Dogs are creatures of habit, and usually prefer to stick with their current food. But sometimes it's necessary to disrupt the routine, and transition to a new food. Here are some smart strategies for giving your pup a brand new menu without much resistance.
Feeding for Lifestyle or Life Stage
As you change your pet's diet, it's a good time to think about portion sizes. Recommended feeding amounts are shown on every package. The guidelines are general suggestions for the amount of food you should feed your dog. Every dog is different and does not require the same amount of food. Your dog's activity level and individual metabolic makeup are the determining factors. Start with the amount given in the feeding guidelines, then add or subtract food as you observe your dog's eating habits and weight.
This is also a good time to review your current feeding method to make sure it is still appropriate for your dog's new diet. One feeding option is called Portion-Controlled Feeding. To do this, divide the daily amount and feed at specific time intervals. It is important to remove all remaining food after 15 to 20 minutes. This practice establishes a pattern for your dog to follow. The portion-controlled feeding method is recommended for giant and large breeds and also for overweight dogs. This is also a good method for dogs with special needs.
Another option is called Free-Choice Feeding. This requires feeding the daily amount at one time, and allowing your dog to eat at its own pace. This method is recommended for use only with dry foods. Remember, dogs eat to meet their energy requirements. Most dogs will quickly define their own daily portions when eating free choice.
What Every Dog Needs
Regardless of which food you choose to feed, your dog must have plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times. Place the water three to five feet from the food. This will help prevent your dog from gulping water and air in addition to food. Dogs need a routine. Feeding at the same time and place every day establishes a comfortable eating pattern.
And remember, your dog needs to visit the veterinarian regularly. Regular visits help to keep your dog happy and healthy!
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