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.

Toddler Life – Snack Time

A lot of parents complain about their kids being fussy eaters, they may be right, their kids might be fussy but then there might also be a different explanation – a lack of the right type of food…

Toddler Life – Snack Time

A few months ago Leo started to show a lot more independence when it came to food. He will no longer blindly eat whatever is in front of him, his taste is now much more refined and he is communicating his wants and needs quite clearly. It took us a while to find a good combo which makes feeding and snacking time pleasurable for all of the family.

1. Toddler Life – Snack Time2. Toddler Life – Snack Time3. Toddler Life – Snack TimeA combo of good quality, kids friendly feeding “tools” from Oxo Tot and a great selection of healthy, tasty snacks from Kiddylicious seems to have worked wonders for us. We no longer have to worry if Leo will or will not eat his food.

Toddler Life – Snack Time Flippy Snack CupToddler Life – Snack Time - Flippy Snack CupOxo Tot offers a wide selection of baby and toddler feeding cups, plates and dishes. Lately our favourite is the flippy snack cup. The Flippy Snack Cup’s soft, flexible opening gives kids easy access to goodies, yet keeps even small snacks off the floor. The twist-on lid stays secure when the Flippy Snack Cup is dropped, and the non-slip handle is shaped for tots. Includes a solid snap-on cover to keep snacks fresh and secure. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? But it isn’t only about keeping food fresh and off the floor, it also gives the feeling of achievement, it’s like a mini game… if I want a snack, I have to “hunt” for it, inside my cup… Leo enjoys it, which really does make a difference when it comes to the whole eating process. I only wished that Oxo Tot made this cup in a bigger size as well. Our flippy cup is good now but very soon it will simply be too small 🙁

Toddler Life – Snack Time - Kiddylicious Smoothie MeltsWe first were introduced to Kiddylicious almost a year ago when Leo received a giant goodie box filled with their delicious snacks to help him celebrate his first birthday. Since that moment Leo was hooked, and in turn so were we 🙂 Now this year it is even better as the Kiddylicious range has expanded. Currently flavour of the month award goes to Smoothie Melts, no matter which flavour as he loves them all.

Do you have your own perfect combo when it comes to snacking time?

Toddler Life – Snack Time - Perfect Combo - OXO Tot and Kiddylicious

Weaning on the go

Weaning on the go

All is good in the world of weaning as long as you stay within the comfort of your home surrounded by all those countless cupboards holding lots of yummy ingredients, as well as the fridge and freezer, not forgetting about the stacks of pots, bowls, food warmers etc etc… however once you leave your home and all those essential comforts behind then things might start to get a bit tricky…

If you have the time and are well organized you will probably plan in advance your days out, we… well… we aren’t so well organized and if you are a regular reader of my blog then most likely you already know that. Home cooking is very important for us but in the case of weaning on the go I much more prefer the ready-made food option.

Cow & Gate were kind enough to send us a selection of their “friends” food pouches – my first spoon.

Weaning on the go with Cow & Gate

“Friends – my first spoon” are design for 4-6 months old babies who have just started their weaning adventure and are really ready to discover new foods. There are four flavours in the collection: carrot, peas, broccoli and cauliflower. When you study the ingredients list… well there isn’t a lot to study… these pouches are made from carrot, peas, broccoli or cauliflower and water and… nothing else. They come in a very handy 50g size and are perfect for beginners. They are ideal for helping to build up your babies taste pallet so they are well positioned to try more complex flavours in the future.

“Friends – my first spoon” are suitable either to be used as a main meal or as a snack for later on 🙂 They do not require any cooking or any other special preparation… just open and serve; this makes them an ideal food for when you are on the go. And just in case you baby isn’t in the mood for your choice of food once it is opened, then you can simply reseal it and store in a fridge for up to 24hours.

I am glad we had the chance to try Cow & Gate Friends pouches; they make feeding outside of the home environment so much easier.

1. Weaning on the go2. Weaning on the go3. Weaning on the go

Have you used any pouches like these when your baby was weaning?

What’s your personal top tip for weaning on the go?

Babypotz – Weaning Made Easy

Babypotz Starter Set – Weaning Made Easy

Weaning means a lot of different foods, a lot of mess and a lot of work, unless you feed just shop bought pouches and jars, but even then you still most likely have some leftover which means… a lot of different foods, a lot of mess and a lot of work 🙂

We were sent a box of Babypotz to help us get through the weaning stage and I must admit they are a great help.

Babypotz - Weaning Made Easy.

Babypotz are dishwasher, steriliser, microwave and freezer safe, BPA Free, reusable and stackable pots. They come in different sizes and our starter pack contained 10 of 30ml, 60ml, 90ml, 120ml and 150ml pots. Babypotz make for an ideal storage solution during weaning. Different sizes are just what you need so you can fill them with different food and quantities depending on your requirements.

As we are just starting for this moment we use carrot, peas, potato, parsnip, pumpkin as well as apple, pear and bananas. Babypotz make measuring of the food easy. I know the size of each pot and I can easily mix different flavours to get the total quantity of food I need for each meal.

Each Babypot comes with its own lid. The lids are quite secure and so far we haven’t experienced any accidents with them coming off. The pots are easy to clean but I wouldn’t personally recommend putting them into dishwasher – they are very light and tend to move to much; after a wash cycle I never seem to find one in the same spot that it was in before the wash program started.

Babypotz Starter Set has a RRP of €21.99 (or £17.98 via Amazon.co.uk) There is an option to order some labels (at an additional cost) or you can purchase pots in your favourite size only – currently you can pick pots starting from 30ml going up to a massive 710ml. For the full stock list please visit Babypotz website.

In addition to using Babypotz during meal times, we also use them for freezing. They are simply ideal for this purpose. Here is our creation of a pumpkin puree ready to take a trip to the freezer 😉

Babypotz – Weaning Made Easy.

Do you batch cook and freeze baby food or do you prefer shop bought pouches and jars?

Do you like the idea of Babypotz?

Babypotz – Weaning Made Easy

Ready, Steady, Wean!

Ready, Steady, Wean!

Yes, it is that time already.

Baby is bored with just drinking milk, so the time has some to start weaning.

This is both an exciting time whilst being at the same time scary…

Will he like it?

Will he eat it?

What to try first?

100s of questions and a bag of mixed answers… should we just play “eeny, meeny, miny, moe…” to pick the correct one?

It was time to look for some help.

Cow & Gate offers an online Five Step Weaning Plan with lots of useful information and tons of great tips. The program (as per its name) is split into five steps:

  • First spoonfuls
  • Introducing breakfast
  • Introducing Variety
  • Meat, Fish & alternatives
  • Establishing 3 meals a day

Each step has a clear description and a lot of tips to make this step of the journey as easy and as pleasant as possible for both the baby and the parent. My favourite part of the website is the recipe collections perfect for each step. As we are on step one, we have 10 quick and easy purees to pick from.

Step 1 Recipes from Cow & Gate

We’ve made some Carrot Puree using the quick and easy instructions on the Cow & Gate website:

Ingredients:

1 medium carrot

Your baby’s usual milk or cooled, boiled water

Method:

Peel carrot, and cut into slices ½ cm thick.

Steam them for 8−10 min until soft.

Cool slightly, then add 2 tbsp of the water or milk.

Blend with a food processor or hand blender until runny and smooth. Add more liquid if you need.

It is important to experiment in the beginning. Let your baby pick the flavours he or she likes; let them discover at their own pace what real food tastes like.

For us it wasn’t very hard. Leo was eager to try something new. He opens his mouth and waits for more yummy “mash” to arrive. I think he is enjoying this time, despite making really funny unhappy faces at times.

1. Ready, Steady, Wean!2. Ready, Steady, Wean!3. Ready, Steady, Wean!4. Ready, Steady, Wean!5. Ready, Steady, Wean!

Do you have any weaning tips for us?

Something you do or did in the past which made the whole process easier?

* We received a small goodie bag from Cow & Gate containing feeding spoons, sipping cup and a food selection to help us start the weaning process.