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In the dog house | Doggy Nutrition 101

Published:Sunday | February 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Little Chaz Lindo has no fear as he walks this pit bull, Cassius at the Montego Bay Premier Dog Show in 2008.

A healthy dog makes for a happy dog, so Outlook sought the expertise of veterinarian Dr Matthew Brown on how canine lovers should go about nourishing their dog or pup.

According to Brown, a balanced nutrition would be one that satisfies the health requirements of the dog or pup, especially as it relates to the life stage of that animal - a growing pup versus a geriatric dog.

"A pup would require higher levels of calcium, proteins and calories to support the demand for growth and activity level when compared to an older dog who has ceased to grow and whose activity level would be minimal."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website states that in order for dogs to achieve a healthy lifestyle, they should tap into consuming from the six essential classes of nutrients: water (the staff of life for dogs, and pups as well), protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Brown revealed, too, that it is usually recommended that pups be fed at least two to three times daily - younger pups more frequently than older pups. Adult dogs can be fed once daily.

He noted his own bias when it came to food brands, highlighting that he is a very strong supporter of the Purina line of foods, especially Purina One Smart blend. Other good brands, he said, include IAMS, Taste of the Wild, Nutram and Pedigree.

"No matter what brand is chosen, however, the consumer has to ensure that the ingredients listed satisfy the health requirements of the animal and are of premium quality. Nothing is wrong with home-made diets as long as they also satisfy the health requirements of the dog," he added.

And with all that's good and savoury in this world, Brown also made mention of foods that are bad for your dogs. These common foods that you should avoid include chocolates, coffee, artificial sugars (xylitol), ackee, raisins and grapes, just to name a few.