A key factor that may cause sickness in your dog is how you feed him. The directions for feeding your pet are not always the healthiest feeding practices. Some puppy or kitten foods recommend moistening the food with water or milk. Leaving the wet food at room temperature is a breeding ground for bacteria. Another common feeding instruction is to feed your pet one time a day. It is better to feed two smaller meals than let the food sit, especially if you use canned food. Adjust portions so that your pet eats as much as he needs without leaving any in the bowl. Feeding only one meal a day has been known to cause irritation of the esophagus from stomach acid. Just as smaller more frequent meals are better for humans, they're better for our pets as well.
Cusick says "the feeding practices listed on dog food packages are written for a hypothetical animal that does not exist: the 'average' member of the sub-species canine." Every breed has different nutritional requirements to meet their various physical characteristics and needs. Feeding the same diet to every dog will cause problems and sickness for these animals. For example the NRC report entitled "Nutrient Requirements of Dogs" shows that a Collie requires 270 IU/kG of vitamin D. However there are other breeds of the same weight that only require 8 IU/kG. Cusick points out that if you were to feed one of these other dogs the correct nutrition for a Collie, it could be toxic; but if you fed the Collie the lesser amount, it would not be sufficient for his needs.
API warns that some companies list higher portions on their labels in order to force consumers into purchasing more of their product. They note that Procter & Gamble took the opposite route with their Iams and Eukanaba brands. They decreased the recommended feeding portions and then claimed that their product was cheaper to feed pets. A competing manufacturer sued Proctor & Gamble after they conducted an independent study that found the feeding levels to be inadequate to maintain health. Jerry Sicherman, president of Nutro, states "Iams is not only being sued by Nutro for false and misleading claims, but they are also being sued independently on the same charges by Kal Kan, and in a consumer class-action suit that has been brought against Iams in California." According to the Wasserman, Comden, Casselman and Pearson L.L.P web site, consumers who have purchased Iams since the label change in 1999 have filed a class action lawsuit. The suit claims that Iams misled consumers by lowering the portion sizes. It also refers to five independent studies testing Iams feeding instructions and statements made by the company. In all five studies, the humane officer terminated the study because of "significant weight loss suffered by the dogs following Iams' feeding instructions."
Ann Martin says if you skip commercially packed foods completely and feed your pet foods you've made yourself, you'll discover that "the amount fed is about half of what is listed on lower grade commercial foods." The reason is that your pet is using all of the nutrition he's getting instead of it passing through his body unused.
API recommends that if you must use dry commercial pet foods, change brands and flavors every three to four months. Change gradually, mixing the old and new so that your dog has a chance to get used to the new food. Also, try to feed canned food, too, because it contains more meat protein than dry dog food. You should also try to supplement commercial pet foods with organic meats and steamed vegetables.
Dr. Jeff Feinman, Certified Veterinary Homeopath, recommends that pet owners feed the freshest food available to their pets, offer a variety, and serve it in moderation. Feinman says that his advice certainly "sounds like how we should eat."