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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.
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 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.
Indeed, in the UK, dog foods must list all their ingredients. They are also listed in order. So essentially, you will be looking for dog food with meat (not derivatives) 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 and soy cereals, you 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?
You might want to ask your vet this, as every dog is different. It all depends on the size, breed, etc.
Too much food can lead to obesity and cause various health problems. This can be from stiff and painful joints to heart disease.
Regularly checking your dog’s weight will help you work out how much to feed them.
You can generally 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 kilos, needing 1-1.5 cups of dog food daily. Larger dogs over 22 – 23 kilos need 2-3 cups of food daily.
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 regularly 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. An excellent place to start is to read the feeding guide on the packet’s label. Please stick to the guidelines even if you think it looks too little. 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.
They will check his weight and ask about their activity level as part of the health check.
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, dividing the total amount of food into 2 or 3 equal portions is recommended. These can then be fed 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.
A very active dog like a Collie will probably get more hungry. As a result, they will need food more frequently during the day to keep their 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 have to change the food at any time, then it is best to do this gradually. This makes it easier for your pet to adjust. Put your dog’s regular food down is the best way to do this. Then, add a very small amount of the new food in a separate bowl.
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 one-third new food. Again, wait a week to see if there are any adverse effects.
You can mix 50:50 of the food at this stage and gradually fade the old food over the next few days.
It would help if you did 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 kibbles as the standard reward?
We want to give our dogs high-value rewards such as chicken. However, it is essential to make sure that calories are included and no more than 10 percent of their intake.
Overdoing the treats can cause health issues such as obesity.
Final Words on Dog Feeding Tips
Always read the labels. This ensures 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
Why not also check out our article on Tips for keeping your dog healthy