Everyone has to eat, including man’s best friend. Feeding a dog seems simple; go to the store, buy dog food and some dog treats, then put food in their bowl. Actually, it’s not always that effortless. Many dogs are obese or underweight, sometimes they need specific food because of age or size, and in some cases certain food can help with health issues such as arthritis. With a few tips, a dog’s life can be greatly improved by their food:
1. Don’t feed pets people food
People food is meant for people, just like dog food is meant for dogs. Dog’s bodies aren’t meant to eat things that humans eat; human food can even kill them, such as chocolate or grapes. Human food is also a big cause of obesity in dogs, which can lower their quality of life as well as their lifespan.
2. Feed based on age and size
There’s a huge variety of dog foods; there’s food for puppies, elderly dogs, small dogs, big dogs, and even food specifically to help with arthritis. Make sure their food fits them specifically, don’t just choose the cheapest one, the best logo, or the one that the other dog eats. There are different kinds of dog food for a reason, choosing the right kind will help them be healthier and happier in the long run.
3. Dog treats can support training
Giving a dog treats when they do a trick or listen to their owner is a great way to train them, but be careful to be somewhat stingy with them. Too many treats is another cause of obesity, and can cause them to lose their appetite for actual food; kind of like letting a child eat ice cream and spoil their dinner. Try not to let treats make up a large portion of their diet, but feel free to give Fido a treat after he rolls over.
4. Fill their bowl on a schedule
Having a scheduled time to feed a dog is very important for their diet and health. It’s recommended to feed dogs twice a day, up to four times a day if they are a puppy. This helps with keeping an eye on their health and behavior, such as when they pick at food instead of wolfing it down like normal; this is often an indicator that they are sick. It also prevents them from eating too much, as compared to keeping their bowl filled all the time so they can eat whenever they choose, which can lead to obesity. This can be especially helpful for adopted dogs from shelters, as they may be nervous coming into a new home; having a schedule tends to help with the normalcy of their new life.
5. Exercise is a must
Feeding a dog correctly won’t be enough to actually be healthy if they never get outside to exercise. Take them on walks and play tug with them, take them to the dog park, and run with them at the beach. Not only is exercise with your dog good for you both, it creates a valuable bonding experience between dog and owner.