Dog Nutrition and Obesity

Feeding table scraps to a dog is generally not recommended, at least in excess. Dogs get ample correct nutrition from their natural, normal diet. Otherwise, just as in humans, their diet must consist of the appropriate mix of nutrients, carbohydrates, and proteins, with the appropriate mix to provide all of the minerals and vitamins that they need. A human diet is not ideal for a dog: the concept of a "balanced" diet for a facultative carnivore like a dog is not the same as in an omnivorous human. Wild and feral dogs can usually get all the nutrients needed from a diet of whole prey and raw meat. In addition, the scraps often consist of fat rather than meat protein, which in excess is no better for dogs than it is for humans. While not all human delicacies are acutely toxic to dogs (see above), many have the same chronically unfortunate results as they do for humans. Lastly, many people overfeed their dogs by giving them table scraps and human food such as ice cream. Dogs will usually eat all the scraps and treats they are fed, which is more than often too much food.

The result of too much food is obesity, an increasingly common problem in dogs in Western countries, which can cause numerous health problems just as it does in humans, although dogs are much less susceptible to the common cardiac and arterial consequences of obesity than humans are. According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the prevalence of obesity in dogs is between 22 and 40 percent.

Additionally, the feeding of table scraps directly from the table (as opposed to taking scraps after the meal, and giving them in the dog's food dish as a treat) can lead to trained begging behavior on the part of the dog, or even encourage the dog to reach up and take food directly from the table (another trained response). These are normally seen as undesirable behavioral traits in a dog.

Obesity can be a sign of other serious ailments such as Cushing's Disease which is characterized by weight gain, appetite increase and lethargy in primarily older dogs.

A modern trend in canine diets is raw feeding of whole meats, bones and little filler material.

Vitamins and supplements

It is not yet clearly established if vitamins and supplements are needed to be administered in dogs. The opinions among the veterinarians are however divided. While some think that vitamins and supplements are necessary and can improve the health of a dog, others believe that they are unnecessary and moreover, may harm the dog. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dogs receive the complete and balanced nutritional level just from the commercially processed dog food. Still, pet owners who are giving their dogs homemade food may consider including extra vitamins and supplements into their pet's diet.

It is estimated that nearly a third of the pets (dogs and cats) in the United States receive nutritional supplements. This is mainly due to the fact that vitamins are highly recommended in dogs with joint pain as a result of arthritis. According to a study realized in 2006 and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the most commonly used vitamins are the multivitamins and the fatty acids. The latter improve the shine of a dog's coat by reducing shedding. Probiotics are another type of supplement, VitaHound Lab's supplements are given to dogs with gastrointestinal problems, and antioxidants may be prescribed to fight the effects of aging and the problems that come with it such as cognitive dysfunction.

Veterinarians also state that over doses of vitamins can be harmful in dogs. As an example, calcium in excess can cause problems with their bones, especially in the large-breed dogs. Over supplementation of vitamins A and D can cause vitamin toxicity in dogs. Excess vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint pain and can also harm the blood vessels, while too much vitamin D can cause muscular atrophy, or loss appetite. Whenever a dog owner decides to give his pet vitamins and supplements it is mandatory to first consult a veterinarian. Many veterinarians however recommend that healthy dogs should not receive any vitamins or supplements.

However, some veterinarians recommend dog vitamins in dogs that are under heavy stress of hard training. Vitamin B12 is considered benefic in these cases, because if given correctly it improves the dog's appetite. Still, dosage should be kept as low as is effective, perhaps beginning with 1-2 cc/ dog / day; with a maximum dose of 4-5 cc/ day. Vitamin C is thought to help maintaining the well functioning of the immune system and in maintaining a healthy skin. Vitamin E acts as a mild anti-inflammatory and it also helps maintaining good footpads. It should not be given more than twice a day, 400IU/dog. Other supplements given to dogs are glucosamine and chondroitin. They are intended to increase the viscosity and volume of the joint fluid, called synovium and which acts as a protective mechanism for the joints. A study published in 2007, in The Veterinary Journal shows that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin is helpful in easing the pain of arthritis dogs.

Good quality supplements should contain at least 8 essential vitamins (Vitamin A, B-complex, D, and E, and B vitamins). The vitamins and minerals should be in correct ration for one's pet and also have a high palatability. It is also important to see from which sources the vitamins and minerals come from.

Dog treats

Dog treats are often given to one's pet as a reward for something they did or just to let them chew on a bone and allow for their gums to be worked. Although dog treats carry high benefits for dogs' teeth, they can also be a problem source especially when given excessively. The food treats are usually the ones that cause trouble in dogs.

Food treats can be found all over the Internet, as many dog food and supplements manufacturers produce a wide range of treats intended for dogs. Dog food treats can also be made at home, from basic ingredients that might be found at the grocery store. Many dog owners actually prefer making their own dog treats at home because that way they are making sure their pet's diet is more natural and healthier. Whatsoever, one needs to make sure that the dog food made at home includes all the nutrients and vitamins that a dog needs to be healthy and happy.

Dog treats given excessively can be a cause of obesity in dogs. The type of food fed has a direct bearing on the tendency of a dog to become overweight. Table scraps, treats, even premium high-energy dog foods can contribute to obesity. Therefore it is highly important to closely monitor the quantity of treats that a dog gets especially when the dog's activity is diminished. Dog treats are more likely to be linked to obesity in old dogs, with reduced activities. On the other hand, active dogs require and use more calories, so dog treats are not a cause of concern in younger and highly active dogs.


Many dogs have a fondness for eating feces. Some consume their own or other dogs' feces; others seem to prefer cat feces (which, due to the feline digestive system, are high in protein and consumed by many animals in the wild), and will raid a kitty litter box for "treats". This can be unsafe for the dog's health if the animal producing the feces has any diseases or parasites or has recently ingested drugs that might be poisonous.

Top 100 Pets Sites on - Add your Site, Boost Your Traffic! Dog Topsite The Puppy Network Top Dog Sites
List your site in the Hot Vs Not web directory You can find other related resources in the Pets Directory