– Guest Post By Rachael Hindle
First of all, I’d like to start of by clarifying one thing; I am in no way an expert on feeding your dog. The expert on feeding YOUR dog is in fact you.
Nobody will understand your dog better than you will – seriously, not even your vet. You know the difference in your dog having an off day or there being something wrong. Only you can tell the difference between them being needy and them having a problem. You track how your dog’s food intake affects them.
I launched Rachael’s Dog Pantry in August 2018 following a stomach issue with one of my dogs.
At 6 months old, Dudley, my Clumber Spaniel had surgery on his small and large intestine to correct an intussusception (one part slid into another and caused a blockage). The surgery went really well, but for 2 months following his surgery he was on special food from the vets. I was told it would give him the extra nutrients he needed for a speedy recovery while being gentle on his stomach. Of course we said yes and bought a caseload, it was eye wateringly expensive, as in twice the weekly cost of food for my fiancé and me!
A short while later, Dudley was back to his normal self, we were coming to the end of his treatment and we needed to phase him back onto normal food. Before his surgery he’d always been on dry food, we liked things how they were and wanted to continue. Only difference was now I was very concerned about what was actually in it. So I began researching on google to find support on what was best to feed him. I was met with so many opinions and so much information. I decided to start my own food company to help others who were facing the same challenges.
My 5 Top Tips When Feeding Your Dog
First and most importantly, what are you comfortable with handling? This is a big one for a lot of people forget. If the smell of fish turns your stomach, or the sight of raw meat makes you want to stick your head in the toilet, avoid them. While you aren’t eating it, you will have to prepare it daily. Find food you are happy working with.
Secondly, ask around. You ask opinions from your nearest and dearest in all walks of life, so add this one to the pile. The more people you ask the more you can find out. Bear in mind a St. Bernard owner will have a different view on what a dog will need than a pug owner. Ask in facebook groups and forums, but keep in mind lots of people have different views.
Next up is money. What can you afford? Set a budget and stick to it. It would be great if we could afford to give our dogs steak every night, but that might be out of your price range. Work out what you can get for your budget.
Next up, watch their waistline. A dog’s waist should go in between their ribs and hip joint, and you should be able to feel ribs. If in doubt ask your vet. You can find a really handy dog weight calculator here
In the summer working dogs may need less food, walks are sometimes shorter, and there are (hopefully) lazy days basking in the sun. In winter the working dog community is in its peak season. Dogs can be burning far more calories and this will need to be accounted for. My advice, don’t do anything drastic, keep your eye out for any changes in their weight and tweak as needed. Once again, you know your dog better than anyone so trust your instincts.
To summarise, trust your instincts and don’t impulse buy. Know what you’re getting for your money, and choose what to feed on what your dog needs.
Rachael – @RachaelsDogPantry
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