Dogs in Heat: The Facts

There are numerous questions that people ask, when learning about dogs in heat. There are practical   answers that help dog owners to understand the estrous cycle.

The proper name for heat is the estrous cycle and during this cycle a dog can become pregnant. The obvious sign is bleeding from the vagina and the vulva might be swollen. The bleeding isn’t profuse, especially in small dogs. She will urinate more often. The biggest clue is the sudden surge of male dogs hanging around your yard. Observe the small dog before her first cycle more carefully, as it can be harder to tell when she first goes into the estrous cycle.

The majority of  female dogs come into heat at between six to twelve months of age, though it can be sooner or later. For some it it as long as fourteen months. Have your vet examine your dog, if she hasn’t cycled in fourteen months. They normally come into heat twice yearly. The smaller dogs are the ones that might come into their cycle earlier and the larger breeds might take longer than the usual time.

The estrous cycle is broken into four parts.

1) Proestrous is the initial stage. Its duration is between four and twenty days. The dog bleeds, is usually shy, her vulva is swollen, and she isn’t receptive to male dogs.
2) The estrous part of being in heat is from five to thirteen days long. The female dog is receptive to males and the blood secretion is a lighter color.
3) Diestrous is the next stage and now her secretions lessen and she begins to lose interest in the male dogs. If she got pregnant, the pregnancy duration would be between sixty and sixty-four days.
4) Anestrus is the period when the dog’s heat cycle finishes and she stays in in his stage for five to eleven months.

The majority of the cycle is around three weeks and doesn’t include the most of the anestrous period.

When your dog is in heat, she will be more excitable and can use some extra attention. Brushing,  petting, and talking to her will soothe her nerves. You can control the mess made through bleeding by putting a doggy pad on her or keeping her in her “den” area when inside. The space normally set aside as her place to sleep is her den. Visit her often, if she is confined to this space.

Breeders of dogs usually test for progesterone  levels, which signifies the dogs most fertile days. Normally those days are the 11th through the 15th day of heat. She can become pregnant during her first heat. The majority of breeders don’t breed their dogs that soon. They usually have genetic testing done prior to breeding. Some serious hip problems aren’t apparent until the dog is about two years old.

Spaying her is advisable, if you don’t want her to have puppies. The traditional advice has been to allow her to experience one cycle or  have puppies once before spaying. But vets now spay earlier. Ask your vet how soon you can have your dog spayed.

Dogs in Heat: The Facts courtesy Dog Articles.

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Conformation… Can I Handle My Own Dog In The Ring?

Showing dogs can be a wonderful and fun activity, whether you are very competitive or just looking for something for your family to enjoy.  People getting their first showdog have lots of questions.  One of the first things people want to know is whether or not they can handle their own dog in the ring or whether they need to hire a professional handler.  The answer depends on several factors.

Anyone at all can enter a dog show.  Anyone in good standing with a kennel club (that is, someone who has not broken the rules previously and been denied the privilege).  You don’t have to meet any particular criteria.  And any dog registered with that kennel club can be entered in a dog show held by that kennel club.  That means that if you have an AKC registered Pug you can enter your dog in any dog show sanctioned by the American Kennel Club in the United States.  You can find information about upcoming shows around the country (posted a few weeks prior to the show) on a kennel club’s web site or in magazines, pay the entry fee, and enter a show.  It’s that simple.  There is no mystery or mystique to it.  You will receive information in the mail telling you the time to be there, your ring number, and your armband number.  You then show up on the day of the show, tell the ring steward you are there so you can pick up your armband number, and go in the ring for your class so the judge can judge your dog.  That’s all there is to it.

Of course, there is a lot more to it.  In some breeds there may be a lot of dogs entered and the competition may be very fierce.  In other breeds you could be the only entry so you would almost automatically win Best of Breed.  Entries also vary around the country.  There may be lots of Irish Wolfhounds entered in California but none entered in shows in Texas, so geography can play a role in how much competition people face.  There could be ten male dogs entered and only two female dogs, so the competition would be much harder for the boys.  But at the next show it could be reversed.  It often depends on who decides to enter, or how far someone wants to drive for a show.  People may ask friends who is entering a show but this information is not always reliable.

Novices can and do show their own dogs in the showring.  They can even win.  It may take a little practice but everyone was a beginner at one time.  Amateur handlers or owner-handlers can successfully compete against professionals, especially in the breed ring where points are won for championships.  The amateur handler has the advantage of actually living with his dog and knowing him better than anyone.  Many professional handlers only “pick up” a dog the day of the dog show at ringside.  They may barely know the dog they are showing.  Professionals have excellent dog skills and grooming skills, but amateurs know their dogs and their dogs love them.

In order to successfully compete against the professional handler the amateur will have to work hard on his grooming skills, especially with longhaired dogs and terriers.  Look for books about your breed and make sure your dog is groomed to look like the show dogs pictured in it.  Ask for help from your dog’s breeder or other people who show their dogs.  Make sure toenails are kept short.  Most professional handlers show dogs with very short toenails while many amateurs have dogs with toenails that are too long.

Professionals also have expert handling skills in the ring.  Practice handling your dog.  Watch the best professional handlers and imitate them.  Go to handling classes with your dog.  You will also notice that professionals dress for success.  Many amateur handlers appear sloppy next to the professional handlers in the ring.  You can improve your chances of winning by dressing more sharply.  The overall picture you and your dog make together counts for a lot.  Practice with your dog in front of a mirror to see how you look.  Watch dog shows on TV to see how people pose your breed in the ring.  Visit a few dog shows before you enter one so you can get the hang of what goes on.

Pro handlers are not only good at what they do, they attract good dogs.  Sometimes they win because they are better handlers even when they don’t have the best dog, but many times they actually have good dogs.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they are only beating you because the judge knows them.  They are pros for a reason.  They have been practicing their skills for a long time and people would not be hiring them if they didn’t know how to present a good dog.  Many professional handlers began showing as kids so they have a great deal of experience.  They can make a good dog look even better.  But they can still be beaten if you also have a good dog.  Groom your dog to look his best, practice your own handling skills and you have a good chance of winning.  You’ll feel great when you beat the pros.  But keep in mind that professional handlers are not the “enemy.”  Many of them are quite friendly and willing to give you tips with your dog if you speak to them after the show.

Showing dogs is fun.  Whether you are thinking about it as an activity for a youngster in your family or for yourself, it’s a great way to spend time with your dog.  You can win.  You can beat the pros.  Many amateur handlers are competing at the highest levels of the sport.  Watch the best handlers and beat them at their own game.

Conformation… Can I Handle My Own Dog In The Ring courtesy Dog Articles.

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How Old Should My Puppy Be When I Bring Him Home?

Puppies come from many different places.  You may be getting a puppy from a shelter or from a breeder.  Wherever your puppy is coming from he needs to learn a lot of things from his mother and siblings before he comes home with you.  Ideally, your puppy should remain with his mother and littermates until he is at least eight weeks old.  Unfortunately, there are people who are separating puppies from their mothers and littermates much earlier than this and sending them home with people at five-six weeks old.  There are a number of reasons this is a bad idea and why you should never take a puppy this young.

At the age of five-six weeks puppies have barely been weaned from their mothers.  They have not yet learned how to be dogs.  When you bring a puppy this young to your home he has not learned any rules.  He doesn’t know that he is not supposed to play too rough.  He has not learned “bite inhibition,” which means that he is more likely to bite you and have a hard time learning that he isn’t supposed to do it.  He has not learned the kind of manners that his mother would teach him.  Your puppy has not learned that there is a pack leader and that he can’t do what he wants all the time.  Your puppy has not learned any dog socialization or social skills.  You are bringing home a cute puppy who is much more likely to grow up to be a brat and develop behavioral problems as an adult.

At the age of five-six weeks your puppy may not have even received his first set of shots.  He is far more likely to develop a deadly disease like Parvo if you bring him home at this age than if you bring home a puppy at the age of eight weeks or later.  Your puppy’s immunity from his mother is virtually gone and he has not been properly immunized by vaccinations yet.  Bringing home a puppy this young is unhealthy for the puppy and for any other dogs in your household.

At the age of five-six weeks a puppy has not received any socialization from the person who brought him into this world.  A good breeder will make sure that a puppy becomes used to things in a house, such as televisions, radios, vacuum cleaners, and scary things like cats, umbrellas, and kids.  When you bring home a puppy who has not met these things they have no human socialization.  They are more likely to grow up to be fearful adults and develop problems like separation anxiety later in life.  A good breeder will also make sure that a puppy receives his first set of shots (at least) before you bring him home.

Good breeders do not release puppies at five-six weeks of age.  They may allow you to meet puppies at this age.  They may make arrangements with you.  But they will not allow puppies to leave their home at such a young age.  It’s too young.

If you are getting a puppy from an animal shelter you may  have to take a puppy at this age because it could be dangerous to leave them in the shelter longer since shelters can house diseases.  Be sure to get your puppy vaccinated against diseases as quickly as possible and take extra care in socializing your puppy in the coming months to try to make up for the socialization he missed with his mother and littermates.

How Old Should My Puppy Be When I Bring Him Home courtesy Dog Articles.

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Making Life Easier For The Handicapped

Having proved their love for humans and their desire to serve, Labradors are now being trained throughout the world to assist many types of handicapped owners in the chores of everyday life. You have probably seen a handicapped man or woman being guided by a loving and well-trained Labrador Retriever at some time.  With some assistance, many people who would formerly have been confined in their activities are now entering the mainstream of society. Their extensively trained Labradors are their vehicles to freedom.

Because Labradors have extraordinary sense of perceptions, they are one of the breeds being widely used as Hearing Ear Dogs. After completing a rigorous four- to six-month obedience and auditory awareness program, they are specifically trained to the individual needs of their hearing-impaired or deaf owners. Their primary tasks are  to alert the owner to the noises that most people take for granted such as the doorbell or telephone, the alarm clock, a baby crying, smoke alarms, oncoming traffic, or emergency sirens. The Hearing Ear Dog makes his owner aware of any important sound by running between the sound and the owner until attention is paid, gently nudging an owner who is asleep, or pulling the owner from harm’s way.

Aid Dogs are trained to assist physically disabled people with tasks requiring dexterity or mobility. This variety of tasks include picking up items dropped on the floor to bringing in the mail or turning light switches on and off. These skills are taught to a Labrador by building on his natural intelligence, retrieving instincts, gentle nature, and his desire to please. After mastering a battery of advanced obedience techniques, each dog is placed with his disabled owner and taught the specific chores he will be required to perform in the home.

With an arthritis sufferer, for example, the Aid Dog will retrieve or carry objects as commanded. With a more severely handicapped individual, such as a wheel-chair-bound stroke victim or paraplegic, a system of communicating with the dog may also have to be devised to replace vocal commands or hand signals. Aid Dogs learn to assist their owners by performing many of the physical tasks they are unable to handle, in this way widening the owners’ abilities to take an active role in the world around them.

Making Life Easier For The Handicapped courtesy Dog Articles.

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My Dog Won’t Stop Mouthing Me!

Some dogs are very “mouthy.”  That doesn’t mean they talk or bark a lot.  It means that they use their mouths on everything, trying to taste things, or put their mouths on things.  Usually these dogs have not been completely taught bite inhibition.  Bite inhibition is when a puppy is taught that nipping and biting others hurts and that they shouldn’t go around using their mouths on things.  They generally learn it from their mothers and littermates, and later from their owners.  Singleton pups (one-puppy litters) may have a harder time learning bite inhibition since they don’t have littermates.

Dogs can also be mouthy as a way of showing affection.  Wolves tend to show affection to each other by mouthing muzzles, necks and paws.

Whatever the cause, mouthing people’s hands and feet, or any other part of their bodies, can be annoying.  Your dog may not use his teeth, but it does tend to cover you in dog slobber.  Having a dog grab you with his mouth is also simply not very good manners.

There are a few simple methods for teaching your dog not to mouth you.

Some people like to use Bitter Apple, a spray or cream product.  You can put this on your hands if that’s where your dog grabs you.  Most dogs hate the taste and your dog should stop grabbing at your hands.

Another method of dealing with mouthiness is to turn to stone whenever your dog grabs you with his mouth.  If your dog gets no feedback he will likely lose interest.

You can also use clicker training to teach your dog not to be mouthy.  When your dog grabs your hand or wrist being mouthy wait for him to let go.  Wait for a couple of seconds and then Click and tell him he’s a good dog.  Give him a treat.  Keep clicking and treating when he stops the mouthing behavior.  He will get the message.

If your dog is mouthing other things in your home, such as walls or furniture, you can try the Bitter Apple on them.  The bad-tasting product usually discourages dogs from mouthing and chewing things.

Remember that puppy nipping and mouthing are normal behaviors up to a point.  If you have a puppy who is nipping and mouthing you can work on bite inhibition.  When your puppy nips or mouths you all you have to do is make it perfectly clear that it HURTS when he does it.  Let out an OUCH to curl your puppy’s hair.  Leave him in no doubt that what he did really hurt you.  This is the same thing that his littermates would do if he played too rough with them.  If he does it the next time you play with him, get up and leave.  Puppies don’t play with a puppy that is too rough and you shouldn’t either.

For mouthy adolescent or grown dogs, the tips offered here should work.  Give them a try and it should stop the mouthiness.

My Dog Won’t Stop Mouthing Me courtesy Dog Articles.

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Common Health Problems In A Welsh Corgi

While Welsh Corgis are great family pets, unfortunately they come with their fair share of health problems.

Particular care is needed to keep these dogs in shape and avoid over feeding them. Due to their short legs and long body they tend to gain weight easily which can pose a problem with their joints in the future. One good way to keep them in shape is swimming, as it doesn’t put pressure on their back or joints.

The Welsh Corgi is also prone to spinal problems due to the length of its spine, which can lead to early arthritis, particularly for those that are overweight. Biophysical stresses are a renowned problem for these breeds on their spine, which is directly related to the weight of an over-sized belly. This problem has lead to other secondary diseases such as osteoarthritis.

Unfortunately they are also predisposed to developing a disease called DM (Degenerative Myelopathy). A test for this has been developed and is available through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Further research is still being conducted as to why some Welsh Corgi’s develop DM and others don’t.

Pembroke’s in particular are at risk for hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s disease and other eye disorders.

Von Willebrand’s is a blood clotting disorder which is only detected by a DNA test. At the moment it is only eliminated by avoiding breeding carriers or affected Pembroke’s together. One parent must be clear to avoid the disease.

As for eye problems, both parents need to have passed CERF rating at least one year before breeding commences, to avoid such problems as persistent papillary membranes (PPM), retinal dysplasia or cataracts. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a common eye condition with Welsh Corgi’s among other breeds that have protruding eyes. This eye condition is characterized by the deterioration of retina cells which ultimately leads to a progressive loss of sight starting approximately around 5 years of age. Glaucoma is another eye disease that can lead to permanent blindness by predetermined genetics. Glaucoma is the excessive pressure inside the eye which can damage the eye’s internal structures. If glaucoma is not treated quickly permanent loss of vision or complete blindness is inevitable.

Hip dysplasia in these dogs is poly-genetic, where more than one set of genes may be involved. It is important to have as many ancestors tested as possible as well as a fair rating in OFA. This is the best way to avoid dysplasia, but unfortunately there is not a completed guarantee.

Maintaining the recommended weight of Welsh Corgi’s will ensure longevity and a healthy life. These breeds are known to live up to 12 – 15 years. So if you’re looking at having this breed, ensure you stick to a regular diet and exercise regime without over feeding, so you and your family can enjoy the company of your dog for many years to come.

Common Health Problems In A Welsh Corgi courtesy Dog Articles.

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Breeding Golden Retrievers

For beginners, breeding Golden Retrievers is nearly impossible.  Breeding can be very complicated, although it can be easy as well.  You should never attempt to breed unless you know a lot about requirements for hobby breeders, as it is simply unfair to the breed if you have a litter of puppies that simply aren’t what they should be.  People who look to buy Golden Retrievers only want top quality, which is why you shouldn’t attempt to breed just have a puppies or make a few bucks.

Breeding Golden Retrievers is a very serious hobby, one that should be left to those who know how to make the right choices.  There is a certain amount of cost and care involved with breeding, especially if breeders are going for a certain quality.  There is also a lot of responsibility involved as well, which can take quite a bit of time to say the least.

Breeding can help to fulfill the need of a Golden, although the dog still has no knowledge of it missing, no regrets, or no guilt towards living a life without having been breed.  A pregnant Golden Retriever female doesn’t gain anything in regards to health, as it instead causes problems.  Golden females that have been spayed on the other hand, cannot be bred.  If you have chosen to have your Golden spayed, always remember that she will be unable to breed.

When looking to breed, quality breeders will have a lot of choices in front of them.  They will need to determine the pair, such as the mother and the father.  To get the highest quality possible from the litter, the breeder will need to determine the traits of both dogs, temperaments, and how well they seem to react to one another.  The breeder will also need to determine in either of the dogs have any type of health problems, to prevent any diseases or ailments from being passed on to the litter.

Sometimes, when breeding Golden Retrievers, the mother of the litter will prove to be unfit, which requires more work for the breeder.  If the mother isn’t doing her job of nurturing her young, the breeder will need to do it for her.  This can be the most time consuming aspect of breeding, as the breeder will have to feed the young and make sure that they turn out as healthy as possible.

Aside from that, breeders also face quite a bit of costs as well.  The prices for daily care, food, and vet bills can be very steep to say the least.  When you crunch the numbers, you’ll quickly realize that breeders don’t make much money at all when they sale.  Most breeders do it for a hobby, not looking to make money.  Quality breeders on the other hand aren’t concerned with money at all, as they are more concerned about the quality of their litters.  Quality is better than quantity, as even the best breeders out there have problems selling puppies from time to time.

Although breeding is fun for hobby breeders, it is something you really shouldn’t be doing if you don’t have the experience.  Although your Golden may get knocked up by a dog of a different breed without you knowing it, you should do your best to avoid it at all costs if you can.  A pure bred Golden Retriever should be bred only with dogs of her breed, to help preserve the breed and keep their bloodline going.  If you have thought about breeding in the past – you should really study long and hard before you actually make a reality of it.

Breeding Golden Retrievers courtesy Dog Articles.

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Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of Your Baby

Congratulations! You’re pregnant and your “pack” will soon be growing. If you’re like most people, you’re caught between anticipation and trepidation. As an expecting dog owner the very first thing that you should do is to identify the changes that need to be made in the life of your dog once the baby arrives and implement them NOW!

You do not want your dog to associate any changes that need to be made in your relationship with the arrival of your child thus setting up a competitive or jealous dynamic. Failing to implement relevant changes in the life of your dog prior to baby’s arrival is the single most common mistake expecting dog owners make. And keep in mind, things that you do not consider problematic now might become problematic with a child in your midst. So take a careful look: is your dog sleeping in bed with you, pushy and demanding, barky, prone to steal things and get into mischief when you’re not looking? Or worse, is he over-protective, suffer from separation anxiety and sensitivity to sudden and unpredictable movements?

Problems like these are readily resolvable but resolution depends on building the right relationship with your dog, a relationship in which your dog is in the habit of taking direction from you. Simple things like always giving your dog a command before you have an interaction with him, not letting him run out the door ahead of you, and being a little aloof with him can do a world of good in causing your dog to cheerfully accept your leadership role. Additionally, there are many things that help create not only safety but very positive associations for your dog with the presence of your child. Here’s an example.

Start by making the future baby’s room off limits to your dog. Once that’s handled, allow him to enter the room only with your permission and accompaniment. Once in the room always ask him for certain obedience exercises, especially down-stays. Soon he’ll get the idea that when he enters this room he’s to do a down-stay in the corner (you could even put a bed for him there). In addition, teach your dog to tolerate alone time every day. Once your baby arrives, allow your dog to come into the baby’s room when you go in to change diapers or play or whatever and assume his down-stay. If he has been left alone for a few hours prior to that he will welcome the contact. In other words, the presence of your child means a positive social engagement for him. This is quite different than what usually happens which is that when mommy goes to play with or care for baby, doggie gets thrown out, thus potentially setting up a competitive or jealous dynamic.

Other things that you can do to ensure a seamless transition to siblinghood for your dog include: o Teaching him the difference between doggie toys and child’s toys (start by getting doggie toys that are distinctly different from baby toys since often these two bear striking similarities). o Get a baby doll and wrap it in a scented baby blanket and teach your dog appropriate manners around your “faux baby,” thus setting up a template of behavior for future interactions. o Hire a dog walker to take over exercise responsibilities during the period immediately after birth. This will take a lot of pressure off of you and produce a tired dog.

Never allow unsupervised interactions between your dog and your child. While the above does not comprise a comprehensive list by any means, it should serve to provide a sense of direction and purpose. All that having been said, keep in mind that your true test of the success of your efforts at integration will be seen once your child passes the eight-month threshold when your little one starts crawling and becoming mobile. This means that the frequency of unexpected encounters between your child and your dog will increase dramatically. That’s where you’ll find out if all your hard work paid off. In closing, please understand that what I’ve outlined above represents the tip of the iceberg of strategies designed to make the integration of your dog and your child as seamless, warm and rewarding as possible.

While learning and implementing such strategies implies varying amounts of work, it promises a wholesome and fulfilling relationship between your child and your dog. The payoff of this relationship will last for years and thus makes any work you have to put in on the front end more than worth it.

Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of Your Baby courtesy Dog Articles.

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How Do Dogs Get Tapeworms?

Worms aren’t a very pleasant topic but they are something that you should know about if you have a dog.  You may hear about different kinds of worms and wonder how your dog can get them.  How does your dog get tapeworms, for instance?

Dogs get tapeworms from eating fleas.  Fleas ingest tapeworm eggs and when your dog eats the fleas he eats the tapeworm eggs, too.  They then happily hatch out inside your dog.  A single tapeworm can grow to be four to six inches long in your dog’s intestine.  The tapeworm’s head attaches to the intestine.  As it grows it is followed by many little linked segments.  These little segments look like rice.  They break off and your dog passes them when he uses the bathroom.  You can sometimes see them in his stool or they can catch on the fur around his rectum.  A single tapeworm may have 90 of these segments.  Each of these segments contains more eggs for the tapeworm.

When you take your dog to the vet (and this is one reason why you should take your dog for an annual check-up), your vet can identify these little white links as tapeworm segments.  Sometimes these links will show up in a fecal exam, but there is no guarantee that a tapeworm will conveniently break off when your dog is at the vet so your vet may not find the segments when he does the fecal exam.

Over-the-counter wormers for dogs do not work on tapeworms.  You will need a prescription wormer from your vet to kill the tapeworms.

A tapeworm can infect your dog for a year or more.  They rob your dog of the nutrients that pass through his digestive system.  Your dog may have abdominal discomfort, he may be nervous, and he may vomit.  If you notice these signs in your dog, even if you don’t see the rice-like segments of the tapeworm around your dog’s tail or in his stool, take your dog to the vet and tell him that you suspect your dog may have tapeworms.

Tapeworms can be passed to humans so it’s very important to kills these parasites as quickly as possible.  Beefing up your flea control will help prevent tapeworm infestations from getting started.  If your dog has had tapeworms you will also need to treat your yard and home.

If you have a puppy, most vets will offer worming when your puppy has his series of puppy shots.  Make sure that you get this worming for your puppy since it will take care of any tapeworms that your puppy may have when you first get him.

There are other worms and parasites that can bother your dog but most of them can be killed by over-the-counter wormers for dogs, with the exception of heartworms.  Make sure that you get your dog tested annually for worms with a fecal exam to find out if he has any worms or parasites.  Your vet can answer any questions you have about parasites and your dog.

How Do Dogs Get Tapeworms courtesy Dog Articles.

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Do Dogs Need Vitamins?

There are literally thousands of different vitamin products for dogs sold in the U.S. each year, each of them claiming to be something that can make your dog healthier.  On the other hand, dog foods are sold as “complete and balanced,” and “nutritious.”  If the dog food we buy for our pets is so nutritious, do we really need to buy extra vitamins?

Dog food comes in all different kinds of quality.  Some dog food may be made from food that is not much above the level of road kill.  Other dog food is better quality than some of the food that people eat.  Some of these foods will have more nutritional content than others.

If you are feeding your dog a high quality food then it’s unlikely that you need to add vitamins or supplements unless your dog has a health issue of some kind that requires something that’s not normally found in dog food.

When you buy dog food in the United States you should look to see if if has a label that says it meets AAFCO nutritional standards or meets AAFCO testing standards.  AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials and they provide nutritional recommendations for dog food in the United States,  To obtain their label a dog food company must show, either through feeding trials or through nutritional data, that their food can provide a complete and balanced diet for a particular set of dogs for six months.  The formulation can be for puppies, for pregnant or lactating mother dogs, for adult dogs, and so on.  AAFCO provides the minimum guidelines that companies need to meet in order to obtain their label.  Many good companies far exceed these guidelines, but if they meet the AAFCO guidelines then you know that they have at least met the basic requirements.

A particular dog food may still be something that you wouldn’t want to feed your dog, but it technically meets the nutritional guidelines if it has the AAFCO label.

So, should you buy poor quality food and spend your money on vitamins?  That’s not really a good choice.  Should you buy gourmet food for your dog?  That’s not always the best choice either.  Price isn’t a guarantee that your dog is getting the best food.  There are many very expensive dog foods made from organic products which follow the latest fads, and which may be produced by very small companies, but they may be subject to food recalls.

Often the best food for your dog is a good quality food, with good ingredients, made by a well-known company that has a reputation for quality control.  It often pays to look for a company that does not have a history of having to recall its pet food products.  This may not be the most expensive dog food around but it’s probably a food that you and your dog can rely on.

Should you add vitamins to a good quality food?  If you are concerned about hip dysplasia or if your dog is elderly, then you may want to consider adding glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM to your dog’s diet.  Most dog foods do not contain these ingredients, or, if they do, only in very small amounts.  There is some evidence to suggest that they may help dogs with arthritis or hip problems.

Otherwise, most good dog foods are supposed to be properly balanced in terms of vitamins.  If you begin adding a lot of extra vitamins then you run the risk of throwing off your dog’s body chemistry.

However, if you are cooking for your dog or feeding a raw diet, then you will need to find a good mix of vitamins to add to your dog’s food to make sure that he’s getting all of the vitamins and minerals he needs.

But, for most dogs who eat a kibble or canned food diet, it’s really not necessary to add a lot of vitamins to the diet.

Do Dogs Need Vitamins courtesy Dog Articles.

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