All You Need to Know About Proper Nutrition for Dogs

 

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Making sure your dog is happy and healthy goes way beyond playing with them and taking them to the vet regularly. After all, you want your pet to stay with you for a long time, which is one of the reasons why you should know precisely what they should eat more often and what they should avoid altogether.  Providing them with nourishing meals is essential and can make a huge impact on your dog’s well-being. In case you aren’t sure which type of food you’re supposed to choose over another, here is what your dog should eat at each age and why.

Puppy Food

Once a puppy enters your life, you’ll discover love instantly and you’ll want to give them anything they want. However, it’s crucial that you bear in mind that this cute creature before you needs to grow into a healthy dog. That’s why you should be extremely careful about what you give them, but also how much of it and how often. When compared to a grown-up dog of the same breed, a puppy will need double the calories per pound of weight.

Of course, this starts when they turn about four weeks, until when they don’t need anything other than their mother’s milk. They need three meals a day until they weigh ten pounds, after which you can start getting them used to two meals a day. Do your best to give them the meals at the same time. This allows them to establish a good routine and is helpful with their house training. Their food should contain about 30% of protein, but also enough fats and carbohydrates, plenty of vitamins and minerals, and water.

You should monitor their growth rate and talk to your vet about it. This is important, as an underweight puppy probably means you aren’t feeding them enough. On the other hand, if you’re giving them too much food too often, your puppy might become overweight, which could lead to various disorders and illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, or joint pain.

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Adult Dog Food

Just because your dog has reached adulthood, it doesn’t mean you can relax and start feeding him or her the wrong food. You should always feed them premium dog food with all the nutrients they might need. Plus, you should avoid giving them food from your own meals, even though they might beg for it. If you want to give them treats from time to time, that’s fine, but make sure those are high-quality treats made especially for them.

This is now a simple task, as you can go online and order superior dog treats on Shoppster to keep your tail-wagger as happy as can be. You should also know that adult dogs are more prone to gorge themselves and gain excessive weight, which is why, above everything else, you have to carefully consider the way you’ll feed them. You can choose between time feeding, meal feeding and free-choice feeding. Time feeding means that you serve your dog their food and leave it there for them for about half an hour or so, before removing it. This is something that works well for those dogs that can control themselves and that won’t eat more than they really need.

Meal feeding involves putting a certain amount of food into your dog’s bowl and let them eat it, which is the preferred method of feeding for most dog owners, as it prevents dogs from overeating. Free choice feeding means providing as much food as your dog wants, as often as they want it. This might prove to be problematic for most dogs, as they won’t know when to stop eating and will most likely become overweight.

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Senior Dog Food

A dog that turned eight is usually considered a senior and that’s when you should start adjusting his or her nutrition again. Of course, this is something that varies from one dog breed to another, as well as from one dog to another, since bigger breeds can be considered senior as early as their six or even five years of age. In any case, the general advice would be to observe them and see if there are any health concerns to address.

If your dog is completely healthy, you don’t have to change anything yet, but this would be a good time to have a chat with their veterinarian. The protein levels they eat tend to stay the same, but the calorie count might have to drop, meaning that they should eat more protein-dense food, in order to control their weight. At the same time, it would be wise to lower the phosphorus and sodium levels of their food. This way you’re doing your best to prevent obesity in older dogs, but also some of the most frequent diseases like osteoarthritis, kidney disease or even cancer. In addition, your vet will perhaps recommend some supplements at this time.

Another issue that might arise here is dehydration since senior dogs are more prone to it. If you notice your dog is drinking less water than they should, think about switching to canned food or even adding some ice cubes into their water bowl to keep them hydrated. Finally, don’t forget to ask your vet if you can continue giving your dog their usual treats, or if you have to make some adjustments in this area as well.

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Although proper nutrition is something that’s somewhat individual for each dog, there are still some guidelines you can follow to give your dog some extra quality time with you. And when your dog is happy and healthy, they’ll also make your life more fulfilled, so that you’re happier and healthier yourself.

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