How To Choose The Best Food For Your Dog

Canines are the perfect domestic pets because they can adapt to living with humans very well. Many people prefer dogs over cats for many different reasons, but this decision should be considered carefully. Be sure to consider your needs, lifestyle and schedule, before inviting any puppy into your home. Start by doing some research on puppy care, feeding schedules, dog foods and housetraining. Once you have made up your mind that you are ready to make the transition, it will be time to start looking for that new puppy.

Getting a pup is just the beginning, now, you have to decide what to feed it and this choice can be very confusing. The right food is key to the good development of your new family member, so make it a wise choice. I know some of you were not overly keen on the raw diet I wrote about lately so let’s talk about shop bought feed for a change. In this article, you will discover several tips on how to choose the best dog food for your furry friend.
As a rule of thumb, in general, a dog’s food shouldn’t be changed too often as this will cause problems but as soon as your dogs’ circumstances change you should consider changing their diet too.

Dog’s Age

Dog food manufacturers often offer a variety of dog foods to us the consumer. The type of dog food will be determined by the pet’s age. For instance, puppies will require far more nutrition than a middle-aged or senior dog, because they are still growing. The manufacturer labels each of its dog foods, so we can easily find what we are looking for. Don’t be tempted to buy that bag of senior food for your 3-month-old pup just because it’s on special offer, the distinctions between foods were made for a reason.

Dog’s Activity

As well as the age, the dog’s activity levels will play a crucial role in picking the right food. An almost housebound dog, which rarely gets taken for a walk (yes, dogs like this exist all over, just look at some of your neighbors which proudly walk them only on a weekend, or the thousands of miniatures used as “accessories” that get carried everywhere in a handbag or under an arm) these dogs will have totally different needs than say a working breed, which runs around for most of the day. Mixing it up may well result in the dog becoming overweight or malnutrition.

Branded Food

A sad reality of modern life and shrinking budgets is that many pet owners will end up choosing a brand because it is more affordable. This can be a huge mistake, as some generic brands will not offer the same nutritional value as some named brands. Now, this is not to say that all generic brands are out of the question, far from it but I do recommend reading the labels and seeing for yourself what’s going into your dogs’ food. There is a reason some kibbles cost 3 times more than a superstore brand, for example.

Brand / Food Research

As mentioned above, named brand dog foods are deemed to be much safer and more nutritional than generic brands. However, this is just an opinion and not an actual fact. Instead of taking the advice of others, you should do your own research. You will find an array of websites that offer genuine customer reviews on many different dog food brands. Yes, I know that customer’s reviews are just an opinion but if you find a food with a majority of negative reviews it might be a good idea to stay clear of it.

Canned / Dry Food

When comparing the cost of canned dog food to dry, you will see a major difference. Canned foods come with a higher price tag, making them out of reach for some consumer pockets. This is generally the reason why dry kibble foods are so much more popular, plus many of the brands will actually provide the same nutritional benefits. If you have difficulty making a decision, you may want to consider mixing the two together. Many owners will utilize the dry food as a mixer to create a tasty feast just like we did for years, add a few spoonful’s of canned food into kibbles just to make food a bit more attractive (from a human’s perspective that is as the dogs didn’t really care about aesthetics)

And if everything looks too confusing, you know there is always the raw diet option… just saying 🙂

Dog Friendly Pork Jelly Cupcakes

From time to time we all deserve a treat, so do our pets, so why not create some super tasty and healthy pork jelly cupcakes for them to enjoy?

The recipe is a remake of my jellied pig trotters I cook for my dogs to help them with any potential joint problems. Jellied pigs trotters are rich in collagen and gelatine, which will help to maintain healthy bones and joints for longer. The recipe is a remake of my jellied pig trotters I cook for my dogs to help them with any potential joint problems. Jellied pigs trotters are rich in collagen and gelatine, which will help to maintain healthy bones and joints for longer. Normally they would have it for dinner but they love it so much that I’ve decided to turn it into a treat for the days when they eat chicken 🙂

If you have a small breed dog, maybe start with half of the ingredients below so your pooch has a chance to eat it all whilst it is still fresh. They will sit comfortably in the fridge for up to one week (just make sure they are placed in an airtight container).

Ingredients:

*if you don’t have or don’t want to buy any simply add some carrots, maybe a parsnip or an apple or some seaweed, just something with minerals and essential nutrients.

Method:

Pop trotters into a large cooking pot.

Fill it up with water, just enough to cover them, and then add additional 500ml of water.

Cook on a low heat for at least 12+ hours. The longer you cook them the easier it will be to remove all the bones. Minimum cooking time for it to turn into jelly is 3 hours. These days we normally cook a large batch once a week and leave it to simmer for 24h; after this time there it totally no problem with picking all bones out as they are simply at the bottom of the pot. Additionally the longer you let it cook the more goodness you will extract from the bones.

Once your cooking time is up, drain all the liquid into a clean pot or a large bowl.

Pick the bones out and BIN THEM.

Chop any remaining bits of trotter meat and skin into smaller chunks.

Now fill your silicone cupcakes moulds:  a little bit of meat, some fruit and veggie flakes and fill up with the liquid, which over time will turn into awesome jelly.

Once cooled, pop into the fridge and allow to set completely (overnight will be best).

Then just feed to your dog as needed.

Both Lilly and Bunk go mad for them so I really hope your pooch will love them too.

As a final thought if you’re sensitive to smells you may want to get some essential oils going in the house or stock up on Febreze as the cooking does give off a strong odour. I have become used to it now a days but like I said, if you are sensitive you may not enjoy the experience.

The recipe is a remake of my jellied pig trotters I cook for my dogs to help them with any potential joint problems. Jellied pigs trotters are rich in collagen and gelatine, which will help to maintain healthy bones and joints for longer.

Pet Health Diary – The Importance of the Right Nutrition

There is no question about the importance of the right nutrition, we all know that the right food is a pillar for everything else that follows; it is especially important when it comes to our pets as they aren’t able to make the right choices for themselves.The food, the right food, the healthy food… no matter how much you know about it, there is always something new to learn.

There is no question about the importance of the right nutrition, we all know that the right food is a pillar for everything else that follows; it is especially important when it comes to our pets as they aren’t able to make the right choices for themselves.

I am fairly well educated when it comes to dog… and cat food for that matter… but lately I’ve missed something really obvious…

Just after summer I’ve made a change and started feeding my dogs raw. It’s not a full raw diet, I wish it was but maybe one day in the future we will get it… I’ve replaced the wet portion of my dogs dinner with raw. In addition I put Lilly on new kibbles, which at the time I thought would be a much better choice for her, the ingredients list seemed to be friendlier and it was more in line with the nutritional need for senior pets. All was good until we started to notice that Lilly is putting weight back on. Since last year and our “Nutrition challenge with Pets at Home” she was doing great, she lost all the weight she should lose and she was keeping in great form… well until a few months back.

I couldn’t work out why she was putting weight on, the measurements of the food were right, she wasn’t getting anything on top of what I wanted her to eat, she wasn’t “stealing” food (or at least no more than usual) yet there it was, she was putting weight on…

It was time yet again to seek advice from someone who might have more answers than me. We booked a new dog nutrition consultation at Pets at Home, they helped us last year, so it was a logical step to take…. as it ended up it was the right step… after the initial “interview” about Lilly and her feeding routine, any changes in behaviour, and changes in food, the answer was pretty clear… the new “improved” food I put Lilly on had way too high a fat content when compared to her old one. The solution was simple – find new, low fat food… with the advice of the consultant, we settled on James Wellbeloved Senior Complete Dog Food with Turkey & Rice, which has the lowest fat content and meets all the other requirements we expect from the food.

So you see, sometimes our “good deeds” might not be so good after all. No matter how much we know, there is always something new to learn. No matter how clever we think we are, there is no harm in getting a second opinion from someone with even greater knowledge. I should actually have picked up on the fat content myself but I didn’t 🙂

I am glad Pets at Home offer nutrition consultation and I really can’t recommend it enough. We have used it 4 times already and they were always of great help to us.

Weight check and nutrition consultation at Pets at Home are free of charge and you can book your slot via their website. You will need between 30 minutes to 1 hour of free time and your pet… oh and at the end of it, together with your recommendation you will receive a 25% discount voucher to buy your recommended food… double win, wouldn’t you agree?

Have you ever used a nutrition consultation for your pet?

Who is your “go to” person when it comes to pet nutrition?

4 Tips on How to Feed a Dog with Diabetes

Taking care of pets diagnosed with diabetes can be a challenge. In this post, the Coops and Cages content curator, Jordan Walker, shares valuable information on pet care and diet modification for dogs with diabetes.

Taking care of pets diagnosed with diabetes can be a challenge. In this post, the Coops and Cages content curator, Jordan Walker, shares valuable information on pet care and diet modification for dogs with diabetes.

You might want to give your pet everything they want especially when it comes to food; but when your dog has diabetes, that may no longer be the case.

Although diabetes may not be treated completely, there are some things that you can do to manage the condition effectively, so that your pet dog can be healthy and enjoy a normal life.

Give Your Pet a Reduced Quantity of Food

While some diseases can be managed with complementary therapies, diabetes can be managed with the help of diet modification. Weight control is of utmost importance for diabetic dogs because obesity is one of the most common causes for complications.

The specific amount of calories to be taken by your dog is being determined by the veterinarian based on its size, weight and usual activity. Once the normal caloric intake is identified, you need to monitor what your dog eats based on what’s recommended for him. Veterinary nutritionists can also recommend prescription food and recipes specifically formulated for dogs with diabetes.

You can start giving your pet moderate amount of digestible proteins such as lamb, chicken meat, corn gluten, or soya bean meals alternately. If you used to feed your pet a lot for each meal, you may as well gradually decrease this in each meal served until the recommended serving is reached.

Taking care of pets diagnosed with diabetes can be a challenge. In this post, the Coops and Cages content curator, Jordan Walker, shares valuable information on pet care and diet modification for dogs with diabetes.

Feed Your Dog with a High Fibre and Low Fat Diet

Good choice for diabetic diet in dogs consists of moderate fat, high protein from meat, with carbohydrate restriction. Because fatty food can further worsen your dog’s current condition, always make it a point to remove visible fat from the food you serve.

A high fibre diet which includes vegetables (snap peas, carrots), and a small slice of fruit (banana or melon) is also advised because fibre has the ability to slow down the movement of sugar into the blood. Since fibre has the ability to take water from your pet’s body, it is also important to make your dog drink plenty of water daily.

Create a Scheduled Meal for Your Dog

It is also recommended to feed your dog following a schedule, or at specific times daily. At least two or three meals a day on a regular schedule is best, as this could effectively be the basis for timing insulin injections. Giving random treats may not be helpful as this may cause spikes in the blood sugar which may not be controlled by insulin.

Taking care of pets diagnosed with diabetes can be a challenge. In this post, the Coops and Cages content curator, Jordan Walker, shares valuable information on pet care and diet modification for dogs with diabetes.

Modify Your Pet’s Diet Based on His Insulin Requirements

On regular days with regular activities, you can feed him consistent amount of food based on his caloric and insulin requirements, at consistent times.

If you plan to walk your dog and teach him some tricks, and you’re worried that your pet may not have enough energy from food after a day of planned activities, giving him some treats are fine as long as they are low in carbohydrates and sugar.

While it is true that taking care of a dog with diabetes can take a lot of work and may require patience, the entire experience can also be as rewarding knowing that you’re doing the right thing in order for your pet to stay healthy.

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Jordan WalkerAuthor: Jordan Walker
Jordan likes to write many pet related blogs, and is also the lead content curator for Coops and Cages. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. Catch him on Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages.

A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that for a while now we were trying to get on top of our Lilly’s weight problems. I am pleased to report that yet again we have a happy healthy dog, just look at her 🙂

A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog #HillsPetPet weight management is complex and at times not so easy task. Very often we think we are doing the right thing when in reality we are “killing” our pets with kindness. Pet obesity is a serious problem which I have featured on Bark Time many times before as I think it is important to talk about it and share any new learnt knowledge.

Today I would love to share with you our top tip which helped us get Lilly back to her perfect weight – eat less and exercise more – it is simple as that!

Feeding

A Picture of Health -- Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog #HillsPetPet food is the most important element in correct weight management. Same like with us, humans, if we eat unhealthy, too much or simply have an unbalanced diet we will never be the picture of health. There is a lot of different types of pet foods on the market, it is important to pick the correct type which will suit your dog perfectly. This isn’t always easy that’s why it might be necessary to seek more professional help when it comes to picking the right food.

Type of the food is one thing, the amount which we are supposed to feed is a totally different problem all together. If you feed just dry kibble, you are in the clear and can use any suggested guidelines on the packet but if you are adding anything else and most pet owners I know do, you have to reduce the basic kibble intake in order to make room for everything else (you can check this post and study my calculations when I was calculating a new amount of dry kibbles for Bunk)  Never guess how much food your dog should eat; read, learn and measure it; then stick to it… and don’t be adding just a few more kibbles today because you think she or he is hungry.

So far we covered type and amount of food, but what about treats?

Well they also have to be taken into consideration when calculating the daily food allowance. Treats can be an extremely helpful tool when it comes to training but they should be treated as treats… just like sweets and kids… everything in moderation. To reduce calorie intake and still keep rewarding your dog, try natural treats – fruit and veggies – they really make for a great treat which your dog will enjoy.

A Picture of Health - Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog #HillsPetExercise

As much as the correct diet is needed in proper weight management, it will not work on its own, it has to be accompanied by an exercise plan. This part shouldn’t be difficult as most dogs love activities. Being active is in a dog nature, so as long as we increase the intensity or time of the exercise we should see results fairly soon.

It is important to do what your dog loves to do and is able to do… let’s take our Lilly for example… she isn’t a young dog anymore; she is most likely over 9 years old and our original exercise plan was time based. As she loves playing fetch we would normally play for around 15min or so. As we have had to increase the time of our exercises (due to her age it was not advised to increase the intensity), so now we would stay on the field and play for 25 minutes at the time… this time does include breaks for her, so don’t panic. Before our “play” time we would allow her to walk and run around as she wants so she can warm up her muscles and the same again after the play so she can cool down before the car ride home… I guess just like we would do before and after any kind of work out session.

During our stay in Europe we were taking the dogs swimming, they both enjoy it very much and swimming is much kinder for their joints than running on land so if you have a pond nearby you might want to consider some water activities for your dog.

So this is it – no real magic tips more just plain old common sense really and a lot of self-discipline so we can actually stick to the rules we put in place in order to have a happy healthy dog.

A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dogOur Lilly was a fatty but she no longer is; she looks good and I am sure she feels much better; she has much more energy and she is happy 🙂

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is dedicated to helping pets reach their full potential through quality nutrition and healthcare. They have also agreed to sponsor a giveaway for my readers. I have five bespoke pet food bungles to give away to five of you – they can be for both cats and dogs and will be picked to suit your pet needs.

To enter the giveaway and be in with a chance of winning one of five bespoke bundles of Hill’s Ideal Balance or Science Plan pet food tailored to the nutritional needs of your pet simply complete the Gleam application below.

#win 1 of 5 bespoke bundles of Hill’s Ideal Balance or Science Plan pet food

Hill’s Science Plan Competition Terms and Conditions:
1. Promoter: Pet Nutrition Ltd, Building 5, Croxley Green Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YL. 2. This competition is open for entry to residents of England, NI, Scotland, Wales and RoI over 16 years, excluding employees of the Promoter, their immediate families, agents, or anyone else professionally connected with the competition. 3. Promotion Period: Enter between 29/06/2015 and 19/07/2015 23.59 All entries received after this date will be deemed invalid. 4. To enter: Entrants must respond with the answer by submitting their entry via the competition app 5. Entries are limited as stated in Gleam app. 6. The Prize: Five winners selected at random by Hill’s will each receive a pet food package from one of the following ranges only to the value of £15. If the chosen item(s) is not available a suitable alternative will be offered. a. Ideal balance b. Science Plan 7. Winner Selection: All valid entries received by the end of the Promotion Period will be reviewed by the Promoter and will be supervised by an independent person. The five winning entries will be selected at random. 8. Winner Notification: The Winner will be contacted via email within 7 days. They will be asked to confirm details of their pet: (dog/cat; age; breed, wet/dry food preference; medical needs) 9. If a winner is not contactable or fails to respond within 7 days of the notification, the prize may be reallocated by the Promoter to a reserve winner selected in the same manner. 10. The prize will be delivered within 28 days to the winner once they provide the requested contact details 11. The winners will be required to participate in relevant publicity associated with the competition. 12. By entering the competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by these terms and conditions. All entry instructions form part of these terms and conditions. 13. The name and county of the winner can be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Customer Services, Hill’s Pet Nutrition Ltd, Building 5, Croxley Green Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YL. 14. Data Protection: Personal data provided will be used for the purpose of the competition and in accordance with these terms and conditions by the Promoter. 15. The information you provide will only be used by Hills Pet Nutrition Limited solely for the purposes noted in the terms and conditions above. 16. Bulk entries made from trade, consumer groups or third parties will not be accepted. Incomplete or illegible entries and entries which do not satisfy the requirements of these terms and conditions in full will be disqualified and will not be counted. If it becomes apparent that an entrant is using a computer(s) to circumvent this condition by, for example, the use of ‘script’, ‘brute force’, masking their identity by manipulating IP addresses, using identities other than their own or any other automated means in order to increase their entries into the competition in a way that is not consistent with the spirit of the competition, that person’s entries will be disqualified and any prize awarded will be void. 17. The Promoter may require the winner to provide proof of identity and age. Identification considered suitable for verification is at the Promoter’s discretion. 18. The Promoter is not responsible for any late, misdirected or incomplete entries, or effects of hackers, failure of any electronic equipment, computer transmissions and/or network connections, nor are they responsible for any inaccuracies in information or any technical or human error which may occur in processing the entries. Proof of submitting an entry is not proof of receipt by the Promoter. 19. The Promoter, and any affiliated companies are not responsible for any errors that are beyond the control of the Promoter. In the event the competition is compromised by any cause beyond the control of the Promoter (including, but not limited to, hackers and viruses) which, in the sole opinion of the Promoter, corrupts, or impairs the administration, security or fairness of the competition, the Promoter reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, suspend or terminate all or part of the competition. 20. The Promoter and any affiliated companies are not responsible for any entry, generated by computer hardware or software, malfunction, error or failure. Persons found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this competition, as solely determined by the Promoter, will be disqualified. 21. The Promoter cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury, costs, expenses or claims suffered by entrants as a result of entering the competition or of accepting the prize. 22. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. 23. The Promoter cannot be held responsible if, for circumstances beyond its reasonable control, the stated prize is no longer available. The Promoter reserves the right to award a prize of equivalent value. 24. The decision of the Promoter shall be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into. 25. If you have any queries regarding the competition or experience any problems, please message the promoter on Hill’s Pet Nutrition Facebook page, or Hill’s Pet UK & IE Twitter page between 9-5 Monday through to Friday.
The competition is governed by English Law and entrants submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

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