Puppies grow quickly and it is important to ensure proper nutrition, especially in the dog’s first year of life. Puppies have a very specific nutritional need because the immune system, digestive system, muscles and skeleton develop rapidly during the puppyhood period.
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As a dog owner, you have many choices when choosing dog food for your dog. Dogs are different and are used differently – and that means they can have very different levels of activity that should be taken into account when choosing feed. Taking the dog’s life stage into account is also important when choosing food for the dog. In Appetitt’s assortment, you can almost always find a suitable feed for your dog. Appetitt dog food is Norwegian, based on a high level of Norwegian raw materials.
Do you have a puppy? Read about food for puppies, and see our selection of puppy food here.
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The dogs breeding period is calculated from the time around conception to the weaning of the puppies. The correct choice of dog food and feeding during this period is important to achieve many, healthy and viable puppies.
Dog food - useful information
Dog food and feeding dogs in hard work
Correct dog food, feeding and high feed and water intake are, together with training, the factors that determine the dog’s ability to perform to the maximum, whether as a herding dog, during hunting or in competition.
In training, hunting or during races, the dog’s energy needs increase by up to 3 – 6 times the normal maintenance needs. In most cases it will be almost impossible to satisfy this high energy requirement without feeding the dog dog food with a high energy content, high energy food, for example Appetitt Energy or Appetitt Extreme.
A classic symptom of poor nutrition in connection with tough physical activity is reduced stamina and reduced performance. During training, hunting and running, the dog is exposed to far greater psychological and physical stress than otherwise. This primarily results in an increased need for energy. In addition, the requirement for the supply of certain nutrients will otherwise be different than in periods of low activity.
Energy in dog food
The energy in a feed comes from the three main nutrients protein, fat and carbohydrates. Fat contains well over twice as much energy as protein and carbohydrates. The easiest and most effective way to increase the energy content of a feed is to increase the fat content.
The digestibility or availability of the fat is also crucial for the energy value. Raw materials with high digestibility of the fat as well as a good distribution between vegetable and animal fat help to increase the energy value of the feed. A dry feed that will work well during training and hunting should have a fat content of at least 22% and up to 30% during races to cover the high energy needs. That means an energy content of between 16 – 18 MJ OE/kg.
Carbohydrates are also a good source of energy. Here, it is primarily the starch content that determines the energy value. Easily available starch contributes glucose and further glycogen, which provides the most easily available energy for the muscles. Strings and fiber are also carbohydrates, but have no or partially negative energy value. Therefore, the fiber content in a feed for dogs in hard work should be relatively low.
Proteins are primarily building materials in the body and are necessary to form cells and tissues. In an adult dog, the need for proteins is relatively low. Proteins have the same energy value as carbohydrates, but too much protein is negative. Proteins are largely made up of nitrogen and with a high content in the dog food, the excess nitrogen must be excreted via urine. This is a strain on the kidneys and urinary tract. Furthermore, large amounts of nitrogen in the digestive system will create the right conditions for the growth of microorganisms. This in turn increases the risk of outbreaks of diarrhea and soft stools. At the same time, the dog’s fluid needs will increase during a period where the fluid intake can be problematic enough in itself.
Transition to dog food with a high energy content
Training for the hunting period or the racing season should start well in advance. Here we are talking about training muscle mass and making the body’s ability to convert nutrients and energy more efficient. Furthermore, get an increased number of red blood cells and thus improved oxygen uptake. Through systematic and correct training methods as well as good feeding for a minimum of 2-3 months before the hunting or racing season, you achieve that the dog is in top form when it really matters.
The transition from Appetitt Energy to Appetitt Extreme should take place at the latest in connection with the start of the training period. In this way, the increased energy demand can be more easily met right from the start. Otherwise, it is beneficial for the dog to get used to dog food with a lot of fat in good time. This is because the dog thus makes its fat metabolism more efficient and becomes able to handle long periods of great effort.
Practical feeding during training periods
Firstly, all dog food should be soaked in water 10-20 minutes before feeding. Alternatively, the feed can be given dry, but then with plenty of water in the food bowl. Soaked dog food improves digestion and feed utilization and reduces the risk of stomach upset. Furthermore, water absorption is improved, which is very important in connection with training and not least during hunting or running.
The daily ration ac dog food should be divided into at least 2 feedings. It should not be fed too close to hard training sessions. In the period 1 hour before or after training sessions, no feed should be given. However, it is important that the dog gets as much water as possible before, during and after hard physical exertion. Dehydration will quickly reduce performance dramatically.
Practical feeding during hunting and running
The day before hunting or running, the dog should receive an extra ½ ration, the main part of which is given relatively late in the evening. In the morning, ½ ration is given preferably 2 – 3 hours before the start of the hunt/race. A quarter of an hour before the start of the hunt/race is given approx. 10% of a daily ration or some treats such as a slice of bread or a dog biscuit. This is repeated every 2 hours during the hunt or in a race. It is important that it does not work on a completely empty stomach. About. 1 hour after the end of the hunt / race, the main goal is given.
The most important thing is that the dog gets enough water in addition to dog food during the hunt/race. If there is no water in the terrain – the dog must be given water brought along regularly. Dehydration will reduce performance dramatically and, in the worst case, lead to the dog having to be carried home.
If dehydration is suspected, the dog must be given fluids as soon as possible, preferably a sugar/electrolyte mixture. If it does not want to drink itself, you should try to give approx. 1 dl directly in the mouth every 20 minutes until it recovers. Use a good electrolyte mixture (Plus Salt balance can also be used for dogs. Follow the instructions for use for piglets)
Hard training and hunting/running may lead to increased stress in the dog and some may have a reduced appetite. To increase feed intake, a little wet feed or fresh rumen mixed with the dry feed can make the ration more palatable. In cases where it is difficult to maintain the dog’s hold, this can be an effective way to increase feed intake.
In order for the dog to perform at its maximum during the hunt or race – the training grounds must be in order. It does not help with the best possible feed and feeding if the dog is not well physically trained. With Appetitt Energy or Appetitt Extreme dog food, the foundation is laid for a well-functioning active dog.
Feed allergy and feed intolerance in dogs
It may seem that more and more dogs suffer from itching, dandruff, skin irritations and shedding. It is often suspected that there is something wrong with the feed. There can be many reasons for skin problems and it is usually more rare that dog food is the direct cause of itching, skin and shedding disorders.
In what follows, various aspects of the feed that can cause itching, skin and shedding disorders in dogs are detailed. Furthermore, many other conditions that can produce similar symptoms are discussed, but it is too extensive to cover all areas in this article.
Dietary sensitivity is a general term applied to animals or humans’ negative reaction to food. There are two main forms of dietary sensitivity:
- Feed allergy or hypersensitivity, which occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to a special substance in the feed (an allergen).
- Food intolerance is the term for sensitivity that is due to something other than a reaction from the immune system.
The dog’s immune system protects it against disease. An allergy is the immune system’s exaggerated reaction to a substance that the body perceives as a foreign element. For some reason, this particular substance will provoke the immune system to fight the invader (allergen) by all means. Because the body is very sensitive to the substance, we say that the body is hypersensitive to the substance.
Feed allergy is caused by so-called allergens in the feed. These are usually large intact proteins and can come from any raw material. For example, vegetable protein raw materials, but also milk protein and traditional animal and marine protein raw materials can cause allergies. Certain carbohydrates, antioxidants and preservatives can also cause allergic reactions.
The symptoms are primarily itching, especially on hairless areas on the abdomen and between the hind legs as well as on the paws and ears. In addition, there are digestive disorders such as diarrhea and vomiting.
If a food allergy is suspected, an attempt can be made to uncover what it is the dog is allergic to by systematically giving it an «elimination diet». Commercial elimination diets consist of one or a limited number of protein raw materials, and as a rule the proteins are «hydrolysed». This means that the large proteins are broken up into small peptides or individual amino acids. When the symptoms are gone – you can gradually try different types dog food to, if possible, reveal what it is the dog reacts to.
Atopy most common
Atopy is somewhat similar to atopic eczema in humans and is an allergic reaction caused by substances in the environment that the dog breathes in or comes into contact with. This could be, for example, pollen, warehouse or house dust mites. Contact with the «allergen» releases itching and inflammatory substances that cause redness and itching in the skin. It is claimed that 35% of allergies in dogs are atopic (Source: Dr. Baddaky).
Feed intolerance can occur if, for example, the dog lacks one or more digestive enzymes. Enzymes are necessary components of the digestive process. To give an example: Puppies have milk as their main source of nutrition for a few weeks until weaning. Milk contains lactose (milk sugar). The puppies are fed milk every day and then keep the production of the enzyme lactase (breaks down milk sugar) up. If the dog receives milk or milk products every day, lactase production is maintained. To the extent that the supply of milk products is reduced, the production of lactase is also reduced. If an adult dog, which for a period has been without milk products in its dog food, is given milk products again – it can develop diarrhoea. When used over time, the dog will build up lactase production again, and the digestion of lactose will proceed as normal.
How to prevent or remedy itching, skin and fur disorders
If the dog is struggling with itching, you can try dog food for sensitivities in dogs. But what is also important to remember if the itching persists is to take a trip to the vet. The vet can check whether the dog has parasites and also carry out an investigation to uncover the cause of the itching.
If you have discovered that the dog suffers from dietary sensitivity – whether it is a food allergy or food intolerance, you must try to avoid the particular allergen or substances to which the dog reacts. Firstly, it is not easy to discover what the dog cannot tolerate – and secondly, it is difficult to find feed and feed rations that do not contain the substances in question. In general, dog food with a high content of marine or animal protein raw materials where the proteins are largely hydrolysed will be positive.
Fat and fat quality
Low-fat dog food and a feed with a low content of polyunsaturated fatty acids can predispose to poor coat and skin quality. This is because fat is an important component of all cell membranes. The marine omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in particular are important as they are part of phospholipids in all the body’s cells. With the right fat quality, the skin will become flexible and elastic and will be less available for flaking. In addition, the fatty acid EPA is involved in the production of eicosanoids, and subsequently prostaglandins, which are positive in terms of immune status.
Vitamins and minerals
Certain vitamins and minerals are important for skin and coat quality. When it comes to vitamins, it is primarily the B vitamins and then riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and biotin that are important. Furthermore, an adequate supply of the microminerals copper, zinc and iron is essential. However, it is very rare that a lack of these occurs.
If you experience that the dog starts to itch and peel and shed more than normal – the following advice can be given:
- Switch to higher-fat dog food – preferably between 20 – 24% crude fat
- Check the content of the fatty acids EPA and DHA in the feed, which should be over 3 grams per kg feed
- Check the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio, which should be below 5:1.
- Be out with the dog more – go for more walks
- Do not leave the dog indoors a lot and in warm and dry rooms
Feeding of older dogs
The aging process in dogs is like in humans. With increasing age, the dog’s body functions decrease. It is generally more prone to digestive disorders and health problems. In addition, older dogs are often not very active and thus easily become overweight. It is therefore important to choose the right type of dog food, ration the feed correctly and at the same time ensure enough exercise.
When is the dog old?
Dogs today live much longer than just 20 – 30 years ago, and it is not unusual for a dog to be 14 – 15 years old and still in relatively good shape. This is due to better feed and feeding, better veterinary control and generally better dog management than before. It has become common to define a dog as old when it passes 8 years. However, this is very individual and also depends on both breed and, not least, breed size. In general, small breeds and mixed dogs show signs of aging much later in life than large, heavy breeds.
Signs of aging
The most obvious sign of aging is that the dog becomes calmer and takes longer to do most things it does. Furthermore, some dogs can have gray fur, get brittle and long claws. Otherwise, aging often results in poorer vision, hearing, teeth and senses of smell and taste.
Older dogs are also more prone to digestive disorders, infections, allergies and health problems in general.
Impaired digestion and metabolism
Physiologically, the dog has the same need for energy and nutrients regardless of age. In adult dogs, it is mainly the level of activity that determines the need for energy and nutrients. However, it is the case that digestion and absorption of nutrients decreases with the dog’s age. Simply put, this means that older dogs should be given a feed where the nutrients are highly digestible and available. Furthermore, it is important that the feed is composed so that any under-coverage or over-supply of nutrients is avoided.
What characterizes «senior» feed
Appetitt senior is dog food suitable for older dogs and has a moderately lower content of energy and protein than standard adult food. Furthermore, the content of certain minerals has been reduced, while the vitamin content has been increased. Certain older dogs can be sensitive to an oversupply of protein and certain minerals which can result in kidney and urinary tract problems.
In addition, the feed contains a number of «functional substances» which are supposed to reduce or relieve various ailments that can occur with ageing. You can read more about Appetitt Senior here.