Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips and Tricks
Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips and Tricks

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Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips and Tricks

Your puppy will grow the fastest during the first six months of his life, so you’ll want to take special care to plan a healthy diet from the start. “Growing puppies have a lot more energy than adult dogs,” says Madan Khare, DVM. “They require more nutrients in each bite because they can’t eat in large quantities.” Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your puppy, including what food to choose, how often to feed him and how to handle treats and teething.

 

 

Choosing a Puppy Food

Look for a premium puppy food with key ingredients such as animal-based proteins (chicken, beef or lamb) for strong bones, and energy-rich fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3 are two) for a healthy skin and coat. When perusing the products at your grocery store, don’t be tempted by the low-cost brands in the huge bags. They may contain lower-quality ingredients and artificial preservatives and may not provide your dog the with optimal nutrition he needs.
 

Premium puppy food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy, is more easily digested and has additional nutritional value, containing nutrients such as DHA that are naturally found in milk from the puppy’s mother. Discuss with your vet and read package labels to determine an appropriate formula for your dog’s breed and size.

 

 

Setting up a Mealtime Area

Create a clean, quiet spot for your puppy to eat, preferably in the kitchen. Additionally, provide your pup with fresh water in a clean bowl at all times, even outdoors. You may want to place a mat beneath both bowls to easily clean up spills or crumbs and keep the area tidy.

 

 

Establishing a Feeding Schedule

Develop a consistent eating schedule that coordinates with yours. At first, feed your puppy three times a day (consult your vet about proper quantities). After four months, twice daily should be fine.
 

"Feed your puppy while you eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner," Khare suggests. Your puppy will learn that you eat at the table and he eats from his bowl. This will deter any tendency to beg. “He'll appreciate the bonding time, too,” Khare adds.

 

 

Choosing Dry or Wet Food

Premium dry food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™, is your best bet for balanced nutrition, value and convenience. When stored properly, it’ll stay fresh longer than moist food — and it requires fewer cleanups.
 

For a teething puppy, you may want to mix dry food into moist food.

 

 

Giving Treats

Use vet-recommended treats when training your dog, but with moderation. Don't offer human food, though — it may do more harm than good because it won’t have the important nutrients your pet needs.

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  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

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    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    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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