One of the most important things in our life is food. We love the taste, texture, smell and all the other sensations involved when eating good grub. Why? Well – it’s important to eat. Eating keeps us going, and it keeps us alive, so nature has made food appealing in so many different ways. That’s why we like foods that aren’t so good for us – because they are full of things and nutrients, we can’t possibly use in this day and age. Food brings people together, it keeps us healthy and alive, and it gives us all the energy in the world. Food is incredibly important. It isn’t just important to us though – it is important to almost every other living thing on this planet. Plants need their sun and water for sustenance, spiders need the flies, we need pasta, fruits, meat, and vegetables. Everything that lives and breathes – or just lives – needs some kind of sustenance. They need a source of food. However, it’s not just food that is important. We need to eat anything to stay alive, but to thrive and enjoy the benefits of a healthy life? We need to eat the right kinds of food and enjoy a balanced diet full of all sorts of different nutrients and benefits.
If you want to be the best owner, or ‘dog parent’ to your loyal dog, there is a lot that you need to do. You need to house train the pooch, so it learns to respect its surroundings. You also need to groom and bathe the dog, so it’s hair stays trim and clean. Of course, you need to exercise the dog through regular walks and playtime. There’s a lot of responsibility already without tackling an important matter. That important matter? It’s the diet of your dog.
We’ve already gone over the benefits of food – but dogs love, and need food. They need food to operate and to give them energy as well as stave off hunger. The right food will give your dog everything it needs to fight off illness and everything it needs to give it the energy for walking and playing. Dogs make it known when they want feeding and won’t stop moaning at the table for scraps, unless well trained. They love food just as much as we do – but hold on, you can’t go giving your dog the gourmet scraps from your plate.
When a dog eats, it needs to eat the right way. Bad foods can clog up our arteries and give us severe illnesses. This happens with dogs, but happens a lot faster due to their size. Dogs are not meant to eat processed foods at all – especially those with high salt and fat levels. This includes human mainstays like bacon and other foods. Simply put, if you eat it – it is likely not suitable for a dog. This includes some fruits and vegetables as well. The best rule to stick to is that if it’s on your plate, it shouldn’t be in your dog’s bowl. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but it’s a great ‘catch-all rule’ that will help ensure that you take control of your dog’s diet. If you want to feed your dog anything remotely human there are plenty of homemade dog food recipes – stick to boiled chicken, rice and peas – that sort of thing. It’s healthy, cheap and will fill your dog up. Otherwise, stick to specially prepared dog food which contains everything your dog needs without the bad stuff. Heavy and rich human foods can give dogs a number of serious problems which could range from indigestion right through to a digestive failure.
What about the feeding routine though? Dogs need to eat good food – we know that, but how often should they be fed? Speak to your vet in the first instance or if you know that your dog has specific dietary needs or medical requirements. The base rule? A solid meal once per day is enough. This is the minimum and it differs from dog to dog, but at least once per day should be the aim. If you don’t hit the mark here, you are running the risk of starving your dog or giving it malnutrition issues which is unacceptable for any responsible dog owner. How much food should a dog be given? It will always depend on their weight, breed, size and level of activity. Hyper and big dogs will always need more food than tiny and sleepy dogs. Overfeeding can lead a dog to become overweight and give the poor dog a number of worrying health issues. If you want to keep your dog in shape and healthy, make sure that you, as a responsible dog owner, feed your dog regularly with the right amount and right type of food.
Even when you do everything right – a dog can still get ill. It’s just like yourself – you might take your vitamins, exercise and still be struck down by the common cold and end up lying in bed for a few days. Dogs get ill. They just do, unfortunately. One way you can notice this easily is through their eating habits. If a dog is eating a lot more or less, it might hint that something is up with them.
As much as food is important, water is too. Ensure that your dog always has a full bowl of water, especially on hot days. Your dog needs water to stay hydrated, so with every meal fill their bowl up with cold, clean water. The simplest way to manage this is to simply fill the dog’s water bowl up even when it’s only half-full. This is better than forgetting.
If you want to be a responsible owner for your dog, it all starts with a good diet. It’s easy to get it right, but hard to manage – but if you can find the time to do right by your dog with its diet, you’ll have a healthy pooch that is fed well!