Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Right “Chow” For Your Chow Chow

You are perhaps aware that each breed of dog comes with its own unique nutritional requirements that have come down the generations much like his coat, temperament, attitude and body size.

As a pet owner, it is necessary you know that your pet doesn’t look for a change in his diet. On the contrary, he finds it odd to eat anything new and different from what he’s used to. And you must also take care to see that his nutritional needs are being met by his diet.

His diet should contain:

1. Sources of nutrients found in his ancestors’ native environment. If should therefore not be strange and unfamiliar to his digestive and glandular systems but familiar and easy to digest and
2. The content of protein, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals should match the requirements of his breed’s nutritional requirements

By feeding your pet right, you could not just invest in a healthy pet but also save a lot of money by not having to take him to the vet for problems of nutrition. Problems arising out of wrong or bad foods result in dry, itchy or flaky skin, hot spots, yeast infections in the ear, thyroid, liver or kidney problems, costing you an alarming amount of money every year.

This is why you need to study the nutritional needs of your pet before deciding on which food to give him. This results in a win-win situation: not only is your dog healthy, but you save money too.

Freshly cooked food: It is widely acknowledged that the best food you can give your pet is the one you make fresh for him everyday, using quality ingredients and without preservatives.

You will observe in time that it takes only about a couple of hours a week to cook for your Chow Chow so that his nutritional needs are satisfied. It will also turn out to be less expensive than buying commercial pet food.

In the early days, the Chinese ate the Chow Chow’s meat, though this breed lived on a diet of grains and vegetables. As a result, succeeding generations of this breed showed an indication of its development as a vegetarian by having a different structure of mouth, jaw and tooth as opposed to meat eating dogs. Its teeth are flatter than the sharp incisors of carnivorous dog breeds.

In its native environment, the primary sources of the Chow Chow’s food were rice, wheat, soy, and occasionally, fish. Even today, if you blend these foods, it would be the most ideal for him, On the other hand, foods to avoid serving him are beef, horse meat, lamb and poultry or their by-products.

1) Foods good for him: You perhaps don’t know that there are over 170 different molecular forms of the mineral called calcium. Its source is something this breed can easily digest, avoiding the possibility of the Chow Chow ever developing kidney stones.

2) The amount of calcium he takes in depends on his age, sex, activity level, stress levels, medical conditions and other dietary factors. After the dog is a year old, let him eat one meal a day. Be consistent with the amount of food you give him and his meal timings. If you give him just one meal a day, feed him towards sunset, since then he can go to bed after his meal.

3) When choosing the right feed for your pet, bear in mind that he cannot eat a lot of meat, unlike other dogs. If you do, he will break out into numerous skin ailments. For protein, give him eggs, rice, cottage cheese and a spoonful of meat every meal. However, rice is very good for him as this does his digestive system good and is great for a shiny coat.

4) Try "Pro Plan" once he is an adult. Mix it with warm water and if you choose to give it dry, see that it is a ready-expanded meal or the gases this forms in his stomach when the dry food becomes moist could lead to the problem of torsion and lead to his eventual death.

Rather than give him prepackaged food from supermarkets that are filled with preservatives, stick to the same diet with a few changes every now and then, just so he stays healthy. Vary the amount of food every now and then. Usually, a healthy Chow Chow eats four cups of food a day, over two meals.
Don’t give your dogs raw hides as this causes their deaths since they cannot digest it and sometimes choke on the hides. If you want to give him something to chew, give him a cow hoof. Make clean and fresh water available for him both inside and outside the house.

Feeding schedules: Usually, pups eliminate an hour or so after a meal. Once you regularize his feeding schedule, you will have some control over when he needs to eliminate.

1) Set the time for his dinner so that after the meal you can take him out of the house.

2) Just before you crate him, don’t feed him a large meal or he will eliminate when you’re not around to take him out. Instead, set two or three feeding schedules a day.

3) Let him eat only for 30- 40 minutes, then take it away.

4) Several hours before he is confined for the night, feed him. This, coupled with exercise sessions, confinement periods and trips outdoors to the elimination area will help him develop a fixed routine for eliminating.

The Chow Chow is a tough customer, no doubt, but if you have the guts and grit to take him in to your home, they can make a swell pet! Remember, he’s aristocratic, arrogant, reserved and aloof—so you have to adjust to his whims and fancies.

But he’ll do you proud, no matter what, so take one home today. Be assured you have a life of love and understanding from your dog friend.

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