Your puppy is changing in so many ways. In fact, the most rapid growth will take place in these first months of his life. His immune system is developing. Bones are growing. Muscles are getting stronger. All of this requires a nutrient-dense diet, formulated to support a medium-breed puppy's rate of development. To make sure your puppy is getting optimal nutrition to protect and maintain health and well-being, here are some key points to keep in mind.
Feeding Your Puppy
From the time your puppy is weaned until 4 months of age, you should feed your puppy two to three meals a day, with the daily amount based on the guidelines of the food label. After 4 months of age, he should be fed twice a day on a regular schedule. Always have fresh water available.
More Energy, More Protein
Research shows that puppies need up to twice as much energy as adult dogs. Dramatic growth at this stage means your puppy requires an energy-rich, nutrient-dense complete and balanced diet. Puppies also require more protein than adult dogs. High-quality animal-based protein will help your puppy create new body tissue.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Not all puppies have the same nutritional needs. Medium-breed puppies actually have slightly higher metabolism rates per pound than large-breed puppies. And your puppy will reach his mature adult weight at about 12 months, sooner than larger breeds that reach adulthood as late as 24 months. Your puppy needs protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus to support growth and development of bones, muscles, and other tissues. So giving him a food that supports his medium size is the easiest way to help make sure he's getting the right balance of nutrients for his metabolism and growth rate.
Remember, puppies have small stomachs. Make sure his food is nutrient-dense so he'll get a complete and balanced diet even though his stomach can only handle what seems like a small volume of food.
Choosing Puppy Food
Aside from energy and protein, there are other important nutrients and ingredients vital to your puppy's diet:
- Vitamin-rich fish oils to support overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help your puppy stay healthy during this critical stage of growth
- Animal-based protein sources to help nourish growing muscles, vital organs, and skin and coat
- A fiber source that will help keep your puppy's sensitive digestive system healthy, so more nutrition stays in your puppy
- Ideal levels of calcium and phosphorus to help your puppy develop strong teeth and bones
These are important building blocks of nutrition. Look for them when you choose dry or canned dog food and when you select treats.
The Switch to Adult Food
A medium-breed puppy reaches adult weight by about 12 months. You can begin feeding an adult dog food at this time, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks. Your dog might not welcome the change at first, but don't worry. You can help ease the transition by gradually introducing the adult food. Try mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of his puppy food, then gradually change the proportions over the next three days until he's eating 100% adult food.
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For some dogs, a simple fence isn’t enough to keep them in the yard. Maybe you’ve got a little escape artist that’s too smart for their own good. Maybe you’re raising a brave explorer who loves to get lost. Or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to have your dog stolen from their own backyard. Creating a safe and secure space to keep your pet can be a challenge, but we’re here to help. Understanding the common reasons dogs get out and what you can do to prevent it from happening goes a long way toward keeping your furry friend safe.
Why Does Your Dog Want to Escape?
Securing your yard starts with understanding the impulses that drive your dog to see what’s beyond your property. Spaying or neutering is an important first step in curbing a dog’s desire to roam, but there may be other factors at play. Creating a safe yard for a lonely Labrador in search of a friend is an entirely different exercise than securing a burrow-happy beagle on the hunt for a squirrel. We’d recommend trying to learn as much as you can about your dog’s breed and underlying instincts. The most common reasons dogs try to escape are:
- Feeling socially isolated
- Lack of stimulation (think toys)
- Desire to escape something that scares them, like thunder
Countering these behaviors starts with understanding which one is at the heart of your dog’s desire to break free. Once you’ve got a theory of what’s motivating your pup, it’s time to give your safety measures a second look.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Secure in Your Yard
Microchip Your Dog and Scan Their Nose
If your dog is committed to getting out, your most useful tool will be the ability to track and locate them wherever they’re found. There are a huge variety of products and services designed to help you keep your dog safe, but the most important thing you can have is a plan. You’ve most likely heard of GPS tracking chips that can be implanted in your pet, but you may not know that you can also scan their nose. Through a new app called NOSEiD, you can capture your dog’s unique nose print, which will give whoever finds them a faster, simpler way of reuniting the two of you. It’s that easy! Just download the app, call your pup over and start scanning.
The Best Defense Is a Good … Fence
Even though they’re not technologically impressive, a sturdy wooden or metal fence still plays an important part in protecting your dog while they’re in your yard. Not only does it keep your dog from wandering, it also keeps unwanted animals and people away from your dog’s space. If your dog can leap over it, you’ll obviously need to raise the height, or you can add an overhang that makes it harder to clear. You might also consider planting some shrubs along the inside of the fence to discourage jumping. If your dog is burrowing beneath your fence, consider adding a barrier beneath it or putting a bumper collar on them, which makes it harder to squeeze into small spaces.
If you have a particularly territorial dog, you may want to cover any open spots in your fence that your dog might spy adversaries through. A solid fence may help them feel safe and diminish their need to patrol their surroundings.
When it comes to electric fences, using one successfully depends on your dog’s personality. If your dog has recently been ignoring the electric fence, you may want to consider retraining them or investing in a physical barrier.
Make “Yard” Mean “Yay!”
Making your yard a dog-friendly and entertaining space is a huge part of keeping your dog safe at home. With enough toys, space to burn energy and ideally a friend to play with, your dog won’t have any reason to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. A few popular dog-pleasers you may want to provide are:
- A bit of shelter or shade
- A source of water
- A rotating lineup of toys
- Their favorite playmate (you)
Use Your Yard Wisely
Last, but not least, if you leave your dog unattended for a long period of time in your yard, there’s a good chance they will get bored and look for a way to burn off some energy. To prevent them from getting mischievous, limit the amount of time they’re out on their own, and check in frequently. Also, for dogs with separation anxiety or that may be afraid of loud noises, your presence will help keep them calm and close to home.
With your dog chipped or their nose scanned, you’ll always have an option in the event that your dog strikes out on their own. Beyond that, understand what makes your dog unique and check your yard’s safety features regularly for holes or weak points. As usual, a little preparation now can save you a ton of time and energy in the long run.
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