Your dog's diet

Your dog’s diet has a huge impact on their health and happiness. The wrong diet can lead to obesity and life-long health issues. The right diet keeps them slim, healthy and in good condition.

Our vet’s recommend feeding your dog a high-quality commercial dog food, available from pet shops or the PDSA Pet Store. These contain all the nutrients your dog needs, in the right amounts. Follow the feeding guidelines on the back of the packet and weight out your dog’s food to make sure they’re eating the right amount.

If you are worried about your pet’s diet, speak to your local vet or vet nurse who will be happy to give advice on an appropriate diet for your pet. They can also help you work out how much to feed and whether your pet needs to lose or gain weight.

How to recognise a high-quality commercial diet

Look carefully at the ingredients list. They are listed in order from the greatest to the smallest amounts. The first ingredient should be a named animal protein like chicken, beef, lamb etc. Try to avoid foods where the listed first ingredient is labelled as ‘animal derivative’ or ‘meal’ as these products are much lower in quality. Many products these days are very clearly labelled and there is plenty of choice for dog owners.

 

How much should I feed my dog?

The type and amount of food a dog needs depends on their breed, type, age, health and lifestyle. For example, a working sheepdog needs much more energy than a small dog who spends most of the day indoors.

If your dog changes their eating habits over a period of time or suddenly, call your vet for advice as it could be a sign of disease.


Life-stage Feeding

‘Life-stage feeding’ matches your dog’s diet to what they need at different ages and stages of development. For example, puppies need different food from older dogs, because their bodies are still growing.

Many companies make food especially for puppies, juniors, adults and seniors. Feeding your dog a complete commercial pet food is the easiest way to make sure they get all the nutrients they need.

 

Can I feed my dog bones and other food scraps?

Our vets advise owners not to feed bones, leftovers, bits of meat and other scraps, because:

  • Bones can get stuck in your dog’s throat, and splinters can damage the stomach and intestines.
  • Human food isn’t always good for dogs: some, like chocolate and grapes, are poisonous
  • Dogs who get scraps may refuse to eat their normal food without them
  • It unbalances the dog’s regular diet, and they often get overweight
  • Your dog may misbehave during your mealtimes, as they think they’re going to get food, too!
  • Too many vegetables can cause wind. Not a problem for your dog, but it could be for you!
  • Fatty foods can cause tummy upsets, and contain lots of extra calories. To a medium-sized dog, eating a cube of cheese is like a person eating two scones - and a Christmas dinner would be the equivalent of 3,000 calories!

You can download our free guide to feeding your dog, including an example food diary to help your dog on their way.

Different diets for dogs

There are a huge range of doggy diets out there and it can be bewildering. Our vets have put together a guide to help you decide what's right for your dog. 

Our guide

Your dog's weight

Watch our video and learn how to keep an eye on your dog's weight with our simple, at-home weight check. 

Watch the video

Exercise for dogs

All dogs need daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. Find out how much exercise is best for your dog. 

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