General Nutritional Guide for Dogs
With so many excellent dog food options currently on the market, it can be challenging to figure out which one would be the right choice for your pup. There are so many factors to consider when trying to determine which food would be best for your pet, so talk to our Chandler vet for some recommendations. We can evaluate your pet’s lifestyle, age, body condition, and health background to help find the best choice. Every animal is unique, so you want to make sure you are finding something that meets all their nutritional needs. Keep reading to learn more about some general guidelines to consider when shopping for your pet’s food.
Caloric Needs & Feeding Frequency
Dogs should follow a schedule of equal portions either three times per day or once in the morning and once at night. For puppies, three equal portions will best suit their requirements because they are growing at such a rapid rate. More important to understand is the caloric needs of your dog. The general rule of thumb for adult dogs who receive light daily exercise is:
30 x weight in kg (or pounds divided by 2.2) + 70 = daily caloric needs
Overfeeding your pet can cause a variety of health issues and challenges with mobility. Every animal is different, so talk to our team about your pet’s ideal lean weight. We may recommend a weight loss diet or exercise regimen to help your pet get to their goal weight. When calculating your pet’s daily calories, it is important to remember to consider their treat intake. Some treats can be high in calories but low in nutritional value, so watch what they are eating. Don’t give into those puppy dog eyes because table scraps can quickly cause your dog to pack on the pounds. Pet obesity is a serious condition that can cause your pet to develop diabetes, arthritis, and other serious health conditions. Try to find low-calorie treats or provide the high calorie treats sparingly.
Dogs are Omnivores
Dogs are omnivores, so they get nutritional value from both plants and meat protein. However, this does not mean that you can feed your pet raw vegetables or table scraps. Dogs are unable to process food the same way that humans do, so some raw vegetables and meats can be challenging for their digestive system. Some human foods are poisonous to dogs, like onions and raisins. Stick to a dog-friendly diet and try to only give your pet human food on special occasions, if at all. Even extra yummy treats like meat can be difficult for your pet because of things like seasonings and cooking oils, which can be poisonous to your pup. If you do give your dog meat, boil it in water instead of frying or baking it. We recommend using dog treats whenever you decide to gift your furry friend with something special.
Dry vs. Wet Food
Both dry and wet dog food offer your pet different benefits, but they are very similar when it comes to nutrition. Dry dog food can help to clean your dog’s teeth and gums, and wet dog food offers your pup some extra hydration. Either option would be good to help your pet meet their nutritional needs but talk to our team if you have any specific questions. Adding a bit of water to dry kibble may entice some picky eaters or adding a bit of pumpkin puree may make it a bit more appetizing. Pumpkin is great for a dog’s digestion, so it can easily be added into their daily diet. A spoonful per day is an excellent probiotic and a yummy treat for your dog.
Follow an Age-Appropriate Diet
A basic way to judge which type of food would be right for your pet would be to choose based on their age. Puppies need puppy-specific food because it is specially formulated to help them grow. Most puppies can stay on a puppy-specific diet until they are about 90% full grown. Then it would be appropriate to transition them to an adult diet. Continuing to feed a dog puppy food after they are full-grown can lead them to become overweight because the food is higher in calories than adult food. This high-protein, high-fat food is meant to keep up with puppy energy, so it may be too much for an adult dog. To transition your puppy to adult food, gradually mix puppy and adult food for a few weeks until they are eating 100% adult food. This will help ease their digestion into their new diet. Ask our Chandler vet for more information about transitioning your puppy to adult food.
Just like puppies, senior dogs also require a specific diet to help them thrive. A senior diet will likely need a more specific diet based on their unique health requirements. Certain conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and heart conditions can all be managed with help from diet management, vitamins, and supplements. Older dogs also don’t typically get as much exercise as younger dogs, so their food intake should reflect how much exercise they are getting. A senior dog requires at least 30 minutes of movement per day to keep their body healthy and comfortable, so make sure you are getting your furry friend some light daily activity. All pets age at different rates, so talk to our Chandler vet to find out when it would be the right time to transition your pet to a senior diet. Senior diets vary greatly in calories and nutritional content, so the ideal diet will depend on your pet’s unique health needs.
Daily Activity is Essential
It is very common for adult dogs to be over or underweight due to overfeeding and under exercising. Light exercise for about 30 minutes per day can make a huge difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet. Try to get your dog on two good walks every day to help keep them at a lean physique. Regular activity can help reduce your dog’s chance for developing a serious health issue in the future, and it can help reduce the effects of arthritis as your pet ages.
Every dog is unique, so talk to our Chandler vet about your pet’s specific dietary needs. We can help you find a diet that will help your pet feel their absolute best. Schedule a wellness visit so that we can give your pet a full workup and find out more about their unique health needs. You can reach our Chandler vet by calling (520) 829-5166 or by filling out an appointment request form directly on our site and our team will get in touch with you at your convenience. Our team looks forward to helping your pet thrive, so call our office today!