Your Dog’s Unique Nutritional Needs

By Elizabeth Wasserman

Your Dog’s Unique Nutritional Needs

In the not-so-distant past, there were basically two dog food options: puppy chow and everything else. Now, dog owners have more choices. Different foods for puppies, adult dogs and the senior set have been in stores for a while. Newer to the market are foods geared to meet the requirements of dogs based on size, sensitivities to digestive ailments, skin issues, weight and level of activity.

Dogs That Benefit From the New Foods
Does the average dog need these new dog foods? “No, but they have been a godsend to owners with dogs that have certain problems or requirements,” says Dr. Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and a veterinary professor at Texas A&M University. “It’s been extremely helpful to give good quality nutrition and meet the health needs of these animals.”

A Checklist for Dog Nutritional Needs
To determine which dog food is right for your pet, experts say you should talk to your dog’s veterinarian and consider the following:

  • Age Older dogs tend to burn fewer calories than puppies and normal adult dogs do. Therefore, nutritional needs differ based on age, says Dr. Katy J. Nelson, an emergency veterinarian in Alexandria, Va., who has worked on pet nutrition issues. In general, dogs are divided into the following age groups: puppies (0 to 12 months), adult dogs (1 to 7 years) and senior canines (7 years and older).
  • Size of breed Smaller breeds often eat less, but they frequently need more dietary fat to maintain a high energy level, as do larger dogs. Dogs are generally defined as small (1 to 20 pounds), medium (20 to 50 pounds), large (51 to 100 pounds), and giant (100 pounds and up).
  • Weight Issues Overweight dogs tend to develop a variety of problems, such as joint disease, a higher risk of cancer and gastrointestinal problems, in addition to having a shorter life expectancy. To determine if your pup is overweight, Beaver suggests feeling its ribs. If you push through too much fat and cannot feel them easily, your dog could be overweight. Foods for overweight dogs often contain L-carnitine, a nutrient that helps the body turn fat into energy.
  • Activity level Dogs that get lengthy walks or do more strenuous exercise will burn more calories than couch potatoes, so you want a food that promotes good digestion and properly energizes your pet.
  • Pregnant/nursing/neutered dogs Dogs that are pregnant or nursing may need a higher caloric intake than other adult dogs. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered have lower energy requirements and metabolic needs. According to Nelson, “maintaining those sex organs takes a lot of the body’s energy and slows down a whole lot of processes.”
  • Unique issues Healthy digestion may be maintained by feeding your dog a food containing prebiotics, which stimulate the growth of “good” bacteria in the gut. Dog foods that reduce tartar buildup can help your pup maintain healthier teeth. Dry, flaky skin may be alleviated by foods that contain essential fatty acids. To prevent joint and mobility issues, try foods containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and fish oil. Meanwhile, dog foods with novel proteins and carbohydrates are also available for canines.

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Elizabeth Wasserman, a Washington, D.C., area-based freelancer, has been writing about pets, among other topics, for more than 15 years. Her love of dogs, in particular, was handed down through the generations from her great-grandfather, Eric Knight, who wrote the book Lassie Come Home in the 1930s.

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Posted on March 11, 2012

Adi says: MomThank you for your comments, Tanya. I do iparecpate your feelings and I totally agree that a number of folks suffered greatly over this, I myself cried and was very upset over the whole thing which I won't rehash at this time. However, we believe that not only is there some valuable information in the post and the responses to it, it helps to serve an educational purpose. It's like a book, a newspaper article or television show. Those who do not wish to read it, do not have to. No one can force a person to read (or watch) something they don't want to read and therefore, they can bypass it if they so choose. There may be others that will read it and the ensuing comments and/or make their own. We're sorry if this upsets you, it certainly isn't mine or this web site's purpose to upset anyone intentionally by refusing to take down something that is disturbing. However, part of the reason this website exists is to provide information and help educate people on various topics involving dog care and ownership. We feel this incident helps make people aware that there *are* potential dangers involved in taking one's dog to a dog park and that it's not an automatically safe place to take one's dog. I can't tell you how often I come across a person who owns a dog who is quite obviously uneducated in dog ownership and unknowingly puts their dog in danger. It's quite obvious that some folks are totally oblivious to this fact. Something as simple as allowing your dog outside without the safety of a leash, tie-out or confinement behind a fence is a hazard but people do it all the time. If reading this article can save one dog from being injured or killed during or after a dog park incident, that's a good thing. To delete it, is to ignore this and in our opinion that would be wrong. We hope that you will come back and visit our website often, and take from it things that you like or will help you in some way and not let one article stop you from returning.

Posted on March 10, 2012

Hailee says: Boxers are excellent almify dogs and very intelligent and very loyal but they take a lot of time and consistency in . They can be very stubborn at times. Mine is about 2 years old now and he's great around kids and very gentle with him but we had to do a lot of work with him in the beginning. You don't say if you're considering a puppy or an older Boxer. Mine was just a puppy when we got him and they're very, very energetic and playful but he used to do belly flops on my cats when we first got him, not realizing how much bigger he was, just trying to get them to play. Training them from day one is so important not to jump and to be calm around people because when they grow to full size, they can be anywhere from 50 pounds and up and all muscle. If you have the time and dedication for training them, though, I think they are great almify dogs.References :

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