With great nutrition, ample exercise, the right dog health information and lots of love, your dog can stay happy and healthy longer than ever.
Pam Jones can't believe her Maltese, Oliver, and her Yorkshire Terrier, Sylina, are canine senior citizens. At 12 and 10, the happy-go-lucky friends seem years younger when they frolic around Jones's backyard in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Ever since they were puppies, I've stuck with good nutrition, regular exercise and routine veterinary care," Jones says.
Jones has found the key to keeping dogs happy and healthy at any age. Say experts: Add a heaping helping of love and your pet has the best chance of staying active into old age. "The life span of most breeds has dramatically increased recently," says Amy Shojai, author of Complete Care For Your Aging Dog ($10.47 at www.amazon.com; New American Library Trade, 2003).
Many factors are helping today's dogs live better and longer, including:
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- Proper nutrition. Feed premium-quality nutrition such as IAMS' Dog Foods,but measure it carefully and serve appropriate portions, using the instructions on the package as a starting point.
- Feeding techniques. " Overfeeding is one of the biggest problems I see," says Cathy Dyer, DVM, Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Canine and Feline Practice, in the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. "Too many calories make dogs dangerously overweight."
- Daily exercise. Regular activity helps your dog stay trim, build muscle mass, maintain his joints and keep his heart strong.
- Routine veterinary care. Healthy dogs should have a yearly checkup (bi-annually for mature dogs).
- Dental awareness. You should brush your dog's teeth at least three times weekly and have his teeth cleaned by your veterinarian as needed. It's also good to feed him a diet that helps promote good dental health, such as IAMS Daily Dental Care' (in all dry adult IAMS Dog Foods), which reduces tartar buildup by up to 50 percent.
- Love and attention. Spend time with your dog and show your love. "Dogs are social animals that thrive on interaction," Dr. Dyer says.
- New technologies and better dog health information. Veterinary medicine has seen astounding advances in diagnostic and treatment technologies, reports Shojai. These include organ transplants and cancer treatments
Large-breed dogs typically don't live as long as their smaller brethren. The following dog health information tips pertain to large breeds (over 50 pounds):
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- Restrict caloric intake. "A study involving Labrador Retrievers found those in lean body condition lived longer," Dr. Dyer says.
- Provide Premium nutrition for large-breed dogs, such as IAMS' Large Breed, Puppy and Adult Foods, IAMS Weight Control, Large Breed, and IAMS Active Maturity, Large Breed, formulas. To see a list of all IAMS Dog foods, click here.
- Exercise him often. Big dogs are prone to arthritis, but regular physical activity can help maintain muscle mass and healthy joints. Exercise can also help him maintain a healthy body weight, so he puts less stress on those joints.
- Compensate for age. As your big dog ages, he may need a ramp to help him in and out of the car.
For normally active adult dogs one year and older, IAMS Chunks, [links to 3.1 product page] and IAMS MiniChunks, [links to 3.1 product page] provide quality nutrition because they offer:
- High-quality chicken protein to promote firm muscle tone, healthy organs and vitality
- IAMS Chunks, for dogs that prefer a larger bite size-IAMS MiniChunks, for dogs that prefer a smaller bite size
- IAMS' Active Maturity, for dogs 7 years and older:
- High-quality chicken to help maintain muscle mass
Antioxidant-rich to help nutritionally support the strength of the immune system
Read more about Senior Dog Care.
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