Malnutrition inevitably leads to various diseases (digestive disorders, pancreatitis, gastritis, ulcers, enteritis, poisoning, allergies, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, kidney, liver failure, etc.), affects the quality and duration of life. The fact that many owners are negligent about feeding dogs, says at least the fact that about 40% of all non-infectious diseases are caused by improper nutrition. In other words, every 5 dogs suffers from the fact that its owner does not bother with the issue of balanced diet, let alone the need to comply with the regime, the weight distribution of food and other important rules.
A diet is a daily set of foods that meets the needs of the body and contains a certain amount of nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc.), in other words, it must be balanced. The menu is compiled taking into account several factors: age (puppy, teenager, adult, aging and elderly), level of physical activity (home, work, sports), time of year (summer, winter), the presence of diseases.
The dog should receive food regularly at one hour. So the digestive tract is prepared for the next meal, which ensures high digestibility of nutrients. The frequency of feeding depends on age:
- 1-2 months – 5-6 times a day;
- 2-3 months ― 4 times;
- 4-12 months ― 3 times;
- From one year to 8-9 years ― 2 times;
- From 8-9 years – 3-4 times;
- During pregnancy and lactation ― 3-4 times a day.
If the dog has not eaten a portion within 15 minutes, the bowl is removed until the next feeding. If the food remains constantly, you need to reduce the portion, if it is eaten quickly, and the bowl is licked, you can increase it a little. It is necessary to feed the dog before a walk for 1-2 hours and after the same amount of active physical activity. If the rule is not followed, digestibility worsens, and in large breeds, the risk of stomach inversion also increases.
The volume and weight distribution of food should be approximately the same, correspond to the capacity of the stomach and the abilities of the body. During the day , the daily allowance is divided as follows:
- Feeding 4 times a day – 25/20/20/35%;
- 3 times -20/40/40%;
- 2 times ― 40/60%.
If one feeding was missed, regardless of the reasons, the next meal portion is not increased, given as usual. Street dogs in the cold season, as well as sports and hunting dogs during periods of increased loads, 1-2 feedings are added, increasing the caloric content of the daily diet by 50-150%.
- The dog’s body must be accustomed to eating liquid porridge, thick soup or dry food of different brands. Smoothly switch from one type of food to another. Carefully introduce new products.
- You can not offer a dog a choice of food, feed it with food from the table or allow it to eat only delicious. If the animal is waiting for sweets, let it starve a little.
- The food should be fresh, made from high-quality products. Its proper storage is important. The bowl should be washed after each feeding, even if it is licked to a shine.
- The dog swallows food in large chunks, so the cold one does not have time to warm up, and the hot one does not have time to cool down. Feed, except for drying, should be heated to 30-35 ° C.
- It is important that the dog always has free access to drinking water, especially when eating dry food.
Feeding with ready-made dry food
Of course, you can feed your dog dry food. The main thing is to choose a quality product, check the integrity of the packaging, shelf life, individual portability. Pellets should be eaten with pleasure by the dog, do not cause allergies, digestive disorders and meet the needs of the animal, which can only be judged after a certain time.
Which feeds are better
Ideally, it should be super-premium feed or holistic. They contain meat, cereals, fruits and vegetables, probiotics, the necessary complex of vitamins and minerals. Natural preservatives are used in the production. Despite the higher cost, the consumption of high-quality feed is less. Premium-class feeds are distinguished by low-quality ingredients, but some of them are really animal products. They contain preservatives, a large amount of cereals, flour, soy and other ballast substances. Economy class feeds are made from low-grade ingredients, usually food waste, soy, corn flour, which is not digested at all. Their composition is often poor in vitamins and trace elements, besides there are harmful flavor enhancers and flavors.
How not to fall for the tricks of manufacturers
Almost all advertised feeds belong to the economy class, the differences of which are described above. Conclusion ― do not believe the advertising. When choosing a feed, you should also not rely only on the relative protein / fat ratio, which is so often talked about on forums. For example, a product with indicators: protein – 35%; fat – 25% (which will be confirmed by an independent laboratory analysis) can be prepared from:
- 1 leather shoe;
- 1 feather pillow;
- 1 kg of sawdust.
- 1 liter of recycled engine oil;
It is not the percentage of protein that is important, but the indication of its origin. There is a composition in any feed, and the shorter it is, the better. The products are arranged in descending order. In the first place should be meat, 1-2 types. If “lamb fillet” or “fresh kangaroo meat” is indicated – 35%, we remove moisture from it and in fact it turns out – 7%. The list should be headed by hydrated meat or meat flour with identified protein (chicken, lamb, rabbit, etc.). There should be no poorly digested grains (corn, wheat, yams, sorghum). It’s even worse when there are several of these components. Cereals should be no more than 2-3 types. Preferably brown rice, oats, barley, full grain. Grain-free feeds are not suitable for everyone, they can cause softening of the stool. Food industry waste is hidden under the names: cut, ground flakes, vegetable protein hydrolysate, gluten. By-products should be no higher than the 5th position. Be sure to have oil (sunflower, linseed, salmon) or fat in the feed. A good plus will be the presence of sea fish flour, dried berries, herbs (rosemary, chicory, alfalfa), pre- and probiotics, as well as a competent selection of vitamins and trace elements. The ratio of calcium and phosphorus is 2:1. The ash content of a good feed is not more than 7%. 8-10% indicates a large amount of substances that do not carry nutritional value.
Class affiliation of dog food
- Holistic: Akana, Artemis, Kanidi, Chicken Soup, Go, Grandorf, Innova, Original, Test Of The Wild, Wellness, Almo Natur.
- Super Premium: Almo Necher, Artemis, Eagle Pack, Arden Grange, Fest Chois, Pronatur Holistic, Bosch, Belkando, Nutra Gold.
- Premium class: Anf, Brit Kea, Diamond, Eukanuba, Happy Dog, Hills, Nutra Dog, Yozera, Yoral Kanin, Pronature, Original, Advans, Bozita, Brit Premium, Nutra Nuggets, Purina Pro Plan, Purina Dog Chow.
- Economy class: Chappie, Darling, Pedigree, ARO.
Rules for feeding dry food
The food should maximally meet the physiological needs of the dog: age (puppy, junior, adult dog, elderly), size (dwarf, small, medium, large, giant), activity (domestic, active) and health status. Diets have been developed for healthy animals and dogs with various problems, but they can be given only after consultation with the attending physician. Flavoring additives can be any: with fish, meat, chicken, the main thing is that the dog likes them.
The duration of feeding with one diet is an individual question. First of all, it depends on the age of the dog. For example, from a junior to an adult diet is transferred at the age of about a year, and to feed for elderly animals at the age of 8-9 years. However, it is also important to take into account the condition of the animal. It happens that a ten-year-old Pomeranian is much more active and energetic than a five-year-old Pekingese, then it makes sense to keep him on a “youth” diet longer. You need to think about changing the feed if the dog is sick, there are symptoms of allergies, digestive disorders, as well as a change in appetite for the worse. There is no point in changing the food if the dog eats it with pleasure, looks and feels healthy.
An equally important question is how much to feed the dog. The daily portion is calculated by weight, based on the recommendations indicated on the package. But you can slightly adjust it, reduce it or, on the contrary, slightly increase it if there is a clear shortage of weight on the face (or rather on the muzzle).
Pros and cons of feeding with industrial feed
- No need to cook;
- Convenience (dry food can be taken with a trip);
- Economic benefits (even high-end feed is usually cheaper than a full meal with natural products). In addition, there is no need to spend extra money on vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Cheap feed carries a minimum of nutritional value;
- If the rules of storage and integrity of the packaging are not observed, the food may deteriorate and cause poisoning of varying severity;
For 1 kg of dog weight, 15-25 g of meat is needed. Thus, an adult dog weighing 15 kg should receive 225-375 grams of meat per day. The nutritional value of fish and meat is about the same, if meat is replaced by offal, then they should be given about one and a half times more.
The acceptable diet in percentage ratio is as follows:
- 30-50% of meat, offal or fish;
- 25-35% cereals;
- 20-30% fermented milk products;
- 10-15% vegetables and fruits.
However, ideally, there should be more meat and dairy products in the diet:
- 50-70% of meat, offal or fish;
- 30-40% of fermented milk products;
- 10-20% of vegetables and fruits;
- 10-15% of cereals.
A little sunflower oil (1-2 drops per kilogram of weight) and fish oil are added to the food daily, raw or boiled eggs are fed 2-3 times a week. Vitamin and mineral fertilizing is given during the period of active growth and later in the off-season. Puppies of large and giant breeds are also necessarily fed chondroitin, glucosamine, calcium and fat-soluble vitamins for the normal formation of the musculoskeletal system. In the period of seasonal molting, complexes for skin and wool are shown.
What products should the dog’s diet consist of
Meat (beef, poultry, rabbit) should be with some amount of cartilage, tendons, fat. Mutton turns out to be too greasy for many dogs and causes digestive disorders. Pork is not recommended to be fed raw because of the fat content and the likelihood of damage by parasites, which are destroyed during heat treatment. Meat is supplemented or replaced 2-3 times a week with offal (heart, kidneys, udder, beef tripe). It is good if the dog is accustomed from childhood to eating protein products in raw form, pre-frozen, they can also be doused with boiling water or slightly boiled. Meat is mixed with vegetables and cereals.
It is better to give the fish raw. When feeding only raw fish, hypovitaminosis B1 develops, but this problem is not relevant for a home mixed diet. Fish is given instead of meat 2-3 times a week. Suitable fillet of marine or oceanic fish, river fillet must necessarily be frozen or boiled, which will avoid infection with helminths.
Dairy products in the form of cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, sour cream 10- 15% fat content. Most dogs do not digest whole milk. In dairy products, you can add a little honey, drive an egg. From time to time it is useful to cook calcined cottage cheese for the dog. It is not necessary to give milk every day. However, on those days when it is absent, it is necessary to increase the amount of meat and offal. Dairy and meat products are not mixed in one feeding.
Cereals are cooked in bone broth. Rice and buckwheat are best suited, sometimes you can give barley groats, oatmeal. It is not necessary to cook corn, pearl barley, porridge from legumes that are poorly digested.
Vegetables are best fed raw, suitable: carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, peppers, zucchini, pumpkin, beets. If the vegetables are poorly eaten, they can be slightly stewed. Be sure to add greens, and in summer also herbs (nettle, dandelion, knotweed).
What foods should not be in the dog’s diet
Every owner should know what not to feed the dog:
- Exclusively meat and protein products – heavily loads the kidneys;
- Bones have no nutritional value, can lead to constipation and injure the gastrointestinal tract;
- Substandard products can cause poisoning of varying severity;
- Sweets cause allergic reactions, load the liver, provoke obesity and the development of diabetes;
- Fatty, fried food loads the liver and pancreas;
- Salty provokes salt deposition, joint problems, electrolyte imbalance;
- Spicy food irritates the gastric mucosa, which is fraught with gastritis, ulcers;
- Raw river fish and pork can be infected with helminths;
- Cat food with a high content of proteins and fats can lead to kidney failure;
- Legumes, wheat flour products and heavy cereals increase gas formation in the intestines, in large breeds can cause stomach inversion.
Pros and cons of natural nutrition
- Confidence that the dog receives high-quality products.
- The ability to independently adjust the diet.
- As a rule, it costs more than dry food, requires regular administration of vitamins and minerals
- The need to cook regularly and take up space in the refrigerator.
Feed manufacturers and veterinarians often say with one voice that mixing straight and drying is unacceptable. The balance and digestibility of food is disturbed. The body uses the same enzymes to break down natural products and dry feeds, but the physics of digestion is different. In dry food, the substances are already prepared, they require fewer enzymes for assimilation, but before they go to work, they must lie in the stomach, soak in gastric juice and water. Natural foods begin to digest immediately, require more enzymes and less water. If you mix drying and natural food in one step, then the first one will come out in transit, poorly digested, and the straight woman will begin to stagnate and wander.
If the dog is constantly fed dry food, and then abruptly transferred to natural nutrition, its digestibility will be extremely low, but if natural products are constantly present in the diet, the digestibility of both one and the other feed will be quite high. The main thing is not to mix them in one step. Dry food is given in the morning, and natural products at night or vice versa, depending on which variant focuses on proteins.
What is usually added to drying with mixed nutrition
What is missing: fresh fruits, berries, vegetables and dairy products, eggs, raw meat and offal, sea fish. It makes no sense to add porridge to the drying. There are already about 70-80% of ballast fillers there. Vitamins and mineral supplements should not be given with a mixed diet. Most holistic foods are overloaded with proteins and fats, supplementing them with meat can lead to protein poisoning.
Who is suitable for a mixed diet
A mixed diet is suitable for healthy medium or large dogs of working breeds, sports and some hunting dogs that lead an active lifestyle and need additional protein, fish or raw meat. Mixed nutrition is resorted to in nurseries to raise litter. Fermented dairy products, beef stroganine, offal are added to the diet in order to diversify the diet and prepare the body for different types of food that the future owner can choose. Northern sled dogs and some primitive dogs, huskies, Yakut huskies, akita must necessarily receive fresh fish.
Pros and cons of mixed nutrition
- Supplement the diet with natural delicacies (dried lung, cheese, vegetables, fruits, herbs);
- Salvation is for fastidious people who choose meat from the side dish, and therefore do not receive a single gram of cereals, fruits, vegetables or fermented dairy products, which means they receive a minimum of carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins.
- It is possible to establish the harm or benefit of this type of nutrition only experimentally;
- The risk of causing irreparable damage to health by unbalancing the diet;
- Not all dogs agree to such a diet, they begin to demand only natural sweets, or vice versa, they do not want anything except drying.
- Owners of puppies, elderly dogs and animals who suffer from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas, and genitourinary system should not experiment with mixed nutrition.
Features of feeding puppies
In the first week, puppies suck their mother at least 12 times a day. At week 2 ― 8, by week 4 – 6 times and before weaning 4-5 times. For artificial feeding, it is more convenient to use ready-made substitutes for bitch’s milk. If it is impossible, the mixture is prepared independently on the basis of whole cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk. There is no need to dilute it, it is already inferior in composition to the bitch. To add more nutritional value to 100 grams of whole cow’s milk, add the yolk of a chicken egg, a teaspoon of cream, a tablespoon of 40% glucose, 3 drops of ascorbic acid and 1-2 drops of trivitamin. From 3 weeks they begin to give milk semolina porridge, water. At 4 weeks, meat broth and calcined cottage cheese are introduced. From 6 weeks minced meat, eggs in the form of an omelet, from 1.5 months vegetables in the form of puree.
The total weight of puppy food is calculated based on body weight.
- Up to 6 months ― about 7%.
- From 6 to 12 months, the volume of food is brought to 3-4% of the weight.
Up to 3 months, the puppy’s diet consists of 40-50% dairy products, 40% is allocated to meat, fish, the rest vegetables and cereals. After 3 months, the ratio changes in favor of meat products: 50-70% meat and offal, dairy products 20-30%, the rest cereals and vegetables.
Feeding sick and elderly dogs
In sick and elderly dogs, the intensity of metabolism decreases. The animal becomes less mobile, the peristalsis slows down. It is important to prevent the development of obesity, which will further aggravate existing problems and give rise to new ones. The amount of fats and carbohydrates should be reduced, while increasing the amount of vegetables in order to improve motor skills, fasting days are introduced. If there are problems with teeth, transfer the animal to soft food.
Special attention should be paid to the nutrition of sick dogs. If the animal suffers from urolithiasis, the diet is adjusted depending on the type of stones. With kidney disease, reduce the amount of protein. In case of cardiac problems, a low-sodium diet is recommended. In any case, the veterinarian should adjust the nutrition based on the dog’s condition, diagnosis and expediency.
Features of feeding dogs of different sizes
Dwarf dogs require more protein-rich food compared to large breeds, they are often prone to early tooth loss, so sweets are categorically excluded. It is recommended to feed them in small portions at least 3 times a day, even adults. At the same time, the main diet is given not at night, but at noon. For those prone to obesity, it is advisable to divide the daily allowance into 4 doses. Vegetables are given in the form of mashed potatoes, meat is allowed to be ground into minced meat. The daily diet of medium and large dogs is fed in two doses, the main one is made in the evening. Once a week it is useful to arrange a fasting day. The meat is cut into pieces, and the vegetables are rubbed on a large grater.
There are no perfect foods or feeds. What suits one dog may not suit another. A full-fledged diet is one in which the animal does not change body weight, does not show signs of impaired metabolism, appetite, reproductive function and basic health indicators.