A balanced diet is the basis for a long and healthy life. This also applies to our four-legged friends. But not all food is the same: to ensure that a dog is supplied with all vital nutrients, minerals, trace elements and vitamins, its individual needs must be taken into account when choosing food. You will also be faced with the decision of whether you prefer to feed wet food, dry food, mixed or raw food. What you choose is mainly a matter of taste, because a healthy diet that meets your dog’s needs is possible with all feeding concepts – provided you keep a few important things in mind in our dog nutrition guide.
What do dogs eat?
If you decide to feed your dog food from a pet shop, you have the choice between dry and wet food. Both options undoubtedly have their advantages. In many cases, dry dog food is simply more practical: it is easier to dose, does not spoil as quickly in summer, smells less and does not produce any canned waste. Wet dog food, as the name suggests, contains significantly more moisture and thus helps dogs to absorb additional water.
Dog nutrition advice: How to determine the amount of food!
On the packaging of every complete dog food you will find a feeding recommendation, which is usually based on the dog’s weight and often also on its size. These recommendations are always based on a “normal” dog. They are therefore optimal for an animal of ideal weight and average activity. If your dog is overweight or underweight and/or its activity level differs from the average, you will have to adjust the recommended amounts upwards or downwards accordingly, your local Maxi Zoo staff can help you choose which food is best for your pet.
Which dry or wet food is recommended for dogs?
No matter which type of food you choose: It is important that the food is appropriate for your dog’s needs, e.g. junior, adult or senior dog food. You also need to make sure that the product is labelled as “complete food”. Only then is it guaranteed that it reliably covers your dog’s energy and nutrient requirements.
In addition to these so-called complete feeds, there are supplementary feeds, which are, however, not suitable as the sole diet for the dog.
Nutritional advice for a mixed diet for dogs
A mix of dry and wet food balances the disadvantages of each type of food well. Wet food covers the dog’s fluid requirements more quickly. In addition, it is the tastier alternative and is much appreciated by many pets. As an energy snack on the go, you can feed dry food cleanly from your hand. A change from dry to wet food may be necessary in case of dental problems, allergies or gastrointestinal diseases. Then it is good if your dog is used to both dry and wet food.
In addition, dogs also appreciate variety in their food and are happy with this mixed feeding. Especially as it meets a dog’s natural nutritional needs most due to its varied composition. Together with chews and dog treats, this can be a good meal plan that even fussy dogs will enjoy.
The advantages of mixed feeding at a glance
If a complete changeover to dry or wet food is necessary at a later date, for example for health reasons, your dog will already be used to the “new” type of food. On the other hand, dogs that have only been fed wet food all their lives and then suddenly have to switch to dry food may have problems accepting the new food. Digestive problems are also not uncommon. However, you can prevent this with a mixed mini-feed: If you usually feed wet food, you can simply use dry food as a treat for better acceptance.
This is how you feed healthy variety!
You can alternate dry and wet food in a balanced way and round it off with treats. In the beginning, keep a close eye on your dog’s weight and faeces. Dry food is suitable as a treat when walking or training, and wet food can be given as a second ration from the bowl. However, if you constantly mix the two into one meal, you will quickly lose track of the amount of food, nutrients and fluids your dog has consumed. This mix can also lead to digestive problems, as wet food is metabolised much more quickly and differently by the stomach than dry food. It is therefore generally advisable to offer both types of food at different times.
Snacks: How often can you give them?
Every dog is individual and has its own energy needs. And as a pet owner, you don’t always keep an eye on your dog’s weight. But you should, because often little treats are forgotten when calculating the daily ration. Especially the well-intentioned snacks can be calorific, as they often contain a high proportion of carbohydrates and fats. A “bite” of sausage or cheese in between meals has almost as many calories as a complete dog meal. Snacks and treats should only be given in a balanced amount for the dog.
As a general rule, the way to a dog’s heart is not through his stomach! Petting is a healthy alternative. By the way, carrots are the ideal snack for in-between meals when your dog has a little too much on the scale.
Nutritional advice for feeding your dog in summer
Your dog’s diet depends not only on his size, age and health constitution, but also on the weather. In the warm months of the year, it is good to change the feeding of your four-legged friend to summer time. When it’s hot, your four-legged friend not only needs more fluids than usual. His body is also happy to receive meals with less energy. The dog also burns fewer calories because it moves less in high temperatures. A balanced diet in summer therefore consists of an increased proportion of fluids with smaller, lighter portions. But no matter how hot it is: dog food and water should always be at room temperature so that they are good for your dog.
Mixed feeding is a good diet for your dog in the warm season
During the hot months, mixed feeding has proven to be a good idea. It is best to feed wet food in the morning and the dry food in the cool evening hours or as a training reward. After that, your dog should rest. During the day the food bowl can remain empty – the main thing is that the water bowl is full!
Good feeding in summer includes a large portion of liquid
In the kitchen, in the hallway, on the balcony, next to the basket – it is best to distribute as many water bowls as you have at hand in summer. Your dog should be able to use every opportunity to refresh himself. Since he hardly sweats, he licks his fur or pants to cool down. In the process, he loses fluid, which he must make up for by drinking. You should make sure that the water in his bowls is always fresh and clean. If you have a four-legged water refuser, you can not only trick him a little with wet food. You can also soak his dry food properly or mix a small amount of wet food into the water. In extreme heat, you can also encourage him to play little water games by letting him fish the dry food out of a small paddling pool.
Food storage is also important:
– Dry food should always be stored in an airtight container, otherwise the flavours and crunchy consistency will be lost.
– Opened wet food should be stored in the refrigerator and used up within two days.
– Very important: Before feeding your dog, put the food out for at least two hours. This way the food warms up to room temperature and your dog will not get a stomach ache from food that is too cold.
Feeding bowls for a tasty meal
For your dogs daily meals and thirst quenching sessions, he needs a quiet feeding place with a suitable food and water bowl. The bowls should be slightly larger than the dog’s daily food ration, so that the dog does not constantly spill when eating. The bowls should also be easy to clean, sturdy and robust. In his excitement for food, the dog is sometimes a bit rough with his eating utensils. Plastic bowls that are too light can sometimes move or topple over. To ensure that the feeding station is easy to clean and the carpet is spared, we recommend a washable plastic base that also prevents the bowls from slipping.
Feeding bars and feeding stations for large dogs
If your four-legged friend is a particularly fast eater, a dog food dispenser is a possible solution to the problem. It only dispenses the tasty morsels in portions and prevents your four-legged friend from devouring the food in one breath.
Consistent feeding at a glance:
– Deciding on a type of food (dry, wet or mixed feeding).
– BARFing – organic, species-appropriate and raw food – as an alternative to dry or wet food
– Avoid frequent food changes
– Only change food in small steps
– Make sure the food is of high quality
– Ensure sufficient resting time after feeding
– Always provide sufficient water
If a new pet has joined your family you need to be perfectly equipped from the start to ensure they can settle in to their new life easily.
Maxi Zoo are on hand with our new pet starter kits for every kind of pet. You can find out more information about them here. Our store staff are available to give customised advice so you choose the perfect product for your new arrival, and you can get 10% off* your starter kit when you visit your local Maxi Zoo store, find yours here.