Feeding Your Adult Dog

Starts with Knowing Your Dog’s Eating Habits and Lifestyle

First and foremost, feeding your adult dog starts with knowing his/her breed requirements, energy level and lifestyle! After all, you wouldn’t feed a demanding, hard working adult puppy food, and you wouldn’t feed a puppy dog food designed for a fully grown pet.

For the Active Dogs

There are ‘lap dogs’, or those comfortable with little else other than relaxing with the family, and then there are the high endurance working breeds that love to run and play, and require large amounts of daily exercise to be happy. Of course their nutritional requirements will reflect that!

A highly active dog is going to consume more calories than a less active dog the same size. That being said, you want to be careful not to overfeed your pet, all the while offering a higher quality food. A less active dog won’t need quite as much, but still requires the same essentials.

Higher quality dog foods containing fewer carbohydrates (wheat, grains) are especially important for older dogs, less active and much more prone to weight gain.

Wet Dog Food vs. Dry Food

There are a lot of benefits with using wet dog food, beyond puppy hood. It’s true, puppies should transition to wet food at about 4 weeks before moving on to dry dog food, but it’s also very useful for senior dogs who have a difficult time chewing, beneficial in hot environments when you want to make sure your pup is getting enough water, and often preferable when looking for a limited ingredient dog food.

Wet dog food is a great option when trying to increase your dog’s water intake.

Complete, Balanced Diet

When feeding your adult dog, it’s important to offer a complete and balanced diet. Most dog foods today, at least those manufactured in the USA, have met important guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Where as it’s true that dogs should eat a diet mainly composed of animal meat, they shouldn’t be fed entirely animal meat and nothing else. The same is true for avid vegetarians seeking to feed their pets a vegan diet. Without the assistance of a veterinary nutritionist, these dogs can easily become deficient in one area or another.

Dogs are Carnivorous

Even though they have somewhat adapted to a human lifestyle over the past few hundred years, dogs have evolved from Grey wolves, a predatory animal who thrived on meat for tens, even hundreds of thousands of years. Their bodies can live off the protein from plant sources, and many of them do today, but it isn’t their ideal food source.

Essential Amino Acids

All proteins are composed of smaller molecules, called amino acids, which are what our bodies actually use. Many amino acids can already be made by our bodies, but some need to be found in the foods we eat (and our dog’s food). If they aren’t, we become malnourished.

All of the essential amino acids a dog needs are easily found in animal meat, but difficult to find in plants. This means a dog would need to eat more of a plant based food in order to get the proper nutrition, which often leads to weight gain.

No Carbohydrates Needed

Believe it or not, dogs have almost no need for any carbohydrates in their diets! Unlike humans, who use carbs for a vital source of energy production, a dog’s body has evolved to thrive without them.

Unfortunately, many of the most popular dog foods today are extremely inexpensive, inexpensive because they are very cheaply made. Rather than focus on high quality meats, many of these brands produce plant based foods. Packed with cheap ‘filler’ ingredients, like corn, wheat and other grains, these starchy foods are very high in carbohydrates.

(Read this: How to Select a Great Dog Food).

Where as the avg. wild dog, or wolf, might get 15% or less of his total calories from carbohydrates, the average pet gets 40-50% or more. This has led to a tremendous weight gain problem!

In the end, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of corn, a few potatoes or some wheat. They aren’t bad for your dog in moderation, and do offer some fantastic nutrients! However, they shouldn’t be the main ingredient in any meal.