PetsCareTip veterinary experts answer commonly asked questions about developing a food and nutrition arrange for your adult dog.
Selecting an adult dog food that may keep your pet healthy and energetic starts with knowing your dog’s diet plan and lifestyle.
Is table food appropriate for dogs? Or could it be a lap dog that loves nothing more than to snooze the day away? The answers to questions like these can help guide you in finding the right food.
But there are other things to keep in mind aswell. To help you understand how to pick the best dog food for your adult canine, PetsCareTip put a listing of faqs about feeding an adult dog to several veterinary experts. Here is what that they had to say.
What do I need to keep in mind when feeding an adult dog?
The most important thing to keep in mind when feeding an adult dog would be to make sure your dog eats a complete and balanced diet. Start by checking package labels for something called a statement of nutritional adequacy. It will say that the food meets nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or that it has passed feeding trials made to AAFCO standards.
The statement also should say that the food is appropriate for adult maintenance or for all life stages. If your dog is overweight or inactive, stick with one labeled for adult maintenance. Food that’s appropriate for several life stages contains extra nutrients necessary for growth.
Homemade diets can provide complete nutrition, but making sure your pet gets the right mix of protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins may be difficult. Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, is really a professor of nutrition at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She tells PetsCareTip that if you will make a homemade diet, you should consult a nourishmentist certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. The nutritionist can help you design a healthy diet plan for your dog.
When is a dog considered a grown-up?
When a dog reaches 90% of its expected adult weight, it’s considered an adult for feeding purposes, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual. A grown-up dog diet, or maintenance diet, contains nutrients suited for animals that have passed their growth stage. Most of a puppy’s growth occurs by 6 or 7 months old, but large and giant breeds can continue steadily to grow for 12 months or beyond.
How can I tell in case a food is right for my pet?
Watch the condition of its body and coat. If your dog appears to be thriving on the food and has a glossy coating, plenty of energy, and a fit appearance, the meals agrees with them.
Sometimes, the way a food is processed or the ingredients it includes may prevent your dog from absorbing all the needed nutrients. If your dog has a dull coat and lacks energy, try another kind of food. Also, check in the backyard for other signs of trouble: Plenty of feces might indicate a problem with digestibility, says Joseph Wakshlag, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
It’s rare for a dog to be malnourished because of a badly formulated diet, says C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD. Buffington is professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. He advwill bees owners to focus on providing the right amount of food and making sure dogs are active and engaged. About one out of every four dogs is overweight.
How much food should my adult dog eat every day?
That depends on the size of your dog, its age, and how much exercise it gets. Use feeding charts on pet food labels as helpful information. Start by checking the amount recommended for your pet’s weight range. If your dog weighs on the low end of the range, feed small recommfinished amount. Nonetheless it is equally essential to give enough, or your dog can drop weight prematurely and become sick.
Assess your pet’s activity level. Lap dogs who get little exercise may need 10% less than what’s recommended on the package label. An active dog that exercises outdoors might need 20% to 40% more. Working canines -- those that regularly receive high-intensity exercise, like a sled dog or police dog -- may need a food designed for working or performance dogs. These food types have a higher fat content to supply extra calories.
Next, you may need to make adjustments based on your pet’s body condition. The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine internet site has a body condition scoring chart that shows and describes various entire body conditions, ranging from emaciated to obese. Your dog’s vet will help you know how your dog’s body condition affects the quantity of food they want.
Serious illness, pregnancy, or nursing can increase a dog’s energy needs. Ask your vet about adjusting the sort or quantity of food.
What are some guidelines for checking whether my dog is too lean, just right, or overweight?
Body condition ranges from emaciated to obese.
An adult dog is emaciated if its ribs, vertebrae, and pelvic bones are easily visible from a distance. Chronically underfed canines or dogs fed unbalanced diets may develop osteoporosis and are more susceptible to parasites and bacterial infections. They also may lack the energy for working or for nursing puppies.
An adult dog is considered in moderate condition when you can feel its ribs easily and see its waist when looking down at its back. It's also advisable to be able to see an abdominal tuck when looking from the medial side.
A dog is overweight if it’s difficult to feel its ribs or see its waist or abdominal tuck. It will have visible fat deposits on its back and the base of its tail. Fat dogs are more likely to develop diabetes and osteoarthritis.
What should I do if my dog is overweight?
Give less food or switch to a low-calorie dog foods. Cut out any table scraps and high-calorie treats, such as dog biscuits. Look for high-fiber, low-calorie treats instead. Make sure your dog isn’t eating food intended for other pets inside your home. Your veterinarian can help you calculate the exact amount of food to give your pet when starting a weight loss program. It’s important to not give an excessive amount of food or your dog won’t lose weight. Dogs on the heavier end of the scale might need more food. But, giving big chunks of steak fat, poultry skin, and other greasy leftovers isn’t a good idea, Wakshlag tells PetsCareTip.
Most pet owners prefer feeding an adult dog twice a day, although a dog can eat just once daily. Giving two meals a day could make it easier for your dog to digest the food and helps control hunger.
How much protein and fat does my dog need?
An adult dog needs at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and a minimum of 5.5% from fats. An adult canine’s diet can contain up to 50% carbohydrates, including 2.5% to 4.5% percent fiber.
Are treats OK for dogs, and if so, what are healthy options?
Some 40% of dog owners give treats and snacks. Dog treats don’t need to follow AAFCO standards for a complete and balanced diet, so veterinarians say it’s better to limit them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that only 5% of a canine’s calories should result from treats. Wakshlag states, though, that around 20% is OK.
If you’re going to feed treats, look for ones that are lower in calories or low-fat, high-fiber to greatly help guard against weight gain. Small pieces of raw vegetables also make good treats. Try green beans, bell peppers, or thin bits of carrot. Does your dog weigh just the right amount and go for long walks daily?
An occasional nibble is OK.
How often should my adult dog eat? A sudden change in diet, especially one involving a large amount of fat, could cause pancreatitis. If your pet is overweight, stay away from table scraps. Also, in the event that you don’t want your dog hanging out the table at mealtimes, don't feed it scraps.
What do I need to know about dry, canned, and semi-moist performg foods?
Deciding which food is most beneficial for your dog depends on your own pet and your preferences. Dry dog food provides more nutrients per bite than other styles of food because it contains less moisture. That means you won’t have to feed as much to satisfy a dog’s nutritional needs, rendering it the most practical choice for a big dog.
Dry dog food also costs less per serving and can be left in a pet’s feeding dish all day, unlike canned. Dogs with dental problems may benefit from specially formulated dry meals designed for dental health, which can help decrease periodontal disease by massaging one's teeth and gums.
Canned food contains 68% to 78% water. Because of the high moisture content, such foods usually contain more meat, seafood, or poultry than dry foods. In addition they may contain textured proteins from such grains as wheat and soy.
Dogs with urinary tract problems can do better on canned food because of the higher moisture content. And when your dog likes to eat a lot but is overweight, canned food will help fill them up with fewer calories. However, canned foods can be stale quickly if left uneaten.
Semi-moist foods contain 25% to 40% water. To greatly help the food stay soft and preserve shelf life, manufacturers add substances that preserve moisture such as for example sugar, propylene, glycol, and salts.