Country dogs are known for eating table scraps and leftovers – more than dogs in other regions – even against reason and research that this is not always best for our pets.
Dogs dietary needs change throughout the life of an animal – age, general health, and activity level are all factors that should be considered.
Dependent on age, diet schedule varies for dogs like any other species. As an example, a puppy needs milk as the major food item while an adult dog may need beef or chicken in addition to egg and milk. Puppies need greater amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates than an adult dog. Puppies need more frequent feeding schedules throughout a day since they are often more active than the adult dogs.
Older dogs need restricted and easily digestible proteins. Feeding older dogs too much protein leads to an over burden of the renal structures and ultimately, kidney damage.
This is true especially when the immune system of these dogs is compromised due to other health and environmental factors. Elderly dogs also need less food since they expend less energy.
Female pregnant dogs need not be fed as much in one meal since it causes discomfort. Smaller, more frequent portions of specialized food (pregnant or nursing dogs) with supplementation of vitamins and minerals is best. Nursing dogs might also require extra calcium.
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Looking After Your Sick Dog
Feed requirements may also change if your dog becomes sick. When a dog becomes sick, the dog is in need of more care and affection as well as veterinarian prescribed food. Some will say that a sick dog with high fever needs only bread. Bulky proteins may be avoided. Sick dogs should also be kept in a calm place after medicating. Keep your dog’s head as normal as possible (not tilted far up) as this hampers passing of orally administered drugs into the lungs.
Safety should be given top priority.
Watch your dog closely when ill, as severe diarrhea could lead to dehydration. If your dog does become dehydrated a small dose of salt and glucose in water can be helpful. Similarly, a vomiting dog also needs special care. Ice chips or cubes may be helpful along with egg whites as this smooths the esophageal passage.
A few other tips when dealing with dogs in the country – when help is not always a quick phone call away. Place your dog in a shaded place if the temperature is very high, ensuring good ventilation, or for dogs suffering from hypothermia, providing warm blankets are both just common sense. In recent years a non-contact, infrared, thermometer helps to obtain the temperature of an animal without causing undue and further stress.
Cost of Feeds
The cost of dog feed is one factor that is most important in the case of feeding dogs with different dietary needs.
Though the cost of food is not always a top priority in comparison to the joy our dogs give us with their willing companionship, specialty foods and care may be a deciding factor.
You can certainly feed your dog ‘real’ food items with a little research to ensure you’re making the right choices for your specific animal. Generally, commercially prepared, quality, dog food is expensive but so will feeding your dog home made and healthy choices.
Canned food costs more than dry food as a general rule. Of course specialty foods can be more expensive even when dry.
Food allergies are common and need to be monitored – especially with the cheaper foods. Dog owners concerned about the health of their pets have a variety of options available to them, as well as many books and websites on the subject.
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