Tips for Preparing Standard Diets

Many vets argue that a good kibble diet is the right diet to feed your dog. No muss. No fuss. The idea is that there are no worries about nutrition. If you have a good kibble diet, it should have everything your dog needs without adding nutrients or supplements, just a handful of kibble in the bowl. Canned food makes a nice treat, but is too soft to keep a dog's teeth clean the way crunching kibble does. It also makes a dog's stool soft and more difficult to clean up.

Choosing: If you already use a kibble diet, you can tell if it's working for your dog if he is energetic, his coat looks healthy and glossy, if his stools are firm and brown and if he seems to be in overall good health. If you are looking for a good kibble diet, keep in mind that there are no real regulations for whether or not a dog food can be sold. Choose diets that conform to minimal Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standard. This will be marked on the label. Also look carefully at the ingredients. A good food will have two quality animal protein sources in the first two ingredients. Look for natural ingredients without preservatives. Choose wisely.

Storing: An important part of feeding your kibble diet is storing. Your kibble should be stored in a tightly-lidded container. Metal is best, especially if you have any problems with rats, but the goal is to keep mice, rats, roaches, ants and any other critters that might contaminate the food away. Treat your dog's food the same way you would treat your own.

Store kibble in a cool place and be mindful of how long it remains stored. Look for an expiration date on the bag before you pour the food into a container and if you think the food might outlast the expiration date, mark it with a piece of masking tape on the storage container. Dog kibble can spoil and you should throw it out if it expires. Smell your dog's food and check it for infestation every day before you feed it out.

Free-feeding or Rationing: Some people leave a limitless supply of dry food out for their dogs to graze on. This works for dogs that don't have the likelihood of gorging and gives you peace of mind that your pooch isn't going hungry. However, food that is left out, especially if it is in an automatic feeder, like a hopper can spoil or get infested with insects. It doesn't hurt to feed your dog a rationed meal twice a day. Read the directions on your choice of kibble and follow the recommendations based on your dog's age and weight.

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