Many dogs have become victims of well-meaning owners who are unintentionally feeding them to death. Dogs have changed along with us and adapted easily to an ever increasing variety of urban living environments. Gone lengthy bush walks and hunting expeditions — dogs have taken our lifestyle changes in stride.
As pet dogs adjust to the more increasingly sedentary urban lifestyle something as routine as going up a flight of stairs becomes a struggle, but bless their little hearts, their tails never stop wagging.
Therefore, it is up to us, as responsible dog owners, to be in control of the food our dogs consume on a daily basis. For starters,
- Make sure the type of kibble you have chosen has good nutritional content.
- Be aware of what you are feeding your dog by taking time to read all the ingredients on the label.
- A good quality dog food will have a protein source within the first 3 ingredients.
- Regardless of the type of protein used, it should be labeled as a meal : chicken meal, lamb meal, or fish meal.
As well, the protein should never come from any animal by-products, as these are all the left over scraps of animal parts not fit for human consumption.
Another thing to note is what filler or binding agent is used in the kibble. If rice (preferably brown) or oatmeal is used in the food, it will have a much higher nutritional value than if it contains corn, wheat, or soy. Not only that, wheat and soy are ingredients that are notorious for causing dogs to develop food allergies.
To keep it simple, when assessing the rest of the ingredients, just ask yourself this: Would I be okay with that in my food? If the answer is no, consider switching your dog to another brand of kibble. Remember, what goes in must come out, and if your dog is fed poor quality food, its health will suffer as a result.
In terms of deciding how much food to give your dog, first determine whether your dog is overweight or not. Compare your dog to the chart below, then use your hands to feel for body condition.
The dog on the left is fit, the dog in the middle is fat, and the dog on the right is obese. When you run your hand along your dog’s side, you should be able to easily feel each of its ribs and the spaces between them. There should also be an obvious indentation where the ribs end and the waist begins.
If your dog does not look or feel like the dog on the left, your dog needs to start losing weight.
If your dog is active and in good shape, you can follow the feeding guidelines printed on the bag of kibble.
If you switch brands, compare the protein and fat percentages of the new food with the old one. If they are higher in the new food, slightly reduce the amount of kibble per meal to account for the increase in calories. If your dog is overweight, feed the dog 2/3 to 1/2 of the food’s recommended amount.
Within reason and noting that dogs may not tolerate excessive carbohydrates, you can add some bulk to the meal by mixing the reduced portion of kibble with some cooked brown rice (and a little chicken stock for flavour), cooked veggies finely diced or shredded, low fat plain yogurt, or low fat cottage cheese.
If you feed your dog more than 2 or 3 biscuits in a day, then reduce the amount of food in his or her main meal. A healthier alternative to commercially produced dog biscuits is a beef soup bone, a chicken neck, or a piece of kangaroo tail. It takes dogs longer to consume these meaty treats, they aid in cleaning dogs’ teeth, and they are full of vitamins and minerals.
Here are a couple of tips for dealing with raw meat:
- Both chicken necks and beef soup bones can be purchased for relatively cheap from your local supermarket or butcher.
- it is easier to portion out the chicken necks before freezing them.
- scoop out some of the marrow from the soup bones, as it is quite rich and too much of it can cause runny stool in dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- You can get roo tail from some select pet stores and butchers. It is great for dogs that are allergic to chicken and beef.
- If you are not comfortable handling raw bloody meat, freeze everything before giving it to your dog. The bones take him or her longer to eat and while there is less mess it still might be an outdoor activity
No matter what you feed your dog, he or she needs daily exercise. You can feed your dog the best quality food but without physical activity he or she will remain unhealthy.
Besides the obvious physical benefits of keeping your dog active, there is also a behavioural benefits: an energetic dog that receives at least 30 minutes of fast-paced exercise per day is less likely to develop problem behaviours. A more laid-back dog will be happy at a walking pace, but will still need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. This is an opportunity to show gratitude for your dog, after leaving him or her at home alone all day — and preferable than stuffing him or her full of treats. pearl choker necklace leather of your dog should be suitable.
Your dog will be much happier and healthier for it, and so will you.