A Balanced Diet for Your Dog
Proper nutrition is vital to good health. Commercially available premium foods are convenient and their composition is strictly controlled and regulated by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). The label should clearly state that the food is nutritionally complete and balanced for the lifestyle and age of the dog. Choices include “growth” for puppies, “maintenance” for adults, and “senior” for golden agers. Feeding-trial results to back up the manufacturer’s claims should also be available to you.
In general, all dogs should eat at least two meals a day. Feed a specific amount of food at each meal, leave the bowl down for 20-30 minutes, then pick it up. Your dog’s body weight and physical condition are your best guide as to what and how much to feed. Keep snacks to less than 5 percent of the total diet and feed healthy snacks like carrots, fresh vegetables and asparagus tips. Homemade natural diets take more time but can be well worth the effort. The key is to find a recipe that is balanced, keeps your dog healthy and tastes good.
YOUR DOG’S DAILY REQUIREMENTS
TYPES OF FOOD
* Most commercial diets contain substantial amounts of preservatives, artificial coloring, flavoring and chemicals, etc. The digestible nutritional quality varies according to the method of processing i.e. canned, semi-moist. Canned foods taste the best, contain approximately 75 percent water and have an average shelf life of one year. Semi-moist foods stay fresh for about 6 months but have very high levels of preservatives, additives and coloring. Dried food generally contains 10 percent water, lasts 6 months and is the least palatable. On the other hand, dry food is very convenient and extremely economical.
* Dietary supplements. Nothing can replace a wholesome well-balanced diet when it comes to promoting good health and proper supplementation can make a great diet even healthier. Common problems associated with aging like obesity, arthritis and poor skin and hair coats, don’t always improve when diet alone is changed. On the other hand, when supplementation is geared to specifically address certain problems, for example arthritis, the results can be quite impressive. Your veterinarian and/or alternative health care provider can help you make the best choices for your dog.
(NOTE: Dry food is the mainstay of most diets. Dry food does not promote dental hygiene.)
Always provide your dog with plenty of fresh drinking water. Subtle changes in drinking habits can be the first sign of a problem. For example Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney Disease, and hormonal disorders including Diabetes and Cushings Disease.
(NOTE: Canned food spoil quickly once opened. Leave out one hour.)
Proper nutrition is paramount to maximize health, longevity and performance as well as to prevent disease. Malnutrition by definition is any nutritional disorder in which nutrients are unbalanced or inadequate. Historically, most of us think of nutritional deficiencies like muscle wasting in third world children, and puppies with pot bellies because of worms, but today in first world societies over-nutrition or excessive intake of nutrients Is the major problem. Over 50 percent of our dogs are clinically obese because of diets with excess fat and calories. Developmental bony diseases in rapidly growing large and giant breed dogs are also a result of excessive dietary intake of calcium and energy. Malnutrition can result from too many or too few dietary nutrients and in either case, is a potential health risk.