KEY POINTS IN FEEDING NORMAL DOGS
(source Small Animal Clinical Nutrition by Hand et al)
“Our Commitment To Your Pet Lies In The Quality Of Our Care”
Some important points to remember about dogs:-
- Dogs are omnivores. They are opportunistic eaters and have developed anatomic and physiologic characteristics that permit digestion and usage of a varied diet.
- Lifestage nutrition is that practice of feeding animal foods designed to meet their optimal nutritional needs at a specific age or physiologic state. Feeding above or below an optimal nutrient range can negatively affect biologic performance or health.
- The type and level of activity (e.g. house pet, confined to kennel, working dog, etc.) and neuter status should be noted because these factors are important determinants of energy requirements
- Obesity occurs twice as often in neutered dogs as in reproductively intact dogs.
- Dogs kept outside in cold weather may need 10 to 90% more energy than during optimal weather conditions
- In general, dogs self regulate water intake according to physiologic need
- The overall goals of feeding adult dogs are to optimize quality and longevity of life and minimize disease
- Oral disease is the most common health problem of adult dogs. Foods formulated to decrease the accumulation of dental substrates (i.e. plaque, calculus) and help control gingivitis and malodour are an important part of an oral home-care program for adult dogs
- The objectives of a good reproductive feeding program are to optimize conception, number of puppies per litter, the ability of a bitch to deliver and viability of prenatal and neonatal puppies
- Adequately fed bitches gain about 15 to 25% above their pre-breeding weight before whelping
- Energy requirements for gestation peak at about 30% above the adult maintenance for bitches with smaller litters, whereas energy needs for bitches with larger litters can increase by 50 to 60%
- Feeding carbohydrate free food to pregnant bitches may result in weight loss and decreased food intake, increase the risk of stillbirths and reduce birth weight survival
- During lactation, nutrient requirements are directly related to milk production, which in turn depends primarily on the number of suckling puppies. A bitch’s nutrient requirements during lactation are greater than at any adult lifestage and may be equal to or greater than for growth.
- Lactating bitches should be fed free choice
- Puppies should be encouraged to start eating solid food as soon as possible. This:-
- reduces reliance on the bitch,
- reduce the nutritional burden on the bitch,
- help overcome iron deficiencies in the puppies and
- make complete weaning less stressful
- The ultimate goal of a feeding plan for puppies is to create a healthy adult. The specific objectives are to optimize growth and minimize obesity and developmental orthopaedic disease.
THE IMPACT OF TREATS
Most pet owners like to give treats and snacks for emotional reasons, to change their pet’s behaviour or to improve and maintain oral health. Several daily treats will have a marked effect on a dog’s cumulative nutritional intake. The impact of snacks on a dog’s daily nutrient intake depends on:-
- The nutrient profile of the treat, and
- The number of treats provided daily
It is best to provide a treat that matches the nutritional profile preferred for a given lifestage or disease.
To facilitate learning, dogs do not need to receive edible reinforcers every time and the pieces can be very small. If praise is paired with treats, praise alone will become sufficient reinforcement for the desired behaviour.
In the event that your pet is showing signs of discomfort or is not its usual self we do recommended that your present your pet to us at the earliest, to prevent the problem progressing and causing other complications. Early recognition and treatment means that your pet will recover sooner, and will therefore be far more comfortable. It is not only significantly more difficult to treat a pet in an advanced stage of the disease, as well as far more expensive, but one also has to take into account the significant pain and stress your pet is under by not being treated at the earliest.
We sincerely recommend that you please call us on 1300-838-738 (1300-VET-PET) to schedule an appointment at the earliest. We do not believe in berating our clients for presenting the pets late, as we believe that this is counter productive. It is not our intention to cause you any embarrassment, offence or anxiety. Our approach is now that you have presented your pet to us, how do we go forward from here, not only keeping your pet’s welfare at heart, but also working with your wishes and limiting factors. We do approach all cases presented to us with a level of sensitivity. As pet health care professionals we will present our assessment and treatment in a professional manner and factually as possible.
You may not be aware that in older pets multiple problems often arise as aging affects all body systems. As pets age they become increasingly vulnerable to diseases. The three leading causes of non accidental death in pets are cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. Older animals seldom suffer from a single disease. One problem may markedly influence the course of another. Ageing is characterised by progressive and irreversible change. Pets are likely to start having diseases associated with ageing between 7 and 13 years. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than large dogs. The quality and length of life of older pets can be improved through regular health checks (every 6 months). A thorough clinical examination will help define some of these problems.
Because we do care for the welfare and interest of your pet, we do go out of way to ensure that your pet can access medical or surgical attention in time of its need. It would also interest you to know that:-
- We do pride ourselves in the quality of our services.
- We do provide a 24 hour on call service.
- We also offer payment plans through a third party, provided you meet the criteria as set out by the financing institute.
- If you cannot bring your pet to us, we will come to you as we do have a fully equipped pet ambulance.
- We also do house calls.
- Your pet will receive a very high level of care given the level of diagnostic and monitoring equipment that we have on hand.
- We do welcome you to take a personal tour of our facility.
- We also provide pet grooming services
- We also provide puppy classes. Puppies are trained not only indoors, but also outdoors, bring exposed to outdoor noises and traffic in a controlled environment. The puppy training classes are run by Ms Julie Pocknee.
- We do care for our wildlife, and work very closely with wildlife carers providing veterinary care where needed.
- We take an active part in community services and proudly support Service Dog Training, by way of providing veterinary services to working dogs of individuals with disabilities. Please see www.servicedogtraining.com.au
If you have not used our services before, we do suggest that you try our services and see the differences for yourself. From our analysis we find that over 30% of all new patients are referred to us by existing clients, and a further 25% of all new patients are brought in by existing clients. Our clients travel from as far as Camberwell, Clayton, Fitzroy, Ringwood, Chelsea, St Kilda, Port Melbourne, Pakenham, to name but a few. From the level of service we provide, you would come to understand that we are not your average Veterinary Services provider. We do recommend that you bookmark our web address www.petcarevet.com.au
Our staff are very friendly and courteous. We are very easily accessible. We are located at 234 Power Road, Endeavour Hills, at the intersection of Power Road and Heatherton Road, Endeavour Hills, just off the Monash Freeway. Please note that parking is at the rear.