Toy or small breed dogs make wonderful pets and keeping them healthy is vital. Good health for these adorable dogs begins with the foods they eat and their feeding schedules. Free feeding – when the dog always has food in the bowl – is not recommended. Beyond the risk of bacteria forming on exposed food, owners soon realize that scheduled feedings equal scheduled elimination.
Pet food experts continue the dry versus wet debate, however, most concede that canned food does have more benefits than kibble. Not only does the canned food contain more meat protein than the dry recipes, it also has less carbohydrates. Additionally, air-tight sealing eliminates the need for synthetic preservatives.
Lamb, often favored by Shih Tzus, is identified as the easiest meat for dogs to digest, followed by chicken and beef. Read the label to be sure of what you are buying. Venison is a good protein source for dogs with allergies and cost less per serving.
Combining raw or cooked vegetables and rice with the kibble or canned food is highly recommended. Whatever you decision, always consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet, weight, and overall health.
Puppies begin to eat food after they are eight weeks old. Typically, owners begin with solid food mixed with water or puppy milk replacer. Puppies can be fed three times a day and this is the ideal time for training to begin. Place food into the bowl and remove 5 to 20 minutes later whether the pup has eaten or not. At the next scheduled feeding time repeat the process. This teaches your dog the routine and reinforces your control. Although they are known to be intelligent, Yorkie-tons are a breed that may require more patience and practice to adapt to your rules.
Older toy dogs thrive when fed twice a day, usually in the morning and in the evening. Some owners, particularly when there are other pets in the household, begin control training exercises during the puppy stage.
Recognize the importance of both the bowl and the food to your dog. Use the bowl as a tool for teaching good manners and positive associations with food. The “Sit/Wait” process is very simple – have your dog sit patiently while you prepare the meal. After you are done, give a command to allow him to begin eating. With repetition and consistency, the method will reduce food guarding and other canine impulse control issues.
These are just a few guidelines to keep your little cutie happy and healthy. Make sure your pet gets regular exercise and is involved in your daily activities. For any questions or concerns, consult your veterinarian.