For most pet parents, the expense, time, and expertise involved in breeding dogs responsibly is beyond their reach. Here are some advantages to having your puppy spayed or neutered:
- For females, there will no longer be a mess to deal with during their 21-day heat cycles, which occur every six months. The heat cycle begins in females sometime after 6 months of age.
- Spaying a female before her first heat cycle will reduce the chance of mammary tumors or uterine diseases.
- Neutered males tend to be less aggressive than unneutered males.
- With a neutered male, the urge to mark territory may lessen.
- A neutered male is less likely to want to roam in search of potential mates.
When to Spay or Neuter
Dogs should be spayed or neutered by the time they are 6 months old to avoid many dog health issues. Both operations are performed under anesthesia and may require an overnight stay at the veterinarian's office. Recovery time is quick, with most dogs resuming normal activity in a few days. Spaying (for females) consists of an ovario-hysterectomy.
Neutering involves the removal of the testicles. When you bring your puppy to the veterinarian's office for his first thorough examination, have the doctor explain the operation in detail and set up a time to have the procedure done.
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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.
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