Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Diet Plan
By Hungry Bark | October 15, 2021
Originally from Ireland, the soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is a full-blooded terrier with one of two coats, the Irish or Heavy (the American). Typically the soft-coated Irish is silky and wavy, while the heavy American coat of the Wheaten Terrier is thicker and fuller.
The defining square build and shapely goatee of the friendly, loyal, and playful Wheaten can grow to 19 inches at the shoulder, weigh up to 45 pounds at full maturity, and live up to 15 years. Whether Irish or American, the coats of the Wheaten are hypo-allergenic, making it an ideal breed for individuals with known pet allergies.
The playful nature and intensely loyal trait of the Wheaten make it a perfect companion for families and individuals, but they operate best as a lone dog and not the best in family packs.
To create the best plan for optimal health of your Wheaten Terrier means you have to balance their exercise, diet, and scheduling routine veterinary examinations. Taken together, this is known as a holistic approach. By thinking about the individual components that make up optimal health, you’re giving your Wheaten the best opportunity to live a long and healthy life as a pet parent.
When researching the ideal diet plan for your Wheaten, you also need to consider factors such as your Wheaten's age, how active it is daily, its perfect weight, and overall fitness levels. Be sure to consult its veterinarian before making any changes to your Wheaten's diet or exercise routine to help eliminate the potential of any underlying health issues.
The Importance Of Getting Enough Exercise
Exercise is a crucial component of healthy living and for the energetic working dog known as the Wheaten.
Known as highly energetic, daily exercise is crucial for the overall health and happiness of the Wheaten.
For a long, happy life, dogs need daily exercise and proper nutrition focused on protein and other macronutrients, as well as regular checkups at the veterinarian.
Wheaten's have a lot of energy, are eager to please, and are loyal. As a result, they need a daily routine that includes vigorous exercise, whether on a leash or running around in a fenced area.
Many benefits come from a daily routine. For example, building strong muscles and bones, improving flexibility, weight maintenance, and appetite control, bolstered immune system, enhanced moods and behaviors, and increased mental capability, to name a few.
One of the additional benefits of exercise is that the body releases mood-enhancing neurochemicals to heighten moods and improve behaviors long after training concludes. When a dog doesn’t get regular exercise, anxiety and other behavioral issues may arise. Examples of these types of misbehaviors can be seen in disobedience, aggressive play, and digging holes.
Exercise is one of the three pillars for optimal health, including a proper diet and regular health checks.
Due to the prolonged benefits of exercise for the body is probably how the saying, “a tired dog is a happy dog,” originated. A calmer dog exhibits better behaviors and obedience skills, and they become more teachable as a result.
Before you begin any change to your Wheaten's diet or exercise regimen, contact your pet’s veterinarian for advice on the best practices, as well as to do a health screening to eliminate the potential of any underlying health concerns. Another key factor to consider is that it has different nutritional and exercise requirements at various stages of a dog’s life. Consider the type of terrain, your Wheaten's weight, overall fitness levels, and possible weather to provide the safest environment for your dog.
The Multiple Health Benefits Associated With Exercise
There is a multitude of benefits that come from exercise. The most obvious are improved cardiovascular and respiratory systems, stronger bones and muscles, and enhanced flexibility. But some other lesser-known benefits include better mental health and cognitive abilities and building on the bonds between pet and pet parent.
Creating a daily routine that you and your Wheaten can look forward to improves both your moods, allows you to build on the bonds between you both, as well as the opportunity to work on expected behaviors.
Elevated Moods: Exercise causes the body to release neurochemicals into the blood that act as mood enhancers. An elevated mood also is a calmer, more obedient, and teachable mood for your Wheaten as well.
Negate Poor Behaviors: An inactive dog tends to lash out through disobedience and other poor behaviors. This type of negative stress can create long-term damaging effects on its mental wellness, causing your Wheaten to act out or misbehave. One of the primary ways to address negative behaviors is with regular exercise. Remember, the adage “a tired dog is a happy dog” is partly because post-exercise, the body releases powerful neurochemicals that help elevate moods and regulate negative emotions such as anxiety.
Enhanced Cognitive Function: Boxers that tend to be anxious or aggressive develop stubbornness, anxiety, lack of focus, and become unresponsive to commands. Regular exercise helps mitigate these negative behavioral traits and strengthens the bonds between pet and pet parent.
More Efficient Cardiovascular System: Stressing the body through vigorous exercise makes your Wheaten's heart and cardiovascular system work harder, strengthening it as a result and improving its heart health.
Increased Flexibility: Flexibility and range of motion are keys for Injury prevention. Exercising regularly engages the muscles and helps make the joints flexible. As your Wheaten ages, these joints and muscles can become tighter and can be a leading cause of injury.
Maintain Its Skeletal-Muscle System and Bones: Regular exercise builds and strengthens its skeletal-muscle system, crucial for overall health.
Improved Digestion: A routine that includes daily exercise aids the body with appetite control, waste production, and weight management.
Another significant health concern regarding sedentary dogs is that it can lead to more severe health issues. Some of the ramifications that are derived from lack of exercise are:
- High-Blood Pressure
- Type-2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure
- Osteoarthritis and/or Hip Damage
- Labored Breathing and Respiratory Issues
- Shortened Life-Expectancy (by as much as 2-3 years)
A combination of diet and exercise are the best ways to ward off these potential health concerns.
Depending on the area in which you live, we have a few suggestions to help you with your Wheatens exercise routine.
Walking: Instinctually, dogs explore their surroundings through their sense of smell. Their smell is thought to be over 40x more powerful than a human, making smell a dog’s primary way to engage with and experience their world. By creating a daily routine that includes walks, you’re providing an opportunity for your Wheaten to discover the neighborhood’s happenings, engage its curiosity, and get some low-impact exercise at the same time. An added benefit is that regular walks allow you to work with your pet on expected behaviors as the pet parent.
Hikes: As a change of pace, consider short hikes around green areas, hills, and area mountains if possible. Much like a walk, the benefit of hiking is that your Wheaten can get low-impact exercise while discovering new places, sights, and smells. Know the weather and terrain in your area before heading out for your hike, mainly because your Wheaten Terrier’s paws may become injured if the landscape is too hot or too cold. In general, if the temperature makes you uncomfortable, it will be for your Wheaten.
Fetch: Fetch is an excellent opportunity to work on different skills and behaviors you’d like your Wheaten to learn. It can also be a great source of vigorous exercise in addition to working on obedience. Wheatens love to chase small animals, giving them agility and acrobatic grace than other breeds.
Agility Drills: Wheatens are strong and athletic. Because of these traits, designing obstacle courses and other agility drills to include quick bursts of running and jumping is a great suggestion. The added benefit of agility drills is the opportunity to teach listening and obedience skills.
Dog Park: Even though Wheatens aren’t known to be pack dogs, instinctively, all dogs form packs to learn social behaviors and create hierarchies. In the wild, this function served the purpose for dogs to hunt in packs for food and protection. In addition, the exercise benefits of running, jumping, and wrestling with other dogs provide your Wheaten a social outlet while providing the needed vigorous exercise they require.
Why Your Wheaten’s Food Ingredients Are Important
When researching the best type of meal plan for your Wheaten, there are a few things you need to understand first. You need to know how to read a food label, prioritize macronutrients in the recipe, and avoid unnecessary fillers or additives.
Dogs are like people and are susceptible to food-borne allergies and intolerances. To avoid any potential health issues related to food, avoid subpar meal plans that are unclear sources of nutrition and calories.
This is why the ingredients in your Wheaten diet plan matter because, in addition to providing the best type of macronutrients for optimal health for your pet, you can also steer clear of potential allergens.
Cheaper brands will use fillers that often may cause allergies in many dogs. Higher quality recipes will use healthy grains that benefit the overall wellness of your dog. Once a dog has an allergic reaction, they become much more susceptible to other types of allergic reactions.
What Are Macronutrients
Macronutrients are the building blocks of optimal health and provide the essential vitamins, minerals, protein, and energy for your Wheaten. Therefore, in a food recipe, the macronutrients should be listed as the first ingredients included.
The reason macronutrients should be listed first is because a meal plan prioritizes the ingredients by weight and is listed in order of their respective weights in the final product. That means that if an ingredient is listed first, it’s the most prevalent.
Causes Of Food-Borne Allergies
Subpar meal plans will choose to cut corners in their recipes, substituting single source protein such as chicken with something called “meat meal.” As a filler, a meat meal isn’t clear about what type of protein it provides or the source of the protein. These misleading labels can include some items that cause a food allergy or intolerance with your Wheaten.
As you research a meal plan ideal for your pet, look for one that includes a very clearly labeled ingredient list and eschews misleading or confusing terms. For example, instead of “meat meal,” find a high-quality diet plan that lists the protein source directly like chicken, lamb, turkey, or salmon.
Food-borne allergies can simulate or mask more severe health problems, though they often appear to be typical allergic reactions such as runny, watery eyes, or nose. Another issue with food-borne allergies is that they will overstimulate the immune system of your Wheaten and wreak havoc over the digestive system, energy levels, and other issues.
How To Read The Ingredients Label
Learning to read your dog’s food label’s ingredient label is crucial in understanding the nutrients you may or may not provide your Wheaten.
As an industry, dog food is heavily regulated by the FDA. That said, there are still loopholes that exist that some manufacturers exploit. To make a more educated decision on the best diet plan for your Wheaten, understand that dog food is required to list the ingredients based upon the weight and priority of the ingredient in the final recipe.
What that means when you read the label is that the first item listed is the most prevalent and is included at a much higher percentage in the recipe than any ingredients that follow.
Another key thing to understand is that It’s essential to know how those manufacturers use product descriptions in the food label. These ingredients and descriptors fall under four categories of terms in the product label.
Basically, there are four categories of how a food label is written; the 95% rule, the 25% rule, the with rule, and the flavor rule.
The 95% Rule
When a food label lists an ingredient like turkey, then the FDA requires that the recipe has at least 95% turkey in the final formula.
So when you read a food label that states salmon for dogs, you can have confidence that 95% of the recipe includes salmon in the kibble.
The 25% Rule
However, terms that are confusing are when you read words like “dinner, platter, or entree.” These terms by rule only need to include the source of nutrition at 25% or more of the recipe. For example, a food label is written as “chicken dinner for dogs,” which means the formula is only required to include 25% of chicken in the recipe. The way this rule is allowed can be confusing for many people, and the recipe may be stuffed with fillers or additives, some of which may cause your Wheaten an allergic reaction. In addition, there’s no clarity when the ingredients are written with these terms, so it’s best to avoid a food label written this way as much as possible.
The “With” Rule
A food recipe that uses the term “with” tells you that only 3% of that protein needs to be included. The rest of the recipe is most likely additives, which you may want to avoid. Subpar manufacturers may use this term to imply their meal plan is healthier than it is, and you should avoid these recipes as much as possible. For example, if you see a label that asserts, “dog food with salmon,” the label tells you that there is a minimum of 3% of salmon in the final product. To make up the difference, unlisted additives and fillers are included, which may cause some health issues in your Wheaten.
The “Flavor” Rule
The final term that manufacturers may use is the word “flavor.” As a rule, this is the most permissive and also the most misleading of terms allowed. For example, when you read the diet plan and it states something akin to “chicken platter with beef flavor,” the ingredient list is only required to have just enough beef flavor to be traceable. In other words, the ingredients wouldn’t even have beef in it, just enough flavor to be discoverable. Clearly, this tactic can be more than misleading about the quality of food provided in the meal plan.
Selecting The Right Meal Plan
By taking a holistic approach to your Wheaten’s health, you’re focused on providing the fundamental pillars of optimal health and how they relate with each other.
We know it can be challenging to find the best diet plan for your Wheaten, so at Hungry Bark, we designed our Hungry Bark Custom Meal Planner as a great place to start!
In as few as 2 minutes, the meal planner will customize your pet’s meal plan considering characteristics such as breed, age, weight, and activity level to provide a custom meal plan for a quality, healthy life.
Is Your Dog Allergic Or Intolerant To Types Of Foods
Dogs that develop allergies, especially food-borne allergies, are prone to more allergies developing than others. Digestive issues and excessive itching are forms of allergic reactions to food, and if your Wheaten is exhibiting these, it’s best to discuss with your dog’s veterinarian to ascertain the cause.
Your Dog’s Age And Weight
Like people, dogs at different stages of life require different nutritional needs for a well-balanced diet. Additionally, your dog’s weight and activity levels should factor into the portions you offer it at feeding time.
Dry Food Vs. Wet
Some dogs prefer dry food, while others prefer wet food. There’s been some debate over whether one is more beneficial than another, but in general dry food is easier to store and won’t be an issue if your dog isn’t hungry at feeding time.