Feeding Your Dog
Feeding your dog. It seems like such a simple thing, but in reality, there are some important decisions that need to be made. Decisions that will impact both your dogs short and long term health. Have a look.
Picking Out The Right Food
This is perhaps the most important decision that you can make. The quality of the food that you feed your pet is of extreme importance. Cheap food is just that, cheap. Feeding a bottom of the barrel food to your dog is the equivalent of you eating cheap fast food for every meal. It might get the job done, but your health would certainly suffer.
Cheap foods will not have all of the nutrients that your dog needs, meaning that they will have to eat more of it. In addition, these cheap dog foods contain a lot of inexpensive fillers. What this all means is that most of the food your dog eats is just going to end up in your backyard.
This does not mean that you need to be spending a hundred dollars for a bag of dog food though. Pick a good, middle of the road dog food like Blue Buffalo or even Nutro. Depending on the size of your dog, you can still come in at 20 to 50 dollars a month in dog food. A small price to pay for your pets health.
Choosing A Feeding Frequency
Now, let us look at feeding frequency. How many times a day should you feed your dog? This will depend on a lot of factors including your dogs age, breed and size.
A puppy will require much more frequent feedings than an older dog. For the first three months of their life, you should be breaking their meals up into four servings a day. This will allow them to digest their food easier.
After three months, you can start switching them to three meals a day. The eventual goal for most dogs will be to get them down to two meals a day. Once in the morning or early afternoon and one in the evening.
Every dog is different though, so keep that in mind. If your dog has trouble digesting, more frequent meals might be beneficial. Also, if you have a large dog like a Dane, that is prone to bloat, smaller meals may be a better idea.
Above all else, make sure that you do not go over the recommended daily serving size. Break it up into equal portions based on the number of daily feedings that you choose.
Indulging Your Dog With Treats
Treats are an area where a lot of people get into trouble. We love to see how happy treats make our pets, but it is up to us to regulate them to a healthy level.
Your dog does not realize that they are basically eating a fun size snickers bar, they just know it tastes good. How much candy can you eat in a day and still stay a healthy weight? Keep that in mind when over indulging your pet and consider healthier treat alternatives.
Yes, there are low calorie treats out there, but they can get pricey, so keep it simple. Remember that your dog is an omnivore, so there are a lot of healthy vegetable choices. Apple slices, baked sweet potatoes and even cucumber slices all make good treats for your pet. For best results, start them out eating these foods at a young age so that they develop a taste for them.
Making Sure They Drink Water
Last but not least is water. Your dog obviously needs water and lots of it. At the very minimum, you should have a water dish available for your pet and change the water out twice a day. Nobody likes drinking stale water and you need your dog to want to drink.
If you live in an area with bad tasting tap water, get an inexpensive water filter. The better the water tastes, the more likely your pet is to stay properly hydrated. Proper hydration can prevent a number of health problems that affect the kidneys and the digestive tract, among other things.