Many physical disorders in dogs are due directly or indirectly to improper feeding. In all probability, there are more victims of over-feeding than under-feeding. The considerate owner will do his best to keep the dog in good condition by avoiding either extreme. So what is the best way to feed your dog?
Exercise is as essential as food
Exercise is almost as essential as food and the amount of exercise taken by the dog influences to some extent the quantity of food required by it. It is not possible to draw up a scale of dietary giving stipulated amounts for each breed at varying ages. The appetites of dogs and conditions under which they live vary so much that the quantity given to each must be governed by individual circumstances.
Most grown dogs thrive best on one meal a day
It is difficult to lay down rules regarding the time of day when an adult dog should be fed. Most grown dogs thrive best on one meal a day given in the evening. Dogs are quite contented with one substantial meal a day if educated to it from eight or nine months of age. Because of the slow action of the dog’s digestive apparatus, frequent or irregular meals should be avoided. There is no objection to a light meal of biscuits or cereal food in the morning but nothing should be given in between.
An inquiry was received recently from a professional gentleman concerning an attack of skin irritation from which his dog was suffering. The letter concluded: “The dog is three years old and has an exceptionally good appetite. She always enjoys a meal each time the family sits down to eat.” There is little doubt that the method of feeding was responsible for the skin trouble. Dogs are creatures of habit, and punctuality of mealtimes, at whatever hour served, should be observed as far as possible.
The actual condition of the dog must determine the quantity given
The owner must use his or her own discretion in regard to the quantity of food for each meal. It is often found that one dog will thrive and be contented with an amount of food totally inadequate for another of the same breed, age and size. The actual condition of the dog must determine the quantity given. If it appears too thin, more food of a nutritive kind should be given.
Raw Meat Diet
Raw meat is the natural diet for dogs, but it may be given cooked occasionally by way of a change. Owners sometimes become concerned if the dog, following a natural habit, bolts its food. A dog’s teeth are not arranged for chewing and masticating but the gastric juices are so powerful in their action that they dissolve lumps of meat or bones. Occasional beef or mutton bones are beneficial but poultry and rabbits do not assimilate and may cause injury by perforating the intestines.
Stomach disorders can cause a poor appetite
For some obscure reason, some dogs fail to put on flesh as they should. They are naturally picky eaters and refuse their meals, whatever food is offered. The healthy dog that is allowed ample exercise would welcome his food with zest.
Lassitude and loss of appetite should be the cause of early investigation. Stomach disorders, sometimes resulting from the presence of worms, cause nausea which may result in either a ravenous or a poor appetite. A suitable dose of medicine and the inclusion of some charcoal dog biscuits may rectify the trouble.
Obesity should be guarded against
Fatness makes for general disability in the dog. It is a common source of diabetes, heart trouble, and other disorders and often shortens the life of the dog.
What can I give my dog in hot weather?
At this time of the year, dogs do not require as much food or exercise as in the winter. It is incumbent on the owner to ensure the dog’s comfort by seeing that a constant supply of fresh water is always available. The water should be kept in the shade and changed twice daily during the hot weather. Drinking and food bowls should be kept scrupulously clean. If any food is left by the dog at mealtime, it should be removed, so that flies are not encouraged.