Who can resist an adorable and playful pooch with bright eyes and a shiny coat? Well, as a caring dog parent, you must be concerned about which diet contributes to the overall health of your dog.
Feeding your furry friend a healthy and balanced diet is an obvious choice when considering your furry pal’s wellbeing. Healthy food is a critical part of your dog’s thriving health.
What do dogs eat?
Dogs are part of Canidae, a large taxonomic family. They are scavenging carnivores and are primarily meat-eaters. However, they can survive on plant material alone if necessary. Dogs thrive and their bodies function optimally if given animal-based food.
Dogs have the teeth, jaws, and digestion of a carnivore.
- Dogs possess long canine teeth and tight digitation of the pointed molars. They are born to rip and tear flesh out of bone with less emphasis on chewing. Nature has not designed them to eat a plant-based diet.
- Most of the dogs have powerful jaw and neck muscles. They can wide open their jaws to accommodate whole chunks of meat.
- They have a short GI tract. Their stomach and digestive systems are not meant to digest grains, plants, and seeds efficiently unless they are grounded. These food items usually come out in their feces undigested.
- Dogs are not adapted to produce salivary enzymes called amylase for the breakdown of starches.
Remember that all dogs are individuals and dietary requirements vary from one dog to another. A diet that is balanced and fine for your friend’s dog may be entirely inappropriate for your pooch.
How much food does your dog need?
Well, it depends! Determining how much food your dog needs isn’t always straightforward. The amount of food that you should feed your dog will largely depend on the size, breed, age, and activity level of your dog.
Most dog food packages usually have feeding recommendations. You still need to make adjustments to how much to feed your dog based on its specific needs. Just make sure that you don’t overfeed or underfeed your dog.
If ever you’re unsure, ask your vet to evaluate your dog’s diet and nutrition.
Here are some recommendations for dietary requirements of puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs:
Puppies 8–16 weeks old
This is the age when many fur babies are weaned and enter their new home. You need to be careful about their diet and their stomachs are sensitive at this stage.
Puppies have a high nutritional demand and can’t go for long without food. It’s very important to feed small meals regularly. Feed your puppy 3-4 times a day up until the age of 12 weeks.
Introduce the diet you wish to feed them in small incremental stages over a few weeks. Make the transition slow until the switchover is complete.
The daily diet of a puppy should ensure that all the nutrients your puppy needs for growth and development are present.
Puppies don't have a strong immune system to cope with a high bacterial load. Try to feed organic ingredients to your pups.
Puppies 16+ weeks old
Food requirements of puppies vary with the puppy's breed, age, and activity level. They need balanced nutrition to develop and grow into healthy and active adult dogs. It’s around this time that permanent teeth start erupting and puppies like to chew actively on something.
As your little puppy gets older, you can gradually reduce the number of feedings. At the 16-week mark, decrease feedings from four to three times a day. When your puppy reaches the 6–12 months bracket, begin feeding twice daily. Don’t be alarmed if your puppy becomes greedy or possessive over its food while it’s eating.
Try to make sure that you aren’t overfeeding or underfeeding your puppy. Underfeeding will affect their balanced growth while overfeeding your puppy can lead to musculoskeletal problems later in its life.
When a dog reaches 90% of its expected adult weight, it’s considered an adult dog. feeding purposes. The nutrients in an adult dog's diet must be suited for dogs that have passed their growth stage.
The most important consideration when feeding an adult dog is to make sure your dog eats a healthy and balanced diet. You must ensure that your dog gets the right mix of protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins.
Adult dogs should be fed once or twice a day. You can add meat, fruits, vegetables, or a little dairy for variety. Choose fresh, high-quality, raw, and meaty bones. Remember that you should never overfeed your dog. You should speak to your vet about when to change over from puppy food to adult food.
For senior dogs, the nutritional requirements usually change and evolve. These dogs are prone to many health issues including obesity, arthritis, and cognitive and appetite loss. These health problems can be affected or improved by the daily diet you feed.
There is a common misconception that senior dogs should eat less protein. This is not correct. Healthy seniors need more protein to maintain muscle mass. Many senior dogs may need more fiber, protein, or other nutrients to ensure their bodies are taken care of. Talk to your vet about your senior dog’s specific needs.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
It's recommended to feed your adult dog twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Puppies under 6 months of age should be fed three a day, or as directed by your vet.
Leave your dog's food bowl on the ground for ten minutes and then pick it up, no matter whether your dog has finished or not. Your dog will eventually learn that it needs to eat when the food is offered. Consistent meal times will help maintain your dog's digestive health and weight. It will also help prevent accidents in the house.
What About Dog Treats?
Dog treats are a very strong motivational asset during training sessions. Experts suggest that dog treats should make up to no more than 5% to 10% of your dog’s daily diet. You should be careful about the calorie content in your dog's food and treats. Too many treats can easily disturb your dog's diet and may lead to weight gain. You can try snuffle bowl or snuffle mat to make treat time a fun and exciting experience for your pooch.
Dietary Tips For Dogs
Here are few points that you should know:
- Your dog’s diet should be healthy, balanced, and include all nutrients.
- If your dog is on commercial dog food, it must be safe, affordable, and made with high-quality ingredients.
- Puppies are in a growing stage and should be given enough proteins to meet their growing needs.
- Overfeeding your dog is not recommended as it leads to weight gain, obesity, joint problems, and other health issues.
- Give appropriate meal sizes based on your dog's age, weight, and activity levels. This will help your dog maintain its ideal weight and remain active.
- Always ensure your furry friend is well hydrated. Clean and fresh water should be made available to your dog at all times. Try travel dog bowl or portable pet dog water bottle if you frequently travel with your pooch.
- Make sure to wash water and food bowls very often.
- While introducing a new dog food, always start with the recommended amount and monitor your dog’s weight and make adjustments accordingly.
It's recommended to make sure your dog’s weight is on-track. Ensure that your pooch remains at a healthy weight.
You can see your dog's ribs, pelvic bones, and see no fats
You can feel your dog's ribs
You can't feel your dog's ribs but easily see fat deposits
Health Benefits Of Healthy And Balanced Diet For Your Dog
Feeding your dog a healthy and balanced diet is an obvious choice when considering your pet’s wellbeing. Check out some of the amazing health benefits of feeding your dog a healthy diet:
- A healthy and balanced diet leads to better coat conditions. Dogs can suffer from various skin problems including itching, rashes, or scabs. A good diet will give your dog a glowing and shiny coat.
- Your dog’s weight becomes easier to control with a healthy and balanced diet. A balanced diet provides complete nutrition and does not contribute to excessive weight gain.
- Your dog requires energy to function. This energy is obtained through the diet it takes. Your dog needs real nutrition that provides the necessary vitamins and minerals. A healthy and balanced diet provides appropriate energy sources that are usable over a longer period.
- A healthy and balanced diet is essential to help your dog hit its life expectancy. Fillers, starch, artificial colors, preservatives, and processed nutrients may eventually take a toll on your pup’s health.
- A healthy diet improves your dog’s immune system.
- A good diet provides healthier digestion and is easier to absorb by the dog’s body.
You can help your pooch live his best life! The right kind of nutrients helps keep your dog healthy. The ideal diet is the one that ensures all the nutrients your furry companion needs for growth and development. The reality is that a healthy and balanced diet is a critical part of your dog’s thriving health.
A healthy dog can save you from a lot of stress in the long run. If you are not sure what to feed your dog - we would be happy to help!