Encouraging Healthy Chewing Behavior in Your Dog
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Dogs love to chew on things. In fact, chewing is a natural canine behavior. Providing appropriate chew treats and chew toys can be rewarding for the dog and might prevent or eliminate possible destructive chewing behavior. Chewable treats/toys are designed to provide that important natural chewing activity that dogs love. If the chew treat/toy has other benefits, such as oral care, that's even better.
Make enjoying chew treats and chew toys a safe and healthy activity with these tips:
Tip #1: There is some risk of digestive-tract obstruction with any type of chew treat or chew toy. Safety is always a concern when a dog chews. Many natural objects, such as sticks, rocks, and bones, can get stuck in a dog’s throat or intestine. As a dog owner, you are ultimately responsible to monitor your dog closely to make certain that the chew treat is chewed well.
Tip #2: Chew treats and chew toys should be sized appropriately for your dog. In other words, your dog should not be given a chew treat/toy that could be swallowed whole. Packages should indicate the appropriate size dog for the chew treat/toy. If in doubt, ask your retailer or contact the manufacturer.
Tip #3: Observe your dog playing with the chew toy or eating the chew treat. With the chew treat, your dog should gnaw on it with the side teeth and swallow pieces of the edible chew. Because dogs don't have the same crushing molars that humans have, they will “slice” off pieces with the side teeth. Many dogs will hold the treat in their paws or simply move it from side to side in their mouth as they chew off small pieces.
Tip #4: If your dog has a history of ingesting foreign objects such as rocks, sticks, or toys, you might not want to give him or her chew treats/toys at all. Try edible biscuits, instead.
Tip #5: Watch for choking, excessive drooling, vomiting, poor appetite, lethargy, and abnormal bowel movements. If you notice any of these signs, seek veterinary care sooner rather than later!
Tip #6: When in doubt about what is appropriate for your dog, contact your veterinarian. He or she can offer professional advice.
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- adp_description_block497Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
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Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.
Choosing a Food for Overall Health
To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:
- Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
- A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
- A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels
These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.
Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage
Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.
Guarding Against Weight Gain
Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.
Switching to a Mature Diet
Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.
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