GET YOUR DOG IN SHAPE WITH THIS GREAT DOGGIE DIET
Your dog may be a fully-fledged member of the family, but that doesn’t mean it can eat the same food as the family. Dogs are carnivores so the bulk of their diet needs to be meat based. Feeding dogs human food is a sure-fire way to end up with an overweight dog with a whole host of health problems.
More dogs are overweight now than ever before. An overweight dog has a shorter life by an average of 2 years, against a dog of ideal weight. If you are concerned your dog is overweight you need to do something about it now, as it can lead to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer, amongst other things. If you are concerned about your dog’s weight, here is a guide to getting your dog in shape and adding another two years onto its life.
WHAT FOOD IS GOOD FOR DOGS?
Any food you feed your dog should be in line with the Australian Standard of Manufacturing and Marketing Pet food. This means it is up to the quality required for distribution in Australia. Pet food which hasn’t reached this standard is unlikely to be healthy. It may contain filler carbohydrates, higher fat content and not enough meat.
Even if you want to get your dog to lose weight, don’t bother with the “diet” dog food. This is marketed as a low-fat alternative but often the fat is substituted for carbohydrate filler. Your dog will constantly be hungry and won’t necessarily lose weight. A mixture of pre-packaged dog food and a raw meat diet is the best way to go.
Raw meat is a healthy option for your dog, choose a meat you would consume yourself. The raw meat made for dogs can contain preservatives which could end up doing more harm than good. Your dog should be fine to eat any human-grade raw meat, but be careful not to give it any processed meats like sausages and bacon, which are also likely to contain preservatives.
Putting your dog on a raw meat diet has many health benefits, but make sure you provide a variety of different cuts. Giving your dog offal every day doesn’t offer a balanced diet. Similarly, if you are avoiding the pre-packaged dog foods, make sure your dog is getting some fibre. Oat bran is a good way of giving them this, but veggies will also do the trick.
Bones are also good for your dog, but only when eaten raw. Lamb ribs or chicken wings will keep your dog’s teeth in good condition. As with anything, too much can cause constipation so don’t go overboard. One or two bones a week is a good amount to get the benefits without the constipation
THE RIGHT PORTIONS FOR DOGS
Your dog should be getting between 2-4 meals a day. Consult your vet for how many calories your breed should be consuming each day and divide it up between the meals. Be precise. Guessing will not do your dog any favours. Measure out the food and be consistent with the meal times. If you can’t be there to feed the dog in the middle of the day, investing in an automatic feeder which can be set to a timer is a good way of keeping to your dog’s meal plans.
If you maintain your dog’s protein intake but cut down on the fat and carbohydrates, your dog should feel full but be consuming fewer calories. Canned food is often a good way of maintaining a high protein diet. These products usually contain a lot of protein, with minimal calories and fat. This is helpful when putting a dog on a diet, as a constantly hungry dog will become a nuisance around the dinner table and will likely start begging.
If you stick to these simple dietary rules, you should notice a fitter, healthier, happier dog with more energy and gusto than before.
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