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Feed the Right Food

'You are what you eat' applies just as much to your dog as it does to you.

Dogs use to hunt for their own dinner and to eat just about every part of their prey. This is not the case with our now domesticated dogs. But, we have to bear in mind that this is how their metabolism has evolved and their nutrient requirement are different to ours.

The most commonly fed foods are tins or pouches of ‘meat’ from supermarkets. They are so appealingly presented, well marketed, and generally taste good. However, you could say the same for a burger at your local fastfood joint. The quality of both is about the same – fine for an occasional meal but not the best to meet long-term nutritional needs. Incredibly food from tins/pouches is about 82% water – 4/5 of every tin you buy is all water! If you can’t believe this look at the ingredients on the side.

As well as the poor quality of the ingredients and the dubious nutritional value, wet food does nothing for helping maintain your dog’s teeth in good shape and indeed can result in early onset dental disease. Dental disease (tartar, gingivitis, periodontitis) is present in 80% of dogs over three years of age and as they get older it can cause a considerable amount of problems. Feeding dry food will help reduce the incidence of dental disease as it in some part reduces the degree of plaque and tartar building up on the teeth which in turn will help reduce the incidence of gum disease.

Good quality dry dog foods are also both more digestible and higher in fibre so will result in less poo to clean up and what comes out is generally well formed and easy to pick up in a bag for disposal.

So, for all these reasons Animal Medical Center of Reno Dog Hospital strongly recommends that you feed your dog a good quality dry food. While the supermarket brands are OK in our opinion the best that you can feed your dog are Hill’s Science Diet or Iams/Eukanuba. These are the ‘premium brand’ pet food and are only available from veterinary clinics and good pet stores. It will cost a bit more to feed your pet these excellent foods but you can’t expect that you can feed the best for the same price as the cheaper, lower quality alternatives.

However believe it or not the most expensive food you can give your pet are tins or pouches! You can feed your pet a top quality dry food for less than these. For example you can feed an average size dog on Hill’s Science Diet for less than $1 per day.

Feed your puppy the right food for growth

A puppy eats a lot of food. From birth up to six months of age, he’ll need to eat two to four times as much as an adult dog to support all that growth. A good rule of thumb is that after his first week of life, when his weight doubles from what it was at birth, a puppy should gain one to two grams per pound of anticipated adult weight each day. This means that if your Yellow Lab puppy weighs 75 pounds as an adult, he should gain three to five ounces per day as a puppy.

What kind of food?

Generally speaking, puppy food is higher in protein and enriched with vitamins, minerals, and fats essential for growth…that is, when compared to dog food made by the same manufacturer. Still, ingredients across brands can vary greatly. Commercial puppy food must meet AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) nutrient standards for growth, and many companies go above and beyond those standards, testing their products to make sure they support puppies’ development.

They don’t have to, though..they’re only required to meet the minimum nutrient standards. In most cases, you get what you pay for. Lower-quality ingredients are found in the cheaper brands while “premium” and “performance” varieties include higher quality ingredients for improved digestibility.

So, it’s up to you what you feed your dog or puppy, but our advice is simple…only feed the best!

Along with feeding the best food, make certain your dog or puppy has a large clean fresh bowl of water. This is especially important for dogs living in Reno, located in the hot dry high desert of Nevada.