Macarthur Veterinary Group
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Canine Nutrition

Feeding Your Puppy

A high-quality balanced diet is very important particularly during your pup’s first 12 months. Your pup has different nutritional requirements to an adult dog, including extra protein requirements for muscle development and calcium for bone growth. At Macarthur Vet Group we recommend Hills Science Diet VetEssentials Puppy - a premium range of commercial puppy food. At least 75% of your pup’s diet should be derived from a balanced commercial diet. Pups should be fed 3-4 small meals a day until 4 months of age, then twice daily at least until fully grown. With a proper balanced diet, calcium and vitamin supplements are unnecessary and we advise against using them.

Puppies and dogs do not need to drink milk. However if you wish to provide milk in addition to water, please use a special pet milk. Cow’s milk contains too much lactose for dogs and can cause diarrhoea.

Ensure that your pup always has access to clean water and change it daily.

Feeding Requirements After Desexing

Desexed (or neutered) dogs have slightly greater risk of becoming obese. Obesity means being more than 15% overweight. It increases the risk of a number of conditions including joint diseases, diabetes and heart disease, and reduces life expectancy. Prevention from an early age through appropriate feeding is far simpler than trying to get your dog to lose weight after becoming obese.

Whilst larger breeds of puppy desexed at 6 months of age still have growth requirements (with an increased need for protein and calcium compared to adults) they now have a reduced need for calories. Hills Science Diet has a specialised range of foods (Hills VetEssentials Large Breed Puppy) to meet the nutritional needs of desexed growing dogs whilst reducing the risk of gaining weight (when feeding guidelines are followed) by controlling calories and improving satiety (the feeling of fullness). Even as adults, dogs are best fed twice daily to improve metabolism and reduce the risk of weight gain, for the same reason that humans are advised not to skip breakfast.

Small to Medium breeds (less than 10kg - 25kg) Hills Science Diet VetEssentials - Adult after desexing.

Large breeds (over 25kg) Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility Large Breed after desexing. 


Feeding Requirements of Adult Entire (Non-Desexed) Dogs

You may choose not to desex your dog if you are considering breeding. Refer to “Should I Get My Pet Desexed” for why we recommended that all dogs not intended for breeding be desexed.

Entire dogs can still become overweight, so for most of these dogs we recommend to feed the Hills Science Diet VetEssentials Adult range (see above). If however your dog is pregnant, lactating, very active or very thin, then we have a range of diets with a higher calorie content. Please ask our staff about the most appropriate diet for your pet.

Some dogs, particularly if they have been unwell, have more specialised dietary requirements. Ask our staff for more information about our Hills Science Diet range of foods.

Dental Health

The best way to prevent dental disease in dogs is to brush their teeth every day, If done properly brushing your dog’s teeth every day can reduce plaque build up by 100%. We can advise/train you on how to clean your dog’s teeth. But this may not always be practical.

OraVet Dental Chews are a new chew with a dual action.  The chewing action removes plaque and it then forms a protective barrier over the tooth to help prevent the reattachment of bacteria/plaque.  Like Greenies, daily OraVet is highly recommended by veterinary dental specialists. 

Greenies are a nutritionally balanced treat with demonstrated efficacy in controlling plaque and tartar build up. They are gentle on teeth and are soluble (breaking down completely within 24 hours of ingestion) so are less likely to cause the problems that are associated with feeding raw bones. Greenies should be fed every day to achieve maximum benefit. Greenies are the only treat on the market endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Greenies are available through Macarthur Vet Group, please ask our staff which size greenie best suits your dog.

Hills Science Diet Prescription t/d is clinically proven, uniquely formulated dental diet for adult dogs to effectively reduce plaque and tartar development.  t/d has a unique fibre matrix (together with large kibble size) which resist crumbling.  This kibble engulfs the tooth to the gumline before splitting, effectively "brushing" the tooth surface clean. Hills Prescription Diet t/d has been awarded the VOHC Seal for effective mechanical removal for plaque and tartar.  

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What NOT to feed your dog

To maintain a healthy dog it is important NOT to feed the following:

Human food ONLY diets – human nutritional requirements are different to those of our pets. Making your own home made diet for your dog or cat is very costly and requires over 50 ingredients to ensure pets are receiving a complete balanced diet not deficient in essential nutrients. Puppies raised on human food alone may suffer calcium deficiency, bone growth abnormalities, stunted growth or a poor immune system, making them susceptible to disease. Human food is acceptable as a treat only.

Meat ONLY diets – severe calcium deficiencies can result from feeding meat only diets to puppies. Growing animals require calcium for healthy bone growth (puppies and kittens have a higher calcium requirement than adult dogs and cats). Calcium deficiency may result in abnormal bone growth, increases the susceptibility to fractures and may be very painful (premium commercial diets provide balanced calcium levels). Milk is NOT a suitable supplement for calcium in an unbalanced diet. Calcium supplementation is NOT required in pets fed a balanced diet but may be required for those pets where meat makes up a large portion of their diet. DO NOT supplement calcium before consulting with one of our vets as too much calcium in growing animals is also dangerous.

Cooked bones – cooked bones splinter very easily and may get caught in the mouth, throat or intestines (retrieval of lodged bones may involve an anaesthetic and surgery – this is expensive!). Bones should be of an appropriate size for your pet and always fed RAW.

Chocolate – dogs often like the taste of chocolate, but it may be toxic if consumed in the wrong amount. The theobromine and caffeine in chocolate affects the heart and nervous system of dogs potentially causing seizures and death.

Onions (including those on pizza and in left-overs) – onions are toxic to red blood cells and may cause a severe life threatening anaemia in dogs.

Large amounts of liver and cod liver oil – liver contains large amounts of vitamin A. Spinal abnormalities, blindness and other bone deformities may result if large amounts of vitamin A are consumed. Liver treats are perfectly safe if kept as treats and not used as the staple diet of your pet.

Meat containing preservatives – some pet meats (those NOT purchased from a butcher) e.g. kangaroo meat, contain large amounts of sulpha dioxide as a preservative. In large quantities this may cause vitamin B1 deficiency.
Pet meats should NOT be fed as a major portion of your pet’s diet.

Grapes and sultanas – recently implicated as causing acute kidney failure in dogs due to an unknown toxin.

Macadamia nuts – are poisonous to dogs potentially causing muscle tremors, weakness and depression.

Excessively fatty food – can result in a painful potentially life threatening inflammation of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. This results in abdominal pain, lethargy, reduced appetite and vomiting.

Mouldy Foods - mouldy foods may contain mycotoxins. These can cause muscle tremors, loss of coordination, and convulsions. They can also cause severe liver damage and sometimes results in death.

Bread Dough - Ingestion of bread dough can be life-threatening to dogs. The heat of an animal's body will cause the dough to rise in the stomach. Ethanol is produced during the rising process and the dough may expand several times its original size. Signs seen with bread dough ingestion may include severe abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, loss of coordination, and depression. Surgery is often required to remove the dough.