Dogs require a properly balanced diet for health. This diet should contain:
- Protein: to build the body
- Fats: for skin and coat health
- Carbohydrates: for energy
- Minerals and vitamins: for good bone development and healthy tissues.
Roughage is essential for bowel function.
The easiest and most economical balanced diet is a mixture of meat (raw or cooked or canned) and dry food. The following information will help you decide the best source of nutrition for your dog:
- Meat: by itself cannot be a complete diet and requires heavy supplementation with vitamins, minerals and other food materials, which is uneconomical and time consuming. In rapidly growing dogs a diet of meat alone can be responsible for major mineral imbalance and skeletal damage
- Canned Food: these vary widely in quality but a good quality canned food, that combines the nutrition of meat with vegetables, cereal and the correct levels of vitamins and minerals, provides a diet which is complete and balanced
- Semi-Moist Foods: all these products are a complete diet
- Dry Foods: those that are a complete diet have this stated on the packet. This is an excellent, easy and inexpensive way of feeding a dog
- Bones: all dogs appreciate a bone, especially a raw bone. A large marrowbone cleans the teeth, massages the gums, and is a valued possession. The RSPCA recommends a regular supply of bones for mouth/dental hygiene.
Dogs should have ready access to a plentiful supply of clean, fresh water, particularly when dry foods are used. Containers must be kept clean and placed in the shade. In hot weather water may need replenishing several times a day.
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Geoff and Marie-Louise Burton