“As you sow, so shall you reap!”
The way you look after your pet gets back to you in terms of how your pet lives with you — if you treat your pet nicely, your pet lives healthily and happily and gives you a lot of entertainment and satisfying companionship in return! This is true with dogs in general and toy dogs in particular.
The most common challenge a pet dog owner faces is the diet — what diet to give, how much to give and when to give. Too much of anything is as bad, even worse in some cases, as too little.
Keeping this in mind you seek help from different sources and you probably find some interesting and important things from other pet dog owners and online search. You may agree on some and you may not on some other; however, there are certain pieces of advice you should know and follow whether you agree with them or not, especially when it comes to feeding your pet dog.
This task seems even more formidable with small dogs in general and pugs in particular. Why? Well, pugs are reputed to be ‘gourmand dogs’, ‘chow hounds’, ‘highly food-obsessed dogs’, and as a pug dog expert put it: ‘they live to eat; not eat to live’!
And to make things even worse, pugs tend to be obese very easily as they are mostly indoor dogs and relatively less agile. As they have stubbed snout, they already have the ailment of breathing difficulty and those suffering from obesity develop even more difficulty in breathing. The other major health issue with pugs is knee joint pains and hip joint dislocation because of their physical structure and the way their tail is made to curl above tight. To add fuel to fire, pugs are very sensitive and are known to suffer from several food allergies.
So, your worries about your pug’s diet are genuine and your determination to give your pug a well-balanced and right quantity diet is appreciable.
These are things you may have probably learned:
A. What to feed?
There are two options before you: one, you cook for your pug, and, the other, you buy food for your pug. There are heated debates taking rounds about which one is the better. Well, as is the case with topics on every other debate, this one has equally valid arguments on both sides. Some say home-made diet is the best and others say commercial foods available are as good, and better if you’re a city-dweller and busy, as home-made food. The choice is yours!
So, you conclude that if an owner is a busy person and has no time to cook food at home, they should go for commercial foods, and if an owner has plenty of time on hand and has a warm kitchen, they make the food at home.
There are two type of diet for dogs: raw diet and cooked diet. Once again, there are people who favour raw diet and people who vouch for cooked diet.
Whether you feed your dog cooked, raw or kibble, the dry food in pellet form available in supermarkets and pet shops, you should see to that your pug gets all the nutrients he needs to be a healthy dog and that you keep changing, gradually, the food items you feed your pug.
Giving a variety of food recipes is a wise practice because giving only the same type of meat, let’s say chicken because your pug likes it very much or chicken is available cheaply anywhere, is not a good practice because your pug may be missing the nutrients found in other meats.
So, you have concluded that you feed your pug with variety of meats: chicken, lamb, duck, beef and rabbit, depending on the availability and your pug’s preference, adding some fish quite often to supplement your pug’s diet with some Omega-3 fatty acids. You also take the caution of always deep-freezing the meats for some considerable time before feeding it to your pug in order to ‘kill’ the parasites the meats naturally harbour in them.
You have also realised that adding some vegetables in your pug’s diet provides your pug with some of the very essential nutrients that are not found in the meat diet. However, you like to consider some K9 experts’ argument that as historically dogs are not vegetarian, the proof of which can be found in their dental structure, there is no need to feed your pug with vegetables.
Anyway, you have made a mental note to include, occasionally, some vegetables, washing them thoroughly and freezing them for quite some time before feeding them to your pet. You have also decided to give variety of meats in order to see to that all the necessary nutrients are available to your loving pug.
You have also decided to include some raw bones in your pug’s diet so that he has an opportunity to use his teeth. A dog which gnaws and chews on some raw things, like the meaty bones and soft raw hides, shows good dental health as gnawing and chewing keep the teeth in good condition and improve the dog’s digestion. And the bonus you get from your dog gnawing on bones and chewing on raw hides is that your expensive furniture and shoes stay intact!
B. How much to feed?
You have carefully noted that over-eating makes your pug obese which in turn makes your pug’s life miserable. Therefore, the focus is on how much to feed.
You have learned that the normal quantity of food ideal for your pug is 2% of his body weight and, in case of an over-active pug, it is 3%. However, the caution you read in one of the several articles you browsed that the most important way of feeding is with the ‘touch and look’ procedure to make sure you neither overfeed nor underfeed your pug.
You look at your dog from above to see if he looks like an 8-shaped hourglass with the waist seen clearly. If you think your dog looks like a barrel, you know that it is time to cut back on the amount of food, and if you see the ribs through the coat, you feed more. You have also come across some information about some pug owners following the ‘fast and gorge’ feeding method in which you fast your pug on certain days and feed him more than the normal quantity on gorge days to activate his natural way of life.
You have firmly decided not to increase the quantity of food just because your pug looks at you with his ‘innocently pleading’ looks for some more as this habit will lead to several risks. You have made known to others of your family not to feed him more than the amount required because when each of you gives him a ‘this’ or ‘that’ of whatever you eat throughout the day, it will certainly amounts to excess quantity.
C. When to feed?
The information you have gathered so far has shown you that as in every other activity, feeding your pug must also have a routine to ensure how much your pug eats and how much interest he shows in eating, i.e. how eager he seems when it is his feeding time.
Free-feeding, leaving the food available all the time, is not at all advisable as this habit of eating results in obesity, breaking all the hell loose.
You have also agreed, with some guilt, on the bad effects of passing your pug some ‘occasional’ tit-bits from under the table while you are dining as this habit prompts your pug to beg and you are certain to experience some awkward moments when you have guests for dinner.