Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Questions About Dog Nutrition ( 2)

Do all dog foods include all the vitamins and minerals that my dog needs? Any pet food which is labeled as complete and balanced as regulated by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) must, by definition, contain all the vitamins and minerals required by the pet for good health. Check the label to make sure the food you are using meets these standards. These nutrients are carefully balanced to provide just the right amount of nutrition for your pet.

Should I give my dog vitamin and mineral supplements?. For most dogs fed a complete and balanced commercial diet, vitamin and mineral supplements are unnecessary and in fact could be harmful. In fact dogs fed commercial diets are more likely to suffer from diseases of nutritional excesses than deficiencies due to the indulgent owner who adds vitamin or mineral supplements to their dogs' diet. Since most commercial diets contain a careful balance of nutrients, additional supplements of one or two nutrients can upset this balance. In some cases such as stress, illness or a particular medical condition, supplements may be beneficial when given under the direction of your veterinarian.

How much should I feed my dog? An excellent place to start is to look for feeding guidelines on the package. Remember that these are guidelines only and that your pet's age, activity level, environmental temperatures all have an effect on how much your pet needs. It is best to weigh your pet regularly and increase the amount if your pet appears to be losing weigh and decrease the amount if your pet appears to be gaining weight. Many pet stores and most veterinarian offices have scales you can use to weight your pet.

How often should I feed my dog? Young, growing dogs should be fed two or three times per day; feed newly weaned puppies three times a day and older growing puppies two times a day. Adult dogs can be fed once or twice a day depending upon owner preference. Adult dogs that are overweight and are being fed to lose weight should be fed twice a day to help minimize the risk of begging.

I have been told that feeding dogs table scraps is not good for them. Why not? Isn't human food okay for my pet? While an occasional piece of popcorn certainly won't hurt your dog, it is generally not recommended that you feed your dog table scraps for the following reasons: First, too many table scraps can add nutrients which would upset the balance of the commercial dog food you are using. Second, your dog will assume he should always have human food along with his regular dog food. Lastly, feeding table scraps encourages a dog to beg for food.
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Helping-pets said...

People Food
Feeding your dog "people food," i.e., table scraps and such is a poor idea. First, you may encourage your dog to make a pest of himself when you are eating. Second, feeding a dog table scraps is likely to add unneeded calories to its diet and your dog may become overweight. Third, if your dog develops the habit of gulping down any food it can get, it may seriously poison or distress itself someday.
Following these guidelines should help. Do not feed the dog anything but dog food and dog treats. You might add vegetable oil or linatone to the food to improve its coat. There are other foods that you may want to add to improve its diet such as vegetables, rice, oatmeal, etc., (check with your vet first for appropriate food to meet the dietary need you want to address), but always feed them to the dog in its dish, never from your plate or from your hand while you are eating.
Discourage your dog from begging at the table by tying it nearby (so that it does not feel isolated from the social activity) but out of reach of the table. After you finish eating, feed the dog. Tell your dog "no" or "leave it" if it goes for anything edible on the floor (or on the ground during walks!), praise it when it obeys you. Teach it that the only food it should take should be from its dish or someone's hand. (You can find the leave it exercises at www.dogstartraining.com).
If you are concerned about the "boring and drab" diet for your dog, look for a food that is high quality. One of these brands is Nutro. They provide a variety of foods to choose from. They also have a dessert line, for those times your pet deserve a treat. You can look at all the different lines of food at www.nutorproducts.com . Food is a staple to a healthy and balanced pet, make sure your providing the quality and nutrition they need and deserve.

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BARC said...

Have you heard about the National Canine Weight Check? There’s one week left - it’s a great opportunity to get your dog obesity-checked for free. I know we’re all partial to our own vets, so see if your vet is one of the 4,000+ that are participating in the NCWC during February. Or visit the Find a Vet page to locate another vet in your area, www.stopcanineobesity/findavet Either way, it’s a good cause to promote dog health and our dogs’ health should always remain important.