Reasons to Feed Your Dog the Right Food for Their Age
For your dog to be healthy, it’s of great importance what and how much he eats. But aside from keeping him healthy, good nutrition will also keep your dog happy, giving him more energy to invest in playing and running around.
When it comes to dog nutrition, there are many things to consider. For instance, do you know that in order to enjoy the meals better, it’s advisable for your dog to have an elevated bowl? Then, there’s the food itself. Even though the nutritional requirements vary by breed, size, age and health, and it’s recommended to always consult a vet, here are some basic information about food for dogs that you – as a dog-owner, should be well acquainted with.
The Best Food for Dogs
“What is the best food to feed my dog?” – is the question that comes to mind right after you adopt a puppy. The first idea, as expected, is to get all the different food for dogs from a pet store to meet all of the dog’s nutritional needs. Dogs food is a type processed food that contains all of the nutrients dogs need for their overall well-being. All kinds of commercial dog foods are highly regulated and have been rigorously tested by veterinary specialists. Usually, these products have meat, grains, fruit, vegetables, and vitamins. However, the food should be different for different breeds, ages and sizes of dogs, with ingredients that are appropriate for their digestive system.
Then, you need to consider the various forms that dog food is available in. You can find different types of dental chews, dental sticks, ribs, fish cubes, chicken fillets, beef fillets, and many other dog treats. Some foods are especially good for your dog’s teeth, to clean them and to prevent dental diseases. For instance, dental chews and dental sticks are good if your dog has bad breath. Plus, they soften and scrub away existing plaque, and defend against new plaque and calculus.
Natural spare ribs, aside from being good for dental hygiene, are great boredom-busting treats and are very helpful for training seasons. You can also find satiety weight management food and digestive care food. Most of these treats are sourced from 100% natural ingredients, and as such, they are rich in vitamins (omega-3, omega-6, B vitamin, etc.). Some food is adequate for all dogs, and some for specific sizes and ages. Therefore, it’s very important to read the product description before buying it to ensure that what you’re buying is adequate for your pet-friend.
However, many dog-owners also decide to offer some natural foods to their dogs to provide variety, which is also acceptable. These natural foods include fresh human-grade raw meat, raw meaty bones, and some finely-cut vegetables. Yet, not all human foods are safe for dogs, and you should get well acquainted with what human foods dogs can and can’t eat.
What to Feed Dogs Based on Their Age?
It’s likely that when you adopt a puppy, it will be 8-16 weeks old. The breeders will certainly tell you what they have been feeding the dog till then, and it would be good if you continue with that diet. Huge diet changes at this time of the puppy’s life may unintentionally cause a stomach upset. So, if you want to introduce a new diet, you have to feed him in small incremental stages over a few weeks.
What is mostly recommended for puppies is a high-quality commercial kibble which is specially designed for them. It contains all the nutrients a puppy needs for growth and development. Occasionally, you can add some cooked meats and vegetables, but the main diet has to consist of commercially balanced kibble. It’s important to regularly feed them small meals because puppies can’t go for long without food.
At this age, dogs are already old enough to try some raw meaty bones. In this period, their permanent teeth are erupting. However, you should introduce the bones gradually, or more precisely, one bone a week is enough. When introducing new food to your dog, it’s good to keep an eye on him, in case he shows any signs of illness or distress. He can be intolerant to certain types of food (just like humans).
As the dog is getting older, you can reduce the number of feeds little by little to twice per day. However, this doesn’t mean that bigger dogs need to eat more. You have to make sure that you don’t overfeed (or underfeed) your pet because it can lead to some health issues later in his life (for instance, musculoskeletal problems). Observe his feeding habits and his body weight closely.
By adult dogs, we are referring to small- and medium-breed dogs that are 12+ months, and larger breed dogs from 18 to 24 months. At this age, you should feed your dog once or twice a day, with quality commercial dog food that will meet the needs of an adult dog. The diet has to be complete and balanced. For variety, now you can start adding raw or cooked meat, large meaty bones, fish, and vegetables.
By senior dogs, we are referring to older dogs. When the dog is older, it’s very probable that it has chronic health issues which can be affected or improved by the diet. Hence, at this age, it’s good to talk with a veterinarian about the specific needs of your dog to ensure his well-being. Some types of commercial dog foods are fortified with certain nutrients that senior dogs likely lack and can be modified according to health problems. So, you can also look for such types of food at a well-supplied pet store.