Although the holidays may be an exciting time of the year for you, your pets may find the festivities a little overwhelming. Even normally well-behaved pets can experience a little anxiety when th ...View Article
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Dogs have their own set of rules when it comes to nutrition. Just like humans, dogs must consume the right balance of nutrients to stay healthy. The best canine diet includes a healthy mix of protein, fat, carbohydrates, amino acids and water. At Solomons Veterinary Medical Center, we help you and other dog owners make the right choices about the type and quantity of food for their four-legged friends.
In many ways, dog nutrition is simple. Unlike cats, dogs are omnivores, so they get the nutrients they need from a wide variety of plants and animals. Cats are carnivores, so they require an all-meat diet. Like all animals, dogs need a full complement of nutrients to ensure proper growth and development, disease resistance and other essential physiological functions.
Dogs can synthesize about 10 of the 20 amino acids they need for good health – they must get the other 10 amino acids through the foods they eat. Many dry dog foods contain cereal grains that provide both carbohydrates for energy and fiber for digestive health. Dogs also need a small amount of fat but excessive dietary fat can lead to obesity, which may result in diabetes, high blood pressure, organ failure and other serious medical issues. Human table scraps contain too much fat, as well as too much salt, sugar and preservatives.
In addition to evaluating your pet’s nutritional needs, our Solomons veterinarian can help you determine the proper portion size for your dog. Portion sizes should match the size of your dog, but also reflect your dog’s body type, age, and activity level. Puppies require generous amounts of protein-rich food to fuel their boundless energy and rapid growth, for example, while senior dogs may require smaller portions to reflect their increasingly sedentary lifestyle due to joint disease or other chronic pain. Overeating can lead to obesity in older dogs, which can make it even more difficult for senior dogs, especially if they are already in pain.
Our Solomons veterinarian can recommend special low-fat diets or new feeding practices to help overweight dogs of all ages lose weight. We may prescribe nutritional supplements, such as fish oil or glucosamine, as necessary to help your dog cope with joint pain or other age-related issues. With a few simple dietary adjustments, combined with exercise and other lifestyle changes, we can help you reverse obesity and improve your dog’s overall wellness.
Our Solomons veterinarian is also glad to provide nutritional counseling if your dog suffers from a veterinary condition that can improve through proper nutrition. Like many Americans, many dogs now suffer from obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and high blood pressure, that respond to a healthy diet.
If you are concerned about your dog’s nutrition, or if you have noticed that your canine companion is losing or gaining weight, make an appointment to see your Solomons, MD, veterinarian today and contact us at (410) 326-4300.