Healthy dogs need a balanced diet
Toy and small dog breeds have earned their reputation as ideal companions. Although small in stature, most of them ranging from under six pounds to about 20 pounds, dogs that fall under the small breed have big personalities. No matter how much they try to fit in with the larger breeds, their owners still have to take special care of their needs, especially when it comes to food. Smaller breed pups have a higher metabolism and tend to burn off their meal faster. Without foods that are specially formulated to handle this, you could find that your pet is sluggish, has muscle weakness and a slew of other possible issues. In other words, a healthy dog starts with a healthy diet!
Are you asking yourself, what exactly is a healthy diet for your tiny pooch? You may think feeding your pup is a no brainer, grab the most popular food on the shelf, right? Wrong! There is so much more that goes into picking the right food. When you walk down the aisles of any pet store there are about one hundred options on dog food. Each brand donning a colorful sticker claiming to have more benefits than the next brand. There are so many options on the market: dry, semi-moist, and even gourmet! When choosing your food there are a few things to consider; the first being, is it a puppy or an adult?
If you’re bringing home a pup younger than one year old then you should definitely be feeling them puppy food, it’s packed with the nutrients essential to their development.During this time they should be fed four times a day. When your fur baby grows to be three to six months old feedings should be decreased to only three times daily, and another decrease to two feedings from six to twelve month. During the six to twelve month stage is the best time to begin transitioning to adult food. Make the transition gradual, over a span of a few days, to decrease the chances of upsetting your pup’s tummy.
Is premium always the best?
Some of us are willing to spend a pretty penny on our pampered pooch, while the others of us are always looking for the best deal. When it comes to selecting the right meal you’ll be happy to know, you don’t always have to buy the most expensive brand to get the most bang for your buck. It’s true, ‘premium’ labeled foods can be packed with more nutrients giving allowing you to spoon out less, but that’s not always the case. Don’t be fooled into thinking higher prices mean better quality food. The biggest determining factor in what food you by should buy is the ingredient list. It’s best to watch for grains and yucky bi-products. Your dog should be eating foods that you recognize such as meat and vegetables. These need to be among the first few ingredients listed. If you’re more of a quick visual shopper, look for small breed labeled food that says “complete” or “balanced”. You still might want to check to see what specifically is inside. However, these labels will give you a better indication of what could be included in the food.
Wet vs. Dry Food
On to the wet food vs dry food debate. Which is really best, or should you buy both? You will usually find three options on the shelves: canned wet food, semi moist and dry kibble. Canned food is almost always going to be winner with Fido as far as taste is concerned, but you’ll be pretty pleased with it as well. Canned wet food typically has more protein, fewer carbs and preservatives, there are more flavor options and it’s easier for your pet’s digestion. Be careful about cans that advertise for having mostly protein or meats because it could lack other key nutrients. Just like us, our pets need a well balanced diet that includes fats, vitamins, minerals and carbs. All around, wet food is a great option but there is a downside, the price tag. Canned foods are going to be the more expensive option because it is packed with so much puppy goodness. Dry food is usually going to be the least expensive. While it has the same rules as wet food, check the ingredient list, you should always look for size specifications and balanced diet symbols. Kibbles can be moistened or mixed with wet food for added flavor, but it is thought dry food may help with oral-hygiene.
How much food is the right amount?
While you may think that you know what’s best, your dog is going to give you the most important cues on their food intake. While it is normal for dogs to skip a meal or just nibble out of their bowl, watch for major flags. If they are leaving a significant amount in the bowl every time, it could be a sign that you are giving them too much. If they barely eat any at all, it could be a larger issue but don’t start worrying just yet. Your pup might like the taste of one brand over another. As much as we like to predict what they need, there is no better way to tell than actually monitoring. Encouraging good eating habits will make it easier to establishing a routine. Typically pets eat quickly once their food is in place, try not to leave it down for more than 15 to 20 minutes. Keeping to this system will not only eliminate their option to pick at their dish. It may take a few times where you take the food before they finish eating, but they should catch on quickly and will begin eat during their scheduled feeding time.
Ensuring that your small breed dog has the right diet can seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s a breeze. Just remember, even though table food might be delicious and seem like a treat, it’s easy to set your pet down the slippery slope to obesity. It may be hard to ignore those pleading puppy dog eyes, but keep the people food to yourself!