Feeding your dog is an important balancing act
Your dog knows that what’s on your plate is infinitely better than what he’s eating at the moment – and you may be tempted to prove it by giving him some. Before you do, remember that good nutrition and a balanced diet are essential elements for good health in a dog. And that means watching your canine’s caloric intake carefully.
Your dog needs plenty of fresh water and should be fed good quality food in amounts just right to meet his energy requirements. Inadequate just as excess intake of nutrients can be equally harmful.
All dry foods have to contain starches to make a pellet and these are provided as corn, soybean or rice. Dry dog foods also have greater “caloric density” which means simply, there is less water in a cup of food as compared to a canned food diet. Due to the laws governing the labelling of pet food it is impossible to know the quality of the food based on the list of ingredients. Looking past the label at the company that manufactured the food, how long have they been doing so, what is their research to say that their food is better, and talking to your veterinarian who after all is an expert in your pets nutrition is the best way to help you chose the right diet for your pet.
Feeding a dry vs. a canned diet is optional, however the canned is more expensive but it does taste a lot better. In general semi-moist foods (come in a sealed package) contain high levels of sugar to have that semi-moist consistency, thus are not recommended.
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are necessary for energy. Dietary requirements for dogs can vary according to activity and stress levels and medical history. Dogs expend energy in many different ways. For example, outdoor dogs are likely to experience increased levels of exercise and thus require a higher percentage of protein and fat for energy production than a dog who stays indoors most of the time. Dogs in various life stages [including puppy ("growth"), adult and senior ("geriatric")] require different amounts of nutrients. Special situations such as pregnancy and nursing puppies can dramatically affect nutritional needs. Working dogs need more calories, while the “couch potato” needs less (just like us!). . Feeding the appropriate diet to meet the needs of the pet is most important – this concept of life stage nutrition is no different than what we do as humans, grandmothers don’t eat the same as a teenager!
Feeding your dog – consider his age and weight
CONSIDER YOUR DOG’S AGE
Puppies of large breeds (over 50 lbs) like a Labrador need to be fed a different diet than a puppy of a small breed like a Toy Poodle. If they get neutered or spayed before they complete their first puppy year it may be necessary to switch to an adult diet sooner
- For adult dogs feed a diet for adult dogs, consider his activity level and his weight
- For senior dogs (over 7 years): feed a diet for seniors
CONSIDER YOUR DOG’S BODY WEIGHT
- Underweight dogs: Feed your dog 10-15% times the “usual” amount of food and make an appointment to see your veterinarian about your dog’s body condition. Consider switching to a food with higher protein and fat content. Underweight dogs are a rarity
- Lean dogs: Healthy dogs may look thin but really they are fit. We are used to seeing overweight dogs, you should be able to feel the ribs and even see them on a short haired dog. If you can pinch a second layer on the ribs, that layer is pure fat! Weigh your dog frequently if you have any doubts.
- Chubby dogs: If your dog is a bit overweight (10-15%), try increasing the daily exercise routine. Gradually increase exercise over 2 weeks unless limited by a medical condition. Replace all treats by veggies and fruits and reduce daily intake of food by up to 10-20% percent.
- Fat or obese dogs: Stop all treats except vegetables. Increase exercise gradually over 2 to 3 weeks if not limited by a medical condition. Reduce the total daily food amount by 25%, switch to a low fat/high fiber diet, and call your veterinarian to discuss your plans. Inquire about prescription-type reduction diets that can really be effective while providing balanced nutrition.
- Your vet can help you make the right choice in all life stages and conditions of your dog.
Feeding your dog too much isn’t really generous
Obesity is defined as the excessive accumulation of body fat.
Between 25 and 40 percent of pets are considered obese or are likely to become obese. It is the most common nutrition-related health condition in our society.
The primary causes of obesity are overeating and lack of exercise.
When regular caloric intake exceeds the energy burned, the excess is stored as fat. As little as an extra 1 percent caloric intake can result in a 25 percent increase over ideal body weight by middle age.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT NOTES :
- Obesity is generally diagnosed by physical examination findings and a review of your pet’s weight and body condition score. To determine if there is an underlying disorder, bloodwork may be recommended including a thyroid level.
- Treatment depends on your pet’s initial weight, body condition score, underlying disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian.
Daily caloric intake is lowered by changing the type and amount of food. Exercise should be slowly increased. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Large body size
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty walking
- Exercise intolerance
- Heat intolerance
Brushing your dog's teeth
Dental disease (especially gingivitis and periodontal disease) is the most common disease in dogs. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases.
There are many articles with detailed techniques on how to brush your dog’s teeth – but as long as you brush every day, that is all that matters.
A good daily schedule is the best approach – but once a week will not help at all. Keep it simple – you only have to brush the outside surface of the teeth
The first step is to start with a clean, healthy mouth. Good dental hygiene should start with a young pet with healthy new teeth and gums, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning.
You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems. Furthermore, veterinary toothpastes have flavors that are appealing to dogs.
Start by offering your dog a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. The next time, let him taste the toothpaste, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. Repeat the process with the tooth brush. If your pet will let you to use an electric tooth brush so much the better, but the key is to start slowly and everyday ·
Even with the best tooth brushing, some dogs may still need an occasional professional cleaning, just like humans.
Hill’s Diet T/D is in the only diet proven to decrease tartar, plaque and gingivitis by 50%.