Feeding Your Dog



Regardless of size, all dogs need a diet with a moderate balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates (corn, rice, wheat, and soy are examples) should make up about 50% of the diet, and proteins (meat and meat by-products) about 20%. Necessary vitamins include the complexes of A, B, C, D, E, and K. Minerals include calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium, plus trace amounts of many others.

Almost any "premium" brand of dog food will contain the balanced nutrients your dog needs, so don't worry about reinventing the wheel. Avoid cheap brands, as they often contain fillers that provide no nutritional value to your dog. Remember, anything your dog eats that isn't used by his body will be coming out the other end. A higher- quality dog food will cut down on waste volume.

Dry dog foods are healthier for your dog, as canned and semi-moist foods can contain up to 75% water, color-enhancers, and preservatives. Dry foods also exercise your dogs teeth and gums. Canned and semi-moist foods can be given occasionally as a treat, however, without doing any harm. In fact, it surely does some good, because who isn't happier (and therefore healthier) after the occasional dessert?

Dogs are omnivores, and most will eat fresh vegetables and non-meat table scraps. Over-consumption of any one food item can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes death, so be certain that vegetables and table scraps are given infrequently as treats, and are not the dog's main food source. Broccoli has been known to cause these symptoms when small amounts are ingested, so it should be avoided. Other foods that are dangerous to your dog are chocolate, sugar, mushrooms, and alcohol. A good phone number to have handy is the National Animal Poison Control Center at 800-548-2423, in case you're ever in doubt about something your dog has eaten.

Copyright 2001, Steph Bairey -- All Rights Reserved

Steph Bairey is a web developer and pet owner, with 25 years of pet care experience and 30-40 pets at any one time. Get immediate, reliable answers to your pet care questions at Steph's website, Practical Pet Care, located at http://www.practical-pet-care.com.

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