Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Feeding Your Dog

There is a lot of debate about what and how much to feed your dog.  Let me start by saying these are my opinions.  I am not a vet and am not endorsed by any dog food company.  I have had dogs for over 20 years and have always considered proper nutrition to be an important part of keeping my dogs in good shape, content and comfortable though their competition ages and into old age.

The first thing I tell all my students is - feed your dog the best food you can afford.  I am not denying that buying a high quality dog food is hard on the wallet but I truly believe that if you spend on food your will save at the vets office.  I am often surprised how dog owners will feed a lower quality dog food and then spend money on treats and toys.  Dogs fed a good diet have less skin issues, stomach issues, allergy issues... the list goes on.  As they age, well-fed dogs have less joint issues and look and smell better.  Once you start studying foods there is a lot of information out there and it is hard to decide.  I recommend checking out the Whole Dog Journal's list of approved dog foods.  This magazine accepts no advertisers and research dog food companies independently - a great list to start with.  Another piece of advice is - change it up, go ahead buy a different brand every time you buy dog food, variety is a good thing.

Regardless of what it says on the bag, how much you should feed your dog is decided by your dog.  Get your hands on the dog... Do you feel ribs? Is his belly tucked up? Can you see a waist from above?  All these indicators will let you know if your dog needs more or less food.  Here is an article that I feel does a great job in explaining what a dog at the correct weight should look like.  The amount you feed your dog should be constantly adjusted to life.  For example my 6 year old Border Collie this summer still goes out for a run and plays every day. But in the house its hot so, he does a lot of sleeping. I have already cut his food by 2/3 cup in the last month and am about to take it down another 1/4 cup.

Next month we will talk about what you should add and what you shouldn't to your dogs food.