Happy Go Healthy

Proper Feeding Is Key

Family choosing shelter dog

Ways to Improve Your Rescue Dog’s Health

If you decide to take in a stray dog or adopt one from a shelter, there will be some challenges ahead. Many rescue dogs have been malnourished, abused, or neglected. For these reasons, they have to be taught to eat high-quality food that will help improve their health and general well-being. If you’re considering the feeding options for your rescue dog, Happy Go Healthy has some general nutrition rules that can help you make a great choice.

What to Feed

Since it’s sometimes hard to determine a rescue dog’s age, it’s best to give them food that is labeled “For All Life Stages”, or wording similar to that. This means that the food has been tested and meets the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), providing proper nourishment for all dogs from puppies to seniors. By the way, Happy Go Healthy’s Joint and Skin Support Supplement is AAFCO approved.

Dog food labels provide information about ingredients. Quality dog food has few fillers, because fillers provide no nutritional value for your pup. The label ingredients are listed in order of quantity by weight. Here’s what you want to see:


Quality protein should be one of the first three ingredients on the ingredient list; the first would be best. You’re looking for salmon, chicken, beef, whitefish, or eggs, not “by-products.” By-products are usually not easily digestible.


These should include whole grains such as oatmeal and rye that provide fiber to the diet. Carbohydrates such as wheat, corn, or soy in any form should be avoided since these can cause allergic reactions in dogs and very little of them are actually digested. Most high-quality foods also contain fruits and vegetables in various quantities. These provide fiber, antioxidants, and some micronutrients.

How Much to Feed

All pet owners need to know how to determine the amount of food they should give their dog to help it gain, lose, or maintain weight.

The amount to feed depends on the size and condition of the dog. If it is severely underweight, feed more at first until the dog approaches its ideal weight. If it’s overweight, you should feed it about 30% less than the quantity needed to maintain ideal weight. Remember that supplements and treats count toward the daily calorie total.

Consult with your family veterinarian to determine the best amount and type of food to give your rescue dog.

When & How to Feed

You may have been taught that dogs only need to be fed once per day. But for most dogs, mealtime is the highlight of their day and it’s probably better for their digestion if you give them their daily amount of food in two portions. These meals are usually provided in the early morning and another in the late afternoon or early evening.

Leaving food out all the time for your dog isn’t a good idea. This may result in picky eaters and it is hard to determine if your rescue dog is getting the proper amount of nutrition, especially in a multiple-dog household. Leaving food out can also lead to obesity.

If you do have more than one dog, you may want to feed them separately at first. Sometimes rescue dogs can get aggressive over food which may lead to problems with your other pets.

You should try to feed your dog at the same time each day. It’s best to put their food in a stainless-steel bowl. Some rescue dogs may have never eaten from a dish, so they will be reluctant to put their noses into a bowl. Try feeding these dogs off a paper plate. If that doesn’t work, put their food directly on the floor.

It Might Take Time for Your Adoptee to Adapt

Don’t worry if your adoptee doesn’t eat for a few days, as long as they are drinking water. Most dogs can go four or five days without food with no serious effect and will eat when they are hungry. Keep offering food at the planned times and if it isn’t eaten in 20 minutes, remove it until the next regular feeding time. Do not offer treats or other goodies until the dog is eating regularly.

Speaking of treats, many rescue dogs do not know what a treat is and have never taken food from anyone’s hand. Be patient with them and either put their treat on the floor or put it on the bottom of their crate. If there are other animals in the house, take precautions so they don’t beat the new dog to it. As time goes on, you can start to keep your hand near the treat and slowly inch closer until the dog knows that food from your hand is safe.

Give Your Dog Extra Nutrients with Happy Go Healthy

Once your adoptee’s basic nutritional needs are met, Happy Go Healthy’s Joint and Skin Support Supplement can go a long way to improving dog health. We love hearing from happy customers with their success stories about their rescue dogs who’ve found a new leash on life (pardon the pun). The tasty kibble includes Omega-3 from fish oil, essential minerals and pre-biotics for your dog’s joint, skin, and gut health. In addition to adding these wholesome, simple and healthy ingredients to your dog’s everyday diet, Happy Go Healthy is a no-mess supplement your new furry friend will love!