Dogs are lovely creatures and they are beloved by both adults and kids. They are friendly (or can be trained to be), loyal and dependable. They are mostly used as companions but they could also be used as guides or as a form of security as in the case of Police K9 units or armed forces where they help in catching bad guys.
Taking care of them takes an effort as a pet parent. This can include grooming, feeding, walking, treating them, or taking them to the veterinarian whenever they fall ill. Of utmost importance though is the diet that you feed your canine. This is because it is what keeps them strong and healthy as well as helping them grow well.
What Do Dogs Eat?
There are various kinds of foods and diets that you can feed canines in general. However, it can sometimes be hard to determine which is best for your pet. It is also important to keep in mind that dogs are individuals in the sense that what may be perfectly fine for one may not be good enough for another. You should understand your pet and if there is a need to speak to the vet to know the best diet for your pet, then you should do so.
Because domesticated dogs are mostly carnivores though they can eat some omnivorous foods, it is essential that whatever you feed to your pet is complete and balanced based on its stage of life. The presence of any medical issues should also be put into consideration when making a choice. You can mix into your canine’s diet proteins such as raw or cooked meat and fish. You can also add vegetables. In addition to all of these, it’s very acceptable to give your pet a pure kibble diet.
If you like to add raw meat to your canine’s diet, it is important to:
- Choose human-grade meat. Avoid those that contain preservatives that may be harmful to your pet’s health.
- Make sure it is hygienic
- Consult a vet nutritionist to help with formulating the diet so that it is balanced for your dog’s age and health.
Other food items that may be part of its diet can include:
- Ensure to check and remove fish bones so it does not choke your canine.
- Fiber in the form of cooked pumpkins and grated carrots. This helps improve bowel health.
- Raw bones can also be a part of your dog’s meal.
Feeding Your Dog Commercial Foods
These are designed in a way that meets all the nutritional requirements that your pet needs. They are mostly dried, packaged foods and most contain grains, meats, fruits, vegetables, as well as vitamins. They are safe and healthy for your dog. You only have to pick one that is appropriate for its stage of life; whether a puppy, adult, pregnant, or nursing.
You should also check the package to ensure that it is “complete” and “balanced”. Complete meaning it has all the necessary nutrients needed by your dog and balance in the sense that the nutrients are in correct ratios.
How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
There is no particular formula for how often you should feed your pet as every dog is different but it is usually recommended that puppies that are six months old and younger eat up to three to four times a day. At six months, they can eat twice daily and when they are adults, they get between one to two meals per day based on the level of their activity.
You can always consult with the vet to know the right portion and how often you should feed your dog. It is not only the number of times you feed your canine that is important, but it is also essential to feed the right quantity per time and not overfeed it. This helps keep your pet healthy and at the right weight.
For pet parents that are not always available due to work or those who may need to travel and are concerned about feeding their canine not only the proper diet but also as often as it should be fed, there is no need to worry. Thankfully, technology is available to help you achieve this. You can get an automatic dog feeder to automatically portion and feed it at set times with kibble. This ensures that your pet never misses their food at any time.
Foods that are Forbidden for Your Dog
Giving food to your dog from your plate is not encouraged. You may do this but you need to be careful. Not only does it breed beggarly habits and drooling, but your plate may also contain foods that are harmful to your pet. Chocolate, fatty foods, and moldy foods, etc. are not good for dogs. Other human foods that may not be safe for your pet include:
- Salty snacks
- Citrus from grapes, oranges, lemon, and lime.
- Milk and lactose.
If you have to give your canine from your plate, aside from avoiding the foods above, watch out for these things and make sure whatever you give is just a little and not enough to replace its daily diet.
Should your canine somehow eat what it should not, ensure you seek help from a veterinarian on treatment or what to do.
Feeding Your Dog Properly
So having discussed your dog’s diet; what it should eat or not eat, the quantity, and how often it should be fed, what is the proper way of feeding your dog?
Get Nutritionally Balance Diet
Whether you are feeding your dog dry or wet food, just as mentioned above ensure that whatever you give it is nutritionally balanced and contains all the appropriate nutrients that it needs for its stage of life. It is easier when you are feeding it dry foods as you can see the nutrients contained on the packaging. For wet foods, remember to contact a vet to help in formulating the diet.
Feed Your Pets from Different Bowls
If you have more than one dog, it is recommended to have eating bowls for each of them so you can feed them differently. This is necessary because the older ones can bully younger ones and not allow them eat sufficiently. You will also be able to portion each dog’s food based on their age and stage of life while also monitoring them to know when anyone of them is not feeding well. More so, if one of your pets is ill, you might need to mix some medication with its food and won’t want others partaking of it.
Always Make Fresh Water Available
If your pet’s food is based on dry kibbles, then it needs a lot of water to stay hydrated. For wet foods, your dog may not need so much water but for active ones, they still need to drink some.
It is good to stick to a type of diet or food for your pet but if for any reason you need to change this, you should not do so abruptly. Gradually introduce the new one. When you do this, you need to pay close attention to see if there are any reactions to this new diet. You can see more tips on feeding your dog here.
Feeding is an important part of taking care of your pet. In fact, it is a large chunk of it. It is important to properly feed your canine with the right diet, quantity, and frequency to ensure it stays strong and healthy.
In this article, we have looked at a few tips that will help you as a pet parent to perform this fundamental duty very efficiently.
Meg is an author at Cinnamon Hollow. She writes on a variety of topics sharing tips and ideas for daily life.