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Your puppy or dog’s diet is one of the most important factors in determining its health, happiness, and longevity. Dog nutrition is an important part of pet ownership. Poor diet and nutrition can lead to complex medical problems.
Water serves two primary purposes for dogs. First, it is important to keep dogs hydrated, which supports the healthy operations of its internal systems. Second, water acts as a cooling mechanism for dogs, because they don’t perspire (except on their feet). To cool down and prevent overheating, dogs pant, which requires plenty of moisture in the respiratory system.
Because your dog can’t tell you when it is thirsty, you need to keep a bowl of water available at all times. Change the water about three times a day to keep it fresh and to prevent bacterial build-up. If you have more than one dog, put out one bowl for each dog so that there is always enough for both. Do not limit your dog’s water intake, particularly for puppies when you are housetraining. Water is critical for normal kidney function and its absence can affect the gastrointestinal system.
In the heat of Oklahoma summers, you can use water outdoors to help cool off your dog. Swimming is a great option, too!
Commercial dog food is designed to balance the protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals dogs need to live long and healthy lives. Specific food regimens are available for the changing needs of your dog at different life stages as well. Generally, these are the best solutions for feeding your pet and eliminates any need for supplements. If you do choose to offer your pet human food, be sure to limit it to no more than 10% of its daily intake to make sure it gets a correct balance of nutrients in their diet.
For puppies, Pet Medical Center recommends a premium quality dry dog food. It is particularly important not to give puppies much, if any, human food to make sure they get the vitamins and minerals for proper development of bones, muscles, and organs. Adult dogs can be offered dry dog food mixed with water, broth, or canned food. You can also provide your adult dog with cooked eggs, cottage cheese, fruits, and vegetables on a limited basis.
From day one, it is important to establish a policy preventing anyone from feeding your dog real food at the table. In addition to throwing off your dog’s diet, this leads to begging behavior that can become a bad habit — one that is difficult to overcome later on.