Get the Dish on Proper Nutrition for New Pets
(Family Features) As families continue to cope with changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking advantage of more time at home by welcoming a new puppy or kitten to their households.
One possible reason for animal lovers looking to expand their households is the mental and physical health benefits from the human-animal bond. A library of studies shared by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found pet ownership can provide a variety of benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing feelings of loneliness or stress and helping manage depression.
However, before welcoming a new pet, even seasoned pet owners may benefit from a refresher on proper care, especially when it comes to feeding and nutrition. Dogs and cats have unique nutritional requirements, which means their pet food recipes must be carefully formulated. Puppies and kittens need more of certain important nutrients such as protein, fat and key minerals to grow into healthy, strong adult animals.
If you’ve welcomed a new pet to the family, or plan to soon, learn how you can care for his or her special nutritional needs with this advice from the Pet Food Institute.
Identifying Life Stages
Your veterinarian can help determine an appropriate time to transition your pet to adult food; usually when it is nearly full-grown. For kittens, that may be around 10-12 months. For puppies, the timing can vary depending on size with larger breeds taking up to two years to fully mature.
Understanding Food Labels
Keeping Pets at a Healthy Weight
Treats can be useful tools to help reinforce good behavior, keep pets occupied, aid in training or show love. However, they should be fed in moderation, accounting for no more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Pet food is formulated to provide dozens of essential nutrients that dogs and cats need in their diets, so avoid using treats in place of regular meals. Also know that sharing table scraps adds calories and many common human foods can be dangerous for animals.
Providing your pet with the right nutrition early in life can help ensure proper growth and long-term well-being. Find more advice to ensure your four-legged family member is getting the necessary nutrition at petfoodinstitute.org.
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Pet Food Institute
5 Ways to Give Your Furry Friend a Little Extra Love
(Family Features) Pets have a unique ability to make their owners’ lives happier, offering unconditional love, companionship and even health benefits.
In fact, studies supported by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute and National Institutes of Health have shown pet ownership can positively impact physical and emotional well-being, in addition to building social relationships and connections among communities.
Because pets can have such a positive impact on owners’ well-being, it’s important to periodically take a step back and show appreciation for all they offer. Consider these tips and tricks to thank your pets for the joy they add to your life.
Give Your Pet Something to Call His Own
Train with Treats
Pencil Your Furry Friends into Your Schedule
Practice Daily Well-Being
Give a Gift
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4 Tips for Keeping Your Pet's Coat Healthy
(Family Features) Dogs and cats come in many shapes and sizes, and can have a range of different coats, from short-haired to long and smooth to curly or wire-haired.
While every pet is unique in looks and personality, a main responsibility for all pet parents is to make sure their furry friends are in good health. A pet’s coat is an indicator of overall health, so keeping a close eye on your pet’s snuggle-worthy appearance is one way to continually gauge the well-being of your dog or cat.
Consider these four tips to help keep your dog or cat’s coat healthy to ensure he looks and feels his best. For more details on bringing out your pet’s unique best, visit IAMS.com.
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How to Welcome a New Puppy to the Family
Introducing a new puppy to your household can bring many rewards. However, getting the hang of things can take some time, especially for first-time pet owners.
In fact, it takes the average pet owner almost four months to get into the flow with a new four-legged family member, according to a survey by Royal Canin. Eight in 10 respondents said the first year of pet ownership is the most important, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The survey found 64% believe the first year is also the most difficult and deciding how to train a new pet was cited as the most important decision pet parents have to make.“Bringing a puppy home is a hugely rewarding experience for pet owners, but it's also a time of huge challenges and steep learning curves,” said Dr. Jill Cline, pet nutritionist and site director of Royal Canin's Pet Health and Nutrition Center. “In addition to helping your puppy adjust to its new home, you can support your puppy’s health now and always with a nutritionally complete diet tailored to its specific needs.”
Make welcoming a new puppy a rewarding experience for the whole family with these tips.
Your puppy may be feeling stressed by new sights, sounds, smells and the separation from its mother. Manage the noise and activity to avoid adding to this stress.
As soon as you get home, take your puppy to your yard or outside area so it can go to the bathroom. Use positive verbal reinforcement when the job is done.
Once indoors, block off a safe area and let your puppy sniff and explore on its own time. Getting acquainted with a new place takes time and lots of exploring. Some puppies can be overwhelmed by too much human contact, so allow your puppy to come to you.
Puppies like to know what to expect. Plan your routine for feeding, potty trips, exercise and grooming so you can get started on day one. If you know what routine your puppy had before adoption, it’s best to continue for consistency until your puppy is settled.
Any sudden dietary changes can cause stress or digestive problems, so for the first week or two, give your puppy the same food as its previous owner, following the feeding recommendations on the package. Nutrition tailored to specific developmental needs can help fragile, young puppies grow into strong, healthy dogs. It’s important to select a high-quality food based on age and expected adult size.
Your puppy’s eating spot should be away from where you and any other pets eat. Allow your puppy to eat in peace to prevent it from feeling nervous or protective.
Puppies tire easily and need as much as 18-20 hours of sleep per day for healthy development. A crate near where you sleep lets your puppy see and smell you but keeps it from wandering off. Put something that carries your scent in your puppy’s bed along with a blanket to snuggle into.
Remember to schedule regular veterinarian visits and gradually introduce your puppy to new experiences like sounds, car travel, walks and other animals. It’s also important to begin behavior training right away to develop good habits from the start.
If you’re interested in getting a new puppy, before making a decision on which breed best suits your family and lifestyle, you can see all 196 registered breeds during the 2021 AKC National Championship. Find more advice for welcoming a new puppy into your home at RoyalCanin.com/puppies.
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Think of what the world would be like if humans and dogs hadn’t formed their unique partnership all those thousands of years ago. Dogs have influenced every corner of human life, as humans have influenced theirs, often to the point where they do not resemble their wolf ancestors in the slightest. For hunting, guarding, or simple companionship, nothing beats a dog.
They Are Trustworthy
The one indisputable thing about dogs is you can trust them with everything. Tell them your deepest, darkest secret, and no one will ever know. They can’t even be called as a witness if you commit a crime in front of them. Of course, they'll miss you when you’re in jail, but they’ll be waiting till you’re out. Remember Greyfriars Bobby, the little Skye terrier who sat by the grave of his master for 10 years till he himself passed on at age 16.
Anyone Can Have One
You may have seen photographs of people and dogs who look just like each other. But the compatibility of a dog to its person and its person’s environment is more than skin or fur deep. A tiny dog like a Chihuahua is perfectly happy in a studio apartment, but such a small space is not ideal for a St. Bernard. If someone in the household is allergic, there are dogs that are hypoallergenic. Indeed, there are dogs that have no fur at all, such as the Mexican hairless, and these types don’t spread dander around.
Not only is there a dog for every type of person, but anyone can go to the shelter or a reputable breeder and have one. Keep in mind that tigers and some of the more exotic pets take special permits and aren't usually happy in human captivity.
They Are Great for Mental Health
It is not uncommon for a dog parent to claim that the dog kept him or her sane through periods of isolation whether that isolation arose from a pandemic or other disaster natural or man-made. A dog does not care about the things that drive humans crazy, such as deadly viruses. They need to go for their walks or play in the backyard. They need to be watered and fed and brushed and combed and cuddled by their humans at the end of the day. For a dog, there is nothing else.
The pleasures of having a dog are many, especially when times are tough. They are completely trustworthy, and there’s a dog for everyone, from the elegant Afghan hound to the irresistible mutt found in the shelter. They are a boon to mental health. Truly, dogs and humans were meant for each other.
Here’s another article you might like: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Dog More Active
See how you can support retired military and police dogs in the full Medium article here.
The best way to boost your dog’s confidence and happiness is through socialization. Sometimes, dogs can be sensitive to new environments and people. Exposing them to other dogs and different places, people, sights and scents can help them better adapt to their environment. If you’re wondering how exactly to socialize your dog, check out these simple tips.
Take Them for Walks
Taking your dog outdoors will not only help them exercise, but it will also socialize them with people and other dogs. Walking your dog in a public place allows them to meet the world and learn how to be comfortable in different settings. Drive your dog down the street and let them sniff around and interact with the environment. Maintain a short leash, and go to different places that give your pet a chance to run into other dogs. Also, take them to new routes and expose them to various sights. Besides socialization, walking your dogs can help in mental stimulation and keeping them healthy.
Go to a Dog Park
Your dog needs to play, and a dog's park is the best place to get this experience. Letting them have fun with other dogs boosts their social skills as well as their health. However, make sure to take appropriate precautions while at the park. Ensure that your dog is vaccinated. According to Jacoby & Meyers, you should keep your smaller dogs away from large dogs at a dog park. If you find another dog that your dog gets along with, try to coordinate the time you both come to the dog park. Like children, your dogs need friends!
Take Your Dog to a Training
Unlike the traditional belief that dog training was meant to administer obedience commands by anyone, today, you can engage a professional to help train your dog. You can discuss with the trainer the things you need your dog to be trained on. It's also an excellent opportunity for your dog to interact with new people and mingle with other dogs. According to Precious Petcare, training boosts your dog’s confidence and makes them aware of the environment.
A dog can make a good companion. Boosting your dog's socializing skills can be a great way to build their confidence. However, it would help if you remained positive throughout to avoid scaring them away. Provide a friendly environment and ensure the other dogs are friendly too. Praise and correct your dog in a positive way to allow them to adapt to new situations better.
Chances are good that you know someone who has diabetes. However, you may not realize this disease that commonly affects humans is on the rise among dogs and cats. Like humans, a diagnosis of diabetes requires lifestyle changes and heightened health monitoring, yet with proper care, your pet can live a full and active life. Read the full article here.
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