With so many dog foods on the market, it's tough to know what's right for your pooch. You can ask a breeder or veterinarian for advice, but it's up to you to see how the food affects your dog. If his energy level is right for his breed and age, if his appetite is good, if his skin and coat are healthy and shiny, if his stools are firm, and if he seems to be in overall good health, then the food is doing its job. The American Kennel Club offers the following nutritional tips to keep your dog happy and healthy.
¢ Types of foods: Dry kibble can be removed and used later if the dog does not finish a serving. Kibble can be moistened, either with water, canned food or other supplements. Some owners think dry dog food is boring and the dog will not like eating it. Keep in mind that for a dog, dry food provides a healthy, balanced diet.
¢ Feeding time: Puppies need more calories and essential nutrients than adult dogs. Choose a food formulated specifically for puppies. Dogs under 6 months should get three or four meals a day. They are growing rapidly, but their stomachs have limited capacity. After six months they can handle two to three meals a day. Adult dogs should be fed according to their size and energy needs. Most adults should get two meals a day.
¢ Don't share your plate. Dogs can be great beggars, but don't let yours charm you into the habit of sharing your food. Allowing your dog to "guilt" you into overfeeding him, or serving him a steady diet of table scraps in a misguided show of affection, can have harmful or even fatal results. If you insist on sharing your food with your dog then consider small portions of carrots, broccoli or apple chunks.
¢ What not to feed. Never give your dog chocolate. It contains theobromine, a chemical that is toxic to canines. Also be careful not to feed your dogs cooked bones, which can splinter, or bones with sharp edges.