Owning A Dog Basics – Feeding

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How often should I feed my dog?

This often becomes an important question asked by many dog lovers and dog owners.  If it is a puppy within age of the first six weeks, the puppies need to be given milk at the rate of five to seven times per day. The puppy will make some sound if it wants to feed in general.

However, the feeding frequency may be reduced when the dog becomes six to eight weeks old. By the time the dog assumes the age of four weeks, it may start taking of some solid food. Hence, mix the solid food with water in majority and feed your puppy once or twice in the beginning and if the dog develops some diarrhea, then delay the feeding.

Most of the times, it is due to trial and error but taking some basic steps in feeding, so you need to watch out.  The feeding frequency may be changed to two to three times after the assumption of age of eight weeks.  However, if the dog is seen hungry craving for food, then provide food once than the estimated numbers. This varies with different breeds of dogs.

However, avoid feeding too many times in this age group of dogs. Around three months to six months of age, the puppy will be teething. Hence, restrict the feeding to two times only but the balanced type of nutrition needs to be provided to the dogs of this age group to avoid the deficiency based symptoms in them.

From six months to one year, try using puppy food that is available commercially.  However, from first year onwards, the adult food may be given gradually.  However, when the dog becomes an elder dog, restrict the frequency of feeding since the movements of such adult dogs are highly reduced due to multiple reasons.  However, the pregnant animal may be fed an extra time depending on the willingness of the animal and restrict the quantity of the food but without compromising on the quality of food.

How much should I feed my dog?

Many people will give different types of answers based on their experience with their dogs.  However, the scientific facts related to the feeding aspects in case of dogs need to be given emphasis during the feeding activities maintained in case of dogs.

Usually the puppies should not be separated before they are eight weeks old. However, some times the orphaned puppies may exist. Usually about five percent of the body weight may be taken as criteria for the quantity of food to be given to the puppies.  However, the amount that is consumed by the dog varies with size of the dogs also.

However, one can have a thumb rule of feeding the puppy goes until you see visible fullness of the abdomen to a moderate degree. If you are going on feeding the animal without giving emphasis to the animal’s stomach appearance, then the puppy may experience some kinds of digestive upsets and the diarrhea may occur in them.

This may cause many inconveniences to the owner as well as the puppy.  Unlike adult dogs, the puppies need to be fed with restricted amounts of food but in more frequencies. However, once the age advances, the amount may be increased to some extent but the frequency of feeding is often decreased in many occasions.

A dog on a raw diet may consume only two to four percent of their body weight.  Just observe closely the feeding pattern of the dog and the body condition of the animal. If the dog becomes obese, just reduce the quantity of food and if the dog becomes thin, then have an increase in the feeding items.

As mentioned earlier, puppies and adolescent dogs eat more than the adult dogs.  Likewise the geriatric dog eats less than the adult dog due to the reduced movements of the dog. However, remember to restrict the amounts of protein during the feeding of diet to the aged dogs.

Dry Vs. Canned food

These types of food materials are different with different grades of liking by the dogs.  Dogs like dry foods only if they are tasty only and however, on comparison, the dogs prefer only the canned food items. Reason for such preference by the dogs is that in case of canned food items, the moisture is about seventy to eighty per cent but in case of dry food, it is only about ten per cent.

However, if you view it in terms of nutrients, often the dry food contains nearly ninety per cent nutrients whereas the canned food items contain only less per cent of nutrients and most of the times.  It is only soy products that are structured so well to look like meat pieces.

Hence, to make up the nutritional balance in the body systems, the dog has to eat more amounts of canned food materials than the dry food materials.  Hence, just compare the cost factor related to this feature by you.  Many dry food items are soybean and rice based.

Now some dry food items are based on corn. Sometimes, beef based or chicken based food items come in the cans along with mineral and vitamin supplements suited for the upkeep of the dog’s health status. Larger dogs that weigh more than thirty pounds need to be fed with semi moist food items or dry food items in most of the occasions.

This is to satisfy the food receptors in the stomach. This is due to the fact that the larger dogs need to eat plenty of moist food or the canned food items to satisfy these criteria.  But it may not be practically possible in these larger dogs.  The small sized dogs may have a satisfactory level of nutrients if fed even the moist food items.
However, the caloric density of the dry food should not be forgotten. Enriched dry food items are highly welcome ones than the non -enriched food items.

Understanding ingredients

Understanding the ingredients of your dog’s food items is a must for the dog lovers or dog owners.  Whenever you feed the dog with different kinds of food items, you should always read the label and understand the contents about the dog feed types that are being used in such commercial preparations. You should understand the ingredients while buying food for your dog and also know what to look for.

Feed items include dry and fresh food.  The fresh dog food that is prepared in homes generally consists of ingredients like freshly cut chicken pieces in addition to the cranberry juices, blue-green algae, etc.

If you come across any different kinds of preservatives and if the dog develops all of a sudden signs pertaining to the food allergy, suspect the unwanted ingredient in the feed items given. Similarly, understand about the moisture status. If the food item is having more moisture, then the dog may prefer this as well.

Beet pulp, pasta, Soy bean oil, wheat middlings, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, copper sulphate, iron sulphate, zinc oxide, choline chloride, etc. are often the ingredients in case of vegetarian based diet items offered to the pet animals like dogs.

Raw egg, chicken, beef, mutton, fish, quail etc. are often the preferred ingredients in case of dog diets that are prepared on the basis of the non-vegetarian items. Taurine is one of the essential ingredients for the dog’s nutrition.  Like wise, in the case of dogs feed with frozen fish items, the vitamin called thiamine needs to be supplemented as an ingredient.

Many premium type of dog food preparations contain essential fatty acids, carbohydrates with adequate fiber contents, vitamins like A, D, E and B complex vitamins.

Furthermore, minerals like zinc, is an essential ingredient for skin health status and calcium, which is an essential ingredient for bone growth, tonicity of muscles.  They should be enriched in these food items. However, the cost of those food preparations are comparatively more expensive than the food preparations with general ingredients.  Though it may be better for your dog’s health.

Food allergies

Food allergies are something that is difficult to identify unless one is well aware of the baseline information with regard to this type of allergy. The main symptoms of food allergies in dogs include the facial itching, limb chewing, belly itching, recurrent ear infections or skin infections.

Since the dogs consume lot of prepared food materials including various kinds of proteins, fillers, coloring agents and more; in the commercial food materials, the incidences of food allergies are more than one can imagine. Allergic reactions mostly involve the skin or the gastro intestinal tract.

If you come across your dog itching after the provision of specific food materials, then suspect the food allergy in this animal. However, conditions like fungal infections need to be ruled out in general before the conclusion of itching as a sign of food allergy.

There are many recorded incidences of allergies of dogs to corn or to wheat. However, the food allergies vary from dog to dog.  Read the labels clearly before feeding your dogs with pet food materials, in such occasions.  Too much colored food materials may be avoided since they may cause allergies to your dog.

Food allergies are often linked to the hyper active behavior noticed in the dogs.  Added colors, preservatives, and high fat diet might cause such food allergies in the dogs and hence, one has to be careful in providing new kind of diet to their dogs and closely monitor the dog for any signs of allergy.

There are many occasions that food allergies might be diagnosed in the dogs but the dog may have other problems like pancreatitis. To rule out the food allergies, observation your dogs everytime you feed them, look for reasons to link the signs of dog with food given, specific signs encountered, differential diagnosis etc. are the important features to be given emphasis.

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