How Much Food Should I Give My Dog?

You would think that feeding your dog would be the easiest part of your responsibilities as a dog owner. Wrong again! You’ll need to make some decisions and that means you may have to do some homework.

First of all are we talking about a puppy or and adult dog? That will make a difference as to the amount of dog food required. When thinking in terms of food, puppies are typically considered adults at the age of 1 year at which time you would switch to adult food. If there’s any doubt or concern about this, or if you just want to be safe, consult your Vet. Your Vet is a fabulous resource for any questions you may have and it’s always a great idea to consult with him/her on anything concerning your precious pet.

For obvious reasons, the proper feeding of your dog is extremely important. Over feed and you put your pet at risk for obesity and serious health issues. Under feed and you end up causing a problem dog that chews on toys, books, etc. and steals food off the counter or table and is constantly into the garbage.

How often should you feed your dog?

Next decision… regular scheduled feeding or free feeding. Free feeding means that you keep food in the puppies bowl all the time and he/she eats whenever their hungry. There are different schools of thought regarding free feeding. Some Veterinarians feel this is the best option for your puppy because they’re growing quickly and may require more food one day than another. Others suggest feeding your puppy about 4 times each day.

My personal vote goes with the later. Here’s why… Free feeding your dog can be difficult if you have other pets (trying to keep the other pets away from it). Then, when your puppy becomes an adult, one short year later, you’ll need to retrain your dog to eat only once or twice each day. If you continue to free feed your dog throughout adulthood, you are setting the stage for an overweight dog and likely serious health issues.

Having said all of this, my recommendation would be to feed your puppy 4-6 times each day. They’re little and have lots of energy. They need to eat often to fuel their little bodies and mature properly. Maintain a regular time schedule for feeding, and leave the food available for 15-20 minutes. Then take it away. If your puppy is hungry he’ll eat, if not he’ll have another opportunity in a few hours. Upon adulthood reduce the feedings to 1-2 times each day.

You’ll notice that there are no absolute answers to the number of times each day to feed your dog. That’s because there are so many variables involved in determining the answer; age, size, breed, how much exercise does your dog get, is your dog underweight now or overweight, how many treats does he/she get each day. Each of these points need to be considered before deciding how often to feed your pet. I absolutely recommend that you consult with… guess who? Say it with me… your Veterinarian! He/she can help you set up the perfect schedule for your pet.

… to continue next week •

Indoor vs. Outdoor Running: 3 Things to Know About Treadmill Training

The rain is pelting down, hail slices through the night air like bullets, and the cracks of thunder and flashes of lightening set the backdrop for any great horror movie. The sounds of your footfalls are lost in the chaos, but the miles ticked off aren’t done on the slick pavement, but rather, in an indoor haven on the treadmill. The treadmill can be an excellent training tool for runners when weather conditions are uninviting or downright dangerous, or when running outside isn’t an option. Not to be scoffed at by “running purists,” there are times and places when a treadmill is a better bet: • Safety: When it is too dark out to safely navigate your route, or when the weather has left the terrain iced over or slick enough to invite a fall and possible injury. • Workout Quality: If the conditions outside don’t allow you to run safely at a faster pace, you can turn to the treadmill to make sure you’re able to hit the proper level of exertion. • Hills and Incline Training: If you don’t have access to a steep hill or an incline that is long enough, you can create your own using the grade on a treadmill. • Injury Prevention: The belt of the treadmill is more forgiving than the hard pavement; running on a treadmill reduces impact and is easier on the body. This can be especially important for those coming back from an injury. INDOOR VERSUS OUTDOOR RUNNING: THE DIFFERENCES While there are treadmill benefits to boast of, there are still key differences runners need to be aware of between indoor and outdoor running.

Hamstrings: Because a machine powers the treadmill belt, the mechanics of your running stride differ when you run outside. When running on the treadmill, you use your quads to push off. But, unlike outdoor running, where you would typically rely on your hamstrings to finish the stride cycle and lift your leg behind you, the propulsion of the belt does much of that work for you. This means your hamstrings aren’t firing as much and don’t get worked running inside as they would outside. The extra effort demanded of your quads is also a factor to keep in mind.

Outside of a potential fall due to unsteady outdoor footing, landing wrong on your foot can cause strains and other injuries. If you’ve been doing much of your running on a treadmill, your body is used to a nearly even and constant stride. Should you run outside, your risk of an injury from even a minor misstep would be higher because the small muscles, tendons and ligaments of your ankle haven’t been forced to get used to a variety of landings. (i.e.: sharp turns, curbs, uneven pavement, trails, etc.) Wind Resistance: Even in ideal outdoor conditions you run against air resistance; you don’t get inside, so the paces you run on a treadmill are a bit easier than they would be outside. To negate this, you can put the treadmill incline up to 1.5 percent to account for lost wind resistance and make the paces comparable to those run outdoors. With these key elements in mind, you can adapt your training as need be. If you’re doing much of your running indoors, make sure to supplement with extra hamstring-strengthening exercises. To safeguard your ankles, work on balance and mobility drills such as balancing on one leg on a Bosu ball or pillow. After you can hold there, test your balance further by moving your arms or reaching down with your opposite arm towards the foot you are balancing on. This will build strength in the ankle area. HOW TO TRANSITION BETWEEN INDOOR AND OUTDOOR RUNNING If you have been doing nearly all of your training indoors, you need to be especially cautious as you begin to move back outside. You need to transition gradually in order to avoid a resulting injury. So start with one or two of your easy, shorter runs per week outside and build from there; you can also split runs ,some miles can be completed on the treadmill and the rest outside. Of course it works both ways: If you’re moving from all outdoor running to more treadmill running, rely on the gradual transition method.

RESEARCHED BY : KÁTIA C. ROWLANDS – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •