What does dog food have to do with dog training? The answer is… Everything! I know, it’s a billion dollar industry with an enormously expanding menu of options. It gets very confusing for dog owners to decide which food to buy, and why, when and how to feed it.
What does that mean in regards to training your dog? How, when, where and what your dog eats can have direct impacts on peeing and pooping in your house. How your dog gets along with other animals in your house is often food oriented, at least may become so over time. And an array of other behavioral issues, health concerns, as well as, potential allergies (leading to medical bills) may become food related over the course of your dogs life. Even how your dog interacts with your children! It all begins with you– No pressure.
O.k. so let’s get to the meat of it: dog training, dog food, how it correlates and why? It can get really confusing to many owners. Many behavioral issues can develop in dogs and stem from how owners feed them. Here is a little Q and A to wet your appetite on the subject matter.
When do you stop puppy food and when to start feeding adult food? Generally speaking when your dog is a year old, make the switch to adult food. This can vary according to size and breed. But make the switch slowly over a few days gradually adding in the new food.
Why should I time feed my dog? This is really helpful for finicky eating dogs. Time feeding your dog helps housebreaking issues.
What if my dog is a pig? Dog’s that eat their food as if they were vacuum cleaners also have issues. There is something called bloat to look out for as an owner. This is cause for concern and it has to do with feeding your dog. What is bloat? Please ask your vet for more information on this topic. According to my research and first-hand experience, it is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer. The technical name is “Gastric Dilatation Volvulus” or (GDV). This is where the dog can swallow too much air while eating rapidly. Drinking water or stress can be a significant factor in swallowing air. As the stomach swells, it can twist and obstruct the veins leading to shock, damaging the internal organs and quickly killing your dog. The breeds of dogs this can affect may surprise you.
Dogs that are at risk for bloat are usually deep rib caged breeds, big and small. German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Dachshunds, Pekingese, and even Miniature Poodles can be at risk! The point is, even if a dog does have a healthy appetite could benefit from training tips. It could save its life.
Training your dog to eat slower is a healthier option. Finicky eaters need to learn to eat in one sitting which will in turn help with housebreaking issues, potty accidents, child safety around dog food bowls, and will ward off potential dog fights in multiple dog households. Just dome food for thought, and a treat from your trainer!