Dog food

What are the main considerations when feeding your dog, is it bad to give your dog scraps from the table and should dogs eat bones? Here's what you should know.

What is the most important factor in your dog's diet?

What you feed your dog is crucial to its health and so a high-quality, varied diet is key. Dry food generally keeps for longer and is better for their teeth. Wet food usually has a higher meat content and is therefore often preferred by dogs. The two can usually be combined effectively. Snacks and treats are also a very popular way to reward your dog. As all dog food tastes differ, you won't know which food your dog prefers until they've tried a few. Not all dogs tolerate the same food.

You can tell whether or not a certain type of food agrees with your dog by the sheen of its coat and its general state of health. The food or brand should not be changed at random so as not to upset your dog's stomach.

It is also important not to overfeed your dog. Giving them frequent treats will cause them to gain weight and become sluggish. If your dog is overweight, it helps to feed them a little less and incorporate plenty of exercise into their daily routine, just like with humans. If you can no longer feel your dog’s ribs and have to "rummage around" for them, then this is a sign that your dog has piled on a few too many pounds. Ideally you should feed your dog two or three times a day and offer treats only sparingly.


Begging at the table – be consistent

If your dog gives you a pleading look or begins to whine while you're at the table eating, it can be hard not to give in. But consistency is very important. If you feed your dog from the table every now and then, you are effectively rewarding this behaviour and making things harder for both of you in the long run. Consequently, if you want to eat in peace, you should wait until you have finished your meal before feeding your dog. This will also reinforce the natural hierarchy and dissuade your dog from taking further liberties.

As a dog owner, you certainly mustn't feel guilty about this – quite the opposite, in fact. A dog needs clear boundaries that reinforce its place in the pack, i.e. in the family. And besides, food from your plate will most likely be unsuitable for your four-legged friend. Spices and fatty, sweet foods can't be tolerated by dogs and can make them very ill. Chocolate, grapes and onions are all toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities. Dogs can't stomach raisins, raw beans, avocado, garlic or raw potatoes either. For this reason, a species-appropriate diet is crucial.


Bones help keep teeth healthy

A balanced diet is essential for healthy teeth. Sugary treats have no place in a dog food bowl as sugary food can lead to cavities, just like in humans. Even more common in dogs than cavities is the build up of tartar, which can cause inflammation of the gums and, in the worst case scenario, periodontal gum disease. To prevent tooth decay, any food remains should be removed on a regular basis. When it comes to your pet's oral hygiene, you should avoid using human toothbrushes and toothpaste. Instead, there are brushes and toothpastes designed especially for dogs. Alternatively, you can buy special dog food containing tooth-friendly ingredients or dog chews. The latter encourages the production of saliva while chewing, thus leading to a healthy mouth flora.

Bones are the best way for dogs to keep their teeth in check. They contain important minerals and trace elements, and also provide a great source of entertainment. However, there are some important basic rules to observe. Bones should be given to your dog raw so that the nutrients are not lost and the bones don't splinter. Splinters can severely damage a dog's intestinal walls. Smaller bones are more suitable than large ones as they are easier to digest. Large bones cannot be fully digested. The bones of young animals are better as they are smaller, thinner and softer. Giving your dog a bone once a week will suffice.

Artificial chew bones made of buffalo skin, ox hide or stag bars are highly recommended as an alternative to real bones. Unlike with real bones, there is no risk of asphyxiation or injury.