|Keeping your pet healthy does not only include letting them run around or exercise in the park; food is a crucial factor in your dog’s health / Photo by: iakovenko via 123RF|
Let’s admit it: we love our dogs like they’re part of the family. In most cases, we even treat them like human beings, bringing them around in fancy clothes, or buying them stuff to make them feel comfortable. Either way, we know that we have the responsibility to take care of and nourish our pets with love, understanding, and food. However, when food is the topic, sometimes, we tend to miss out on some things that can be crucial for our dog’s health.
Keeping your pet healthy does not only include letting them run around or exercise in the park; food is a crucial factor in your dog’s health. Just like humans, they need food to survive and provide the necessary nourishment and energy to go on during the day. However, most pet owners are not aware of the right amount of food to give to their pets. What usually happens is that they feed their dogs based on their own eating habits: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes, snacks can also be counted in the mix.
In order to keep your dog healthy, you need to make sure that it is being fed the right amount. According to an article on the PetMD website, a page that focuses on pet health and nourishment, too much food can cause obesity in dogs, while too little could lead to a lack of nourishment and proper diet. Accordingly, this could also result in some health issues for dogs, namely:
(*) Musculoskeletal problems
(*) Heart conditions
(*) Skin diseases
(*) Cushing’s disease
It could be saddening to know that there is no specific amount of food that can be recommended for or imposed on your pet. Several factors should usually be considered before deciding on the right amount of dog food you can give to your pet. The following includes:
(*) How many times the dog eats
(*) Dog size
(*) The amount of exercise/activity dogs have in a day
(*) The type of food the dog eats
|According to an article on the PetMD, too much food can cause obesity in dogs, while too little could lead to a lack of nourishment and proper diet / Photo by: Jaromír Chalabala via 123RF|
Pet Breeds, Sizes, and Dog Food
Most types of pet food have feeding guidelines that you can follow so that you will know how much of it you can feed to your dog. The list will include weight and the suggested amount of food to give. Food products usually list it down so that dogs can maintain their ideal weight, but it is just a rough estimate and is not really the amount prescribed by veterinarians specifically for your dog.
If size matters, then you’ll be surprised to know that bigger dogs actually need less food than smaller ones as compared to the volume of food per kilogram of body weight. Also, individual dogs may have different food needs if they are mostly just at home, or working at the airport sniffing luggage.
Let’s break it down into age and activity:
When it comes to puppies, they should be provided more protein and the right vitamins so that they’ll grow into healthy adults. According to the Petfinder page, a website that provides advice on taking care of pets at home, puppies should only start eating solid food after four or five weeks. Before that, as much as possible, if the mother is present, they should be breastfed. There are also some commercial dog food products that are specially made for puppies.
As for the number of times to feed them, pups should be fed three times a day, and eventually changed when they start to mature. The older they get, the less food they need.
When a dog reaches full maturity, much of the food intake would be about maintaining a particular ideal weight set for a certain breed. However, this does not mean that the nutritional requirements should be ignored. As much as possible, let your dog eat nutritious and healthy food. You should also check if your dog’s body is proportionate and ideal for his age.
For active adults, there are certain times of the year that you need to cut down on giving them food, especially when the seasons are changing. During winter, when activity slows down, make sure that you also lessen the amount of food you give to your dog.
Older dogs do not need as much food. Lessen the number of calories for older dogs as their metabolism becomes slower with age. You should focus more on the nutrition rather than the amount of food your dog eats. For those dogs that are less active, you should lessen the amount of food you give them so that they won’t gain too much weight. Small meals during the day, at least twice, can be given to them. Also, provide more water since they tend to become more dehydrated during the summer months.
We all want our dogs to live happy and healthy lives. Just like us, they want to eat delicious food whenever they want to. However, as their owners, we should remember to keep their meals within the recommended amounts.
|Most types of pet food have feeding guidelines that you can follow so that you will know how much of it you can feed to your dog / Photo by: Tatiana Gladskikh via 123RF|