Advice on feeding your pet dog

Dr Leonie Richards, Head of the General Practice at University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital provides some great tips on what to feed your dog to keep it healthy.

What should I feed my pet?

From fresh meats and vegetables to premium quality dry dog food, or commercial tinned pet food, the choice of foods to feed your pet are plentiful and sometimes confusing.

When it comes to human diets, our growing knowledge of nutritional benefits sees us explore all kinds of specialist diets. Our awareness of what goes into our mouths does have a very real impact on our health and helps us take the issue of good food seriously. When it comes to pets, the correlation between what your pet eats and protecting the health of your pet is just as real.

What are the best food options for your pet?

Feed premium pet foods

Yes, they are more expensive but the high-quality ingredients in premium pet food are formulated by pet food specialists who focus on nutritional research. Premium pet foods are extremely palatable and contain all the essential nutrients your pet needs. This means that smaller portions deliver all the good nutrients your pet needs to feel full, energised and content.

Food freshness is very important

When you purchase pet food, check for freshness. If you prefer to purchase your premium pet food in bulk packs to save money, make sure you seal the packaging or transfer to an airtight storage container to help maintain optimum freshness. Pet food should always be stored in a cool, dry place. Make sure you throw away any uneaten food and always wash and dry your pet’s food bowl before adding fresh food.

Dry food versus wet food

As a general guide, hard food (kibble) is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimising build-up of unwanted tartar. Wet food is also less cost effective as you are paying for water content.

Feed the right amount

Talk to your vet about the specific needs of your pet and always check the label to understand the recommended portion to suit your pet’s breed, age and weight.

Avoid "people" food

Although the idea of giving our pets’ human food is seen as an indulgent treat, it can often be a disaster for their health and should be avoided.

Raw food diets

There is a growing trend to feed raw foods and they are not necessarily good. Our pets have specific food requirements and if you want to feed a raw food diet, seek proper nutritional advice from your vet rather than Google.

Do not feed any form of raw chicken as this has been associated with neurological disease in dogs as well as cases of salmonella.

Feeding bones

There is now huge debate whether to feed bones for dental care - discuss options with your vet. Bones can splinter, cause blockages, lead to constipation and cause teeth fracture.

For more advice and to make an appointment, contact us.

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