Food: The Dog

No, this is not a blog, about how to cook the dog. Food has not been a very big topic lately, with the pandemic and all. Food to me, means a festive time, with friends and family, and certainly, things have not been too festive lately. I decided to write about how to feed the dog, since the dogs have no idea, that a pandemic is going on, and eating for them, continues to be a festive time. I am not going to discuss much about what to feed your dog, but on how to do it. The next blog will discuss feeding cats, who need to have a totally different method. What should you feed the dog? As long as you stick to a well known brand and company, you really can not go wrong. Common sense says that if 50 pounds of dog food costs about $15, how much nutrition can it have. On the other side of the coin, I do not think you need to spend 2 to 3 dollars a pound for dog food. The food the dog eats should meet three criteria. The dog should seem to enjoy it. The bowel movements should be nice and solid. The food should not create a lot of gas in the intestinal tract. It maybe very humorous, for your dog to pass gas, at a party gathering, but the fact remains, that gas is an indication the dog is having a hard time digesting the food. You may have to go through some trial and error, to find the right food. In some cases, it might be the way your feeding the dog, that is causing some of the problem. Follow the feeding guides on the bag, in order to know how much to feed. The only caveat here, is that the recommendation on the bag is based on the dog getting nothing else to eat. If you give the dog a treat or two during the day, like Milk Bones, then you will have to make an adjustment downward. Now let’s look at the way to feed a dog.

The first method you hear about is called free choice. What free choice doesn’t mean, is that the dog has access to all the food it wants, for 24 hours a day. The way free choice works, is first thing in the morning, you put down the dog’s daily food ration in a bowl. If the dog will nibble the food all day, then this method works just fine. There are some dogs, that will gobble the food up, all at once, making this method very unsatisfactory. If the dog eats, over half the food at one sitting, then you should put the dog on scheduled feedings. Many people that do this, will feed twice a day, dividing the daily ration equally. The problem arises on the timing of the feedings. They will feed first thing in the morning, and then again at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. This leaves too long of a time between the evening feeding, and the next morning feeding. Twice a day feeding should be 12 hours apart, as in 6am and then 6pm. However, the best way to feed a dog, to avoid a lot of digestive problems, is 3 times a day. I am not saying to feed it, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Feed it, first thing in the morning, then around 5pm, and a final meal at bedtime. When dogs were in the wild, they hunted in packs, captured their prey, and proceeded to over engorge themselves. Then they may go 2 to 3 days, before they ate again. The domesticated dog’s stomach has evolved, to be more like the human stomach. Many dogs, that are not given food for 10 to 14 hours, will have a tendency to throw up yellow, which is gastric juice, from the stomach being empty. Feeding 3 times per day, 1/3 of the daily ration at each feeding, will help prevent this problem, and make the food easier to digest, because there is not as much food, entering the stomach.

The final thing to discuss briefly, is whether to feed dry food, or canned food, or both. There is nothing wrong with canned food, except it is 70 to 80% water. Because it has such a high quantity of water, it is not a very calorie dense product. You can use this to your advantage, if you are trying to get a dog to lose weight. However, if you have a dog over 30 pounds, it can be very expensive to feed canned as it’s sole source of calories. As a general rule it is better to feed dry food. It is an entirely different story for the cat, which will be discussed in the next blog. Enjoy feeding the dogs, as they make it through this pandemic, in the beauty of ignorant bliss.

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