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Puppy Basics: Expert Training Tips
Puppy Basics: Expert Training Tips

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Puppy Basics: Expert Training Tips

Q: When training my puppy, should I use table scraps as treats?

A: My personal preference is not to use food at all. When I have trained dogs for obedience, I have always used the verbal praise-reward method. It works well, especially with some dogs who are not motivated by food rewards.
 

Many people do use treat-based training with success, but I don't recommend offering table scraps as the treat. Giving a dog people food—in training or just as a general reward—may give the dog the idea that such food is fair game. It might encourage your pet to steal food from the table or from people, especially kids or guests.
 

In addition, many human foods can be toxic to dogs. These include chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and xylitol (a sweetener often used in gum, candy, and baked goods).
 

As an alternative to table scraps, you could train your dog with snacks that are tasty, low in fat, and commercially prepared for training. But keep in mind that soft chew snacks may be high in sugar, which is bad for dental health. When shopping for treats, read package labels and choose premium varieties that list meat as the first ingredient.
 

Use only small amounts for training purposes—treats should not interfere with the consistency of a normal diet or greatly affect the caloric intake for the size and age of the dog. The training sessions should be short in length and repeated several times throughout the day. For young dogs, the training period should be no longer than five minutes.
 

Finally, the most important training tip is to keep it positive. If you're getting frustrated with your puppy's naturally short attention span, take a break. Strive to end the session on a positive note so your pet will be eager for the next time.
 

Janet Tobiassen, DVM, a veterinarian based in the state of Washington, has been practicing and writing about vet medicine since 1999. She started training dogs at age 12, through 4-H, and continued pet therapy and obedience training in veterinary school and beyond.

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  • Dog Food Expiry
    Dog Food Expiry

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    Does Dog Food Expire & How To Know If It Has?

    As a pet parent, do you find yourself wondering how long does dog food last? If so, you’re not alone! In this blog, we will take you through everything you need to know about dog food expiry.  
     

    Dogs require a balanced meal every day. As a pet owner, you can choose between dry and wet foods. Dry dog food usually resembles a biscuit or kibble. On the other hand, wet dog food combines meat products or other protein sources with a gravy that incorporates grains, minerals, and vitamins. Whatever your dog finds palatable, make sure their nutritional requirements are met.
     

    Diets that are high in protein are good for dogs. A significant source of energy is found in dietary fats, which are either derived from plant seed oils or animal fats. They offer essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, that are necessary to preserve the health of your dog's skin and coat. Additionally, carbohydrates support your pet's digestive health and provide energy for them to continue with their regular activities.
     

    While it is important to focus on your pet’s daily nutritional intake, you should also make sure that the food packets are still fresh. Serving expired dog food will deprive your canine companion of the key vitamins and minerals they need to keep healthy. Hence, it is important to examine the labels and expiration dates before making a purchase.


     

    Understanding Shelf Life Vs Expiry Date

    The amount of time a product is useable and suitable for consumption is referred to as its shelf life. In contrast, expiry date is the last day that a perishable product, like food, will be at its highest quality. 
     

    If you are wondering does dog food expire, the answer is a yes. In fact, the contents and types of preservatives used do affect the shelf life of a food item. So, to guarantee your dog's safety, pet food producers set expiration or best by dates. Unopened canned foods have a shelf life of two years from the date of manufacturing, whereas unopened dry pet foods typically have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months. Plan to open and use the dog food before the expiration date. You can usually find this date on the bottom of the can containing dog food.


     

    Effects Of Eating Expired Dog Food

    Now that you know dog food expires, let’s examine the effects of serving expired food to your pet:
     

    • Gastrointestinal issues

    After consuming spoiled food, dogs generally exhibit the same gastrointestinal symptoms as people do. These symptoms could include vomiting, diarrhea, and passing wind. Spoiled foods can also contain bacteria that can disturb the equilibrium in the gut and intestines, causing the body to excrete more fluids in an effort to wash them out. What’s more is that moldy dog food can contain mycotoxins like vomitoxin, which can cause serious gastrointestinal disorders.
     

    • Botulism

    Dogs can become paralyzed from botulism. It is a rare condition occurring when canines consume contaminated food. The poison gets absorbed in the intestines and passes into the bloodstream, thus paralyzing dogs.
     

    • Other health issues

    Another consequence of feeding your pet spoiled dog food is malnutrition. Before turning moldy, spoiled foods usually lose their vitamin and mineral value. This suggests that even if the food doesn't upset your dog's stomach, it is still not giving your pet what they require. Your dog may become lethargic if daily nutritional demands aren't met. This can eventually result in bone issues and organ failure, if not recognized as early as possible.


     

    Best Practices For Storing Dog Food

    Even if you have a food item that is still within its best by date, improper storage could lead to early contamination and food degradation. Here are some steps you must take to prolong the shelf life and maintain food quality:
     

    • Shop frequently

    Purchasing multiple boxes of treats may save you from making repeat visits to the shop. However, keeping so much stock might increase the likelihood that your dog's food goes bad before it gets completely consumed. Therefore, shop frequently if you don’t want your dog’s food to expire.
     

    • Refrigerate wet dog food

    The shelf life of fresh, wet items can be increased by keeping them in the freezer. Any unopened canned food should be sealed with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.
     

    • Use clips to store dry food

    Use chip clips to seal the food bags and keep moisture out. You could also store your pet’s food in its original packaging and stack it in a cool, dry place with little exposure to heat and light. Avoid keeping dry dog food open.

     

    What To Do With Expired Dog Food?

    Dog food that has expired needs to be tossed out right away. There are also waste management facilities that compost used pet food.

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