Category Archives: Diet

Is Fish Good For Dogs?

 

So, you’ve read all the positive testimonials from dog owners about the benefits of feeding fish and now you want to know whether it really is possible to feed your dog a fish based diet with amazing health results? To answer the question – is fish good for dogs?

1. The Benefits Of Fish As A Food For Dogs

Fish is a great, easily digestible protein source for dogs. Especially for dogs following digestive upsets or with liver or kidney disease, whilst being relatively low in saturated fats and empty calories (good for weight control). These facts alone makes fish a fantastic source of nutrition for dogs.

Due to the high level of Omega-3 Fatty acids in fish, it is a natural anti-inflammatory to the body making it great for dogs with allergies or intolerances to other non-fish proteins. If you purchase Omega 3 supplements you’ll often find that cod liver oil is the main ingredient. By feeding a dog on a diet mainly made up of fish, you can ensure your pet is receiving these supplemental benefits as nature intended.

2. Is Fish A Good Diet For Dogs With Allergies

Fish is great for dogs who suffer from allergies. The bioavailable essential fatty acids in fish can help to heal sore, flaky, damaged or itchy skin.

This is because Omega-3 fats found in fish oil help to reduce inflammation, which can lessen the intensity of many allergies. Omega-3 fats can also reduce a dog’s reaction to pollen and other common allergy triggers found in the environment.

3. Should Dog Owners Avoid Certain Types?

Avoid fish that contain high mercury levels like tuna or swordfish and always use caution and moderation feeding shellfish/crustaceans as they can contain a high bacterium load, so if you are feeding them ensure they are cooked as they could cause tummy upset.

Always check the sourcing of your fish because poor quality care or intensively farmed means increased toxin levels. Salmon and white fish are also great to feed, all of them are a great source of Omega-3 for dogs. You may have to put up with a fishy breath straight after meal time but this should quickly pass, if not speak to your veterinarian as it could indicate an underlying health issue. Feeding an unbalanced fish diet can lead to dietary deficiencies just like in feeding any unbalanced diet.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

We offer:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Is Sugar Bad for Dogs?

 

As much we enjoy eating sugary treats like ice cream and candy, they shouldn’t be fed to dogs. Although it is a necessary component of their diets, certain sugars, like those found in sweets, can be harmful to dogs just like it is to people. From tummy troubles to obesity, here are the reasons your dog shouldn’t have sugar.

1. Upset Stomach

If you want to avoid having to clean up vomit or diarrhea, it’s probably best to avoid giving your dog sugar.

In the short term, a sugary treat can lead to an upset stomach. All animals rely on the bacteria and other microorganisms in our gut to help us digest the food we eat. A higher dose of sugar than our pets are used to can upset the balance of those micro-organisms and lead to diarrhea – sometimes explosive, sometimes bloody, and sometimes even with vomiting.

2. Toxicity

Both chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol—found in many sugar-free candies—can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that can be poisonous to your pet. Dark, semi-sweet and Baker’s chocolate can be lethal if ingested.

Dogs can’t digest theobromine as efficiently as humans. Theobromine can be used medically as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. Since dogs can’t process theobromine, excessive amounts of it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, a racing heart rate, muscle spasms and occasionally seizures.

3. Cavities

Another downside of consuming too much sugar? Dental caries or cavities. The problem with sugar is that bacteria in the mouth use it which produces acids. Acids increase the loss of minerals in the enamel or the outer coating of the teeth, leading to dental disease.

You can’t avoid sugar – pretty much everything you can put in your dog’s mouth contains some form of sugar to some degree. The best you can do is feed dog foods that are lower in carbohydrates and brush your dog’s teeth. It is also essential that your dog’s teeth be checked at least annually by your veterinarian and that you agree to professional cleanings as recommended by your vet.

4. Weight Gain

Refined sugar is largely empty calories. If you’re constantly giving your dog sugar, they can gain weight, which can stress joints and lead to other problems down the road. Heart disease, joint problems, lethargy, and difficulty breathing from the additional weight on the chest wall are just a few of the other problems that can result.

Obesity is sadly a growing problem in pets, and it can lead to other harmful conditions. Obesity is very common in dogs and has been linked to other serious conditions including arthritis, heart and respiratory problems and diabetes.

5. Metabolic Changes

Sugar causes increased secretion of insulin, which the body needs to store and use sugar. Insulin has many effects on other hormones in the body, which can change a pet’s muscle tone, fat storage, immune system and energy levels. These changes can lead to weaker, less active and obese pets who are more susceptible to other hormone related diseases, infections and obesity.

In the long term, sugar can cause some significant changes to your pet’s body and metabolism – similar to people, the most common challenges we see along these lines are obesity and diabetes – and sadly, both of these diseases come with their own list of problems which can be made worse by sugar.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

We offer:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Healthy Diet for Dogs; AAFCO Nutrient Requirements

Most of us were taught the importance of a balanced and nutritionally complete diet. But when it comes to knowing what is a healthy diet for dogs to grow properly and stay healthy, we often come up short.

Many years ago, little thought or research was put into the manufacture of pet food, or the proper way to feed our pets. Eventually, in response to consumer demand, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was formed. Their primary function was to publish feed regulations and ingredient definitions. After much research, committee investigations and feeding trials, nutrient profiles for pets were developed, and guidelines established.

This is still a work in progress. Despite significant advances, the importance and proper levels of some nutrients are still under investigation. The recommendations of AAFCO, for instance, may change when additional information about nutritional health in dogs becomes available. For now, the minimum levels of nutrients that should be included in pet foods are listed. In a few cases, excess amounts of certain nutrients can be damaging so maximum levels are also listed in AAFCO guidelines.

When buying pet food, choose only those products that carry the statement “Formulated to meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for…” because they follow these guidelines. It is not a requirement to meet AAFCO standards in order to sell pet food, so buyers beware. Check the labels and compare products.

The nutrient list is divided into two separate profiles. One profile is for growing, pregnant or lactating dogs and one is for adult maintenance. The nutrients are listed on a dry matter basis. What this means is that if you are comparing products, the moisture content of the food must be taken into consideration. If the food has 75 percent moisture, then the remaining nutrients make up 25 percent of the food.

Take each nutrient amount and divide by 0.25 to obtain an accurate dry matter amount to compare to the nutrient guidelines or even to compare one food to another. If the moisture content is 10 percent, then 90 percent make up the rest of the nutrients. Divide each nutrient value by 0.9 in order to get an accurate value.

Current AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

For Adult Maintenance

Unless otherwise listed, all values are minimum requirements:

Protein………18%
Fat…………..5%
Calcium……0.6% (maximum 2.5%)
Phosphorus…0.5% (maximum 1.6%)
Potassium…..0.6%
Sodium……..0.06%
Chloride…….0.09%
Magnesium…..0.04% (maximum 0.3%)
Iron…………80 mg/kg (maximum 3,000 mg/kg)
Copper………7.3 mg/kg (maximum 250 mg/kg)
Manganese……..5 mg/kg
Zinc………..120 mg/kg (maximum 1000 mg/kg)
Iodine………1.5 mg/kg (maximum 50 mg/kg)
Selenium……0.11 mg/kg (maximum 2 mg/kg)
Vitamin A…..5000 IU/kg (maximum 250,000 IU/kg)
Vitamin D……500 IU/kg (maximum 5000 IU/kg)
Vitamin E…….50 IU/kg (maximum 1000 IU/kg)
Thiamine………1 mg/kg
Riboflavin…..2.2 mg/kg
Pantothenic Acid..10 mg/kg
Niacin……….11.4 mg/kg
Pyridoxine………1 mg/kg
Folic Acid……0.18 mg/kg
Vitamin B12…..0.022 mg/kg
Choline………1200 mg/kg

For growing puppies, pregnant and lactating bitches

The majority of nutrient minimums are the same except for the items listed. The maximum for those listed does not change.

Protein………..22%
Fat…………….8%
Calcium…………1%
Phosphorus…….0.8%
Sodium………..0.3%
Chloride……..0.45%
Vitamin B12….0.022 mg/kg

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

DANGEROUS FOODS FOR DOGS

 

It’s easy to feed your dog with leftover food from your dinner. But beware, a few innocent-looking human foods can hurt dogs and sometimes kill them. Learn the kind of foods that are dangerous to give to your dog.

Raw Meat and Fish

For your dogs safety, you should avoid feeding it raw foods. This includes any form is raw meat, fish or eggs. You should avoid these foods because there is always a chance of parasites and bacteria living in raw foods. Parasites can cause bad stomach diseases which in some cases can lead to death if left untreated for weeks. Therefore, it is better to cook the meat before feeding it to your dog.

Bad stomach diseases show up as symptoms that include vomiting, fevers, and swelling of lymph nodes. You may also notice that your dog may seem lethargic and have a loss of appetite. So if you notice these symptoms, take your dog to a vet quickly. Always remember that the extra effort invested in cooking the meat first before feeding will pay off in the end.

Alcohol

Onions and Garlic

Some foods are more mistakenly fed to dogs than others. Garlic and onions are one of those foods. Though they may seem harmless to us humans, onions and garlic can cause deficiency in a dog’s blood. It does this by causing anemia, where the red blood cells in your dog’s blood is killed. All forms of onions and garlic can cause this health problem, regardless of whether it’s powered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated.

This applies to a large variety of leftover foods and also baby food. Always check whether they are onions and garlic in the leftover food before feeding it to your dog. Dogs may be fine when they only get the occasional small dose of onions and garlic. But larger quantities can be highly toxic to dogs, and can lead to weakness, vomiting, breathlessness, and poisoning.

Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine

Caffeine is something that we humans love to consume to awaken our minds and accelerate our heartbeat. However, though caffeine is helpful to us, it should not be fed to a dog. Bored and depressed dogs are better off taken for a walk or let loose in the backyard of a house then to be given caffeine.

The effects of caffeine are magnified in a dog. If your dog consumes a large enough dosage, it may experience symptoms of caffeine poisoning. These symptoms include restlessness, fast breathing, heart palpitations, tremors, or fits. And if the dosage is lethal, it can lead to sudden death in a dog. Besides coffee and tea, chocolate, cocoa beans, colas, and energy drinks contain caffeine. It is also found in some pain killers and cold medicines.

Grapes and Raisins

Another seemingly innocent but harmful food for your dog is the grape, and its dried cousin the raisin. These foods are toxic to your dog and should not be fed to your dog regardless of quantity. This applies to all dogs no matter how old it is and what breed it is from. So remember to keep raisins and grapes off the kitchen counter and inaccessible to your dog. It only takes a small dosage to make your dog ill.

The effects of your dog ingesting grapes or raisins include vomiting or diarrhea, lethargy, kidney failure, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to a vet. The vet may try to induce vomiting before the food is absorbed into its body. The vet may also administer a dose of charcoal to absorb the harmful substances.

Milk and Other Dairy Products

It may be tempting to share your ice cream cone with your dog when you’re in the park, but avoid doing so. This is because feeding your dog with ice cream might upset its digestive system. This also applies to other dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Dogs are mostly lactose intolerant because their bodies cannot produce lactase.

Symptoms of ingesting dairy products include diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and digestive upset might follow the consumption of lactose. Continuous diarrhea could lead your dog to experience severe dehydration. When this happens, take your dog to a vet as soon as you can.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

People Food Bad for Dogs

Why Dogs Should NOT Eat ‘People Food’

“Love hurts,” or, in the case of feeding your dog “table food,” love can kill, slowly. We all want to show our pets how much we love them and help them to feel more a part of the family. So we slip them a little treat off our plate—but only on holidays… and then when they are really well behaved during a party, and soon we find ourselves feeding Fido daily off our own plate.

While the food you are sharing with your dog may not technically be considered harmful to its health, it is slowly causing adverse side effects— physically, behaviorally, and socially.

Behavior:

Believe it or not, our pets have us trained pretty well. We pet them when they nudge us, take them out when they bark, and give them treats when they whine. When we start to feed our pets from our plate, counter, anywhere not in their own food bowl, or food that is anything other than their normal dog food, we start to introduce bad habits that can be difficult to break.

Dogs will begin to beg for food while we eat, cook, or snack. This can occur at all times, especially when they see YOU holding or eating food. They will whine, sit and stare, jump up, run around, anything to get your attention in hopes of getting you to drop a yummy morsel of food. At some point, you may even share food with them just to get them to stop these annoying behaviors. This will actually reinforce their bad behavior.

Dogs, like children, will realize that if they do X (whine, cry, beg), human will do Y (feed me, drop food, etc.). Breaking this behavior can be extremely difficult and time consuming; it is best to never start it in the first place.

Health problems:

Not only are we setting up our pets to behave badly, we are introducing the possibility of eating toxic foods, as well as an increase in daily calories.

Generally, the dogs I see at the veterinary office, or the dogs I pet-sit for, that eat only dog food tend to have better body condition scores and are at a more appropriate weight for their size, age, and/or breed. Dogs that are kept at an optimum weight are less likely to have joint, bone, ligament, or mobility issues, and are less likely to develop heart disease, breathing issues, decreased liver function, and many other health problems. Just like humans, maintaining a healthy weight helps ensure a dog’s overall health and longevity.

Dogs that are not fed people food are less likely to eat toxic foods. While I do not have any scientific evidence, I base this on the more than a decade of veterinary expertise and first-hand experience.

For example, I know a couple with a dog that begged at the table morning, noon, and night. They thought it was cute and loved seeing all the “tricks” their dog would do just for a little scrap of food. One evening they were hosting a party and the guests thought that it was adorable to watch the pup spin and hop and beg everyone for treats—that is, until the owners found out their guests were giving grapes to their dog as a treat! Grapes are highly toxic and their toxicity in a dog can be unpredictable. Fortunately, they were able to get the dog immediate treatment and there was a happy ending.

Picky eaters:

Share too many of your delicious foods and your dog may become a picky eater and not want to eat their own food, especially if they know there may be something better on the menu if they hold out long enough. I have seen this happen more times than I can count; owners calling the vet office because Fido won’t eat his food, but he will eat chicken, beef, eggs, or anything else they offer from the menu.

After a comprehensive physical exam, the doctor will not find any medical reason why Fido won’t eat his kibble and will suggest a trip to the behaviorist. Generally if the vet can discover the dog’s eating habits, or the owners confess they feed Fido from their own plates, the answer is all too clear: Fido has decided he wants the “good food” and not his generic kibble.

Again, this behavior can be difficult to break and can even cause adverse physical side effects if the dog does not eat for long periods of time or is not receiving the appropriate nutrition.

Overall, while it is not horrible if your dog eats the occasional “people food,” to avoid future problems, it’s best to keep Fido strictly on dog food.

 

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

People Food for Dogs

“Love hurts,” or, in the case of feeding your dog “table food,” love can kill, slowly. We all want to show our pets how much we love them and help them to feel more a part of the family. So we slip them a little treat off our plate—but only on holidays… and then when they are really well behaved during a party, and soon we find ourselves feeding Fido daily off our own plate.

While the food you are sharing with your dog may not technically be considered harmful to its health, it is slowly causing adverse side effects— physically, behaviorally, and socially.

Behavior:

Believe it or not, our pets have us trained pretty well. We pet them when they nudge us, take them out when they bark, and give them treats when they whine. When we start to feed our pets from our plate, counter, anywhere not in their own food bowl, or food that is anything other than their normal dog food, we start to introduce bad habits that can be difficult to break.

Dogs will begin to beg for food while we eat, cook, or snack. This can occur at all times, especially when they see YOU holding or eating food. They will whine, sit and stare, jump up, run around, anything to get your attention in hopes of getting you to drop a yummy morsel of food. At some point, you may even share food with them just to get them to stop these annoying behaviors. This will actually reinforce their bad behavior.

Dogs, like children, will realize that if they do X (whine, cry, beg), human will do Y (feed me, drop food, etc.). Breaking this behavior can be extremely difficult and time consuming; it is best to never start it in the first place.

Health problems:

Not only are we setting up our pets to behave badly, we are introducing the possibility of eating toxic foods, as well as an increase in daily calories.

Generally, the dogs I see at the veterinary office, or the dogs I pet-sit for, that eat only dog food tend to have better body condition scores and are at a more appropriate weight for their size, age, and/or breed. Dogs that are kept at an optimum weight are less likely to have joint, bone, ligament, or mobility issues, and are less likely to develop heart disease, breathing issues, decreased liver function, and many other health problems. Just like humans, maintaining a healthy weight helps ensure a dog’s overall health and longevity.

Dogs that are not fed people food are less likely to eat toxic foods. While I do not have any scientific evidence, I base this on the more than a decade of veterinary expertise and first-hand experience.

For example, I know a couple with a dog that begged at the table morning, noon, and night. They thought it was cute and loved seeing all the “tricks” their dog would do just for a little scrap of food. One evening they were hosting a party and the guests thought that it was adorable to watch the pup spin and hop and beg everyone for treats—that is, until the owners found out their guests were giving grapes to their dog as a treat! Grapes are highly toxic and their toxicity in a dog can be unpredictable. Fortunately, they were able to get the dog immediate treatment and there was a happy ending.

Picky eaters:

Share too many of your delicious foods and your dog may become a picky eater and not want to eat their own food, especially if they know there may be something better on the menu if they hold out long enough. I have seen this happen more times than I can count; owners calling the vet office because Fido won’t eat his food, but he will eat chicken, beef, eggs, or anything else they offer from the menu.

After a comprehensive physical exam, the doctor will not find any medical reason why Fido won’t eat his kibble and will suggest a trip to the behaviorist. Generally if the vet can discover the dog’s eating habits, or the owners confess they feed Fido from their own plates, the answer is all too clear: Fido has decided he wants the “good food” and not his generic kibble.

Again, this behavior can be difficult to break and can even cause adverse physical side effects if the dog does not eat for long periods of time or is not receiving the appropriate nutrition.

Overall, while it is not horrible if your dog eats the occasional “people food,” to avoid future problems, it’s best to keep Fido strictly on dog food.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Puppy Diet – Dog Diet

 You waited until your puppy was at least 8 weeks old before you brought her home. You have plenty of toys and treats. She never misses a veterinary appointment and has been fed the proper puppy diet. Now, the question is, when do you begin switching to adult dog food?

Growing puppies should only be fed a high quality growth-type diet. But the amount of food the puppy eats is also important. Pups should not be able to eat at will, so don’t keep his bowl filled all the time. Overeating as the puppy grows can lead to devastating skeletal and nutritional disorders, as well as obesity. Also, supplementing his diet with vitamins and minerals can cause serious illness and should only be done on the advice of your veterinarian.

For most breeds, offer food twice a day for 20 minutes. If your puppy does not eat in that 20 minutes, remove the food and wait to feed the evening meal. Your puppy will quickly learn that food is not always available and he will eat when it is offered. For toy breeds, food should be offered three times a day. This feeding schedule can continue throughout the pup’s life. If you prefer free-choice feeding, wait until the pet is at least 12 months of age. For giant breed dogs, wait until about 18 months of age.

Once you have chosen a good quality puppy food, continue feeding this diet until your dog reaches 80 to 90 percent of his anticipated adult weight. For most dogs, this occurs around 9 months of age.

Giant breed dogs pose a special problem. These breeds are prone to skeletal problems if not fed properly during their growing phase. There are now special diets for giant breed puppies. For optimal health, feed your giant breed pup this special diet until he is 12 to 18 months of age.

Once your puppy has reached the age for a diet change, gradually begin changing his diet by feeding ¼ adult food and ¾ puppy food for a few days. Then add ½ adult food and ½ puppy food. After a few more days, feed ¾ adult food and ¼ puppy food. Then, you can feed straight adult food.

If you have any concerns about changing your puppy’s diet, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Dog Supplements: Should You Feed Your Dog These?

As a general rule, before supplementing your dog’s diet, you should discuss with your veterinarian the available evidence or recommendations supporting the use of nutriceuticals and dietary supplements. Be certain to avoid high levels of supplementation of any single nutrient unless you’re certain that it’s safe and won’t interfere with any other medications your pet may be taking.

Guidelines

Supplements fall into two general and very large categories: vitamin and mineral supplements and nutriceuticals. Nutriceuticals are nutrient supplements given to obtain a pharmacologic (drug-like) effect or to prevent a specific disease. The overall benefit of vitamin and mineral supplements is hotly debated. According to most feeding studies of healthy dogs, dogs that eat an appropriate balanced diet do not need supplements. Nevertheless, many of us take dietary supplements ourselves and wish to provide our pets with the same potential benefits.

Of course, dietary supplements can also be dangerous. Excessive supplementation with calcium salts, for example, can lead to significant bone diseases in growing dogs. Vitamin D supplementation can lead to harmful elevations of the blood calcium and damage to the kidneys. Nutriceuticals fall into a different category since they are used to either prevent or treat specific diseases. Examples include: taurine (an amino acid essential to cats) and Cosequin (a protein complex of possible benefit in joint health). There are others, such as L-carnitine (sometimes used for heart conditions), rutin (used for a serious condition called chylothorax) and co-enzyme Q10. Be aware that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements in the same way that drugs are regulated and controlled. The proof of effectiveness and safety demanded for pharmaceuticals is not required for nutriceuticals or vitamins.

Recommendations

As a general rule, before supplementing your dog’s diet, you should discuss with your veterinarian the available evidence supporting the use of nutriceuticals and dietary supplements. Be certain to avoid high levels of supplementation of any single nutrient unless you’re certain that it is safe and will not interfere with any other medications your pet may take.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Adult Dog Food

Your dog knows that what’s on your plate is infinitely better than what he’s eating at the moment – and you may be tempted to prove it by giving him some. Before you do, remember that good nutrition and a balanced diet are essential elements for good health in a dog. And that means watching your canine’s caloric intake carefully.

Your dog needs plenty of fresh water and should be fed good quality food in amounts just right to meet his energy requirements. Inadequate or excess intake of nutrients can be equally harmful.

Most dry dog foods are soybean, corn or rice based. Some of the better brands have meat or fish meal as the first listed ingredient. Although higher priced, they are worth looking into. Dogs eat less of the higher quality products, thus reducing the cost. Dry dog foods also have greater “caloric density” which means simply, there is less water in a cup of food as compared to a canned food diet. This is not a big issue for our smaller canine friends, but large dogs may have difficulty eating enough volume of canned food to fulfill their caloric needs (because they also get a lot of water in that food). Overall, the choice of “dry” vs. “canned” vs. “semi-moist” is an individual one, but larger dogs (such as those greater than 30 pounds) should be fed a dry or semi-moist food in most circumstances

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are necessary for energy. Dietary requirements for dogs can vary according to activity and stress levels and medical history. Dogs expend energy in many different ways. For example, outdoor dogs are likely to experience increased levels of exercise and thus require a higher percentage of protein and fat for energy production than a dog who stays indoors most of the time. Dogs in various life stages [includingpuppy (“growth”), adult and senior (“geriatric”)] require different amounts of nutrients. Special situations such as pregnancy and nursing puppies can dramatically affect nutritional needs. Working dogs need more calories, while the “couch potato” needs less (just like us!).

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an organization that publishes regulations for nutritional adequacy of “complete and balanced” dog and cat foods. Your pet’s food should conform to minimal AAFCO standards. Diets that fulfill the AAFCO regulations will state on the label: “formulated to meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for…(a given life stage).

Recommendations

  • AAFCO Standards: All foods should conform to AAFCO standards (check the label). This indicates the manufacturer is following the national consensus recommendations for dog foods.
  • Food Type: The choice of canned, semi-moist or dry food is an individual one, but if your dog is more than 30 pounds, dry food is preferred as the base diet for its greater caloric density (more calories per volume of food). There are a number of excellent dog food manufacturers.
  • Water: Always provide plenty of fresh water.

    Consider Your Dog’s Age

  • For puppies (less than 8 to 9 months and less than 30 pounds): Feed your puppy a consistent canned, semi-moist or dry dog food designed for puppies. If your dog weighs more than 30 pounds, dry food is preferred for greater caloric density.
  • For adult dogs (8 to 9 months to 6 years): Feed your dog a consistent canned, semi-moist or dry dog food designed for an “adult” dog.
  • For senior dogs (over 7 years): Feed your dog a consistent canned, semi-moist, or dry dog food designed for a “senior” dog.

    Consider Your Dog’s Body Weight

  • Underweight dogs: Feed your dog 1 1/2 times the “usual” amount of food and make an appointment to see your veterinarian about your dog’s body condition. Consider switching to a food with higher protein and fat content.
  • Lean dogs: Many healthy dogs are a bit thin, especially active young male dogs. Consider increasing total daily food or caloric intake by 25 percent. Weigh your dog every week if possible to chart progress.
  • Chubby dogs: If your dog is a bit overweight, try increasing the daily exercise routine. Gradually increase exercise over 2 weeks unless limited by a medical condition. If these measures fail, cut out all treats and reduce daily intake of food by up to 25 percent.
  • Fat or obese dogs: Stop all treats except vegetables. Increase exercise gradually over 2 to 3 weeks if not limited by a medical condition. If these measures fail, reduce the total daily food amount by 25 to 40 percent, switch to a low fat/high fiber diet, and call your veterinarian to discuss your plans. Inquire about prescription-type reduction diets that can really be effective while providing balanced nutrition.

    Medical Problems

    Always consult your veterinarian first regarding any specific foods or dietary adjustments required for a dog with heart, kidney, intestinal or liver disease, or for a dog with cancer. Special dietary measures may also be important for dogs with allergies, certain metabolic diseases, or other medical conditions.

    Preferred Food

    There are a number of prominent manufacturers of high quality dog foods, including Iams® (Eukanuba®), Hill’s® (Science Diets®), Nature’s Recipe® products, Nutra Max®, Purina® and Waltham®, among others. Follow the label recommendations, but use your own judgment in determining how much to feed.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Dog Diet: Requirements

Most of us were taught the importance of a balanced and nutritionally complete diet. But when it comes to knowing what nutrients our pets need to grow properly and stay healthy, we often come up short.

Many years ago, little thought or research was put into the manufacture of pet food, or the proper way to feed our pets. Eventually, in response to consumer demand, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was formed. Their primary function was to publish feed regulations and ingredient definitions. After much research, committee investigations and feeding trials, nutrient profiles for pets were developed, and guidelines established.

This is still a work in progress. Despite significant advances, the importance and proper levels of some nutrients are still under investigation. The recommendations of AAFCO, for instance, may change when additional information about nutritional health in dogs becomes available. For now, the minimum levels of nutrients that should be included in pet foods are listed. In a few cases, excess amounts of certain nutrients can be damaging so maximum levels are also listed in AAFCO guidelines.

When buying pet food, choose only those products that carry the statement “Formulated to meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for…” because they follow these guidelines. It is not a requirement to meet AAFCO standards in order to sell pet food, so buyers beware. Check the labels and compare products.

The nutrient list is divided into two separate profiles. One profile is for growing, pregnant or lactating dogs and one is for adult maintenance. The nutrients are listed on a dry matter basis. What this means is that if you are comparing products, the moisture content of the food must be taken into consideration. If the food has 75 percent moisture, then the remaining nutrients make up 25 percent of the food.

Take each nutrient amount and divide by 0.25 to obtain an accurate dry matter amount to compare to the nutrient guidelines or even to compare one food to another. If the moisture content is 10 percent, then 90 percent make up the rest of the nutrients. Divide each nutrient value by 0.9 in order to get an accurate value.

Current AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

For Adult Maintenance

Unless otherwise listed, all values are minimum requirements:

Protein………18%
Fat…………..5%
Calcium……0.6% (maximum 2.5%)
Phosphorus…0.5% (maximum 1.6%)
Potassium…..0.6%
Sodium……..0.06%
Chloride…….0.09%
Magnesium…..0.04% (maximum 0.3%)
Iron…………80 mg/kg (maximum 3,000 mg/kg)
Copper………7.3 mg/kg (maximum 250 mg/kg)
Manganese……..5 mg/kg
Zinc………..120 mg/kg (maximum 1000 mg/kg)
Iodine………1.5 mg/kg (maximum 50 mg/kg)
Selenium……0.11 mg/kg (maximum 2 mg/kg)
Vitamin A…..5000 IU/kg (maximum 250,000 IU/kg)
Vitamin D……500 IU/kg (maximum 5000 IU/kg)
Vitamin E…….50 IU/kg (maximum 1000 IU/kg)
Thiamine………1 mg/kg
Riboflavin…..2.2 mg/kg
Pantothenic Acid..10 mg/kg
Niacin……….11.4 mg/kg
Pyridoxine………1 mg/kg
Folic Acid……0.18 mg/kg
Vitamin B12…..0.022 mg/kg
Choline………1200 mg/kg

For growing puppies, pregnant and lactating bitches

The majority of nutrient minimums are the same except for the items listed. The maximum for those listed does not change.

Protein………..22%
Fat…………….8%
Calcium…………1%
Phosphorus…….0.8%
Sodium………..0.3%
Chloride……..0.45%
Vitamin B12….0.022 mg/kg

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372