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Natural nutrition: how to choose the right amount of natural food

Meat is natural for a dog, oats for a horse.

In the past, when dry food was exotic for pets, the term “natural diet” was not used. It came into use when natural food substitutes became available on the market and were intensively marketed. Today, it is not very often that you meet a dog owner who knows the answer to the question: “What is natural food?”. Most people think of it as any food other than dry food.

This is a misconception. Food must be natural, not only in its origin, but also adapted to the specific animal species. Examples: meat, oats. Both are natural products, but meat is suitable for dogs and not for horses. So oats are completely “natural” for horses, unlike dogs. Dogs also do not eat hay, which is quite natural for a rabbit.

So if a dog is fed bread and porridge (and more) and a horse is fed half a bucket of protein (meat) food, to call it natural. This is not the case with other diets.

Required food intake on a natural diet

The amount of natural food to be fed to each dog is selected individually. The age of the dog, its condition (pregnancy, illness), and its lifestyle, which is often not very active, are important. However, some general guidelines can be established.

Puppies up to 6 months of age (most small and large dog breeds) are actively growing. In order to properly support the development of the organism, the diet should not be poor. The dog should receive 7% of its body weight in food. From the age of six months, the amount of food needed is 2 times less – 3.5% of body weight.

Please note that this is the amount of food for the whole day, which should be divided over 2 to 3 generations. Example: a 10 month old dog weighing 30 kg. 3.5% of body weight equals 1 kg. The other 0.5 kg is dairy products. In addition, the dog must receive plant food.

It is more difficult to digest, but it forms the intestinal microflora properly. Any plant food (carrots(e.g. apples, cabbage, lettuce) must be raw and chopped. Sweet fruits and starchy vegetables (bananas, potatoes) are not allowed.

How to avoid eating too little or too much food?

This is the most common mistake when feeding a dog. Malnutrition is extremely rare. How can I identify and prevent overeating? First of all, the bowl must remain empty when the dog eats. If there is any food left, reduce the amount.

If you notice that your dog is differentiating between ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, you know that he has overeaten. Reduce the amount of ‘favourite’ food.

The dog (not the puppy!) eats the whole amount of food and the weight increases. Reduce the amount of food to avoid obesity.

The dog eats all the food but will not eat if you offer more. Reduce the amount of food. It is normal for a dog to eat another bite, it is normal for a dog to be slightly hungry. Allowing a pet to be full is not a normal condition.

The dog eats all the food you give it, but at the same time it is the spider decreases in size as it passes the normal weight limit. Not enough food for the animal – increase the amount!

Weight: normal, underweight, overweight

What is considered normal weight and what is considered underweight or overweight? There is a scheme by which an animal is judged whether it has body fat.

In a pet of normal weight, the ribs are easily palpable with the fingers, but are not visible to the eye. When the dog is standing, its abdomen should be raised, that is, it should not be the same size as the chest.

Does your dog resemble this description? Hence the weight within normal limits. Any differences? Most likely the pet is underweight or overweight. Weigh your dog so you can see how your pet’s body weight is changing. Use caution when referring to the breed standard for weight: it is relative and often higher than veterinary norms.

These dietary recommendations will suit most dog breeds, but, however, for certain breeds of dogs, certain modifications are needed, which will be prescribed by the veterinarian who looks after your dog.

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