Healthy bites to live smart

Dogs love to eat. Nothing makes your pooch happier than a juicy treat. But what do you do when he stops eating? Here are a few tips to make him eat just right.

First – and most importantly – make sure there isn’t a medical reason for your dog’s loss of appetite. If he is accompanied by lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, or unusual behaviour, seek the advice of your veterinarian immediately. Once you’ve eliminated the possibility of a medical problem, examine your dog’s eating habits.

A schedule is your dog’s best friend

For the less-than-enthusiastic eater, a feeding schedule will usually get the dog back on track. Divide your dog’s daily ration into equal meals given at set times throughout the day. Place the meal down for your dog to eat for ten to twenty minutes, and then remove the food. Don’t feed between meals.

If your dog is not used to a schedule, begin with smaller, more frequent meals. You can gradually scale him back to two meals per day. This will teach your dog, he must eat at feeding time and will prevent any hypoglycaemic incidents from occurring. Once he learns he needs to eat when the food appears, you will find him delving into his meal without hesitation. Don’t get angry if he doesn’t eat, and don’t hover over him. Your anxiety can contribute to his reluctance to eat.

Limit the treats

Just as people have to be mindful of snacking, so does your dog. Treats are a helpful training aid; you just have to remember they count towards his daily total intake of food. As a rule, treats should comprise not more than ten percent of his diet. If you give treats, be sure to reduce the size of your dog’s meals accordingly.

Feeding a dog table scraps is another way to encourage him not to eat his own food. Not only does this create bad habits such as begging, it can be dangerous. Many foods that are fine for human consumption are toxic to dogs. So, don’t give in to their soulful looks.

The importance of exercise

Dogs require exercise every day to maintain optimal health.

A good walk or a romp in the park will keep your dog mentally and physically fit and burning off excess energy will stimulate his appetite. Lack of exercise reduces his caloric needs and can lead to destructive behaviours. Digging, chewing, and the like can be a signal that your dog needs more playtime.

So, if you keep in mind all the above factors, you can help your pooch to eat the right quantity of food at the right time and keep him fit and fine.

(Rajesh Tavakari is an avid dog lover and a website promotion specialist by profession who currently resides in Bangalore.)

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