Just like us, dogs need decent nutrition to keep as happy and healthy as possible. The nutritional requirements of a dog vary according to size, breed, and age. If you’re about to bring a dog home, you may think that feeding it is pretty simple. However, there are various guidelines you need to follow to make sure your dog’s getting everything they need. Here’s some information you may find helpful.
How Much, and How Often?
Portion sizes and frequency are very important to think about when it comes to a dog’s nutrition, and their needs vary with time. Most puppies up to six months old should be eating three to four times a day. From six months onwards, you can generally take this down to two meals a day. While small and medium sized dogs can make the transition from puppy to adult food fairly early in life, larger ones may need to stick to a puppy diet slightly longer. Remember that these are only guidelines, and the best way to figure out the best diet for your dog is asking your vet during a check-up. The most common issue when it comes to feeding portions and frequency is overfeeding, so when in doubt, go for smaller, less frequent meals.
Can a Dog Be Vegetarian?
This is a question that a lot of new owners have to address sooner or later. The short answer is yes, they can, but it can be hard to manage. If you want your dog to be a veggie because you don’t like the idea of the additives and processing that goes into pet food production, there are many organic alternatives and natural treats for dogs on the market. They’ll cost a little more, but you’ll have that much more assurance about the state of your dog’s nutrition. If you want to keep your dog vegetarian for some other reason, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you! Not all vegetables are safe for dogs, for starters. Like us, they need to be getting a decent amount of protein, from sources other than meat, to be a healthy veggie. Start doing your research and meal planning as soon as possible, and make sure you understand the work that goes into owning a healthy, vegetarian dog, before committing to it.
Be Careful with Table Scraps
A lot of owners throw scraps of meat from their own plates to their dogs at meal times. While there are many traditionally human foods that you can give your dog with no ill effects, you need to be very careful. Anything with chocolate, fat-heavy foods, chicken bones, salty foods, and rare steak, can be bad for a dog. Having said that, there are some foods that can be bad for some dogs, yet fine for others. This depends largely on their usual diet, their size, and their genetic makeup. A full-grown Labrador can eat chocolate, and while it won’t be good for them, the effects will be fairly benign. A Chihuahua, on the other hand, can get extremely ill.