Feeding Tips For Dogs
Whether you have a pedigree pooch or a rescue that is a bit of a mix of several breeds, each pup will have different needs. This is more than just size specific as some dog breeds need a dog food that offers more joint support whilst others need higher protein for lean muscles. What is suitable for a German Shepherd is not going to be ideal for a chihuahua but there are more complex reasons than kibble size, although that does come into it too. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant reasons why.
As we said, kibble size is important as anything too small can be too easy for a large breed to wolf down, leading to digestive issues and something too big can be different for a small breed to bite down on and can even lead to choking. This is why most brands make food for different breeds based on size.
Leave Them Alone
It is always important to leave a dog alone when they are eating their meal. Some breeds can get protective over their meals so if you don’t know the dog well, do not remove the bowl until they have finished.
Also, it is not uncommon for a dog to suffer from anxiety around food where they will be nervous, this is another reason to leave them to eat in peace. To ease their anxiety you can try adding a little food as they eat so they know you aren’t looking to cause them harm.
Breed Specific Foods
Different breeds have different needs. This is why you will find some brands advertising the best dog food for Huskies, or the best dog food for a German Shepherd for example. These have an ingredient list tailored towards optimal health for these breeds and include the right nutritional balance based on their unique needs.
Similar to breed type, when a dog gets to their senior years they have different requirements. A lot of the time this will include ingredients that are helpful for mobility such as joint support and some that are better for digestion. This might be where you consider adding a joint supplement for dogs to their meal.
Can I Feed A Dog Before Travelling?
This is not advisable, no matter what breed the dog is. The motion can cause a dog to feel sick so you may end up cleaning the back of your car at the end of the journey with one sorry looking pooch. It is possible to feed a dog a light breakfast over an hour before you leave but even this can be cause for some dogs to feel ill.
Do Not Change Their Food Without Mixing It With The Old First
This is an easy way to transition between foods. Some dogs find it difficult to move from one brand to another and will turn their nose up at the bowl. Mix a small amount of new with the old before increasing the amount of new food throughout the week until they are solely eating the new brand.
Do Not Feed You Dog At The Table
Unless you want your dog sitting under the table when your guests come over, it is best to encourage good manners by not offering your dog your plate when you are done with dinner. This can lead to begging and bad habits that are difficult to discourage.
Always Have Plenty Of Water Available
Some foods can bring on a thirst more than others, especially dry but whatever brand they are eating, it is best to always have an ample supply. This can of course help to prevent dehydration but will also encourage the food to digest easily.
Use An Elevated Dog Food Bowl
This is particularly beneficial for medium and large breeds as eating from a low position can cause bloating from swallowing air and discomfort when digesting their meal. Make sure it is level with their chest so they do not need to move their neck up and down to swallow their meal.
Put Their Food In An Anti-Gulping Bowl
A bowl with sections that make eating more challenging can slow a dog down which is a good thing. If your dog eats their meal within a few seconds, they may have issues digesting their food and again will be susceptible to bloating. If your dog produces a lot of gas, switch to a slow eating bowl to see if this helps.
Use A Limited Ingredient Dog Food
When there is a long list of ingredients on the label, it can be a sign of a low-quality product. Not only will this be full of ingredients they do not need including too much filler, but can mean some additives are harmful to their health.
Look For Quality Protein As The First Ingredient
This is the first thing dog owners should be sure of when they are buying new food. Because the first ingredient is the one that you are getting the most of, make sure it is protein. Your dog needs around 22% protein and above for healthy muscle support. Beef and chicken are two of the most common protein sources and are usually easy to digest.
How Do I Know If I Am Overfeeding My Dog?
Sometimes the results can be obvious. If your dog has it on excessive weight or is low on energy despite eating large meals, this can be a sign of overfeeding. If their stools appear normal on their morning walk but not the same at night, this is another indication.
Even if your dog is the flatulent type, excessive and particularly bad smelling gas can tell you that they are not able to digest the amount of food they are getting and they are feeling discomfort because of overfeeding.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
A puppy will have a seemingly never-ending appetite which is part of why they should be fed around four times a day. At 4-6 months they should be eating 3 meals a day and they should be eating specific puppy food that helps aid their development.
At 12 months, a dog should be eating one or two meals a day. This can be a large bowl in the morning or spread out between breakfast and dinner. Smaller breeds that are active might be better off with 3 small meals a day.