Small-Breed Puppy Feeding Secrets
Small-Breed Puppy Feeding Secrets

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Small-Breed Puppy Feeding Secrets

Small-breed dogs tend to have higher metabolism rates than their larger counterparts, which means they need a puppy feeding diet specifically designed for them. "Small-breed dog food formulas are created to give your dog the right balance of nutrients," says Debra Eldredge, DVM, a veterinarian in upstate New York and coauthor of The Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook (Howell House). Here's what you need to know to feed your small-breed pooch.

 

 

Customize.

The guidelines on the package are a great starting point, Eldredge says, but "you have to customize [them] for your dog." For instance, her family has three dogs who all weigh almost the same. But, one is getting twice as much food as the other two, and she's thin. "She just burns it up," Eldredge says. Your dog's breed and activity levels will affect how much food she needs.

 

 

Get enough calories.

Small-breed puppies, especially toy breeds, can be prone to hypoglycemia. To keep your dog’s blood sugar levels up, you might have to feed her more frequently and up the calories, Eldredge says.

 

 

Monitor frequency.

Small-breed puppies grow quickly, so during the first six months, they need to eat more food and eat more frequently, generally three to four times a day. After six months, feeding two meals a day is usually sufficient. As your dog gets older and less active, her nutritional needs change, and she may need a formula for mature dogs. Her new food will generally have more protein and fewer calories.

 

 

Choose the right bite.

Smaller dogs have smaller mouths and teeth, so their food is usually made in a smaller bite size, which is easier for them to chew and swallow.

 

 

Establish mealtimes.

Don't leave your dog's food out all day. Instead, pick it up after 10 or 20 minutes, Eldredge says. If food is available all day, she may eat out of boredom.

 

 

Avoid table scraps.

With dog food, your pet is on a balanced diet. Feeding her human food may throw off that balance. The occasional taste of chicken or eggs is okay, but don't make it a daily habit.

  • 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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