Feeding your Dog Properly
We may treat our dogs like humans at times but that doesn’t mean that they need to be fed like them. Feeding your dog properly is important to their overall health and well-being. Here are some pointers about feeding them in the right way.
Dogs are not people. They have a different diet and have different nutritional requirements. For instance, dogs are pack animals. They are descended from wolves which are pack animals. In the wild, animals eat what they have in their surroundings and that doesn’t include certain foods that we have at our disposal in the domesticated environment. To understand your dog, take a good look at him or her and learn about their needs versus what we think they should have.
The Puppy Years
It is unwise to take a pup from its mother before it is eight weeks of age. Just like human babies, pups get proper nourishment and immunity from their mother’s milk. Weaning them too soon can lead to health issues.
Puppies need to be fed three or four times a day. After about four weeks this can consist of mother’s milk and also some solid food. After eight weeks, the puppy can eat solid food with very little milk. This begins the weaning period. And, it is safe to take them from their moms when they are more interested in your company than their mother’s.
As the puppy gets older, feed them less frequently, about twice a day. For dogs that are prone to weight problems, you don’t want to start a bad habit at a young age. Also, feeding them at regular intervals makes it easier to housebreak them.
A Few Food Facts
If you have ever looked in a dog’s mouth, you will notice that they have sharp incisors. Humans have a couple of them too but dogs have a whole mouth of them. They are used for ripping and tearing meat.
Dogs need a lot of protein in their diet but very little, if any, grains. Many commercial dog foods contain grain products as filler in their dry foods. Avoid these as much as possible.
Dogs do not have the proper teeth to grind up and digest grains. All they will do is eliminate it from their system. Feeding too much grain can leave your dog hungry and undernourished.
Read the labels. Be sure that the ingredients say “meat meal” (chicken, pork, beef, turkey, etc) as the first ingredient so you know that in the concentrated dry food, you are getting more meat by weight than if it read “meat” alone. Watch out if it names a grain as the second or third ingredient as that means that there are a lot of non-nutritive fillers involved. Mix wet with dry food so that your dog gets that crunch and a lot of needed protein.
Feeding your dog properly leads to a long happy life with very few health and developmental problems.