frequent vomiting, especially after your pup cleans their plate, is a big red flag. Your dog should definitely not be throwing up after every meal. Discuss the issue with your vet and if you have concerns that their food might be the cause, bring the packaging with you.
10. Bad Breath
Nobody is saying it, but the root of 98% of dogs with bad breath and tartar buildup is their diet. But since your dog’s diet is actually the root cause of the tartar buildup, you’ll be fighting a losing battle no matter how many quick fixes you try if the diet remains an issue.
This matters a lot because tartar is a serious problem for your dog’s health. If it isn’t removed, especially on the upper gum line, the gums become inflamed and irritated — also known as gingivitis. When this happens, bacteria can sneak into the bloodstream, which taxes the immune system and can negatively impact the entire body.
So it’s crucial that you tackle that tartar. The most effective approach is two faceted:
-Your first goal should be to address the existing tartar buildup with an immediate solution.
-But the BIG goal should be more focused on the long game: stopping that tartar from building up in the first place. And this is the real key: it all goes back to diet.
A nutritious diet and the right dog food make a difference in your dog's dental health. Your dog's diet needs to consist of the right balance of vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates, and omega 3 fatty and essential amino acids too.
How To Break Your Dog’s Gross Habits
All dogs are different, and some of these issues may be caused by other underlying problems. But if you think your dog’s food might be to blame, switching their diet could be an option worth trying. A healthy diet can help your dog ditch the discomfort caused by tummy aches, upset bowels, and vomiting. Not only that, but you may even see visible results in healthier skin and coat, and higher activity levels. A healthy dog is a happy dog.
Try choosing a food made with high-quality ingredients that you would be happy to put on your own plate. Most fresh food companies allow you to see everything before you order, in case there might be any issue-causing ingredients, like allergens your dog can’t deal with.
When you feed a diet rich in real, whole meat, your dog’s teeth will be able to chomp exactly what they were designed to chomp. Plus, when you feed low levels of carbohydrates, there won’t be as much tartar buildup and bacteria. Almost every health condition in a dog's body can be traced back to nutrient deficiency or poor diet.
From puppyhood to their golden years, it’s always the right time to invest in a fresh future for your dog. Because there’s nothing better than more of the best years with your best friend, keeping them healthy and you happy.
Check out our recent article on superfoods for dogs, that can help you to create healthy menu for your pup!
WHO IS PRIDE+GROOM?
PRIDE+GROOM was born because 4 New York City dog lovers wanted the same level of grooming products for their dogs that they themselves enjoyed. They looked (hard) but nothing was up to snuff. Or sniff. Like so many, we love our families and take pride in our homes, and we consider our pets to be integral parts of those entities. That said, we could not find an effective way to coif them that was on par with the way we tended to our children, our homes, or ourselves. These beloved pets are allowed on the furniture and in our beds, and yet even when fresh from the groomer, we knew they did not smell or feel as good as they could.
With the development of our coat-specific shampoos, conditioner and deodorizing spray, we think we found just the way to say thanks for being the best and the sweetest MVP of the house.
PRIDE+GROOM is the first dog grooming brand launched under a beauty platform, with formulas made in a clean beauty and scent lab. We know beauty is not only skin deep. We did a ton of research to create the entire line. Each product is formulated with its own unique blend of essential oils sourced from around the world.
IN DOG WE TRUST
Shop our entire line: www.prideandgroom.com