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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Diet and Nutrition Tips for a Healthy, Happy Dog

A nutritious, balanced diet is very important for a healthy dog, just the same as it is for humans. It’s important that you know exactly what you should be feeding your dog and what to avoid feeding your dog so that they can happy and healthy, so read these diet and nutrition tips to make sure you get it right:

Deciding If Food is Right for Your Dog

You’ll know if the food you’re feeding your dog suits it because of the condition of it’s body and coat. If your dog has a nice glossy coat and bundles of energy, the food should agree with the dog. If your dog seems to be lacking in energy, you should try another kind of food. 


How Much Food Your Dog Should be Eating

The amount of food your dog eats totally depends on it’s age, size, and how much exercise it usually gets. You should use feeding charts on pet labels as a guide. Heavier dogs generally need more food. You should use pet labels as a guide, but adjust them if you need to.


Guidelines for Knowing If Your Dog is too Lean, Just Right, or Too Heavy

The body condition of a dog can range from emaciated to obese. If your dog is emaciated, you can see it’s ribs, vertebrae, and pelvic bones from a distance. Dogs who have been underfed or are fed unbalanced diets may suffer from this. Dogs who are emaciated may have a lack of energy, and will be more susceptible to illnesses.

An adult dog is considered in good condition if you can feel it’s ribs easily and see the waist when looking down at it’s back. Your dog is overweight if if it’s difficult to see or feel it’s ribs or see it’s waist. Fat dogs are more likely to develop diabetes and osteoarthritis. 


What to Do if Your Dog is Overweight

If you think your dog is overweight, you should give them less food or swap their usual food to a lower calorie food. You should try your best to cut out any table scraps you feed your dog, or high calorie treats. You should also make sure that your dog isn’t eating food you put out for other pets. You don’t want your dog to lose weight too quickly though, or it can get sick. 


How Often Should My Dog Be Eating?

Many dog owners feed their dog twice per day. However, sometimes a dog can eat just once a day. We recommend you feed your dog twice per day as this will help to control a dog’s hunger and make it easier for them to digest their food. 


Dog Treats

Treats are ok, but you should definitely limit them and only feed them treats that are safe. Lower calorie or low fat treats are the best kind. You could try vegetables such as peppers or carrot!


Should I Feed My Dog Table Scraps?

Sometimes feeding your dog things from your plate is ok, but you shouldn’t do it too regularly, and you should always put it in their bowl. Otherwise, you might find they constantly bug you when it’s your dinnertime. Take a look at the foods that your dog can eat and the foods you should avoid giving him for the best results. If your dog is overweight, avoid giving him table scraps all together. 


A Feeding Guide from Puppies to Adults
  • First 8 weeks - puppies shouldn’t be separated from their mother before they reach 8 weeks old. Their mother’s milk will provide them with nutrition at this point, then at 3-4 weeks they can eat small amounts of solid food. 
  • 6-8 weeks - Your puppy should be fed 3-4 times a day. Puppies have totally different nutritional needs over adult dogs. The puppy food you choose should have a good balance of nutrients as it needs the right amount of protein, calcium, and calories. Wuffitmix does a great puppy food, found at www.wuffitmix.co.uk
  • After 8 weeks - you should feed your puppy twice a day.
  • 3-6 months - At this point your puppy will be teething, so he may become a fussy eater or lose his appetite. You should still feed him nutritious food twice a day, but if he appears to have a poorly tummy for longer than 2 days, take him to a vet. 
  • 6 months - 1 year - Your dog might look fully grown at this point, but he’s still a puppy. High quality food still needs to be given for the nutrition. 
  • 1 year plus - you should continue to feed your dog twice a day. Some dogs are fine with once a day, but the majority will benefit from being fed twice. 

Human Food You Can Feed Your Dog Occasionally


These human foods make a nice, occasional treat for your dog:
  • Peanut butter - raw unsalted peanut butter is a great source of protein for dogs. By putting it inside of a kong, you can keep your dog busy for hours and hours!
  • Cooked chicken - cooked chicken can make a good meal replacement if you’re out of food.
  • Cheese - just beware your dog isn’t lactose intolerant.
  • Baby carrots - great for your dogs teeth.
  • Greek Yogurt.
  • Salmon.
  • Pumpkin - a good source of fibre.
  • Eggs - a great protein boost, and healthy snack. Try scrambled - my dog loves them!
  • Green beans - filling and low calorie!
  • Apple slices - can help to freshen the breath of your dog. 
  • Oatmeal - plain oatmeal is great for older dogs. 

Toxic Foods


Toxic human food you should never feed your dog include:
  • Human chocolate.
  • Grapes.
  • Raisins.
  • Bread dough.
  • Avocado.
  • Alcohol.
  • Nuts.
  • Onions and garlic.
These foods can upset a dog’s digestive system, so avoid letting your dog have them at all costs.

As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your dog is happy and healthy, especially when it comes to food. You need to make sure you’re feeding your dog just enough, and that the food agrees with him in order to keep him in tip top condition!

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