Is your dog really a finicky eater, or could it be something else? There are many factors to consider when you notice that your dog doesn't seem to be eating as usual.
If you're suspicious, take a closer look at exactly what he's eating each day. Does he get the occasional dog treat, or is someone sneaking him extra table scraps?
When you feed your dog a balanced, highly nutritious diet, nothing else is needed. In fact, extra treats can drastically alter your dog's normal intake of dog food. It's similar to the feeling you get after eating too much candy or potato chips. Are you interested in a full meal? Neither is your dog.
Feeding for Lifestyle or Life Stage
IAMS™ dog foods are nutritionally balanced and specifically formulated to meet the needs of dogs in all life stages, and with different lifestyles. There are dry, canned, and pouch varieties, plus options for senior or overweight pets, puppies, and dogs with reduced activity levels. Talk to your veterinarian or an IAMS Pet Care and Nutrition Center professional for advice on what's best for your dog.
Product Feeding Guidelines
Recommended feeding amounts are shown on every package. The guidelines are general suggestions for the amount of food you should feed your dog. Every dog is different and does not need the same amount of food. Your dog's activity level and his metabolic makeup are the determining factors. Start with the amount given in the feeding guidelines. Then, add or subtract food as you observe your dog's eating habits and weight.
Portion-Controlled and Free-Choice Feeding Methods
Portion-Controlled Feeding: Divide the daily amount and feed at specific intervals. It is important to take away all leftover food after 15 to 20 minutes. This sets a pattern for your dog to follow. The portion-controlled feeding method is recommended for giant and large breeds as well as for overweight dogs. Portion control also works well for dogs with special needs.
Free-Choice Feeding: Feed the daily amount and let your dog eat at leisure. This method is recommended for use only with dry foods. Remember, dogs eat to meet their energy requirements. They quickly define their own daily portions when eating free-choice.
Good Dog Feeding Tips for All Dogs
Water: Regardless of which food you choose to feed, your dog must have plenty of fresh, clean water. A good dog feeding tip is to place the water 3 to 5 feet from the food. This will help prevent your dog from gulping water and air in addition to food.
Routine: Dogs need it. Feeding at the same time and place every day establishes a comfortable eating pattern.
The Veterinarian: Regular visits help keep your dog happy and healthy!
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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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