The Basics of Feeding Your Dog
Dogs are a man’s best friend, and today that adage is truer than ever as a recent Harris Poll survey reveals 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be family members. Your dog’s nutrition plays a key role in keeping your dog safe, fit and healthy. So whatever you feed your dog — wet, dry, raw, or homemade — it’s important to make sure it provides the proper levels of energy for your companion to live a full, healthy life.
Feeding your puppy
A puppy requires lots of nutrients to support his growth to build healthy bones, strengthen muscle, and developing organs. Solid food should be introduced at around four weeks old to suit their increasing calorie requirements. Puppies should be gradually weaned from their mothers at about six weeks old. It’s around this time you should check your puppy’s health: his coat should be shiny, his energy high, and he should be passing solid feces.
What should you feed your dog?
There are many ways you can feed your dog: wet, dry, raw, and home-cooked. There’s no one diet that suits all, so you may have to do some experimentation at first. Dry foods are the most popular and easy way of feeding dogs — either as-is or mixed with other food. Moisten dry food if your puppy’s younger than eight weeks old. Alternately, wet foods are generally considered fresher and nutritionally-superior; however, they’re more expensive. “Complete” wet and dry foods contain all the nutrients your dog requires and in adequate amounts.
Raw feeding is becoming increasingly popular as it’s considered the most natural diet for dogs. You can choose to make your dog’s raw meals yourself comprised of raw meat, bones, fruit, and vegetables. Alternatively, you might prefer buying-in pre-prepared raw meals for dogs.
DIY home goodness
Or maybe you want to prepare your own nutritious meals for your dog. Home-cooked dog food relies on a large variety of whole food ingredients. The fresh ingredients and minimal processing involved means the meals retain most of the nutrients. Feeding your dog this way will do him wonders, however, it’s a bigger commitment that requires continual planning and preparation.
Above all, always read the nutrition labels on the backs of dog food, so you know exactly what it contains. Avoid feeding your dog poor-quality food (especially anything listing corn and meat by-products as the first ingredients). If ever in doubt, get professional advice from your vet.
Story Courtesy of Freelance writer Sally Perkins
Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash.com