Basset hounds are short, heavy-bodied dogs with large, floppy ears that almost reach the ground. These dogs have many health concerns, such as weight gain and bloat, but you can help them by feeding them properly and dividing their food into several small meals instead of giving them a single large feeding each day. They will also benefit from avoiding exercise for about an hour after eating, as this may be linked to bloat, which is often fatal. Monitor your dog’s weight on a regular basis, and adjust the amount you are feeding if your dog appears to be getting too heavy.
Basset hounds will thrive on a diet of quality dry kibble, as long as it contains all the protein, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients dogs require. Bassets have a tendency to put on weight fairly easily. Check food labels to look for a kibble that is rich in protein and includes nutrients like fiber, but does not contain a lot of grains or fillers, such as corn or wheat. These products add calories and bulk to the food, but provide minimal nutritional benefits for dogs. Feed your basset according to the instructions on the dog food bag, using the lowest recommended amount for your dog’s weight, since most bassets are relatively sedentary.
Owners who wish to feed their dogs an all-natural diet often choose the BARF diet. The acronym stands for biologically appropriate raw food, sometimes also called the bones and raw food diet. Some dog owners use this diet as a way of coming as close as possible to the dog’s natural diet in the wild. The diet consists of about 80 percent raw bones and meat, with the rest made up of ground fruits and vegetables. This type of diet can be hard to get just right, so to make sure your basset hound stays healthy, add a balanced canine vitamin supplement every day. Since the diet requires the handling of raw meat, always use the same level of hygiene that you would use for your own food, keeping meats refrigerated until they are used, and washing hands, utensils and counters with hot, soapy water after you prepare your dog’s meals.
Treats can be a part of healthy eating for your basset hound, but you must pay attention to the type and quantity of the treats you provide to your dogs. Avoid snacks that have a lot of empty calories and very little nutrition, since these won’t contribute anything to your dog’s health. Instead, feed boiled liver or chicken cut into cubes, or low-calorie commercial treats. Some bassets will eat carrots, cut-up apples (no seeds) or ice cubes as a treat. Experiment with your basset to see what they will eat. Never give your dog foods such as chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, raisins or avocados as treats, because these are toxic to dogs and can cause your basset hound to become ill. Too much of these foods can even kill a dog.
Weight gain in basset hounds can be a serious problem, even if the dogs are not technically obese. Even a small amount of extra weight can cause stress on the your dog's back, legs and hips because of the basset hound's bone structure. Big bellies can also be a serious problem for these low-slung dogs, since they may end up dragging on the ground. This can be a major issue especially for males, because it can lead to open sores and infections. It is essential that owners control how much their dogs eat to protect them from the difficulties associated with being overweight. Don’t give bassets a lot of treats or table scraps, as these can lead to obesity or digestive problems for these dogs.
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