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Helpful Tips & Ideas
Mealtimes are usually one of the highlights of your dog’s daily routine.
• Make sure your dog’s feeding bowl is big enough to get his nose in. Give your pet their own bowls for food and water.
• A bowl which moves around whilst your dog feeds can be frustrating. Buy one which has grippy rubber feet - see your local Trophy Nutritional Adviser for one. We can also supply slow feed bowls, if your dog bolts down their food too quickly, these can be very useful.
• Wash out water and food bowls daily. Scummy dishes or bowls encrusted with stale old food may soon cause your dog to lose his healthy appetite.
• Split your dog’s daily ration into two meals rather than feeding just once a day - this will help with digestion and general well being. Not feeding a dog often enough can lead to a slow metabolic rate, resulting in the food being laid down as fat, rather than being used for energy immediately. It can also cause vomiting of bile, as the dog’s stomach is craving something to digest.
Bones v Antlers
Never give cooked bones to your dog. They can easily crunch them up and it can cause obstructions in the gut. If you want to give your dog a bone it must be large and raw - large knucklebones are reasonably safe as they won't splinter and can't be swallowed. Better still try an Antler Chew. Ask your local Trophy Nutritional Adviser for a supply of them, your dog will love them and they last ages.
These should never be the primary source of food for your pet as they can be high in fat and creates an unbalanced diet. If you do feed the occasional great or titbit make sure you reduce the food intake to compensate and to prevent them from becoming overweight.
Treats and titbits
Can be great for training but remember that if you use a lot, you may cause your dog to gain weight. Everyone loves to treat their dog, so buy ones that compliment their main diet - again your local Trophy Nutritional Adviser can help. Even if your dog is on a diet, it doesn’t mean that he can’t enjoy the odd treat between meals - but remember just the one. Some dogs love to chase an ice cube around and crunch it up, or you could use pieces of his food. Your Local Trophy Nutritional Adviser has a huge variety of treats to choose from and you’ll soon find out which are your dog’s favourites. Grade them in order of preference, keeping the ones he likes best for use in training, or when asking him to do things he finds difficult.
If you have a dog who struggles to eat every meal; do try moistening the food with warm water, this bring out the aroma and offers a different texture. Warming the moistened food in the microwave for 15 seconds may also help.
Once medical reasons for loss of appetite have been ruled out, you can start to look for other causes of inappetance. Domestic dogs are an intelligent species overall and they are very quick to learn and owners can easily, all be it inadvertently, train their pets to avoid eating their dog food.
Well-meaning owners will often supplement a complete diet with tinned food, table scraps or small pieces of fresh meat in order to make the meal appear more interesting. Dogs quickly begin to establish that they can eat the new food and leave the complete food. Owners then draw the conclusion that the dog does not like the kibble and will change to another brand or flavour. The dog may happily eat this new food for several days or weeks and then stop eating this new food too. The owner will then start again with adding other little bits and pieces in an attempt to tempt the dog to eat! Quite soon, an owner will have tried numerous brands of dog food and the dog will be dictating what is fed and when.
Fortunately, this bad habit can be sorted out relatively quickly if a routine is established.
1) Choose a premium quality complete pet food that you know will be palatable and digestible. Ensure that the diet is suitable for the age and activity level of your dog and that the kibble size is appropriate. The Trophy Premium Range is ideal for the finicky eater because it is concentrated and therefore a smaller volume can be fed whilst still providing sufficient nutrients.
2) Draw up a feeding schedule that all members of the family must stick to. It is often helpful to establish several smaller meal times throughout the day rather than one or two bigger meals. The reason for this is; firstly, an inappetant dog is more likely to eat up most or all of a small meal than he is a large one. Also, you will need to train yourself to pick up any uneaten food within 15 minutes of it being given to the dog. Knowing that the next meal is not too far away makes this easier for you.
3) Dogs do not need variety in their diet providing they are fed a complete and balanced food. In fact, supplementing complete, nutritional foods such as the Trophy pet food ones can upset the careful balance of the food. It is hard, but a few days spent being strict (with yourself more than the dog!) will pay off. Ignore the sad eyes!
4) Do not give additional treats whilst you are establishing the feeding routine.
5) Be aware of environmental issues that may affect your dog’s behaviour to food. Are there other animals in the household that compete for his food? If he has been threatened or attacked over food (even if this occurred sometime in the past) it may make him nervous at mealtimes. Ensure that your dog is fed alone in a quiet part of the house.
6) Some dogs are sensitive to noise, and metal tags banging against bowls can be very distracting to sensitive animals at mealtimes. Remove the collar and tag before feeding.
Follow a preventative health regime for your pet that includes a good high quality food, regular exercise, worming, vaccination and annual checkups at the vets.