Feeding your dog

Feeding your dog at regular times and with a nutritionally-balanced diet is one of 12 basic tips for responsible dog ownership, as given by the Pet Advisory Committee of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It also advises that you feed your dog from his own dish, to avoid contamination.

The best advice you can get on what to feed your dog is from your vet. They may also recommend nutritional supplements to go with it to keep things like coat, teeth and nails healthy.

Avoid giving your dog these

  1. According to Pet Education, there are some substances that you should never feed your dog. These include alcohol, which can cause comas and death; baby food, which can contain onion powder that is toxic to dogs; chocolate, tea, coffee or other caffeine products, which can affect the heart and nervous system; and citrus oils, which can cause vomiting. Referenced from peteducation.com
  2. Pet Planet advises that you remove dairy products from your dog’s diet after it has been weaned. This is because the milk that we use (as opposed to the dog’s mother’s milk) is rich in protein, fat and lactose, and some dogs cannot digest this. Referenced from petplanet.co.uk

Be consistent

When you collect a new puppy or dog, you are often given a diet sheet that explains what they have been fed to date. Try and keep your pet on the same dietary regime that it has been used to. It’s a big step for dog or puppy to leave its previous home, so the fewer changes it has to deal with the better.

Ease into changes

If you are planning to change your dog’s diet, you should do this over a period of a week or so. This can be done by mixing a little of the new food into the type of food your dog is already used to. Increase the amount bit by bit until you are entirely using the new food.

Don’t give the dog a bone

Dogs and bones seemingly go hand in hand. But they can cause constipation, obstructions and perforation of the digestive tract. If something serious occurs, your dog might need surgery. Pet Planet advises that if you want to give your dog a bone, then go for the rawhide type.

Unlike a cat, your dog is an omnivore, which means that it can eat plant matter as well as meat. In theory, this means that your dog could survive on a vegetarian diet, although this may not be the optimum diet for it to stay strong and healthy. If you must feed your dog vegetarian food, make sure it is getting all the nutrition it needs, maybe in the form of supplements. Again, speak to your vet.

Don’t forget water

The RSPCA recommend that your dog has constant access to a bowl of fresh, clean water. Make sure you change it every day or whenever it looks dirty. And if you take your dog travelling, make sure you take water with you too, especially if your pet will be going in a hot car.

Keep an eye on any changes

If your dog hasn’t eaten for 48 hours, normally eats well but suddenly stops, develops a ravenous appetite, starts drinking noticeably more than usual or has unexplained weight loss, then see a vet. Churchill pet insurance can help you cover vets fees if there is something wrong with your dog.

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