Guest post by Cris Caruso
For many families their dog is a member of the family – albeit a four-legged one – and as such we sometimes succumb to the urge to feed him table scraps or slip him pieces of food from our own dinner plate. This is a bad habit for a couple of reasons: first, our pet will learn to beg at the table and that’s not an attractive habit especially if you’re having guests for dinner; and more importantly, it can lead to obesity in our beloved pet.
Here are five steps you can take to be a responsible pet owner and feed your dog so she lives a long and healthy life:
- Start with Quality Dog Food. Look for a brand of dog food that offers quality ingredients and is made with meal rather than meal. Ask your vet for advice on the best type of food based on your dog’s breed, size and level of activity.
- Set Routine Feeding Times. Just as you and your family enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times, so too should your four-legged family member. If you want to prevent begging at the table when you eat, portion your dog’s overall food quantities over the course of the day and feed him three times a day when you sit down to your meals. If your pet is eating this may also relieve your desire to offer him treats from your plate.
- Keep Your Dog Hydrated. Just as quality food is a necessary part of your dog’s diet, so too is access to clean water at all times. Water should be available throughout the day, not just at meal times. You may find that when you are in the process of housebreaking a new puppy you will want to limit its access to water to times when you’re offering meals but you should still offer it frequently throughout the day.
- Introduce New Pet Food Brands to your Dog Gradually. Humans enjoy variety in their meals but for a pet, switching up food brands and switching from dry to wet or vice versa can lead to stomach upsets and bouts of diarrhea in your pet – that is unpleasant for both of you. When you’re changing food brands you will want to add it a bit at a time to his regular brand until you make the switch completely to a new food.
- Ask Your Vet. Rely on the advice of your vet or on the feeding instructions on your dog food bag for portion control. Don’t overfeed or underfeed your pet. Ask your vet if your dog needs supplements to enhance his life – just as you and your family take vitamins to supplement your meals, your pet may need supplements as well. Tell your vet what kind of food your dog eats and ask if he feels you should add daily supplements to his diet.
Remember too that puppies have different nutritional needs than older dogs and different breeds and the amount of activity your dog gets on a daily basis will also lend themselves to your pet’s overall nutritional and diet needs. Feeding your four-legged furry family member a healthy diet from the moment they enter your house will assure that he will live a long life.
About the Author: Cris Caruso is Goober Pet Direct's "Big Goober." He's passionate about the well-being of animals and helping pet parents provide the best for their animals. Goober Pet Direct offers the greatest variety of natural pet food, supplements & treats, and provides expert advice to help people navigate through the ever-changing options for their pets.