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  Feeding your Golden Retriever is a very important matter. "You are what you eat", and dogs are no different. The correct nutrition will make your Golden more beautiful and less prone to contracting diseases. 

As there are many diet options for dogs nowadays, it is necessary to learn a little about food alternatives, analyze their pros and cons, and finally choose the option that best fits your routine and profile. Let's see the main modalities: commercial diet (feed) and homemade diet.

Feed - commercial / industrialized diet

Feed is a diet that comes ready-made. Just open the bag, pour the amount indicated for the dog's age, weight and size into his bowl and serve. It is by far the best option for those looking for practicality.

But, with hundreds of products on the market, feed for different breeds, feed of various flavors, stunning advertisements, one package more beautiful than the other, how to choose a brand? First, whenever possible, opt for a Super Premium quality dog food. They are more expensive, but contain more protein (the most expensive nutrient in any diet) and more sophisticated ingredients such as prebiotics (MOS), antioxidants (vitamins A, E, and C, etc.) and joint protectors (chondroitin and glucosamine).

Second: read the label. Don't be put off by appearances or fads. Simply check the composition of the product. With some basic tips, you will learn to recognize a good food:

• The first ingredient in the composition must be meat (eg chicken, beef). Meat "flour" is not the same as meat. And not even "chicken by-products."

• Among the first five ingredients, at most two must be of plant origin (eg, broken rice, barley), as these ingredients are less nutritionally interesting for carnivores such as dogs.

• The less often grains or grain by-products (corn gluten, corn bran) appear, the better. Excess grain makes the composition cheaper, but makes the food less digestible for dogs and can predispose them to food allergies and intolerances.

• Above 25% is a good protein content for an adult dog or puppy food.

• The presence of ingredients such as fish oil (source of omega 3) and nutrients such as antioxidant vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, E and selenium, in addition to joint protectors (such as chondroitin and glucosamine), enrich the composition.

• Avoid colored and stuffed rations. That just means more long-term, potentially toxic chemical additives like dyes and flavors.

• Soy is a grain often associated with allergies in dogs. Prefer rations that do not mention soy in the composition.

Foods that you can offer along with the ration

The ration is complete and balanced. This means that it contains all the nutrients your dog needs to grow and stay healthy. However, the addition of some fresh foods daily is very welcome. Below are examples of nutritious foods that you can offer your dog as a treat or mixed with their food:

  Fruits, such as bananas (if he accepts, he can offer them with the skin, extremely nutritious), apples (remove the seeds, which are toxic), pears, strawberries, persimmons, figs, papaya (without seeds and in small quantities, so as not to loosen the intestine), etc. Offer up to 1 to 2 fruits a day, without exaggeration. 

  Whole Natural Yogurt  - It is a source of probiotics (good intestinal bacteria) and minerals. Offer up to 2 tablespoons per day. 

  brewer's yeast  - It is a source of B vitamins and minerals, and promotes the health and beauty of the coat. Offer up to a teaspoon or dessert a day. 

  raw garlic  - Helps to repel worms, fleas and ticks, fights viruses and bacteria, improves immunity and prevents the deposition of fat in blood vessels. Too much is toxic. Offer 1/5 to ¼ of a small clove of raw garlic daily. 

  Boiled egg  - It is considered the most complete food of animal origin that exists. Offer it lightly cooked, so as not to lose too much of the nutrients, mixed with the feed, up to two or three times a week. 

  Brazil nut  - It is rich in the antioxidant selenium, which protects cells against the action of free radicals. Offer up to one a day. 

But do not overdo the added fresh foods - even those considered beneficial - in order not to unbalance the nutritional composition of the feed.

Foods that should be avoided 

Some foods, however, should be strictly avoided as they are potentially toxic to dogs. See what they are below:

  Chocolate  - Dogs do not metabolize theobromine, a substance present in chocolate, which can even lead to death, depending on the amount offered. 

  Spinach  - Contains a lot of oxalic acid, and can cause dogs to develop calcium oxalate urinary stones. 


  Grape  - Many dogs consume grapes without problems, but the literature claims that it is toxic to the kidneys. 

  Onion  - or foods seasoned with onions. They can cause changes in the red cells (red blood cells) of dogs, leading them to anemia and even death. 

  Avocado  - Although many dogs consume it without problems, the literature cites that persin, a substance present in avocado, can be harmful to dogs. 

How much to offer?

The ideal amount of food is enough to keep the dog at the right weight for its age and size, neither fat nor thin. As a reference, consult the guidelines on the feed package. However, be aware that manufacturers often claim to offer an amount that exceeds the animal's caloric need, predisposing it to obesity. So offer perhaps a little less than the manufacturer's mandate and observe the dog after a week or two. Can you feel the ribs (on the side of the chest) when you feel them? If they are very furrowed, as if you could count them one by one, your dog may be too thin. In that case, slightly increase the amount of feed offered.

On the other hand, if the ribs feel like they are buried in a layer of fat, and you cannot discern them minimally one by one through touch, your dog may be overweight or obese. In that case, reduce the portions. Other references, to know if your dog is fat, is to position him in stay (with all four paws on the ground) and observe him from above. Does he show off a waist, albeit discreet? It is a sign that you are at the right weight. A very pronounced waist already indicates thinness. And lack of waist, with the dog looking like a "sausage" when viewed from above is a sign of overweight or obesity. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

How many times a day?

Puppies up to 4 months of age should receive at least 3 meals a day. But the ideal, if possible, is to feed him 4 times a day. From 6 months, he can receive two meals a day. Do not feed your adult Golden just once a day. The ingestion of a large volume of food at once makes digestion difficult and favors the appearance of gastric dilatation and torsion, a potentially fatal condition.

Beware of Obesity

The vast majority of dogs are currently overweight or obese. This is highly undesirable, particularly if the dog in question is growing. In fact, just like in humans, it is preferable for the dog to be thin than to be fat. Overweight overloads the joints, favoring the appearance of common ailments in the breed, such as hip dysplasia.

Obesity is also linked to pancreatitis (a disease that kills most dogs), diabetes, hypothyroidism, more life-threatening

procedures that involve anesthesia, to more problems during pregnancy and childbirth and can even increase the incidence of urinary infections. In addition to all this, it is proven that overweight dogs live at least 15% less. There are no excuses for letting a dog become obese, as he is not the one looking for food and helping himself.

homemade diets

Thousands of breeders, dog owners and veterinarians prefer to offer their dogs and cats a balanced home-cooked diet. The main disadvantage of this type of food is the lack of practicality, since it is you who will buy the food and prepare your pet's meals. It is also necessary to reserve a portion of the freezer and refrigerator to preserve the previously prepared portions. But in terms of advantages, homemade diets, as long as they are well formulated, offer many health benefits for animals. Here are some pros of this type of diet:

 Contains 6 to 7 times
  more water  than commercial dry rations, which favors the health of the urinary tract. After all, we all know the importance of drinking more water on a daily basis. 

 A homemade diet prepared with
  fresh food  contains an infinity of nutrients and micronutrients that are better used by the body, as they have not undergone industrial processing. 

 Home-cooked diets contain little or no
  chemical additive  potentially harmful to health, such as dyes, flavors, sweeteners, odorants, binders and preservatives, etc. 

 The
  feces  tend to get smaller and have less odor. 

 Dogs usually give off
  less hair. 

 The
  cost  monthly diet of a homemade diet is similar to the cost of feeding the dog Super Premium quality food. 

 You are the one who chooses the food, being able to choose
  Ingredients  fresh, organic, functional foods, etc. 

How to formulate a homemade diet

Home cooking is not leftover food. Nor "panelada" with all the food left in the fridge. It is a balanced diet, nutritionally adequate to the nutritional needs of that species. It must be taken seriously or major imbalances may occur.

If you choose a homemade diet, it is important to consult a nutrition specialist veterinarian!

For more details on this type of food, costs, benefits, testimonials, diet options, how to do it, see the website , there you will find expert tips and learn more about this type of food.

Source:  (veterinarian: Sylvia Angelico)


Golden Calli

Specializing in Golden Retrievers

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