Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub e.V.

Feeding management and mistakes

adrk fuetterungsmanagment futalis

There are many ways to feed a dog a balanced diet. However, some basic things, especially when it comes to handling the food, are always the same. You can find out what you should bear in mind when feeding your dog in this issue.

Storage and feeding

Compared to wet food or fresh components, dry food has a low water content. The water content of a feed plays a role in its susceptibility to spoilage. The process of spoilage is characterized by increased growth of fungi, bacteria and/or yeasts. Microbial colonization of a feed can cause severe digestive problems in dogs, so spoiled feed should never be offered. Wet food and fresh food generally have a high water content and are correspondingly susceptible; the lower water content in dry food therefore makes it more stable.

Feed should be stored as cool as possible, especially when temperatures are high in summer. However, food should never be fed directly when it comes out of the refrigerator, as there is then a risk of gastritis developing. Overstocked feed, i.e. feed that is well past its best-before date, should also no longer be fed. On the one hand, over-storage leads to a loss of vitamins, i.e. food that has been stored for a long time may no longer meet a dog's nutritional requirements. On the other hand, long storage can lead to infestation with mites or insects. In addition to the food itself, the hygiene of the bowls also plays a major role.

Any food residue stuck to the edges should be removed. If a dog does not eat its entire portion, this can lead to an overgrowth of microorganisms, especially in summer with food that spoils more quickly. For this reason, uneaten leftovers should always be removed and not simply left in the bowl until the dog eats them. Food leftovers in the water bowl, for example, can also lead to contamination and microbial colonization in the form of a biofilm. Regular cleaning of all bowls in the household is therefore essential.

Ration design

Various criteria must be considered to ensure that a feed ration is balanced and meets requirements. Errors in ration design can occur, especially when feeding fresh feed, which can lead to inadequate supply. The most common errors are in the areas of energy, protein and minerals. Dog owners who prefer to feed only fresh ingredients should therefore seek the support of a nutrition expert. The majority of dog owners want to feed their dog something as a reward in addition to their regular meal.

Not every food can be fed to dogs without hesitation. Some foods naturally contain substances (so-called antinutritive substances) that restrict the complete utilization of other nutrients. For example, raw egg white contains avidin, which binds biotin and makes it unusable for the organism. Thiaminases are enzymes contained in raw fish that destroy vitamin B1. Due to these effects, both eggs and fish should only be fed when heated. Onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and can be associated with severe anemia. If you would like to feed your pet meat, you should bear in mind that raw meat can be contaminated with infectious agents. The best known is probably the possible contamination of meat with salmonella.

Although an infection in dogs is rarely accompanied by symptoms, the dog's excretion of salmonella nevertheless poses a risk to people in the immediate vicinity of the dog. In addition to bacteria, infection can also occur with parasites, especially tapeworms and protozoa. The Aujeszky's virus also plays an important role, as an infection in dogs is always fatal. The Aujeszky's virus is mainly found in raw pork. Due to the potential dangers posed by various infectious agents, meat should only ever be served well heated. Bones can cause injuries throughout the gastrointestinal tract and should only be fed in moderation, if at all. Apart from this, bones contain high levels of minerals, which can quickly lead to a severe oversupply.

Sweets should be avoided if possible, as they are generally high in sugar but low in nutrients. Chocolate is poisonous for dogs due to the substances it contains. It is not always possible to combine a food ration with fresh components without hesitation. This is particularly true in the presence of an organ disease such as kidney or liver disease. In these cases, a vet should always be consulted to determine whether the planned supplementary feeding is possible. In the case of liver disease, for example, a protein-reduced feed is used to relieve the diseased liver. High-protein supplementary feeding, such as meat or some chews, should therefore be avoided.

Food or feed that is given alongside the regular meal also has a certain energy and nutrient content. If the dog is to receive something "on the side", this should already be taken into account in its daily food ration. It is often not enough to simply reduce the amount of food, as this can lead to malnutrition. Instead, the ration should be individually adapted to the respective requirements and the respective supplementary feed.

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