The reason that dogs eat anything they get does not mean that they should. They should only be given healthy stuff for proper- weight management and well-balanced nutrition. We know that there is an abundant variety of food available for dogs, and it's difficult to determine which ones are best for your furry buddy. You can consider these things while feeding your dog the next time. We tried to compile and answer a few common questions that pet parents have regarding what to feed their dogs:
- What should I feed my dog?
The basis of any dog’s diet is high-quality commercial dog food appropriate for their life stage. Commercial dog foods are available accordingly, then your pet's a - puppy, adolescent, adult, pregnant, senior, and health status. Some of the well-loved dog foods are Smartheart dog food, Purepet, Chappi dog food, Pedigree, and Canine Creek.
Even if dogs are largely domesticated animals, they are carnivorous. They even consume plant-based foods to some extent. Wild dogs are known to consume a variety of meat, bones, organs, and even vegetative matter in their prey's gut. One must understand that every dog is a different individual. Every dog has different needs according to its breed, size, shape, etc. A proper consultation with the vet would give you a better idea of what to feed your dog. Domestic dogs are mostly carnivores that eat only certain omnivorous foods. Make sure your dog’s food is both complete and balanced for its stage of life, except for medical issues (if any). It is fine for your dog to have a pure kibble diet. The addition of cooked meat, fish, vegetables, and rice on some days will add a boost of nutrition and flavor. Remember to opt for human-grade meat products as some other meat and bone products contain colors and preservatives which may cause harm to your dog's health. A veterinary doctor would be better able to formulate a proper diet for your dog according to their stage of life, fitness, eating habits, and medical conditions. Avoid using raw meats and go for a modest quantity of cooked meat such as boiled chicken, lamb, salmon, and goat but avoid adding any extra seasoning.
- How much do dogs eat?
A dog’s size, breed, age, and exercise pattern have a major effect on their diet planning. The motive is to neither overfeed nor underfeed your dog. Hydration also plays a major role when considering a dog's diet. Make sure their water bowl is never empty. An easy and effective way to check if your dog is obese is to run your fingers through their midsection. If you can feel their ribs and a defined waist is seen then your dog is in a healthy shape, otherwise they need to be on a diet. Obesity is a major problem found in dogs, and as they age it gets difficult to avoid chronic diseases relating to cardiovascular systems or osteoarthritis. We have tried to list what your dogs should be eating according to their age:
- From 8 - 16 weeks:
At this age, many pups enter a new home. It's of utmost importance to maintain the diet they were having. A sudden change in food might cause them to not eat and can even upset their stomach. Most breeders will advise you about their feeding pattern and it is ideal for you to keep continuing the same for a couple of weeks until eventually introducing your kind of diet. High-quality commercial kibble designed for puppies is a convenient and optimum diet solution. At such a young age, puppies have a high nutritional demand and are in constant need of food. Small meals at regular intervals go a long way at this stage of life.
- 16+ weeks:
At around this age, raw meat and bones can be introduced into their diet but in moderation. At 16+ weeks, dogs start growing permanent teeth and need something to chew on. Raw meat and bones help in the teething process and save you the hassle of getting new shoes or a couch. For puppies of this age - one bone with a good amount of meat a week is considered good. Puppies are usually very possessive about their food and can growl or snap at you if you attempt to take their bowl away. So beware and avoid interfering with their eating. While introducing new foods, keep an eye out for your dog. Check your dog for signs of intolerances, allergies, or if they like to have it or not. When your pup is growing you can start by decreasing the number of meals each day. Try to get into a two meals a day diet while avoiding overfeeding and underfeeding.
- Adult Dogs:
Adult dogs should be fed only once or twice a day or as per their need. Use premium commercial dog food that is appropriate for them at that life stage and eating habits at that time. Small or medium breed dogs are considered to be 'adults' from 12 months of age, whereas larger breeds do not become ‘adults’ until 18–24 months. Consult your vet when to change your pup's food from puppy-appropriate to adult-appropriate. Ensure the diet you choose is complete, balanced, and nutritious. The addition of meat (cooked or raw), vegetables, or fish for variety bears fruitful results and provides a change of taste in everyday monotonous food.
- Senior Dogs:
Senior dogs need to have their health and diet to the point. Older dogs are known to develop chronic health issues that affect their hip and joint health, cardiovascular capabilities, gastrointestinal functions, etc. When dogs are at this stage of life, going back to basics helps miraculously. Smaller portions of meals multiple times a day will help in digestion and proper absorption of nutrients. Consult with your vet and discuss what you must give your dog at this stage in life.
A Chinese quote says, "Wu Ji Bi Fan" meaning - Too much good is bad. Apart from daily healthy food, it is crucial to change things up a bit. Dog treats were introduced to resolve this problem. Treats provide a change of taste and give dogs something to look after in a meal. They act as rewards and help in obedience training and calming dogs down during mental and physical turmoil. There are numerous types of treats available for your furry buddies. The choice is up to you which one to choose from a wide variety of treats ranging from a selection of meats, textures, sizes, for special needs, etc. You can even treat your dogs without compromising their health. Healthy dog treats provide your dog with the necessary change in palate while maintaining the health benefits of their regular diet. We have a variety of dog treats online, from jerkies to biscuits, bones, treats, and much more.
- Homemade dog treats:
When nothing else is like you say, going homemade is the way. Some people are skeptical about commercially available dog treats. If you choose wisely, the treats would not affect your doggos health but only improve it. Some dog foods found in the shops or dog treats online may contain artificial colors, flavoring, seasoning, or preservatives that are not very healthy. Choose healthy dog treats after thorough research, consultation with the vet, or you can visit PawsIndia and look no further. Else, you can always cook up some homemade dog treats. If you're truly suspicious of the commercial dog treats available in the market or online, you can always cook something special for your dogs. You can find several recipes online for your dog to feast on, and being handmade, you have an in-person view of what's going on in the dish and your dog's stomach. Making treats at home ensures you provide your dog with the absolute best and improves your bond with them.
- What foods to avoid?
Not everything humans eat is safe for pets. It is important to consider that in the end, dogs are animals, and their eating habits and bodily functions are different. We have listed a few household items that are not good for your dogs and must be avoided at all costs:
- Salty food
- Milk and lactose
- Onions and Garlic
- Fatty food
While this list tries to involve a comprehensive list of items, it is not limited to just these. The list may differ from dog to dog. If you find your dog snacking on something it shouldn’t ensure they get professional help from a vet. We hope this comprehensive dog feeding guide provides you with all the necessary answers to your queries.
Credit: Paws India