Poodle Health, Nutrition and Exercise

Proper health care, correct nutrition and enough exercise are three key factors which will help to ensure that your poodle has a long, happy and healthy life with you.

Health

The old saying 'prevention is better than cure' is so very true in many situations and taking care of your poodle is one of these.

Recognising signs of an illness can be difficult. Get into the habit of watching for subtle and not-so-subtle signs. Remember, the earlier a illness is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Take note of any changes in behaviour, appetite, water intake, urination, or bowel movements. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog has any of the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Blood in urine
  • Swelling or lumps
  • Shallow breathing
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Unusual odour
  • Convulsions or choking
  • Pain or sensitivity to touch
  • Dull coat or excessive hair loss
  • Fever or runny nose and eyes

    Animals that are spayed or neutered live longer, healthier lives, and are better behaved. A spayed female is less prone to uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancer. A neutered male is less likely to develop prostrate or anal cancer.

    Not only does spaying and neutering make your Poodle make a better pet, but also it reduces the number of dogs arriving at shelters each year. Mixed breed dogs are not the only ones who end up in shelters, around 25% are purebred dogs.

    Nutrition

    There are many different options to choose from when considering what to feed a poodle and, when making a decision as to which one is best for you and your poodle, it is important to bear your own circumstances in mind, as well as the health and welfare of your poodle.

    A good quality, natural, balanced diet prepared in the home from whole, fresh ingredients has to be the optimum choice for your poodle, although perhaps not the optimum choice for the owner, as time needs to be sacrificed for the purchasing of the ingredients and preparation of the food. 

    The emphasis, if you go for this option, is the word balanced. Some thought needs to be put into the nutritional value of the food being given to the dog and the nutritional requirements of the poodle you are feeding. To be safe it is best to follow the guidance of nutritionalists.

    One of the best sources of balanced recipes to suit every poodle from pup to veteran is a booklet prepared by William Cusick, a canine nutritionalist for over 30 years. These recipe booklets are available for purchase from his website by clicking on this link:  the ideal diet for a standard poodle A good alternative to these is to feed using the Bones and Raw Food (BARF) method which you can view in more depth by clicking here BARF

    If you feel you are not able to devote the time required to feed these diets and you prefer the option of feeding a manufactured food, try to feed the best quality food you can afford. There are many, many foods on the market and each manufacturer will tell you that theirs is the best food to feed. But what is in the food? It is probably fair to say that if it is cheap then the ingredients will have been cheap too.  Does that mean they were bad quality or cheap bulking substances or both? Do your research, look at the list of ingredients and make up your mind. Remember that pet food manufacturers are in business to make money and they need to make sufficient profit on the sale of their food to enable them to stay in business.

    Some of the better options are:

    A frozen, balanced, raw diet by Nature's Menu. Just thaw and feed but, for poodles, it is best to avoid the choices which include beef. In addition to the raw option, Nature's Menu have now brought out a cooked, canned version of their balanced diet. Follow this link for further information on both the raw and canned foods: Nature's Menu

    A dry food manufactured by Royal Canin specifically for the poodle. Follow this link for further information: Royal Canin Poodle

    A range of dry foods, manufactured by Arden Grange. These are not specifically developed for the poodle and they are not quite as expensive as the food manufactured by Royal Canin, but, never-the-less, they are reasonable foods to feed. For more information about them click here: Arden Grange

    Remember that a supply of fresh water should be available to the poodle at all times.

    Treats

    Our poodles would never forgive us if we didn't quickly mention the tasty, nutritious, healthy treats available for dogs including knuckle bones, pigs ears, dried liver, bull's pizzles, paddiwack and tripe sticks. Poodles, like all dogs, love to chew. It is good for their teeth, gums and general health. However there are some 'manufactured' chews, including rawhide chews, which aren't quite so good for a poodle as the sticky residue they produce sticks to the poodle's hair and causes matts and tangles. Also nutritionally they are not as good.

    Exercise

    Poodles are intellectual, energetic dogs and, as such, they need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. If not given these opportunities they will become rambunctious and bored which is usually expressed by barking and destructive chewing. A bored poodle can make a shambles of your house and garden. If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog walking, running, hiking or swimming, or to get involved in dog agility, advanced obedience, or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. They must have productive outlets for their high energy level.

    In the case of a standard poodle, please remember that a puppy of this breed takes roughly 10 months to mature. Prior to the age of 10 months a standard poodle's frame is young and soft. Over-exercise can do damage to these young bones which can never be rectified. During this time, exercise and games in the garden are plenty for a standard poodle pup. Socialisation classes are also great, as are other training opportunities, but save the 10 mile hike for a time when your poodle has reached maturity. Also, remember to build your poodle's fitness levels up gradually.