Factors to consider when choosing a food for your dog
When selecting an appropriate food for your dog, you should consider:
• Characteristics of the dog: age, stage of life, level of activity and its state of health (allergies, chronic diseases, etc.);
• Characteristics of the food (if it is suitable for the nutritional requirements of your dog);
• Ingredients, energy density, palatability (flavor) and acceptability.
Types of food
There are different food categories depending on their processing method and moisture content: dry food and canned food.
Most dry adult dog food contains 18% or more protein, 5% or more fat and less than 12% moisture. These diets deliver between 3,100 and 4,400 kilocalories (kcal) per kilogram of product. The most common type of food available today is extruded.
Total food consumption is high due to low calorie content and high moisture content. These diets offer greater palatability and a higher cost per serving compared to dry products. Also, canned goods are less convenient to serve than other types of products. Once a can is opened, unused food should be stored in the refrigerator.
How much to feed?
The best determinant of the amount of food to feed is the dog itself. Food intake in all animals is primarily governed by energy requirements. When you give your dog a complete, balanced and quality food, and you base the portions on the feeding guidelines, your animal should receive all the essential elements (proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals) that it needs.
That is why owners must select a quantity of food based primarily on the weight and body condition of the pet.
• Dogs that gain too much weight (excess energy): the amount should be decreased.
• Dogs that lose weight: the amount of food should be increased.
• Commercial pet foods sold for particular stages or lifestyles are formulated to contain the proper amount of essential nutrients according to the dog's energy requirements, when feeding a certain amount. Balancing energy density with nutrient content ensures that when a dog's calorie needs are met, the same amount of food will meet his needs for all other essential nutrients.
Therefore, the best way to determine how much to feed a particular dog is to first estimate the animal's energy needs, then calculate the amount of an appropriate food that must be fed to meet that need, or see the feeding guidelines at the food bag, based on the ideal weight of your pet. Complete and balanced commercial foods are made to meet all of your pet's requirements. Table leftovers, extra treats, and vitamin and mineral supplements are not necessary and could even cause some damage.
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