ABC of dog feeding
Feeding dogs plays, perhaps, the main role in the correct cultivation of a healthy dog with a good exterior.
Dogs have a high rate of passage of food through the digestive tract: the first remnants of food eaten can be released as early as 8 hours after eating, complete digestion occurs in 30 hours. Compared with cats, dogs have more developed intestines (6 times the length of the body, while cats-3-4 times). The capacity of the stomach of a medium-sized dog is 2.0-2.5 liters. in this regard, not only the nutritional value of the feed, but also the frequency of its giving is of great importance. A puppy at the age of one month is fed 5-6 times a day, from 4 to 6 months — 4 times, from 6 months to a year-3 times a day, after a year-2 times a day. Free access to food is allowed for weakened, infected and lactating animals, as well as during recovery from illness. In exceptional cases, a single feeding of adult dogs (older than 3 years) kept at home is allowed.
A sudden change of feed is stressful for the animal, so you should move from one feed to another gradually over a period of 3-4 weeks. For the best functioning of the enzyme system, the feed must be fed at the same time.
Industrial dry dog food has a homogeneous composition and excludes the possibility of selective nutrition. This ensures that the animal’s body gets the specified amount of nutrients. Dry feeds contain less than 15% moisture, so they retain their nutritional properties for a long time. Since they contain almost no water, bacteria and pathogenic fungi do not develop in them.
An adult dog should consume 80-88 kcal of metabolic energy per 1 kg of weight, 4.0–4.5 g of protein, 1.5–2.5 g of fat, and 10-15 g of carbohydrates per day. The consumption of dry matter per 1 kg of live weight on average in an adult animal or puppy should be 24 g. the smaller the size of the dog, the more intense the metabolism. Cocker Spaniel consumes about 800 kcal, collie-1150 kcal.
The energy content of the economy class feed (in 100 g) is 250-300 kcal, premium-300-350 kcal, super-premium-350-450 kcal. Animal feed manufacturers create products based on special standards and diets, including those recommended by the American feed control Association, which determines the minimum and maximum content of certain components in feed.
The basis of the dog’s diet is protein-based feed. All ingredients contained in the feed are specified depending on their percentage content. Sources of protein (flour from chicken, fish, etc.) should be in the first place. Some protein ingredients of dry feeds are digested better than in raw form. A chicken egg contains 58% protein. The protein of raw eggs is digested by 50-60%, and heat-treated eggs by 88-90%. The most valuable component in the feed is flour from poultry and beef. One of the most valuable ingredients is also fish meal, which can successfully replace up to 50% of the need for animal proteins. Sources of vegetable protein are soy meal, soy flour, corn, and wheat. Feeds containing a large number of animal components are highly digestible-more than 80%.
The grain components of the feed are specially processed during the manufacturing process, so that they are absorbed 20% better. For proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, a certain amount of fiber is necessary. Manufacturers have successfully used beet and carrot fiber, grain shells, and some plants.
Fats in the dog’s diet should be at least 5-10% dry matter, fat can cover 20-25% of the animal’s energy needs. Moreover, vegetable fats in the diet should not be more than 30% (the remaining 70% – animal fats). If the food is too fat, it leads to obesity, tarnishing of the coat, and reproduction disorders. Rancid food, as well as food containing little fat, with prolonged consumption causes dry skin, dandruff, dermatitis, and disorders of most organs and systems.
The amount of food consumed depends on the breed, age, physiological state of the animal, its individual characteristics. Therefore, the dog may consume a little less or a little more than the dose recommended by the feed manufacturers. The owner should make sure that the dog consumes a sufficient amount of clean water, not to allow a sharp set or drop the pet’s weight. A sharp set or weight loss of 10% within a month is a reason to consult a veterinarian.
To understand whether the new food is suitable for your dog, you need to wait for some time. First, the work of the gastrointestinal tract is normalized, after about a month, the appearance of the skin and hair, individual blood parameters are improved, after 2-6 months, the work of the reproductive and cardiovascular systems is improved.