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12 May 2011

Choosing the right food for your dog

Dogs and humans have one thing in common when it comes to nutrition (only one) - and that is : They are what they eat!

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Dogs and humans have one thing in common when it comes to nutrition (only one)  - and that is : They are what they eat! 

There are many opinions on what dogs should eat – some believe in feeding dogs raw meat and bones (as nature intended), others believe natural homemade dog food is the best, while some believe vegetables only is the way to go. Others will claim that only the most expensive food will do for their pooches while others just feed whatever they can find in the fridge. 

What you feed your dog is probably the most essential part of maintaining your dog’s good health.  It is also important to understand that your dog has different dietary needs during his different life stages – from being a puppy, adult and senior dog. Different breeds also have specific dietary requirements and what and how much your dog eats also depends on his level of activity.  Speak to Vet to make sure you are feeding your dog the right food and the right quantities. 

Dogs should never be fed human food. Human food is far too rich and some human food can in fact be very harmful to your dog. For example, did you know that chocolate contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems of your dog and be lethal.  Read more about food your dog should NOT be eating.

Here are some tips when it comes to dog food:

With so many brands and types of dog food on the market, it might be a daunting task deciding on which type will be right for your dog.

Use this list to help decide which type of dog food is best for your pet:

Specialty or super premium - products generally sold in pet specialty stores and veterinarian offices. They are usually more energy dense, or have more calories per pound of food.

Premium products -  traditionally sold at grocery stores but also are available in some pet specialty outlets. They are generally lower in caloric value compared to super premium products.

Store brand productsare pet foods sold under the store's name as opposed to a national brand name. These foods are designed to offer similar guarantees, ingredients, and performance to the nationally advertised brands.

Canned (wet) foodcontains more water so it has less calories than dry food. Because canned foods contain more water, it may be difficult for large breed dogs to meet their energy needs before feeling full.

Breed size food(large breed vs. small breed) contains nutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate, minerals, etc.) levels that are appropriate for a specific breed size's metabolism and life stage. For example, some large breed puppy formulas are scientifically formulated to help large breed puppies grow at a normal rate to develop strong bones and joints. Some small breed formulas are developed to provide concentrated nutrition in small, bite-size kibbles that meet a small breed puppy’s high metabolic needs. Although some original puppy formulas are appropriate for puppies of all breed sizes and provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition, they are most appropriate for those puppies that will be neither very small nor very large at maturity

Puppy foodis rich in nutrients, such as protein, and calories, which are necessary for growing puppies. These products contain appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus to help support healthy bone and joint development

Adult foodcontains the appropriate levels of nutrients that adult dogs need. It is generally not appropriate for pregnant and lactating dogs.

Weight management foodis generally high in protein and fiber and lower in calories and fat content compared to an adult maintenance food. The high protein levels help dogs lose fat and not muscle, while high fiber levels help dogs feel satisfied while losing weight.

Senior foodis specifically formulated for dogs over the age of 7. Senior dogs are not necessarily less active or overweight, but they do have different nutritional needs compared to adult dogs. Senior diets should contain increased protein levels to help maintain muscle mass and support a healthy immune system.

Homemadedog food runs the risk of containing too much fat for most dogs' needs. Diets high in fat could increase your dog's risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and an elevated heart rate. 

 
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