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Nutrition & Grooming

Nutrition & Grooming

Nutrition & Grooming

Choosing a diet and feeding schedule can be difficult for a new pet owner. In this section we've given you some tips and advice on feeding schedules, good foods for dogs and food you should avoid.

We've also outlined some important grooming tips to ensure that your dog is not only healthy on the inside, but on the outside as well. Grooming helps remove dead hair and stimulate skin circulation and turnover. Not to mention doing wonders for personal stress and blood pressure and helps you bond with your pet!

Expert Answers

Our expert vet team posts answers to the more common questions. Some questions you may be interested in are :

Common symptoms of food allergy are gastrointestinal upset that may include vomiting and/ or diarrhea or even just soft stools, and/or skin problems with rashes and itchiness. You might notice that these signs occur when your dog eats a certain food; but then avoiding this food, the signs might not return. If you are concerned that your dog has food allergy and can't work out why, consult your veterinarian. This can be a very frustrating situation as there are no reliable tests to determine which food ingredient your dog may be reacting to.

In most cases the cause of obesity is quite simple: too much food and not enough exercise.
That being said, there are a number of factors that can also play a role.
Although dogs of any size or breed can become obese, some breeds are more susceptible to weight gain. These breeds include (among others):

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Golden retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Daschunds
  • Pugs
  • Chihuahuas
  • Basset hounds

Obesity can also be the result of underlying medical conditions.

If you are asking yourself if your dog is obese? Visit:

Most dogs love food, so when a dog isn't eating, it usually indicates that they are not well. Veterinary attention should be sought.

While heart disease is usually not curable, as a pet owner you can incorporate some simple dietary changes that when used in combination with medical therapies can ensure your dog has a good quality of life.
Sodium restriction is usually the first dietary change that is recommended for patients with heart failure because the condition tends to lead to salt and water retention. Typically, many commercial brands of pet food have relatively high salt levels. Pet treats can also be high in salt and should be avoided. Other minerals important for heart health include potassium and magnesium. It is important to supply the correct levels of these essential nutrients in the diet for optimal effect.

Protein should not be overly restricted in dogs with heart disease and the calorie content of the food needs to be appropriate to maintain your pet's ideal body weight. Excess body weight results in increased work requirements for the heart, while too little energy is also deleterious.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be useful in some patients with heart disease as they may help to reduce inflammation which may ultimately reduce the risk of muscle wasting and heart rhythm abnormalities.

Whilst there are some important dietary changes you can make for your pet suffering heart disease, it is important that such changes are done in the context of providing an overall palatable and nutritionally balanced food. There are a variety of commercially available therapeutic diets available through your veterinarian, which are specifically formulated to meet all the nutritionally requirements of particular medical conditions. Speak to your veterinarian about any specific dietary changes you may need to undertake to maintain your pet's health.

Dogs are believed to be non-obligate carnivores, meaning that a dog is not dependent on meat-specific protein in order to fulfill its basic dietary requirements. Dogs are able to healthily digest a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains, and in fact dogs can consume a large proportion of these in their diet. In the wild, dogs not only eat available plants to obtain essential amino acids, but also obtain nutrients from vegetable matter from the stomach and intestinal contents of their herbivorous prey, which they usually consume.

As such, I do not think there should be much harm in your dog eating small amounts of bird seed that your cage birds flick onto the floor. (It also saves you having to sweep it up!)

The best diet you can give your puppy is actually premium brand puppy food and water only, once they have been weaned fully. Once your puppy has been fully weaned, they no longer require milk, so you do not have to give them puppy milk at all. The dry form of puppy and dog food is the most economical and is also better for your dog's teeth, compared to the canned foods.
As much as we love to spoil our puppies with table scraps, treats and snacks, and make our own home-cooked meals for them, the nutritional balance in such diets is often not very good and it may lead to nutritional deficiencies in your puppy.

All premium brands of pet foods have been carefully and scientifically prepared to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy, and it may seem bland to eat the same thing day-in and day-out, but rest assured that you are really doing the best for your puppy.

Moreover, if you don't ever feed them human foods, they will not develop a taste for them, and thus may prevent future begging behaviour, obesity, vomiting and diarrhea, anal gland problems etc. And they will be very happy with their dog food for the rest of their lives!

The most common reason dogs eat grass is because they like it. A common misconception is that they have a nutrient deficiency or are trying to make themselves sick. Grass is an irritant to the stomach in large amounts and can cause vomiting. Large amounts of grass eating can also cause blockages in the stomach and intestine as they form a clump during digestion. It is best to keep your dog away from long grass to eat but keep them on a lead during walks or by keeping gardens well manicured. This will also prevent any problems with grass seeds during the spring/summer seasons. If you feel your dog is vomiting/eating grass excessively please visit your local veterinarian for a check up.

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