Care & Feeding

You may have heard how the Indian spice turmeric has health benefits which could aid your dog, but is this true and is turmeric safe to feed to our pets? This article reveals the benefits and also the potential side-effects of turmeric and includes easy recipes for making tasty turmeric treats.

This is what your pet dog would eat if it were a free-living "wild" animal. The answer may not be what you think.

If you're in search of the best dog food that is recommended by experts and veterinarians, this is a task both simple and complex.

Called chili pups, my doggy Popsicles are made with wholesome, dog-friendly ingredients.

Several years ago, I adopted a very high-strung dog. Here's what has worked to keep his energy level manageable and maintain my sanity in the process.

I recently moved back to a very humid climate after living in a very dry state for many years. Here's what has worked to keep my dog cool and comfortable on hot summer days.

Many dog owners assume veterinarians are against raw feeding because they are after the money and ultimately want you to buy the food they sell in their offices. How true is that though? Let's take a closer look into why your vet may be reluctant to suggest raw food for your dog.

When you bake cookies for yourself, why not treat your dogs to some cookies, too? These treats are good all year round, and they're healthy.

Is Dog Food Advisor legit, reputable, or a credible source to get information about your dog's food?

There are thousands of dog treats on the market. Many are inexpensive and designed to be attractive to dog owners, but beneath the surface, some of these treats contain dangerous components that could harm your dog.

Finding a good dog food can be difficult. In this article, we will show you how to break your choices into categories in order to compare equivalent products. We will also show you how to make your own dog food.

A handful of grain-free dog foods were recalled by the FDA as reports of dilated cardiomyopathy have risen. The problem lies instead in the ingredients in these foods and low taurine levels which are linked to DCM in dogs and cats.

Ticks on German Shepherd dogs are a nuisance at the best of times. For humans, fortunately, ticks are pretty easy to see on the body. When your dog gets a tick, it can be hard to tell.

This is a basic peanut butter dog treat recipe that you can adapt to suit your dog (and his favorite tasty ingredients). It uses wheat flour, milk, and coconut oil, so please make sure your dog isn't allergic to any of these ingredients before you make these!

This topic is more about the right food for your dog than about the best dog food for German Shepherds. Things to consider are health, time, budget and sometimes personal preferences.

Antioxidants and fatty acids found in coconut oil can help many dogs suffering from skin conditions. Learn how to produce high-quality coconut oil at home and how to use it.

They can be a small nuisance for you and your German Shepherd, but ticks can carry fairly dangerous diseases. Clean and fast tick removal is paramount. Prevention is an option, but be careful with most products.

This article will hopefully answer any questions that you may have about the subject of fostering rescue dogs. It is a wonderful, worthwhile experience, and by fostering, you can really make a difference in the life of an animal in need!

Are blind dogs suffering? Should they be put down? Learn how to take care of a blind dog and how to make its life as happy, safe, and stress-free as possible.

Have you acquired a deer that is either intended for dog food or is not fit for human consumption? In this article, the pictures and text show you how to easily cut a carcass into parts to make it suitable for a dog to eat.

Chicken feet offer a fair amount of glucosamine for your dog's joint health. They are also great for your dog's dental health. These are some of the benefits of chicken feet for dogs. Read more on why you might want to include chicken feet in their diet.

Find out if Barkbox is the right subscription box for you and your dog. Learn about the toys, treats, and chews that come in the box. This is a review for the Large Dog subscription and Super Chewer subscription.

German Shepherds can have a variety of coat types. Some of them are easier to groom than others. Here we cover coat care and general grooming tips for your dog.

Up to a third of all dogs in the USA are fed dietary supplements. But does your dog need added vitamins and minerals? Do they even work? This article examines the facts about vitamin and mineral supplements for dogs based on information from the Food and Drug Administration and scientific research.

Changes in diet are the long-term solution to your dog's skin problems, but giving the right dietary supplements can boost him back to health in the short-term. This article explains when to give dietary supplements to your dog, which supplements to choose, and how to administer the correct dosage.

You must choose a healthy diet for your dog. By law, dog food labels must list ingredients and the relative amounts of protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and nutrients. This article explains in detail what everything on the nutritional label means.

German Shepherds use their teeth for everything. Having healthy and strong teeth is vital for your dog. Here we will cover dental cleaning for your German Shepherd.

Many dog owners like to know exactly what their pooch is eating. While commercial dog food should provide a healthy, complete, balanced diet, you may want to prepare your dog's meals from scratch. This article explains everything from choosing a good recipe to food preparation and health-checks.

While dogs enjoy snacks and treats, it's important to avoid over-feeding your dog or damaging his health. This article discusses the pros and cons of giving snacks and treats to your dog, which foods to avoid, how to choose safe store-bought treats, and healthy alternatives to manufactured snacks.

You must choose the right diet to keep your dog healthy. While most commercial foods offer complete and balanced nutrition, you need to know how much and how often to feed. Dogs' needs change with breed, size, age, and health. This article offers feeding guidelines for each stage of your dog's life.

Choosing a collar and leash for your dog can be daunting, but a leash is a legal requirement in most places. Leashes are a training tool and keep your dog and other animals safe. This article discusses different kinds of collars and leashes to help you make the right choice for you and your dog.

People in favor of a raw food diet for dogs claim it's more natural and healthy. Those against say it's dangerous because of the risks of poor nutrition and bacterial infection. This article examines the scientific evidence based on recent studies of raw food diets for dogs.

Dogs' dietary needs depend on breed, size, and age. Choosing the right diet for your pet's life stage is important to keep him in good condition. This article explains what the best adult dog feeds are, how to tell if your dog is a healthy weight, and when you should take him to the vet.

Pristine-looking beaches are rarely pristine these days. Sharp objects lurk underneath the sand, and the shoreline's waves bring their own brand of trouble. There's no need to ban your pooch from the beach. Here are the best tips to keep them safe.

Looking for a dog toy that your dog won't destroy right away? Here's my list of the best toys for dogs who chew everything, and the toys to avoid completely.

Our five-pound Yorkshire Terrier is a fussy eater. We joke and say that she’s picky because she’s watching her figure. All jokes aside though, our Yorkie doesn’t eat well. We often spoon feed her just to make sure she gets food in her belly, so we make treats for her as a supplement.

It’s very frustrating to have a dog that won’t stop peeing on your carpet. There are some basic items that will make life easier and take away some of the stress.

A super quick and easy recipe for treats that any dog will love!

Find ways to save money on dog food every month. Give your dog quality, grain-free, high-protein food and keep them healthy while saving money.

Here are easy steps that you can follow at home to help your dog live a long and happy life.

Vacations are exciting times, but not always the best time to have your dog around. That’s why many dog owners chose to pay a dog house sitter. What is a fair price to pay for this service?

Going on vacation or a work trip and need to leave your dog with a kennel? Look here for some tips on how to find a great kennel to board your dog in. You and your dog will both be happy you did!

This article covers dog grooming essentials and explores simple practices on how to care for your pet at home.

Dogs love going for walks. Unfortunately, many owners do not walk their dogs nearly often enough. Dogs need to be walked for a variety of reasons, eight of which are listed here.

Aside from the fact that nobody wants the itchiness and irritation of flea and tick bites, these parasites can spread numerous diseases to your dog and you.

As pet owners, we always have questions about what our dogs can and cannot eat when it comes to "people" foods. For example: Is it safe to feed dogs green beans?

When German Shepherds get older, they are at risk of suffering from aging ailments like joint and teeth issues.

French bulldogs need a specific type of food to avoid common allergies, dietary sensitivities and more. Unfortunately, the food you're using may be hurting your puppy!

A guide for pet owners who are concerned about their furry buddy's well-being during their absence.

Deer antler as chew toys has been a big thing for a while now. Why all the hype? Should you give them to your dog? This is my experience with my 2 dogs using deer antlers as chew toys.

How to Care for a Dog

In exchange for all the love and pleasure dogs give their families, they do require various kinds of care in return, many of them several times a day. But don't be scared -- these will quickly become part of your familiar routine, and the better you get at caring for your pooch, the more pleasure you'll both derive from your relationship. In this article, we cover all the key aspects of dog-care, including:

  • Dog-Naming Tips Naming your pooch is a joyful task, but one you'll want to put some thought into ahead of time. Both you and your dog will have to live with the name you choose for your entire time together. There are many ways to come up with appropriate dog names, including appearance, heritage, special characteristics, and behavior. We cover them all in this section. We will also tell you about some dog names and dog-naming mistakes you will definitely want to avoid.
  • Dog Supplies Think of how many personal items you have, and how many of them are indispensable to your health and happiness. Dogs require fewer accessories than us humans, but theirs are no less vital, and by selecting the proper items, you can improve your pooch's health in ever regard. If you've ever ventured inside a pet store, you know how confusing it can be just picking out a collar or leash. We will cover all the basics like food and grooming accessories, as well as specialty items like a carrier.
  • Dog Feeding Nothing is more vital to the health of your dog than proper feeding. Dogs are eager eaters, and this is part of their charm. But it also means that you need to be well informed about what is will give a dog good health and energy and what could be bad for her, despite her willingness to try it out. Here are all the details, including several make-it-at-home recipes for delicious, nutritious and economical dog food. (We also answer the eternal question, "Why do dogs eat plants?")
  • Puppy-Training Tips A new puppy can really melt your heart, but they can also be a handful. The sooner your pooch is accustomed to doing his business outdoors and on schedule, the better for all of you. Interestingly, this is made easier when correlated to the feeding schedule. There is more to training your puppy than housebreaking, however. You must also know the correct way to humanely discipline your new dog when he misbehaves. All the details of this crucial stage in your dog's life are in this section.
  • Dog-Grooming and Bathing Tips Dogs can get messy, and they don't naturally keep themselves quite as clean as we'd like them to be as co-habitants in our homes. As the owner, proper grooming on bathing is your responsibility. But there is more to caring for your dog than simple bathing. You must also care for your dog's nails, teeth, eyes and ears. So in this section we cover key strategies for keeping your pooch clean and everyone happy. We'll even tell you when it's time to throw in the towel and seek the aid of a professional groomer.
  • Dog-Proofing Your Home Dog-proofing your home can be just as challenging as proofing your home for a child or for allergies. For instance, do you know which types of houseplants can be poisonous for dogs? You might also be surprised to learn that some of your favorite treats can really upset your dog's stomach. For everyone's health and happiness, it's vital to make your house safe for your dog and to train the pooch to respect the home, as well. In this section, we give indispensable advice for forging a good relationship between your pet and your residence.
  • Dog-Proofing Your Yard Most dogs spend at least a little time in the yard, but this congenial place poses its own challenges and dangers. First, you will need the right type of fence to keep your dog from roaming the neighborhood where he could possibly get injured or hurt others. We will examine the option of invisible fences and the so-called "shock collars." Also, everyone needs a place to call home, and that includes your dog. We'll tell you how to design and build the perfect doghouse. Learn how to keep both your dog and your yard safe and happy.
  • Dog-Identification Tips Nothing else matters when your dog is lost. Taking a few simple steps when she first comes home can save everyone heartache later. The right tag can get your dog back home where he belongs in a matter of hours. Here we discuss the best methods of providing identification for your dog. We will also discuss some identification options that you may not have heard of. Did you know that some pet owners tattoo their dogs with vital identification information? How about microchip implants? Regardless of the method you choose, we will also tell you how to register your dog's identification.

Before you can really get to know your dog, you have to give him or her a name. Move on to the first section for some tips on christening your new friend.

For dogs who are a healthy weight and aren’t having accidents in the house, you may be able to use the free-choice feeding method.

This means you leave food out all day and let your dog graze. This can be a good method for highly active dogs that are burning more calories than their couch-potato friends.

If you are leaving food out all day for your dog to nibble on, use dry food, which won’t spoil.

If you have a nursing dog, they will probably be fed by the free-choice method. Dogs who are nursing need many calories to produce a constant flow of milk for their pups.

Downsides: Leaving dog food out all day could attract insects, rodents, or raccoons. That’s especially the case if you feed your dog outside, so be on the lookout.

And if you have more than one pet, they may bicker over the food. Also, this method is not for dogs that are diabetic.

The fleshy fruit of apricots can make a good treat for cats and dogs. They are full of potassium and beta-carotene which can help fight against cancer. Just be sure your pet doesn’t eat the poisonous pit, stem, or leaves.

Bananas are a great source of potassium which can support heart and kidney functions. Bananas are high in carbohydrates and the high sugar content in bananas mean that they should be given to dogs sparingly. When sliced into reasonable sizes this can make a good occasional treat.

The Care and Feeding of the Breeding Bitch – Part One

Avoiding malnourishment of a bitch from the pre-breeding phase to parturition is vital to the health of both the bitch and her pups.

We are all aware that good nutrition and proper prenatal care play important roles in ensuring the birth of healthy human children. The same is true in ensuring that our canine friends are born healthy.

Proper care and feeding of a breeding bitch should begin long before she is actually bred and even before her estrous cycle begins. If you and your veterinarian decide a bitch is a good breeding candidate, based upon a thorough physical exam in which she is found to be in good health and free of any physical abnormalities that may jeopardize pregnancy or whelping, as well as any potentially dangerous inheritable conditions, then the real work begins. She should be evaluated and treated for internal as well as external parasites that could impair her health or be transmitted to her offspring. She should also be given all appropriate vaccinations, as determined in consultation with your veterinarian.

The prospective breeding bitch should be weighed to help evaluate her overall nutritional status. Dietary adjustments in amount or type of food should be made at this time to achieve optimal body weight. A bitch who is either overweight or underweight will have less reproductive success.

What Are the Dangers?

Veterinary nutritionists strongly believe that malnourishment of bitches before breeding and during pregnancy is a major factor in neonatal puppy mortality, which is estimated to be between 20 and 30 percent. Just like growth and performance, reproduction is a physiologic state with nutritional requirements that exceed those of a maintenance phase. A bitch who is pregnant or has just given birth draws upon the nutritional reserves deposited in her body before and during pregnancy. A malnourished female will not have sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals and energy to support pregnancy.

Malnourishment of a breeding bitch can occur as the result of feeding poor-quality diets, imbalanced diets or insufficient amounts of good-quality diets. It can happen at any stage of her reproductive cycle, though perhaps the danger is greatest during late pregnancy, when nutritional needs greatly increase. Improper feeding of a breeding bitch can result in impaired health of both the bitch and her offspring, can cause low conception rates and birth defects, problems carrying the entire litter to term, dystocia (labor difficulties), as well as improper mammary development, which reduces the quality and amount of the milk and colostrum produced. Overweight bitches, as well as those who are underweight, may also have many of these problems.

Nutritional deprivation during pregnancy has been shown to affect the immune systems of both the bitch and her pups. The immune system is very sensitive to nutritional inadequacies during its formation and development. It can also affect the immune system’s ability to function during future pregnancies as well, even if proper nutrition is restored.

Many times the malnourishment of the bitch is not evident until it is too late. She may appear thin and out of condition once whelped, with inadequate muscle and body-fat reserves to support lactation. The pups may suffer from “fading puppy syndrome,” appearing weak, crying frequently, eating poorly and lacking coordination. Many of these pups face early death.

To ensure adequate nutritional status of the bitch prior to breeding, many veterinarians will do some simple blood work to determine whether the bitch is anemic or has low blood protein. If either problem is detected, this would indicate malnourishment and should be corrected prior to breeding.

When She Is Pregnant

Once a bitch is pregnant, she should be fed a high-quality, well-balanced performance diet throughout gestation, even though the pregnant bitch’s nutritional requirements increase only minimally during the first half of gestation. As a guideline, choose a highly digestible, very palatable commercial diet. It should contain at least 29 percent protein and 17 percent fat. High amounts of soluble carbohydrates and a low fiber content are important to ensure adequate energy intake and to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in late pregnancy. Adequate intake of calcium (between 1 and 1.8 percent) and phosphorous (between .8 and 1.6 percent) intake is important for adequate milk production by the bitch so that the pups’ bones form properly.

Dietary supplements, such as meats, milk, vitamins and minerals are generally not recommended if a high-quality growth/lactation diet is fed. Feeding excessive amounts of calcium or vitamin D can cause calcification of the soft tissues of the fetus, as well as other birth defects. Although lactation requires large amounts of calcium, supplementation during pregnancy does not prevent calcium depletion during lactation (eclampsia) and may actually compound the problem. Supplementation with meat products can reduce the carbohydrate content of the diet and can be associated with hypoglycemia and stillbirths.

If a high-quality, well-balanced growth/lactation ration is being fed, the actual amount of food required by the bitch during the first five to six weeks of pregnancy need not be increased significantly (10 percent maximum). This is because less than 30 percent of fetal growth occurs during these first few weeks. However, fetal growth rapidly increases in the last three to four weeks of gestation.

The bitch’s food intake should be gradually increased by a total of 15 to 25 percent by the time of whelping to ensure adequate gain of body weight and increase of nutritional reserves. Because many females suffer from decreased appetite late in pregnancy due to abdominal distention, more frequent meals help maintain nutrient intake during this critical time. She should be fed at least twice daily. Indeed, many breeders will be feeding free choice by the time whelping approaches.

Maintaining adequate nutrition during the last trimester by feeding greater amounts of high-quality, well-balanced and palatable growth/lactation diet in frequent meals is critical to support the bitch and her pups for the next few weeks and to assure future good health.

In Part Two, I will discuss proper feeding of the bitch during whelping and lactation to support adequate puppy growth and health.

Kathleen Hefner is an award-winning New Jersey-based veterinarian.

AKC GAZETTE articles are selected for their general interest and entertainment values. Authors’ views do not necessarily represent the policies of the American Kennel Club, nor does their publication constitute an endorsement by the AKC.

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