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Dear Daisy Dog

I just adopted a 3-year-old retriever from the shelter. What kind of dog food is best for her?

Daisy Responds

Assuming your veterinarian has confirmed that she is healthy, feed her as follows:

  • Choose a high quality dog food. High quality food costs more, but it's worth it -- and since there's less "filler," you won't need to feed as much of it as you would a low quality food.

    One measure of quality is a statement on the bag that says the food was actually tested in dogs using the "All Life Stages" protocol of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Avoid food merely formulated according to AAFCO guidelines but not actually tested in dogs.
  • Feed dry dog food. Compared to canned food, dry food results in less plaque buildup and therefore healthier gums and better breath.
  • Feed adults two meals per day, and don't feed table scraps, which un-balance an already balanced diet.
  • If your dog is overweight, feed her twice daily but decrease the quantity of food by 25%. If she is not losing weight after a month, reduce intake by a further 25% and monitor her weight.

    The correct quantity of food will result in gradual weight loss. Consider a low-calorie food to aid in weight loss.
  • Be consistent. Changing food abruptly or feeding table food to which the dog is not accustomed commonly leads to diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • We dogs eat in packs, in order of social hierarchy within the pack. People (the leaders of the pack family, according to my mom) should eat before the dogs, and the dogs' food bowls should be put down in order of each dog's ranking within the pack.
    For the record, Mom puts my bowl down first!

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