Make no mistake, nothing in your dog’s life is important as food is. Your canine will get everything that he needs through his diet. You have to know how to keep his health strong and to make sure that he gets everything that his body needs. That being said, the best way to support your dog’s health is through his diet.
Feeding Guide For Dogs
Just like in humans, proper diet in dogs is a massive part of their nutritional habits and overall health. Again, your dog will get everything that he needs through his diet. Dogs are so sensitive to an inadequate diet that just too little or too much of any nutrient can upset his stomach. Furthermore, if something gets into your dog’s stomach that shouldn’t be there, you can be sure that problems won’t be far away.
Your dog needs one diet as a puppy and another one when he is a senior. That being said, the proper or inadequate diet can strongly affect the quality and length of the dog’s life. You owe it to your dog to provide high-quality food and a proper feeding schedule.
Great dog’s health starts with proper nutrition and a good diet. Feeding your dog properly is probably one of the most serious areas that you have to deal with when you have a dog. Moreover, deciding how much to feed your dog, what to feed your dog, and how often to feed your dog are just some of the most important decisions that you will have to deal with as a dog owner. There is no – one size fits all – kind of answer that will magically work with every dog, but there are some general feeding guidelines that can help you get started.
What To Feed Your Dog?
What to feed your dog is one of the most challenging and long-lasting questions ever. What makes this question so frustrating to pet owners, especially the recent dog owners, is the fact that there is no perfect answer. You probably want to know why is that, right? Well, no food suits every dog.
Just like children some dogs love some food and despise others. You need to test different type of foods to get your dog to a favorite food. Also, bear in mind that different dogs do better on different diets, and getting there includes testing and a bunch of errors. But once you find the best option your dog will be more than grateful. We can help you pick out the foods with the best ingredients. So, where to start?
- Type of food – you will have to choose which types of foods best suits your dog. Luckily, there is so many to choose from – barf diet, dry food, raw food, complementary to complete.
- Food category – once you decide on the category you should search for the next best varieties from the hundreds that are available. On this one you should talk with your veterinarian.
- Think about dog’s health – for some dogs even the high-end food won’t do, they will rather go for the low grade food, and vice versa. The best thing that you can do when you welcome a dog home is to buy low grade and high grade food with desirable nutrition and let your dog decide.
Basically, the key here is to find the perfect balance. Find food that’s rich in needed nutrients, but also has a taste your dog loves. Other factors, such as the dog’s size, age, and health indicators may play a big role in the decision of what you should feed your dog. Again, you can also talk with your veterinarian to help you select the right food for your dog.
How Much To Feed Your Dog?
Feeding the right amount is just as crucial as feeding the right food. Knowing the exact amount of food is not that difficult, because every pet food product has a label with detail instructions that you have to follow. In general, you should always start by following the guidelines for your dog’s weight.
If you are not sure what’s your dog’s weight make a quick stop at the veterinarian’s office so you can scale your canine. The rest of the math and feeding calculation you can do at home.
Unfortunately, there is no one measure of food that will work for all dogs, so the best way to feed your dog is to determine the correct size for meals based on the type of food dogs are fed, how many times a day they eat, their size, metabolic rate, even the amount of exercise they get on a daily level. To start the process, check the feeding guide.
Keep The Proper Weight
Once you know with what to feed your dog and how much you should keep an eye on his weight. You can also feel when your dog reaches an ideal weight. Your dog is at ideal weight when you can feel, but not easily see, the last two or three ribs and when there is an easily seen waistline when looking down from above. You are the only one responsible for keeping your dog’s weight under the balance and keeping him away from obesity.
If your dog is gaining weight drop the feeding amount for 10% and see if he weight drops down in a period from 10 to 14 days. If his weight remains the same or even goes up contact your veterinarian. On the other hand, if your dog seems skinny and the scale shows that increase his feeding amount for 10%. Contact your veterinarian if the body mass remains the same or your dog continues losing weight.
Dog’s body will try to protect him if you start feeding him too much, and diarrhea will occur. This one is rather simple actually because if you feed your dog too much his body might respond by pushing the food through and it can lead to weight loss. If your dog has any health problems, again, contact your veterinarian.
When To Feed Your Dog?
In general, the feeding schedule of adult dogs can be very flexible. However, it doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t need a strict feeding schedule or feeding routine. Once you establish the food type, and a daily feeding amount you need to decide when to feed your dog. With the time you can do whatever you want, you can organize a one meal per day or split it into smaller meals and feed your canine at the time that suits you the best. Most dog owners for medium and smaller dog have one meal per day in the evening or the morning, while the owners of larger or giant dogs split dog’s meals to 2 or 3 meals a day.
The possible appearance of bloat is the main reason why many pet owners opt for 1-3 meals a day. For giant breeds such as Great Danes, Irish setters, and St. Bernards it’s recommended to serve them 1-3 meals a day because they are in a bigger risk of getting the bloat.
If dogs could speak they would tell us that they prefer their meals at the same time and their routine strict. But, although you may try to meet this need, there are some exceptions. For example, your dog may become hungry easily and you will have to serve him food in short intervals.
If your canine goes to the toilet in the house at night, it’s helpful to stick to a morning or early afternoon meals to make sure the food has time to work its way through before the bedtime. Some health problems, such as diabetes require a careful planning of feeding times.
Lately, the popular feeding method opposite to strict and traditional feeding is free feeding.
Free feeding is a practice when food is left in the bowl and the dog is allowed to choose when and how much to eat. As practice showed this method works fine with some dogs, while it has no effects with other dogs. If you opt for this method make sure that you still measure the exact amount/recommended amount in the bowl and not go over that. This will help you to avoid overfeeding.
When it comes to puppies and pregnant bitches, veterinarian guidelines should be followed.
Quick tip: Dogs love consistency. When you make a schedule that works for both of you, stick to it.
Can You Mix Different Food?
Mixing different food is a great way to increase the variety and balance of your dog’s diet. This is also an easy and effective way to lure your dog to eat if he’s refusing dry food. When mixing food, the key is to balance the percentage well, because the nutrient densities or different food can vary widely and this is reflected in the recommended feeding amounts by the manufacturers’.
Keep the percentages in balance: 50% of the recommended amount of food 1 with 50% of the recommended amount of food 2, or 60:40, 70:30, 80:20 etc.
If you are changing your dog’s food try to do it by mixing the old and the new food first, until he becomes custom with the taste. Don’t just switch it over the night.
Changing The Food
Just like humans, dogs can’t easily adjust to new food in a short time, it takes time. Introducing new food is always easier and better when you spare a few days to make the transition longer and therefore easier for your canine. Any change should be as smooth as possible.
The best approach here is to feed 75% of the old diet with 25% of the recommended feeding amount of the new food for a day or two. Afterward, you should feed your dog 50/50 by 1-2 days and for the last couple of days feed 25% of the old food with 75% of the new. A slow change is important especially with dogs with a sensitive stomach.
If the ingredients are the same the change will be easier, while different ingredients can disturb dogs stomach and awoke several different health complications. The same rule applies for different food varieties, especially that different food can dramatically change different feeding amounts and hours. Make sure that you stay on top of the information and always check the guide on the packaging.
This small step will help you not to hit over-feeding or under-feeding. Otherwise, you can start several different health problems.
Storing Your Dog Food
Just like with any other food, from the moment an ingredient is harvested, its nutritional levels start to drop. From that moment on the level of nutrients degrade is dependent on how the food is stored.
Moreover, to get the most out of any food you should know how to store a dog’s food. In most cases, the best way to store dogs food is to keep it in an airtight container.
Luckily, there are plenty of options in all sorts of shapes and sizes that are available in pet shops. Otherwise, you can use any other similar container or a normal dustbin. Also, a good and sturdy container might help. In general, dry food should be kept in a dry and cool place while moist food should be refrigerated after opening. The frozen food should only be melt just before being fed.
Feeding Guide For Dogs – Summary
One of the best ways to keep your dogs healthy is to feed them with quality food and the right amount of dog food. If you feed your dog too little your dog can suffer from nutritional deficiencies, and if you feed him too much it may lead to obesity that can lead to further health problems. Stick to the feeding guide for dogs, provide enough activity and you will have a really happy and healthy dog.