Are you killing your mate with kindness?
Long gone are the days of splitting the kibble bag down the middle and letting your dog sort himself out. Please don’t do that. Dogs are not grazing animals, they eat meals.

A common misconception is that your mate will stop eating when he is full, or he needs to be fed multiple times a day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. He should have “days off” from feed, but more on this later.

 

Quality over Quantity

This is crucial for all dogs, whether he is a working dog, active or a backyard pet quality always trumps quantity and you will find that in the long run you will save money by buying quality. Without getting into the nitty gritty of ingredients, if the kibble doesn’t state meat as its primary ingredient (listed first on the ingredient list) then it’s probably best to look at alternative product.

A good quality oil supplement is also a great way to provide your dog with essential omegas, which provide clean energy, promotes gut health and are great for a skin irritation and a shiny coat. Cold pressed oils are best, try to stay away from oils found at the supermarket, they are generally hot-pressed cooking oils that no longer have the omegas you are looking for.

Gut health and maintenance is crucial for nutrient uptake and metabolic energy conversion in your dog. You can do some easy checks to see how your mate is travelling in this area. If possible, check his stool as soon as you can, yes I know it doesn’t sound like great fun but would you prefer to pick up a slightly smelly one or run inside and close the windows for three days until its safe to go outside and clean it up? So, a couple of hints,

  1. How smelly is it? If its peeling the paint off the walls its not a good sign. Somewhat bearable is better.
  2. Is it runny or rock hard, solid and somewhere in the middle of the two is best, you know what I mean.
  3. If you are following him around all day with a shovel, then you have a problem. A decent size an hour or two after he has eaten is what you are looking for. If he goes straight after you feed him, he has some issues going on. Not only is his stomach upset, he will get dehydrated over time, there will be little to no nutrient uptake from the feed and the money you thought you were saving on the cheap kibble just came flying out the other end.

 

So how do we pull this together?

Firstly, if you are time poor don’t stress, I just timed myself and it took me less than 10 minutes from go to wo.

  1. Clean the feed bowl, you don’t want nasty bacteria left behind undoing all of your good work.
  2. Weigh out your kibble to the recommended amount – no more! Minus the weight of the meat.
  3. Add some fresh meat or mince where possible.
  4. Top up with a cold pressed oil supplement.
  5. If he doesn’t eat it in the first 20 mins, remove the feed and provide a smaller portion next time.
  6. That’s it.

 

Now, you are still concerned about the “days off” I mentioned earlier. I will have a more in-depth article about this soon, but here are the basics. Know your animal. What do I mean by that? If you are serious about the health of your animal and saving some coin, pay attention to him.

  • What type of breed is he?
  • How active is he?
  • Is he eating all his meal within 20 minutes?

If you feed quality and in smaller quantities, you will start to see the animal naturally taper off with his hungry gutted tendencies. This will take time to transition (normally about 14 days) and a good gut supplement will help here, and you will see him become more active and look better in his coat and teeth.

Lastly, dogs don’t eat three massive meals and lay around all day in the wild. They roam, run and hunt and if they are lucky, they will catch something to eat. He can still be your best mate and not eat like a human, so let him be a dog.

 

Please remember – the above is not intended nor should it replace veterinary advice. If you are unsure contact your trusted veterinarian.