Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips for the First 6 Months
Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips for the First 6 Months

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Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips for the First 6 Months

The timeline for feeding your new puppy changes rapidly over the first six months. Learn what and how you should feed your puppy based on the key development milestones she will experience.

 

 

Why Is It Important to Know Milestones for Puppy Development?

Due to breed differences and animal individuality, it is impossible to predict exact dates for a puppy’s growth and development milestones. However, by using the following milestones as a guide for healthy growth, developmental problems can be spotted — and possibly prevented — early on. By knowing these milestones, you’ll also know when your puppy is ready to begin weaning.

 

 

Puppy Developmental Milestones

Age Milestone
7-10 days old Puppies double their birth weight.
Puppies begin to urinate and defecate on their own.
10-18 days old Puppies attempt to stand.  
Puppies’ eyes begin to open.
Puppies’ ears begin to open.
18-21 days old Puppies hear and respond to noises.
Puppies begin to walk.
3 weeks old Begin weaning process for orphaned puppies.
Puppies begin responsive vocalization.
Deciduous (baby) teeth will begin erupting.
4 weeks old Begin weaning process for mother-fed puppies.
3–6 months old Puppies’ adult teeth erupt.

 

 

How to Wean Puppies with IAMS™

When your puppy is ready to begin weaning (at around 4 weeks for mother-fed puppies and 3 weeks for orphaned puppies), use this step-by-step process:
 

  1. Introduce a small amount of water in a shallow dish. Most puppies will play in the water; however, within four or five days, your puppy will begin to develop drinking skills. Some animals might require longer periods for training, so don’t be discouraged if your puppy resists bowl training.
  2. Begin mixing an IAMS ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Original food with water. Be sure to provide a separate dish for fresh water.
  3. Gradually increase the amount of soft food while decreasing the amount of water in the mixture until your puppy is eating soft food only.
  4. Repeat the process, mixing the appropriate dry IAMS puppy food with the soft food, and then increase the solid food while decreasing the soft food until the transition is complete.
     

The entire process should take approximately three weeks.

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article puppy basics feeding tips for the first 6 months inset
  • 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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