How Oral Health Affects Your Dog’s Overall Health
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Oral care is a key component of your pet’s overall health: A smart regimen can help prevent the development of serious conditions. Keeping your pet’s teeth clean and bacteria-free results in more than just healthy teeth and fresh breath. With a little know-how and effort, you can protect your pet for a lifetime of companionship.
Practice the 3Ds
Tartar and gingivitis are the most common problems seen by veterinarians. The majority of dogs will develop these problems. Unchecked, these can lead to periodontitis and serious health concerns for your pet, up to and including, tooth loss and serious illness. But you can take action to control this and promote good oral health by incorporating the 3Ds: Daily Brushing, Dentistry. and Diet.
Daily brushing of your pet’s teeth will remove plaque and slow the development of tartar. When first beginning to brush, be gradual and make it a pleasant experience. Start by using your finger. Later, introduce a toothbrush. Be sure to praise and reassure your pet while brushing. Also, reward your pet afterward with play or a walk.
Talk with your veterinarian about annual or semiannual teeth cleaning—a dental prophylaxis or prophy for short. Teeth cleaning, performed by your veterinarian, is the only way to remove tartar.
Diet is important to good oral health. The mechanical, brushing action of dry, crunchy kibbles helps remove plaque and works to scrub teeth clean. Some diets also might include ingredients such as hexametaphosphate (HMP) that can help block tartar formation. Diet, daily brushing, and dentistry helps break the plaque-to- tartar cycle and optimize oral health.
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- adp_description_block430Puppy Basics: Nutrition for Small and Toy Breeds
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Your small- or toy-breed puppy grows rapidly in the first months of their life: Their immune system is developing, their bones are growing and their muscles are getting stronger. With all this growth, they need the right mix of nutrients to support their development. To make sure your puppy is getting the proper nutrition to protect and maintain their health and well-being, keep these key points in mind.
What Food Should You Feed Your Small-breed Puppy?
Research shows that puppies need up to twice as much energy as adult dogs. Because they are growing so quickly at this stage, your small-but-mighty pup needs an energy-rich, nutrient-dense small-breed dog food like IAMS™ Puppy Small Breed. Puppies also need more protein than adult dogs. High-quality animal-based protein will help your puppy create new body tissue as they grow.
Aside from protein, make sure these other important nutrients and ingredients are a part of 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 your puppy’s 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.
Why Do Small-breed Puppies Need Specialized Nutrition?
When it comes to feeding puppies, one size does not fit all. Small-breed puppies have higher metabolism rates per pound and reach their mature adult weight faster than larger-breed puppies. And small-breed puppies need high levels of protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus to support the growth and development of their bones, muscles and other tissues. So, giving your puppy a food that supports their breed size is the easiest way to make sure they’re getting the right balance of nutrients for their growth rate.
And remember: Small-breed puppies also have small mouths and stomachs! Make sure your puppy's food has small kibble for easy chewing. A nutrient-dense formula will help your puppy get a complete and balanced diet even though their stomach can only hold what seems like a small amount of food.
How Much and How Often Should You Feed Your Small-breed Puppy?
From the time your puppy is weaned until 4 months of age, you should feed your puppy two to three times a day. Check the food label guidelines to feed them the proper daily amount. After your puppy is 4 months old, feed them twice a day on a regular schedule. And make sure they always have access to fresh water, too!
When Should You Switch Your Puppy to Adult Food?
A small-breed puppy reaches adult weight faster than larger breeds. You can start feeding an adult dog food, such as IAMS™ Adult Small Breed, when they are around 9 to 12 months old.
Your dog might not be thrilled about 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 their puppy food, and then gradually change the proportions over the next three weeks until they are eating 100% adult food.
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