Food... feeding... When and what ?
We use dry food on most of our dogs - yes, those dark brown, hard, dry, booring, smelly, dry little "pellets"...
Although we have now (2008) started to experiment with a raw food brand named Vom & Hundemat (norwegian - raw food). The dogs LOVE it, and if I had a bigger freezer I would buy a bigger bulk of it and let them have this more regularly.
Moxy, the Boston, has more or less eaten only this for months growing up.
But why dry food?
Simply because it is develloped after years and years of experience and testing by leading veterinarians and top dog breeders... It's easy, clean and the dogs like it. And their coats and condition proves to us year after year that they get what they need.
Most of our dogs, through the years, and most of our litters have been fed on Eukanuba. But the last few years we've been trying out other brands of dogfood. We've tried Royal Canin, Oliver's, Purina Pro Plan and Pro Pac. And of course numerous of brands what we have won at shows during the years, that we "mix in" with the brand we usually use.
During the winter 2006/2007 all our dogs have been fed on Purina Pro Plan for a few months. The adults with the Salmon/rice, and the youngster and puppy on the Large breeds puppy variety with chicken.
From May '07 they are all over on Pro Pac (Adult), and it works perfectly on them all.
And when our litter came in October 2008 I started them all on Pro Plan again. I'm convinced that all dogs have a benefit of changing food brand every once in a while, just to make sure that if something is missing on one brand - the other might have it, etc.
I'm not really that sure what I'm looking for in the dogfood marked, but I think it is something like the good old Eukanuba - like it was in the 90'ies. When the dogs all kept their condition and coat all year round, always was in tip-top shape and their stommachs worked like a clock..
Pro Pac and Pro Plan works that way on most of my dogs, but Pro Plan is much less expensive here.
It should also be a foodbrand that is easy and quick to get a hold of as they eat their way through a big bag of food rather quickly.
BUT not all dogs work well on every brand, so one have to figure out what ones own dog works best on...
We usually put hot water in the dry food, and let it "rest" until the water is gone and the food is luke warm. But every now and again we serve it all dry - and especialy when we are out on travels, camping, hotels etc. They seem to like that just as well.
To give the dogs some more and exciting taste, we often mix in some dinner leftovers, tinned cat- or dogfood, tuna in oil, etc. As the amount of this little extra taste is so small (a couple of tablespoons) it really doesn't matter how spicy, sweet or strong the extra really is - the dogs loves the variation! And it's important to let the dogs get used to a little "something extra" so they don't get too sensitive in ther tummys...
It depends on the activity level of the dog, the age and other factors. I don't like to see them leave dinner hungry, but still every now and again we have to cut back a little on their dinner.
We feed pups 3 times a day. I know that others state that small pups should be fed at least 4 times a day - but with a full day work, it's rather difficult to manage to "fit in" three meals in the evening.. And 3 meals seems to be quite enough, and we've never seen any problems with it.
To make the meals more interresting we usually give them a variation in the meals - bread with something tasty (liverpatè, cheese, jam) on in one "setting" and dry food the two other times. I am a strong believer in letting dogs have some variety in the taste of their food - so dinner leftovers in their dinner is completely normal here.
When they start to getting bored with the food (Beardies aren't big eaters), we drop the meal in the afternoon, and just give morning and evening. Or one could try to give 3 meals one day. and only two the next - do some variations for the pup/youngster, and see if you can get him/her to eat again.
When they are close to a year, it's usually natural for us to drop the breakfast, and then we just feed late in the evening.
If I wasn't as tired in the morning - I would feed them twice a day, as I think it would be good for them - but I'm almost asleep untill I open the car door to drive to work...
So the last thing I'd like to think about in the morning is feeding dogs.. (Sorry, my lovely dogs!)
And it works perfectly with feeding them as late in the evening as we do. Just before we go to sleep, the dogs are fed, and let out for a small "run" (if they want to), and then we go to sleep.
Please remember - dogs should ALWAYS have access to a clean waterbowl full of fresh water!!
We change the water in their bowl at least three times a day. And the dogs really seems to appreciate clean and cold water, so why should we deny them this small pleasure in the day to day life??
(And I just hate seeing dirty waterbowls with old disgusting yellow/greyish water...)