Whether you’re feeding your dog kibble, canned food, a raw diet or home-cooked meals, how you feed him can also make a difference. In his new cookbook/nutrition guide Feed Your Best Friend Better, Rick Woodford has some basic tips for setting the table at floor level that can be applied to all dogs.
- Let your dog know that patience is a virtue. “We ask our to dogs sit and stay in place while we’re dishing up their food. This helps prevent accidents as well as dogs getting into one another’s food bowl.” If the dog moves while you’re filling his bowl, let him know it’s time to sit back down by freezing in place and waiting for him to go back into position. With practice, your dog will catch on, and mealtime will be just a little calmer.
- A bowl licked clean is not a clean bowl. Dog bowls should be washed after every meal to prevent a build-up of bacteria, dust or pet hair. “We have a collection of bowls that we rotate through the dishwasher, so every dog gets a clean bowl at each meal. You can add to your dog-bowl collection by keeping an eye out at thrift stores or garage sales,” suggests Woodford. Make sure they’re ceramic, glass or stainless steel, all of which are preferred over plastic, which can leach toxins.
- When serving, always put down two bowls: one with water and one with food. Your pet may not empty the water bowl, but throughout the day, it accumulates bacteria, dust and even pollen that can aggravate environmental allergies. There’s nothing like a fresh bowl of water to wash down a meal.
- A scoop is not a very well defined measurement. A month of feeding your dog just 10 percent more than he needs can easily pack a pound or two on him. Measure the appropriate amount of food for your dog into a glass container and mark with a permanent marker to create a more precise measuring tool.
- Feed twice a day, which will help keep your dog from being either frantically hungry or overfull. Smaller meals also put less pressure on dogs’ digestive systems.