- We recommend putting your dog on a schedule of eating twice daily at about 6 months of age. If your dog is still eating more frequently than that, this is a good time to change to the twice daily schedule. Feeding your dog twice a day gives it something to look forward to.
- Now that your dog is a year old, you can begin feeding adult formula dog foods. Some dog foods are formulated specifically for the size of your dog’s breed. If you have a large breed dog, it’s okay to continue feeding large breed puppy food until 14 months of age before switching to a large breed adult formula.
- Brands that we recommend are Purina, Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Royal Canin, and Eukanuba. Each of these brands make products that are certified by AAFCO (the dog food equivalent of the USDA).
- Your dog should have access to clean drinking water at all times.
- You can also use your dog’s feeding times as training times. Take your dog out for some exercise before eating and, before giving food, ask him/her to obey a simple command such as “sit” and “stay.” When your dog does what you ask, reward him/her with his/her food. Remember, nothing should come for free, or else your dog will become more demanding.
- Avoid giving your dog table scraps, especially FROM the table…you’ll be starting a never-ending battle. If you really want to use “people” food as a reward, try giving baby carrots, green beans or Cheerios…they make good, healthy snacks. If you’re concerned about weight gain, companies like Purina make tasty “Lite” biscuits.
Physical Shape and the Body Condition System
- Using Purina’s Body Condition System chart, you can rate the shape of your dog’s body at home and even track visible progress.
- According to the BCS scale of 1-9, your dog should ideally score a 4 or 5.
- You want to be able to feel your dog’s ribs by pressing lightly into his/her side. If you have to apply more significant pressure to feel the ribs, there is probably excess fat.
- You should be able to see your dog’s waist when looking down at his/her back from above. There should be a tuck in at the sides just behind the ribs.
- When looking at your dog from the side, you should also be able to see an “abdominal tuck”. Looking in the same area as the waist, there should also be a tuck up on your dog’s underside.
- If you ever see that your dog is getting thinner or heavier than ideal, call us here at the clinic and we’ll be happy to offer some advice.
Home Dental Care
- Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs– over 80% of all dogs have some form of periodontal/dental disease by the age of 3 years.
- Plaque and tartar buildup consists mainly of bacteria. If not cleaned off the dog’s teeth, bacteria from the tartar is absorbed through the gums into your dog’s bloodstream, where it then travels to various organs, resulting in a wide range of diseases including kidney and liver disease.
- By 6 months of age, your dog should have lost all its puppy teeth and grown in a set of new, white adult teeth. Adult dogs have 42 teeth, which play a vital role in their overall health and well-being.
- Smaller breeds are prone to faster and more severe tartar buildup than larger breeds.
- Most dogs will need their first full-scale dental cleaning at our clinic between ages 3 and 5; after that, the procedure is generally repeated every 1-3 years.
- While nothing takes the place of a veterinary dental cleaning, there are some things you can do for your dog at home to help keep its teeth healthier.
- Feed dry food whenever possible.
- Give your dog special dental chews that contain enzymatic cleaners to help remove tartar and plaque, such as OraVet chews.
- Brush your dog’s teeth up to once weekly; make sure to use toothbrushes and toothpastes that are made specifically for dogs. If you don’t want to brush, there are dental rinses you can use to help clean your dog’s teeth.
- In a few months, your dog will have its first series of adult vaccinations. The adult vaccinations run on a 3-year rotating schedule
- Year One: 3-year rabies, 1-year distemper/parvo, 1-year bordetella
- Year Two: 3-year distemper/parvo, 1-year bordetella
- Year Three: 1-year bordetella
- Start over again with 3-year rabies and 1-year bordetella
- If your dog will be boarded or groomed regularly, it is often required by those facilities that your dog receive a booster bordetella vaccination every 6 months.
- Heartworm disease is a very serious condition and is, unfortunately, fairly prevalent in this area. Therefore, it is extremely important that you keep your dog on a schedule of monthly heartworm preventive medication every month for life.
- We recommend continuing flea/tick preventive throughout the entire year due to our area’s “warmer winter months”.