What do you consider when it comes time to conjure up food for your small dog? Will I buy something or do I need to prepare it myself? OK. What will I look for in the food line – Dry Food as in Biscuits and nuts or wet diet -tin food with supplements, or is a raw or home-made diet the best? Now I could have been suitably confused, especially as I tried to read what the food was comprised of, but .. I went and did my own research!.
Food is such an important part of a small dogs life, especially when you remember that Puppies and adult dogs have different dietary needs, as do senior dogs .
All dogs need a nutritious balanced diet.
This cannot be more keenly stressed.
Protein: – Necessary for the healthy growth of Puppy – should be derived from the:- muscle meat of animals; poultry and fish. These are the ideal sources of protein. By product protein is not an option for Puppies – they are not able to digest this form of protein as well, plus it frequently has no known benefits, apart from being a “filler”
Carbohydrates: – provide the energy to give you Pet life and the will to enjoy and share with you, Carbohydrates are divided into 2 main types – (1) Simple Sugar carbs, and (2) the Complex Starch (&Fibre) carbohydrates.
Simple Carbs: are found in refined sugars, (like sweets /cakes) but are also in milk and fruit. Milk and fruit are the better option as they also contain some important nutrients, vitamins, and fibre.
. Complex Carbs: also called Starch, include unrefined whole grain such as rice and pasta. Unlike refined grains such as white flour and white rice, which have been processed and much of the goodness removed, unprocessed grain contain vitamins and minerals necessary for a balanced diet. Natural grain content also provides the diet/body with the very important fibre, which helps maintain the digestive system.
Fats:- Concentrated form of energy – that give your dog more than twice the amount of energy as do proteins and carbohydrates. The fats added to dog food are easily digested and are part of the reason that dog food tastes and smells so good – to the dog anyway!
Fats not only help provide energy, but they also are important for the healthy development and function of all tissue, muscle, nervous system and cellular building. These fats and oils help give structure to dog food, are burnt up by the body, before protein and carbs, and help the body absorb fat soluble vitamins. They also help keep the fur coats shiny and healthy Fats – importantly, are a component of a hormone like substance, which among other body functions, helps heal and reduce any inflammation.
Minerals and Vitamins:- These can be found in all the food to a varying degree, but generally speaking, should be adequate. Puppies though, need calcium for the formation of healthy bones, teeth, nails and coat. Yoghurt and cottage cheese are source of calcium – Yoghurt can be poured over dry dog food, and cheese can be served in the meal or as a treat. The final must is
Water:- Essential for regulating body temperature, eliminating waste product from the body, assisting in absorption of food and preventing dehydration.
Small Breed Puppies are weaned around 8 weeks, then it is up to the pet owner to step up! Very young puppies, once weaned, will need between 3 to 4 meals a day. As they age -for small dogs – at about 6 months you will be reducing the number of daily meals down to twice daily.
Be consistent with your feeding time and routine, keeping the same daily plan. Consider scheduled feeding times rather than an ad lib approach. Scheduling allows you to monitor the amount of food puppy is eating, his eating habits, plus having better control over house training regime.
Check feeding instructions on food package for guide of daily allowance, divide this amount by the number of meals puppy will have each day. Allow a reasonable time, about 20 minutes for the feeding session, remove the food bowl. Make sure that the water bowl is filled with fresh water & available at all times.
When Puppy has reached about 80% of expected adult weight and size, he can be gradually weaned off puppy food to adult dog food. This can happen from about 9 months old. If you do not change Puppy on to adult dog food could lead to an overweight or obese dog!
The Adult and the Aging Dog: As your dog ages, his requirements of nutrition can alter with the years, when they will need less of one ingredient and more of another, but the secret for me is to be observant of the changes that age brings. An adult dog will have reached all his milestones, but still needs age essential nutrients to be sure of optimal health levels at all times. These include supplements such as omega oil for overall body beauty and health; anti oxidants to boost the immune system and continued protein, carbohydrate and fat diet input to manage overall healthy living.