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Nutrition in Dogs

  Sep 25, 2018

Nutrition in Dogs

Nutrition is important for keeping your dogs healthy.  Is your dogs’ coat in good condition, dry or flaky?    Is your dog a healthy weight, not overweight or underweight?  Are your dog’s faeces firm, not too hard or soft? Good nutrition often leads to fewer visits to your veterinarian and a healthier and happier dog, so spending a little more is money well spent in the long run.

Weight Control

It is important to weigh your pet at annual health checks.  This will pick up changes in your dog’s weight which can highlight problems.  If your dog is underweight there is possibly a worm problem, an underlying disease which needs further investigation or your dog is either being fed a poor diet or not enough of the high quality food that you do feed.  With the help of your veterinarian at these checkups the correct diagnosis can be made.

However, if your dog is overweight it may be that you are over-feeding: sometimes dogs’ metabolisms slow down after they are sterilised. It can also happen as they get older if they still are being fed the same amount as before. This results in weight gain.  Also ensure you are not feeding your dog left-overs or too many treats. There are also some endocrine diseases (such as Hypothyroidism) which can be responsible for excess weight. These can be ruled out by blood tests.  Your veterinarian will guide you in the correct direction when it comes to investigating these diseases.  Alternatively, your dog may need a high quality weight loss diet.

Diarrhoea or Constipation

Diarrhoea may be a sign of poor nutrition or a possible underlying problem.  Constipation is often a sign of reduced water in the diet or not enough water available to the dog.  Too many bones, or bone meal, in the diet can also contribute to constipation problems.

It is important that if you notice diarrhoea or constipation problems to seek veterinary care for your dog.

Coat

A dry and flaky coat, as well as hair loss, is often a sign of poor nutrition.  The dog’s diet often lacks essential omega fatty acids to assist with building a good skin barrier to counter the elements and supporting hair follicle health.  If your dog has a poor, unkempt coat it is a good idea to get him/her checked over as skin conditions may also cause poor coats. 

Growth Problems

This is more of a problem in puppies that are still growing.  Poor nutrition often leads to poor growth and joint problems.  Good quality puppy food is essential in helping with controlled growth in puppies; this prevents overly-fast or stunted growth.  Your veterinarian will recommend a healthy, balanced diet when doing your puppies’ vaccinations.  It is worthwhile to spend more on good quality food while your puppy is growing to ensure the best possible start to their lives.

Nutrition in Dogs

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