Tracie’s 5 Tips for Feeding Your Dog Right

  1. Feed dogs smaller meals twice a day.  While once-per-day feedings might be more convenient for your schedule, most dogs do best (emotionally and physically!) if they don’t have to go 23 hours on an empty stomach (how would you feel about that?!).  A dog’s digestive system does best if he eats twice a day, which is also believed to reduce the risk of the painful and life-threatening condition called “bloat,” which usually affects larger breed dogs.
  2. Moisten dry food right before feeding. A little warm water or broth can bring out the aroma in food and make it more appealing.  I recommend adding some canned food or cooked meat and vegetables to dry food, and then moistening it so it mixes together better. Besides making your dog’s food more appetizing and flavorful, you’re also adding some moisture to his system which is healthy.
  3. No heavy exercise right before or right after eating.  Your dog needs time to adjust to a calm physical state after strenuous exercise so that he can properly digest his food. Just as you wouldn’t sit down to eat right after jogging or dancing, if your dog has been running and playing you should wait to offer food until he has stopped panting and is calmly sitting or lying down.
  4. Finding the right food. How do you know if the food you’ve chosen agrees with your dog? If your dog passes excess amounts of gas or has soft stool those could be signs of food that isn’t digesting well — or that he is eating too quickly.  If it is the former, you might add some probiotics to the food, or consider changing the food to another brand or recipe to see if the digestive disturbance continues.  If your dog is eating too quickly, try one of these wonderful Outward Hound Puzzle Feeders. Remember that a change of food — especially to a higher quality one with better ingredients — should be done gradually, adding the new food to the existing brand over a few days.
  5. Don’t give the dog something you wouldn’t eat. Don’t give the fatty parts of chicken or beef to your dog. They are as unhealthy for her as for you! Rich foods can upset your pet’s stomach, so stick to lean proteins and vegetables as long as they are not swimming in butter or sauce! Remember: just because your dog will eat anything, doesn’t mean she should!
  6. A topper can bring out the flavor.  The addition of a food topper can bring out the aroma in food and make it more appealing.  I recommend adding a small amount of canned food, cooked meat, vegetables or one of the tasty toppers you can buy to put on your dog’s food an enticing flavor burst — like Halo’s new kiblet protein toppers, the Honest Kitchen’s Proper Toppers, or Ewegurt, made from sheep’s milk yogurt.

—Tracie Hotchner

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photo credit: Slurp! via photopin (license)