Knowing how to best feed your dog to ensure optimal health is not always straightforward. Owners generally find it hard to decide:
Read on to learn a little more about best feeding practices.
Typically, the frequency of feeding will depend on the dog’s age. As a rule of thumb, we feed young puppies very regularly; at least four times a day. This is because they have small stomachs and are less able to regulate their blood sugars. Once pups reach about three months of age, we should be able to increase the portion they are given and taper their feedings down to three times daily. It is at six-month-old that it is usually advised that dogs are offered two meals and these should be given in the morning and evening. Some owners are comfortable continuing this pattern lifelong, while others may choose to go on to feed their dogs once a day. For an in depth guide for feeding puppies read our Puppy Feeding Guide blog piece.
Many small lap dogs are picky eaters as adults and will only want to eat once a day. However, a larger dog who is active may well need a couple of meals a day to keep them fuelled. This is especially true for working dogs and those who get a lot of exercise. Listen to your dog; they will soon let you know if they are hungry!
Every Pooch & Mutt diet has a feeding guideline which can be found on the packaging as well as online. The guideline takes into consideration the nutrient profile and calorie content of the food, as well as the dogs weight and age.
If you find your dog is constantly leaving food behind, they are likely being overfed. More often than not, this is because they are receiving their calories elsewhere; in the form of treats and dental chews! Remember, no more than 10% of a dog’s diet should be made up of treats so it may be time to cut down.
Of course, a guideline should not be solely relied upon as each dog as their own individual metabolism. As well as following a guideline, keep an eye on your dog to ensure they are a good Body Condition Score. You may find you need to alter the recommended amount they are fed over time in order to prevent them from becoming over or under weight.
Dogs who are over-weight should not be fed for their current weight. So, if your dog weighs 20kg but should weigh 18kg, we should provide the amount recommended for an 18kg dog. Using a kitchen scales to weigh out food has been proven to be a lot more accurate than ‘eyeballing’ the amount or using a measuring cup.
TOP TIP: You will achieve best results by feeding a diet specifically designed to help portly pooches such as Pooch & Mutt Slim & Slender. With ingredients that promote satiety as well as fat breakdown, you are guaranteed results.
Again, dogs should be fed for their target rather than their current weight. While your dog may only weigh 10kg, if they should weigh closer to 12kg, this is the weight we should feed them for. For those who struggle to put on weight, feeding their meals little and often may prove easier for them to manage.
You may opt to offer only wet dog food, only dry food or a mixture of the two.
Animals with chronic medical conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease or Diabetes will generally benefit from specific veterinary-formulated diets which are prescribed by their vet. These diets should not be started without medical advice.
For dogs who do not require prescription diets for medical diseases, owners might wish to take a look at Pooch & Mutt’s functional dog foods. These are designed for those with minor health or behavioural issues and include calming and sensitive stomach dog food. The ingredients are specifically chosen to benefit these dogs and help combat their problem.