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nutrition

Is salt really bad for dogs?

It is assumed that salt products are bad for dogs, causing problems such as high blood pressure or kidney failure or even skin diseases and hair fall. But, is salt really bad for dogs?

The facts…

  • Salt is present in our pet products to ensure the essential nutrients sodium and chloride are present at nutritionthe required levels.
  • It is not a flavour enhancer for dogs and is not added to increase palatability.
  • It provides the essential nutrients – sodium and chloride. The sodium requirement of dogs has been defined by the National Research Council (NRC), which sets a safe lower and upper limit.
  • Dogs are semi-carnivores. This means that they evolved to eat meaty diets that are naturally rich in sodium. Because of this they have not developed taste systems that respond to sodium, hence it is not a flavour enhancer as it is for humans.
  • There is no evidence of a link between high salt (sodium) diets and risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney or skin or hair coat disease in healthy dogs.

Why do dogs need salt?

Salt has two constituents – namely sodium and chloride – both of which are crucial for the maintenance of body’s fluid balance and blood volume, as well the functioning of nervous tissues. Deficiencies in sodium and chloride result in problems with nervous signal transmission, low blood pressure, restlessness, increased heart rate and pasty or thick mucus.

Research has indicated a diet low in sodium can induce reductions in blood pressure regulating hormones during prolonged sodium deficiency, fatigue , exhaustion , inability to maintain water balance, decreased water intake, retarded growth, and dryness of skin and loss of hair.

How much salt do dogs need?

Adult dogs require a daily sodium intake of around 13 mg/kg body weight, which corresponds to a minimum dietary level of 0.2 g/1000 kcal. Requirements are 2-3 times higher in puppies and during pregnancy and lactation, and five times higher in very highly active dogs such as greyhounds or sled dogs.

How much salt is there in dog foods?

The sodium content of dog foods is in fact similar to that of prey consumed by dogs in the wild, including small deer, rabbits and chickens, which contain between 2.5 and 10 g/kg of dry matter. By contrast, cereals, fruits and vegetables are low in sodium and typically contain less than 1g/kg DM (around 200mg/1000 kcal). Thus dogs as semi-carnivores have evolved to tolerate high levels of dietary sodium. Likewise they show limited ability to detect dietary sodium levels and do not use salt as a driver of food selection and consumption. Omnivores such as man respond to dietary sodium, presumably to enable selection of foods with adequate sodium levels for health.

Commercially available dog foods provide intakes of sodium that are comfortably in excess of minimum requirements and typically have between 0.5 and 2.5 g/1000 kcal or 2-10 g/kg of dry matter. Studies on the sodium requirements of dogs have shown a wide range of tolerance. The minimum requirement for health in adult dogs is 200 mg/1000 kcal and the maximum is approximately 4 g/1000 kcal. Mars pet-foods (Pedigree) are formulated within the Waltham guidelines, which define an even safer range of 0.5 to 3 g/1000 kcal. Dry foods tend to contain less sodium than wet formats, including canned, tray and pouch products, because they contain fewer meat products that are naturally rich in sodium. Sodium levels are similar across brands, with no significant differences between mainstream and premium products in either wet or dry formats.

Processed human foods that are frequently offered to dogs in the form of table scraps – such as bacon, sausages and cheese – have sodium levels well in excess of those of dog foods and hence should be avoided.

Is dietary sodium harmful to dogs?

Healthy dogs are perfectly tolerant to large amounts of dietary sodium and adapt well to substantial fluctuations in intake. Adverse signs are seen only once intakes are more than twice those found in even the most sodium-rich of dog foods. The recommended upper limit, which includes a margin of safety, is currently set at 15 g/kg dry matter.

There is no evidence that sustained high levels of salt intake in dogs are linked with high blood pressure, renal failure or coronary heart disease in dogs, whereas high salt intakes are implicated in the aetiology of all these diseases in humans. Furthermore, excessive salt intakes do not contribute to disease progression in dogs with either kidney or heart failure.

In fact, increasing dietary salt levels within the NRC range, may have benefits including the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation. Studies have shown that the increased dietary sodium promotes the formation of dilute urine with no net increase in calcium concentrations.

(This article is contributed by Mars India International, with inputs from Dr Tim Watson BVM&S, PhD, MRCVS, Townhead of Aber, Gartocharn, Dunbartonshire, G83 8NQ)

Children and Dog

Rainy Day activities for kids and dogs

“It’s raining, it’s pouring, everything is boring!” Rainy days with stir-crazy kids and dogs can try your sanity. When your kids wail that there’s nothing fun to do, have them try some of these simple games with the family dog.

Hansel & Gretel Trails: This is a really basic activity, but kids love it! Give your children a small bowl of treats

Children and Dog

Rohan and Coco

and tell them to create a trail for the dog to follow. Keep the dog near you while the kids put a treat every 2 to 4 feet. When they have laid out the entire path, have them come back and tell the dog to sit before releasing the dog to follow the trail. They’ll follow along behind the dog cheering for each successful find.

Commando Crawl (for mid-sized dogs): Have the kids lay a trail of treats running under your coffee table from one end to the other. Teach the dog to belly-crawl across the floor to get the treats.

Dog Bowling: Arrange empty plastic two-liter bottles in a bowling triangle in the hallway and have the kids take turns calling the dog for a treat. Whoever gets the dog to topple the most pins as he races down the hall wins.

Tiny Teeter-Totter: Lay a piece of plywood on the floor. Have the kids give the dog treats for stepping on the board. Once the dog is not at all concerned about walking on the board, lay the board across a broom to make a two-inch high teeter-totter. Keep rewarding the dog for walking over the board. Remind the kids to keep their fingers away from the board while the dog is on it!

Rainy Day Come: Give each child a small cup of dog treats. Tell one child to go “hide” in the kitchen. At first the child won’t really hide, she’ll just stand in the center of the kitchen and call the dog. While the dog is trotting toward the kitchen, send another child to the dining room.

After the first child has had the dog sit to get a treat, the child in the dining room can call the dog . . . and while the dog is coming to the second child, the first child will head to the living room. When it’s her turn to call again, she’ll call and the dog will head for the kitchen only to find that she’s not there! While the dog looks for the first child, the second chooses a new spot.

As your dog gets better at this game, the kids can make it more challenging by standing behind doors or sitting in unusual places. The game is over when the kids are out of treats; then everyone can head to the kitchen for a cookie break.

Remember to use lots of treats to make these games as much fun for the dog as for the kids. The idea is to offer the children simple training opportunities in fun, easy-to-implement ways.

Don’t allow anyone to push or pull the dog to get him to do something. If the dog seems confused or resistant, look for ways to make the challenges easier. Watch for any signs of frustration—on either the kids’ or dog’s part—and step in right away to help.

Soon your kids will be hoping it rains more often.

(Colleen Pelar, CPDT, CDBC, is the author of Living with Kids and Dogs . . . Without Losing Your Mind. Since 1991, Colleen has been the go-to person for parents trying to navigate kid-and-dog issues. Because a knowledgeable adult can improve every interaction between a child and a dog, Colleen is committed to educating parents, children, and dog owners on kid-and-dog relationships.For more information, visit www.livingwithkidsanddogs.com.)

Just Fur Fun | Dogs & Pups

Please send in your pet’s stories at info@dogsandpups.net to get published.

All About My Buddy:

My Name is: Alena

My Buddy’s Name is: Mischief

My Buddy’s Breed is: Pug

My Buddy’s Colour is: fawn with black highlight

My Buddy’s Age is: 4 Years

My Buddy’s Favourite Treat: Banana

My Buddy’s Funniest Habits: He tries to bite and nibble my ear

My Buddy’s First Love: Only me !

My Buddy’s Foods: Rolti and Fruits

Character Certificate to My Buddy Will Say: Sleepy head but loving

BUDDy and ME: (Few of our favourite things)

List of activities we like doing the most: He loves to sleep by my side as i sing for me.

What we indulge doing on Sundays: Sleep

What is the best tricks I have taught him: To bite my grandfather’s socks.

Smart dogs for smart kids

Your dog is good for your kid for more reasons than you can think. Let’s see how.

Ever seen the twinkle in your child’s eyes when he sees a pup or a dog he likes? He wants to go close to him

Children and Dog

Smart dogs for smart kids

pet him and more often than not, would like to take him home. A pooch will give him a wealth of knowledge for day-to-day life.

We all know dog teaches our children emotions like compassion, responsibility and community awareness towards strays, besides giving them emotional support in times of need. They help children in more ways than we think.

Let’s see how our pooches help our kids have a more enriching life…

The tiny tots (0-2 years): Babies learn through senses – by seeing, hearing and touching. Their cognitive development improves when they are living with a pooch. They associate with them as friends and love to play with them, looking for them when they sit under the table or bed. Their motor skills improve as the pooches keep them on their toes.

The preschoolers (2-3 years): This is the age of learning – kids learn that they are responsible for their pet’s needs and start empathising with them.

The school-goers (3-14 years): When a child starts going to school, he faces the real world – classmates, teachers, etc. Sometimes, they are not able to tell everything to their parents – they start confiding in their pets as they are aware of their unconditional love and care. They become responsible towards their pets – taking care of their daily needs. Sometimes, even the loss of a pet can teach them the hard facts of life.

Few scientific facts…

Even science has proved that pooches enrich children’s lives. Let’s see how:

Dogs encourage reading habits in children: A lot of children are not comfortable reading aloud. By having a canine as an audience, children learn to read. They know that dogs will not judge them for their reading skills and they feel they are teaching it to the pooch, thus building their confidence in the long run. This concept was first used by a nurse named Martin, who is now a board member of Utah’s nonprofit Intermountain Therapy Animals, which runs the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) programme.

Dogs make children active and hence less obese: According to a research from St. Geroge’s University of London, children who have dogs at home are more active than those without dogs, thus helping them fight obesity, a rising issue of concern for parents.

Dogs help children with special needs: According to a new Université de Montreal study, specifically trained service dogs can help reduce anxiety and enhance socialisation skills of children suffering with Autism Syndrome Disorders (ASDs).

Health benefits: The researchers in Stanford University and the University of California, United States have found that pets can significantly reduce the risk of cancer, improve cardiovascular function, and enhance human immunity.

Towards safe dog-child interactions…

But it is important to teach children how to interact with dogs to prevent mishaps like dog bites, etc. Always have kids and dogs in supervision. Don’t let your child reach for an unknown dog. Teach them not to bother them while they are eating or sleeping. Never let your child bully them – teach them where your dog likes to be touched and when he needs to be left alone. Also, teach them the basic body language of a dog.

Teaching kids the importance of Hygiene and washing hands is a must. Most importantly, teach your child to respect the family pooch.

Let’s help our kids have a more fulfilling life with the love of a pooch!

Dogs & Pups, May June 2011 Issue

Editorial

Angels together…

Breed Profile

Amazing Akitas!

Large dogs with mesmerising oriental eyes, quiet but intelligent, Akitas form excellent companion animals. An Akita named Hachiko became immortal after he patiently waited at the railway station for his master to return for almost 10 years, oblivious of the fact that his master had died when he was at work. A statue of Hachiko still greets everybody at the Shibuya Station in Japan.

Breed Profile

Truly golden!

A Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds. Charming looks, golden locks, friendly disposition, eager-to-please demeanor – a Golden Retriever has everything you can ask for in a family dog.

A ‘Golden’ diet

Training

I am ‘Me’

If you are not fulfilling the breed specific needs of your dog, you are creating a rift and he may not have a balanced life.

Frightened furry friends@vet

Doggies’ day out at vet’s place is an ordeal for most of the pet parents. But with a better understanding and a few precautions we can make it easier for our furry friends.

Angels Together

Smart dogs for smart kids

Diet for the moms-to-be and new moms

Angels Together

Striking the angelic bond!

Good kids and good dogs will have miscommunications every day. By teaching children and dogs how to interact with one another, we are laying the groundwork for happy, healthy relationships between them.

Summer delight!

Angels Together Summer’s here! The kids can’t wait for the vacations to start, and parents wish they’d never. It’s all fine when the kids come back after a tiring day at school, but how do you match their energy levels when they are unbridled from the burdens of a taxing day at school. Time for Juno, the family dog, to jump in and take matters into his paws.

Health

Observe carefully!

Prevention is always better than cure… you can determine the health condition of your pooch at your home…merely by observation. Here’s how to do so.

Kids Korner

Healthy Bites

Picture Perfect

Ask the Experts..

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Events

Paws and their star

Pooch love seems to be in the genes. Meet actress Divya Seth who not only shares her profession with her mother Sushma Seth but also her love for pooches.

Watch out for signs of sickness

Grooming

Dashing pooches: the Drools way

Travel@Pets

Bon Voyage

This summer, take a vacation with your pooch to a pet-friendly hotel/resort. Here’s how to make your trips more comfortable and enjoyable.

‘WAGS’ For the wonderful vet

Dog art connoisseur!

From nineteenth century dog paintings and collectibles to modern day dog art –William Secord Gallery has it all! Here’s more on this pawfect art gallery.

Health

Flea allergy: what a pet parent must know

Fleas are cosmopolitan ectoparasites with a large variety of hosts. For companion animals and humans, Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) represent the most important species worldwide. Apart from causing flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), the ability of fleas to function as vectors for disease pathogens, such as Rickettsia & Bartonella spp. bacteria, Dipylidium caninum (dog tape worm) and some viral pathogens is gaining attention. Let’s know more about them.

‘Paw’-Tales

My Adorable baby

They are the world to me

 

dog training

An holistic approach to health and welfare of dogs

An holistic approach is to look at the underlying cause of a behaviour or training problem by looking at the whole-istic health issues of the dog, physically and mentally. Here are a few factors that affect the dog on a daily basis.

 

Well-balanced diet: a must

The canine therapist should have a recognised qualification in canine or animal nutrition when looking at aSam holistic approach to treating dogs. A good, healthy, well-balanced diet is part of the holistic approach to effectively treating dogs or any animals. In many cases, changing a poor diet to the correct diet for a particular dog’s needs makes a significant improvement to the dog’s behaviour.

It may be necessary to have a hair mineral or blood analysis done to determine the state of health and whether there are any mineral excesses or deficiencies. Finding the correct diet for a particular dog can only be achieved with the guidance and help of a veterinarian or animal nutritionist.

Determine his health condition

The health state of your dog should be checked yearly by a veterinarian. Many health conditions are not easily observed outwardly and dogs are excellent at hiding pain. If at all possible, take a urine sample to your veterinarian. A urine sample can give the veterinarian a lot of information.

Your veterinarian will most likely check the dog’s whole body, feeling for any underlying or potential problems, such as lumps or bumps, hot or cold spots, condition of nails, eyes, ears and anal glands. The vet will observe how the dog moves, muscle condition, bones and if you have fasted your dog this day, may take a blood sample to check the internal state of health and stress levels.

The dog’s state of health is extremely important and affects how a dog behaves. This health check should be done before getting a veterinary referral to see a canine therapist or behaviourist.

Bodywork to heal

Another important part of the holistic approach to the dog is bodywork. Bodywork can make a significant difference to the dog’s health and welfare in restoring balance to the body and aiding healing.

There are many types of bodywork that can help your dog such as the Bowen technique, T-touch, acupressure, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and many other therapies all helping to restore the dog’s balance. Personally I have found the Bowen technique to be the most effective treatment on my own dogs and myself. We should always have a treatment ourselves first, before having any treatment done on our dogs.

If the treatment is uncomfortable for us, then perhaps it is not the right treatment for your dog either. Care is required in choosing the right bodywork for your dog. Many body therapies need a veterinary referral, so check this before having any treatment done. The therapist should have an understanding of dog body language in order to help your dog feel more comfortable and to know when the dog has had enough treatment.

Relationships mean the world to them

Nicole Mackie

Dogs have the same need for love, touch, understanding, time and communication as we do. If these basic needs are not met, then our relationship with others suffers and we feel empty, lonely and needy. Studies have shown that children lacking these basic needs in life do not live long and are susceptible to diseases. Why should we think our dog’s needs are any less than our own?

When we are meeting our dogs’ needs on a holistic level, that is providing all basic needs, emotionally and physically, our dogs can develop a good trusting relationship with us and vice versa.

Being left alone all day is difficult for dogs as they are pack animals and very gregarious. They need company, they need relationships and they need to be with us. Too many dogs are left alone all day while owners go out to work for long hours. This can create many behaviour problems. Would we leave a small child alone at home with no caretaker? I don’t think so. Why should we think we can do this to a dog? In the wild, dogs are not alone, they are always near the pack – the pack works as a team created with a well-developed communication system. They do not separate for eight hours of the day and return in the evening.

Unfortunately when living with humans, dogs have had to adjust to our way of life with little adjustment from the human side to meet our dog’s needs. If we do need to work and leave a dog alone, it may be worth considering a dog sitter for at least a few hours a day. Someone who has enough dog knowledge to care for the dog’s needs and who knows how to keep the dog calm and relaxed, who can sit with the dog while reading a book, give the dog a short walk, and generally be a friend to the dog for a few hours.

Communication – understand their body language

Dogs have been created by God with an amazing communication system. They communicate with their whole body, also known as calming signals. When dogs are unhappy, worried about something or afraid, they will tray to communicate this with us or other animals by using this communication system of body language we call calming signals. Just to list a few of these calming signals:

  • lip licking
  • head turning
  • turning body round
  • lying down
  • sitting
  • blinking eyes
  • paw lifting
  • tail wagging
  • tail held high
  • hackles up
  • ears back
  • panting slowly
  • fast panting (when the dog is not particularly hot)
  • yawning
  • barking
  • going between people or other animals
  • stiff body
  • quick short stepping

There are many more signals known and possibly many yet to be discovered but these are a few to watch for and if you see your dog doing any of these calming signals, it may be best to help him/her out by taking him/her out of the situation or doing whatever you can to make the dog more comfortable.

(Nicole Mackie has over 14 years of experience in handling, exhibiting, training, observing, studying and sharing her life with dogs, gaining many qualifications, such as canine behaviour, canine psychology, general animal science and experience veterinary nursing. She is a radio speaker and writer for magazines, works with behavioural problems in dogs and runs socialising groups for dogs with social problems).

Dogs & Pups, January February 2011 Issue

Editorial ›

Toast to our loving buddies…

Breed Profile ›

Bearded Collies: fun-loving beautiful chaps!

A Beardie is a winsome, funny, loving, sometimes silly, sometimes pouty, adorable, curious, persistent creature, in short, close to humans. Just be prepared to brush long hair, wet beards in your lap, and muddy pawprints in the wrong places at the wrong time…. Otherwise, they’re like peanuts. You can’t stop with just one.

Right diet for mom & pups for a good start

A-Z of pooch love and care

Canine hip dysplasia

Pedigree ›

The marvels of gravy food

Training ›

IIs your dog a spoilt brat?

Committed to love, committed to your pooch!!!

Paws and their star

Picture Perfect

Events

Ask the Expert..

Grooming ›

Different brush strokes for different coats

As pet parent, we all understand the benefits of having a clean, well-groomed dog not just for our pleasure, but first and foremost for the benefit to the dog. Different breeds have different coats, here’s how to groom different types of coats.

Welfare ›

ARF: Supporting the animal welfare organisations

Paw-tales ›

The Pawfect bond of love…

The best companion…truly said!

Health ›

Taking care of your diabetic pooch

Diabetes in dogs? Yes, they acquire it too…. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder, and like humans, dogs too can acquire diabetes. Once your pet is diagnosed, the pet parent should take complete care. Doggy News ›

Let your canine shine in winter

Training ›

An holistic approach to health and welfare of dogs

An holistic approach is to look at the underlying cause of a behaviour or training problem by looking at the whole-istic health issues of the dog, physically and mentally. Here are a few factors that affect the dog on a daily basis.

Kids Korner

‘WAGS’ For the wonderful vet

Joint disorders in Dogs

Joint disorders are relatively common in dogs. Benefits of special nutrients can help manage health and joint mobility.

Nutrients a key to good health

Nutrients such as chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine; minerals such as copper, manganese and zinc protect the joint cartilage and also play a role in the repair process. The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of EPA/DHA (Omega-3 fatty acids) help to ease joint complaints. A combination of antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein and taurine) helps protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. The Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) is a special mussel harvested in New Zealand. GLM is a natural source of chondroitin sulphate, EPA/DHA (Omega-3 fatty acids.) GLM also contains amino acids, vitamins (E and C) and minerals (zinc, copper and manganese).

Royal Canin offers mobility support diet nutrition

Which is a complete diet for adult and geriatric dogs. The most important characteristics are:

Green Lipped Mussel (GLM)powder obtained through an exclusive patented process. It helps maintain joint health and retain activity levels. GLM contains a number of active ingredients, all working together.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Fish oil and Green Lipped Mussels contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Antioxidants – a special combination of antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein and taurine) helps protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. They also help immunity and slow down the ageing process.

Moderate energy content helps avoid the risk of excess weight. Thus, an optimal body weight helps limit stress on joints.

The positive effects of GLM can be seen after three to six weeks. When use is discontinued, the positive effects gradually disappear within a few weeks. So, regular use is necessary to obtain optimal results.

nutrition

The world of mini dogs

Most of us are fascinated by Mini dogs who are not only cute and feisty but also form excellent companions. Royal Canin offers the perfect diet to take care of their heath.

Mini dogs – small in size, big on personality

The enormous physical variety of the Mini dogs (weighing 5-10 kg) means that pet parents can choose their ideal dog: the playful, lively character of these little dogs, linked to a friendly nature, makes them very loving companions. However, their strong nature, which brings them close to their pet parent, can also affect the pet parent – dog relationship and have consequences on the dog’s health (overweight, fussy appetite, etc.).

Mini-dogs are also multi-talented: their uses include herding, guarding, hunting both below and above ground and also showing. They are also frequent visitors to grooming parlours, for both beauty care and hygiene reasons.

Mini size health nutrition:


benefits across the board

Physiologically, the Mini dog reaches adulthood at around 10 months old (compared to 18-24 months for Giant dogs), and has a very long life expectancy, with an average of 14-15 years. Increased life expectancy exposes Mini dog to problems which shorter-lived dogs don’t have. Other lifestyle-associated risks have also been taken into account in this programme:

  • Oral-dental sensitivity
  • Sensitive skin and coat
  • Overweight: Whether linked to lack of exercise in normally very energetic dogs, dietary errors, such as overfeeding compared to the manufacturer’s recommendations or too many treats, overweight is on the up…87% of the pet parents give their dog treats. Sterilization is also a predisposing factor in being overweight.

Depending on the dog’s activity level, age or breed, the balance of fat and protein, plus L-carnitine supplementation (to mobilize fats) ensures the dog is on a high-protein regime which keeps him in good shape.

The pawfect Mini-size food

In 1997, Royal Canin set the world standard for canine nutritional programme adapted not just to a dog’s age and activity level, but also to the fundamental morphological and physiological differences which differentiate the enormous variety of dog breeds. 

The smallest (in terms of size) category – the Mini universe- is based on an ideal adult weight of between 1 and 10 kg, encompassing around 80 of the 351 breeds recognized by the FCI. The sector is divided between Toy (less than 5 kg) and Mini (from 5-10 kg).

Mini Adult 27 ensures maintenance of ideal weight in adult dogs. The portion recommendations shown on the pack must be observed, particularly where pet parents feed home-made foods or treats, because top of the range dry foods are as much as three times higher in energy than lower quality product.

What’s more? The packaging is environment-friendly, made of 70% cardboard, printed with water-based solvent-free ink and is recyclable and has reclosing system.

The life stages of dogs

In the cradle…

Right after a puppy is born, he can’t walk, hear or see; however, his sense of smell is already fully developed. He instinctively finds his mother’s teats and will firmly suck on them. In the first three weeks, his mother’s milk will provide him with all the nutrition he needs.

The first weeks…

Beginning in the third week, a puppy’s senses begin to awaken. His eyes and auditory canals open, so he can communicate with his brothers and sisters for the first time. At around the 21st day, he’ll make his first attempts at walking and barking. By the fourth week, the senses of the puppy are fully developed so that he is able to carefully observe his environment. He will examine and sniff everything. At this stage of life, his ability to learn is as great as it will ever be. So this is the stage where you should spend a lot of time with your puppy to help him grow up to be a sociable dog. However, an intense relationship with his brothers and sisters is just as important. He can begin to eat solid food from the fourth week on, like the Pedigree Puppy Food.

The first months…

Between 8 and 12 weeks, the puppy is in the socialization stage, and can move to a “human pack”. The best time for the separation from mother and brothers and sisters is at 10 weeks of age. The first months if you adopt a puppy at about the 10th week, take him to the vet immediately. He/she will check his health status and will advice you on the right timing for vaccinations and worming. Your puppy now needs a lot of loving attention to be able to cope with the new environment and the loss of his brothers and sisters. You should praise him often and say his name at the same time. Also, you should set his boundaries with a stern “no” and begin with house training. The puppy’s development until the 16th week is called the “phase of hierarchy” by dog researchers. Now your dog will need a “leader of the pack”. This is also true for his diet. It is your decision what and when your dog is fed and what he is not to eat. So make sure your puppy’s special requirements for nutrients are met in this phase of quick growth. Give him a variety of experiences such as riding in a car, riding in a bus or on an elevator, visits to restaurants, gatherings of people, and contact with children, other dogs, and other animals. This way he’ll be an agreeable, strong-minded companion as an adult dog.

Puberty…

The phase of puberty is usually rather short and will last from between one month and six weeks. It starts around the sixth month, and can manifest itself in many different ways: often your dog will behave badly and won’t want to learn anything new. Sometimes he may forget what he has learned so far, or at least pretend to. In this phase, you should be persistent and keep on with his education program.

The adult dog…

A male has finished puberty when he starts to lift his leg to urinate. A female will be out of puberty when she goes into heat for the first time, this may happen between the seventh and eighth month, but may take up to one year. You should not have your female dog mated or bred when she is in heat for the first time because her organs are not yet fully developed. After her first heat, her diet should be changed to that of an adult dog. You can feed her Pedigree in many different types and flavors.

The senior dog…

Different breeds of dog are considered senior at different ages. It may also depend on the individual dog. Your dog will become less active, his metabolism will slow down, and he might put on weight. At this time, it’s important to change his diet and give him smaller portions two to three times daily. This will relieve his digestive system and ensure an even intake of nutrients. Your dog might need a special diet, which you can get from your veterinarian. In general, the first signs of old age will appear between the eighth and tenth year. The head and muzzle might become grey, and he may experience a deterioration of sight and hearing. His sense of smell is normally not affected too much by aging. Your senior dog will still love to play – even if his fitness level has declined somewhat. And if he has some little house training “accidents,” he’ll be quite embarrassed. So it’s best not to scold him.