Raw and Cooked Diets for Toy Dogs (Booklet Preview)

Toy dogs sleep on couches, on our beds, and if yours is like one of mine — on our heads. Other than their cute factor, toy dogs can be different in other ways. They have unique dietary needs due to a high metabolism, and some can be picky eaters. They bring challenges to the table that most owners of larger dogs don’t encounter. The raw and cooked diets in this booklet are suited to healthy adult dogs. Most of the recipes provide a great deal of variety because many toy dogs are picky eaters. By including different foods, we are better able to rotate between them, thus maintaining the dog’s interest.

Tiny dogs can be prone to hypoglycemia, and this is one of the greatest concerns for their owners. The diets here include fruits, to help maintain electrolyte levels and provide high moisture content. Most toy dogs have a sweet tooth and are likely to accept these offerings when they refuse other foods. Dogs that are prone to hypoglycemia should be fed more often. Even if the dog will not eat much at one sitting, several small meals can add up to provide the calories and nutrients the dog needs while maintaining normal blood glucose levels.

Will S/he Eat This?

One of the greatest challenges in feeding toy dogs a balanced home-prepared diet is that they may not consume all foods, thus becoming deficient in some nutrients. It goes without saying that the best nutrition on paper becomes meaningless if the dog doesn't consume what is in his/ her bowl. On the other hand, some toy dogs would gladly eat until they become obese. In these cases, we risk “over-nutrition” in that more food equals more vitamin and minerals ingested. Excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals can create problems. For the reasons above, I have included a different diet for each pound of bodyweight. The caloric values of these diets allow the dog owner to change the diet somewhat. For example, the 3‑pound dog that needs more calories can consume the recipe for a 4‑pound dog, and the 5 pound dog that needs slightly fewer calories, can be fed the recipe for a 4‑pound dog. A “buffer” has been built into these diets that allows you do this, but don't go overboard. Your 8‑pound dog should not be eating a diet geared for the 5‑pound or 11‑pound dog.

Moderately Active Dogs

Here is how to identify the activity level of your dog. Inactive: Indoor play, some strolling time or leisurely walk. Moderately active: Two walks per day at least 30 minutes per walk at a constant pace. Highly active: Runs for long periods of time, or is a performance dog.

Calories

All recipes provide fewer calories than your dog may require. This is intentional since most toy dogs are fed several treats per day. You can add another 10% of the noted calories in a diet plan as treats. In other words, if a diet provides 100 calories, feeding an extra 10 calories in the form of treats is perfectly acceptable,and may be required. You can feed even more treats if your dog needs extra calories, but choose them carefully.

Weight Maintenance

Being an owner of a toy dog myself, I'm especially sensitive to how many small dogs are overweight. In some cases this is because they have trained their owners to feed too many treats, in others it is because a small body under a long coat can hide excess weight well, and in others, it's because some people simply don't recognize an overweight dog. If you are unsure about your dog’s body condition, ask your veterinarian. It can be difficult to notice half a pound of weight gain on a ten pound, long-haired
dog, and our scales at home are not as accurate as those at a veterinary clinic. That half-pound may not seem like much, but it is 5% of the ten-pound dog’s ideal bodyweight. To put this in terms that make more sense to people, it is like a 150-pound person gaining an extra 7.5 pounds.

My focus on excess weight is due to the health risks it can bring. Not only is the heart working harder and joints are being stressed, but it puts the dog at an increased risk for diabetes and pancreatitis. I have stopped counting the number of toy dogs that come down with pancreatitis, and in so many cases, they were overweight. A report showed that 43% of dogs with acute pancreatitis were overweight or obese.

Read the entire booklet including all recipes via the download available.

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