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Pet Nutrition Questions and Answers

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

This is Part 2 of our Q&A with pet nutritionist Dr. Marcie Campion of Iams. I will post answers to your questions over this and part of next week.

Pet News and Views: Henry is our 7 ½ -year old apricot-colored miniature poodle; he weighs about 15 pounds. He loves to eat dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.), cooked green vegetables, fish, and poultry. Is it okay to give him treats of these items?
Dr. Campion: While these items seem ok, they need to consist of less than 10 percent of his daily calories. If you give him more than 10 percent, you may unbalance his diet. Also, with the fish and poultry watch out for bones.

Spike eating IAMS on the set of IAMS Naturals and being filmed for a commercial that airs next month. (Photo courtesy of Iams.)

PNAV: Our 9-year old pug loves small treats of cooked salmon. Are fish and tuna okay for him?
Dr. Campion: While small bits are okay, just be careful not to exceed his 10 percent of his daily caloric intake. In fact, the new IAMS Sensitive Naturals has fish as the first ingredient; he may love this new recipe!

PNAV: My 6-year old lab/mix is always hungry. What low cal vegetables are good to feed her that won’t give her too much gas?
Dr. Campion: Here are a few things you may want to try: green beans and carrots are popular, and full of fiber so they may cause gas. Another is to spread out meals to two or three a day, giving him the same portion you’re feeding him now. Part of the meal could be given as a treat in the afternoon by rolling the kibble on the floor or using as a treat.

PNAV: I rescued a dog from a shelter as a puppy. For a while she exhibited signs of food aggression because she was very jealous of the other dogs in the house and acted very territorial around her food. When we moved into my mom’s house her food aggression went away. The lab mix that lived with my mom had a very relaxed attitude toward her food and it seems like my dog picked up on that. I am lucky that her food aggression went away very quickly, but what other tips do you have for dog owners who feel their dog is becoming aggressive about their food?
Dr. Campion: Well, it’s a good idea to be around your dog while he eats, especially during the early years. This reinforces that when people are always present while the dog eats, starting when he or she is a puppy.

However, if you have an older dog that is becoming food aggressive, it is not a wise idea to approach their bowl–a different strategy is needed.

1. Do away with his food bowl entirely for a week or two. Feed him or her out of your hand, just a few kibbles at a time.
2. Bring the bowl back, but keep it empty until the handler passes by and drops a few kibbles in it. After those are eaten, drop a small handful into your dog’s bowl at intervals of one to three minutes until the whole meal is consumed.
3. Put a semi-filled bowl on the floor and, as you pass by, drop in a few better-than-kibbles tidbits. On your next pass by the bowl, add the remaining kibbles.
4. Put a full food bowl on the floor as your dog holds a sit and stay. Release him with a cheery “okay.” Then, once or twice a week, call your dog away from his bowl during mealtime and reward him with a tasty tidbit for coming to you.

Each of these steps should be undertaken for 10 to 14 days at each meal before going to the next step. While you are grappling with a food guarding problem, your dog should wear a leash at mealtimes as a safety measure, but don’t use it to control your dog unless you are in jeopardy of being hurt.

To see Part I, click here.

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