How Do I Encourage My Dog to Eat Dry Food After Eating Scraps from the Table?
Dogs are creatures of habit and can resist change when trying to switch their diets. It's important to completely stop feeding from the table. This is best accomplished by removing the pet from the kitchen during mealtimes. Be persistent when offering dry food. The pet may refuse to eat for several meals before deciding to give the food a try. Heating food in the microwave increases the aroma of the food and will often entice a pet to eat. Another alternative is to try mixing some wet food with the dry food, or topping it with a sauce or gravy specifically formulated for pets. Be assured that the pet eats to meet an energy need and will eventually begin to eat unless there is an underlying medical issue.
What Should I Do If My Dog Is Constipated or Has Loose Stools?
Keep in mind that the pet's stool should be small and firm. Most cases of constipation are temporary and due to dietary interruptions. Loose stools also are often temporary and can be due to dietary interruptions, as well as many other things, including an abrupt change in diet, overeating, parasites, medication, eating table scraps, viral or bacterial infections, and stress. If constipation or diarrhea persists, however, it is important to consult a veterinarian.
When My Dog Urinates on the Lawn, It Kills the Grass. Should I Switch Diets?
No. Dead grass is caused by a heavy concentration of urine—usually when a dog urinates in the same spot over and over. Try to train the dog to go to a designated, inconspicuous area of the yard. If this is impossible, try to hose the area as quickly as possible to dilute the urine. Sometimes the discoloration is due to acidic ground pH, which can usually be remedied with a lime treatment.
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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active
It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.
Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health
At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.
Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite
Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.
Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines
Continue to use preventive medicines.
Senior Dog Health: Dental Health
Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.
Senior Dog Health: Exercise
Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.
Senior Dog Health: Diet
Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.
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