General information about Feeding your Pets

Food prepared at home should be chopped well into small pieces. Ready-made feeds are extruded in right pellet size and no further chopping or grinding is required. Do not worry if you see the dog swallowing a chunk of food at one go without proper chewing. Canine teeth are 'designed' for cutting and tearing the meat and then to remove it from the bone. There are no lateral movements to jaw as in herbivores.

Many people assume that raw meat is better relished by dogs. Cooking is always recommended  considering the level of meat inspection we have here in our country as well as for ease of digestion. Pork should never to be given raw at any cost.

Dogs’ food has to be served at room temperature. If it is freshly cooked meat or boiled milk, let it cool down. If it is taken from the refrigerator, let it thaw to room temperature. In very cold climates, dogs prefer to take warm food.

Feeding table-scrap is a common practice and nothing is wrong in feeding table-scrap to your pets. However, never think that a dog can be maintained by table-scrap alone or with a handful of rice or piece of chapathi/roti. Table-scrap will seldom be a balanced feed. Also, make sure that fish bones or poultry bone is not included. It is acceptable for cats.

A pup or dog which is always hungry is either to be de-wormed or need a scientifically formulated feed which is energy-dense as well. Sometimes it is simply a glutton; some breeds have greater tendency to be gluttonous, like labrador.

Do not worry if your dog skips a meal or so. But if it refuses three or four meals in a row, call a vet. Dogs easily get 'spoiled' in eating habits. If he is already spoiled, we will have to 'un-spoil' him from this habit. He may be stubborn initially, but hunger can tame or conquer any habits.

Giving candies in-between is likely to spoil him. Remember that chocolates are not good for dogs and may even cause toxicity. Treats are better used during training or as positive reinforcement or for any other good performance. If he is obese, make the treat with raw carrot or apple and avoid dog-candy. Make a schedule of feeding your pup in the same dish, place and time. Make this 'your habit' as far as possible to make feeding your pet an easy task.

Now, breed-specific food is available. If the feed for your breed is not available, you can go for category-feeds like: Small-breed junior/adult/senior, Medium breed, Large breed, Giant breed or like-wise. If you do not intend to make use of formulated feed, take these guidelines: your dog’s basic food should comprise of equal amount of cooked, good quality meat, biscuit crumbs or meal, added table scrap - especially vegetables and fats like butter or cheese.

Some foreign books will recommend raw meat. Considering the quality of raw meat we get from our slaughter-houses, it needs thorough cooking. Feed milk daily once and three soft-cooked eggs a week. Some dogs will not tolerate milk and may cause diarrhoea. Then, dilute with water or try soya milk. Quantity of feed required will vary by factors like the size, age, activity, pregnancy, lactation, convalescence etc. Remember that best results are obtained by scientifically formulated, balanced feed.

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