Feeding Your Adult Dog FAQ (cont.)

How often should my adult dog eat?

Most pet owners prefer feeding an adult dog twice a day, although a dog can eat just once daily. Giving two meals a day may make it easier for the dog to digest the food.

How much protein and fat does my dog need?

An adult dog needs at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and a minimum of 5.5% from fats. An adult dog's diet can contain up to 50% carbohydrates, including 2.5% to 4.5% percent fiber.

Are treats OK for dogs, and if so, what are healthy options?

Some 40% of dog owners give treats and snacks. Dog treats don't have to follow AAFCO standards for a complete and balanced diet, so veterinarians say it's best to limit them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that no more than 5% of a dog's calories should come from treats. Wakshlag says, though, that up to 20% is OK.

If you're going to feed treats, look for ones that are lower in calories or low-fat, high-fiber to help guard against weight gain. Small pieces of raw vegetables also make good treats. Try green beans, bell peppers, or thin pieces of carrot.

Is table food appropriate for dogs?

An occasional nibble is OK. But, giving big chunks of steak fat, poultry skin, and other greasy leftovers isn't a good idea, Wakshlag tells WebMD. A sudden change in diet, especially one involving a large amount of fat, could cause pancreatitis. If your dog is overweight, stay away from table scraps. Also, if you don't want your dog hanging around the table at mealtimes, don't feed it scraps.