Nutrition And Dog Food: Choosing The Right Food For Your Dog
A Dog Is Not A Person & Vice Versa
Humans are omnivores that require a large amount of variety in the taste and texture of our diet. We judge our food by taste, texture, colour and smell. We also spend a long time chewing and digesting our food with average meal times of 30 minutes to an hour and digestion times of 3 days. By contrast dogs judge food largely by smell and texture rather than taste or colour. A dog takes 1-5 minutes to eat its food and it digests it in 1-2 days. While a human digestive cycle starts with breaking food down in the mouth a dog's higher stomach acidity means that he ‘wolfs’ down his dog food and lets the stomach do the rest!
Aside from how we eat humans and dogs have very different nutritional needs. While human food is largely carbohydrate based, dog food needs to have very large quanities of proteins to maintain your dog’s vitality. Carbohydrates take time to digest and a dog’s natural lifestyle of hunting prey is unsuited to this type of foodstuff. Dog’s large stomachs are built to take food in a ,more or less, unbroken down form and digest it quickly ‘on the go’. These natural habits can create health problems in certain dogs, gulping of dog food can lead to stomach upset and bloat.
Should I Feed Dry Dog Food Or Wet Dog Food?
This depends largely on personal preferences. Whether you feed dry dog food or wet dog food what is the most important is the nutritional balance of the food. Once your dog gets enough protein, carbohydrates and various essential minerals then the food itself remains just a delivery mechanism. So, most important of all- make sure that the food satisifies your dog’s nutritional requirements.
However, dry dog food does have some advantages over wet dog food. It is easier to store and cleaner. Dry dog foods lasts for a long time after the pack has been opened and are often a more economical option. You may also decide to feed dry dog food and wet dog food. There is nothing wrong with this and it is largely a matter of personal preference(yours and your dogs!)
When Should I Feed My Dog?
Dogs are creatures of habit and regular feeding regulates behaviour. So serve your dog the same food at the same time in the same place over a long period of time. Do not leave the food out between meals but remove it and serve fresh dog food at the next meal.
Your dog should be fed twice a day using the quantities set out by the dog food manufacturer to achieve the correct nutritional balance. Where you are switching between foods we would recommend that you slowly introduce the new food into your dogs diet increasing the quantities over the course of a month. This gives your dog’s digestive system a chance to adjust to this new food.
We all like a tasty treat from time to time and our pets are no different in this respect. Dog Treats can be a great way of rewarding your pet for being a good boy or just to show that you care. However, because dogs digestive systems differ from ours you should never treat a dog using human treats such as chocolates and cheese. Chocolates are poisonous to dogs when eaten in large quantities while 30 g of cheese can represent a third of a small dogs energy requirements for the day! So if you are going to treat your dog make sure that you do it the right way with specially developed treats from Company of Animals, Royal Canin or Pedigree. See our dog treats here.
Age and Breed Difference in Dog’s Nutritional Needs
We all know that dogs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and temperaments. These differences in physical make up lead to different nutritional needs. A German Shepherd’s large bones require extra nutrition and support while a West Highland White Terrier’s sensitive skin needs high levels of fatty acids to protect it against the elements which is provide by specialist foods such as Royal Canin West Highland White Terrier.
As a dog ages his body also changes. Puppies need a very high intake of nutrients balanced by an energy intake that does not lead to over rapid growth. Older dogs require increased anti oxidants to help fight the free radicals that break down cells. And active dogs have much higher energy requirements than stay at home pooches. Make sure to choose your dog food carefully on the basis of what your dog’s specific nutritional requirements are.
Key Terms Glossary
a. Carbohydrates are the key energy source in humans. Dogs do not need to take in carbohydrates as they synthesise them from amino acids. However carbohydrates do increase body functions while properly processed and taken in moderation. Fibre for example, is good for digestive health.
b. Lipids Fats are the key natural energy source for dogs but their intake should be regulated according to activity level. A dog with an inactive lifestyle may develop obesity problems when fed too many fats.
c. Proteins Dogs require high levels of proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of the body and are involved in the development and regeneration of muscles and organs as well as the transport of messages within the body and the fighting of disease.
d. Minerals and vitamins Vitamins and minerals are essential to the healthy functioning of the body bhilding bones; transferring energy; fighting disease and aiding growth. These molecules are present in small quantities in dog food but are vital to your dogs health
Royal Canin Age, Size And Breed Nutrition Royal Canin Dog Food is precisely formulated to deliver the targetted nutrition that your dog needs to stay healthy. The Royal Canin range is targetted by age, breed and dog size to help you ensure that your dog is getting precisely the nutrients that he needs to thrive See our range of Royal Canin Dog Food.