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Dog Advice - Nutrition
Just like us, dogs require a number of different essential nutrients in the right amounts to remain fit and healthy. These include proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals. However, the dietary requirements of dogs are different from those of humans. Foods such as chocolate, grapes and raisins can be harmful to dogs.
It is very hard to make a complete and balanced food for dogs at home. Most home prepared diets are incomplete and may affect the health and vitality of pets. Feeding a complete and balanced manufactured diet is the easiest way to provide all the right nutrients for your dog. Both wet (can or pouch) and dry (kibble) diets are carefully designed to provide all the nutrients a dog needs as long as the feeding guide is followed. Water is also an essential nutrient and it is important that you always provide fresh drinking water for your dog whether he is a fed a wet or dry diet. Dogs will often eat as much as they can, because in the wild they would never know when their next meal would be. We therefore need to control how much they eat to avoid them becoming obese. It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s feeding guide and then adjust the amount slightly according to your individual dog to avoid him becoming over or underweight.
If feeding treats it is important to slightly reduce the amount of main meal fed to avoid the risk of overfeeding. If you have any concerns about your dog’s weight then you should always speak to your vet.
Dogs at different lifestages have very different nutrient requirements. Puppies need more energy for their size compared to adult dogs to support their rapid growth. However, puppies have smaller stomachs so they need lots of energy dense meals through the day to support their needs. Because of this, puppy diets are formulated to be slightly more energy dense to enable them to easily get all the energy they need.
Puppies also require higher levels of calcium and phosphorus in their diets compared to adult dogs, in order to support their rapidly growing bones. However, if the level of these minerals is too high it can also cause problems so puppy diets are carefully formulated to ensure that puppies fed them grow up healthily with strong bones.
Dog Health & Advice Archives