With the new year starting it’s a very good time to think about your dog’s feeding routine and how you can best help him stay healthy and happy. Just as with us humans, having a dog that is free of health problems and can get the most out of life is not about the one or two things you do at random. It’s about creating healthy habits that last for a lifetime.
If you do that you’re going to see some great benefits over the immediate and long term. Things like:
- a dog with a healthy skin and coat
- a dog that maintains the right weight
- a dog without joint problems
- far fewer trips to the vet.
Here are some of the right habits to get into when feeding your dog. They are not difficult and your dog will thank you for it.
Habit #1: Feed at the same time each day. We recommend feeding twice a day for adult dogs and for puppies up to seven months three times a day. Your pet will probably remind you of the time, but it is a good idea to get into a feeding routine of providing the food at about the same time each day.
Habit #2: Don’t leave the food lying around. Some dog owners tell us that their pet is fussy and grazes at it throughout the day. However, the problem with leaving food around is that it can attract flies and even ants. Even the fussiest dog will soon get the message if their food is taken away if they don’t eat it straight away.
If you’re not convinced, try it for a week. No dog ever starved itself by not eating the food when it was made available.
Habit #3: Don’t make a fuss of the dog as it eats. Dogs have a very different relationship with food than humans do. Food is fuel for their body, nothing more. So you don’t want to draw attention to the dog eating. Simply put the food down and move away to let it eat. Come back in ten minutes and remove the bowl until next feed time.
Habit #4: Keep the water bowl full. Water is obviously vital to a dog’s health. Make sure there is always plenty of clean, fresh water available.
Habit #5: Make the dog sit and wait before allowing it to eat. Don’t just plonk the food down or, worse, allow the dog to jump all over you when it sees the food coming. By making the dog sit and not allowing it to eat until you give your permission you are sending a very powerful signal to the dog that you are the boss. By doing this you will find your dog will respect you more and will be more obedient in general (as well as less fussy with the food).
Habit #6: Eliminate table scraps and other ‘human’ foods. A dog has a very different digestive system to a human and they are not designed to eat the same foods as us. If you want to give your dog a treat, give them a kibble or two of their normal food, or perhaps a carrot. You might think you’re saving money by feeding scraps, but often the vet bills due to poor health (which may not show up for years) will easily offset any savings you make.
Habit #7: Only feed a quality food. A good quality food is designed to give your dog exactly the right balance if nutrients to ensure the maximum health for the longest period of time. There is a very big difference between these foods and those which are made from waste products and are marketed simply to make money for the manufacturer.
Think about it – do you think that the companies who sell fizzy drinks, cigarettes and potato chips consider that they are going to improve our health with their products? No, that’s not their purpose. They’re making products that we’re going to like the taste of, probably get addicted to, and keep buying! Being healthy has nothing do do with it.
If you ate a diet of nothing but junk food for 20 years you’re going to end up with major health problems – and you know that you would.
It’s no different with dogs. If you feed your dog a poor diet for most of it’s life it IS going to have health problems.
Feed a food that is designed with health in mind. And don’t believe what you read on the packaging of junk dog foods either – a lot of human junk foods also claim that they are healthy for you when clearly they are not.
Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are two foods that are designed with the dog’s health as the top priority. There are no waste products, filler ingredients or artificial additives, just quality meats and natural sources of energy and nutrition. The quality was recently endorsed by Dogfoodadvisor.com, when they independently rated these foods amongst the best of more than 3300 that they reviewed.
Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are available from Petfood Direct at www.petfooddirect.co.nz
Make these habits part of your routine and you’ll not only have a happy and healthy dog, you’re going to make things easier for you as well.