This month Dr. Townshend answers your questions about vitamin supplements for dogs and increasing water intake for summer.
Q: I feed Holistic Select to all my dogs, who range from five months to ten years of age. They eat different varieties, one eats Holistic Select Puppy Health, one eats Holistic Select Lamb Meal and one eats Holistic Select Weight Management dry dog food recipe. Is there any reason to give any of them vitamins as a supplement?
A: It’s great that you have adjusted each pet’s diet in order to provide for their life stage or special needs. Meeting a pet’s specific nutritional requirements will certainly promote a long, happy and healthy life for your pets. All of the Holistic Select diets are not only complete and balanced, but they also go beyond basic nutrition to provide optimum levels of nutrients including vitamins and minerals. There would be no benefit in supplementing with a general vitamin and mineral supplement, and doing so could even alter the nutritional balance by providing excessive levels of those vitamins and minerals.
Q: I’m feeding my dog Holistic Select Dry Dog Food and I’m wondering what I can do to provide more sources of hydration for my dog this summer. Should I sometimes add water to his food? Should I offer canned dog food occasionally?
A: Dogs that are on exclusively dry diets will generally drink enough water to maintain adequate hydration. Increasing activity will usually encourage more water consumption. Holistic Select Canned dog food recipes include flavorful broths that provide almost 80% liquid per can, but they also contain additional calories so you must be careful to reduce the amount of dry food being fed when you add canned food to the daily diet. Check the feeding guidelines on your dry dog food bag to determine combination feeding amounts. I would not recommend adding water to the dry dog food because it can soften the food and encourage dental plaque. Hot water will kill the probiotics on the food and should never be used. Also, if you add water and your pet does not eat it all right away, the food can spoil and cause gastrointestinal issues.
If you want to encourage more water intake, you might flavor the water in the water bowel. Add just a small amount of canned food to the water in order to make it more appealing. Keep in mind that the water will need to be changed regularly as it too could spoil.