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What’s good for us is good for our dogs. That’s a great way to sum up dog nutritional trends for 2022. We want to make fresh and healthy dietary choices for our pups—just like we do for ourselves.
Simple and Healthy Ingredient Lists
One of the top trends in dog nutrition year over year is a desire for simple and healthy ingredient lists. Lots of dog parents are paying close attention to dog food labels to ensure they’re choosing the best options for their best friends.
Many dog parents are passing over products with long lists of ingredients or contents they can’t easily decipher. They’re also avoiding products that are highly processed or contain unhealthy additives like fillers or preservatives.
Unfortunately, ingredient lists can be confusing, even if they’re short and simple. Some make claims like organic, natural, or human-grade. While these all sound great, they don’t always mean what you think.
For instance, human-grade indicates that people can safely eat the product. Not that you’d want to, but if you did, it wouldn’t make you sick. However, there’s no definition in any animal feed regulations that tells you what this means across various products.
If you want to know more about dog food labels, you can check out the online guides provided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). And, of course, you can talk to your veterinarian about the best choices for your dog’s diet.
Ethically Sourced and Eco-friendly Products
More and more pet parents are gravitating toward dog food companies that share their values when it comes to food production, treatment of animals, and environmental protection. They’re seeking out ethically sourced products from providers committed to humane, sustainable, and eco-friendly practices.
For instance, these pet parents are looking for proteins derived from farm animals who are well cared for and have a good quality of life. They feel that this is kinder for the animals, healthier for their dogs, and better for our planet.
Additionally, they want products that contain fresh, organic, and locally grown fruits and vegetables when possible. This helps support nearby farming communities and reduces transit time, which cuts down on fuel consumption and air pollution.
They’re also attracted to companies that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, they may be more apt to buy products that use less plastic or packaging in general, offer resealable pouches, or provide reusable containers.
Dog food products that check these boxes are becoming more widely available, but they come at a higher cost. And that’s fine with many pet parents. In a 2021 survey, 51% indicated they’re willing to pay more for ethically sourced and eco-friendly products.
Subscription Meal Services
As more people are using weekly meal delivery services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron for themselves, they’ve also become more open to trying them out for their dogs. Companies that deliver meals for dogs like The Farmer’s Dog, PetPlate, and Ollie are growing in popularity.
Dog parents like them for their convenience. Meals show up right on your doorstep each week. Plus, they enjoy the ability to customize their dog’s diet based on their size, age, and lifestyle. Some services offer meals tailored to support dogs with certain health conditions.
Subscription meal services are pricier than store-bought dog food. But for dog parents willing to pay that price, they offer them an easy way to give their dogs fresh, natural, and healthy food without much effort on their part.
The wellness industry is thriving for dogs much like it is for humans. There are lots of supplements that claim they can help your dog with certain conditions or improve their overall health. Some of the most common ones include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids, more familiarly called fish oil, have been linked to numerous benefits such as reducing inflammation, helping pets with arthritis, supporting a healthy coat, and preventing cognitive decline in senior pets.
- Like fish oil, glucosamine is said to decrease inflammation, and it’s often used to treat dogs with arthritis or other joint diseases.
- Probiotics are thought to help with tummy issues by replenishing and maintaining the healthy bacteria in the digestive system.
- Multivitamins are intended to help ensure dogs are getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet. However, if your dog is eating food labeled “complete and balanced,” multivitamins aren’t necessary and may even cause health issues.
- Antioxidants like Vitamin C and E can help neutralize free radicals that damage cells. The best way to provide your dog with antioxidants is through safe fruits and veggies.
- Cannabidiol or CBD is associated with lots of health claims, including lowering anxiety, managing chronic pain, and promoting a good night’s sleep. Currently, there’s no research to support these claims. CBD products for pets are also not regulated and could contain harmful ingredients.
Novel Dog Food Formats
While bags of dry kibble and cans of wet food are still the top sellers for dog food, new dog food formats are becoming more readily available. These include:
- Refrigerated or frozen meals that help retain freshness
- Dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food, which have a long shelf-life
- Meal toppers or enhancers that can add flavor and health-boosting ingredients to your dog’s bowl
There’s also been a rise in novel proteins, such as rabbit, venison, or duck, and in certain ingredients such as pumpkin. Pumpkin, which is packed with carbohydrates and dietary fiber, is thought to aid digestion.
These days, you can also treat your pup to ice cream or frozen yogurt in tempting flavors like peanut butter or maple bacon. Keep in mind that most dogs are lactose intolerant, and too much can give them an upset stomach. Regular ice cream can also contain a lot of sugar or potentially harmful ingredients like chocolate or xylitol (an artificial sweetener). Stick with a small portion of plain vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, or choose a product made for dogs
Be sure to talk with your veterinarian before adding something new to your dog’s diet to make sure it’s a safe and healthy option. Offer it in a small portion at first in case your dog has an allergy or gets an upset stomach.
If your dog does get sick from something they ate, pet health insurance can help you manage the costs of care. Dig into the benefits of pet insurance.
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
title: Dog Nutrition Trends for 2022
author: Heather M.