Understanding Your Dog Diet

There is so much information out there on what you should be feeding your dog and what is considered a ‘healthy diet’ for your four-legged friend. With so much to digest, it’s sometimes hard to know exactly what man’s best friend actually needs in their diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are going to run through a few of the most important things your dog should be getting every day to help them stay healthy for longer!

Understanding Your Dogs DietDogs are omnivores like us, which means they like to eat pretty much anything, but this doesn’t mean they should. Whilst you might think it’s okay to give your dog human food as a treat every now and again, do you know the effects that this could be having on your dog’s insides? There are a few things they should definitely not eat too; for example, it’s commonly known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea amongst other problems. Treats such as this can cause inflammation, as the food is unfamiliar to their gastrointestinal tract, therefore it is always best to stick to treats designed for your pooch.

Whether you make your dog’s food yourself at home, or you purchase it from a pet shop you should be looking out for some essential ingredients. Remember, what you are putting in to your dogs’ body will be reflected on the outside in their coat, energy and overall health.

Amino Acids

Providing your dog with the essentials that their tissues need to remain healthy and functional, amino acids are found in foods high in protein such as meat and vegetables. It is commonly understood that meat proteins offer more value to your dog than vegetable proteins; however, it is important to provide a balanced diet and you should look to provide some of each in their food.

Vitamins and Minerals

We all need our vitamins and minerals! Vitamins A, E, C and B-12 all play important roles in your dog’s health, whether it’s Vitamins A and E serving as important antioxidants, whilst B-12 aids in cell growth and development. Minerals in your dog’s food will help ensure his teeth and bones remain strong; minerals are involved in many important metabolic reactions working together to coordinate bodily functions, helping to maintain fluid balance and ensuring proper development for your dog. Categorised into two main types, macrominerals and trace minerals, macrominerals are required in larger amounts and these include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, etc. whilst trace minerals include iron, copper, chromium, and iodine amongst others which will be required in a smaller amount.

Water

Just as us humans’ need our 8 pints a day, staying hydrated is incredibly important for your dog too. Ensuring he remains well hydrated will keep him happy and healthy and will give him a greater quality of life; it aids digestion and keeps your dog moving.

When you are looking for a dog food to incorporate into a healthy balanced diet for your dog, it’s important to take into consideration a few things, for example his breed, lifestyle, age, weight and overall physiology should play a huge part in your dog food dilemma. Talk to your vet about how many calories and what nutrients your dog needs every day to keep him happy and healthy!

* Article supplied by Petstop.

Stop the Parasite Party

No matter how much you care for your dog, there is always a chance that he or she will pick up some nasties like worms, fleas or ticks. Knowledge is the key and lately I’ve been deepening mine on the website called Parasite Party… weird name for a site I know, but you can learn a lot there; all about the weird and wonderful world of dog parasites.

No matter how much you care for your dog, there is always a chance that he or she will pick up some nasties like worms, fleas or ticks. Knowledge is the key and lately I’ve been deepening mine on the website called Parasite Party… weird name for a site I know, but you can learn a lot there; all about the weird and wonderful world of dog parasites.Parasite Party provides us with some basic knowledge about each potential parasite including information on how our dogs might get them in the first place and how they will show up so you can tell your dog is infected. There is also a “one minute check” test which allows us to determine what kind of risks your dog is exposed to and what we should know about it. Just 6 simple questions which will give you some understanding about the risks to your dog.

Let’s meet the main contestants for a place at the party…

Pet Care - All you need to know about hookwormPet Care - All you need to know about roundwormPet Care - All you need to know about whipworm

You have roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, heartworm as well as the traditional tick and flea. These are also other worms which can affect our pets – ask your vet for further advice about the risk for your dog. Worms are especially nasty, they affect our pets in many different ways, some of them might not even show any signs of an infection, when others might end up being fatal. Humans can be affected by some of these worms, too. Accidental ingestion of roundworm eggs can lead to a variety of health problems in people, one of the worst being blindness. Children are particularly at risk as they often play on the ground or in soil where worm eggs may be present (in parks, sandpits etc). Adults may be exposed during activities such as gardening.

For everyone who doesn’t want to read too much, you can use Merial YouTube channel and watch some videos like this one:

So what are some of the ways you can avoid an infestation?

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Clean up your pet’s droppings as soon as produced or at least daily.
  • Do not give your pet uncooked meat/offal unless you can vouch for its complete history.
  • Treat your pet regularly against all parasites as instructed by your vet.
  • If you have several pets, make sure to treat all of them at the same time.

And if you are forgetful, Parasite Party offers a reminder service! All you have to do is to fill out a few details and you will receive a reminder email on the date you requested… it’s that simple!

Help protect your family!

Treat your dog inside and out.

Ask your vet about recent innovations in parasite control.

* This is a collaborative post.

All You Need To Know About Canine Babesiosis

I’ve covered the importance of tick prevention in the past but it looks like now it is even more important than ever, as canine babesiosis can be fatal.

Babesiosis is a malaria-like, parasitic, tick-borne disease caused by various types of Babesia, a microscopic parasite that infects red blood cells. There have recently been a number of reports of dogs in the UK diagnosed with canine babesiosis. This disease can be fatal to dogs and current cases aren’t restricted to dogs which have recently travelled abroad, so it seems like we may have a problem.

Babesiosis is a malaria-like, parasitic, tick-borne disease caused by various types of Babesia, a microscopic parasite that infects red blood cells. There have recently been a number of reports of dogs in the UK diagnosed with canine babesiosis. This disease can be fatal to dogs and current cases aren’t restricted to dogs which have recently travelled abroad, so it seems like we may have a problem.Ticks can be found anywhere your pet goes, not just the obvious high risk places such as forests, heathland, and grassy areas but also in urban playgrounds, parks and even your back garden. Therefore, it’s important to take action to protect your pet.

Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors are at an increased risk of tick bites and of contracting this parasite. This is especially true in the summer months, from May through September, when tick populations are at their highest, so correct prevention is key!

To help protect your pet from ticks (and fleas), apply FRONTLINE® Spot On monthly. It kills ticks within 48 hours of contact with your treated pet, minimising the risk of tick-borne disease transmission.

I know a lot of dog owners don’t think monthly treatments are necessary, but are you really willing to take the risk?

Diagnosis of canine babesiosis can be quite challenging especially as the symptoms can vary from case to case. The severity of symptoms will depend on the species of parasite involved and on the ability of the dog’s immune system to defend against it. Symptoms may come and go as the disease runs its course and can include lack of energy, lack of appetite, weakness, fever, pale gums and tongue, orange or red-coloured urine, discoloured stool, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, an enlarged spleen, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the eyes and skin. A severe infection can affect multiple organ systems including the lungs, GI tract, kidneys, and nervous system.

If your dog is acting abnormally, take it to the vet, especially if it has been exposed to ticks; ask your vet about the potential for infection with a tick-borne disease.

Remember, the health and wellbeing of your pet are in your hands, so please be a responsible pet owner and protect your furry friend.

If you want to read more about ticks in general please refer to my previous post: All you need to know about ticks and fleas.

Take care and remember to take care of your pet!

* This is a collaborative post
**FRONTLINE® Spot On contains fipronil. Legal category: AVM-GSL. ®Registered Trademark. For further prescribing information, refer to the data sheet on www.noahcompendium.co.uk or contact Merial Animal Health Ltd, CM19 5TG, UK. Use medicines responsibly.

Dog Care – How to Treat a Hot Spot

Acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, commonly known as hot spots are usually red, itchy and oozing skin infections which can emerge at anytime and anywhere on your dogs’ body. Until Bunk, I had never experienced or seen this type of skin condition but during the last few years we became kind of self-taught experts on hot spots, its causes and treatments so today I would like to share my knowledge with you.

Acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, commonly known as hot spots are usually red, itchy and oozing skin infections which can emerge at anytime and anywhere on your dogs’ body. Until Bunk, I had never experienced or seen this type of skin condition but during the last few years we became kind of self-taught experts on hot spots, its causes and treatments so today I would like to share my knowledge with you.

My first experience with hot spots was an extremely expensive learning process. It started with Bunk having a “bubu” on his head. Well, we all get scratched at some point so I decided to deal with it myself… I was cleaning it, drying and doing all I should do (or so I thought) but cutting a long story short, a week later we ended up at the vet, and after a few long hours of procedures which included the sedating of the dog, lots of cleaning and scraping of the wound, we were finally presented with a half bald Bunk, no actual answers as to the cause of his malady and for the pleasure a £500 vet bill (no, at this time, we didn’t have dog insurance, so we just had to pay it… lesson learnt). This expensive mistake led me to seeking knowledge of the main root causes and at the same time what home treatments are there for hot spots.

When you read about hot spots on the net a lot of articles state that poor grooming is one of the reasons for it… well it might be so but most of the time Bunk is very well groomed and he still has them. The other reason offered are fleas, ticks, mites etc… again, my dog has never had any of these, yet he does have hot spots… the point I am trying to make is that hot spots can come and go and if you have a dog prone to them, it really isn’t necessarily your fault, it is just the way it is. It took me a long time to understand this, as for weeks or even months I was blaming myself for Bunks skin infections.

There is no underlying reason for Bunks hot spot as we know of. I know that some food types make it worse so now he is on a gluten free raw diet, which seems to be helping. I know that wet weather condition can make it worse so we do our best to keep him as dry as possible especially after each walk in the rain. I know that dry skin isn’t helping so he is fed coconut and fish oils on a daily basis, which helps with preventing them but also helps speed up the healing process once we have an outbreak.

Any dog can develop a hot spot, for a number of reasons, so it’s important to know how to deal with them once you encounter them.

How to treat a hot spot?

With hot spots time is of the essence. They can grow very fast, so once you spot it, it needs immediate attention… really I mean immediate as in right then at that moment, not later, after dinner or in the morning… trust me when it comes to hot spots time isn’t on your side.

Step 1 – Clip the hair over the top of it and all around it. This will allow you to monitor if the hot spot is growing but most of all it will allow you to move to step 2 easily. Yes, I know your dog may end up looking awkward and unsightly and this isn’t always an ideal solution but think about it this way: what would you prefer: a healthy dog or a pretty dog?

Step 2 – Clean the area with something anti-allergic. I personally use “grey soap”, it’s a type of soap with a much higher content of carboxylic acids, glycerol, citric acid, sodium chloride and no added dies or perfumes. It doesn’t cause irritations and it has drying properties. When you have cleaned the area completely then pat it dry with kitchen towel and move to the next step.

Step 3 – Disinfect the wound. You can use shop bought sprays or simply make one. If I run out of disinfectant I mix 1 part of Listerine (the original orangey one) with 4 parts of water and add a few drops of oil (almond one works for me). Mixed in a spray bottle it works perfectly and it does the job as it should.

Step 4 – Apply a topical help. Well, now this is a difficult one as self-treating hot spots can be tricky and it all will depend on how big it is, how advanced it is and where is it on their body. The type of things which work for us include: raw manuka honey, raw aloe, comfrey ointment and Gold Bond powder. They all speed up the healing process and gold bond is perfect for helping the wound dry out.

Step 5 – Keep your dog away from the wound. This is even trickier that picking what to use on the wound itself but once you tune your ear to the sound your dog makes when he or she is scratching, biting or licking you will be able to quickly act on it and stop them… or you can try one of those collars as used by the vet that looks like a lamp shade around their neck (we struggled to find one that would fit a Newfoundland and when we finally did, turns out Bunk hates them and besides that it became very obvious very quickly that he is way too big to be running around the house in one).

These are my steps for home treating a hot spot. They work for us but we have had years of practise…. You can treat them at home but I would recommend a vet visit if you are new to hot spots and you dog has never had one before as he/she might have an underlying cause for them. It’s important to seek professional help if you are in doubt after all vets are there to help us care for our pets.

Have you ever experienced a hot spot problem?

Do you have some different method for treating them?

*This is a collaborative post.

All you need to know about Wagglepets

Wagglepets is a complete dog subscription service which will provide everything you need for your canine friend: food, treats, treatments, pet tracker and this ever so important pet insurance.

There is a lot of pet subscription boxes out there at this moment but most of them focus on rewarding your pet, so you receive a selection of treats and toys each month. Wagglepets however are actually providing you with all the essentials you need to buy each month anyway.

We were asked to become a Wagglepets ambassador and try the service for the next six months. Personally I love the idea so how could I refuse such a wonderful offer!

Wagglepets is a complete dog subscription service which will provide everything you need for your canine friend: food, treats, treatments, pet tracker and the ever so important pet insurance.

How does it work?

Well, actually it is all rather straightforward… you fill out a couple of questionnaires about your dog and yourself, you set the start date, you set up a payment plan and then you sit back and wait… After just a few days your welcome box should arrive and with it all you goodies for the next 30 days.

What’s included?

Food
The Wagglepets service is providing dry kibble dog food from the RSPCA, which is actually a great food; it’s hypoallergenic with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and it does not contain beef, pork, dairy or soya. If you dog has some special dietary requirements, have a chat to the Wagglepets team and they will be able to offer a swap for a brand your dog needs or prefers.

Treats
Within our first box we received a bag of lovely natural training treats and a giant box of dental chews, which will keep Bunk going for the next 28 days.

Other essentials
Your monthly delivery will contain other essentials which might vary from box to box… but you will always get some poo bags 🙂

Treatments
Monthly flea and tick treatments are included within the Wagglepets subscription. Each month you will receive a FLEAaway spot on solution, which will keep any potential nastiest at bay.

Insurance
The insurance is covered by More Th>n; you will receive a phone call just to confirm the details stated within your initial questionnaire. The vet fee cover is £4000 as it is the Classic Cover but if you think you might need an upgrade, again simply have a chat with Wagglepets and I am sure it can be arranged.

Pet Tracker
Wagglepets membership comes with a Whistle Activity Monitor; super funky on-collar device that measures your dog activities including walks, play and rest. I’ve never used anything like it before so I will share my finding about this gadget with you for sure as soon as I have collected some data.

How much does it cost?

The cost of Wagglepets membership depends on the size of your dog and prices start at £50 a month going all the way up to £100 (this is the Bunk size, giant breed, top tier membership cost).
Just doing some quick sums and taking into consideration that we currently spend over £60 a month for Bunks dry food alone, the price of Wagglepets membership adds up to a real bargain.

So what are your initial thoughts on the service?

Would you be tempted by a monthly subscription which covers all your dog essentials?

* If you like the idea of Wagglepets and you want to give them a go, you can use my code: AGATA50 at the checkout, which will give you 50% discount on your first box. Please note, this is NOT an affiliate code and I do not receive any benefits or profit if you use it. The code was given to me to share with you as a part of my ambassador program.