A DOG'S EVERYDAY DIET
Weight loss is tough for anyone - two- or four-legged! However, losing weight and getting in shape can not only add not years to your dog's life, but it can also make those extra years more enjoyable. Helping your cuddly canine to shed a few pounds may be easier than you think. It simply requires a commitment to weight loss and fitness, attention to detail, and the assistance of your veterinary healthcare team.
Think of these as the four basic food groups for dogs:
- Many manufacturers use vegetable proteins in their dog food—which are hard for dogs to digest. Find dog food that contains mostly animal protein. Dogs need a minimum of 18% protein in their diet for maintenance when they are adults and 22% for reproduction and growth. Do not overfeed your dog; too much protein can lead to hyperactivity.
- Fats keep your dog’s coat healthy and provide energy. Do not buy fat-free dog foods. Adult dogs need a minimum of 5% fat in their diet.
- A vitamin supplement will provide those nutrients above and beyond the minimum, which are required to meet his particular needs. Consult your veterinarian to see what vitamin types and amounts your dog needs.
- Your dog’s water needs depend on his activity level. Also, eating a lot of dry food will make your dog thirsty. A good rule of thumb to follow: give your pet at least one quart of water for every pound of dry food.
Let’s take a look at the age wise diet distinction, because food intake varies mostly according to age and not weight.
This is the age when many pups will enter their new home. It’s important to not make huge diet changes at this time as you might inadvertently cause a stomach upset.
The best food to feed is a high-quality commercial kibble designed for puppies. This ensures all the nutrients your puppy needs for growth and development are present.
You can add cooked meats and vegetables or rice as you wish; however, the main diet needs to be the commercially balanced kibble.
Puppies have a high nutritional demand and can’t go for long without food. It’s very important to feed small meals regularly.
At the 16-week mark, feel free to introduce some raw meaty bones gradually. It’s around this time that permanent teeth are erupting, so this encourages them to chew actively on something other than your shoes or couch (it won’t affect or benefit teeth healthy at all). For puppies, one bone a week is generally enough; and remember, the meatier – the better.
Don’t be alarmed if your puppy becomes possessive over its food when it’s eating.
You can prevent the development of food guarding by hand-feeding your pup in the early stages. If your pup already guards, please seek help from a veterinarian.
When you’re introducing new food to your pup, keep an eye on it at all times for any signs of illness or distress. Like humans, dogs can have intolerances or be allergic to things, or a certain food simply may not agree with your pup.
Adult dogs should be fed either once or twice a day. Use a high-quality commercial dog food, making sure it’s appropriate for the life stage and health status of your dog.
Small or medium breed dogs are generally deemed to be ’adults’ from 12 months of age, whereas your larger breed dogs take a little longer and don’t become ‘adults’ until 18–24 months.
Check with your veterinarian when to change over from puppy-appropriate food to adult-appropriate food.
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