Your rotty is a loving, devoted companion -- protective by nature. His muscular frame is built for work. Good nutrition is essential, but rotties gain weight easily. Prone to hip dysplasia, staying lean is imperative. Feed your rotty a quality kibble or opt for a raw diet.
The rotty's muscular and skeletal system develops at a slower rate than most dogs. Even though he appears full-grown at 1 year, don't let the broad chest fool you. He is still developing. Keep him on a quality puppy diet until he is 18 to 24 months old. Switch to adult food too early, and you are putting him at a higher risk for hip dysplasia or other bone and muscle problems later in life.
The adult rotty needs a proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. Proteins provide amino acids for building and maintaining your dog's tissues. Animal proteins have greater value than vegetable proteins. According to William D. Cusick, author of "The Best Diet for a Rottweiler," you should avoid fish, horse meat and beef. He suggests lamb, poultry and dairy products for your rotty.
Carbohydrates are necessary for energy. Grains and vegetables provide needed energy. Avoid corn, soy and white rice. They pack on the pounds and are difficult to digest. Cusick suggests wheat as a carbohydrate choice.
Fats provide concentrated energy and help maintain your rotty's healthy skin and coat. Too much fat leads to weight gain and obesity. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for chemical reactions, according to the Virgina-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Cusick states that the best source of calcium is calcium bone meal. He also warns that vitamin C is harmful for the rotty because of potential kidney and liver damage. Water is the most important nutrient.
Raw Food Diet
A raw food diet usually consists of raw meat bones, eggs, fruits, vegetables and few grains. Raw bones keep your rotty's 42 teeth cleaner. Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease. A raw diet results in less bloat and smaller stools. However, the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine warns against a raw diet. Meat may contain parasites. Raw eggs contain the enzyme avidin which decreases the absorption of biotin, a B vitamin. Overfeeding raw liver can cause vitamin A toxicity. They do suggest, though, that a homemade diet is fine, if it is prepared by an experienced nutritionist.
Changing to a raw diet also affects the dog's system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea and a poor coat until the dog adjusts to the food. Choosing quality meat may be difficult, depending on where you live. Time to prepare the diet is a concern for those with a busy schedule.
If your rotty has a shiny coat and is happy, his diet is working for him. You know he is getting the right amount of food if you can feel his ribs, but not see his ribs. Learn to read labels when examining quality foods. Meats should be the first ingredients. Avoid meat byproducts. As your rotty ages, consider a senior kibble or adjust his raw diet. Senior dogs gain weight easier because of less activity.
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