Set new goals for your dog this New Year that will help him achieve a healthier body. In this article, we will share 3 New Year diet resolutions for your pooch so he can put his best paw forward and live a fuller life.
1. Weigh Your Dog’s Food
Research has shown how dog owners are significantly inaccurate in measuring their dog’s meals despite using a measuring cup. Many tend to overfill the scoop, which can be a problem as it increases the danger of obesity-related canine ailments.
Other Common Measuring Problems
It must be emphasized that using measuring cups does not guarantee the right amount of dog food. They tend to vary in size, shape, and measurement purposes. Different measuring cups might provide different results depending on the food item or ingredient.
If we look into dog food, a nearly similar issue happens too. They come in a wide range of forms. Some are made to be small and dense, while others are large and light.
Moreover, each dog food brand uses different formulas, making their nutritional density vary from one another. These factors add more challenges in acquiring the right measurement.
The Best Alternative Solution
The best way to precisely measure your dog’s food is to weigh it in grams using a kitchen food scale. Here is a simple guide on how to carry out this task:
- Check the dog food’s measuring information.
Measuring how much food to scoop will be easier if the brand specifically lists it down. So, look for this information on the bag.
Generally, it would provide the weight of 1 cup of food. For instance, 1 standard 8-ounce measuring cup holds 100g of dog food.
If the brand did not provide this information, you need to take the extra step of contacting the manufacturer. Once you have obtained it, you can use this information to calculate the expected number of grams your dog needs per day.
- Get the right measuring cup.
Do not use measuring cups meant for wet ingredients. Studies have shown how using it yields more inaccurate measurements.
Thus, opt for a dry food ingredient measuring cup that matches the amount of dog food needed. It would even be better if the cup were specifically made to measure your dog’s food.
- Prepare for weighing.
Make sure to place the kitchen scales on a flat-level surface to avoid measurement inaccuracies. Additionally, the measuring cup’s weight should be zeroed or tarred before pouring the dog food.
- Always remove excess dog food.
Avoid the common mistake of filling the measuring cup to the brim. Level the dog food with the cup’s rip by gently tapping or shaking it. No mounds of dog food should form above the rim.
- Write down your dog’s weight regularly.
Keep a record of your dog’s weekly weight to know if he is abnormally gaining or losing pounds. Then, adjust his food portions accordingly.
Measuring and weighing your dog’s daily meals might seem over the top and a bit time-consuming. However, this method is beneficial for you and your dog in the long run.
It will protect your dog from the health dangers that often come with overfeeding. In turn, you do not have to worry about expensive vet bills.
2. Give Your Dog Probiotics When He Needs Them the Most.
Your canine companion’s digestive tract is home to good gut bacteria known as probiotics. These living microorganisms are observed to be crucial for maintaining different body processes, including proper nutrient absorption and strengthening the immune system.
Times When Dogs Greatly Benefit From Prebiotics
Oftentimes, healthy dogs do not need probiotics since their bodies can preserve a healthy intestinal microbial balance.
However, once they experience stress, anxiety, dietary changes, or digestive ailments, a digestive microflora imbalance may occur. Certain medical treatments, such as taking antibiotics, can cause this negative side effect too. It leaves dogs’ bodies very vulnerable to health issues.
When these types of situations happen, your dog can greatly benefit from having probiotics added to his diet. They help restore the balance of digestive microbes and revitalize the immune system, bringing it back to its proper health.
Considerations to Make When Using Dog Probiotics
Many factors should be taken into account to ensure the potency of your furry pal’s probiotics. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Look for probiotic strains specifically beneficial for your dog.
Good gut bacteria in canines come in many strains and with different functions. Probiotics that effectively work on some dogs will not produce the same results on others. Thus, it is important to choose strains that cater to your pet’s needs.
For instance, if your pooch is suffering from anxiety, Bifidobacterium longum (BL999) is a good option. Studies have shown that it promotes calm behavior in canines. Working with the vet will help you find the most suitable choice for your dog.
- Check the expiration date.
Much like any live microorganism, probiotics die eventually. With this in mind, buy dog probiotics when they are still far from the expiration date to get the most out of them. We recommend purchasing products during the first 6 months after manufacture.
Nearly expired probiotics leave little to no live bacteria, making them less potent. Once the product is past the expiry date, throw it out. There is no use for it as all of its beneficial microorganisms have died.
- Store probiotics for dogs properly.
Always follow the storage direction of the product. In general, freeze-dried probiotics, typically in powder or pill form, can be left at room temperature. Just make sure to keep them in a dark, cool, and dry place. The temperature should not go beyond 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, liquid varieties require more care. They need to be refrigerated due to high heat sensitivity. Placing them near heat-emitting sources can kill live microorganisms.
- Feed the probiotics.
Your dog’s good gut bacteria will gradually disappear if they are not well-fed. Increase their lifespan in their digestive tract by adding prebiotics to their meals. They serve as the probiotic’s food, which allows them to thrive. Below are some natural prebiotic options for your pooch:
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
Although probiotics work well in relieving many health issues in dogs, they are not a cure-all. Dogs suffering from chronic or severe illnesses such as leaky gut and IBD may need more help than that. Take proper consultation with the vet to find a more appropriate treatment for them.
3. Do Not Neglect Your Dog’s Drinking Habits
Unlike humans, dogs’ sweat glands are only found in a few areas of their body, such as their paw pads. Hence, they cool down at a slower pace than we do.
Dogs mostly rely on panting to maintain their body temperature. This makes them easily at risk of dehydration. For this reason, encouraging dogs to drink water more often is important.
Ideal Daily Water Intake For Dogs
In general, dogs are recommended to drink 1 ounce of water per day for every pound of body weight.
However, some pooches require a higher water intake than others. This is true for puppies since they tend to be very active. So, their bodies need more hydration than adult dogs.
A weaning puppy should have around 1/2 cup of water every two hours. Fully weaned pups can have up to 1/2 or 1 ounce of water daily per pound of body weight.
Keep in mind that if your dog has a moisture-rich diet, he will consume less water. But that’s okay since his meals provide him with extra hydration. On the other hand, a pooch mainly eating dry dog food must be encouraged to drink water.
How To Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake
Here are some things you can do to help your furry pal drink more water and remain well-hydrated:
- Add water to your dog’s meals.
Take at least 1/4 or 1/2 cup of warm water and pour it into your pet’s food. This is particularly useful for dogs on a dry food diet since their meals only possess around 10-12% of moisture.
Another added benefit it provides is improving your furry pal’s appetite. The water releases the meaty aroma of his food, making it more enticing. It also makes his digestive process smoother, which prevents stomach upset.
- Place slices of fruits and veggies in his water bowl.
Putting ice cubes in dogs’ drinks is commonly recommended by many dog owners but avoid doing so. They are hard to chew and may cause tooth fractures and choking.
A safer and healthier alternative would be to put small chunks of fruits and vegetables in your pet’s water. Pick varieties with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, blueberries, and celery, for extra hydration.
- Make use of Kong toys and licking mats.
Create a fun activity for your pooch by offering him a Kong or licking mat with frozen blended fruits and veggies. It is a great way to help him hydrate and cool down, especially during the hot summer season.
Also, chewing and licking his toys provides mental stimulation. It is a calming activity that keeps him busy as well as reduces his stress levels.
- Make drinking water comfortable.
Get a water bowl with a non-slip base to keep it from sliding away as dogs drink. If your canine companion is elderly, we advise placing the bowl near his bed. This way, he does not need to walk far to access water.
Using elevated water bowls is a great idea for arthritic and senior dogs. It prevents them from bending over, which can make their limbs and joints sore and painful.
- Practice good hygiene.
Do not leave your dog’s water in the bowl for too long. Prolonged exposure to various elements can alter its taste and make it stale. To keep his water fresh, aim to change it twice a day.
Dogs become finicky drinkers if their bowl is dirty. Wash them daily using canine-safe dish soap and warm water. Keeping your furry pal’s water bowl clean not only encourages good drinking habits but also reduces the proliferation of harmful bacteria.
Do note that sometimes dogs drink less water than they need. However, it should not happen regularly. A pooch that refuses to drink water for more than 1-2 days requires a vet check-up. He might have developed an underlying disease that hinders him from consuming water.