As a new or a long term dog owner, it is likely that you have had many concerns about your dog’s diet.
There is a multitude of questions you need to ask yourself concerning the food you will be feeding your dog. It is important that you set healthy eating habits from the beginning as trying to enforce stricter food rules when your pet has grown will be much harder as your dog will already have become used to its food routine, and change will upset this. It is important to remember that like humans dogs need a diet that is balanced and nutritional, and this will help with their overall health.
Feeding Your Dog Once In A Day or Small Frequent Feeding: Which One Is The Best?
One of the first questions you need to answer is, what are you going to feed your dog? And what food is best for your specific dog? It is important that you take into account its size and its activity level to determine how much food they should be getting.
You also need to decide how you will feed your dog. Will you set aside a particular time during the day at which your dog will eat? Or will you use the free feeding method? This process involves leaving a bowl of food out all day so that it is always available for your dog. There are distinct advantages to this method of feeding. This way is popular for those who have busy schedules and cannot be sure whether they will be home at a designated time each day as it ensures that your dog will never be without food. However, this may not be suitable if you have multiple pets as one may monopolies the food, resulting in one dog overeating and another under eating.
However, if you are not a fan of the free feeding method, then you can choose the option that allows you to feed your dog at the same time every day. This method, like free feeding, has its benefits. This works well if you know you will be home at a certain time every day. It is also the healthier of the two approaches as you are controlling their portion size. Therefore, the likelihood of obesity is reduced so you are also minimizing their risk of health issues. If you are using this method, you should leave your dog with its food from anywhere to twenty to thirty minutes allowing them enough time to eat their fill. Many experts recommend that when using this method you feed your dog twice daily. Ideally in the morning and the evening. However, if you own a puppy, it is advised that you increase the amount of food to at least three times a day until they reach six months as they will require more nutrients than adult dogs to help them develop.
Many owners also struggle with what food is best for their dogs. Is canned food or dry food better? Or should we feed a dog ‘human food’ such as meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables?
Like the various feeding methods, both options have advantages and disadvantages. With the canned variety, your dog will be eating food that has a higher protein content than dry food. It also has fewer calories so it is a good option if your dog is on a restricted diet for weight issues. However, unlike dry food, it does not keep as long and can be more expensive.
Dry food, on the other hand, is usually cheaper and will be more convenient for storage as it will keep for much longer than wet food once it has been opened. Dry food is a good option when you are free feeding your dog due to its shelf life, as it will keep for the entire day so you do not need to worry about giving your pet a fresh bowl. Dry food is also very good at cleaning your dog’s teeth because of its hard texture; it will help scrape tartar off their teeth.
Ultimately it is important to choose a type of food that bests suits your lifestyle and schedule. As long as you ensure that your dog has a nutritional and balanced diet, it will be happy and healthy.
However, canned and dry food is not the only option available to you. For years people have been feeding their dog’s table scraps but is this healthy for them? The answer is, it depends on the scraps you are giving them. Many ‘human foods’ are perfectly fine for dogs. However, there are also many human foods that are toxic to dogs and you should under no circumstance feed them to your dog. These include grapes which can cause sudden kidney failure, chocolate which in excess amounts can result in death and certain types of nuts such as walnuts and macadamia nuts which are also toxic to dogs but non-fatal. These types of nuts may cause vomiting, tremors and weakness after ingestion. These are but a few, there are many other ‘human foods’ that are toxic to dogs, and it is your obligation as a dog owner to research these foods.
However, this does not mean that you cannot feed your dog any human food. Many owners now choose to make their dog food. This decision may be for medical reasons, skin allergies or gastrointestinal issues. If this option appeals to you, then many human foods are perfect for dogs. Most meat is an excellent choice to include in your dog’s diet such as chicken, turkey, beef and liver. Meat of any kind is a very good source of protein. You should also include a variety of vegetables particularly green leafy types such as lettuce, kale, parsley and basil. These vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and also contain a high percentage of vitamins and minerals.
Though the options are endless, it is important to remember that no option is necessarily the right option. Instead, you should do what is best for you and your dog, always ensuring that they have a nutritional and balanced diet.