Okla. puppy with rabies raises concerns that others were exposed

Public health officials are searching for a man who sold a litter of five or six 10-week-old puppies in Sulphur, Okla., sayin -More-

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What are Coccidia?

coccidiosis

What is coccidiosis?

Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by one-celled organisms (protozoa) called coccidia. Coccidia are sub-classified into a number of genera, and each genus has a number of species.

“At least six different genera of coccidia can infect dogs.”

At least six different genera of coccidia can infect dogs. These microscopic parasites spend part of their life cycle in the lining cells of the intestine. Most infections are not associated with any detectable clinical signs. These  infections are called sub-clinical infections. The species Isospora canis  causes most clinical infections in dogs. Cryptosporidium parvum is another coccidian parasite that may cause diarrhea in some puppies.

 

canine coccidiosis   2009 Coccidia

How did my dog become infected with coccidia?

An infected dog passes oocysts (immature coccidia) in the feces. These oocysts are very resistant to a wide variety of environmental conditions and can survive for some time on the ground. Under the right conditions of temperature and humidity, these oocysts “sporulate” or become infective. If a susceptible dog ingests the sporulated oocysts, the oocysts will release  “sporozoites” that invade the intestinal lining cells and set up a cycle of infection in neighboring cells. Dogs may also be indirectly infected by eating a mouse that is infected with coccidia.

What kinds of problems are caused by coccidiosis?

Most dogs that are infected with coccidia do not have diarrhea or other clinical signs. When the coccidial oocysts are found in the stool of a dog without diarrhea, they are generally considered a transient, insignificant finding.

“In puppies and debilitated adult dogs, coccidiosis may cause severe, watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting.”

However, in puppies and debilitated adult dogs, coccidiosis may cause severe, watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting. In severe  cases, death may occur.

How is coccidiosis diagnosed?

Coccidiosis is diagnosed by performing a microscopic examination of a stool sample. Since the oocysts are much smaller than the eggs of intestinal worms, a careful fecal evaluation must be made. Infection with some of the less common coccidial parasites is diagnosed with a blood test.

How is the coccidial infection treated?

The most common drug used to eliminate coccidia is a sulfa-type
antibiotic. It is usually given for ten to fourteen days. In severe infections, it may be necessary to repeat the treatment. Other drugs may be required if diarrhea and dehydration occur. If the sulfa-type drug is not effective, other treatments are available. Re-infection of susceptible dogs is common so environmental disinfection is important. The use of diluted chlorine bleach [one cup (250 ml) of bleach mixed in one gallon (3.8 L) of water] is effective if the surfaces and premises
can be safely treated with it.

Are the coccidial parasites of my dog infectious to humans?coccidiosis Coccidia

“The most common coccidia found in dogs do not have any affect on humans.”

The most common coccidia found in dogs do not have any affect on humans. However, less common types of coccidia are potentially  infectious to humans. One parasite, called Cryptosporidium, may be carried by dogs or cats and may be transmitted to people. This parasite has also been found in the public water supply of some major cites. It poses a health risk for immunosuppressed humans such as AIDS patients, those taking immune suppressing drugs, cancer patients, or the
elderly.

Good hygiene and proper disposal of dog feces are important
in minimizing risk of transmission of all canine parasites to humans, or to other animals.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

Hookworms

hookworm teethHookworms are a very common intestinal parasite of dogs. They get their nickname from the hook-like mouth parts (teeth) that they use to anchor themselves to the wall of the intestinal tract.  Once they have attached, they feed on the blood of their host. Hookworms are very small and are difficult to see with the naked eye, but the damage and the amount of blood they consume can be massive. Large numbers of hookworms in young puppies can cause severe anemia from the blood loss and many puppies can die without a blood transfusion.

Dogs can get hookworms many different ways. Young puppies can be infected while still in their mother’s womb directly through the placenta as well as through the milk when nursing. Because of this early infection, puppies should be de-wormed when they are just 2 weeks old and repeated every 2 weeks for the first few months of their lives. Monthly de-worming is recommended as a regular prevention.

 

 

Adult dogs can become infected by walking through contaminated soil where active larvae hatched from eggs deposited in fecal matter can penetrate directly through the pads of their feet. Once the larvae enter the skin, they then migrate through the body until they reach the lungs, at which time they are coughed up and swallowed. While the hookworms are migrating through the body, many can encyst in the muscle and lay dormant for many years. These are the source of hookworms that infect puppies while in the womb. After the hookworms are swallowed, they reach the intestinal tract and latch on to the wall of the intestine and start feeding on blood. The adult worms also mate and lay thousands of eggs that are passed in the feces. The eggs hatch into
larvae in moist warm environments which start the life cycle again. 11. Ancylostoma adults Hookworms

Humans can also become infected if walking barefoot through contaminated areas, however, the hookworms cannot complete their life cycle, but do cause a localized dermatitis where they penetrate the skin and can cause other problems while trying to migrate through the body.
Some people can have allergic reactions to the migrating worms.

Dogs can also be infected by ingesting the larvae, either by cleaning their feet or fur, or when drinking water or licking contaminated surfaces.

 

Because of the prevalence of hookworms in dogs, many veterinarians and the CDC (Centers of Disease Control) recommend routine de-worming with anthelmintics. Several of the newer flea and heartworm preventatives also include ingredients to remove hookworms and other parasites as well. Your puppy should be tested for hookworms as soon as your get him and follow your veterinarians recommendations for maintenance. Breeders should have the mother dog and young puppies dewormed every 2 weeks. Anthelmintics do not affect the dormant hookworms in the muscle.  Studies have shown that these hookworms can release during gestation and infect the puppies for up to seven
consecutive litters.

Signs of hookworm infection can include pale gums, a dark ,tarry stool, diarrhea, weight loss and failure to thrive.  Older dogs can develop diarrhea or dark, tarry stools.

You can limit the amount of hookworms deposited in your yard by cleaning up the fecal material and disposing of it. Fecal waste from dogs should not be used in compost bins, but there are special compost bins to handle the waste.

Preparing your Home for your new Puppy

While excitement and anticipation may perhaps be in the top of the list when bringing home a brand new puppy, getting ready for him need to rate very on the list. Just as you would want to get ready a house once you have a infant, puppy owners equally have to have to consider particular precautions when “puppy-proofing.”

Before you start getting ready your home for a new puppy, you must be aware of the backyard and garden. To begin with, examine fences and gates to be positive there are no holes big enough for the pup to get his head trapped in or to slip out and get lost. Search for litter and/or trash cans, which can be tipped over, giving your new puppy the opportunity to devour garbage that he shouldn’t. And finally, know exactly where you might be treating your lawn or garden with harmful pesticides and herbicides, then forbid your puppy from going there. Also, ensure that that all chemical compounds and other dangerous products are put away out of your new friend’s reach.

Next, you will need to pretend that a little toddler is going to dwell with you! Like small children, young puppies will find everything new and thrilling. They do not recognize when some thing is dangerous or cannot tell if that “interesting” wii controller can get them into trouble. Anything left on the floor is fair game to a puppy.

Also, when preparing your home for the new puppy, you ought to keep these tips in mind:

• Be sure all electrical and cable wires are either inside an area your pup is not going to be or hide them under rugs or carpets.There are also cable covers that work to protect your cords. Don’t keep electrical wires where your puppy could chew and gnaw on them.

• Just like a young child, your puppy will probably investigate each and every element, such as low cabinets. Just when you imagined having a puppy was easier when compared to a kid, he will learn to push those kitchen cabinet doors open! Think about adding locks or sort through the cabinets and only keep harmless things in low places.

So far, so good, right? Well, that is only in the event you remember that in reality your puppy has the intellect of a small kid. Quickly you will be getting ready for afternoon walks to the playground, 3 a.m. journeys to the potty, (more officially, outdoors) and a lot of cuddling. So, even though making ready your home for the new puppy, think about him as being a member of your family. Get him a bed made from plastic, which is more resistant to chewing. Line it with comfortable bedding-washable of course-and then place it inside a special place just for him, such as an airline crate. Make sure it truly is someplace he will be protected and comfy.

Getting ready your house for the new puppy is a lot of work, which means you may well consider purchasing a puppy pen or kennel till everything is taken care of. Just like a baby’s playpen, a puppy pen will give an spot for him to play without wandering the house. By carrying out this, you are also protecting your furniture as well as other items from getting chewed on. (Really don’t worry-he’ll eventually grow out of this!)

An additional vital thing to consider when preparing your home for the young puppy is any stairs which you may have in the home. Should you have an open basement or second floor, use child gates to confine his run area to prevent harm. Babies and puppies alike aren’t aware of peril and do not know that they could fall down steps and hurt themselves.

Before you take your puppy to your house, you may want to schedule an exam and parasite check with your veterinarian. Most puppies are infected with worms through the placenta while still in their mother’s womb. Your veterinarian will test for parasites and give a dewormer to treat your pet. Your pet’s feces contains thousands of parasite eggs that can re-infect your pup and may infect your family, so frequent de-worming and stool pick-up is neccessary to lower the worm burden in your backyard.

One of the most crucial points to consider while preparing your home for the new puppy is that your puppy is just like a kid, they may want snuggling, attention and there will unquestionably be lots of wet kisses!

Dog & Cat Tips : Causes of Cat Hair Loss

Common causes for hair loss in cats include allergies, poor nutrition, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, ringworm and stress. Discover why fleas may be causing a cat to lose its hair with help from aveterinarian in this free video on cat health. Expert: James Talbott Bio: Dr. James R. Talbott is a staff veterinarian at Belle Forest Animal Hospital and Kennel in Nashville, Tenn. Filmmaker: Dimitri LaBarge

Tips to Curb Your Dog’s Barking

Annoying barking is the most common complaint of dog owners and their neighbors. Barking is after all, a natural and instinctive behavior of dogs dating back to the wolf packs. Dogs communicate through their bark. There is barking to warn of territory encroachment. Dogs will bark to warn of danger. Some dogs will bark when there is unusual sounds, sights or even odors. During times of stress, frustration, anxiety or separation, some dogs will bark. Just about anything or anyone in some dogs will start the barking, wailing and howling.

So, what can you do to curb excessive barking?

The key to preventing your dog from barking is through socialization and habituation. In other words, get your puppy used to as many people, animals, situations, noises, thunder, raccoons, cats, kids, squirrels, etc. as possible when they are puppies. The more familiar a noise or an object is to your puppy, the less likely your dog will exhibit anxiety or stress induced barking as a dog. Socialization will also help to reduce the amount of alarm barking as well as the intensity. A socialized puppy should only be allowed to alert owners and then be controlled and stopped before the barking gets out of control. By learning how dogs communicate and understand their pack mentality, it will be much easier to control their barking. Here are a few scenarios we will discuss to help you curb the barking.

My dog barks constantly when I leave.

The common cause of this type of barking is from separation anxiety and your lack of leadership skills. A dog suffering from separation anxiety often thinks that he is the alpha leader and not you. As the alpha leader. when a member of his pack (you) walk out the door, the barking initiates because it is his job as the leader to worry about the pack members. To combat this type of barking, you will have to learn how to be the alpha leader of the pack. An excellent dog training system set up by Barkbusters.com can help you with this problem.

An excellent dog training program on line is the “Secrets to Dog Training” . They have a special edition that also covers dog barking.

To prevent this problem in grown dogs, effective crate training techniques when you first get your puppy will help to decrease the anxiety when he is left alone in the crate. The puppy will associate the crate as his den and will eventually be able to spend time in the crate without barking. The biggest mistake most people do when trying to crate the puppy is let the puppy out when he is barking. This actually reinforces the attention seeking behavior. You must ignore the puppy when he is barking, and then let him out either on a regular schedule or when he is calm and quiet. The ultrasonic sound emitter, BarkOff, works to interrupt the dog’s barking. When you follow that with praise when the dog stops barking, you are rewarding the good behavior (being quiet).

If your are experiencing separation anxiety in your dog, your veterinarian may be able to assist your with some treatment options such as DAP,(Dog Appeasing Pheromone) a synthetic pheromone, or medications (Clomipramine hydrochloride- sort of a doggy prozac) to help calm your dog while you initiate leadership control.

My dog is constantly barking.

Attention seeking barking can be very difficult to get a handle on as the dog receives attention whenever he barks and this actually reinforces the behavior. An example of inadvertent reinforcement includes letting the dog in when he barks. In this case the dog is training you rather than the other way around. Other examples of inadvertent reinforcement are feeding, patting, praising, playing with, giving a toy or even going to the dog to attempt to quiet it down. Never reward barking with any type of attention, even occasionally.

So, how do I get him to stop barking?

Training your dog to be “quiet” on command is an invaluable aid for curbing annoying barking. Many owners usually accept their dog’s barking as normal or even desirable in the beginning. However, the barking soon becomes a problem once it gets too loud, too often or just won’t stop when you tell him to. In order to train your dog to quiet down on cue, you must find a verbal command your dog will understand. Barkbusters uses a command “Bah” which is a sharp, guttural growl. If it does not embarrass you when you utter such sound, you are not doing it right.

Another method is with remote training with either a check chain or halter lead. In this case, I used the check chain and the “bah” command. To teach our dog to quit barking when someone came to the door, we had a friend go to the door and ring the bell. We drew a line a few feet away from the door and our dog could bark and approach to that line. Once he reached the line, he was given the command “bah” and slightly corrected with the check chain. He was then told to go kennel. After repeating this process for about 15 minutes a day, he has learned to alert us that some one is at the door, then he will go and lay down on his bed (kennel) where he stays until we tell him he can get up. This process also eliminates the jumping on visitors when they enter the door.

The key to controlling barking is to reward the behavior we want (i.e. quiet and still) rather than to give any attention to the behavior we don’t want (barking). Each time you pay attention to the barking dog, you are actually inadvertently rewarding the barking behavior. If you yell or try to punish the dog when he is barking, you will make your dog more anxious and will aggravate the problem.

All right, I admit it. I was a bad puppy parent and my dog is now a barking menace. What can I do now?

Your chances are good that you will be able to resolve most barking problems with effective leadership training. But what if your current situation, such as a new baby or an irate neighbor, requires that the barking stops immediately and you do not have the time to implement the corrective behavior?

There are newer anti-bark treatments available to help you when you need to stop the barking now. But first let us cover an anti-barking program to initiate in your household.

1. Make sure that you and the other family members are not inadvertently rewarding the barking behavior. Avoid giving your dog any type of attention, play, toys, food or affection when he is barking. Only give your dog attention when he is quiet and calm. (This is tough, because it is our nature to yell at the dog when he is barking) By the way, as a mother,rewarding the good behavior while ignoring the bad behavior, works for children, too.

2. Make sure that your response to the barking is not aggravating the problem. When a dog is barking due to anxiety or as a territorial response to a squirrel or other such enemy, yelling at the dog or throwing something at him will only increase his anxiety and the barking.

3. Modify the home environment so that the dog is kept away from the stimuli (sounds and sights) that can cause the barking. A simple way is to confine the dog to a crate or a small room away from the windows so he cannot see outside to bark at the errant squirrel or cat. You can also try to mute or mask the sounds that stimulate the barking by playing music. There are actual doggy CD’s that claim can help calm your dog when you are away. Dogs that are outside may have to brought inside. Condition your dog to trigger sounds, such as doorbells, by practicing with a friend and reward him when he stops the barking on command. In cases of separation anxiety, your veterinarian can help with a prescription of Clomicalm while you are re-training your dog.

4. Consider enrolling your dog in a training class to help you with leadership training. Several pet stores and even community colleges hold training classes. It is important that you know how to control your dog, so sending him off to school without you will only teach your dog and he may revert to the old behaviors if you haven’t been re-trained as well. Barkbusters will come to your home and teach you how to be the pack leader and thus your dog will learn to follow you.

5. Once you have sufficient control and your dog responds to your commands and handling, it should be possible to stop your dog to bark on your command. Over time, your dog will remain quiet for longer periods of time. You can then start conditioning the dog to other stimulus that causes barking, such as the squirrel in the back yard or kids on the bikes riding by the window. Slowly introduce the dog to the stimulus and and give the command to stop barking and enforce it with either the check chain, halter or some other disruptive bark trainer. Over time, these barking stimuli will no longer initiate the barking.

What are anti-barking collars and other devices and do they actually work?

There are many products on the market today from anti-bark collars that spray citronella, to products that emit an ultrasonic sound that only the dog can hear. The most annoying one I came across was an anti-barking device that produced such a loud, shrill noise, that I thought it was worse than the barking. Many of the products will interrupt the barking, but if you have not implemented the concurrent retraining techniques, many dogs will soon begin to ignore the devices and commence their annoying barking once again.

The bark activated products are the most practical to help deter the inappropriate barking when use in conjunction with the environmental modification and training. Owner initiated anti-bark devices such as the ultrasonic sound emitter, Bark Off, work best when you are with your dog and are able to reward your dog for being quiet. Off collar devices are useful to stop barking in selected areas such as doorways or windows, or for dogs that continue to bark in their crate or kennel.

Bark activated collars can be used when the barking does not occur in any predictable location. Audible and ultrasonic training collars are occasionally effective, but they are usually not sufficient or unpleasant enough to be a reliable deterrent. The collars that emit a spray of citronella each time the dog barks may be effective when you are away, but without the concurrent re-training, the dogs will soon learn to bark over the spray. You also have to re-charge the batteries and the spray chamber or the dog soon learns that he can bark and it won’t spray.

If you opt for the citronella collar, begin to use it when you are present so that when the dog is startled by the spray and stops barking, you are there to reward the dog with an enjoyable activity, such as a belly rub or a toss of his favorite ball. This will help to reinforce the quiet behavior and the barking will gradually reduce.

What if it is not my dog, but the neighbors dog that is doing all the barking?

There are some ultrasonic anti-bark devices available that are disguised as birdhouses that you can put outside. These may be only a temporary fix because without the behavioral re-training and conditioning, the dog may soon learn to ignore the noise and start barking again.
If all else fails, you can print out this article and anonymously mail it to your neighbor.

Pet Strollers – Not Just For Babies Anymore

Going for a jog in park, but your puppy won’t be able to keep up? Pet strollers are a perfect solution to your problem. Pet strollers are great for your smaller dogs or puppies. For pet owners living where the terrain is uneven and rough, the AT3 Pet Stroller is perfect. The three eleven inch wheels make the going easier when the trail is not smooth or easily traversed. This pet stroller has a front and rear entry for your pet, mesh windows to keep out insects, and a wind and rain cover. It also has front steps so your pet can easily get in, a large storage basket, and opens and folds easily with one hand. It is well ventilated for those hot days and includes a free weather guard.

When the pavement is hot and you want to take you small dog along, using a pet stroller will prevent his paws from getting burned as well as providing shade from the sun. Take your small pet around town with you in a pet stroller similar to those used for infants. Light weight, stylish and easily stored in your car, your pet can accompany you almost everywhere! When not traveling in a comfortable ventilated cabin, your pet is protected from the elements with a zip down front shade and wind cover. For your pet’s safety, the wheels have lockable brakes. So whether it is a walk in the park or shopping in the outdoor markets, take your pet along in a pet stroller. It may be a good way for him to socialize!

Dog Gates – Teach Your Dog To Stop At The Door

Dog gates can prevent your new puppy from destroying the house while you are away. Until your dog is trained, keep him confined with an easily installed dog gate.

Giving your new puppy the run of the house is not a wise decision. New puppies need set boundaries much like a small child would. Until your puppy is old enough to understand where he should go to the bathroom and where he shouldn’t, it is important to keep him contained. If you do not have a dog crate to assist you in housetraining, a dog gate can be installed to keep the puppy from going to areas of the house where he cannot be watched. Not only will a dog gate help with house training, it may also prevent destructive behavior by keeping the puppy in one area when he cannot be with the family.

Pet gates come in different styles and materials. Free standing wooden gates require no installation and can expand to fit larger halls or doorways. For the smaller pet, there are metal gates that can be installed in a doorway and are low enough to step over. There are also metal walk-through gates with extensions, again if you need to close off a larger area. Some gates use a one touch method to open them, making it easy to pass through them. Wall mounted dog gates are easy to install in a stairway to prevent your puppy from going to another level of the house. With many dog gates to choose, you are sure to find one to help you contain your dog.

Beat The Heat – Heat Stroke And Your Dog

Some dogs don’t know how to keep their cool and with hot summer days, dog heat stroke can happen quickly. Because dogs do not sweat, the only way they can cool themselves is by panting. Their core temperature cools when the moisture on their tongue evaporates. When a dog gets too hot, they cannot pant quickly enough to bring their body temperature down and heat stroke usually occurs. If a dog’s core temperature climbs over 106 degrees, death or organ damage can occur if something isn’t done quickly to bring his temperature back down to normal.

Outward Hound Cool-it Bandana - LARGE
Outward Hound Cool-it Bandana – LARGE

If you plan on taking your dog for a walk, be sure to provide him with water; and, if possible, tie a bandana that has been soaked in cool water around his neck to help him beat the heat.
Excessive drooling with thick saliva hanging from the mouth, panting hard and fast, and listlessness or the inability to stand or walk are all signs of heat stroke. It is important if heat stroke is suspected that you cool your dog down as quickly as possible. Get him inside, out of the heat and if possible give him a cool bath. A trip to your veterinarian may be necessary if your dog does not seem to respond to these steps.

Since preventing dog heat stroke is your best option, it is important for your dog to have plenty of shade with good ventilation. It is also very important that your dog have a lot of cool water available.


Heat stroke can affect any dog, but the brachy-cephalic dogs with short faces, such as Boston, Pugs, and Bulldogs may be at higher risk due their inability to effectively pant and cool themselves. Older dogs sometimes have more trouble with temperature regulation as well as young puppies.

Many people believe that their pet will be fine outdoors. However, inadequate shade and/or water can affect even the most seasoned outdoor dog. Water left outside in the sun can heat up to hot for them to drink. Outdoor water fountains for dogs can help provide fresh cool water and dog houses can help with the shade.
If you like to take your dog for a walk, but the concrete is too hot, or he is a small dog and walks just plain tire him out, you may try one of the dog strollers.

Surprisingly, heat stroke in cats is very rare.   Most animal experts believe that cats are extremely good at finding the coolest spots to lay and also avoid the excessive, exertions that many dogs seem to thrive on.

If you find your dog panting excessively on a warm summer day, immediately move your dog into a cooler place. Getting the pet into a shady area with a fan running on him or just bring him indoors. Rinse your dog with cool, not cold, tap water over his legs and body to help effectively lower the body temperature. Rubbing alcohol placed on the skin of the stomach, will help cool him also. Do not use ice or extremely cold water.  Although it seems logical, extreme cold will cause surface blood vessels to contract, forming an insulating area that traps heat in the body, delaying the cooling of the vital organs. At the veterinary hospital, fluids are administered intravenously to help cool the core temperature and keep the kidneys from shutting down.

Attempting to force your pet to drink is also not recommended. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, immediately load your pet carefully into a car and go to the veterinarian. Under no circumstances should you leave your pet alone in the vehicle.

Without these life saving steps, many dogs might lose their lives to the “dog-days” of summer. But, as Snickers will testify, quick thinking owners and veterinary professionals can help get them back on their feet in no time.

Feeding Your Dog

As in human nutrition, the goal of good nutrition in animals is to maximize the length and quality of life. It is very important to feed our companions a healthy and well balanced diet that meets their specific needs. Lets begin by taking a look at the nutritional needs of dogs.

It is first important to remember that not all dogs are the same, just like no two people are the same. Because of this, their nutritional needs can be very different. One thing all dogs have in common, however, is their need for a complete and balanced diet. A complete and balanced diet means that your pet is receiving the proper amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and other key nutrients.

Lets examine pet foods a little closer. Complete and balanced diets, those without excesses and deficiencies, help to avoid health problems. Giving your dog the right food throughout its life helps to avoid diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and of course obesity. Lets look at choosing the right food for every stage of your dogs life. There are many high quality premium dog foods available, such as Hills Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba and many more. It is important to avoid generic diets that have too many fillers and too little nutritional value.

We will begin with puppies. A puppy requires a great deal of nutrition to get through it first year healthy and happy. In order to get the correct nutrients for growth, such as calcium and phosphorous, it is important to feed a diet specifically for puppies until they have stopped growing. This usually occurs by twelve months of age, but in large breeds this may not come until eighteen months. A diet tailored for growing large breeds should be fed to these puppies.

As a puppy becomes an adult dog, the nutritional and energy needs of the dog change. As a responsible pet owner, we will want to shift to a diet to meet the nutritional requirements of the adult dog. These high quality diets contain carefully balanced ingredients, such as vitamins and antioxidants that are vital for preventing disease. Feeding the right diet at the right life stage can have a significant impact on increasing the life span of our pets.

By age seven, we should be transitioning our nutritional focus to our pets golden years. As our pets slow down, so do their nutritional needs. Premium diets targeted to the needs of older dogs contain fewer calories, yet just the right balance of essential nutrients. Obesity at any age will likely shorten your pets life span; however, feeding the correct diet will help to prevent obesity. Your veterinarian can help you determine if your pet is overweight. You should be able to feel his or her ribs, but not see them. If you cant feel your pets ribs, your dog is probably overweight. Current estimates suggest that at least 35% of dogs are grossly obese. Genetic factors, as well as overfeeding, greatly influence weight gain. Remember to avoid giving your dog an excessive amount of treats and never feed table scraps! If you can easily see the ribs, your dog is probably too thin.

The amount of food needed changes rapidly during a puppy’s first year. Most puppies should be fed 3 times a day until they are 6-8 weeks of age. After this age, most dogs are fed one to two times daily. The quantity of food can be determined by reading the suggested feeding volumes listed on the food bag. Regularly scheduled meal times are optimal as opposed to free feeding throughout the day. Free feeding often leads to obesity.

Your pets nutritional needs are paramount to a long and healthy life. With the help of your veterinarian, you can develop a well balanced nutritional program that will help to ensure a happy and healthy dog!