Small-Breed Puppy Feeding Secrets
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Small-breed dogs tend to have higher metabolism rates than their larger counterparts, which means they need a puppy feeding diet specifically designed for them. "Small-breed dog food formulas are created to give your dog the right balance of nutrients," says Debra Eldredge, DVM, a veterinarian in upstate New York and coauthor of The Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook (Howell House). Here's what you need to know to feed your small-breed pooch.
The guidelines on the package are a great starting point, Eldredge says, but "you have to customize [them] for your dog." For instance, her family has three dogs who all weigh almost the same. But, one is getting twice as much food as the other two, and she's thin. "She just burns it up," Eldredge says. Your dog's breed and activity levels will affect how much food she needs.
Get enough calories.
Small-breed puppies, especially toy breeds, can be prone to hypoglycemia. To keep your dog’s blood sugar levels up, you might have to feed her more frequently and up the calories, Eldredge says.
Small-breed puppies grow quickly, so during the first six months, they need to eat more food and eat more frequently, generally three to four times a day. After six months, feeding two meals a day is usually sufficient. As your dog gets older and less active, her nutritional needs change, and she may need a formula for mature dogs. Her new food will generally have more protein and fewer calories.
Choose the right bite.
Smaller dogs have smaller mouths and teeth, so their food is usually made in a smaller bite size, which is easier for them to chew and swallow.
Don't leave your dog's food out all day. Instead, pick it up after 10 or 20 minutes, Eldredge says. If food is available all day, she may eat out of boredom.
Avoid table scraps.
With dog food, your pet is on a balanced diet. Feeding her human food may throw off that balance. The occasional taste of chicken or eggs is okay, but don't make it a daily habit.
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- adp_description_block137A Healthy Diet for Your Dog Can Mean Good Health for You
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As a veterinarian, I’ve found that pet owners take seriously the responsibility of ensuring their dogs live healthy, happy lives. They worry about making sure their dog gets enough exercise, receives regular wellness checks and receives balanced nutrition that gives them energy to run and play.
What some people don’t realize is that owning and caring a dog can improve the owner’s health as well. Spending quality time with your dog and providing them with quality nutrition is good for the dog and can help ease stress and anxiety levels for you. Studies have shown that owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels1 — which is great news for your heart health.
In short, when your dog is getting the best care, proper exercise, nutrition and love, they can enjoy a long and healthy life. And that can ultimately make you healthier, too!
So what does that mean when it comes to feeding your dog?
Many owners see their dog as part of the family, and that sometimes means they will feed their dog like they feed themselves. For example, some people may choose low-carb or gluten-free diets for themselves and do the same for their pets. However, while this instinct comes from a place of love, many owners don’t realize that their dog’s dietary needs differ from their own.
Take grains for example. As a veterinarian, it’s important for me to note that grains are good for your dog. Yes, you read that right — they’re good!
A very small percentage of dogs may have a food sensitivity that requires a special grain-free diet or a dog food without a certain protein. However, this is not necessary for the vast majority of dogs. Most dogs benefit from a complete, balanced diet with healthy grains, high-quality proteins and essential vitamins and minerals.
Here’s why: Grains are a good source of carbohydrates that provide healthy energy. Some grains, like rice and wheat, provide “quick” energy, while other grains, like barley and sorghum, take longer to convert to energy. A combination of these different grains can offer a time-released energy source that helps dogs sustain energy. The whole grains in IAMS dog food are a beneficial mix, as they supply steady energy.
In addition to the grains you’ll find in IAMS food, you’ll also find high-quality proteins, like chicken and lamb, as well as essential nutrients needed to help support heart health. Together, this combination will give your dog a steady source of energy to be active on walks, runs, hikes or play sessions around the house.
For your dog to be healthy and happy, be sure you feed them a well-balanced diet and allow them enough exercise time. In return, you’ll get unconditional love, plenty of sweet doggy snuggles and maybe even more exercise — just a few of the ways you and your dog are joined at the heart.
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