Feeding your dog – how much dry food is good for your furry friend?
How much dry food should I feed my dog?!– Question that seems to trouble most dog owners, especially those that have no previous experience in keeping dogs. There are many factors that determine how much a dog should eat. If you ask the dog, they would say they need food 24 hours a day. However, the worst favor you can do to a dog is free feed them. This can easily cause obesity and can significantly shorten the dog’s life span. You would be surprised by the difference that one extra pound could make for a dog.
How can I determine how much dry food should I feed my dog?!
Age – the first things you must consider when feeding your dog is its age. Pups usually need to eat more frequently and consume bigger quantities of food. The puppyhood is the most important period in the dog’s life, as that is the time when they develop and grow to be healthy adults. The recommended number of meals for puppies is three, breakfast, lunch and dinner, every time the same amount; whereas for adult dogs it should be limited to once or twice a day.
Size – feeding a Chihuahua and a Saint Bernard with the same amount of food can either make your Chihuahua extremely fat, or turn your Saint Bernard into an underfeed dog. You can determine the amount of food you should feed your dog by looking at its size. Have in mind that pups usually have small stomach so in order to avoid vomiting and other digestive problems they need to eat less but more often.
Activity level – dogs need food to be active and playful. However, some dogs are lazier than others and consequently they need less food unlike hunting dogs that needs pretty highest protein dog food. If you have a pug that is not very active and lies all day you would feed it less than your hyper beagle that constantly runs around the house.
To find out the ideal weight for your dog you can follow the golden rule – check the shape of your dog’s body; if you can feel the bones when you touch the dog, but you can’t really see them under the skin and fur, then your dog is in good shape. Any variation of this condition could be a sign that you need to adjust your dog’s meals and give it less or more food.
Giving your dog treats
Dogs are pretty cunning when it comes to their food. Sometimes even if they know what you want from them they have no intention in obeying you unless you have a treat in return. However, giving your dog a treat every time they want to, can put you into a lot of trouble. You have to learn when to give them treats and how to use it in your favor.
When to give your dog a treat?
Never give your dog a treat if is overexcited, jumps around and is all over you. Instead wait until your dog becomes submissive and understands that you accept and reward only calm behavior.
You can use treats to help you train your dog and teach them some basic commands. The best time for this would be between meals as if your dog is already full, they might not be so interested in the rewards you have and you will just be wasting your time. Don’t forget that the treats should make up only 10% of the daily intake of calories. If you are not sure about the quantity, always consult your vet.
What to look for when choosing the best dog treats?
Choosing treats for your dog is like choosing food for your family. To find the best dog treats you need to pay attention to the ingredients and read the labels. If you have never heard of these ingredients, do not buy them! Be careful not to judge the treat by your own taste, as dogs have different preferences. Things that seem to be disgusting for us, for them are the meal of their life. Choose treats that are low in calories and small in size so you won’t have to cut them in half.
What are some of the best dog treats?
We are back on the importance of the ingredients. They are the ones that make the treat good or bad for your dog. If you don’t like the treats in the pet shop or they are too expensive for you, feel free to improvise. You can give your dog fruits and vegetables like carrots, green beans or broccoli, banana, watermelon, however make sure you take out the beans. Never give your dog grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate or anything that contains caffeine as that can be very dangerous for your dog. In addition, it might be a good idea to avoid very hard snacks, such as bones or antlers. If you do decide to give your dog something hard for the teeth, use only the treats that are designed especially for dogs and sold in the pet shop.
Don’t forget that dogs see treats as affection. For them the treat means the dog did something good and the reward is to encourage them to do that again. If you give the treat when the dog runs around the house, the dog will always run thinking that this is how they will get a treat.