There are many good commercially prepared foods available for dogs these days, which are designed to fulfil all your pet’s nutritional requirements. However, dogs, like humans, like variety too and having the same type of food every day can become monotonous and even begin to lose its appeal after a while. Food prepared for human consumption is excellent for dogs too, providing it is well balanced and prepared to meet your dog’s individual nutritional needs.
Dogs need food from all the food groups, just as humans do. They are often willing to eat and can digest most types of food, including fruit and vegetables. You can offer your dog a good and varied diet by including foods from all the food groups. Meat is an excellent source of easily digested protein, but you can also offer soy, cheese and eggs. Carbohydrates include cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. A good equal mix of meat and vegetables, for example, should provide all the ingredients for a balanced and nutritious meal.
When preparing any food for your dog, always serve it at room temperature and take care to remove any bones, as these can be very dangerous. It is not really advisable to let dogs chew on bones either; it is much safer to provide bone-shaped dog biscuits, or dog chews instead. Always provide plenty of fresh water too and remember to remove any uneaten food after your dog has finished. Stale food left lying around, particularly during hot weather, can attract flies or vermin.
It is important to remember that you are in complete control of your pet’s diet and any bad eating habits that you create are likely to be hard to break. Getting your dog off to a healthy start right from being a puppy is the best way of ensuring good eating habits. Never feed your dog at the table, as this will obviously have an affect on your dog’s food intake on a daily basis. It prevents you from monitoring the consumption of certain foods, which may harm your pet in large quantities – apart from contributing to weight gain. Treats should also be made as healthy as possible; try small pieces of chopped carrot, a healthy dog biscuit or even a piece of cheese – this can be particularly beneficial when you are training your dog and need extra rewards.
It is well worth making the effort to give your dog as much variety as possible and allowing him/her to eat some of the same foods as you eat. However, if you are unsure of your dog’s individual nutritional requirements, it is always best to check it out with your veterinary surgeon before commencing. Ensuring that your companion is getting the utmost care will hopefully give him/her many years of health and happiness.
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