Feeding FAQ

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Feeding FAQ

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:06 pm

Why does my dog take hours to eat his food?

Very often, dogs will pick and choose with their food because they can. If you leave the food down for hours, they'll know that there's no hurry; they can eat it whenever they want. Very often, it's recommended to leave the food down for twenty to thirty minutes, and then throw away uneaten food. Don't worry! Your dog won't starve himself to prove a point. He'll very quickly get used to it and settle down.

How often should I give my dog food?

Well, that depends on the dog. Puppies should have their daily allowance of food divided into three or four (depending on how young they are) meals per day, as their digestive systems are not fully developed and can't handle the strain of an overload of food. As well as this, they need a lot of energy to grow, so feeding little and often provides them with a steady flow of nutrition. Feeding three/four meals per day will also help your puppy to realise that you are the food provider.

As the pup gets older, you can divide the food into two meals, rather than three. A lot of people will feed their adult dog once per day!

What should my dog's stools look like if I'm feeding the correct food?

Different dogs will react in different ways to different foods. Because each dog is different, it's important that you get to know the signs of good health in your dog before you can recognise signs of bad health. There should be no blood in the stool - bright red blood is indicative of bleeding in the lower digestive tract or rectum, while black, tarry blood is indicative of a more serious problem, as this means the blood has been digested and so has come from further up in the digestive tract. If you find causes for concern in your dog's stool, don't be afraid to give your vet a call, even if it's just for peace of mind! Better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes stools can become looser than normal or may contain a little blood as a result of something like constipation (in which case, you may need to add or subtract things from the diet) - it's up to the owner to watch their dog and assess whether or not there is cause for alarm. If a dog has diarrhoea for more than two/three days, a trip to the vet should be considered.

Bear in mind that puppies, if they get diarrhoea, can become dehydrated and weak very quickly. If a puppy gets severe diarrhoea, take it to the vet! At such a young age, they're very vulnerable.

Also remember that it isn't a good idea to dismiss diarrhoea with a dog of any age. Even if the stools are soft, rather than watery, this may not stimulate the anal glands properly, which could lead to them becoming impacted.

If you do ever take your dog to the vet with a stool complaint, try to bring a stool sample with you in a clear zip-lock or poop bag (if possible).

How do I know if my dog is allergic to his food?

Very often, allergic reactions/intolerance to food aren't serious. Common symptoms of food intolerance are:

Increased flatulance
Lethargy
Change in stool size/consistency/colour
Irritation of the anus
Stomach pain
Hyperactivity


Food intolerances can also cause skin irritation, often on the paws, and inflammation.

What foods are likely to cause an allergic reaction?

Certain foods and ingredients are notorious for causing allergies in some dogs. Such foods include:

Dairy (Very common allergen. Dogs are only equipped to drink milk when they are puppies. The majority of adult dogs do not produce enough or any lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose.)
Yeast
Wheat (Very often found as a filler in commercial dog foods.)
Maize (Very often found as a filler in commercial dog foods.)
Corn (Very often found as a filler in commercial dog foods.)
Chicken (Often used to feed a dog with a bad stomach, as it's light and should be easy to digest. Dogs with chicken intolerance should be given alternative foods.)
Beef
Soy

Why is my dog allergic to some of his food? Have I done something wrong?

No, you haven't done anything wrong if it's an allergy. Allergies occur when the body mistakenly produces an antibody response against a harmless substance. Environment can have some impact on that, but it's usually genetically predisposed.

How do I know which ingredient or food my dog is allergic to?

The easiest way to determine the cause of the allergic reaction is through a process of elimination. Take away the foods that he has been eating and reintroduce them one by one. Allergies can take a couple of weeks to become apparent, so be patient!

When should I put water down for my dog?

Your dog should always have access to fresh drinking water. This water should be changed at least once daily.

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