The right amount of nutritious food is a necessity
for every dogs health. Food provides dogs
with the fuel to grow, maintain a healthy body,
fight infection and reproduce. Plenty of fresh
water is also equally important for a dog's body.
The right diet contains balanced proportions
of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and
minerals. High-quality dog foods offered by reputable
companies also meet these needs, or a healthy
diet can also be prepared at home, with help from
a veterinarian. The correct proportion of each
key ingredient and the amount to be fed depends
on every individual dog. Determine whether the
dog is young or old, thin or fat, active or sedentary.
Check to see whether the dog spends most of its
time indoors or outdoors, in a hot climate or
a cold one. Furthermore, determine whether the
dog is a working one or a pregnant . Each of these
different cases presents its own nutritional needs.
Every dog in the household should have a separate
food dish and access to fresh and clean water.
The dishes and the utensils used to prepare food
should be kept clean at all times. In order to
achieve best results, a regular feeding schedule
should be maintained.
Puppies need more calories and essential nutrients
as compared to adult dogs. Food quality is just
as important as quantity, especially just after
weaning when the puppy is at about five
to seven weeks old. Eggs, meat, milk and cottage
cheese are appropriate puppy foods because they
are palatable, digestible and contain plenty of
high-quality protein. Foods with a very high fibre
content are less desirable during the period of
rapid growth. If a commercial dog food is offered,
it should be formulated for puppies, or an adult
food should be supplemented with the high-protein
foods. Be careful to consult your veterinarian
on this issue to ensure that the diet remains
a balanced one.
Most young puppies are fed thrice a day, although
some breeders prefer four times daily for the
first month and followed up by three times thereafter.
When a puppy reaches four to six months of age,
two meals a day will be sufficient.
Perfect healthy dogs occasionally skip a meal
or eat less than normal. Unless the dog is showing
signs of illness or its appetite does not pick
up again soon, there is no need for any alarm.
Be careful to avoid overfeeding young dogs as
by doing so, it may lead to a variety of medical
problems. A puppy should be weighed weekly, and
the growth rate should be compared with published
charts for that particular breed. An average growth
rate is preferable to a maximum one. Exercise
is also important and necessary at this time.
Small breeds often approach maturity at seven
to ten months, whereby their total nutrient requirements
gradually decrease. Larger dogs mature at a slower
Always remember to provide fresh drinking water,
even if your dogs food seems very wet. Between
meals, snacks should always be avoided, except
during occasional treats to be used as rewards
for good behaviour.
The following chart is a general guide to the
caloric requirements for an average adult dog.
Your dog may need more or less food, depending
on the size, activity level, temperament and metabolism.
For example, a dog that works hard or spends a
lot of time outside in a cold climate requires
more energy from food than one that is basically
sedentary or spends most of the time in a temperature-controlled
There are three types of commercial dog foods:
dry, semimoist and canned. Assuming they are manufactured
by reputable companies, all these food contain
adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins,
minerals and vitamins. Therefore, the selection
of any diet should depend on the nature of the
dog, the performance desired by its owner and
the overall care of the dog.
The adequacy of a particular diet may be judged
by observing the dog. First, determine whether
the dogs stools are very watery, foamy,
pale or coloured like the food. All these factors
indicate poor digestion of food. On the other
hand, stools that are small, dark and dense suggest
good digestion of food. Next, look at the dogs
coat. The proper diet helps it stay pliant, glossy
and clean-looking. Physical fitness is another
important assessment, especially when deciding
how much to feed. Reach over and run your hands
along the dogs sides. If your dog is overweight,
which does not take place commonly in dogs, you
will not be able to feel the ribs.
Pregnant And Lactating Bitches
A should be in prime condition before she is
being bred. Pregnancy is not the right time to
start rebuilding depleted body reserves, which
may sometimes result in whelping complications.
Any that is part of a breeding programme should
be fed with a complete and balanced diet that
is slightly above her usual maintenance intake.
After the breeding has taken place, return to
her usual amount and type of food consumed by
the . A in good condition should continue into
pregnancy with the same caloric intake that she
had during adult maintenance. Her food intake
should be increased only when her body weight
increases, which begins about the last five weeks
before whelping. Daily food intake should be increased
gradually, so that during the time of whelping
she may be consuming thirty-five to fifty percent
more than usual.
If you have been feeding your a well balanced
and high quality diet, there is no need to add
anything during her pregnancy. However, some breeders
advocate supplementation with a protein source
such as evaporated milk, eggs, meat or liver.
These supplements should never represent more
than ten percent of the small, frequent meals
to spare her the discomfort that larger meals
can cause to dogs especially small ones.
Some bitches consume very little food for the
first day or two after whelping. Then their appetite
and need for all nutrients rises sharply and peaks
in about three weeks. During this entire period,
adequate calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D must
be fed to avoid the onset of eclampsia. Optimal
amounts of these nutrients are already present
in a high-quality diet, so further supplementation
should be necessary. Eclampsia causes nervousness,
whimpering, unsteady gait and spasms. Although
it maybe a serious case, it can be readily cured
with prompt veterinary treatment from a veterinarian.
After whelping, the ideally should be about the
same weight as when she was bred, but not more
than five to ten percent heavier. For three weeks
after whelping, she will need two or three times
more food than her normal maintenance diet in
order to help her provide nourishing milk to her
puppies. This food should be divided into about
three or four meals. The composition of the food
should be the same as it was during the last third
of her pregnancy; remember that only the amount
per day should be changed.
Nursing puppies should be allowed to eat a little
of their mothers food, as long as it has
been well soaked or moistened, soon after they
have normal sight and locomotion. As weaning progresses,
start limiting the s food intake so that
she will have fewer problems at time of complete
weaning. On the first day of complete weaning,
do not offer the any amount of food at all, although
plenty of water should always be available. On
the second day, feed one-fourth of her normal
maintenance diet; on the third day one-half; on
the fourth day three-quarters, and then return
completely to the diet she was fed before breeding.
By doing so, it will help in the decrease of milk
production and the prevention of mammary gland
Finally, even if you have followed the recommended
feeding practices during pregnancy and lactation,
the body reserves of many bitches become depleted
during lacation. Therefore, carefully observe
the and be sure that she is being fed with a high-quality
diet, one that is easily digested and contains
essential nutrients, until she has reached the
same body condition and nutritional status that
she had been enjoying before breeding.
Hand Feeding Newborn Puppies
Newborn puppies must be hand fed if their mother
is either unable or
unwilling to nurse them. Cows milk is a
poor substitute for s milk, which is more
concentrated and has twice the level of protein,
almost double the calories and more than twice
the calcium and phosporus content. For feeding
puppies, a commercial puppy formula is recommended;
carefully follow the manufacturer's recommendations
for the feeding process.
On the average, the following guidelines will
indicate how many calories a newborn puppy is
required per day. A puppy may require one-quarter
more or less than these guidelines, depending
upon its individual needs.
First Week: 60 to 70 calories per pound of body
weight, per day.
Second Week: 70 to 80 calories per pound of body
weight, per day.
Third Week: 80 to 90 calories per pound of body
weight, per day.
Fourth Week: 90-plus calories per pound of body
weight, per day.
As an example, let us take into consideration
of an average-sized, seven-day-old, 10-ounce puppy.
This puppy would need sixty calories times two-thirds
of a pound, which is equivalent to forty calories
a day. If the commercial puppy formula supplies
thirty calories per ounce, the puppy would need
approximately 1.5 ounces of formula per day. Always
remember that puppies grow at a very rapid rate,
so make sure you weigh them every day before you
start calculating how much to feed them.
You may need to start with slightly less formula
at each feeding and gradually increase the amount
as the puppy responds favourably to each feeding
and gradually increase the amount as the puppy
responds favourably to hand feeding. When steady
weight develops, immediately reduce the puppy's
intake to half the amount previously fed, then
gradually increase it again to the recommended
level. Diarrhoea in newborn puppies can be very
dangerous, so it is always wise to consult a veterinarian
for advice and queries.
Never prepare more formula than is required for
any one day, because milk is a wonderful medium
for bacterial growth. Furthermore, it is essential
to maintain clean and sanitary conditions at all
times. Divide the formula into the correct proportions
for each feeding and keep it refrigerated. Before
feeding, warm the formula to about one hundred
degrees Farenheit or near body temperature. Using
a bottle and nipple, hold the bottle at an angle
to prevent the release of air bubbles. The hole
in the nipple can be enlarged slightly with a
hot needle to let the milk ooze out slowly when
the bottle is inverted. The puppy should vigorously,
but it should not be nursed too rapidly. Consult
a veterinarian immediately for help if the puppies
are not nursing well. During unforeseen circumstances,
you may need to resort to tube feeding, which
is best taught by a health professional.
The activity level and metabolism rate slow down
in older dogs, thus
diminishing the amount of calories required for
maintenance. To avoid obesity, the dog must therefore
eat one-quarter to one-third less food. Older
dogs still have the usual demands for essential
nutrients. However, a more nutritious diet may
be required for the dog. Since the digestive process
and food absorption may take a longer time, you
may need to feed smaller and more frequent meals.
Many older dogs suffer from kidney disease or
other medical problems that respond to specialised
diets. Check with your veterinarian to have a
deeper understanding about diets that are tailored
to meet the needs of older dogs.
Nutritional deficiencies are unusual in dogs
today with special thanks
to the availability of many palatable and nutritionally
sound commercial dog foods. Those rare instances
of nutritional deficiency often result from misconceptions
about feeding (e.g. offering an all-meat diet)
or oversupplementing a diet that is already well
balanced. A common mistake is to add extra fats
to increase the energy intake or to improve palatability.
Too much fat will mean caloric needs are met before
a dog has eaten enough protein, minerals and vitamins
that is necessary for good health.
Another common source of difficulty is oversupplementation
with additional vitamins and minerals, such as
calcium and Vitamin D, during periods of growth
and reproduction. An excess of minerals and vitamins,
or imbalances among them, may cause problems that
are more complex and difficult to diagnose or
treat as compared to simple deficiencies.
Most dogs love to chew on bones. However, some
bones can be of a hazard to their health. Turkey,
chicken, pork or any bones liable to splinter
should not be given to dogs because of the high
risk they pose. Their sharp, needle-like pieces
can penetrate the mouth, stomach or intestines,
thus causing injury or even death in serious cases.
Large, hard bones such as knuckle or marrowbones
are preferable, but make sure to boil them. Then
make sure your dog only chews the bone and not
swallow it down
The Overweight Dog
Consuming too much food and not doing enough
into fat thus leading to obesity which is an unhealthy
situation in any animal. The first step in reducing
your dog's weight is to check with a veterinarian
to rule out the particular physical or metabolic
problem. The next step is to put the dog on a
strict diet which means feeding the dog slightly
less than the number of calories it needs for
daily maintenance (and no treats or table scraps
is allowed) and increasing exercising activities.
Special foods are available for this purpose;
always check with your veterinarian for more guidance.
Weight loss should proceed in a slow and steady
manner. To keep track of your dog's weight, stand
on the bathroom scale with the dog in your arms,
then weigh yourself alone and calculate the difference