Some general principles of feeding are important to the health of every dog regardless of breed. Nobody should have any difficulty understanding the fundamental rule: In feeding mature pets, the less they eat, compatible with keeping them in sound condition, the healthier they’ll be and the longer they’ll live. It goes without saying, of course, that they should have a complete and balanced diet. They should not be allowed to get too fat or too thin. If you try to keep them too thin, they may get too little of some essential ingredient; if you permit them to get too fat, you will shorten their lives.
In growing pets, the faster they grow the cheaper it is to raise them. But – will they live longer, and be healthier? Probably the best rule for sound health and arid longevity is to grow them moderately fast, but not to force them.
Nearly everyone overfeeds his or her pet. And almost every dog will eat a zoo percent more than it needs. There is some dogs, like some people, that never get fat even though they are chronically overfed. The way to feed your pet the way people who are good feeders do is to find just the amount that will maintain its weight and then give it no more. No rule is as important as this one. Your dog is happier if not burdened with unnecessary fat.
If only pet owners who allow their dogs to become obese knew a few truths about food storage in the body and something about fasting which some people mistakenly call starvation how much better off their pets would be. Starvation is the long-continued deprivation of food. Fasting is short-term, total, or partial abstinence from food. Starvation is forced; fasting is voluntary. A sick dog fasts; an obese dog must be starved but not necessarily deprived of all food. When a dog is too fat it won’t starve, even though it takes no food until its fat is consumed. In winter the raccoons fast. Not that it reasons what it is doing; it just lazily lives on its fat. It has stored sufficient vitamins and minerals along with the fat and moves about very little except during the warm spells of winter.No one needs to feel sorry for raccoons.
The question often arises, “Is it all right to feed my dog bones?” Since bones can cause obstruction problems, there is no advantage and many disadvantages to feeding dogs bones. It should be pointed out that a normal dog has hydrochloric acid in its stomach, but it is almost twice as concentrated. The stomach fluids soften bones and blunt their sharp points quickly so that they become harmless. The acids, coupled with a protein-digesting enzyme, do a very thorough job on most bones. A bone in a normal dog’s stomach dissolves in a few hours. And there is little chemical action on the calcium in bones once they have left the stomach. However, if a dog has digestive upset and does not secrete enough acid, bone chips can be a disaster. Some dogs have too little acid and vomit bone chips, and these dogs, above all, should never be exposed to the problem.
When bones are eaten and digested they form a light-colored hard bowel movement that is usually difficult to pass, which is a good reason for not feeding bones. Some dogs become so constipated that literally gallons of water are required to be administered in enemas to remove the solid mass. It is not uncommon to find bones in the stools of dogs, or sharp bone chips in the rectum. All these are simply evidence of indigestion. However, if whole bones are found instead of the calcareous (containing lime) feces, it is an indication of stomach trouble.
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