A dog’s life will go through different phases, from a cute little munchkin to a handsome grown-up.
And different phases will come with different food requirements.
In this article, we are going to be discussing the feeding of an adult dog. And will be going through the important elements which are to be considered.
So that you know how to decide the right feed and the right amount for your grown-up munchkin (well, not that little munchkin anymore :D).
1. Is my dog even an adult?
Ok. Obviously, before transitioning from a puppy diet to an adult diet you have to make sure your dog is really an adult. Well, you might think what’s up with that! I’ll just make sure my dog is 12 months old. Um, not so fast. Although many dogs do almost fully grow by 12 months. Not every dog is the same and neither do they grow the same way. For instance, a small-sized breed named “chihuahua” will reach most of its adult weight by 6 months. Whereas a great dane will continue to grow till 18 (months).
A tip will be: to get a measure of the average adult weight of your dog breed and when your dog reaches about 90 percent of that weight. Consider your dog to be an adult. But that’s just a rule of thumb. Do a little research or your best bet will be visiting your vet (yeah ik that rhymed). So that you don’t start providing an adult feed (which contains less nutrient content) while the pup is at it’s growing stage.
2. Which feed type will be suitable for your dog?
Now, there are different types of feed available in the market with their own pros and cons.
There are kibbles (dry feed), raw, canned or moist feed and semi-moist etc. And unfortunately theirs no “perfect” kind of food for all dogs. It will be impossible as well as a misinformation to tell you to feed your dog a certain food throughout its lifetime, just because I personally prefer it. As an overview, dry food will be very cost effective and will contain good amt. of nutrients present with very less moisture content. Wet feeds are high in moisture and are generally found as meat chunks dispersed in a liquid medium. Wet feeds are comparatively pricier than the traditional kibble but are easily digestible and appetizing.
So, yes it’s going to be a little task of yours to try out different kinds of feed and see which one your dog reacts the best to and provide the same (obviously, only if it will fit in your budget). And to know if your dog is reacting well or not. Some tips will be to check the coat if its glossy and shiny and the dog is all fit and active (some dogs are couch potatoes from nature so that’s an exception).
Whichever food you pick, just make sure it meets the required amount of nutrition content. A nutrition fulfilled feed should say it meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standards.
3. How much to feed?
This is also a subjective question. But hold on this isn’t really hard to figure out.
First of all, it will depend on your dog size, a small dog perhaps a pug will require a lot less than a Dalmatian or a Rottweiler. Most of the food packs will have a feeding chart. Which will say the amount (usually in grams or ounces) required for a particular size dog per meal.
But my personal take will be to use those numbers as a starting point and see how much is your dog actually is eating. And then after a good observation, add or take according to your dog’s appetite. Cause again every dog is different.
The activity level of your dog will also play a role in deciding how much to feed. Let’s say a very active dog who runs all day long will obviously be more hungry and need like 10-20% more food than a couch potato who sleeps all day (XD). And it isn’t like a full “fixed” number. A dog may be a bit hungrier (cause it was chasing a squirrel all evening :p) on some days, thus will eat more and that’s just a common theory. But a rapid food habit change can sign to something of concern, so be sure to talk to your vet ASAP if that happens.
And life activities like pregnancy, laboring will obviously change (usually increase) the eating amounts as well. Conditions like obesity will also affect the amounts.
4. When and how many times to feed?
An adult dog will require food less frequently than a puppy (which is around 4 times a day). Many vets suggest feeding twice a day for an adult dog. One in the morning and once in the evening. And most of the dog parents follow that. Although according to your life’s schedule the timing can and will be adjusted.
Although once a day could be possible. But why would you want to take a risk anyways :p?
5. What should be the nutritional value present in my dog’s food?
There are various nutritional contents which are to be present in a balanced dog feed. From protein to fibers, all should be present in an adequate amount.
Every dog feed brand has its own nutritional amount, and it is always a good idea to check whether it is balanced or not. And whether it provides all the essential nutrients or not.
For protein, I’ll say a good amount will be around 20-25%, for fat 10-15% and generally, a large portion of the feed will consist of carbs around 50% including some fibers (around 5%).
6. What about treats?
Many dog parents feed their dog treats occasionally throughout the day. Either for doing something good, such as a trick or just because of their cute faces. Although treats can be a good way to reward your dog and letting him know that he’s doing something good. They have very low nutritional value and mostly just empty calories. Excess of which will be stored as fat (which is obviously bad for their health).
So a good measure is to limit your dog’s treat to about 5% of its daily diet. And most vet does recommend that as well. But obese dog’s will have to bare with fewer or no treats (sad).
So hopefully now you have an understanding of the important guidelines to keep in mind when preparing a diet for your adult dog. So that you can get the best and balanced nutrition for your tucker.
A thing to remember: your dog should have access to water all the time. Especially if the dog’s diet consists of dry food. Cause after all water is very essential (for you too ;D).
As always Good Luck and have a great poochy journey ahead :)!