Tips for Feeding Your Dog

Tips for Feeding Your Pet
Guest Post Courtesy of Lynne Choate, Pet First

The rattle of a bag or the opening of the pantry door and here they come. Does your pet knows the sound and always comes running in hopes of a nibble no matter what it is? And even worse, your dog just finished up what was in their bowl. So why do they always seem hungry? Are you feeding your pet enough? Is their food nutritious?

Let’s start with reading the ingredients listed.The first ingredient listed should represent the highest valued food in the mix, but that isn’t always the case. The weight of the food may have been taken prior to being cooked or processed. For example, chicken when raw weighs about 80% more than it does when cooked. 

The word “meal” in the ingredient list is something that has been weighed after being processed.  For example, "chicken meal" is chicken which is weighed after it has been cooked and the water has already been taken out, giving you more meat and protein per weight volume.

How much food and how often should you feed your pets?
First, always talk with your vet and follow his/her recommendations. Your vet knows your pet’s medical history and their breed-specific needs. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

For grown dogs (over the age of one year) most vets recommend feeding them twice per day and to stick to a specific routine on timing. As far as how much, it depends on the weight of your dog.  Smaller breeds (25 lbs and under) need one cup or less per meal; medium breeds weighing between 25 – 50 pounds need 1 – 2 cups of food per meal; large breeds weighing 50 – 75 pounds need 2 – 2½ cups per meal; and the larger breeds such as Great Dane, Malamute, St. Bernard or Mastiff, may need 2 – 4 (or more) cups of food per meal. 

Last, but certainly not least, what about the begging? Is your dog or cat a beggar while you are enjoying a family meal or when you go to grab a snack?  To tell the truth, you (or those in your home) are most likely to blame. Begging is a learned behavior. What started out as innocent sharing has now become an annoying habit, a habit that is much harder to break. But rest assured, it can be done!  Start off by only feeding your pup (meals, treats and snacks) in their food bowl. Train your dog to sit a couple of feet away from the bowl while you prepare the food and not to move toward it until you give the command. Also, never feed your dog while they are begging. Treats are your idea, not his (or hers).

Image: Flickr

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