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Dogs + Nutrition

  • Periodontal disease is the most common problem affecting dogs in all age groups. The very best way to prevent periodontal disease is daily dental home care, but it is useful to add in effective, evidence-based dental food to provide daily plaque control. Your veterinarian can make a specific nutritional recommendation of a product proven to be effective in enhancing canine oral health.

  • This article reviews the benefits and disadvantages of semi-moist, dry, and canned dog foods. Semi-moist foods are not generally recommended as a sole diet due to their high sugar and sodium content, as well as the addition of artificial colors, preservatives and flavor enhancers. Dry food, or kibble, is easy to portion control and can be fed in puzzle toys. Canned food is a good option but more expensive than kibble and may contribute to periodontal disease.

  • Dog food has been made so palatable that it can easily create gluttonous behavior. Meal feeding and portion control are important to prevent obesity. Owners should not give in to begging behavior. Dogs that are still hungry after their meal can be supplemented with snacks such as green vegetables recommended by your veterinarian. Dogs that eat too quickly can be fed creatively to slow down eating.

  • The goal of feeding growing puppies is to lay the foundation for a healthy adulthood. Proper nutrition is critical to the health and development of puppies, regardless of breed, and it directly influences their immune system and body composition. An optimal growth rate in puppies is ideal; it is a slow and steady growth rate that allows the puppy to achieve an ideal adult body condition while avoiding excessive weight and obesity. Growing puppies need higher amounts of all nutrients in comparison to adult dogs, but excess energy calories and calcium can create serious problems. Together with your veterinarian and veterinary healthcare team, you can help your puppy grow into as healthy of an adult dog as possible.

  • Diet changes need to be considered for senior dogs due to their changing energy requirements and medical conditions. Senior diets vary widely in nutrient profiles as there are no established standards. Recommendations for senior dog diets need to be based on clinical examination and discussion between veterinarian and owner. It is very important to ensure adequate water intake.

  • Orphaned puppies will need extra care for survival to compensate for the loss of their mother. Puppies must be kept warm, very clean, and fed frequently using an appropriate amount and type of formula by bottle or less often tube feeding. To ensure nutrition is adequate, daily weight checks should be performed for the first 4 weeks, then weekly thereafter. Puppies must be stimulated to urinate and defecate. Environment, feeding instruments and the puppy must be kept meticulously clean as they are more susceptible to infection than puppies cared for by their mother.

  • Interactive feeders that require a pet to think and work for their food call upon the natural instinct to hunt or forage. Besides being fun, these food puzzles may help both physical and behavioral problems in cats and dogs. When used correctly, interactive feeders may benefit pets that eat too quickly, become bored when alone, or suffer from separation anxiety.

  • The various stages of reproduction provide unique stresses to the body. Each has specific nutritional concerns that should be addressed to maximize both other and puppy health.

  • Special attention needs to be given to a dog’s nutrition during her pregnancy to promote a healthy birth and healthy puppies. It is important to maintain a good body condition throughout pregnancy as her weight increases. A good quality adult maintenance diet is recommended during the first 40 days but after this the energy demand increases greatly and this is most easily met by feeding puppy food. This diet is usually fed throughout the lactation period, but attention to body condition is essential here as well, and the diet may need to be restricted if there is a small number of puppies or the dog starts becoming overweight. Weaning is usually aided by feeding significantly less food for a few days while restricting access to nursing to decrease milk production.

  • Feeding your dog can be easily accomplished with mealtimes on a set schedule. At least two meals per day are best for your dog. The use of food toys or interactive feeders adds interest to your dog’s mealtimes. Routines help your dog adjust to changes that may occur in your home as well as allow you to monitor his health.