Purchasing a pet is a very important and crucial step. With the advent of the four-legged baby in the house, a lot of questions arise, including, and what is the best way to feed the dog: dry or natural. It does not matter what the owner is guided by when choosing one or another diet for the pet, the main thing is that the food is completely balanced and meets the needs of the dog at every moment of its life. When choosing natural food for dogs, it is necessary to take into account many nuances, find out what can be given and what is not worth it, what can be harmful or is strictly forbidden. What should be the ratio of products in the diet, what should be the portion so as not to overfeed the pet and at the same time satisfy the needs of the body.
The benefits of natural nutrition
The main argument in favor of natural nutrition for dogs is their origin. The distant ancestors of our pets are predators. They hunted and got their own meat. Sometimes, after an unsuccessful hunt, they had to eat plant foods (fruits, berries that fell from the trees). But, nature did not provide a ready-made solution in the form of feed. Therefore, meat is the most natural and natural product for feeding a dog.
The structure of the jaw and the characteristics of the digestive system are not intended for the consumption of small, soft or liquid foods. When the dog eats meat, the teeth are naturally cleaned of plaque, and the high acidity of the stomach is aimed at processing coarse muscle fibers. Natural food promotes proper digestion and the functioning of all organs.
A well-composed natural diet satisfies the body's needs for proteins, fats, carbohydrates. It contains the necessary vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Natural nutrition is diverse and makes it easy to replace products in case of intolerance or dog preferences. You always know what your pet eats, you independently control the quality of the products.
Natural Nutrition Menu
A balanced natural diet should be varied, including meat, cereals, vegetables, fruits, and fats in the right percentage. Using these products in daily feeding, you will make the pet's menu full, healthy, nutritious, tasty and most importantly healthy.
What exactly and in what quantity should a dog have in a bowl daily?
Meat and meat products are the basis, the main component of the whole diet. The menu should contain up to 50% of the fresh product daily. There is no need to buy expensive tenderloin or the best pieces of meat for your pet. Feeding trimmed beef, veal and offal is allowed. Heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, trachea, udder - may be present in the diet 2-3 times a week. The nutritional value of offal is lower than that of pure meat, so their portion should be twice as large. The only exception is the udder - it has a high calorie content. Very useful for dogs, especially large breeds, unpeeled beef scar. You can give chicken, turkey, rabbit.
The meat is given to the dog in portions in raw form. We have already talked about whether raw meat is possible for dogs and the prevention of parasite infection. Bones cannot serve as a substitute for meat and generally it is undesirable to include them in the diet. Read more about whether dogs can be bones read here.
We have already sorted out which cereals can be given to dogs, which are undesirable or impossible at all. But cereals in the diet of pets remain in question. Some owners are sure that cereals should not be added to the menu at all, however, it is difficult to find a simpler and richer source of carbohydrates than cereals. Such cereals as rice and buckwheat contain a mass of the most important micro and macro elements, vitamins necessary for the normal functioning of the animal’s body. But, if the pet has intolerance to any one cereal or all - cereals can be excluded.
The norm of cereals is up to 30% of the daily volume of food.
An important role in the digestive, nervous system and the entire body of the dog is played by vegetables. They are a source of fiber, carbohydrates and many useful substances. Vegetables are given raw, heat-treated, added to cereal. The pet menu should include up to 20% of vegetables daily. What kind of vegetables in the dog's diet should be present, read here.
No matter how strange it may sound, fruit in the dog’s diet is also necessary. They are an excellent source of vitamins, carbohydrates and trace elements. Perfect as a treat and promotion, prevention of plaque and stone formation. You can include fruits in the daily diet in a small amount, about 5% of the total amount of food.
Natural dog food should include milk and dairy products as an important source of calcium and potassium, fat and protein. Many owners are faced with the problem of milk intolerance (due to a decrease in the amount of lactase) and completely exclude dairy products from the diet. It is not right. In the article “Is it possible for dogs to milk” we talked about what product and how to give pets properly.
Cottage cheese and kefir are also an important and necessary element of a proper natural diet. The content of a large number of nutrients and vitamins, the absence of lactose and nutritional value allows sour-milk products to become a full-fledged part of the dog’s menu. In the article “Is it possible to give cottage cheese to a dog”, we spoke in detail about its beneficial properties and the need for a pet’s body, as well as which and in what quantity it should be present in the diet.
Hard cheese is a very fatty and heavy product for the dog's body. Minimal harm is diarrhea and digestive upset, with regular use - liver problems are almost guaranteed. But as a treat, a small piece of cheese is fine. You can read more about this product here: "Is it possible for dogs to cheese".
Fish - in the diet of the dog must be present, but exclusively marine or oceanic, fatty varieties. Giving it should be boiled and peeled. River and estuary fish can cause serious helminth infections, which are dangerous for the dog’s health.
Chicken eggs are given to the dog 1-2 times a week. If the pet refuses to eat a boiled egg, you can mix the raw into porridge or cottage cheese.
Feeding and Serving Size
If everything is simple and clear with the food - the manufacturer indicates the exact amount in grams on the package, depending on the weight and level of activity of the dog, then the situation with natural food for the dog is different. Serving size and number of feeds is calculated based on the age and weight of the dog:
- puppies aged 2 to 6 months should receive a portion of 7-8% of their own weight, divided into 4-5 meals,
- puppies from 6 months to a year eat a portion of 6% of their weight in 2-3 doses,
- dogs older than one year should receive a portion in the amount of 4-5% of their body weight, divided into 2 meals.
Based on the size of the daily portion, you can calculate the amount of all necessary components of the correct natural diet: meat, meat and sour-milk products, fish, vegetables and fruits.
New products, such as chicken, carrots, apples, eggs and others that can cause an allergic reaction, are introduced into the diet one at a time, not more than once every 10-14 days. Observe the body’s reaction to new food, adjust the amount of servings depending on the activity of the dog, on its appearance (the dog should not be too thin or thick). Natural food for dogs should not be from the "general table". Human food contains salt, spices, can be spicy and heavy. Choosing this type of food for your pet, you should be prepared to devote some time to cooking for him.
Basic rules for feeding a dog
Veterinarians remind you that you should not mix dry food and natural products.
The constant use of granules or canned foods leads to a decrease in the number of enzymes produced by the pancreas. Therefore, a sharp transition to natural food will be a serious burden on the digestive tract of the dog.
Most of the food is not digested and the risk of putrefactive processes in the intestine increases. Among the adverse moments can also include the development of gastritis, flatulence and other, unpleasant conditions.
Having abandoned the idea of mixing dry and natural feed in the diet, the owners will also have to learn another important point.
Porridge with a small bone cannot be considered a balanced natural food!
In addition to carbohydrates and fiber, vitamins and minerals, a sufficient amount of protein and fat should be included in the diet of the animal. That is why a balanced diet with natural food is much more complicated than with ready-made diets.
Veterinarians recommend that you follow a few simple rules when using a natural type of food:
- The amount of food. It is very important not only not to leave your dog hungry, but also not to overfeed him. Choosing the optimal portion will allow observation of the animal,
- Clean the bowl after eating. After the pet is offered food after 15-20 minutes, the bowl should be removed. Regardless of whether the dog ate or not. This solution will help to avoid spoilage of products, and also help to accustom the pet to timely eating food,
- Maintain equal intervals between feedings,
- Do not include salt in the dog’s diet,
- Try not to reduce the cost of the animal’s diet by replacing quality ingredients with a cheaper analogue,
- Diversity. You should not accustom a four-legged pet to only a limited range of products,
- Do not forget about vitamin and mineral complexes. They will avoid vitamin deficiency.
It is important: For owners who do not have experience in creating a balanced diet, the best solution would be to consult with a veterinarian.
He will help you choose the right type of feeding, recommend the most suitable products, and also help to calculate their daily rate, taking into account the physiological condition of the pet, its activity and other factors.
How much food should be given to the dog
How to choose the perfect amount of food for a dog? It is necessary to consult with a specialist or carefully monitor the behavior of the animal at the time of feeding.
If the dog quickly eats the offered amount of food and the bowl remains cleanly licked, then the next feeding can increase the portion a little. If, after 15-20 minutes, part of the food remains in the bowl, then the next portion should be slightly reduced.
It is important: You should carefully monitor the four-legged friend. Many individuals are prone to gluttony. The result is excess weight, which negatively affects the state of the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and other systems.
When gaining extra pounds, you should increase physical activity for the dog and reduce the serving.
How to feed a dog
Creating a balanced diet for your four-legged friend is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance.
- It is enough to observe the proportions of the main ingredients:
- Meat, meat products should not be less than 35-50%,
- Cereals cannot be included in the menu in an amount of more than 25-35%,
- Dairy products occupy 25-30% from the daily ration of the dog,
- Vegetables and fruits are included in the menu in an amount of approximately 15% of the total mass.
It is important: Veterinarians remind you that you should not go to extremes and be afraid sometimes to slightly change the ratio of products.
For example, one day you can abandon dairy products in favor of meat offal. Or reduce the number of vegetables in favor of increasing the portion of cottage cheese or kefir.
By nature, a dog is a predator. And its digestive tract is adapted for the digestion of meat and meat offal.
That is why meat should be the main product in the diet of the animal. But there are several rules, observing which you can increase the benefits of its use:
- Give meat offal and meat only in thawed form. They can be put in advance from the freezer into the refrigerator. Another option is to boil the products until half-cooked or treat with boiling water after the freezer,
- Calculate the optimal amount of meat for your pet. For every kg of weight you must give from 15 to 20-25g meat per day
- The right choice of meat. Ideal option is lean beef, rabbit, lamb or horse meat. Veterinarians strongly recommend giving up pork,
- Offal is good for the body, but should not be used as a meat substitute all the time. Meat should be present in the dog's diet daily. And offal can only be used as a supplement, but not the main ingredient.
It is important: Do not give meat products of dubious quality to the dog under any circumstances. If the available meat raises doubts about its freshness, then it is better to increase the portion of dairy products and buy fresh the next day.
Using poultry in a dog’s daily diet should be extremely careful. Many animals have an allergic reaction to meat and offal from chicken or turkey.
Therefore, before introducing a bird into the daily menu in large quantities, you should make sure that the pet does not have hypersensitivity to it.
It is impossible to completely replace beef with poultry. Only in rare cases is it possible to introduce chicken and turkey into the animal's diet for a short time.
Optimal use of poultry 1-2 times per week in the absence of an allergic reaction in the dog and signs of impaired digestion.
Its presence in the diet is a prerequisite for a balanced diet. The best solution is to introduce fish 1-2 times in Week.
But you should also follow simple rules:
- Sea fish can be given fresh,
- River must first be boiled. This will eliminate the risk of infection with parasites. An alternative would be keeping it in the freezer for several days.
It is important: Fish contains essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Therefore, its regular use will favorably affect the condition of the coat, skin and metabolism of the dog.
An important point will be the removal of all bones. Otherwise, there is a high risk of injury to the gastrointestinal mucosa.
Of particular note is the question of which cereals should be chosen for dogs. Veterinarians recommend giving preference:
- Buckwheat groats
- Less commonly, barley and oatmeal (oatmeal).
Boil cereals should be in the meat broth. For this purpose, dog handlers recommend the use of beef bones, which give a good fat.
You can also boil the cereals in water, and then add 1/3 - 1/2 of the daily norm of meat 5-10 minutes before being ready. The remaining meat products should be given raw to the pet.
Among the prohibited cereals, experts include:
- Corn grits,
- All kinds of legumes,
- And also pearl barley.
They negatively affect the digestive tract and do not have a beneficial effect on metabolism.
Fruits and berries
They are a natural source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Therefore, the optimal solution would be to use fruit as a treat.
Citrus should be discarded.They adversely affect the body of the animal. And also increase the risk of developing an allergic reaction. The number of fruits and berries can not be limited.
Veterinarians recommend using them as the basis for the preparation of rich broth. But give after this to the pet - should not.
On the one hand, bones are a good way to rid a dog of tartar. But pieces of bones get into the digestive tract and can cause damage.
A reasonable alternative would be to use artificial bones, which can be purchased at any specialized store, department of a hypermarket or a veterinary pharmacy.
Porridge on meat broth, as well as the daily norm of meat. Additionally, you can give your pet vegetables or fruits. 1-2 times a week, meat should be replaced with fish.
Also, in the evening feeding a couple of times a week, boiled chicken eggs (1 piece each) should be added. Or raw quail (3-4 pieces each).
It is important: Veterinarians recommend not to mix meat and dairy products in one feeding. And also do not give both fish and meat.
If your dog flatly refuses to eat fresh vegetables, then you can go for a little trick. Slightly boiled or stewed vegetables will probably be enjoyed by a fastidious four-legged pet.
Dog handlers are advised to exclude sweet, smoked, spicy, and also salty from the pet’s diet. And under no circumstances mix natural menus and ready-made rations.
In case of emergency, the transition should be gradual so that the dog's body can adapt. The duration of adaptation cannot be less than 14 days.