Is My Small-breed Dog Overweight?
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Worried that your small-breed dog is packing on the pounds? Run your hands along his backbone. You should be able to feel (but not see) his ribs. You also should see a clearly defined waist behind the ribs. If you can’t, follow these seven tips from Debra Eldredge, a veterinarian and co-author of “Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook,” published by Howell Book House.
1. See the Vet
Before you put your overweight dog on a diet, schedule an appointment with the vet to make sure an underlying health problem isn’t causing the numbers on the scale to creep up.
2. Think beyond Mealtime
Snacks and table scraps might account for your overweight dog’s bulging belly, Eldredge says. If curtailing in-between meals doesn’t make a difference, consider continuing with the same amount of food but switching to a different formula. Your vet can give you guidance.
3. Give Him Veggies
Thawed frozen green beans, canned pumpkin (which is fiber-rich and filling) and cut-up carrots make satisfying, low-calorie snacks for your pet.
4. Redo the Numbers
A study showed that dogs can count up to six or seven, Eldredge says. If he is accustomed to getting two small biscuits as a treat, break one biscuit into two pieces. By his count, he’s still getting two treats!
5. Rethink Rewards
As much as your overweight dog loves treats, he also loves taking walks, playing and spending time with you. You also can replace biscuits with a couple of pieces of the kibble he would get during mealtime.
6. Do the Hunger Test
Is your bichon staring up at you with those beautiful eyes as you nibble on peanuts? He’s probably not hungry. As you have your snack, offer him a piece of kibble. If he turns it down, he’s not really hungry — he just wants your peanuts!
7. Put Him on the Scale
If your overweight dog has just a couple of pounds to lose, it can be hard to gauge whether he is making progress. Ask your clinic if it’s OK if you stop in once a week so he can step onto the doctor’s scale.
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- adp_description_block223Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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