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Feeding your dog:

A balanced diet is a must

Obesity is a major problem in the world today. Just as many humans are victims of obesity, some pets too are increasingly becoming victims of obesity, due to over feeding and wrong diet.

Are you a pet owner and if so, how responsibly do you feed your pets? No matter how much you love your pets, make sure you do not over feed them and make them obese.

Today we give you some valuable tips about feeding your pet dogs.

Like humans, dogs too require a well balanced diet to keep them strong, healthy and active. A healthy diet therefore should consist of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and water.

So, one of the important things to keep in mind when it comes to feeding a dog, is to give it nutritionally balanced food, whether you buy commercial dog foods or prepare it at home.

Depending on your dog's age and also the level of activity, you must ensure that about 15 to 30 per cent of the food it gets comprises proteins. It is necessary for the growth of the dog and also to repair and maintain healthy muscles, bones and internal organs.Fat which is a concentrated source of energy helps a dog use fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) and also keeps its skin and coat healthy.

Carbohydrates, sugars and starches, provide your dog with calories and thereafter energy. Carbohydrates also supply fibre and roughage. Fibre helps prevent constipation, diarrhoea and other intestinal problems while roughage helps clean the digestive tract to break down food.

Vitamins are needed to help the body perform vital functions such as growth and fertility. Even though dogs manufacture some vitamins such as vitamin C, it needs to be given a diet rich in all vitamins. Minerals also help to regulate most body functions. For instance, calcium and phosphorous are needed to develop strong teeth and bones in puppies and young dogs. However, as with vitamins, a mineral supplement should be given to your pet only if recommended by your pet's veterinarian.

Trace elements include copper, cobalt, iodine, iron, zinc and manganese. They are needed only in small amounts and most food you may give your pet dog would contain them.

When you talk about feeding your dog, don't think you should focus only on solids.

It is important to pay attention to liquids, especially water, which is an essential compement of its diet.

A dog's system cannot store much water, therefore make sure to give it plenty of fresh water so that it can carry all the nutrients throughout your dog's system and also eliminate water from the body.

Here are some points to

remember.

* Commercial foods are convenient even though they are expensive.

They generally come in three forms: dry, semi-moist and canned.

They are a combination of plant and animal sources that meets your dog's daily nutrient requirements.

* Beef and chicken are good sources of protein, as are bone meal and soybean meals found in commercial foods.

* Do not over supplement your dog - Vitamins A,D,E and K are fat soluble. It means the excess is stored rather than excreted. As some vitamins can accumulate in toxic amounts, be careful.

* Canned foods are about 75 per cent water, while dry foods have only about 10 per cent water.

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