Looking After Your Dog, Part Five - Dog Food
A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for your dog’s health. Though dogs have an inherent liking for meat-based foods, they can very well survive on a vegetarian diet, provided it’s complete with all the required nutrients. With an enormous variety of dog foods available, deciding what’s best for your dog can often be confusing.
Water is an essential component of a dog’s body, and your pet should have access to it at all times – this could prevent dehydration and overheating. As far as the number of feedings is concerned, for an adult dog, one or two feedings a day would suffice. However, puppies need to eat more frequently than an adult dog. Up to fifty percent of an adult dog’s diet may comprise of carbohydrates.
As for the food type, you could feed your dog with homemade food or commercial dog food. In general, commercial dog foods are available in three forms - dry, semi-moist and canned; with the most prevalent being dry dog foods. The dry form has a meager 10% of water content and should be supplemented by a healthy supply of fluids (water). Canned dog foods contain around 65% of water with the rest being dry stuff. Veterinarians don’t recommend the semi-moist variety, since it contains an awful lot of additives in the form of preservatives.
Dry dog foods are a proportionate blend of grains, meat-based products, fats, mineral and vitamins – all that a dog needs. However, relative to the dry variety, canned dog foods appear more delectable and aromatic to your dog. Therefore, when presented with a choice, your dog would certainly prefer canned dog foods. But there is a caveat – dogs that are fed a strict canned food diet are more likely to develop gum and teeth problems.
Conclusion - No matter what the variety of commercial dog food that you purchase, it is imperative that your dog’s diet adheres to the National Research Council’s guidelines on canine nutrition. It would be better still if the dog food is certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
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