Your dog is your buddy and she’s always there for you and looking at you for guidance, affection, and fun. You’ve read about the types of food to feed her, what has the least amount of preservatives, what has good levels of minerals and vitamins, and exercise her to keep her healthy. But you’re not sure if the food you’re feeding is the best for her. Each dog has a metabolism that differs slightly from their canine friends and their age, activity level, and lifestyle also plays a role in how their body processes the food they eat.
Here’s a few tips to help you keep your dog healthy and ensure a long well-fed life:
1: Read the labels – Portions on the bags are not always going to be 100% correct. Each dog may eat slightly different amounts. If the bag states 1 cup but your dog is high energy, you may need to increase the amount fed per day. Modify the portions to your dog’s weight and activity level. If you want to create a special diet, you can mix some of the store-bought kibble with some homemade food to meet your pet’s nutritional needs.
2: Adjust the portions – Is your dog lazy or low energy? Healthy eating is about calorie intake and calories burned. If your dog is active and zooms, then they may burn more calories than they take in. If your dog is a lap dog or low energy you may need to decrease the portions to make sure she doesn’t gain weight. If your dog doesn’t like the decrease in weight, you can switch to a low calorie, low fat food with the advice from your vet.
3: Is your dog a picky eater? Try changing their food to a kind that is for small breeds. The size of the dry kibble can make a difference and feel better on their teeth but also the scent of the food can be more enticing. The pet food industry works on making their food attractive to your pets. Small dogs have a tendency to be picky eaters so their food is often enhanced with aromas and oils. Different breeds have different olfactory abilities.
4: Keep treats to a minimum – While we may be very good at controlling the portions of the meals we may over do it with the treats. An obese pet is at risk for health problems from joint issues to heart issues.
5: Monitor your pet’s weight – body checks, feeling the ribs, and adjusting portions for the seasonal changes in exercise are important to the longevity of your pet. Exercise year round is important and if you can’t take them out for their regular jog with you during the winter, think about doggie daycare or shorter but more frequent trips to the dog parks.
Your dog looks to you for love, fun, and nutrition. Do what you can to make sure she’s healthy, happy, and can always beat you up the stairs!