Once or twice a day, most puppies kick up their heels and go a little gleefully wild. One label for this extra energy burst is a FRAP, Frenetic Random Activity Period. This condition is especially true of older puppies that will soon be leaving puppyhood behind. And, though FRAP is mostly associated with pups, some young adult dogs still exhibit these bursts of energy.
What to look for and expect
FRAPs most often happen in the early morning and early evening. Racing around the house, rolling on the rugs and careening off the furniture are all normal parts of the canine FRAP. When you can, sit back and enjoy the brief show.
You may be able to determine that a FRAP is coming when you see a glint in your dog's eye. Or maybe he'll assume a bow-like position, with his chest on the floor and his tail in the air. Then, suddenly, he'll bark or bounce, and then—he's off spinning in circles, racing up and down the hall, around or over the furniture, barking at you, and pouncing at toys. He's a veritable whirlwind and few things in life are as full of pure happiness as an energetic FRAP.
How to deal with FRAP
Sometimes a good FRAP is just plain fun, but other times you need to tone them down a bit for the sake of your house or dog's safety. A simple solution is letting your dog run around inside a fenced yard. Opening the door is usually all that is required to get him outside, but you can attract his attention with a favorite toy and toss it outside if he needs to be coaxed.
If you don't have a fenced backyard, close the doors of the rooms inside your home that you want to keep off limits. As a precaution, dogs should be kept off slippery surfaces to avoid slip 'n' slide accidents. Be especially aware of anything that could topple if bumped hard. The good news is that FRAPs rarely last more than a few minutes.
One way to keep a FRAP from erupting is to put your dog in his crate with a good chew toy for a few minutes. Or, if he'll focus, you can get out some treats and harness this energy into some obedience practice.
What you want to avoid is supporting this behavior. Chasing him around or laughing at his antics encourages more of this behavior. Remember, most dogs experience FRAPs at some point or another. It's a natural part of their development—and an event that can add smiles to your day.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.