Tag Archives: dog food

Commercial Dog Food

Commercially prepared dog foods are very commonly used (feeding at eight of every ten dogs). These fall into two main categories: complete diets(the bulk of the dog food sold on the market), and incomplete diets that require meat added to them. Pet foods are also divided into three la groups, depending on their moisture content.
There are three groups of moist foods: frozen, fresh meat or canned meat -products, which are packed as an incomplete diet and are best used as an ingredient in a home-mixed formula where cereals and possibly calcium supplements are added. There are, in addition, completely balanced canned products which have been fortified with minerals and vitamins or a combination of meat, cereals and other ingredients. When buying a moist canned food, read the label to ensure that you are buying a balanced food. Canned foods are usually highly palatable because of their high water and moisture content, which means they are expensive per calorie. Generally they have a poor-quality protein source.
Semi-moist foods are sold in plastic wrappers. They look like chunks, patties or packets of fresh meat and are made from meat, meat by-products, soya beans, vegetable oils, sugar and preservatives. Semi-moist foods are a complete balanced diet, highly palatable, easily digested, with a high kilojoule density. All of these points make them well suited to young, growing or pregnant pets, but for the same reasons they may promote obesity in mature or sedentary dogs. They should not be fed to dogs over six months old. Many of these foods contain a high density of cereals, which may promote allergic skin conditions in some dogs.
Dry foods are a mixture of ground cereals, meatmeal, soya beans, cheese, vegetables and animal fats, with trace ingredients and preservatives. They are usually presented as meals, biscuits or kibbles, pellets or expanded chunks (listed in order of increasing palatability and expense). They tend to have a low-quality protein. In general, dry food products are not very palatable, but they are inexpensive. They are ideal for feeding mature dogs or dogs that tend to become overweight. Their unpalatable nature, coupled with a low protein level, renders them ideal for self-feeding, as the dog is unlikely to overeat and become fat.
The highest number of calories and food value come from high-protein dry foods. This is because moist foods or canned foods contain about 72 per cent water, while high protein dry foods contain only 8 per cent water. Which commercial ration is best? This is difficult to answer, because each dog is an individual, with its individual metabolism. Each commercial ration is different in its make-up. Nutrition is such a complex business that the best method of choosing a dog food is to observe the animal’s performance after feeding one particular food for a period of a month or six weeks. Contents labels on cans are of little use, as they don’t tell you what biological value the meal will have for your pet.
Palatability can be rated in decreasing order: fresh meat or canned, fortified meat, semi-moist foods, canned rations (which have cereal and meat mixtures) and dry foods. Preferences for fresh meat show a ranking from high to low of beef, lamb, chicken and horse meat. Cold meat straight from the refrigerator is generally less acceptable than cooked or warmed meat. Ground meat is preferred to cubed or whole meat. Animal proteins and fats are much more favorably accepted by most dogs than vegetable oils and cereal proteins. Many dogs also like human condiments such as salt, garlic and onions. Some prefer their food soft and wet, while others like it dry and crunchy. Appetite appeal is often moulded by habit.

Special Diets

Complete commercial diets are available in dry and moist form for puppies, working dogs, and geriatrics. Prescription complete foods are available for various health problems such as obesity, pancreatitis, bladder stone formation.

Feeding a Puppy

The diet program for pups is more complex, as they are growing rapidly and require frequent meals because of limited stomach capacity.

At two to three months, puppies require four meals a day: a morning meal, which could be minced meat or a suitable commercial ration, particularly a semi-moist type of food, together with a granular dog meal. The midday meal and the mid-afternoon meal should consist of milk with cereal, baby foods or breakfast cereals. The evening meal should be the same as the morning meal, and given an hour before bedtime to encourage the puppy to empty his bowels and urinate on his last trip outside. Water should be available at all times.

From three to six months, three meals a day are adequate; eliminate the late afternoon meal and gradually increase the evening meal. Between six and nine months, when the puppy has nearly matured, two meals a day are adequate: morning and evening.

From nine months of age on, one meal a day is all that is necessary. It is important to realize that at this age the dog has finished growing and its nutritional requirements will change. If the dog is still fed a number of times a day, it will become obese.

Before dogs were domesticated they used to catch their prey and eat the hole of it. It supplied them with a balanced, nutritious diet of bones, muscles and internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. It also provided various vitamins and minerals from the vegetative matter in ‘le gut of the animal eaten. Dogs had to be fit and slim enough to chase and catch their prey. After eating a large meal they would lie down and sleep it off. If they became obese they would not be fit enough to chase and kill more prey.

Dogs are very adaptable in terms of diet and because of this they have thrived in a wide variety of environments and on a wide range of diets. As result, they are probably less subject to serious dietary disease than most other animals. In the past decade, dogs have benefited from our increasing knowledge of their nutritional requirements and the application of that knowledge to prepared, commercial dog foods. Dog feeding is now much less haphazard than it was in the past, when the dog was dependent on its owner’s variable and often rudimentary understanding of nutrition.

Milk given to young puppies causes worms. This myth has been perpetuated by the fact that puppies begin to drink milk at three to four weeks, at about the same age as they start to pass round white worms (`milk worms’) from infestations acquired in the mother’s womb.

Meat gives worms. Any meat, other than that purchased from a butcher’s ;424 shop, can give worms, even meat from a reputable pet shop. The best approach is to cook all meat bought from a pet shop.

A purebred bitch is ruined for breeding when she has pups to a mongrel or dog of another breed. This is false. Once a bitch has had a litter of pups. the womb is cleaned out and free to accept the next pregnancy. It is biologically impossible for the previous sire to exert any genetic influence on subsequent pregnancies.

More than one father to a litter of pups is impossible. This is incorrect. A bitch may be promiscuous during her heat cycle so that different eggs within her womb may be fertilized by sperm from different dogs, the result being a mixed bag of pups.