Nutrition is an inevitable aspect of pet care. So, here’s your own pet nutritionist, Geet Rao, answering your most frequently asked queries. She is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist certified by Academy of Natural Health Sciences, New Jersey, currently pursuing doctoral studies in Pet Nutrition.

She has been practising as a pet nutritionist since six years and has also designed foods for some leading pet food companies in India.

Feel free to send in your queries about your pet’s health and we will answer back your queries here in our Q&A column!

Looking forward to serve your pets for their better health!

How are macro requirements for dogs different from humans?

Dogs also need all 5 macro nutrients groups (proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals). The difference is that dogs need more energy from protein and fats than from carbohydrates. Though, overtime, dogs have developed the ability to digest carbohydrates; they have to be prepared in the right way so dogs can digest them well. AAFCO standards suggest that adult dogs need at least 18% of protein on dry matter basis. To make it simple, Adult dogs should be fed minimum 20% calories from protein. However, while designing modern diets for dogs, the protein varies from 20% calories to as high as 40% calories from protein.

What exactly is the protein requirement of dogs is a highly debatable subject and needs more time and space to elaborate!

How frequently should I feed my dog?

How frequently one should feed one’s dog depends upon the stage of life of dogs. Puppies that are just being weaned off need to be fed as many as 5 to 6 times a day. A puppy from 2 to 4 months of age should be fed upto 4 times a day. As the age of the pup increases, the feeding intervals can be increased. Puppies between 5 to 9 months of age can be fed 3 main meals. And most puppies can be transitioned to 2 meals a day by the time they reach 1 year of age or become an adult.  Once they are adults, 2 main meals with a snack meal and a few treats at walk/play times are enough.

How do I know that my dog is full?

Some pets know when they are full, while some are complete gluttons!  They love to eat to the last bit available. The best way to find out if your pet is eating more than required is to check him on the weighing scale. If your dog is a fully grown adult and is gaining weight beyond the expected maximum weight for his breed, he is eating more than required.

Unless your dog is a fussy eater, most dogs love food and will go on eating until they clean the bowl!

How can I stop my dog from rushing his food at meal times?

Rushing at meal times can be very risky for dogs as it causes them to gulp in air and cause bloat. Sometimes the bloating can be very serious and can cause the stomach to twist, which is a life threatening Condition. Therefore, it is important that dogs should be encouraged to eat slowly.

You can serve the food in a slow feeder. If you do not have a slow feeder, you can use a slightly deeper bowl and put a ball inside it. The dog will have to move the ball around to finish the food, making the process slower for him.

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