Our dogs are our dear buddies; in some cases, they are our best friends. They offer us unconditional love and company; some breeds live only to please us. They can brighten up our life when we get home after a long day of work at the office with how excited they are to see us. It is a known fact that having a dog can improve our mental health and offer companionship for many people. Dogs can be trained to do a number of things, they can be trained to be a Seeing Eye dog, police dog, and even clown dogs. They can do tricks such as dance with your, sit, play dead. They bring joy and love to our lives, so it is understandable that we want to give them as much love as they deserve and care for them as a member of our own family.
Dogs are mammals, just like us. If we eat too much and don’t exercise enough we are going to get fat; the same happens to our dogs. If we eat food that is not good for us, we tend to feel lethargic afterwards and do not want to move. Eating unhealthy can cause a whole slew of problems from heart disease to diabetes. This can make our skin and hair look unhealthy. And when we go the bathroom… well, let us just say that it can be pretty ugly sight. Dogs are not different: If they eat too much and get no exercise they become overweight; if they eat food that is not good for them, they too can feel lethargic and have no energy.
What our dogs eat can affect their coat and their skin. Dogs can get most of the same diseases we do. They can get cancer, heart diseases, and have heart attacks; they can even get diabetes. This is why it is so important to understand why your dog’s diet is so important in their lives. Just like with humans, dogs are what they eat, just like we are. Unfortunately though, a dog can not tell us when something doesn’t feel right on them, or when they have a stomach ache from the food they eat. Most of us watch what we eat because of the health benefits that come with the effort, and it is the same thing in our dogs.
A dogs diet needs are not that different from our own whether it is animal based or vegan dog food; they require the same vitamins and minerals as we do, just not in the same quantity. They require high protein dog food, carbohydrates and fats. Their stomachs work in a similar way to ours. There are only a few differences. If we eat too much and do not exercise enough, we get overweight. Getting overweight can bring on a whole slew of problems for us. For a dog, this reality is not different. If they eat too much and do not get enough exercise, they too will become overweight and they too will deal with a whole slew of problems also. The food we put into our body can affect our skin and our hair. The food we put on a dogs body affects their skin and their hair. Why do some dog owners think otherwise?
We eat certain foods to give us the nutrition we need to keep us healthy. The same is true for dogs. While they can not eat the same foods we do, careful attention should be paid to the ingredients in dog food to make sure they are getting a healthy and nutritious meal. Poor diet in dogs could mean many things. Dogs with a poor diet do not have high energy levels, they may develop health problems down the line; they can get overweight or underweight, they can have teeth problems, bad breath, they can even get infections; the list goes on and on. An unbalanced diet for our dog could mean a shorter lifespan for our precious dog companion. Just as important as a good diet is, it is just as important to keep our dog on a feeding schedule. Free feeding our dog is almost like an invitation to obesity for some of them; they can just graze all day.
How much do you love your puppy? Are you willing to give them the very best?
Getting our dog on a set feeding schedule will help with their diet in the long run and also with their potty and business breaks outside. Most dog owners consider their dog part of their family (and we should). Keeping a dog on a good diet has tons of benefits. You could be preventing a number of diseases, stomach issues and even be preventing cancer in some dogs. Just like us humans, dogs can get cancer, they can get diabetes and they can even suffer from high blood pressure. What does your doctor tell you to do if this were to happen to you? Yes, your doctor would tell you to change your diet. You could keep allergies at bay if you make the smart choices for dog food. You could help prevent arthritis in your dog as they age. There are so many more reasons why you should make sure your dog is getting the best diet for dogs. With the proper diet, you could be looking at added years to their precious life.
So when should a dog’s good nutrition start? Right from the moment they are born. In fact pups get an excellent source of nutrition and antibodies right from their mothers. In the first 24 hours after they give birth, a female dog will produce a liquid called colostrum. This is the same liquid that women produce right after they give birth, but before their milk comes in. In this colostrum are antibodies that the mother has been exposed to by the vaccinations she has received. So if you have a dod mother who is up to date with her vaccinations, her pup will be protected at least until they are old enough to begin their own vaccine schedule. Usually the antibodies received from their mother will stay in a pup’s blood until they are a few weeks old. Without colostrum a pup’s chance of survival can be drastically reduced.
Colostrum is a source of protection and nutrition, and is also playing a part in maintaining the fluid level in your pup. In order for a new puppy’s heart to work properly, it needs a high volume of fluid. Colostrum helps balance this all out. Most experts agree that a pup should only nurse for the first 3 to 4 weeks of their lives, until their puppy teeth start showing. Once their teeth start coming through, the breeder should start adding in solid food because nursing might start to become too painful for the mother with their puppy teeth. If you have a pup or have experience with puppies, you know how sharp those teeth are. Imagine the pain their poor mother must experience if she accidentally gets nipped while they are nursing.
Most vets and breeders recommend that puppies are kept with their mother and their litter until they are at least 7-8 weeks old. By this time they are old enough to be weaned from their mother and ready to begin their new life with you. There are some questions to ask your breeder (if that is who you are getting your puppy from). Double check and make sure the pup have nursed for the first 24 hours. This way you can rest be assured that they got colostrum. Also ask your breeder or wherever you are getting your dog from, what kind of diet the pup has been on. Find out what kind of kibble the pup has been getting. Most of the time, a breeder will send you home with a bag of kibble and leave it up to you to determine if you want to stay with that kibble or use a new one; switching is your choice.
Some people switch the kibble because the one the puppies were on at the breeders have had bad reviews, or because they want to feed their puppy with high fiber dog food, others just want to switch to a cheaper brand. If you do switch, make sure they are still getting the nutrients they need to grow into the loving adult dog they are destined to be. If you decide you want to try your pup on different food for whatever the reason, what kind of food should you get for your puppy? Avoid canned food as they are made up of mainly water, salt and sugar. You pup does not need any salt or sugar so avoid the canned and the semi-moist food; plus soften food can also cause teeth problems down the line for your dog.
Stick with the best dry food for dogs. To be more specific stick with a dried kibble food that has a meat protein source as one of its first two ingredients. Included in this kibble should be at least 28% of protein for your puppy to help they grow big and strong. Not only that but the kibble will help the puppy’s teeth. Puppies’ teeth are notorious for being sharper than adult teeth. Puppy kibble is designed for these teeth. You will notice that puppy kibble is a little smaller and sometimes harder than adult kibble. This is to help his adult teeth come through.
If you already decided you are switching your puppy’s kibble, then do the switch accordingly. Do not switch suddenly meaning do not give your pup the food it is used to one day and then a completely different food the next day. This will wreak havoc on your puppy’s stomach; not only that, your pup might not take to the new food so kindly. Your best bet is to mix the food gradually to get them use to the new food. It can take up to a week to completely transition the pup from one food to the next but in the end it is worth it for your little loving pup.
How often should you feed your puppy? Well, any puppy under the age of six months should be fed at least three times a day. By the time they are six months, they should eat twice a day, and once they hit a year, they should eat only once a day. Of course that is all depending on the breed and the amount of activity your dog gets.
Remember that happy dogs are healthier.
A dog that gets a lot of activity and is a larger breed dog might benefit from being fed twice a day instead of once. It is not a good idea though, to leave your puppies or your dog’s food out all day for them to eat whenever they may feel like it. This can lead to unwanted behavior down the line and obesity in some dogs. Since you are feeding three times a day, which means once in the morning, afternoon and night. This does mean that if you work full time, either yourself or someone you know and trust will have to come to feed your puppy its lunch and make sure they are taking out immediately.
A puppy’s intestinal tract is still developing and they can not hold off on doing their business as long as adult dogs can. Some puppies will even need sensitive stomach dog food. Make sure though you stick to a feeding schedule with your puppy. As always limited the amounts of table scraps you give your pup in fact try not to give him any. Instead go for the puppy designed treats if you must give him something. By practicing good nutrition and diet right from the start you are creating an excellent blueprint for your dog to follow through his life.
Do not forget about your dog’s comfort, they also need to be comfortable.
Once your pup reaches about a year you should start to switch from the puppy chow into the adult food. What kind of adult food should you chose? There are three types of dog food: dry, semi-moist or canned.
Dry foods are usually the more popular choice and they go through a lengthy process to make. Most companies start out with raw materials such as grain, meat and fat. Then they grind them down to help increase the availability of the nutrients and mix the ingredients. Next is a process that is called extrusion which uses an extruder. An extruder is a machine that looks like screw inside a barrel. The food cooks as it goes through the barrel and changes the screw’s turning speed. This is how the dog food is cooked and the end results are spongy dough. It is then send through what is known as a die where it is cut with a knife. The new kibbles now go into a dryer where the moisture is removed. The last step is called enrobing and it is the addition of either liquids or powders to the outer of the kibble. This is where the fat and flavor enhancements are added.
Semi-moist foods are made almost just like dry foods but when they are going through the extruder the temperature is lower and dryer. Semi moist foods are obviously higher in moisture and have an increased risk of spoilage from mold and bacteria. To help prevent this, manufactures formulated the semi-moist foods with mold and bacterial inhibitors and place them in special moisture proof bags.
Canned foods have been around since the 1800s. Canned food (or soft dog food) is food sealed in a can and then heat sterilized. Raw dog food ingredients are used as they are in dry food and semi-moist food. These are then added into a mixer and are cooked. After it is cooked but still hot, it moves into the filler/seamer. This is when it is placed in the cans and vacuumed sealed and then sterilized. Now that who know how each food is made, how do you decide which one is best for your dog if you are feeding them store bought food.
You might want to stay away from semi-moist food. Just as you did for puppy hood. As we stated before, they are quiet high is salt and sugar.
Sugar can contribute to gingivitis which can lead to tooth loss. Salt of course can lead to dehydration in some dogs. If you really want semi moist food for your dog, you can go ahead and add some water to his kibble already. Be careful and try not to add too much though. Kibble tends to swell when it is wet and it could cause bloating in your dog.
Try to stick with the best dry food for dogs. To come to an even better conclusion, you should look at your dog to decide if you should go with the dry, semi-moist or canned dog food. Is your dog a large breed dog? Large breed dogs tend to eat more than the smaller breeds and you might benefit more from dry food which is sold in bulk. Canned foods are better for the smaller dog breeds, but be careful with this because sometimes with canned food you can see a faster buildup of tartar and plaque on your dog’s teeth.
Keep in mind our dogs are beautiful creatures that deserve the best we can get them.
As you will find out, in the end it is going to be your dog that makes the final decision for what type of food you feed them with. We can try all sorts of dog foods for our dogs before finally deciding on one that fits perfectly for them, and it might represent a lot of trial and error, but in the end, everything is worth it if our best buddies are healthy and happy.