The feeding of an adult dog can be as complicated or as simple as you choose to make it. Simplicity seems to make the most sense.
By this time you have probably chosen a complete and balanced prepared dog food that will assure all the essential nutrients. Perhaps it is the dry type, moistened with water or broth; the semimoist type packaged in airtight cellophane pouches or as individually wrapped patties; or the “wet” type served right out of a can. Perhaps you combine the dry and canned types, feeding them mixed or separately. High quality dog foods contain all the required nutritional elements proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and mineralsin ac cordance with the recommendations established by the National Research Council.
When a dog becomes an adult, his caloric requirements gradually decrease when the primary growth period is completed. In general, the amount of food necessary will vary due to differences in size, breed, environment, temperament, activity, and stress. In the stress category, for instance, would fall police and sentry dogs, hunting and field trial dogs, show dogs, boarding dogs, and patients recuperating from surgery.
The hardworking or hyperactive dog as well as the growing puppy naturally needs more food than the adult dog that spends most of his time lying around the house. Females need more food during pregnancy and lactation. The amount of food is reckoned not entirely on the dog’s body weight but also on the amount of body surface area. Strange as it may seem, the larger dog often needs less food in proportion to his weight than the slightly smaller dog.
A feeding chart is provided here to be used as a guide. Due to diverse activities as well as individual differences, the eating habits of dogs vary widely. Feed your dog at the same times each day to establish a steady appetite and regular routine. After a trial period, you can adjust the amount of food necessary to maintain, gain, or lose weight. For further information consult the “Basic Nutrition and Feeding” chapter.
If you continue with two feedings a day you may divide the recommended amounts or vary the menu by a breakfast of dry dog food and milk. For dinner, which is the main feeding, mix the meal with water or broth, together with canned food or whatever leftover meat or vegetables you happen to have at the time. Vegetables may be fed; they are not necessary, but they do have a laxative effect which will help the underexercised dog. Cooked carrots, onions, beet tops, spinach, and string beans are especially suitable.