Dog food: Finding the right diet for your dog

While the supermarket shelves are full of variety and seemingly endless choices, it’s important to choose the right dog food. As every dog owner knows, every dog is unique. Dogs have their own character, with likes and dislikes that extend to their diet. While a dog’s characteristics may depend on its breed and lifestyle, it is important to find the right diet for it, because a healthy diet makes for a healthy dog.

Like humans, dogs have different needs in terms of quality, quantity and type of food, and these needs change with age. What is good food for a young, energetic puppy will not be good food for an older dog.

Did you know that a healthy puppy burns up to three times as many calories per day as an adult dog? Or that while big dogs have big appetites, small dogs have faster metabolisms and burn more energy, requiring more calories each day?

Puppy foods provide a concentrated, non-bulky diet, which their digestive systems would have difficulty handling at a younger age. Because puppies are smaller, their mouths are smaller, so your puppy’s diet should be made up of smaller kibbles that he can chew more easily.

An adult dog needs a balanced diet of six main nutrient groups: fats and oils, proteins, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and water. Routine is important, so don’t suddenly change your dog’s diet or offer too much variety. A steady diet will help maintain good digestion, as will avoiding supplements on your dog’s plate.

As dogs age, their metabolism slows down and they become less active. As a result, their dietary needs change. Dogs need fewer calories in their diet as they age to prevent weight gain, as older dogs are more prone to weight problems. Protein, however, is still essential for maintaining good body condition and muscle mass.

The age at which a dog’s diet should be modified varies by breed. A small dog, for example, will begin to slow down and need a good senior diet around the age of seven, while for larger breeds of dogs, this will occur around the age of five. Yet, large dogs spend more time growing as puppies – up to twenty-four months for some large breeds.

Routine and regularity of feeding schedules and products are important, regardless of breed or age. If you’ve been feeding your puppy a particular brand of puppy food, it’s a good idea to continue feeding that brand until he’s an adult. If you need to introduce a change in your dog’s diet, it should be done gradually to minimize the effect on his digestive system.

The feeding routine should also include where and how your dog is fed. For example, avoid feeding your dog before he gets into the car because, like humans, he may be prone to motion sickness. You should also avoid feeding a dog an hour before or after exercise, as this can cause the stomach to expand and twist, which is dangerous to dogs’ lives.

If your dog is medium or large, he will tend to swallow his food quickly. To prevent him from taking large gulps of air (which would also cause his stomach to twist), feed him in a raised bowl.

Watch your dog’s eating habits: like humans, he’s not always hungry, but if your dog doesn’t eat all of his food regularly, it may be a sign that you’re feeding him too much or that he’s sick. However, don’t rush your dog at mealtime. Taking the bowl away from your dog can cause anxiety and aggression. At the same time, your dog should leave you alone while you eat. No matter how big your puppy eyes are, avoid feeding your dog on your plate or table, as you will encourage him to drool, beg, bark and seek attention.

It’s important to make sure your dog’s dietary needs are taken care of to keep him healthy and happy, so make sure you find the right food for your dog. This may seem like a lot to remember, but it’s really very little when you consider the joy a dog brings to his owner.

Share this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *