You want to give your pooch the best diet you can.
His or her food should be filled with lots of healthy ingredients, such as protein, so that they can be healthy and happy. But sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of making mistakes with your dog’s diet.
What are some common dog diet mistakes?
You might be feeding your dog too much or letting them engage in free-feeding, which could lead to them putting on too much weight.
But there are many other dog feeding mistakes you might be making. With that in mind, let’s look at nine common mistakes dog owners make when feeding their pets so you know what to avoid.
- You’re Feeding Your Dog Too Much
- You Change His Diet Overnight
- You’re Feeding Your Dog Bones
- You’re Feeding Your Dog A Raw Diet
- You Feed Your Dog Table Scraps
- You’re Not Reading Food Labels
- You’re Giving Your Dog Supplements
- You’re Feeding Your Dog Too Many Treats
- You’re Feeding Him Too Fast
- Dog Breed And Dog Food: What You Should Know
- Related Questions
You’re Feeding Your Dog Too Much
Do you ensure that your dog’s food bowl is full all the time?
You might be feeding him too much!
How much you feed your dog will vary depending on his age. Puppies that are less than two months old need to be fed five or six times daily, but puppies between the ages of four and seven months need to be fed three or four times a day.
When puppies become adult dogs, they only need to be fed twice a day.
Feeding your dog too much can lead to overeating and weight gain, which can put your pooch at risk of health conditions such as diabetes.
You Change His Diet Overnight
Once your dog is used to his or her food, you should never change it suddenly. This can put your dog’s digestive system under pressure and can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
The best thing to do is to introduce the new food slowly, such as by mixing a bit of the new food into your dog’s current food and then slowly increasing that amount every day. This enables your dog to get used to the new food.
You’re Feeding Your Dog Bones
If you think cooked bones leftover from your dinner plate are safe for your dog, guess again. These bones should never be given to your dog because they can splinter when consumed and bits of bone can end up getting stuck in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
They could even perforate it, which is highly dangerous. Bones that get stuck will have to be removed surgically.
You’re Feeding Your Dog A Raw Diet
Raw diets for dogs have become quite popular, but are they safe?
They can be, as long as you’ve chosen the diet under the supervision of your vet, but there are dangers. These include:
- Bacteria: Raw meat can be a breeding ground for bacteria, such as salmonella, and freezing the meat won’t eliminate all of the bacteria that can be in it.
- Balance of ingredients: While you can put your dog on a raw food diet, you should ensure that you have the right amount of healthy ingredients to give your dog everything he or she needs to stay healthy. Finding the right balance of ingredients is not always easy, and doing it incorrectly can lead to nutritional deficiencies in your dog.
You Feed Your Dog Table Scraps
You might not think it’s bad to give your dog food scraps from your dinner, but these should be avoided.
Not only does giving your dog table scraps make him get into the bad habit of begging for food, but human food is unhealthy for dogs. It creates nutritional imbalances in your dog’s diet and can also lead to conditions such as pancreatitis.
Some human foods can also be toxic to dogs, such as:
- Salt: Salty foods can cause your dog to get what’s known as salt poisoning or water deprivation. It can lead to symptoms such as fever, seizures, tremors, and vomiting. In extreme cases, it can lead to death.
- Grapes and raisins: Foods containing these like raisin bread can cause dogs to vomit and feel sick. They can also lead to kidney failure, so they’re best avoided.
- Milk: You might not think anything of your dog having a bit of milk or licking some cream, but you should never give your dog dairy. It can trigger allergies – a sign of this is if your dog’s itching a lot – but dairy can also lead to digestive issues, such as diarrhea.
You’re Not Reading Food Labels
When you purchase dog food, are you ensuring that you’re opting for healthy, balanced food that your dog needs?
It can be tricky to know what makes for quality dog food, but it doesn’t have to be.
Just make sure that the dog food pack mentions that the food’s been formulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). For example, it might mention that the food is balanced and complete according to the association’s guidelines.
You should always avoid food that doesn’t mention that it’s complete and balanced, as this will mean that it doesn’t have all the vital nutrients that your dog needs.
When it comes to reading ingredient lists on dog food, make sure you remember that the ingredients listed first are the ones that are in the largest quantity in the food. So, you want to avoid these being unhealthy ingredients, such as fat.
You’re Giving Your Dog Supplements
Dog supplements can be a way to increase your dog’s nutrition, but sometimes they’re not necessary.
If you’re feeding your dog a high-quality commercial dog food that contains all the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients your dog requires from its diet, you won’t need to supplement it with extras.
However, if you’re cooking your dog’s food at home, then extra mineral and vitamins will usually be required.
That said, you can’t just go ahead and start adding supplements to your dog’s diet. You should first consult with your vet as not every supplement will be okay for your specific pet. And, it should go without saying that you should never give your dog any human supplements.
You’re Feeding Your Dog Too Many Treats
You should be careful of using treats to praise your dog as the calories in those yummy dog biscuits can easily add up, making your pet unhealthy.
You should stick to giving your dog treats that make up no more than 10 percent of their diet. Find other ways to praise your dog, such as with a new toy, playtime, or petting.
You’re Feeding Him Too Fast
Here’s another good reason why you shouldn’t leave your dog’s bowl full of food so he can snack whenever he wants: if he’s eating too quickly, this can be causing him gastrointestinal issues, such as gas and nausea. He might even vomit.
It’s a better idea to be more mindful about how your dog’s eating by giving him smaller meals throughout the day or feeding him yourself at mealtimes.
You could give him a bit of food, wait for him to chew and swallow it, then feed him a bit more. This will force him to slow down so he doesn’t end up with a gassy, upset stomach.
Dog Breed And Dog Food: What You Should Know
The American Kennel Club recommends that you take your dog’s breed into account to determine how often your dog should eat.
This makes sense because large dogs, such as Great Danes or St. Bernard dogs, will obviously need more calories and feedings every day as compared to small and medium-sized dogs.
When choosing the most nutritious food for your dog, make sure you chat to your vet about how often you should feed your dog depending on his or her breed, as well as age.
The feeding recommendations on dog food packs are not always reliable, mainly because you should choose a dog feeding schedule that will benefit your specific dog’s requirements.
How many calories does your dog need every day?
Generally, dogs will need between 25 and 30 calories per every pound per day so that they maintain their weight. If your dog’s very active or very young, this number will increase.
How often should you clean your dog’s food and water bowls?
You should ensure that you clean your dog’s food and water bowls every day. If this isn’t possible, stock up on extra bowls so that you can change the bowls daily.
While you’re ensuring you feed your dog a healthy diet, remember that what they’re eating out of should also be healthy for them!
You might think you’re giving your dog a healthy diet, but are you really?
In this article, we’ve looked at the most common dog feeding dangers that dog owners make. Are you guilty of any of them?
Now’s the time to change so that your dog can reap the benefits of a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.