Proper nutrition is essential for your furry friend’s health and well being. However, there are very many choices available, and this can make things overwhelming. Should you give your pet raw food or canned food? Is wet food better than dry food? Can dogs eat chicken bones?
It is important to note that the nutritional needs of your pet vary depending on their age and their breed. A dog food for beagle is different from what a bulldog would need. Knowing exactly what to feed your dog can ensure they have the strength and energy to play and grow. The following tips will help:
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Consider your dog’s age
The nutritional needs of a puppy are very different from those of a senior dog. The American Association of Feed Control Officers recommends about 22-percent protein and 8-percent healthy fats for puppies, compared to 18-percent proteins and 5-percent healthy fats for adult dogs. This is because puppies are still growing, and nutritional deficiencies can affect your little dog’s wellbeing. Lack of proper nutrition in puppies can cause problems such as orthopedic issues, especially for large breed dogs. The label of the dog food you buy will tell you the percentage of nutrients available.
Senior dogs need lower calories than puppies to reduce instances of weight gain. This is because weight gain in senior dogs can result in achy joints and diseases such as diabetes. Older dogs also need lots of vitamin E, Omega 3, and beta-carotene to ensure healthy joints, good eyesight, and a supple coat.
Consider the dog’s breed
Adult dogs have completed their growth cycle, and their nutritional needs depend on their breed and activity level. For example, a working Border Collie is very active, while the beagle is a bit of a couch potato. Therefore, dog food for beagle will have fewer calories than that of a Border Collie. The breed’s size also determines the type and amount of food he eats. A Newfoundland has different dietary needs than a chihuahua.
Consider the season
During winter, most dogs cannot go out to play or walk. If you feed them the same amount that you feed them in summer, they may gain a lot of weight. If it’s too cold for walks or games outside with your furry friend, consider adjusting the amount of food they consume.
Read the labels
After determining the nutritional needs of your pet based on his age or activity level, read the labels before purchasing any dog food. Avoid foods that have lots of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The first ingredient should be easy to recognize. It is important to note that ingredients such as wheat, eggs, soy, and dairy, are common allergens. Therefore, introduce them to your pet cautiously to determine if your dog can digest these ingredients or if they will react negatively to them.
This also depends on the age and size of the dog. Puppies need to be fed between three and six times a day. Smaller puppies need to be fed more frequently to prevent drops in blood sugar. However, adult dogs can be fed at least twice a day.
Ensure your dog gets enough moisture in their diet
If dogs could hunt for their own food, they’d ensure it had enough moisture. This is why wet food is often better for dogs than dry food. Ensure your dog’s food has enough moisture to reduce instances of dehydration, which can affect your pet’s kidney function and cause kidney disease.
Obesity in dogs has become a major problem, and overweight dogs are at risk of a number of diseases, including diabetes, joint problems, and early arthritis. Have a very controlled feeding regimen, where you give your dog an exact amount of food daily based on their breed, age, and nutritional needs. Keep track of your pooch’s weight. You should also avoid on-demand feeding and take your hound out for plenty of walks and exercise.
Skip the scraps
Some pet owners like to feed their dogs scraps from their dinner table. This is unwise, as human food is not always good for pets. Furthermore, the food you eat may not be nutritionally balanced for your pet. This can result in nutritional deficiencies and health problems.
Treats are supplements to your dog’s diet, and they should never make up more than 10-percent of your pet’s daily calorie intake. You can give your pet treats and chews once in a while, but always make sure they are safe for your dog to eat.
Add variety to your pet’s diet
If you often give your pet dry food, add canned or wet food at least once a week for variety. Most pets have moments of fussiness where they don’t want to eat the same food every day, and adding variety can help entice finicky eaters. You can even add a sliced apple with seeds removed to your dog’s meal.
Consider multi-vitamin supplements
Hopefully, your pet is getting all the vitamins he needs from his food. If this is not the case, it is wise to give him multi-vitamins to supplement his meals. Just as taking multi-vitamins can’t hurt humans, taking a daily vitamin can be beneficial to your pet as well.
Foods to avoid
There are some foods that you should never give your dog. For example, chocolate can be very toxic to dogs. This is because it has a chemical known as theobromine. Dogs cannot metabolize this chemical as quickly or efficiently as humans, and it can accumulate to toxic levels in their system.
Most pet owners associate dogs with bones, but can dogs eat chicken bones? Veterinary doctors advise against it. This is because chicken bones, especially cooked chicken bones, are very brittle. They can easily crack and splinter when chewed or swallowed, causing damage to your pet’s stomach and intestines.
Other foods you should never feed your dog include grapes, caffeinated drinks, alcoholic drinks, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, or alcoholic foods and drinks.
The food you feed your dog can ensure a long and healthy life for your pooch. Follow these tips and talk to your veterinarian if you notice any negative changes in your dog’s weight or health. You should also consult with your vet if your dog has any health issues or allergies to ensure they get the very best diet for optimal health.