Iams® e-news: Spring changes for your senior dog

Periodic Newsletter from The IAMS Company:
From: “Iams Dog”
To: hart (at) petlvr.com
Subject: Iams® e-news: Spring changes for your senior dog

MAIN STORY – When Your Old Pal Meets New Friends

The arrival of spring brings kids of all ages back into the streets, parks and maybe your own home. Older dogs sometimes have a hard time dealing with the noise and action. Here are a few tips for helping your senior dog get along with children of any age.

Toddlers can be challenging, but even more so for an older dog. Their sudden movements and high-pitched noises may cause older dogs to become overly agitated. Most dogs love roughhousing with children, but it’s best to set limits on play. Model proper behavior around dogs, and try to keep toddlers calm and at arm’s length. Reading books about animals to children helps them understand that pets have feelings, too.

Older children need to be taught how to properly act around animals. They should know not to bother any pet that is sleeping or eating. Before children pet your dog, it is best if they let your dog sniff their hand. This makes your dog more comfortable and more likely to enjoy the interaction.

Bringing home a new baby? This offers a whole new set of challenges for your dog, as it will not only dramatically affect your routine; it will also affect your dog’s. The new sights, sounds and smells can all be disorienting. Your dog may also feel threatened by the amount of attention your baby will be receiving.

To help your dog adjust, start introducing scents such as baby powder around the house about a week before baby is due. When bringing baby home, it’s best if Dad or a relative carries the baby into the house, so Mom can greet the dog properly. Once he’s settled down, introduce him to the new arrival. When baby dozes off for a nap, give your old pal some quality time. Maybe treat him to something special like Iams Active Maturityâ„¢ Formula Biscuits.

Of course, it’s important that you always supervise play between children and your pet — especially since your older dog doesn’t have the patience he once did. It only takes seconds for a baby to be injured by a pet that has been accidentally startled or hurt. Your pediatrician can probably offer some handy tips as well.

THE DISH – Iams® Active Maturityâ„¢

Iams Active Maturity helps your dog get the most out of life with high-quality chicken, providing the necessary protein to help maintain muscle mass. It contains antioxidants such as Vitamin E to reduce free radical load and support immune response. Plus, a gentle, patented fiber source helps maintain colon health and enhance the ability to absorb age-essential nutrients

HEALTH WATCH – You and your dog: exercise partners

Now that warmer weather is returning, it’s a good time to start planning some outdoor activities to get you and your best pal back in shape. Most all dogs, even older arthritic ones, will benefit from a half-hour or more of daily exercise. Aside from the obvious health benefits, exercising together leads to better communication with your dog and is an outlet for reinforcing good manners. Dogs that share lots of time with their owners in outdoor activities also tend to have fewer behavioral problems.

When designing an exercise routine for your older dog, the keys are consistency and moderation. For a senior dog, it’s better to have a short, gentle activity every day than to have an intense exercise one day and go several days without. Moderate-paced walking is more beneficial than running or hiking, which are both harder on his joints. Swimming is also an excellent choice, since it works the muscles without stressing the joints. Whatever option you choose, remember to start the exercise program slowly, and work up to longer distances as your dog’s stamina builds.

Before starting any training regimen, here are some considerations to keep in mind:

* A diet with complete and balanced nutrition, such as Iams Active Maturityâ„¢, helps your buddy keep his energy up during outdoor activities. To avoid upset stomachs, it’s best not to exercise on a full stomach, but rather, feed your dog after he is rested and cooled down from the activity.

* Leash your dog and keep him under control during your exercises. Many people are frightened when a strange dog approaches them, no matter how friendly the dog appears.

* Weather conditions can particularly impact older dogs. As temperatures heat up, it’s best to limit your pet’s exercises to early morning or evening, especially if they have a dark or heavy coat.

* Before starting any new exercise routine, do sufficient research. Check with your veterinarian to see what he advises for your dog, and take advantage of the huge amount of websites and owner forums available online.

HEADLINES FOR CANINES – Debunking an age-old myth

It seems the old rule of thumb “seven dog years for every one human year” isn’t such a rule after all. (OK, OK, for the largest of large dogs, the 7-to-1 ratio is close. But for the rest of the doggie world, it’s a different story.)

In comparing dog years to human years, it’s important to remember that dogs reach physical and sexual maturity much faster than humans. So to say a 1-year-old dog is equivalent to a 7-year-old kid isn’t accurate. Dogs age well over seven years in the first year of life. After that, it’s the size of the dog that determines how fast the years add up. Use the quick reference below to determine your dog’s real age:

* Small dogs (up to 20 lbs.)
Add 15 years for the first year, then 4.5 for every year after that.

* Medium-sized dogs (20-50 lbs.)
Add 15 years for the first year, then 5 for every year after that.

* Large dogs (50-90 lbs.)
Add 14 years for the first year, then 5.75 for every year after that.

* Really large dogs (90+ lbs.)
Add 12 years for the first year, then 7.25 for every year after that.

So why should you care? First, it’s fun to compare your dog’s age to your own age or your friends’ dogs, and you might as well be accurate. Second, it’s an important determining factor in deciding when to switch your dog to adult or senior dog food formulas.

For more on your dog’s real age or when to switch formulas, consult your vet.

WHAT’S NEW AT IAMS.COM? – Open the Iams Toy Box

Playing ball. Barking at the mailman. Chasing tails. Dogs get to have all the fun. So why shouldn’t their owners? Step inside the Toy Box to check out the latest doggie pics in our photo gallery, send an e-card or download a free wallpaper or screensaver. Let the fun begin!

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Copyright © 2007 The Iams Company. All rights reserved

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