When feeding your Dalmatian, it is important to keep in mind that dietary choices can affect the development of orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis. When feeding a puppy at risk, avoid high-calorie diets and try to feed him several times a day. Sudden growth spurts are to be avoided because they result in joint instability. Recent research has also suggested that the electrolyte balance of the diet may also play a role in the development of hip dysplasia. Rations that had more balance between the positively and negatively charged elements in the diet were less likely to promote hip dysplasia in susceptible dogs.
Avoid supplements of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D because they can interfere with normal bone and cartilage development. The fact is that calcium levels in the body are carefully regulated by hormones as well as vitamin D. Supplementation disturbs this normal regulation and can cause many problems. It has also been shown that calcium supplementation can interfere with the proper absorption of zinc from the intestines.
Diet cannot prevent bloat but changing feeding habits can make a difference. Initially, the bloat occurs when the stomach becomes distended with swallowed air. This air is swallowed as a consequence of gulping food or water, stress and exercising too close to mealtime. This is where dog owners can make a difference. Divide meals and feed them three times daily rather than all at once. Soak dry dog food in water before feeding to decrease the tendency to gulp the food. If you want to feed dry food only, add some large clean chew toys to the feed bowl so that the dog has to "pick" to get at the food and cannot gulp it. Putting the food bowl on a step-stool so that your Dalmatian does not have to stretch to get the food may also be helpful. Finally, do not allow your Dalmatian any exercise for at least one hour before and after feeding.
Fat supplements are probably the most common supplements purchased from pet supply stores. They frequently promise to add luster, gloss, and sheen to the coat, and consequently make dogs look healthy. The only fatty acid that is essential for this purpose is cislinoleic acid, which is found in flaxseed oil, sunflower seed oil, and safflower oil. A suitable but less effective alternative is corn oil. Most of the other oils found in retail supplements are high in saturated and monounsaturated fats and are not beneficial for shiny fur or healthy skin. A vet may prescribe other fatty acids for dogs with allergies, arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some heart ailments.
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