With proper nutrition and care, your can live a healthy active
life. The proper food that your dog requires must contain
proteins, vitamins and fiber. Proper nutritious food increases
the life span of your dog and also keeps him healthy, fit
If your dog is very active, such as a working or hunting dog
not yet in "retirement", or is neither under or overweight
for his sex and breed, you will not have to make any dietary
changes. Just keep a careful eye on any variations in personality,
weight, stool changes or yellowed grass where your dog urinates,
which could (but not always!) be a sign he is consuming too
much protein and other nutrients or has other medical problems.
However, the "yellow grass" warning signal is not always an
indication of too much dietary protein. If your dog belongs
to the Greyhound or a few other breeds or if he always urinates
in the same place day after day, "yellow grass" could be normal.
Always consult your vet to be sure.
Commercial pet food manufacturers take into consideration
the reduced activity level and slower pancreatic, heart and
kidney functions of the typical older dog and they have created
low caloric, easily digestible foods for them. These foods
have more vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber, fewer minerals,
less protein and fat. They are made appealing and appetizing.
Sometimes these foods are so appetizing that dogs overeat
and become obese. Obesity is a serious medical problem that
can drastically shorten your dog's life. If your dog has this
tendency, you must be firm and limit the amount of food he
eats. Definitely do not allow him to free feed or give him
snacks without decreasing the same amount from his normal
meal. If you need to decrease the amount of food or make changes
of any kind, do so gradually.
Both studs and bitches tend to lose weight when breeding.
Increase their food intake slightly, if necessary, or feed
them slightly more caloric foods than usual. Remember, however,
that obesity is not good for any animal. When a bitch is pregnant,
her appetite will start to increase slowly and then dramatically.
For the first four weeks after being bred, she should be fed
her normal, high quality "maintenance" diet.
At five to six weeks she needs about 25% more food energy
than normal and the quantity should accommodate this increase.
Be sure to feed her puppy growth food, to compensate for her
increased protein, energy and mineral requirements. As gestation
proceeds, she will need to eat 3-4 and even five times a day,
due to the fact that as her puppies grow the space in her
abdomen becomes more limited for food. Make sure she gets
enough to eat, sufficient time to eat and does not have to
compete for food with other pets.
By the eighth week of pregnancy through the first week post-whelping,
her food should be increased by 50% above normal. Feed her
as much as she likes (unless she is obese and your veterinarian
suggests otherwise). Once her puppies are born, they will
quickly deplete any extra reserves she may have.
Once she has had her puppies and is lactating, her appetite
will increase from 2-4 times more than for normal maintenance.
Make sure that her puppies are not interfering with her eating.
Never let a nursing bitch go for 24 hours without eating,
especially if other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or
listlessness is present.