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Feeding Your Outdoor Dog

Feeding Your Outdoor Dog

The dog that is kept outdoors all of the time, or on an exclusive diet of dry food, does not need to be restricted to portion control feeding. These dogs will do quite well when self-fed. One precaution should be pointed out about outdoor pets that are put on self-feeding programs. If they have not been eating dry food, their water consumption will jump considerably when they begin to eat it. A special effort should be made to keep plenty of cool, fresh water before these dogs at all times.

Outdoor dogs require even more water during the summer because a dog's body-cooling processes that depend on water. When outdoor pets are individually fed they can be fed by either ad libitum or portion control. The feeding location should be under some kind of shelter. This will keep the direct sunlight, dust, and dirt to a minimum.

Outdoor feeding locations should also be located away from garbage cans. A back porch, back steps, or corner of the garage may be convenient, but if there are garbage cans nearby such places are unsuitable as dog feeding locations. First, such places allow flies of all descriptions to contaminate the food. Flies are not particularly objectionable to a dog. Most outdoor dogs go through life snapping up and swallowing a fly now and then. Ordinarily this is no cause for alarm, but around garbage cans flies become so numerous in a dog's food that they constitute a disease danger. Flies can also be a problem in certain areas during the hot summer months, regardless of where the garbage is placed. Again, a multitude of flies may not bother some dogs, but dogs with sensitive skin, or dogs which are not in peak health may be bitten relentlessly by flies, and even become "fly blown" - a nasty condition which will need medical attention. Take particular care with your outside dogs that they do not get anywhere near being "fly blown" - use an insect repellant if necessary, and wash your dogs regularly. See your vet if your dog is being bitten by flies to a serious degree.

With dogs that are fed outdoors, it is of particular importance to pick up any food remaining uneaten after 20 or 30 minutes. Food served at room temperature, then allowed to stand outdoors, quickly warms to temperatures at which contaminating bacteria rapidly multiply. Most dogs do not find the odor of over-ripe dog food unpleasant. Many, in fact, consider the smell quite desirable. The toxins and other waste products produced by bacteria, at the same time they are creating that smell, may have a distinctly detrimental effect on the dog.

There is perhaps more important reason for feeding an outdoor dog at the same time and place every day and allowing the food to remain before the dog only 20 or 30 minutes. It is to train your dog to eat only at that time and at that place. lf the dog does not, it learns quickly that it must wait until the next feeding before it gets anything more to eat. Your dog will soon become accustomed to eating at only a specified time, and will come to the specified place every day around that time anticipating its food.

And, needless to say, it is important to always feed your outdoor dog the you can - forget those commercial dog food ads - almost all commercial dog food has little nutritive value, despite what your vet may tell you to the contrary.

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