It is well to always remember that dogs, like human beings, have what may be called sensitive stomach or digestive problems.
Most dogs readily digest and thrive on a diet of raw meat plus a proportion of starchy food (biscuits or cereal) and a few vegetables, but there are a few who do not thrive on raw meat and indeed cannot digest it at all.
There is little doubt that this is brought largely by the higher domestication of our dogs, and the sooner we get back to a more rugged idea of feeding the puppies, the better it will be for the dogs themselves and the owner’s peace of mind.
It can be truthfully said that practically all the digestive and general stomach disorders, of which we see so much today, are caused by wrong feeding.
Puppies and young dogs
Let us first deal with the dog at the age when most puppies are purchased — eight to twelve weeks.
At this stage, they are very like young growing children, and have an appetite out of all proportion to their size, and require food at least three or four times a day.
This, of course, is only a natural reaction to the demands made by a growing body and to replace the large quantity of muscular and other tissue that is used up in the vigorous play which is the delight of all puppies.
An endeavor should be made to give a balanced ration, that is protein (meat), carbohydrates (starchy food) and fats, but the amount should vary with the season.
For instance in the winter a large proportion of heating foods (carbohydrates and fats) are necessary, because in addition to replacing the used tissues, extra heat is required to keep up the bodily warmth.
In summer, of course, the reverse is the case — heating foods should be cut down and as near as possible to a lean meat and vegetable diet should be given.
Puppies up to three months old should have a diet that contains plenty of milk because from milk they get a lot of the calcium and essential vitamins they need to grow teeth and bones.
So that their system can use this calcium and the vitamins, they must have plenty of sunlight that supplies vitamin D, and failing sunlight, they must be given vitamin D in some other form, such as cod liver or some other fish oil.
Vitamin D is most important, because no matter how much calcium the diet may contain if vitamin D is not present the calcium is wasted and rickets will result.
The first meal of the day should consist of milk with cereal or wholemeal bread. The midday meal can be made up of scraps of meat and vegetables with gravy.
About 4 o’clock a bowl of milk, and for the last meal, chopped raw beef and perhaps a biscuit to chew, or better still, a raw bone with some meat left on it. This is good for the puppy teeth and also promotes the flow of saliva and so aids digestion.
The full-grown dog
When a dog has reached maturity it should only be fed once daily. From about four months old the number of meals is gradually reduced, indeed it will be found that the dog will not want food so often as he gets older.
And if an attempt is made to feed him more than once or twice a day he will only pick at the food and then you are on the way to having a dog that is a nuisance to you, and worry to anyone asked to care for him should you go on holidays and have to leave him. Because there is nothing more worrying than a dog that is picky at his food.