Like its wild cousins, the domestic dog needs more than meat in its dish to keep it going. The principal nutritional requirements are:
- Protein for body-building and repair
- Carbohydrates for energy
- Fats for energy and good health of skin and hair
- Vitamins and Minerals for certain essential chemical reactions in the body
- Bulk for trouble-free digestive and bowel action
- Water for all processes occurring everywhere in the body
As a rule of thumb we can say that a dog needs the following amounts of kilojoules daily at different periods in its life:
Puppy - 910kJ per kg (100 calories per lb) body weight
Adult - 550kJ per kg (60 calories per lb) body weight
Geriatric - 230kJ per kg (25 calories per lb) body weight
These figures are calculated for moderately active animals.
Apart from age, degree of activity, environment, pregnancy, lactation
and disease, any of which markedly alters an animals needs, we must never forget that dogs are all individuals and vary in their efficiency at
processing foods. It is most important not to overfeed and to reduce the size of meals at the first sign of obesity.
Foods for Dogs
Dogs can eat all of the following foods, but, within reason, allowances can be made for your pets personal taste.
Meat is low in calcium and rich in phosphorus. An all-lean-meat diet
is too low in fat and would be nutritionally unbalanced. Liver should
not exceed five per cent of the total diet.
Packed with protein, minerals and in some cases fats. Best fed cooked and with the main bones removed.
Cheese and milk products.
Rich in protein, fat and minerals. Some dogs cannot digest lactose (milk sugar) due to the absence of an enzyme in their body. This produces diarrhoea and occasionally vomiting but is not serious: simply take milk off the diet.
Either as dog-meal or in biscuit form, these are an inexpensive source
of energy, bulk, mineral, minerals and vitamins. Cooked rice is an excellent substitute for cereals.
Vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, turnip and swede are valuable, either cooked or shredded raw and also cooked potatoes.
Dogs make their own vitamin C internally but small amounts of fruit, if they like it, are beneficial from time to time.
Whole egg should be fed cooked to avoid the effect of an anti-vitamin B factor present in raw egg-white.
Nuts, edible seeds and honey are all excellent additions to the diet. And if your dog insists on chewing and swallowing grass and herbs, let it, even if it vomits afterwards. This is perfectly natural behaviour. A word about bones. They don't clean teeth but regular chewing does remove plaque. They can cause problems such as constipation or obstuction or perforation of the digestive tract. Give only uncooked bones of the broad, marrow-bone type.
Ways of FeedingCommercial Foods
Modern dog foods are generally very good and you cannot go far wrong if you follow the feeding instructions.
This is of two types, the wholly meaty kind that contains very little carbohydrate and the complete diet that consists of meat, carbohydrates, fat, minerals and vitamins in correct balance. The first kind is essentially conveniently packed, sterile meat with added vitamins and to make a complete diet, dog meal or biscuits must be added to it. The complete diet foods have been produced after nutritional research by the big petfood companies and you don't need to add anything to them to feed your dog properly.
Dry Complete Food
These pellets or biscuits of dried food contain meat and/or fish products together with carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. They are easy to store and the most economical of the convenience foods. They are not to be confused with simple dog-meals or biscuits that are largely cereal in content and do not provide a complete diet. As ever, a plentiful supply of fresh water is essential.
Semi-Moist Complete Food
This modern, high processed food makes up a perfectly balanced diet. As value for money it falls between the dry and tinned foods
but does not store as long as either.
Ever wondered what is actually in these above dog foods? Find Out Now!
Which Diet to Choose?
Remember always to prepare food freshly and to serve it in throughly cleaned dishes. Clean, fresh water should always be available. A good idea is to split the daily requirement into two parts and feed your pet twice...All diets have their advantages. If you find that one type is well received by the dog and has no drawbacks, by all means stick to it!