Hungry like a DOG!
Dogs are considered to be a man’s best friend so they shall be fed like one too. There is a variety of dogs out there, too many dogs too much information and too much hassle. Dogs feeding is even more difficult as their diet and nutrition needs change with their life stages i.e. from birth to adolescence to late old age, some nutrients are critical during early age and later they are not necessary. Similarly needs of a bitch are different from that of a dog. Also there is a variety in dog food such as dried, semi moist, canned and homemade food. Canned food usually has higher moisture content and is preferable for dogs that have urinary tract problems. Canned foods are higher in fat and protein, with fewer carbohydrates; semi-moist foods contain humectants keeps the food away from getting dried and dry foods will always contain some starch. Dry foods are considered to help clean the teeth during chewing, but dogs that have rigorous dental problems should be fed on moist food.
New born puppy
Starting with their basic requirement of a puppy, it should be fed continuously for the first 24 hours so that they get antibody-rich colostrums from their mother’s milk, which protects them from infections for two to three months. It should be nursed on mother’s milk for at least six weeks and supplement diet should be given from the third week of birth.
During first six months dog starts to develop immune system, bone and muscle mass, and he starts learning about his environment and so develops proper socialization behaviors. It should be fed food rich in calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals that are proper growth diet. First two months it should be fed trice a day but after four months twice a day meal is required. Do not supplement pups with calcium and phosphorus as they need 1.3 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus for healthy bones. Also supplements can lead to many deficiencies so for pups supplements are not a good option.
Dogs feeding becomes an important issue when dogs are in their adulthood. An adult dog should not be fed growth diet else it would get obese. The dogs in this stage need a combination of protein sources in their diet either that is commercial or home made. These sources are meat, corn or vegetables. Depending on the dog breed the sources should be combined for example the Irish Setter, the Siberian Husky usually have a higher rate of soy(that is a vegetable protein source) intolerance and may cause gas problems and windiness.
As a dog ages, his metabolism slows and most of the organs do not work in the same manner as they did in their young age. They are more likely to catch infections and diseases and especial care is required. For this age geriatric diet and nutrition is low in fiber and is recommended often because it provides fewer calories per serving to hold a slower metabolism and helps in absorption. Older dogs require essential fatty acids like linoleum acid mostly and have a little need for saturated fats or other oils. Oils such as safflower oil and flaxseed oil are recommended to meet the vital fatty acid requirements as these oils help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. They need higher levels of vitamins A, B1, B6, B12 and E; Zinc is also essential for body maintenance and to strengthen the immune system.