How to Choose the Best Dog Food for pH Balance
Though it is a lesser discussed topic, establishing the right pH balance in a dog’s system is critical to achieving and maintaining optimal health. pH balance can be regulated through diet with some foods being preferable when it comes to achieving ideal levels.
pH balance is essentially achieving harmony with hydrogen levels in the body. The scale measures from 1 to 14 with 7 representing neutrality and being the desired outcome. Any number beneath 7 is labelled acidic with values that reflect higher than 7 termed as alkaline.
A dog’s body is its most efficient with a pH level that measures between 7 and 7.4, making it only marginally alkaline. When a dog’s pH balance dips into the acidic range, it makes the dog more susceptible to contracting disease. The acidic environment is inhospitable to the oxygen required to promote healthy cell growth and tissues.
Achieving a pH balance that is slightly alkaline helps to prevent many life threatening diseases including those related to the kidneys and liver. It has also been proven to help stave off type 2 diabetes in dogs.
However, pH balance does more than simply sustain health to help avoid the development of disease. It also plays a critical role in a dog’s urinary health. For dogs that are known to succumb to bladder and kidney stones, it is vital that a switch to diet that promotes the ideal pH balance be undertaken.
The correct pH balance helps put the right environment in place to keep urinary tract infections from occurring, a common problem that plays a leading role in the development of bladder and kidney stones. Stones are not only extremely uncomfortable; at their worst, they can be exceptionally painful. If large in size, they may require surgery to remove since they cannot be passed through the ureter naturally.
When an obstruction occurs due to a stone, it can put the dog’s life in jeopardy. Achieving the correct pH balance can help promote excellent urinary health, and thus, avoid many of these problems.
Acidic foods should still play a role in a dog’s diet as certain aspects of the body operate most effectively in that type of environment. To achieve optimal health and wellness, it is important to find the correct balance between foods that are acidic in nature and those that are alkaline. Experts agree that finding the harmony between the two is also a vital strategy to help avoid illnesses such as cancer.
There are many benefits dogs gain from being fed a diet that focuses on the correct pH balance. When the blood is properly oxygenated, dogs are less likely to experience tiredness after activity. The aging process is also decelerated, meaning a youthful appearance and fewer age-related health complications are experienced.
The best dog foods for pH balance help dogs to enjoy better longevity and excellent quality of life, making them will worth their cost.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for pH Balanced Dog Foods
The amount of the best dog foods for pH balance fed to a dog is equally as important as the ingredients that go into it. Dogs that are allowed to free feed or that are fed in too high quantities are at serious risk of becoming overweight, a condition that places excess strain on muscles, joints, and internal organs.
To determine how much of a food to achieve the ideal pH balance to feed a dog, it is a wise idea to use the table of suggested serving sizes on the bag as a starting point. The dog’s weight and appetite will help owners to understand if the amount should be increased or decreased until the correct portion is found.
As a general rule of thumb, adult dogs should be fed a food that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. The ideal puppy food reflects slightly higher values at 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with slightly higher amounts also within the optimal range.
It is important to note that diets that are too rich in protein can negatively impact a dog’s pH levels.
Dietary Requirements for pH Balanced Dog Foods
There are many different dog foods that owners can choose from to assist with achieving the ideal pH balance for their dog. A number of these diets are available by prescription only, meaning a visit to a veterinarian is necessary. It is important to note that since excess protein can be problematic in the pursuit of the ideal pH balance, many veterinary diets focus on plant-based proteins that are not as high in nutritional quality as meats.
Prescription diets are often recommended by veterinarians for dogs that have shown an ongoing problem with urinary tract infections and/or stones. Some dogs can benefit from eating these foods short term to alleviate the problem and can then return to a non-veterinary diet to maintain excellent urinary health when the correct pH balance is attained.
As a general rule of thumb, the best dog foods for pH balance should be comprised of as many natural ingredients as possible. Natural ingredients are typically highly digestible, making their nutrients easier for dogs to process and utilize effectively.
The best proteins for dogs in need of achieving the ideal pH balance are derived from animal sources. The protein amount in a food should be moderate at best with 20-27% the ideal range to remain alkaline. Too much protein will shift the pH balance to acidic, putting the dog at risk for the development of disease.
Though it is always recommended that a food base its protein content on a whole meat or meat meal, dogs experiencing difficulty with their urinary health may benefit from a diet that makes use of plant-based proteins. These should be fed if recommended by a veterinarian and should be a temporary solution to alleviate an ongoing problem.
When a dog exhibits an acidic environment in its body, it is important to increase the moisture found in its food to help reduce the amount of acid contained in the urine. To help achieve this best, it is a good idea to make the switch to a canned food. Canned foods have their moisture content boosted to increase palatability and bind ingredients together well. Alternatively, water can be added to the dog’s regular kibble to increase the amount of fluid intake naturally.
Since artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives contribute no nutritional quality to a diet and can be common allergens for many dogs, foods containing them are best avoided entirely.
Carbohydrates are important inclusions to a formula to help provide necessary dietary fiber to encourage good digestion. These can be taken from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables. However, an emphasis should be placed on the amount of fiber a food contains as well as its antioxidant profile to help boost the dog’s immune system to fight disease well. Extremely acidic fruits included in high quantities are undesirable in a food to address pH balance.
The best dog foods for pH balance place a high emphasis on including healthy fats to promote coat and skin health. These are best derived from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish.
Supplements help to round out a diet and provide excellent health benefits for dogs. Among the most desirable supplements to look for in a high quality dog food are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for pH Balance
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for pH balance:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list (in non-veterinary diets)
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health
- Includes an excellent balance of both acidic and alkaline foods to promote the correct pH balance
- High moisture content to help dilute acidic urine