Many dog owners might not understand how much food affects their dog’s health. It’s important to know that what you feed your dog could either help or negatively impact their health. Below are some dog food dos and don’ts to help your pup maintain good health.
Don’t Overfeed or Underfeed
Figuring out how much to feed your dog is essential to their health and well-being. Giving them too little or too much can lead to malnourishment or weight gain. One way to tell if your dog is overweight is by looking at a Body Condition Score chart, or BCS. This chart gives a rating between 1-5, with 1 being too thin, 5 being obese, and 3 being the ideal weight.
However, it is best to talk with your vet about your dog’s unique BCS. Then, by monitoring their BCS, you can better understand how much to feed them.
In general, puppies must be fed more often than adult dogs due to their higher energy needs. For instance, puppies will generally eat three times a day until they are six months old, and then twice a day after that. Again, talk to your vet to help you determine how much and how often to feed your dog for optimal health.
Do Choose Quality Dog Food
When considering the best dog food for your dog, it’s important to ensure that the food you give them is both high-quality and nutritionally complete. Quality dog food should have the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label on the package, which means that it meets the AAFCO’s guidelines for its intended purpose.
You should also look for possible non-GMO options. For instance, over 95% of sugar beet seeds in the U.S. are genetically modified to help protect against pests and parasites. While some people don’t mind giving their pets food with genetically modified ingredients, others may prefer to avoid them.
Don’t Give Table Scraps
As tempting as it can be, table scraps are a no-no when it comes to feeding your pup. Not only can these foods be unhealthy and contain too much fat, but they can also encourage bad behavior. Dogs can quickly become picky eaters and even beg for food when given table scraps, so it’s best to stick to only giving them their regular dog food.
In addition, certain human foods, including onions, garlic, chocolate, and grapes, can be toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.
Don’t Offer Treats Too Often
Treats are not necessary for a healthy diet and should not replace regular meals of dog food. Too many treats can lead to weight gain and nutritional deficiencies, so it’s important to be careful with how often and how much you’re giving your dog. As a rule of thumb, treats should only make up 10% or less of your pup’s diet.
When it comes to feeding your pup, making sure that you give them the right amount and quality of food can help keep them healthy, and just enough treats to keep their high value.
Do Refrigerate Leftover Cans
Before the invention of refrigeration, fresh produce was limited to 50 miles of travel from the farm where it was grown. Today, refrigeration is a great way to store food and make sure it remains safe. Any leftover canned dog food should be refrigerated within two hours of opening for optimal safety.
In addition, if you’re planning on putting your dog on a raw dog food diet, you should talk to your vet first. This is because a raw food diet can include risky ingredients and certain bacteria that can make your pup sick if not handled properly. Your vet can help you understand the best way to safely transition your pup to a raw food diet.
By following the dog food do’s and don’ts above, you can help ensure that your pup stays healthy and strong for years to come! Be sure to consult with a veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about what is best for your furry friend.