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?

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.

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions
Loquax – Home of The Lucky Duck
SuperLucky Blog Giveaways Linky
Competition Hunter – UK Competitions Community

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – One down, one still going

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – Lilly and Bunk

So we are now just over three weeks into the challenge and I only have one dog left in the running.

My big boy is out.

Just after I posted my last post, I began to notice a few hot spots returning on Bunks skin. I am not absolutely sure if this is the foods fault but I am not going to take any chances. He was eating a grain free food before the challenge and his skin problems were almost none existent… but then it was also summertime and therefore there was much less moisture in the air… so who knows… anyway he is out and I am getting him back onto his old food or to be specific on a senior version of it.

So this is leaving me with only Lilly who is still following the advised food regime.

Last Wednesday we went back into our local Pets at Home store for a check-up. To our huge surprise and confusion Lilly had put 2kg on yet she looks much slimmer. Both her visual and hand examinations showed a lot of improvement – she has one more rib “sticking out” just as she should have… yet she is heavier… The only answer we could come up with for this strange development with the lovely people from Pets at Home was the fact that muscle is heavier than fat… so maybe she has lost some fat and gained some more muscle…

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – Lilly at the Groomer

As it was just us girls out shopping, we stopped at the groomers and Lilly had her nails trimmed. Normally we do it at the vet… clip, clip… down on the floor… few minutes and all is done. At the groomers it was a totally different story. Lilly went onto a proper grooming table… for the first time… I think she was a bit scared but she kept a happy face 🙂 She was nicely secured and the trimming began. I was tempted to check her weight again afterwards but I guess that a nail trim wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 2-3 – One down, one still going

Lilly runs a lot more these day; especially since Friday, as we have Barnie staying with us again. The extended exercises are doing her good and she looks much healthier. She likes her new food, but I am not sure if she isn’t a bit hungry…

So you see picking the right food isn’t so easy. Like I said before I do not necessarily blame the food for Bunks skin problems, after all he is prone to hot spots, though it is a little coincidental that the new hot spots started just after the new diet started and thus if the food is indeed aggravating it, it is time for a change… again…

Have you ever had or have a pet with any food related health problems?

Do you feed your pet grain or grain free food?

If you feed a grain free diet I would love to hear your recommendations.

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 1-2 – Transition to the New Dog Food

30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home – Week 1-2 – Transition to the New Dog Food

It’s coming up for two weeks now since our initial nutrition visit at Pets at Home and we are almost entirely on the new food now. From now on I should be able to see if the new food makes any difference to how my dogs behave or look.

Why does it take so long, you might ask… well… changing dog food is a slow process. Dogs don’t take well to changes in food, so it can’t be done overnight. The balance of the bugs in their digestive tract need time to develop so that they can digest the new foods.

Most vets advise changing your dog food over a period of at least 7 days. You are starting with 75% of the meal in their old food and 25% in the new one and increase the new food as the days go by. To make things easier, Rachel (the lovely advisor from Pets at Home) suggested doing it over the 10 days period, increasing new food intake by 10% each day. We liked this plan and it seemed to us much easier, taking the complicated math calculation into consideration 😉

When changing your dog food it is very important to examine the maximum feeding guidelines very carefully. You have to know exactly how much your dog should be fed. And if you are feeding a mixed meal, such as adding fruit or veggies on a regular basic, this also has to be taken into account. Ideally you should put on paper everything your dog eats, count the total intake and reduce some of the main food to make space for all the additional bits and pieces.

Let’s take our Bunk as an example.

He eats dry kibbles mixed with:

+ He gets about 10 treats a day (doggie milky bones, quite small in size but he really likes them).

He weights 62kg and according to Arden Grange Senior feeding guide he supposed to get 670g of dry kibbles a day. This would be perfect if he didn’t eat anything else. Now, because he gets all these additional foods, his daily allowance of kibbles had to be reduced. Taking into consideration all the additional things he eats his daily amount of dry kibbles eaten has dropped to 420g. Quite a big difference, isn’t it?

I think this is the main reason why there are so many overweight dogs.

Normally we just look at the back of the food bag, make our calculations and then just stick to them. Most of us have never even considered reducing the amount to make “space” for all the extras we feed our pets.

To be honest I didn’t know that a carrot or some apples would have to be taken into consideration too, but they have to… they contain sugars and are not calorie free (I wish they were).

What do you feed your pets?

Do you feed just one brand of food or like to mix it up?