Dogs are well known carnivores, but did you know that in the wild, they consume more than just the meat from their prey. In fact, they would eat everything from the skin and fur, to the intestines and stomach, to get all the vitamins and minerals they need. Luckily, dog owners don’t have to watch their furry friends pull apart animals, though it’s important to make sure they get the same balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
The type of food, along with the size and frequency of meals will vary depending on the age and size of the dog. Puppies will begin their food journey with specially formulated puppy milk, before moving onto puppy food, while there are also products available for adult dogs, and older dogs. These products are also categorised by dog size, as larger dogs will have different dietary needs from smaller dogs.
Dogs can eat some human food, though this should be an occasional treat, rather than a regular occurrence. It’s important to research beforehand what human foods are suitable to give dogs. A small amount of plain rice or scrambled eggs are good to settle a dog’s tummy for example, but pork and chocolate are absolutely forbidden, and are harmful to dogs.
The main part of your dog’s diet will consist of dry or wet dog food. Many people decide to fill their dog bowls with dry food, adding small amounts of wet food to each portion as a treat. Although it’s possible to use either, or both types of food, cost may become a factor, as dry dog food has a longer shelf live, and is less expensive. If you wish to change the type, or brand of dog food you’re using, the golden rule here, is to make sure you introduce it gradually, so your dogs tummy can adjust to the new products.
No article on dog food would be complete, without also mentioning treats. Just like humans, dogs are allowed to indulge once in a while, but make sure you don’t give your dog too many treats. There are large numbers of treat products on the market, including rawhide treats, different shaped dog biscuits, and other tasty chews. You should also look out for dental products, which are a treat and healthcare item all in one. These products help control tartar and plaque, keeping your dog’s teeth healthy. Whichever treats you choose, you’ll find they are ideal as rewards or during dog training. A dog will soon realise what the reward is if they obey commands!
If you are unsure about any aspect of feeding your dog, and what its dietary needs are, then vets, pet shops, and reference books on your particular dog breed, will be useful sources of advice and further information. A happy, healthy dog, will be one who is fed a balanced diet, has a regular feeding routine, and gets the odd treat as a reward for good behaviour. If you really can’t resist the lure of something sweet though, there is special (safe) doggy chocolate available in all good retailers!