Adult Dogs Need Good Feeding Habits

Healthy Dogs Make Happy Dogs

Qualified Veterinary Assistant Programs advise that to preserve health in an adult dog, pet owners should always be mindful of nutrients required to accomplish it.  Another important factor in adult dog care is the consideration of energy levels and dog size. 

Like humans, adult dogs can gain weight if activity level decreases or if food and treats are provided in excess.  Because pet owners love their dogs, it is easy to overdo treats, forgetting that in younger years, food and treats were used in higher quantities for training purposes and to compensate for higher overall energy output. For most adult dogs, this no longer applies.

Along with gathering input from your veterinarian or reputable vet assistant program, it is helpful to be aware of some valuable guidelines for your adult dog’s feeding habits and options that exist, as follows:

  • Timed Feeding: a feeding style that is limited in duration.  You set down food and if your dog does not eat it all, the bowl is taken away.
  • Free Choice:a style that allows food to be left out during the day that allows your dog to eat whenever he/she is hungry.  Typically, dry food is used in this method. 
  • Portion Feeding:a measured amount of food is provided as a meal that can be a combination of dry, moist, or semi-moist only, that is typically given twice per day.

With the two meals per day option that is often recommended as part of a veterinary assistant program, meals are easier to monitor and control.  Typically they are spaced ten to twelve hours apart.

Other recommendations that are helpful when you need to get information about feeding changes during your dog’s adult years can include:

  • Veterinary input: contacting your veterinarian’s office can help you determine best practices for your individual pet during their adult years.  Often, a certified vet assistant program can also provide guidance in this process.
  • Five Percent Rule: treats can be overdone at any age but overdoing treats can have a particularly adverse affect on an adult dog whose activity level has changed.  Treats should not comprise more than five percent of your dog’s caloric intake per day.
  • Maintenance Plus Ten–to-Forty: know your dog’s caloric maintenance requirements plus the percent allowed for their activity level for dietary balance. This is very important in adult dogs, in particular.  The maintenance level is defined as ‘normal’ activity plus (or minus) the increase.  Sedentary dogs may need ten percent below normal caloric intake, while adult dogs that remain active may require up to 40 percent more calories in their daily feedings. 
  • Working Dogs: if you have an adult dog who still ‘works’, he/she will require additional food intake.  Police dogs, guide dogs, or sheep/cattle herding dogs can require up to 70 percent above the normal daily requirements for their age.
  • It’s Show Time: show dogs may have seasonal fluctuations during their adult years, requiring up to 20 percent more calories above normal while on the show circuit.  Once back home, you can reduce their food levels by 20 percent.
  • Weather and Illness: when a pooch has had illness or surgery, a nutritionally balanced diet is very important for healing.  Both hot and cold weather have their own unique impact on a dog’s caloric needs.  Extreme cold weather conditions may require an increase in food to meet the body’s increased metabolic needs.

As any animal care professional will tell you, it is important to know how to feed your adult dog as they move through changes in activity, climate, productivity, or illness.  Whether information is gained through certified veterinary assistant programs or other veterinary professionals, keeping your adult dog healthy through proper feeding can benefit them greatly for years to come.

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