We all want the best for our furry friends, and making sure that we’re providing them with the right diet can make a huge difference to their general health and help to keep them fit, active and happy. Use the guide below to make sure that the food you’re giving your dog is a perfect fit.
Firstly, what you feed your dog will partly depend on their stage of life. Food specifically tailored for puppies may also take into account the breed and size of your dog; if this food is complete, and contains all the nutrients required, then other supplements shouldn’t be given, as over-supplementation may lead to bone development problems. Consult with your vet if you have any queries, and it’s a good idea to regularly weigh your puppy to check she’s growing at the expected rate; this can provide a vital clue regarding whether she’s consuming the right amount of food.
When it comes to adult dogs, there is a huge range of options on the market, so check carefully to choose the one that best suits your pet’s needs. Some specific dogs may require a special diet, and there is more information on this below. Dogs are considered to be older (or mature) once they reach half the life expectancy of their breed. From this point on, it may be a good idea to switch them to a diet specifically designed for their age, which tends to incorporate ingredients that are easier to digest and support their changing needs. For dogs that are aging and in their last few years of life, there are other specific diets, too, that can be fed.
If your dog has a medical condition, then it is extra important to make sure that they are being fed a suitable diet, to support their needs. Some dogs have food allergies or intolerances, and symptoms of these can include rashes and upset stomachs. Where this is the case, the ingredient that is causing the problem should be identified and then eradicated from your pet’s diet. If you choose to use a pet food delivery service, there are some options that offer comprehensive meal plans specifically tailored to dogs that have allergies or other food requirements; read more here about a service that features customizable plans and only uses fresh, non-processed ingredients.
Dogs with other medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease, will require a prescription diet, so be sure to get all the advice you need from your vet regarding this,
As well as age and health, the day-to-day lifestyle of your dog will also have an impact on their diet. For example, if your pet is a working dog, who spends a large part of his day outside exercising, then he will require more calories than an older dog who is indoors for the majority of the time.
A dog’s breed and size, too, will have a significant effect on the amount of food they require daily.
Giving a dog a raw diet is becoming an increasingly popular choice and is believed by many to be an option that best represents a dog’s natural diet, as it would be in the wild, and, as a result, offers some important health benefits.
It’s highly advisable if you wish to feed your dog a raw diet, to obtain a commercial option to be sure that meals will provide your dog with all the nutrients he will need: it can be very difficult to be sure of getting this right with homemade pet meals.
Feeding The Right Amount
To prevent your pet from becoming overweight, it’s important to make sure they’re being given the right quantity, whether you provide them with wet food, dried food, or both. Start by checking the packets of your chosen food, which will give you an indication about the correct quantity that should be offered at each mealtime. Remember to feed your pet based on their target weight, not their current weight, and it’s helpful to weigh out their food each time, to prevent inadvertently providing too great a quantity.
Treats can be given to your furry friend, but these should only be offered on an occasional basis to avoid obesity or other health problems. If you do decide to provide treats, this should make up no more than 10% of their daily food allowance, which should be adjusted as a result.
Recognizing If Your Pet Is Gaining Weight
A bit of weight can easily creep on and may not initially be obvious, so it’s worth knowing the signs so that you can take early action if your dog begins to pile on the pounds. When you look at your standing dog from above, you should see an hourglass shape – this will disappear if your pet is gaining weight. Gently feel their sides, too: you should be able to easily feel your animal’s ribs.
Other signs to watch out for are increased panting, a lack of energy, and difficulty climbing the stairs.
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