Dog Food Nutrition – If you have been reading my posts for very long, you know that I highly recommend feeding a nutritious, healthy dog food. Some people have asked if they should vary the dog food they feed each day. They don’t want to allow their dog to become bored with the food they serve.
I have never discussed this before in my posts but do have a strong opinion. As humans, we like a varied diet. At least, that is the way I am. I don’t want to eat the same food each day.
But our pets are different. Dogs and cats want to eat the same food each day. Cats, in particular, don’t want a different size or texture of food.
So our dogs are not like us. They prefer the same food each day. If they are eating a nutritious, healthy dog food, we know they are getting the best dog food nutrition.
I read an article by John D Owens M.V.B., a veterinary surgeon. His article is entitled “Your pet’s health.” He answers a reader’s question that addresses this topic. The reader asks if feeding the same food each day is too boring for her dog.
The doctor’s answer confirms what I have said in this post. Here is a partial quote from the article:
In general, constantly changing pet foods can lead to digestive upsets and illnesses and also to “pickiness” and finicky eating patterns. When a puppy/young dog eats food, its digestive system absorbs nutrients and water, and undigested material is passed out as stools, which should be firm and consistent (i.e. easy to clean up after).
The gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract contains a normal amount of “good” bacteria which aid digestion, and sudden changes in the nutritional content of the food it has to digest upset the natural balance and ability to absorb nutrients and water. This leads to problems such as diarrhoea, constipation, colitis, vomiting, excess wind, inconsistent appetite and anal gland disease. Changing the diet on a consistent basis also means your young dog’s system can be exposed to nutrients that it finds difficult to digest or that irritate the G.I. tract.
My advice would be to get your dog used to a good quality, consistent dry diet that has the right balance of nutrients, i.e. protein, carbohydrates, fats (especially essential fatty acids), vitamins and minerals, for his requirements. Drinking water should be provided at all times. Establish a schedule and try to avoid varying the feeding times. In Sam’s case, I would feed small portions three times a day initially rather than one large meal daily. Take away any food left uneaten after 15 minutes, and don’t offer it again until the next scheduled feeding time. A dog in a set feeding routine will not get bored with the same food all the time, and his digestive system will be regular and healthy. Dogs fed dry food tend to have cleaner teeth and healthier gums. Any dietary changes should be slowly integrated over a period of a week or ten days.
Please let me know your thoughts on this subject. Do you disagree or not? Thanks for your input.