When it comes to food, your Pekingese may try to persuade you that he is not a little dog who only requires small portions. He needs a properly balanced diet for his frame. Sneaking your Peke a few chips can lead to weight problems.
The standard Pekingese should ideally weigh somewhere between 8 and 14 pounds. Weights above this are not very healthy for this breed. This ideal breed weight is relatively heavy for a small dog, but underneath his flowing coat is a stocky, muscular frame that accounts for his weight. The tiniest Pekes, called "sleeve Pekingese," weigh up to 6 pounds, and the miniature Pekingese weighs between 6 and 8 pounds. Because your Pekingese is prone to joint injuries and herniated discs, it is vital that you keep him close to his ideal weight, as the less pressure there is on his spine and legs, the less likely he is to develop health problems.
An Imperial Diet
One thing you may consider when choosing the best diet for your Peke is his historic origins. Pekingese-info.com suggests that your modern Pekingese diet should be close to the breed's historic diet. Your Pekingese dates back to eighth century China when his ancestors were bred within the emperor's palace in Peking. Only members of the imperial court could own one of these dogs. British soldiers invading the palace in 1860 found several Pekingese guarding the body of a princess and brought them back to England. As a valued member of the imperial court, your Peke's ancestors fed on a typical mandarin diet high in pork, chicken and fish proteins combined with rice, greens and soy products. Modern pet nutritionists recommend a diet along these lines, although your Peke is more likely to get the ingredients in dry food form today.
Your Pekingese's Diet
Your Pekingese needs a high protein diet, especially during his puppy and adolescent stages. In their book Pekingese, Coile and Earle-Bridges, suggest meat or soybean-based pet food specially formulated for each life stage. They also suggest that the top three or four ingredients in the food brand are animal-derived products. Animal, rather than plant-based ingredients, are more easily digested by your dog and prevent excessive gas. To keep your Peke's coat in good condition, his food must contain fats. Low fat food, such as a prescription diet, is only necessary if your dog is overweight or has heart problems, otherwise the proportions of protein and fat found in good quality pet food for a small dog breed is sufficient. If you are unsure about a suitable pet food for your Peke, have a chat with your vet about it.
Dry Or Wet Food?
You may need to experiment a bit to find the food that your Peke finds acceptable. Ideally, the best food should produce small quantities of firm stools, a glossy coat and a healthy weight in your dog. Dry food is the most economical and healthiest, but your Peke may not be over-impressed by a diet solely consisting of it. Adding semi-moist food, or canned food adds a bit of variety that should appeal to him. However, semi-moist foods contain sugar as a preservative, so it is best to limit your use. Also, a diet that only consists of soft, wet foods doesn't give your dog anything to chew on, which is detrimental to his dental health. Dry food or dog biscuits provide some chewing action that keeps his teeth in good order. As the Pekingese is prone to obesity, avoid giving him your cake or cookies as a treat no matter how appealing his gaze.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.