Encouraging Healthy Chewing Behavior in Your Dog
Encouraging Healthy Chewing Behavior in Your Dog

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Encouraging Healthy Chewing Behavior in Your Dog

Nutritional Application

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.

  • Recognizing the Signs of Bloat in Your Dog
    Recognizing the Signs of Bloat in Your Dog

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    Recognizing the Signs of Bloat in Your Dog

    What Is Bloat?

    Bloat is a life-threatening condition that acts rapidly and can lead to death within hours if not recognized and treated immediately. Unfortunately, the cause of bloat remains unknown at this time.

     

    The scientific term for bloat is gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV. Bloat is characterized by rapid and abnormal expansion of the stomach with gas (dilatation). This can be followed by rotation of the stomach (volvulus). This rotation closes both the entry to and exit from the stomach. The blood vessels also are closed down, and blood flow is restricted.

     

    What follows is an increase in pressure inside the stomach and compression of the surrounding organs. Eventually, shock will occur as a result of the restricted blood flow. Here are a few key facts about bloat:

    • Bloat should always be treated as a medical emergency.
    • Bloat can kill a dog within hours after onset.
    • The cause of bloat is unknown.
    • Bloat affects 36,000 dogs in the United States each year; 30% die as a result of this condition.
    • Bloat can occur in dogs of any age.
    • Certain breeds are more susceptible to bloat, particularly deep-chested dogs.
    • The stomach rapidly expands with gas then rotates on the long axis. Entry to and exit from the stomach is prohibited, causing blood vessels to close and restriction of blood flow.

     

     

    Signs of Bloat

    Bloat is a true medical emergency, and early identification and treatment is critical to survival.

     

    In the early stages of bloat, the dog will be very uncomfortable. You might see him pacing and whining or trying unsuccessfully to get into a comfortable position. He might seem anxious, might lick or keep staring at his stomach, and might attempt to vomit, without success.

     

    Other indications of bloat can include weakness, swelling of the abdomen, and even signs of shock. Signs of shock are increased heart rate and abnormally rapid breathing.

     

    If you notice these signs, call your veterinarian immediately!

     

    • Whining
    • Inability to get comfortable
    • Pacing or restlessness
    • Pale gums
    • Unproductive attempts to vomit
    • Abnormally rapid breathing
    • Increased heart rate
    • Anxiety
    • Pain, weakness
    • Swelling of the abdomen (particularly the left side)

     

     

    Helping Prevent Bloat

    These suggestions could help you prevent bloat in your dog. However, they are based on suspected risk factors and are not guaranteed to prevent the onset of bloat.

     

    • Feed small amounts of food frequently, two to three times daily.
    • Avoid exercise for one hour before and two hours after meals.
    • Don't let your dog drink large amounts of water just before or after eating or exercise.
    • If you have two or more dogs, feed them separately to avoid rapid, stressful eating.
    • If possible, feed at times when after-feeding behavior can be observed.
    • Avoid abrupt diet changes.
    • If you see signs of bloat, call your veterinarian immediately.

     

     

    Digestible Foods

    Another way you might help prevent bloat is to feed a high-quality, highly digestible food with normal fiber levels.

     

    Feeding management offers the best method available for reducing risk until the exact cause of bloat can be identified. Although not 100% effective, these measures can reduce the number of dogs that face this serious, life-threatening condition.

     

     

    High-Risk Breeds

    • German Shepherd
    • Bouvier de Flandres
    • Great Dane
    • Boxer
    • St. Bernard
    • Doberman Pinscher
    • Bloodhound
    • German Shorthaired Pointer
    • Irish Setter
    • Gordon Setter
    • Borzoi
    • Irish Wolfhound
    • Dachshund
    • Labrador Retriever
    • Basset Hound

    Recognizing the Signs of Bloat in Your Dog
    Recognizing the Signs of Bloat in Your Dog
    Recognizing the Signs of Bloat in Your Dog
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