Not all breeds are created equal. Smaller breeds have different requirements than those of larger breeds. I’m going to show what smaller breed needs that differ from their larger cousins.
Calories-they need them, we don’t
While smaller breed and Toy dogs need fewer calories than their larger counterparts, they require more calories per pound. This is due to the fact that they have a higher metabolic rate than a large breed. The reason for this is that they grow faster than a large breed dog. They reach their adult stage a lot earlier, usually about 4-6 months sooner than a large breed will. Be careful not to over feed them. The best thing to do is to read the feeding guidelines on the bag for your small breed. Obesity can cause some serious health issues and can take as many as two years off your dogs life. In general, small breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. This means that they could be eating the same food for approximately 15 years after puppy hood. Also important is to make sure their diet is rich in antioxidants. This will help prevent free radical damage over the lifespan of your dog.
Sweets for your sweetie
You need to be careful about too much and not enough sugar in their diet. Dogs can develop hyperglycemia, or diabetes, just like a human can from having too much sugar in their diet. Conversely, small breed and toy breeds are more prone to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This is also due to their higher metabolism as well as their smaller body fat reserves. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia are:
- Lethargy (lack of energy or enthusiasm)
- Muscle tremors
If you notice any of the above symptoms, check with your veterinarian.
Reading what they are eating
If you already have a favorite veterinarian, you can ask them if they have any recommendations on food for your small breed dog. If you don’t, reading the label is the best thing you can do for your dog. There are several things to look for on the label. Let’s start with the front of the bag. Some brands may say “All Stages”. These are okay, however, I recommend buying food that is labeled for “Small Breeds”. One of the reasons for this is that those labeled for small breeds have smaller kibble. Smaller kibble is not only easier for their little mouths, but is also easier for them to digest faster than larger chunks. The label should also say “complete and balanced” Now for the label on the back of the bag. You want to make sure is states that it is certified by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). They are the organization that establishes the guidelines for all pet foods. If the label says “FDA Approved”, it should be good too, however, the FDA is only required to maintain the minimum vitamins and minerals required by law. Another important thing to check the ingredients for is to make sure the food contains no allergens. Again, if you’re not sure if your dog’s food contains quality ingredients, then you can check with your vet or even go to the manufacturer’s website or call their customer service department. It is always best to do some research before you acquire your furry friend.
Price-isn’t your dog worth a little more to you?
Your dog is going to be a member of the family. You wouldn’t feed your family the cheap stuff, would you? You shouldn’t but corners on the dog’s food either. While many of the cheaper brands may be okay, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little extra on your pooch too. Expensive doesn’t always mean the highest quality either. Again, read the label and do the research before getting your dog. Some of the most noted places to get their food that I’ve found are Chewy, Petco, PetSmart and even the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) if you have one available to you.
Myth or fact
Some may say that pork is no good for your dog because it causes kidney failure. The fact of the matter is that the main cause for kidney failure in dogs is periodontal disease. Pork is a good source of digestible protein, calorie content and amino acids. High amounts of proteins don’t cause kidney failure. You want maintain the proper level of protein in your dog’s diet which is between 14 and 20 percent. Low protein levels aren’t any good for him either. If he doesn’t get enough protein in his diet, his body will try to draw protein from its own sources. The greatest area for the body to draw from are the muscles which will cause your dog even more harm. Egg protein has the highest biological value along with whole milk, meats, soy bean and some grains. We all know that pork is “the other white meat”! Another myth is meat meal isn’t good for dogs. Meat meal like chicken meal, turkey meal etc is simply the meat with the water and fat removed. As long as you provide him with plenty of water throughout the day, he’ll be just fine.
On another note, honey is good for your dog as well, in moderation of course. Best to use pure honey, although, regular store bought is okay. This actually does help with his coat, but also helps build up his pollen immunities and can also be used as a topical for burns and superficial cuts and wounds.
The long and short, like I mentioned, is to either talk to your vet for food recommendations or contact the food manufacture’s website or call their customer service department. If it is your first dog, do your research before you get your new family member. This is your baby and you wouldn’t have one of those without knowing a little something about how to care for it ahead of time. Now, you are a little more informed so go out and get the little guy!