One of the most common questions pet owners ask their vet is, “What should I feed my dog?” The answer to this question will vary depending on the breed and size of your puppy. However, there are some universal truths for proper pooch nutrition that never change. Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes time to deciding what to feed your dog and what you should avoid.
Doggie No-Nos Let’s start with what to avoid. Here is a list of things that are toxic for your dog to chew on.
Xylitol—this alternative sweetener used in sugar-free gum, mints, candy, and cookies can cause liver failure, seizures, and even death in dogs.
Grapes and Raisins—can cause kidney failure in dogs, unrelated to the amount of consumption. Not all dogs will react the same, but it’s best to avoid letting them eat it altogether.
Chocolate—darker chocolate containing higher levels of cocoa is more dangerous than milk chocolate. Consumption causes irregular heartbeat, kidney failure, and heart failure. Small dogs are at a higher risk than big dogs.
Onions—a small amount of onions is not harmful, but dogs will eat onions in large amounts because they are drawn to their potent smell and taste. Dogs that consume significant amounts of onions are in danger of suffering life-threatening anaemia.
If your dog has eaten any of the above foods and you are concerned for their well-being, call your vet immediately. They will be able to direct you with the best course of action. Many times you can remedy the situation with solutions found right at-home. Don’t worry—seek advice from a professional. Chew on This Before you start your dog on a healthy eating regimen, keep in mind that the time of day you choose to feed your pup is also important. Most dogs will eat willingly 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week. Putting your dog on an eating schedule will help them develop healthy digestion, normal energy levels, quality sleep, and keep them regular. Eggs Dish them up, for you and your pup. Eggs are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. These little guys are healthy for dogs and humans. Because dogs so rarely contract salmonella poisoning, some people feed raw or undercooked eggs to their dogs, though this is debatable. If it is a concern for you, cook them through thoroughly before serving. Fish Fish is another great source of protein to help your pup grow strong teeth, bones, and muscles. The oils and fat will help their fur grow in soft and lubricate their joints. Fish and eggs are staples for a dog with food allergies to meat. However, there are some important things to remember when you opt to serve fish to your pooch. Although a raw meat diet is a popular trend with dog owners, do not feed raw meat to your dog, particularly salmon. Raw meat may have harmful parasites. Do not let your dog eat a whole portion of fish either. The tiny fish bones your dog consumes can damage their mouth as well as their digestive tract. Serve them small portions of cooked fish on top of their normal food for best results. Grains Just like humans, dogs have allergies—monitor how your dog reacts to certain foods to get a better idea of what diet is best for your pup. Any dog food containing grains or rice is a great go-to for dogs with digestive difficulties or allergies to meat. Dogs with sensitivity to gluten, found in wheat will be better served on a diet high in protein and rice. How can you detect if your dog has a food allergy? If you suspect that your dog is allergic to certain foods, see your veterinarian at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital. Some signs of an allergic reaction are itchy or inflamed skin, ears, and mouth. If your dog suffers with IBS, seems uncomfortable, lethargic, scratches at the ears or shakes the head after eating see your vet to determine if it’s a food allergy. Dry or Canned? It does not matter if you prefer to serve your dog dry or canned food, what matters is how your dog feels eating it. Look at the ingredients to make sure the food you choose has the proper nutrition. Dogs are a lot like humans, eating nutritious foods on a regular schedule keeps them feeling good. However, the difference between humans and dogs is that some breeds actually need humans to monitor their food intake. Young pups that eat too much too fast can actually eat themselves to death. This is the result of something called, “stomach turning/twisting.” It is important that owners do not leave heaping mounds of food for their dog to devour, especially while they are puppies. It is up to the owner to portion small servings throughout the day. It is suggested to feed your dog a healthy amount twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening. Healthy dog treats between meals will serve as a good snack and a positive way to reinforce training. Find a healthy routine and meal plan that works best for you and your pooch and look forward to enjoying a long and healthy life together. For more tips in caring for your dog, be sure to check out our blog, or contact our helpful veterinary staff at our animal clinic to set up an appointment today!