Selecting an adult dog food that will keep your
pet healthy and energetic starts with knowing your dog’s eating habits and lifestyle. Does your dog weigh
just the right amount and go for long walks daily? Or is it a lap dog that
loves nothing more than to snooze the day away? The answers to questions like
these will help guide you in choosing the best food.
But there are other things to keep in mind as well. To help you know how to
choose the best dog food for your adult dog, WebMD put a list of frequently
asked questions about feeding an adult dog to a group of veterinary experts.
Here is what they had to say.
What do I need to keep in mind when feeding an adult dog?
The most important thing to keep in mind when feeding an adult dog is to
make sure your dog eats a complete and balanced diet. Start by checking package
labels for something called a statement of nutritional adequacy. It should say
that the food meets nutrient profiles established by the Association of
American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or that it has passed feeding trials
designed to AAFCO standards.
The statement also should say that the food is appropriate for adult
maintenance or for all life stages. If your dog is overweight or inactive,
stick with one labeled for adult maintenance. Food that’s appropriate for all
life stages contains extra nutrients needed for growth.
Homemade diets can provide complete nutrition, but making sure your pet gets
the right mix of protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins can be difficult. Lisa
M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, is a professor of nutrition at the Cummings School of
Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She tells WebMD that if you are going
to prepare a homemade diet, you should consult a nutritionist certified by the
American College of Veterinary Nutrition. The nutritionist can help you design
a healthy diet for your dog.
When is a dog considered an adult?
When a dog reaches 90% of its expected adult weight, it’s considered an
adult for feeding purposes, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual. An adult
dog diet, or maintenance diet, contains nutrients suited for animals that have
passed their growth stage. Most of a puppy’s growth occurs by 6 or 7 months of
age, but large and giant breeds can continue to grow for 12 months or
How can I tell if a food is right for my pet?
Watch the condition of its body and coat. If your dog appears to be thriving
on the food and has a glossy coat, lots of energy, and a fit appearance, the
food agrees with him.
Sometimes, the way a food is processed or the ingredients it contains may
prevent your dog from absorbing all the needed nutrients. If your pet has a
dull coat and lacks energy, try another kind of food. Also, check in the
backyard for other signs of trouble: Lots of feces may indicate a problem with
digestibility, says Joseph Wakshlag, assistant professor of clinical nutrition
at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
It’s rare for a dog to be malnourished because of a badly formulated diet,
says C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD. Buffington is professor of veterinary
clinical sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. He advises
owners to focus on providing the right amount of food and making sure dogs are
active and engaged. About one out of every four dogs is overweight.