Dogs love to chew on things. In fact, chewing is a natural canine behavior. Providing appropriate chew treats and chew toys can be rewarding for the dog and might prevent or eliminate possible destructive chewing behavior. Chewable treats/toys are designed to provide that important natural chewing activity that dogs love. If the chew treat/toy has other benefits, such as oral care, that's even better.
Make enjoying chew treats and chew toys a safe and healthy activity with these tips:
Tip #1: There is some risk of digestive-tract obstruction with any type of chew treat or chew toy. Safety is always a concern when a dog chews. Many natural objects, such as sticks, rocks, and bones, can get stuck in a dog’s throat or intestine. As a dog owner, you are ultimately responsible to monitor your dog closely to make certain that the chew treat is chewed well.
Tip #2: Chew treats and chew toys should be sized appropriately for your dog. In other words, your dog should not be given a chew treat/toy that could be swallowed whole. Packages should indicate the appropriate size dog for the chew treat/toy. If in doubt, ask your retailer or contact the manufacturer.
Tip #3: Observe your dog playing with the chew toy or eating the chew treat. With the chew treat, your dog should gnaw on it with the side teeth and swallow pieces of the edible chew. Because dogs don't have the same crushing molars that humans have, they will “slice” off pieces with the side teeth. Many dogs will hold the treat in their paws or simply move it from side to side in their mouth as they chew off small pieces.
Tip #4: If your dog has a history of ingesting foreign objects such as rocks, sticks, or toys, you might not want to give him or her chew treats/toys at all. Try edible biscuits, instead.
Tip #5: Watch for choking, excessive drooling, vomiting, poor appetite, lethargy, and abnormal bowel movements. If you notice any of these signs, seek veterinary care sooner rather than later!
Tip #6: When in doubt about what is appropriate for your dog, contact your veterinarian. He or she can offer professional advice.
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Does your mature dog sniff at his bowl and walk away instead of digging in? You may think he’s just being picky, but it’s important to keep an eye on how much he’s eating — especially if he’s a senior. While age-related diminishment of the senses of smell and taste may account for some of his disinterest in food, appetite loss can also indicate a serious medical problem.
“It’s important to give your dog enough calories because weight loss can be debilitating to senior pets,” says Wendy Brooks, D.V.M., who warns that a loss in appetite should be mentioned to your vet. A good rule of thumb: If your pet hasn’t eaten in a day, make a visit to the vet. Here are six ways to entice your canine friend with a nourishing meal.
6 Ways to Encourage Your Senior Dog to Eat More
1. Mix Dry Food with Moist Food
Many animals find canned food more palatable because they like the taste and texture, Brooks says. You can top their favorite dry food with room-temperature wet food.
2. Warm It Up
Dogs like a warm or room-temperature (not hot or cold) meal. Avoid serving him day-old wet food from the refrigerator, and keep his food away from heat. Another reason he might not be eating: It's too hot outside.
3. Try a Change
Dogs prefer consistency when it comes to their food. Don't change every day, but try a new flavor, such as lamb or chicken, and see if he responds (it may trigger his sense of smell). To avoid an upset stomach, introduce a new food by mixing it with his old food in equal increments each day.
4. Stay Close
Common mature-dog health issues, such as arthritis or joint pain, can make it difficult for him to access his bowls. Keep food and water where he spends most of his time. Put a water bowl on all floors of the house, too.
5. Keep the Fresh Water Flowing
Older pets are at a higher risk of dehydration. Provide a clean bowl with fresh water at all times. It will help prevent disease, such as a kidney condition, and aid in digestion.
6. Offer Praise
Dogs are people pleasers. If you see him eating, give him a little verbal reward. He'll know it makes you happy and will repeat the behavior.
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