Feeding tips for your dog

How much do you feed your dog every day? Feeding directions on pet food provide only a broad guideline. Nutritional requirements vary according to your pet's age, body weight, genetics, amount of activity, and even the climate in which the pet lives.

Dog food bowlsIt will take you some time to determine how much to feed your dog. One way to determine the quantity is to note your dog's weight. Too much food and your dog will creep above the ideal weight. Too little and you'll start seeing ribs protruding. A healthy, balanced short-haired dachshund should have a definite waist line when viewed from the side and from above. If that waist line begins to merge into a straight line from shoulders to the hips, then your dog is over-weight and you need to cut back.

Every dog should have a definable "waist", indented at the belly, from behind his ribs to his legs. If you can not see where his ribs end from the side, then there is definitely a problem.

Don't feed your dog human foods, even table scraps. Today's human foods have become highly processed with many additives that aren't designed for a dog's digestive system. Feeding table scraps to a dog can quickly cause them to become overweight and malnourished.

Be careful with the dog biscuits and other treats. Try cutting the small dog biscuits in half.

What food is best? Before looking at the food itself, one should assess how it is fed—how often and how much. In some cases, the pet is simply being overfed or eating too many snack foods. (Many pet snack foods, like human snack foods, are loaded with fat, sugar, food dyes, and other unhealthy ingredients.)

Feed 2-4 small meals throughout the day. Even if not on a weight management program, dogs should be fed at least twice a day. Less than that, and gastrointestinal problems, such as bile vomiting and bloat (dogs) are potential problems. Eating smaller meals is a better utilization of calories. Do NOT exercise your pet for a period (30 minutes or more) before and after eating.

Dog Food Label

Reading a food food label

Pet foods are regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and must be pure and wholesome and contain no harmful substances and truthfully labeled. Like people food, pet food consumption does not require FDA approval before going on the market, however, the ingredients must be recognized as safe (GRAS) or ingredients approved as being safe food and color additives. If any scientific data shows any ingredient or additive presents a health risk to animals, Center for Veterinary Medicine can prohibit or modify its use in pet foods.

Ingredients must be listed on the label in descending order by weight. Weight however, also includes moisture in the ingredient, making harder to interpret. A Some ingredients like chicken can be 70 percent water. So, because of its weight it may be listed ahead of other dry ingredients, such as soybean meal (10% water)—yet the soybean contributes more actual solids to the food.

Another practice is to list similar materials as separate ingredients that if taken as a whole, may actually outweigh other ingredients that precede them on the list of ingredients. For example, chicken may be listed as the first ingredient because of its weight, and then followed by wheat flour, ground wheat, and wheat middling's—all of which are basically wheat products. Consumers believe chicken is the main ingredient, but in the real world, it's the three wheat products that actually weigh more. So in a can of food labeled chicken, you're actually get more wheat products than chicken.