Read our hint and tips on feeding and nutrition for your dog written by our veterinary expert, Aoife Barry and nutritional expert, Eugene Brennan

Top tips for feeding your dog

When choosing a food for your dog, you need to consider a few practical, common sense questions:

It’s vital that you remember that your dog’s digestive system is different to your own, so dogs need to be fed on a diet that’s been specially formulated for their needs.

A good dog food should include the following:

You should aim to feed your dog at the same time every day, and don't forget to make sure that they have fresh water available to them at all times.

Dealing with a picky eater

Just like humans, some dogs will be picky when it comes to eating, even if you’ve dished up really tasty and healthy meals.

Don’t be tempted to believe that your dog needs more variety. Your dog will very happily have the same food for the rest of its life, assuming it’s tasty and full of nutrition.

One of the reasons for this problem is that you’ve mistakenly ‘rewarded’ your dog with scraps from the table. It may well have stopped eating from the bowl in the hope that it’ll get something more exciting from the family dinner. 

The first thing you should do, therefore, is to cut out all treats or hand-downs from the table. When your dog twigs that there’s nothing coming other than what’s in the bowl, it’ll soon come to its senses!

A useful trick is to put out food in the bowl and leave it there for thirty or forty minutes. If it hasn’t been touched at that stage, then take it away and don’t put out food until it's time for your dog’s next meal, at which stage you should repeat the process.

Don’t be worried that your dog will starve – if it’s genuinely hungry, it’ll eat. You might have to put up with some whining for a while, but you’ll eventually come out on top!

Feeding a larger dog

Feeding a larger dog such as a boxer, labrador retriever or golden retriever can bring a few challenges of its own. Many owners worry as to whether they’re giving their dog enough food – but it’s just as much a problem if you over-feed them.

Weighing your dog is easier than it sounds. Weigh yourself, first, and then weigh yourself holding the dog. Subtracting one from the other will give you your dog’s weight.

If you think your dog is too heavy or too light, simply reduce or increase the amount you feed accordingly.

Always feeding the same food

Don’t worry about feeding your dog the same food all the time

Dogs are not like humans. They should be perfectly happy to eat the same food for a lifetime. 

Often, when we decide to change our dog’s diet, we are using human values, thinking it may be a treat for them to have some variety.

The problem about this is that if your dog is a tad picky to begin with, this process of changing feed will make them even pickier.

Also, if you constantly change feed and your dog becomes unwell, it can be hard to decide which of the recent feeds is the culprit.

If you need further help or advice, speak to our veterinary experts.