WHAT'S THE BEST DOG FOOD FOR A CHOW CHOW?
Originally from northern China, the Chow Chow is a big ball of fur with an independent yet loyal character. If you're thinking of adopting a Chow Chow (or you already have!), here are some tips to help you understand the breed's specific needs and select the best type of dog food for your (very) furry friend.
Chow Chow: Specific Dietary Needs
The Chow Chow is a large dog with a predisposition to weight gain. As such, determining their ideal diet can be tricky; it's important to avoid undernourishment but also meals that are too rich. It is therefore essential to calculate your Chow Chow's feed rations and offer them a balanced and varied diet to keep them in good health. Dry dog food is a great option for nourishing your Chow Chow. It keeps well and, most importantly, is very easy to measure out. In fact, because of their fragile joints, Chow Chows must not be overweight: a healthy Chow Chow should weigh between 20 and 35 kilos.
However, you also have to ensure you meet all your dog's energy needs and provide them with all the required nutrients. You can do this with comprehensive, nutritious kibble for large dogs. Why not do one better and opt for dry dog food specially designed for the breed! Ideally, you should offer your Chow Chow premium dog food, mainly composed of animal protein, in order to best meet your dog's nutritional needs. Low-end brands should be avoided as far as possible: these are often very high in fat, which is not satiating and can actually be harmful in the long term.
What Type of Dog Food Should I Feed My Chow Chow?
When considering your dog's diet, opt for high-quality dry dog food adapted to their breed. For a Chow Chow, this will ideally contain:
Dogs are carnivores and therefore mainly need protein from animal sources to help their body function properly. Their meals should consist of at least 40% protein: check your dog food packet to make sure that your kibble contains more than 28% protein. This should be of the highest quality possible to best meet your Chow Chow's energy needs while keeping them feeling full for longer.
Carbohydrate and Fat
From its large size, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Chow Chow is quite athletic. This isn't the case. While they'd be more comfortable living in a house, your Chow Chow will be perfectly happy in an apartment, too. If your pooch expends less energy (by living in a small space, for example), their energy requirements will change. Such is the case with carbohydrate and fat intake; the amount of these nutrients in your dog's food must be monitored to avoid weight gain and diabetes. However, a little bit of fibre is very beneficial: it helps the Chow Chow's fragile digestive system.
A combination of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E preserve your Chow Chow's thick coat, as well as their skin, while supporting the immune system and helping to fight disease and infection. Sulphites also have great antioxidant properties.
The Hector Kitchen Motto
Every dog is unique, so their diet should be too!
We cannot stress it enough: each dog has their own specific dietary needs. And these recommendations are not the only things to take into account when choosing the best food for your Chow Chow; their age, weight, activity level (normal or sustained), and any potential diseases are equally important factors.
No one is better qualified than an animal nutrition specialist to help you create a suitable diet for your dog!
When and How Should I Feed My Chow Chow?
Now that you know all about your dog’s nutritional needs, you might be wondering how to be sure that you're choosing the right kibble. Here we outline some recommendations for feeding your Chow Chow in the best way possible:
Give them their meals at the same time each day and, if possible, in the same quiet place. Your Chow Chow needs to eat in a calm environment, so as not to be subject to stress during mealtime. Being a rather solitary animal, it's best if your Chow Chow has their own personal food bowl, which they don't have to share with other animals.
Give them kibble for large dogs, which will be much more suited to their needs. Better yet: opt for croquettes specifically designed for Chow Chows.
Distribute their meals between 3 or 4 meals a day until your pup is 6 months old. After that, 2 meals a day will suffice.
Give them the correct amount of dog food. The amount of kibble required is different for each dog, a puppy won't have the same needs as a senior dog, for example. It will also depend on other factors, such as your dog's weight, activity level (normal or sustained), and reported illnesses. Your vet or an animal nutritionist specialist can help you determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog.
Dogs' nutritional needs change with age, so you need to adapt your Chow Chow's food to these changes to keep them healthy.
Be very careful when implementing any change in your dog's diet (e.g. changing from wet food to dry food). Dietary transitions should always be done gradually. Give your dog a small portion of the “new food”, and wait 24 hours. If your dog doesn't show any particular signs, such as digestive problems or itching (remember to inspect their skin for any signs of redness), then they're likely not allergic to the new food.
Don't let your Chow Chow exercise directly after a meal: this dog breed is prone to gastric dilatation (twisted stomach), which can be fatal!
Only offer your Chow Chow treats occasionally and be vigilant with their caloric intake. Above all: check that what you're giving them isn't dangerous - some foods and plants are toxic for dogs!
Finally, don't forget that hydration is a key and integral part of your dog's diet. There should always be one or more bowls of fresh water available to your dog. Due to their thick coat, Chow Chows don't tolerate heat very well. As such, any refreshment is welcome, be it water or vegetables, such as cucumber or courgette.
Chow Chow: Characteristics of the Breed
A Brief History of the Chow Chow
The Chow Chow originated in Asia; the breed can be traced back to the Chinese Han Dynasty where it was reared for its meat and fur. The breed was also used for hunting and as guard dogs, in particular thanks to its imposing size. The name Chow Chow is taken from Mandarin. The breed first appeared in Europe around the 19th century, thanks to the British. The Chow Chow became increasingly famous, especially in France, after the Second World War.
Chow Chow Temperament
While loyal by nature, Chow Chows are generally reluctant to show their affection. They will allow their owners to pet and stroke them but are very wary of strangers.
Chow Chows have a calm temperament but do not really tolerate the presence of other animals, preferring to be alone. Nevertheless, they make good watchdogs, are rather quiet and well-behaved, and can adapt to the presence of children. They are strong-willed animals, so their training needs to be rigorous and firm.
Chow Chow Health Issues
Overall, Chow Chows have a pretty robust constitution. Unless they suffer from a genetic disease, their life expectancy ranges from 9 to 12 years. Although their thick coat protects them from the cold, Chow Chows are quite vulnerable to high temperatures. In this case, make sure that your pooch always has a bowl of fresh water available.
Be sure to watch your Chow Chow's diet, as these doggies are prone to weight gain. Opt for a varied, balanced diet adapted to their specific needs.
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