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Making the Most of Your Dog’s Mature Years
Making the Most of Your Dog’s Mature Years-mobile

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Making the Most of Your Dog’s Mature Years

As your dog reaches his mature years, remember these tips:

  • Minimize stress and change. Avoid big moves or changes in your dog's schedule. If you must disrupt a routine, give your dog some added attention to ease the adjustment.
  • Give him regular exercise. Take him for two 15-minute walks each day to help maintain muscle tone, enhance circulation, promote digestion, and prevent weight gain.
  • Feed him smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of one large portion a day, try two or three smaller meals, which will help your dog burn calories by stimulating his metabolism.
  • Take him for routine veterinary checkups and immunizations. Regular dental care and thorough physicals will reveal subtle changes in your dog's health. At home, frequently examine him for any odd-shaped bumps or lumps. If you discover something unusual and it seems to be growing rapidly, call your veterinarian. Early detection and preventive treatment can go a long way toward extending your friend's life.
  • Give him great-tasting, premium pet food. As your dog ages, he may become less interested in eating. Make sure he gets tasty, nutrient-dense food that's gentle on his digestion.

As Dr. Michael Hayek, an IAMS™ research nutritionist who specializes in geriatric nutrition, points out, there's still much to learn about canine geriatric nutrition. For now, realize that every animal ages at a different rate and in different ways. Monitor your dog and especially watch for changes at around 7 years of age (5 years for large breeds). If necessary, adjust his diet accordingly. With the help of your veterinarian and responsible pet food manufacturers, your mature pal can live to a comfortable, healthy old age.

  • 4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet-mob

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    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet

    Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.

     

     

    4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food

    1. Introduce the new food gradually.

    When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:

    • Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
    • Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
    • Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food

     

    At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.

     

     

    2. Watch your body language.

    Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.

     

     

    3. Don't give in to demands.

    Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.

     

     

    4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.

    Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.

    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
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