Just like in the human world, pet nutrition is mind-boggling. Trying to work out what you can and cannot feed your dog and how much you can feed your dog can be confusing.
As I am sure you are aware, not all food is good for dogs, and in fact, some can be very toxic (such as garlic, onions, chocolate)
We hope that this article and our related article on Toxic foods for dogs will be helpful to you – especially if you are a new dog owner.
Choosing a Balanced Diet for your dog.
As with humans, your dog must have a balanced diet with the right amount of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. This, along with exercise, helps maintain a healthy body and live a fun-filled and healthy life.
As with everything, the most expensive dog food may not be the best. However, it is essential that whatever dog food you choose uses high-quality ingredients and matches or exceeds AAFCO guidelines.
Certainly, in the UK, dog foods must list all the ingredients that it contains. They are also listed in order. So essentially, you will be looking for dog food with meat (not derivatives) that is over 50 per cent and so is the first ingredient listed
Some of the cheaper foods list things such as cereals or corn relatively high p and these are just bulkers and so should be one of the last ingredients to be listed – if at all
Make sure that the dog food you buy is primarily made up of the following ingredients:
As well as avoiding things like wheat, soy cereals, you also should avoid foods such as Bakers, for example, that contain a lot of colours and chemical preservatives.
The website All About dog food ( https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/) is a perfect place to start your research
In case you are wondering, I feed my dogs a mixture of Fresh food and Barking Head.
How much should I feed my dog?
This is a question that you might want to ask your vet as every dog is different, and it depends on the size, breed, etc.
Feeding your dog too much food can lead to obesity and cause various health problems. This can be from stiff and painful joints to heart disease.
Regular checking of your dog’s weight will help you work out just how much to feed them.
In general, you can determine the amount of food to feed by checking your dog’s weight.
However, as a rough guide, you can work on small dogs under 7 kilo needing 1-1.5 cups of dog food in a day and larger dogs over 22 – 23 kilos and needing 2-3 cups of food in a day.
Just like humans, the age of your dog (and even the type of food) will affect how much you feed the dog. For example, puppies will require more food at regular intervals due to growth etc. Whereas an elderly dog that has slowed down will need less to avoid obesity
Again the amount can also vary from dog food to dog food, and so an excellent place to start is to read the feeding guide on the label on the packet. Even if you think it looks too little, please stick to the guidelines. You can then adjust if your dog is under or overweight.
After a couple of weeks, if you are still unsure how much to feed your dog, we recommend consulting your vet.
As part of the health check, they will check his weight and ask about their activity level.
How often should I feed my dog?
We do not recommend that you feed your dog his daily food allowance all at once. Like humans, it is recommended that you divide the total amount of food into 2 or 3 equal portions and feed them throughout the day, in the same way we do/e.g. Breakfast, lunch, and supper.
However, this will also depend on your dog. On the same basis, a very active dog such as a Collie.
Along a similar line, a very active dog such as a Collie will probably get more hungry and need food more frequently;y during the day to keep the energy levels up.
Don’t Change The Food Too Often.
Once you have chosen a good quality food and got your dog used to it, changing the food can cause digestive issues, etc
If you do have to change the food at any time, then it is best to do this gradually so that your pet can adjust. The best way to do this is to put your dog’s regular food down and then, in a separate bowl, add a very small aunt of the new food.
Keep them separate for the first day or two.
Once they have started eating the tiny amount of new food, and as long as there are no side effects, you can feed three-quarters of their old food and a third of their new food.
Keep this up for around a week, and assuming no adverse effects, you can change this to two thirds old food and third new food. Again wait a week to see if any adverse effects.
At this stage, you can mix 50:50 of the food and then gradually fade the old food out altogether over the next few days
You must do this slowly to avoid any potential upset stomachs.
Limit the number of treats
Treats are great, especially when training. After all, would you work for nothing?
However, it is essential to ensure that the treats are taken into the daily calorie count/ Why not use some of the kibble as the standard reward?
We want to give our dogs high-value rewards such as chicken, but again it is essential to make sure that calories are included, and this is no more than 10 percent of their daily intake
Overdoing the treats can cause health issues such as obesity.
Final Words on Dog Feeding Tips
Always read the labels on the food to make sure you feed the right amount for the weight and age of your dog. If in doubt, ask the vet.
You can also jazz their food up with some dog friendly vegetables