Whether you have a pint-size pooch or Labrador the size of a pony, your canine companion’s nutritional needs are not to be taken lightly!
Since puppies require lots of energy as they grow, play and chew all your shoes, their food portions need to be adjusted accordingly. The Kennel Club recommends that puppies should be fed four times a day, up until the age of 4 months. The feedings should be spaced evenly apart, to avoid over stretching puppy-sized stomachs! Feedings can then be reduced to three meals per day, until the age of six months. After that, two meals a day, morning and evening, should be sufficient.
The Dog Food Conundrum
As long as you purchase from a good quality brand, it shouldn’t matter whether you feed your dog dry food or tinned food. Furthermore, it is recommended that you stick to one brand, instead of constantly switching between them.
If you’re seriously dedicated, you could also cook your own dog food. It can be difficult to get the nutritional balance correct, however, so you should always check with an expert to make sure that your pet is getting the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and fat.
Of course, it is also important to avoid over-feeding your dog. If Fido is looking a little on the pudgy side, it may be time to adjust the food portions, or speak to your vet about switching to a brand of food specially designed for overweight doggies.
Foods to avoid
- Corn on the cob
- Grapes, peaches, raisons and plums
- Anything with sugar, xylitol and artificial sweeteners
- Onions and chives
Since our bodies digest things differently, certain chemicals that naturally occur in foods can have an adverse reaction for dogs. So, whilst all of the foods mentioned above can be safely eaten by humans, they can cause sickness and even death when consumed by canines. It’s best to err on the side of caution – if you’re not sure whether something is safe to give to your dog, it is always advisable to check with your veterinarian first.
The Kennel Club also has some valuable feeding tips for dog owners. For example, medium to large breeds of dogs should be fed from a raised bowl – this will prevent them from swallowing air while they eat, which can lead to bloat. Dogs should never be fed from the table or your plate – this will encourage begging and attention-seeking behaviour.
Treats, meanwhile, are great for rewards, but should not make up more than 15% of your dog’s total calorie intake. Always check the ingredients label, to make sure the treats don’t contain any sugar, sweeteners or dairy products.