Dog Nutrition in Columbus, OH: Everything You Need to Know
So, you’re thinking about bringing home a new puppy? Or maybe you’re adopting an older dog? Maybe this is your first dog or it could be that you just haven’t had one around in a long, long time and you want to brush up on nutrition. Regardless, it’s important to understand what dogs in Columbus can and cannot eat and why that is.
Types of Food for Your Dog’s Nutrition in Columbus, OH
Dog nutrition is unique in its own way; however, it is similar to human nutrition in that it’s made up of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. There are good options in both the dry and wet food varieties.
When choosing the best type of food for your pet, you’re going to be looking for something on the label that says “meets the nutritional requirements established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)”. This will ensure that you’re providing your best friend with a diet that meets a minimum in product safety.
Canned might be a good choice to allow for that additional hydration if your dog doesn’t drink water well or dehydrates easily.
Some vets in Columbus do recommend dry food because it does help keep teeth and gums healthy since the texture cleans as your dog eats. There are some prescription diets designed specifically to clean teeth.
Important Nutrients Every Dog Needs in Their Nutrition in Columbus, OH
The essential nutrients noted above (protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water) are the keys to creating a proper nutrition plan for your dog.
Your dog’s body only makes 13 of the 23 amino acids necessary to build a complete protein. That means that the other 10 have to come from food.
Fat is important as it provides energy and aids in maintaining healthy skin and coat. Your dog cannot make fatty acid, so those need to be in the food as well. Three important ones are linoleic acid, omega-6, and omega-3.
Carbohydrates are the most readily available energy source in commercial dog food. These come from plants provided as starch, fiber and sugars.
Vitamins and Minerals
The vitamins and minerals that your dog needs in his food are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, calcium, and phosphorous. Your dog actually produces vitamin C so that’s not essential in his food.
Dogs should drink one ounce per pound of body weight every day. This number doubles if he/she is exercising in the intense heat.
Puppy Nutrition Schedule for Dogs in Columbus, OH
If you’re bringing home a puppy for the first time, everything can be really stressful. There are so many options on food, toys, training techniques, and everything else that it can become a sensory overload! When it comes to your dog’s nutrition, keep it simple.
After most puppies are weaned between 5-8 weeks, you should be feeding your puppy 2-4 times a day based on their breed and age. Your veterinarian in Columbus will help you determine this at your first puppy visit.
From 3-6 months, most puppies, regardless of breed, can be fed twice daily.
After Being Spayed or Neutered
Once your dog is spayed or neutered, you can start to take them off of puppy food and switch over to adult dry food. However, it’s always safe to leave them on the puppy food a little longer to make sure they’re getting the adequate nutrition for the amount of growth they’re going through.
Giant breed dogs should be left on puppy food until 15 months, unless they are becoming overweight, at which point you should consult your vet.
By one year, it’s typical for your dog to be fed two half portions each day.
Nutrition Recommendations for Senior Dogs in Columbus, OH
Now let’s look at the opposite scenario. Let’s say you’ve adopted a senior dog in Columbus. How do you know what’s right for them?
Most senior dogs fall into one of two categories. Either they’re a little overweight from not being able to exercise as much and their metabolism slowing down, or they’re underweight because of decrease in appetite or difficulty chewing and swallowing.
When in doubt, it’s always best to see and consult with your vet for appropriate care.
Reduce Caloric Intake for Overweight Senior Dogs
If your senior dog is a little on the heavy side, she may benefit from reducing the intake of calories by 20% combined with a lower fat content in the food. There has also been some research showing that L-carnitine may help the body use fat for energy. This amino acid is found in red meat, fish, chicken, and dairy.
Increase Caloric Intake for Senior Dogs Who are Losing Weight
Now if you have a senior dog who’s losing weight, you need to do the opposite and increase caloric intake. Try choosing a wet food with a higher fat content. This will be easier on their teeth and provide more calories.
Increase Protein Intake as Your Dog Gets Older
As your dog gets older, their protein intake needs to increase. There have been studies that show senior dogs need 50% more dietary protein to be able to maintain muscle mass. It’s best to consult with your vet in Columbus about what you need to do with your dog’s nutrition to keep your senior as healthy as you can for her remaining years.
A thorough exam and lab work are recommended annually for senior pets. This is the best way to ascertain their nutritional requirements.
Is Homemade Food Good for a Dog’s Nutrition in Columbus?
Ok, let’s talk homemade dog food. For one, treats and snacks should take up less than 10% of your dog’s overall caloric intake.
You should also take a look at a list of toxic food for dogs. Examples are chocolate, grapes, peach pits, garlic, onions and sugar replacers.
There is no scientific evidence to support that homemade food is better than quality store bought food. Raw and homemade diets are not recommended by the AVMA. If you want to cook for your dog, please consult with your veterinarian in Columbus for an appropriate recipe.
Plan Your Dog’s Nutrition in Columbus, OH
Overall with dog nutrition it’s important to feed a balanced diet in the proper portions throughout your pet’s life. By giving them the gift of great nutrition, you’re helping keep them as healthy as possible. If ever you did have a question about certain foods or options, your veterinarian in Columbus, OH is the best source to discuss your feeding plan in detail.
About North Kenny Veterinary Hospital
North Kenny Veterinary Hospital has been serving Columbus, OH pet families with exceptional veterinary medicine since the 1950s. We put a strong emphasis on preventive medicine as well as low-stress handling to help pets have a more pleasant veterinary experience. We use Fear Free techniques for every cat and dog to help reduce their anxiety and calm their nerves.