The Complete Guide to Feeding Dogs
Food is one of the most critical factors for survival and not just for humans but animals as well. Through food, we all get the nutrients that enable us to grow and develop our bodies. The same goes for dogs. The energy your pet needs to function must be provided to it through its diet.
If you have gotten a dog for the first time, it is natural to ask questions like: “Shall I give it raw or cooked food?” “At what times shall I feed it?” “Where do I even begin?” No one will ever give you all the answers to all these questions. Deciding what's best for your dog is your prerogative. However, there are specific guidelines you need to follow when it comes to your canine's nutrition.
In this blog, we shall discuss how to feed dogs and take you through the entire process. We hope all your questions will be answered. Happy reading!
What to Feed to Dogs
The most frequently asked question after "How to feed dogs?” is usually “What should I feed my dog?” Before we answer this question, we must tell you that no ingredient or type of food will suit all dogs. What might work for another dog might not sit well in your dog’s tummy. The process is all about experimenting with a couple of ingredients first till you understand what your dog likes.
There are 5 different types of dog foods that you must know about before making the decision for your beloved pet:
· Complementary vs Complete Foods:
Complete foods are those that contain every nutrient required by a dog in adequate amounts to keep the dog hale and hearty. These foods contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, as well as supplements. Complete meals come with a "complete" label and can be raw, wet or dry.
On the other hand, complementary foods are wet or raw forms of food that do not contain all the required nutrients but serve as an added delicacy or specific nutrient provided. Examples include food toppers, raw cut meats and dog biscuits.
· Wet foods: Wet foods are a popular choice of food for a dog's diet. They contain more water content than dry foods and usually come in tins or pouches. The ingredients in wet food are blended and cooked before sterilization takes place. They have a long shelf life.
· Dry foods: Dry foods comprise of the majority of foods in a dog’s diet. They do not need any preparation and are readily available everywhere. They are produced by baking, air-drying, freeze-drying, cold-pressing or extrusion (raw materials are steamed and passed through cookers).
· Fresh foods: These foods contain a combination of high-end fresh ingredients and have a higher amount of natural nutrients compared to wet and dry foods. They have a smaller shelf life of up to 14 days and must be refrigerated.
· Raw foods: The fastest growing trend these days is to give raw food to your canine. Many brands are producing pre-prepared raw foods for dogs in the form of nuggets or blocks of meat. However, there is a lot of recent talk about the nutritional and safety balance that comes with raw food. Raw foods are also difficult to store and transport, having a short shelf life.
Adult dogs that are active burn a considerable amount of calories each day, and thus, their diet needs to incorporate this fact. They must be given high-grade food that fulfils their energy requirements. We recommend giving them high amounts of good quality meat that provides energy and protein.
Senior dogs that are more than 7 years old need to be given lesser calories because of a slower metabolic rate as compared to adult dogs. Such dogs usually have joint problems and must be given foods that contain additional supplements to make joints strong such as fish oils.
Once puppies move to solid food, you should start by giving them mashed foods with a porridge-like consistency. It would be best if you began after your puppy is at least 4 weeks old with 4 small amounts of meals per day in addition to the mother's milk.
When your puppy turns 5 to 6 weeks old, you can add dry food to its diet. Your puppy will also start teething when they are 4-6 months old so you must give soft foods (biscuits in lukewarm broth/water) till the adult teeth are developed.
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog
The next section in our guide to feeding dogs focuses on how much food you should give to your pet. Feeding the right quantities of food is vital since it significantly impacts your dog's health.
Most dogs usually eat 2% to 3% of their adult weight each day. So if your dog weighs 30 kilograms, you should feed it approximately 600 to 900 grams of food each day, divided into different meals.
For puppies, we suggest giving 2% of body weight initially, divided into 4 meals or more per day. After your puppy turns 6 months old, you can reduce it to 2 meals.
Foods That You Must Avoid Giving To Your Dog
Many new dog owners make the mistake of giving their dogs food or ingredients that are meant for human consumption. You must absolutely avoid giving the following foods to your dog:
· Baked goods
· Garlic and onion
· Caffeine (coffee/tea)
· Dairy products
· Raw eggs
· Sugary drinks
· Human medicines
Feeding the right foods to your dogs, especially in their early years can help them grow and develop better. Food plays a very important role in ensuring a healthy lifestyle for dogs.
We hope you find our guide to feeding dogs helpful in making decisions for your pet. If you want the right pet food for your dog, consider purchasing the vast range of wet, dry and raw foods for your dog from DhohOo. With an easily digestible formula and no added chemicals, DhohOo only wants the best for your pet.