We are often asked, “How much should I feed my dog?” and “What is a good food to feed my dog?” While there is no one food that every dog will do best with, and the amount of food varies by activity level, brand, age and weight of each dog, there are rules, guidelines, and responsibility should be practiced when it comes to feeding our dogs.
* Do not free feed your dog! Free feeding (food is always in their bowl and available to them) is possibly one of the most common and harmful mistakes a pet owner can make. Besides it being a very important leadership mistake, free feeding can quickly add a lot of unhealthy weight to a dog and lead to greater problems down the road. You should control the food in your home; you decide and regulate the amount of food your dog eats, and when they eat it.
* Be in control of the food. Food is a resource that belongs to you, therefore you should be able to pet your dog during feedings, put your hands in the food, take up the bowl at will, and return it to them without any growling, biting, or serious guarding issues (if you are experiencing this, we urge you to contact a professional to help you deal with the issue). If you live in a household with multiple dogs and are not controlling the food, it is likely one of the dogs in the house have taken that responsibility upon themselves and often times leads to behavior issues amongst themselves.
* Feed your dog a high quality food. Many inexpensive dog foods contain a large percentage of fillers, such as corn. Only a very small amount of the corn and other fillers are actually digested by your dog, the rest is just passed out in the form of solid waste. Smaller amounts of high quality food can be fed to your dog because more of the nutrients and other ingredients are digested, resulting in less waste.
* Do not over feed your dog. On the back of most dog food bags, a suggested amount of food is usually recommended based on the age and weight of your dog. However, please remember the source of this information – THE DOG FOOD MANUFACTURER! Often times dog food companies will suggest feeding your dog larger amounts of food in attempts to sell more of their product, and in many cases a lot of the food is un-digestible fillers.
* Food can be used as a motivator. If you are implementing food into your training sessions, feel free to use some of their kibble. Kibble is much more nutritious and contains far less calories then the decadent treats that owners often feed their dogs. When using kibble in training, subtract that amount from their daily intake. In other words, if your dog eats 1 cup of food at night, use 1/4 cup for training and feed the remaining 3/4 cup as their meal.
* Be consistent in your feedings. As much as possible, try to feed your dog at the same time of the day, in the same location. Consistent feedings will aid younger dogs with potty training, and get them into a routine. However, as your schedule varies, your dogs will adjust. Also, don’t switch brands or flavors all the time. When introducing a new flavor or brand, the new food should be mixed with the old food in the proper ratios over the course of a few days or weeks.
* Do not confuse food with love. Take them for a walk, play fetch, or groom them; these are better ways to show your dog you love them then stuffing them full of food and treats. Giving your dog more and more food and treats will not get them to love you any more.
If you enjoyed this entry, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog. You will be automatically notified as soon a new entry is made.