Ask Me Anything: Canine Nutrition with Arpita Thakur

Ask Me Anything: Canine Nutrition with Arpita Thakur
Photo by Kabo / Unsplash

Have you ever served your dog a bowlful of food only to see it sniff at it lazily, decide it’d rather stay hungry than eat THAT and mercilessly reject all your love and effort? Well, if it’s any solace, you’re not alone. Acing canine nutrition is a constant work in progress. Even for veteran dog parents!

We wanted to make mealtime more of a success for you as well as an enjoyable experience for your pet. And so, we conducted an AMA session with canine nutritionist Arpita Thakur. The hour-long session saw numerous dog parents raise queries about their dog’s food. Be it portion sizes, ingredients and summer diets.

Let’s dig in to see what our expert had to say to each question.

  1. How Much Protein Should You Feed Your Dog?

Protein consumption is a vital part of every dog’s diet but knowing how much protein is needed and how much enough is equally important. However the “right” percentage depends on a variety of factors such as age, weight, caloric needs, BCS, energy expenditure and other health conditions.

2 grams of protein per kg of body weight is a good starting point  but the best way to know what’s right for your pet is by consulting a canine nutritionist and getting their expert opinion.

2.   Doggo Diet Essentials

Canine diet plans are not a one-size-fits-all thing. Different dogs display a preference for different foods and tend to be fussy in different situations. That being said, there are some things that must be a part of your pet’s diet. For starters, there should be at least one source of animal protein (poultry, red meat, boneless fish etc.), seasonal vegetables and fruits are another must add for complete nutrition and don’t hold back in throwing in some supplements if your dog has a primarily home cooked diet.

3.   Fresh Food In, Kibble Out

After a certain age (most commonly around 6-8 months), most dogs outgrow the appeal of kibble. If your dog is at a similar stage, an effective way of getting them to eat their meals is by adding toppers to their diet to help increase the palatability of their meals.

You can also try adding soft-boiled eggs or broth to the kibble

4.   The Hydration Fix For Fussy Water Drinkers

If your doggo isn’t a fan of water, don’t fret. There are other equally effective ways of getting your pet to fulfil their daily water requirements. Fluids like broth, stock, buttermilk or hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumber can do the job just as well. Just make sure to incorporate adequate amounts of these alternatives so that your dog feels fresh and hydrated.

5.   Can Your Dog Get Kidney Stones?

Yes. Dogs, just like their human companions, can get kidney stones if they are constantly dehydrated. This is because when a dog’s water intake is grossly insufficient, the concentration of minerals and other substances in its urine will increase - thus contributing to stones.

6.   Get Their Summer Diet Right

The summer heat can have a drastic impact on your pooch’s appetite and so, feeding them cooling foods is a great idea to make sure they stay well-fed and hydrated. An ideal diet plan should still have meat as the main component along with seasonal fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, watermelons, lettuce/cabbage, bottle gourd, strawberries etc. You can also feed soaked chia seeds, curd/buttermilk, coconut water. Avoid heat-y ingredients such as pepper and ginger.

7.   Cooling Ingredients You Must Try

And while you set out to perfect your pet’s summer diet, you can experiment with cooling ingredients such as oats, pumpkin and chia seeds by using them in baking some yum cookies! You can add your pet’s favourite meat, say, chicken liver to the mix to increase palatability.

That’s it for this time’s recap. Stay tuned for our upcoming AMA Sessions with canine experts that help you make dog parenting easier and better.

Until next time, keep learning!