Anthony Baraya

Pet Insurance

15 Feb 2016

Tips for feeding your four legged friend

Puppy Nutrition

When you bring your new puppy home you will probably notice two things – their energy and their appetite! Puppies grow very fast (up to 12 times faster than a human), especially over the first year, so it is important they are fed a specific puppy food during this time.

While it’s tempting to feed your puppy lots of treats we like, it’s best to feed them food that is specifically made for growing dogs. Feeding them table scraps means they may also be consuming more calories and fat than necessary and, if they become overweight, they are at greater risk of health complications. Generally young puppies eat three times a day and older puppies twice a day. The first year of a puppy’s life is critical – they need protein for muscle growth and organ development; calcium for growing bones and joints; and Omega fatty acids for energy and a healthy, shiny coat.

Wean your pup on to new food gradually, ideally over 7 days. Choose a puppy food that is made from quality ingredients with a high protein content to help provide the energy and protein they need, and meet their vitamin and mineral requirements. Look for a range that contains DHA, which is important for brain and vision development.

Adult Dog Nutrition

For many dogs, all food is good food! Dogs generally love to eat, but you need to make sure your pet is getting the correct balance of vital nutrients they need to live a happy, healthy life. When your dog’s digestive system is functioning smoothly, a typical meal takes 7 to 10 hours to pass through the digestive system.

Eating quickly, too much of the wrong things can rush food through their system, resulting in minimal nutrient and water absorption. Woolworths has a wide variety of foods available, both wet and dry, to help you select the perfect balanced diet for your precious pooch.

Feeding your Dog Wet Food

Is your dog a fussy eater? Using wet food as their main food source is a great way to ensure they are getting the nutritional benefits they need to live full and happy lives.

Dry food vs. Wet food

Wet food offers different benefits to dry food. Wet food often contains less fillers and preservatives, the nutritional quality is generally higher, and most dogs prefer the taste, so there is less spoilage. However, dry food helps to scrape plaque and tartar off your dog’s teeth and is easy to store.

Switching to wet food

A bowl of wet food has half the calories of a bowl of dry food, so if your dog loves to eat, feeding wet food means there’s less chance of them overeating. The high moisture content of wet food also helps ensure your dog takes in plenty of fluids, and decreases the risk of urinary tract infections. Canned food is higher in protein and is richer, so it’s best to introduce it slowly. Try feeding a mixture of canned food with your pet’s dry food for one week to allow for their body to adjust.

Foods to Avoid

Human digestive systems work differently to those of the canine family, so foods that are considered healthy for human consumption could actually be deadly for your pet. As you may have discovered, dogs will try to devour virtually anything put in front of them. Unfortunately, this includes foods that can be dangerous or deadly. Here’s a just some of the foods that dogs should avoid:

  • Alcohol:  Even minor spills by humans are a health risk for pets. Just a small amount of alcohol can result in a change in behaviour, breathing problems, cardiac arrest, induced coma or death.
  • Chocolate and caffeine:  Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are both poisonous for dogs. The chemicals are diuretics and can cause dramatic fluid loss through vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive urination.
  • Avocado: Avocados contain persin, a fatty acid that is hazardous for dogs. Symptoms of avocado poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea and respiratory distress.