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.

World Cucumber Day – Cats vs Cucumber

The cucumber biologically speaking is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are widely used as culinary vegetable. It’s just a fruit used as a veg so how come over a third of cats on the planet has an irrational fear of cucumbers?

The cucumber biologically speaking is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are widely used as culinary vegetable. It’s just a fruit used as a veg so how come over a third of cats on the planet has an irrational fear of cucumbers? Hendrick's Gin enlisted the help of animal behaviourist Dr Roger Mugford to create a fool-proof cucumber exposure programme to help our feline friends cope with this irrational fear.Hendrick’s Gin enlisted the help of animal behaviourist Dr Roger Mugford to create a fool-proof cucumber exposure programme to help our feline friends cope with this irrational fear.

According to Dr Mugford, the suspicious nature of cats is what leads to the innate fear of the mighty cucumber – the oddness and unusual persona of the green fruit makes them feel uneasy.

Have you ever seen any of the “cats Vs cucumber” videos on YouTube? They are simply hilarious! I love my cats and I would never test them versus a cucumber but I have to admit that the reaction of some cats is simple unreal, have a look:

Funny isn’t it?

At this point you might ask why Hendrick’s Gin is spending its time trying to get to the bottom of a cats fear of cucumbers. Well:

“The cucumber is at the core of our gin, which is oddly infused with cucumber itself, the gin that is, not the cucumber – a cucumber is wholly made of cucumber”, says David Piper, Hendrick’s Global Brand Ambassador. “Cats have an illogical fear of cucumbers – so as inventors of the cucumber garnish, we have to act responsibly and ensure cats feel at ease as we enjoy our Hendrick’s libations garnished, of course, with a cucumber, on World Cucumber Day. Did I mention the importance of cucumbers?”

Hendrick’s Gin created their own cats versus cucumbers video which is full of tips on how to keep your cat calm and comfortable on this World Cucumber Day.

So when it comes to cucumbers, cat friendly tips include:

  1. Storing cats away from cucumbers
  2. Play some suitably serene music to help cats relax and forget about cucumbers
  3. Incremental exposure may acclimatise cats to cucumbers – limiting their fear
  4. Disguise a cucumber for feline use (for example put it into a paper bag and let them discover it themselves in their own time)
  5. Try not to appear frightened yourself when confronted by a cucumber – the more loyal cats out there may jump to your defence
  6. Rest assured that once the cucumber is submerged in a Hendrick’s and tonic, cats will not experience anxiety of any kind

I hope you will find these tips useful! After all we all love a good laugh but as responsible pet owners we do have to take the wellbeing of our cats into consideration too.

Have a wonderful World Cucumber Day!

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.

How To Care For Your Pet in The Summer Months

Most of us look forward to the summer months, when the weather brightens and we get to spend more time outdoors. Warmer weather can be extremely pleasant; however, there are times when it can get very hot and when you may need a little extra protection for yourself and family members, especially children and your pets. Here are a few important things to bear in mind when you’re gearing up for summer fun with your four-legged friend.

Most of us look forward to the summer months, when the weather brightens and we get to spend more time outdoors. Warmer weather can be extremely pleasant; however, there are times when it can get very hot and when you may need a little extra protection for yourself and family members, especially children and your pets. Here are a few important things to bear in mind when you’re gearing up for summer fun with your four-legged friend.Pest control

Just as you may use a combined sunscreen and insect repellent to stay safe, so summer is the time when fleas and ticks breed quickly, and you need to make sure you protect your dog in a similar way. Your pets may well carry pests into the house, so ensure you use reliable treatments for fleas, mites and ticks, and keep your pet healthy by administering dog worming tablets. There are different products available depending on the size of your dog or puppy, and vets generally recommend a dose every three to six months.

Overheating

During a warm spell, keep a close eye on your dog when out walking, and take along a doggy water bottle in case of overheating. Watch out for indoor temperatures as well, as rooms with a lot of windows may become hot and uncomfortable for pets. It you are travelling or transporting your dog by car, make sure you have a suitable carrier with which the dog is familiar, and plenty of food and drink if the journey is a long one. Never leave your dog alone in a car on a hot day, even if a window is partially open.

Comfort

It is common sense not to take dogs for a walk or energetic exercise during the hottest part of the day, and always make sure your pet has access to some shade. You might like to try placing a small, shallow paddling pool in a shady corner and encouraging your pet to make the most of it. While it’s tempting to relieve longer-haired dogs of some of the weight from their coats, do proceed with caution as many dogs are protected from sunburn by their thick coats. Generally, dogs shed a lot of hair in summer anyway, leaving them with a lighter coat. It’s more important to make sure your dog is groomed regularly – bathing and brushing help air to circulate and will keep your pet cooler.

You may find that it’s worth investing in a small fan to help keep your rooms cool during the hotter summer months. Dogs will often gravitate towards cooling air if they are overly warm, so a strategic position near where they eat or sleep is a useful idea.

Finally, be sure to provide some summer treats with a cooling effect – you can even get doggy ice cream that is dairy free and safe, usually made from vegetable and fruit puree. Your dog will really enjoy the treats, and they’ll help it keep cool.