Supplements for dogs - are they even needed?
5- Supplement supporters aren't usually thinking along behavioural lines and, since they themselves rarely have difficulty house-training their dogs, don't realize that not everyone is so knowledgeable and over-supplementation can easily produce loose stools and make good control difficult for the dog. Coat conditioners, for instance, can easily be withheld from the diet until the puppy is house-trained. The puppy doesn't need them if he or she is eating a good quality food, and (in most breeds) the puppy coat has to grow out naturally anyway. Oils and people foods, especially those high in fat (like steak trimmings) easily "oil up" the intestines and in many cases cause stools to "slide out" quite unexpectedly.
4- Don't overdo too much of one nutrient. Too much protein, too much fat = bad. Giving your dog the right balance in their diet, matching their age, weight, breed and lifestyle is essential.
3- Unlike cats, dogs can thrive with a very varied diet. Vegetables and fish are particularly valuable as your dog ages and their nutritional requirements evolve. Be careful not to over tax your dog's kidneys by feeding too much protein.
2- Go easy on the carbs! Dr Atkins might have been on to something. Carbohydrates come in two forms, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates come from grains such as wheat, corn, rice, oats, soy and millet. They break down into starches and sugar when properly cooked. Complex carbohydrates come in the form of various fibers such as brans, hulls and peanut shells from the outside of plants. A small amount is needed for proper digestion and stool formation. Nutrients are obtained from both sources, but most come from simple carbohydrates. Too many carbs can make your dog fat, lethargic or even hyper-active. Be aware.
1- Monitor your dog's weight. Fat dogs die young, fact. As adult dogs become elderly, a number of factors limit their exercise - including their physical and physiological condition (and perhaps that of their owners as well, if the owners are also slowing down a bit). So, lack of exercise coupled with the same amount of treats as they had when they were younger can lead to obese pets. Female dogs are more likely to be obese than male dogs and cats, and spayed animals are more likely to be obese than reproductively intact ones. Keep a close eye on your dog's weight and mobility and be careful that you are not over feeding.
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