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Wanna Play?
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Guide to Feeding Your Dog

Youíve just gotten a dog, so you go out and buy a dog bowl and whatever dog food is available at the grocery store.

Then, you come home, toss some of the food in the dogís bowl and place it next to his water dish. Thatís all there is to it, right? Wrong!

Feeding your dog shouldnít be a complicated task. You donít need to spend hours agonizing over which brand of food is the absolute best or weighing and measuring every bit of kibble that goes in his bowl.

But, you canít just pour any, old brand of pet food in his bowl anytime itís empty. There are some guidelines to keep in mind to make sure that your dog receives the proper nutrition.

What to Feed Your Dog

Some dog owners spend substantial amounts of time in the pet food aisle at the grocery store, or on the phone with their vets, debating over exactly which pet food formula is just right for their dog.

Feeding your dog shouldnít be a complicated task. You donít need to spend hours agonizing over which brand of food is the absolute best or weighing and measuring every bit of kibble that goes in his bowl.

But, you canít just pour any, old brand of pet food in his bowl anytime itís empty. There are some guidelines to keep in mind to make sure that your dog receives the proper nutrition.

In light of the recent contaminations and industry-wide pet food recalls, being concerned about what your dog eats is understandable. But, as a general rule, as long as you purchase a good-quality food which your dog likes and which provides him with the essential nutrients, the brand name really doesnít matter.

You may prefer to feed your dog dry food, as opposed to canned, because dry food is better for your dogís dental health. Additionally, you might consider buying foods formulated specifically for your puppy or senior dog. Beyond that, all you really need to do is look at the label and avoid foods with two much filler or too little protein, amino acids and other necessary ingredients.

If you find that you have to switch your dogís food for health or other reasons, do so gradually. At first, give him his usual food, with only a small amount of the new food mixed into it. Gradually increase the amount of new food, while decreasing the old, over a period of about a week to 10 days. This will help your dogís digestive system adjust more easily to the new diet.

What Not to Feed

Dogs have highly developed senses of smell, so he knows about that steak youíre having for dinner long before youíve even finished cooking it. That doesnít mean he should get any. Dog food is specifically formulated for a dogís nutritional needs; human food is not and generally should be avoided.

Refusing to feed your dog from the table is more than just a health benefit for him. Itís also a training tool. If begging at the table yields him nothing but silence, heíll soon stop.

Just as an occasional dessert is fine for a human, the occasional dog treat wonít hurt your dog. Theyíre invaluable in training your canine companion, but treats arenít formulated to be a significant part of your dogís daily diet.

When to Feed

Dogs love routine, so whether you feed him in the morning, afternoon or evening, be sure to do so at the same time every day. One feeding a day will usually suffice, though many dog owners recommend feeding your pet twice a day.

How Much to Feed

There are feeding guidelines on most bags of pet food, but these numbers tend to lean toward the generous side, and you donít want an overweight pup. So, to start, consult your vet. He can weigh your dog and advise you about the amount of food your dog probably needs.

From there, watch your dog. Is he gaining weight, or losing it? Is he maintaining a healthy appearance? Take a good look at his waist. Your dog should be slimmer where the stomach begins and the ribs end, though not so slim, of course, that you can actually see his ribs.

If you need to make changes due to increased or decreased activity levels, introduce them gradually. Give your dog 1/8 cup more (or less) food at a time, waiting a couple of weeks to see how the change has affected him. Speedy weight gain or loss isnít healthy for dogs.

Following these simple guidelines should make mealtime easy for you and your dog.
 


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