Dog Nutrition

Dogs Running Together

What is the right food to feed my dog?

That’s a great question. I know dog nutrition can be very confusing right now with so many different companies in the market and so many different marketing strategies. But I think when you’re making a selection for food, it’s important to stick with the bigger companies that do have a veterinarian nutritionist on staff, just to make sure that that food is safe and it’s not going to harm your dog or have any nutritional deficiencies. Some of the brands that I would recommend would be Royal Canin, Purina, and Hills.

Dr. Julie Mosher
Haines Road Animal Hospital

What are the life stages of feeding my dog?

Great question. So there’s puppy, there’s adult, and there are senior stages, and it is really important when your animal fits into one of those life stages that you feed according to that stage, just because the nutrients like carbohydrates and protein vary significantly between those three stages.

How do I wean my puppy and get them on regular food?

So you can slowly start to transition some of the wet food or hard food that’s wet down with some water and slowly start to transition those into your puppy’s diet. And we want to slowly get them on a completely commercial diet. And that’s important—the transition is important—throughout their whole life. If they’re going to go ahead and switch food, I do recommend that you slowly transition over one to two weeks throughout their whole life if they’re switching foods.

Should I feed my dog on a schedule? And how do I know if my dog’s nutrition is suffering?

You should feed some dogs on a schedule. If they’re a smaller toy breed dog and they’re puppies, it’s a good idea to feed them more than two times a day, sometimes three to four times a day, just to help keep their blood sugar up. Sometimes people just feed their dogs twice a day. Sometimes it’s hard because dogs do graze at times. So I would just figure out what’s the best routine for your dog. And you will know if you’re feeding them properly by looking at their weight history. So we want to try to keep them at an ideal weight and make sure that we don’t have any drastic weight gain or weight loss.

How do I know if I’m feeding my dog too much?

I think that it’s really important to work with your veterinarian. You’re more than welcome to call me up and I can give you the number of calories that I would recommend your individual dog get. And then also veterinarians use something called a body condition scale, where we go ahead and look at their waist and their ribs and we’re able to see what their ideal weight is and if we’re close to that.

What are the essential nutrients my dog needs?

So the essential nutrients are very similar to central nutrients in humans. So your dog’s going to need proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and water.

How will a veterinarian be able to assess my dog is getting proper nutrition?

We will keep a good, accurate weight history on your animal. It’s always a very good idea to do yearly blood work, just to make sure that the organ function looks great. And lastly, we’ll do that body condition scale as well, just to make sure that the nutrition is adequate.

How will I know the best dog food for my dog?

As I mentioned earlier, I think it is important to stay with the brands that have a little bit more research behind them, just because medicine, in general, is evidence-based. So I would stay with the bigger companies that research their food.

When would my dog need a prescription diet?

Some dogs need prescription diets if they have an underlying medical condition. So one of the prescription diets that I really like to give my patients, there are overweight diets and that is just a diet that helps them lose weight a little bit more efficiently. And that one I really recommend because weight gain is actually one of the biggest issues that we see in veterinary medicine and obesity can actually decrease your dog’s life by two years. So I definitely recommend that one for many patients.

If I have any questions about dog nutrition, what should I do?

If you still have questions and would like to reach out to us, call us directly at (727) 351-8478, email us, or reach out on Facebook, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible!

Dog Nutrition – FAQs

Dr. Julie Mosher
Haines Road Animal Hospital

How can I feed my dog the healthiest food for them?

It’s important to work with your veterinarian to figure out how many calories your dog should have. And then you should also choose a good diet. We need to make sure that we choose a complete diet for your dog since that is the only source of nutrition they get day in and day out. So some of the diets that I like the best would be Royal Canin, Purina, and Hill’s.

How many times a day should I be feeding my dog?

So if you have a small toy breed dog who’s a puppy, I would recommend feeding more than two times a day – sometimes three to four times a day – to prevent low blood sugar. On average, feeding your dog two times a day is adequate.

What is meant by life stage nutrition?

Life stage nutrition is a critical topic. There are three different stages that your dog can be in—puppy, adult, or senior. And you must buy food based on that stage, just because the nutrients and the calories that they need are very different at each stage.

Do I need to feed a diet specific to my dog’s breed or size?

So, for big breed puppies, I would recommend feeding a big breed puppy food. When they get older, it’s a little less important. Royal Canin has some awesome breed-specific foods that they’ve put a lot of research into. So I would encourage you to look more into those foods as well.

What is the most important information I need to look at on dog food bags or cans for ingredients and nutritional values?

I would say the most important thing would be that they have grain in them. I know that this can be a shocker to many people, but studies lately suggested that grain-free diets can lead to heart disease. And I’ve seen two or three clinical cases myself where the owner is just feeding them a grain-free diet thinking it’s the best thing for their beloved animal. Then we, unfortunately, have to treat the dog for congestive heart failure. So I think it’s essential to make sure that their dog food has grain in it. Also, make sure that the food is meant for day in and day out feeding.

Do the ingredients of treats matter when choosing a flavor or brand?

Treats are a little bit different. If your dog has some food allergies, the treats would matter. Sometimes dogs can have food allergies to common proteins such as chicken. So sometimes the treats can matter if that’s the case. In general, though, I would recommend that we try to keep the caloric intake with treats down. Try to feed them only 10% of treats of their caloric intake per day to try to keep them at a healthy weight.

If you still have questions and would like to reach out to us, call us directly at (727) 351-8478, email us, or reach out on Facebook, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible!