Dog Nutrition Tips For More Dog Years
Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Dog
PICK FOODS THAT MEET SPECIFIC NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR PET
Just like with human food, your first consideration when choosing dog food is the quality. However not all dog foods are created equal. You need to make sure your dog's diet includes all the necessary nutrients in proportion for your pet's size, age and energy level to keep him healthy and strong. When picking foods or treats, look at the back or side of the bag to check that the products meet the nutrition standards you're seeking. Also, confirm that the "Nutritional Adequacy Statement" indicates that the product has been approved by the AAFCO for the nutritional purpose (e.g. all-life stages, adult, puppy etc.) you're seeking.
MAKE SURE THE FOOD IS AGE-APPROPRIATE
Dogs have different nutritional needs depending on their age. For example younger dogs have puppy teeth that require a different size and shape of kibble than mature dogs. Older dogs tend to expend less energy and will benefit from a lower-calorie diet to avoid gaining extra weight. Feeding your pet age-appropriate food will ensure they receive the right nutrients, consistency, and calorie-count for their specific age group.
DRY VS. WET FOODS – WHAT'S THE DEAL?
Dry and wet foods each have their own advantages and drawbacks. Dry foods provide a complete and balanced meal in every kibble. Often, dry foods are less expensive than the quantity of wet food required to deliver the same nutrition. As a result you may be able able to feed your dog less dry food than you would with a wet diet. Wet foods may offer greater benefit for dogs with certain medical conditions and for those with sensitive teeth. Depending on your dog's personal preferences and your vet's recommendations, a good strategy is to feed them dry food as their main meal and wet food as a treat.
HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH
Deciding how often and how much to feed your dog depends on its size, age, level of daily exercise and general health. Talk with your vet about your dog's ideal weight. Then consult the feeding charts found on the bag of the dog food and follow the recommended guidelines. Depending on your dog's activity level, you may have to increase or decrease the suggested amount. As a general rule, you should be able to feel the back ribs of your dog protruding ever so slightly. It's also important to carefully monitor how many treats you're giving to your dog. Too many treats can add significant calories to your pet's diet and contribute toward obesity.
SWITCHING TO A BETTER DOG FOOD
If you decide your current brand of dog food isn't working out, don't hesitate to switch to a more nutritious or all-natural option. To prepare your dog's digestive system and prevent nausea or upset stomachs, begin the transition by serving them ¼ new food, ¾ current food for the first couple of days. Switch to one half each for the next two days followed by ¾ new food, ¼ new food during the final couple of days. If your dog is having trouble adjusting, it could be the new food is just not to its liking.
DON'T FORGET TO HYDRATE
Dehydration can be a severe condition for dogs, resulting in kidney disorders and other illnesses. Proper water intake is also critical to the proper digestion of food. To minimize the risks, provide easily accessible, fresh water at all times and ensure the water and bowl remain clean. After exercising and during periods of extreme heat, pay extra attention to your pooch and remind them to drink - dogs are known to forget!
FOODS YOU SHOULD NEVER FEED YOUR DOG
There are a number of people food and beverages thatalthough non-threatening to humansare very dangerous for dogs. Some common items include chocolate, alcohol, nuts and onions. There are many others that could be unsafe for your treasured pet. Consult your vet to gain more education on potentially harmful human foods.