I’m standing there, staring at the many rows of puppy kibble. My dogs aren’t picky eaters, like most dogs they happily munch on whatever I buy them. But there’s that point of what’s good for them, and what’s good for my pocket book. When I first got Seraphim I began to make my own dog food. I would mix a little bit of meat, rice, veggies and puppy kibble together with some of the juices after I slow cooked the meat. Seraphim and my pom-poodle loved it, they would eat it greedily.
But honestly it was difficult, I was constantly worried that they weren’t getting enough (especially since Seraphim is a growing puppy), I soon went back to the traditional store bought food. I can honestly say I don’t buy the most expensive brand out there. I’ve realized I don’t need to buy the most expensive one, yes they do provide more nutrients, and promise to promote better growth. But I can honestly say that 40 dollars for a 20kg bag every two weeks is a bit rich for my pocket book.
Don’t get me wrong I love my dogs, all my animals are like my children. But I’ve read some of the ingredient lists of the more expensive food, and unless you buy veterinarian brand foods, you are going to be searching for a while. If you have it in your budget, I do suggest talking to your vet about the best food decisions for your dog’s energy level as well as breed. They are the experts and there is no denying that they went to school for these types of questions and they know what they’re talking about.
If you’re like me, you can still ask your vet (just explain you can’t afford the vet brand food) and see what they tell you. Each vet has their own opinions, and their own reasons for wanting your dog to eat specific foods. My dogs eat puppy chow right now, seeing as the two big ones are puppies, and our little pom-poodle is high energy enough he won’t gain any weight from it.
How often should I feed my dog? Honestly I let my dogs eat throughout the day, there’s always food and I never worry about them over eating. They eat the amount they want, then walk away with a full belly. Now I realize not all breeds can do this, you should follow the instructions on the bags (as they are experts on their brand), or if you’re not comfortable with following the brand instructions feel free to ask your vet.
Wet or dry what is better? I feel that you should feed your dog dry food, unless they aren’t able to actually eat it because they have no teeth, or have an existing medical condition. Regularly our dogs eat hard, dry kibble. Though we do supplement every week or so with a bowl each of wet and dry food mixed together. Like I’ve said before if your dog is a special needs case, ask your vet.
What about treats? I don’t give my dogs many treats, when camping their diets change because I tend to spoil them (who can resist watching your husky eat a marshmallow that’s stuck to her nose really?). Of course, when I do reward by treats I do so very sparingly. Dogs get spoiled with too many treats, you should use your own love and praise as a reward, rather than a biscuit. If you do insist on training using treats, try and break a cookie into smaller bits and use it throughout the day to achieve the same result.
I heard switching your dogs food can be difficult is this true? I’ll be honest, my dogs are walking vacuums. they eat anything that is edible, whether I want them to or not. Generally the rule of thumb if you’re changing your dogs food is to do so gradually. Always start with 75% of the old food mixed with 25% of the new. This is to prevent a rather messy result if you switch straight away. After a few days go with 50% old 50% new, a few days do 25% old 75% new, and finally fully new. I switch my puppy chows almost every bag, simply to give them a break from whatever flavor they just had. They enjoy the variety, if you had to eat chicken forever wouldn’t you get bored of it too? Just do so wisely, if you can stick with the same brand and just change flavors. If you have to switch brands make sure they are the same quality.
Isn’t making your own dog food merely giving them scraps? No, making your own dog food is almost a science. You must know the needs of your dog and follow them. I give my dogs scraps when we camp, but at home they are strictly on regular dog food. If you make your own dog food keep in mind that there are some foods dogs just should not have (onions, garlic and chocolate to name some). When in doubt as your vet, they can give you the list of the foods your dog should steer clear of, and never give your dog any take out especially from Chinese food. Chinese food has msg which can cause dogs to grow fat and cause other medical conditions.
Whatever you choose, always do your research on the brands you want to look at. If you’re going to make your own food talk to your vet about the nutrient requirements of your dog, make sure that you are able to keep them healthy and well fed. As with everything, the more you know about the subject the better off your pet will be.