Are you considering bringing home a new puppy, if the answer is yes you will need to learn what’s necessary to meet the dietary needs of your new pet! During the primary weeks of a puppy’s life they need mother’s milk. It provides everything needed from a nutritional and dietary perspective. After thirty days or so you can begin to provide puppy food in small amounts and gradually increase it over ten days.
You’re likely to find that in the beginning your puppy is more interested in playing with her food than actually eating it. This is to be expected, but not to worry they will get the idea soon enough of what to do with the food. Usually at the age of seven to eight weeks they are totally weaned and should be enthusiastically eating puppy food on a regular basis.
Puppies’ percentage wise need twice as much fuel for energy as adult dogs do, and depending on the breed you have they will need to be fed with a food that has 25 to 30 percent protein. Most breeds of puppies are best fed using a portion allotment method, meaning they should not have food constantly available as is the case with young cats. Puppies that are permitted to eat to excess can consume more calories than needed which can cause growth spurts which can lead to bone growth difficulties. Clinical research has found bone growth disease to take the form of bowing of the front legs. Many times this is erroneously diagnosed as rickets (calcium deficiency). Radiographs are critical to a correct diagnosis of this condition.
If you’re someone who enjoys giving your puppy treats, this is fine, but should only make up five percent of daily nutritional needs. These guidelines for feeding your puppy should be carefully adhered to in order to provide a blue print for balanced diet with a high- quality puppy food as an excellent start to your puppies’ path to becoming a strong and healthy dog.
Now let’s turn our attention to some of the nutritional needs of an adult dog. This protocol is going to be somewhat different from the one you would apply for a puppy. Our canine friends come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The levels of activity can also vary greatly among pets and is an important consideration in determining energy needs. Sufficient nutrients are necessary to meet energy needs and to facilitate the repair and maintenance of body tissue.
There are a number of methods you can use to feed your dog dependent on your particular schedule and needs. One method is to provide two meals in a day preferably served in the morning and evening. This method employs giving equal portions for both meals and helps to monitor an animal’s caloric intake and thus maintain a desired weight.
An alternative method is designed to make food available throughout the day. This method benefits owners who may be away for extended periods of time during the course of a day. This method runs the risk of your dog consuming excess calories which leads to weight gain. Dry food is best used for this method as dry food is less likely to spoil when left out all day long. Another method for feeding your dog involves feeding your dog for a specified time period say half an hour and then removing the food. Again this can be used if your dog has a weight problem and you want to control how many calories she is consuming. For practical purposes it is advised that you feed your dog two times a day.
Activity level is an important consideration in determining how much food your dog will need. If your dog is a normal house dog he should receive a maintenance level of energy. If you have a less active dog you should reduce by 10 percent the maintenance level of energy. If you have an extremely active outdoor dog you should increase the maintenance level of energy provided by 20 to 40 percent.
Water intake is vital to the needs of all living creatures and accounts for 60 to 70 percent of an adult dog’s body weight. Ideally food can account for some of your dog’s water needs, 78 percent can come from canned food, while 10 percent can come from dry food. But be advised it is imperative that fresh clean water be made available for your dog at all times throughout the day. A deficiency of as little as 10 percent of water needs can adversely impact your pets health and a loss of 15 percent can result in loss of life.
The basic building blocks for organs, cells, enzymes, tissues, antibodies and hormones are proteins. They are also essential for reproduction and repair, growth and maintenance. There is any number of sources from which proteins can be derived; such as fish, turkey, chicken, lamb, and beef as well as eggs. These are all animal based sources. Vegetables, cereals and soy are options but are considered incomplete proteins. It should be of note that you do not give your pet raw eggs. Avidin is an anti-vitamin that interferes with fats metabolism as well as glucose, amino acids and energy and this is found in raw egg whites.
Fats are the most complete model of food power, supplying your dog with more than two times the needed energy of carbohydrates or proteins. Fats are indispensable in the formation of cells necessary for the generation of any hormones, and are needed for intake and application of certain minerals. Fats also furnish lining and stability for internal organs. A shortage of necessary fatty acids (linoleic acid for example) can lead to reduced growth or elevated skin issues.
Providing energy carbohydrates play an important part in the wellbeing of the intestine, and are necessary for propagation. No minimal carbohydrate standard applies but there is a necessary minimum of glucose needed to supply energy to vital organs such as the brain. Fibers are a type of carbohydrate that modifies the bacterial presence in the small intestine, helping to manage severe diarrhea in our canine friends. In order for dogs to gain the most efficacies from fiber, the source of the fiber has to be moderately fermentable. An example of this that is commonly used in dogs would be beet pulp. This is very effective in promoting a healthy gut and avoiding negative side effects associated with extremely fermentable fibers, like excess mucus and flatulence.
Some additional examples of reasonably fermentable fibers are brans (wheat, rice and corn) wheat middlings. Dogs with high energy requirements and those that are young and still growing do not benefit from foods with high fiber.
Dogs need small amounts of vitamins for regular metabolic function. Most vitamins are not synthesized in the body so it’s necessary to get them from the diet. Consequently you should not supplement your dog unless a veterinarian detects a vitamin deficiency and recommends a supplementation regimen.
Other nutrients that are not synthesized by dogs are minerals and therefore must be obtained from the diet. Generally speaking minerals are most important as structural components of teeth and bones, necessary for varying metabolic functioning and the maintenance of fluid balances.
As your dog reaches an advanced age, signs of physical transition begin from 7 to 12 years of age. This is a time to modify your dog’s feeding regimen to take into account becoming a senior canine. Larger dogs show signs of aging sooner than smaller breeds do; consequently smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. You can expect changes to body composition, metabolic rates and the ability to ward off disease during this stage of life. You’ll find many of these changes are inevitable while others can be swayed by diet. Your primary goals in adopting a feeding regimen for your senior dog is to maintain good health and ideal body weight. You should also seek to reduce the effect of any minor malady and delay the onset of any acute illnesses.
Some of the signs to look for to alert you to advancing age are loss of muscle mass, obesity, recurring intestinal issues, arthritis, dental problems and a reduced ability to ward off infections. If you have a very large breed of dog you should consider offering a senior diet plan when they reach 5 years old and 90 plus lbs., large dogs 6 years of age and weighing between 50 and 89lbs. Medium breeds at 7 years old, weighing between 20 and 49lbs., small dogs 7 years old under 20lbs.
It’s been determined through clinical research that protein intake for older dogs should be maintained into their later years. The protein fed to the older dog should be highly digestible in nature to promote utilization for maintaining adequate muscle mass. Considering that the older dog will exhibit lower levels of activity it’s necessary to provide a lower calorie feed that does not short change protein content. Advancing age also brings with it a significantly reduced metabolic rate so moderate caloric density is beneficial to avoid the onset of obesity. At this stage you should be less inclined to feed your dog too many treats keep the amounts small enough to reward, but not large enough to promote weight gain.
Get the advice of your veterinarian for the best type of food products and feeding schedule for your particular dog. Additionally an animal that is ill or recovering from surgery will have differing dietary needs. Consult your veterinarian for proper guidelines in this instance. I hope this dietary and nutritional blueprint supplies you with information that helps you along your path to a happy and healthy dog.