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What is the best puppy food for your puppy?

With so many choices, finding a good puppy food can seem outright daunting. Well, it’s about to get a little easier. Watch as Dr. Katy Nelson takes you through the ins and outs of puppy nutrition with information on everything from age appropriate dog food, to the importance of feeding schedules.

 

Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS. Today we're going to talk about dog nutrition, and what you should look for in your puppy's food. Just like infants, puppies require different levels of nutrients than older dogs. Physically, puppies grow fastest during the first six months. The right nutrition is critical to support this rapid growth. That said, your puppy should only receive premium puppy food until he reaches his adult height and weight. That's typically in the first year for small and medium breeds, and can be up to two years for large and giant breeds. One more thing to consider is that a puppy's energy requirements can be nearly twice that of an adult dog. And since their stomachs are smaller, they need more nutritionally dense food formulated just for puppies to help them meet their energy needs. There are three types of food: dry kibble, semi-moist—which comes in sealed packages—and moist or canned. Most veterinarians and trainers recommend dry kibble food, because of its fat content, and the fact that moist food can spoil. Dry kibble also helps with tartar control, which is particularly important for his developing teeth. When you're shopping for food, there are a couple of things you want to look for and keep in mind. Number one, look on the label for a statement that says, "Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food Nutrient Profiles for growth." Number two, read the ingredients list on the back of the package, and look for real meat as the first ingredient. Puppies grow the fastest during the first six months of life, and because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you need to feed a formula designed to address the needs of your puppy's breed and size. Ideally, puppy food should also contain animal based protein for strong muscles. The protein requirement for growing poppies is higher than that for adult dogs. High quality protein is critical for puppies to create new body tissue as they grow. Calcium for strong bones and teeth, iron for healthy blood, DHA for the brain, central nervous system, and vision. DHA is a key ingredient found naturally in mother's milk, and is important for a baby's neural development. Just like a baby, your puppy's ability to learn depends on healthy brain development. Prebiotics for healthy immune system, because 65% of your puppy's immune system is in his digestive tract, and high in calories for all the energy a puppy burns. The nutritional needs for puppies differ for different breeds sizes. Large breed puppies grow more quickly. Because of that, they actually need less calcium, so their bones don't grow too fast. Medium breed dogs need a careful balance of calories and nutrients to be sure that they don't gain excess weight, while small breed puppies need nutrient dense food in small bites, because their metabolism tends to be faster, and they have different energy needs than larger dogs. Another important thing to know is that what is good for humans is not necessarily good for animals. Because proper nutrition is critical for optimal development, and because human food doesn't offer the proper balance of nutrients puppies need, it is important to teach your whole family that feeding your puppy or your dog table scraps is a big no-no, and a major health hazard. Now let's talk about feeding schedules. Just like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. Schedules teach them that there are times to eat, times to play, and times to potty. Obviously, the feeding schedule will largely be dictated by your own personal schedule. But no matter what, it is critical that puppies younger than four months be fed multiple times per day. Depending on your puppy's breed size, at around six months, you can start to limit feedings to twice a day. Also, keep in mind that eating is soon followed by the urge to go to the bathroom. If you work away from your house and are unable to feed and walk your puppy as often as needed, think about hiring a dog walker, or ask a neighbor to help you keep your puppy on his schedule. For more information on house training, watch "How to House Train Your Puppy." Another important nutritional determinant is how much you're supposed to feed your developing puppy. Even though the back of the puppy food bags usually have suggested portion sizes based on weight, they are not always right for your puppy. So it's best to pay attention to your puppy's body and talk to your veterinarian. Remember, a fat puppy is not necessarily a healthy puppy. Just as childhood obesity can lead to adult health issues in humans, monitoring a puppy's weight is very important to ensure proper development. Treats are another food source to consider when determining portion size. It is important to limit treating to less than 10% of your puppy's daily caloric intake. When selecting treats, hard chew treats are ideal, because they improve dental health through gnawing. Also, try to save treating for training sessions to reward good behavior, but be careful not to overdo it. For more information on training, watch our video "Puppy training basics." The last part of puppy nutrition we are going to talk about is water. Puppies need fresh, clean water available at all times. Like us, it is their most important nutrient. You should change your puppy's water often, at least once a day. Providing fresh, clean water greatly reduces the risk of disease, and therefore keeps your pet happy and healthy. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson for IAMS, and I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition into your family.

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    lost dog escaping a yard

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    Could Your Dog Escape Your Yard? Here’s How to Secure It

    For some dogs, a simple fence isn’t enough to keep them in the yard. Maybe you’ve got a little escape artist that’s too smart for their own good. Maybe you’re raising a brave explorer who loves to get lost. Or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to have your dog stolen from their own backyard. Creating a safe and secure space to keep your pet can be a challenge, but we’re here to help. Understanding the common reasons dogs get out and what you can do to prevent it from happening goes a long way toward keeping your furry friend safe.

     

     

    Why Does Your Dog Want to Escape?

    Securing your yard starts with understanding the impulses that drive your dog to see what’s beyond your property. Spaying or neutering is an important first step in curbing a dog’s desire to roam, but there may be other factors at play. Creating a safe yard for a lonely Labrador in search of a friend is an entirely different exercise than securing a burrow-happy beagle on the hunt for a squirrel. We’d recommend trying to learn as much as you can about your dog’s breed and underlying instincts. The most common reasons dogs try to escape are:
     

    • Feeling socially isolated
    • Lack of stimulation (think toys)
    • Desire to escape something that scares them, like thunder
       

    Countering these behaviors starts with understanding which one is at the heart of your dog’s desire to break free. Once you’ve got a theory of what’s motivating your pup, it’s time to give your safety measures a second look.

     

     

    How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Secure in Your Yard

    Microchip Your Dog and Scan Their Nose

    If your dog is committed to getting out, your most useful tool will be the ability to track and locate them wherever they’re found. There are a huge variety of products and services designed to help you keep your dog safe, but the most important thing you can have is a plan. You’ve most likely heard of GPS tracking chips that can be implanted in your pet, but you may not know that you can also scan their nose. Through a new app called NOSEiD, you can capture your dog’s unique nose print, which will give whoever finds them a faster, simpler way of reuniting the two of you. It’s that easy! Just download the app, call your pup over and start scanning.

     

     

    The Best Defense Is a Good … Fence

    Even though they’re not technologically impressive, a sturdy wooden or metal fence still plays an important part in protecting your dog while they’re in your yard. Not only does it keep your dog from wandering, it also keeps unwanted animals and people away from your dog’s space. If your dog can leap over it, you’ll obviously need to raise the height, or you can add an overhang that makes it harder to clear. You might also consider planting some shrubs along the inside of the fence to discourage jumping. If your dog is burrowing beneath your fence, consider adding a barrier beneath it or putting a bumper collar on them, which makes it harder to squeeze into small spaces.
     

    If you have a particularly territorial dog, you may want to cover any open spots in your fence that your dog might spy adversaries through. A solid fence may help them feel safe and diminish their need to patrol their surroundings.
     

    When it comes to electric fences, using one successfully depends on your dog’s personality. If your dog has recently been ignoring the electric fence, you may want to consider retraining them or investing in a physical barrier.

     

     

    Make “Yard” Mean “Yay!”

    Making your yard a dog-friendly and entertaining space is a huge part of keeping your dog safe at home. With enough toys, space to burn energy and ideally a friend to play with, your dog won’t have any reason to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. A few popular dog-pleasers you may want to provide are:
     

    • A bit of shelter or shade
    • A source of water
    • A rotating lineup of toys
    • Their favorite playmate (you)

     

     

    Use Your Yard Wisely

    Last, but not least, if you leave your dog unattended for a long period of time in your yard, there’s a good chance they will get bored and look for a way to burn off some energy. To prevent them from getting mischievous, limit the amount of time they’re out on their own, and check in frequently. Also, for dogs with separation anxiety or that may be afraid of loud noises, your presence will help keep them calm and close to home.
     

    With your dog chipped or their nose scanned, you’ll always have an option in the event that your dog strikes out on their own. Beyond that, understand what makes your dog unique and check your yard’s safety features regularly for holes or weak points. As usual, a little preparation now can save you a ton of time and energy in the long run.

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