Your black Labrador retriever Onyx continually hounds you for food. He inhales his food as soon as it hits the bowl, pleads for table scraps at every meal, and even scarfs down the cat’s food if possible. You wonder if his voracious appetite means he’s missing some vital nutrients. You’d also like to get his feeding behaviors under control. Fortunately, your Burbank veterinarian can create a customized nutritional strategy designed to keep Onyx healthy throughout his lifetime.
Adult dog nutritional needs – Adult dogs of all breeds require six essential nutrients to help their bodies function normally. Dogs need proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water. Many nutrients have documented minimum dietary requirements, and some substances have maximum tolerable levels. While you’re reading Onyx’s dog food nutrition labels, remember to look for foods with familiar whole-food components, instead of ingredients that seem more at home in a science lab.
Dry dog kibbles – Dry dog food, or kibbles, is convenient, easy to store, doesn’t spoil easily, and is often less expensive than wet food. Some dry kibble is shaped and formulated to clean Onyx’s teeth while he chomps on it. You can even use dry food as a training treat. On the other hand, Onyx obtains less moisture from dry food, compared with wet food.
Wet dog foods – Wet foods provide older or water-deficient dogs with more moisture in their diets. As Onyx becomes older and his sense of smell diminishes, or if illness curbs his appetite, wet food’s stronger flavor and scent might make it more attractive to eat. Dogs with missing teeth or badly aligned jaws can also adapt better to wet food. However, Onyx might leave messy debris on the floor while eating wet food, and the food tends to spoil without refrigeration. Wet food is often more expensive. Finally, you might need to devote more attention to Onyx’s dental care because wet food debris tends to linger around his teeth and gums.
Now that you’ve gotten a handle on Onyx’s general nutrition requirements, and know a bit about wet and dry dog foods, enlist your Burbank vet’s assistance. He’ll design a nutritional program that meets Onyx’s energy needs and activity level, nourishing Onyx’s body so he can continue to join in your family’s activities.
Feeding program – Based on Charmaine’s results, your San Fernando Valley vet will develop a feeding program that should help to reduce Charmaine’s weight over time. Your vet may advise you to switch to a new food or change the way you feed Charmaine. For example, Charmaine’s unlimited food access might be replaced with a different daily feeding schedule.
Finally, remember that overweight cats, including Charmaine, need regular exercise to lose weight. Consider toys that will make Charmaine more active, such as those that resemble an escaping mouse or flitting bird. Take some time for daily play sessions with Charmaine, too. After all, a healthier, more active Charmaine can mean she’ll recapture her girlish figure.