The Ultimate Guide to Feeding Your Dog in Their Prime Years
The Ultimate Guide to Feeding Your Dog in Their Prime Years
As your dog grows and develops, its nutritional requirements will also change.
To ensure that you are providing your dog with the nutrients it needs to be as healthy as possible, it is essential that you take the time to understand the different stages of its life and the effects of the food it consumes. By doing your research and ordering the best dog food in Dubai, you can feel comfortable knowing your pet is getting the nutrition it needs.
All dogs require a diet that incorporates proteins, fat, water, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins. However, the amount of nutrients that it needs is going to vary depending on its age.
That being said, there are even variations within dogs who are of the same breed, size, and age. For example, if your dog is highly athletic, then its nutritional requirements are going to be different from those of a much more sedentary dog.
For this reason, you want to make sure you are paying attention to your dog's eating habits and monitoring any changes in its appetite and energy levels.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding your dog in its prime years.
I. Dog Life Stages and Nutritional Needs
Due to evolving nutritional requirements, your dog is going to need to have its diet adapted as it moves into the different stages of life. The right diet for your dog is also going to depend on its breed, size and current health.
Knowing your dog's current weight as well as the ideal weight for their breed and age will help you determine the right diet. If you are unsure of the perfect weight, speak with your veterinarian.
At first, puppies generally need to be consuming almost double the number of calories as an adult dog and require feeding multiple times per day. This is crucial for them to maintain their rapid growth rate. Up until the age of four months, puppies should be fed four meals a day. Then, from four months to six months, they should be provided with three meals per day.
Once they reach six months or are close to their adult weight, their nutritional needs evolve, and their calorie needs are less. At this age, they should be fed two times per day. Keep in mind that the estimated adult weight of your puppy should also be taken into consideration when determining how much it should be eating.
During their first year of life, puppies should be eating food that is formulated to support their growth, which usually means it has been fortified with more calcium than other dog food. It is vital that you are providing your puppy with proper nutrition as this is the foundation for their growth, muscle formation, immune system, and brain function.
Large Breed Puppies
If your puppy is from a large breed, then you want to be feeding it puppy food that is specifically tailored for large-breed puppies, as these foods will have the amount of protein and calcium that they require for their bone growth.
This is particularly important as large-breed dogs are at high-risk for developing hip dysplasia and joint disorders. However, by feeding them the right food for their size, you are taking a significant step to help protect them.
1 Year and Older
Usually, a puppy can fully transition to regular adult dog food once it reaches one year. In some cases, you may need to find a different dog food to help transition your puppy to adult food.
Once your dog has passed their one-year birthday, they should be fed once or twice a day. Although, if your dog is a small breed, you may find they are better suited to more frequent smaller meals as they burn energy quickly.
For adult dogs, the recommended feeding schedule is two meals a day of equal portions based on the overall quantity of food your dog needs to sustain their ideal weight. These meals should take place between 8 and 12 hours apart.
The amount of food your adult dog needs is going to depend on their size and activity level, as you want to ensure they are consuming enough calories and nutrients to sustain their energy and maintain their body tissue. Extremely active dogs may need up to 40 per cent more calories than the average dog, while those who are less active may be fine with a lot fewer calories.
For some dogs, consuming the best dog multivitamin is also essential to maintain their overall health and wellbeing.
During the first six weeks of pregnancy, your dog doesn't need additional calories or nutrients and may experience a reduction in appetite due to morning sickness.
However, after this period, your dog should be consuming an extra 25 per cent of food every week until her puppies are born. It is recommended that during pregnancy, you feed your dog more frequent smaller meals as the puppies are likely constricting her stomach.
II. Common Feeding-Related Issues
Overfeeding and bloating are two common issues that can occur when it comes to feeding your dog. Read on to learn how you can avoid these problems happening.
No matter how old your dog is, you want to make sure you are not overfeeding them, as not all dogs are able or need to eat the amount recommended.
If you are unsure whether your dog is eating too much food, you can look for signs in their stool. Usually, if they are firm and dark brown, then they are consuming the right amount; however, if the stools are soft at the end, they are probably being overfed.
To manage your dog's weight, get in the habit of weighing your dog once a month to help you notice any changes. Once you are monitoring fluctuations, you can then increase or decrease how much they are consuming to ensure they remain at their ideal weight.
Keep in mind that most dogs are overfed and under-exercised so, if you are having doubts about how much they should be consuming initially, opt for slightly less.
It is common for dogs to eat their food too quickly, which also means they are consuming too much air in the process. When this happens, your dog is likely to experience an upset stomach and digestive system.
To help reduce the likelihood of bloating being an issue, medium and large-sized dogs should always consume their food from a raised bowl, as this reduces the chances of them swallowing air while they eat. You can also opt to put a ball in their bowl to aid them in eating smaller bites. give them their food separately treat dispenser toys also work well to slow down their consumption of treats.
Moreover, if you have more than one dog, make sure to give them their food separately to decrease any feeling of competition surrounding the food as this can cause them to eat quicker. Owners of larger dogs who are susceptible to bloating should take all the precautionary measures.
Additionally, refrain from feeding your dog an hour before or after exercise as this can cause bloating, which may require veterinary intervention. Similarly, if you are taking your dog in the car with you, don't feed them before travelling as they will probably experience car-sickness.
III. Reasons Your Dog May Not Be Eating
If your dog has started to not eat, or significantly reduces the amount it consumes, you want to determine the cause as quickly as possible in order to treat it appropriately. There are a variety of reasons why dogs lose their appetite, including:
- Illness: While a decrease or loss of appetite doesn't always indicate a serious condition, it is one of the most common signs of sickness. Therefore, you want to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure that there is nothing serious happening. Unfortunately, loss of appetite can be a sign of cancer, liver problems, and infections. Therefore, if your dog has not been eating properly for more than a couple of days, you always want to have them checked for illness.
- Dental issues: Often, dogs stop eating because they are having dental issues that are causing them pain. Therefore, if you have ruled out illness, you want to have them checked for mouth-related problems.
- Unfamiliar surroundings: In some instances, your dog may have lost their appetite because they are unsure of their surroundings. If your dog has recently travelled or has been moved somewhere new, they may not be eating because they are nervous or are suffering from motion sickness. If this is the case, the reduction in appetite shouldn't last more than a couple of days.
- Picky eating: Sometimes, your dog might just be a picky eater and may no longer enjoy the food you are feeding them. This also may occur when you have recently transitioned them to a new diet. Usually, this shouldn't last long, but if they aren't consuming their new food, you may want to take them back to their old favourite.
IV. Feeding Tips and Guidelines
To ensure your dog is consuming the nutrients they need, and are maintaining their health, read on for these essential feeding tips and guidelines.
Choosing High-Quality Dog Food
No matter what breed of dog you have, or its age, you always want to be feeding it high-quality dog food. Unfortunately, low-quality dog food can quickly lead to digestive problems and often requires you to provide your dog with more for it to be satisfied.
On the other hand, high-quality dog food provides your pet with a whole array of benefits. After all, what they consume is not only going to impact their weight but also their muscle health, energy levels, and overall happiness and wellbeing.
High-quality options, such as Calibra dog food, are formulated with better ingredients than their low-quality counterparts. The latter usually contain low-cost ingredients such as grains that don't adequately nourish your pet, while higher-quality options include lean proteins and more whole, breed-specific ingredients.
As a result, your dog's weight will be harder to control if you are feeding it low-quality food as it contains too many fats and carbohydrates.
Your dog needs the appropriate high-quality food in order to function, which is why its energy levels are often a direct result of what it consumes on a daily basis.
Additionally, high-quality dog food will provide your pup with the appropriate amount of protein for it to maintain its muscle tone and perform regular "maintenance" on internal systems.
Changing Dog Food
If you are considering changing your dog's diet, you want to do it gradually over ten days. Changing your dog's diet abruptly can cause your pet to experience gastrointestinal upset, which may result in vomiting, diarrhoea, and a loss of appetite. Therefore, you want to ensure you are transitioning the food so that its system has enough time to adjust.
When you are ready to begin the transition, start by mixing the new food with its usual fare. Then, you can gradually change the proportion over the next week until it is only consuming the new dog food. However, if your dog starts to vomit, is constipated, or is producing soft stool, you will want to decrease the amount of new food.
Eating Human Food
In order to help your dog have the best eating habits possible, you want to avoid feeding them from the table as this will train them to beg and bark to get something from your plate. Over time, this will be annoying for you, and it is harmful to your pet. While you may sometimes be tempted, feeding your dog human food is not recommended.
The food that humans consume is far too rich and fatty for a dog's digestion system, which can cause your pet to vomit, have diarrhoea and ultimately develop more severe ailments such as pancreatitis.
Additionally, there are a variety of human ingredients that are dangerous for dogs to eat. These include chocolate, nuts (such as macadamia and almonds), grapes, onions and garlic. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners that are commonly found in processed foods are extremely harmful to your dog.
For this reason, you want to refrain from feeding your dog foods that you eat – whether they are meals you prepared or restaurant leftovers. It isn't worth the damage it could cause them.
V. Final Thoughts
What you feed your dog throughout their life plays a significant role in their health and their happiness. Therefore, it is crucial that you do the appropriate research to learn what foods are beneficial for their particular breed.
Always opt for high-quality options as these will not only help your dog maintain its ideal weight and sustain its energy, but these are also formulated with the ingredients your dog needs to live a long life.
At Pets Delight, we stock the highest-quality dog food so you have the assurance that when you order pet food online, you are only getting the best for your pet.