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?

Pet Health Diary – Body Mass

Pet Health Diary – Body Mass

Well it is the start of the month again so pups in a line and health check time. Whilst checking Lilly’s backbone and ribs for coverage it occurred to me that although I have resolved her problem that it still exists for many people around. In case you’re unsure what I am referring to let me be clear….

Pet obesity is a huge problem and not only in this country. It may be hard to admit but we are actually killing our pets with kindness.

One treat here, one treat there seems innocent enough at the time but all that extra food adds up and the result it’s making our pets fat!

I am not saying that treats are bad, far from it, but we should take them into consideration when planning the daily meal for our pets.

Do you remember our 30 Day Pet Nutrition Challenge with Pets at Home? During our initial consultation I was given a detailed round up on how much food reduction I should practice to make room for all the additional bits and pieces I feed to my dogs. As it ended up I had to reduce their kibble intake by 1/3 – that’s a big cut down from the general recommendations but it paid off. I am sticking to what I was told and three months down the line our Lilly still keeps her ideal weight; she is no longer overweight; she has much more energy and generally seems to be happier.

Keeping our dogs slim is very important. Overweight dogs have a much greater risk of health issues including arthritis or heart problems and their life span is greatly reduced.

It is really important to stay on top of any weight problem when it comes to our pets. A friend of mine has a lovely Beagle type girl called Hopey; she is really sweet little thing but she is huge… when I met her for the first time I honestly thought she was pregnant and about to have a litter. I was wrong. She is simply obese and the owner doesn’t seem to see it as a big problem… 3kg overweight is not a big deal in his opinion… in my opinion yes it is! When you consider that at her ideal weight she should weigh around 10kg, an additional 3kg is a huuuuge deal; that’s an additional 30% of mass. Can you imagine a human with an additional 30% of his or hers body mass. Just a few kilos might sound innocent (if we discount the significant increase to medical issues) when we think about humans as we tend to start off with a large mass. This doesn’t apply to dogs as they start off with such a small mass so it is not innocent when it comes to dogs.

If you are a pet owner please make sure that you check your dogs or cats weight at least once a month. This is really important. Look at this body condition tool on the Purina website, visit your vet if you are in doubt or book yourself a nutrition visit at Pets at Home.

And as we are talking about monthly health routine don’t forget to check everything else we covered last month; don’t forget to Frontline and de-worm your dogs. By the way very recently I’ve came across some new worming tablets for dogs – Veloxa, which is a tasty beef flavoured chewable tablet so no need to hide it in food in order to persuade your dog to eat it 🙂 This should make things easier for most of us. Has anyone used it?

How is your dogs’ weight?

Is it increasing, declining or stable?

Are they at risk of falling into the category of being overweight?

Zoflora, Pets and Christmas – Inforgraphic and Giveaway

Zoflora, Pets and Christmas

We are a nation of pet lovers, there is no doubt about it, but how good are we at making sure our beloved dog, cat or parrot lives in a clean and safe environment?

If you are a regular reader of Bark Time you know that I am huge Zoflora fan. I have been using it for years and I have no problems with recommending it to others. It ticks all the right boxes when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting certain areas in the house… one of those areas is the dog den aka the conservatory 😉 I like the fact that Zoflora kills 99.9% of both bacteria and viruses additionally it is very good with odour elimination, the result it helps me keep the house clean and with winter having arrived “wet dog” odour free.

Zoflora has made a cute infographic about pets and Christmas – have a look…

Pet Infographic from Zoflora Christmas 2014

91% of pet owners buy their pets Christmas gifts… hmmm… what is wrong with the remaining 9%? I guess these must be people who don’t celebrate Christmas… or perhaps they just don’t do any kind of gifting during this festive season…

73% of pet owners will add their pet’s name to any Christmas cards they send – we admit to being one of those owners… our cards always include all our animals names and if we are feeling artistic the paw prints as well.

Whilst on the topic of cards, Zoflora shared with me their selection of pet cards, which you can print out yourself.

Bird - Printable Christmas Cards from ZofloraCat - Printable Christmas Cards from ZofloraDog - Printable Christmas Cards from ZofloraGuinea Pig - Printable Christmas Cards from ZofloraHorse - Printable Christmas Cards from ZofloraRabbit - Printable Christmas Cards from Zoflora

If you would like any of these cards in a large file then please just drop me a line and I will email it to you.

And now for the giveaway… this festival season one of you will receive a Zoflora product bundle and a £25 Pets at Home voucher. So now there is no excuse not to buy your pet a Christmas gift, which is great news, isn’t it?

To be in with a chance of winning this lovely prize, please tell me: do you personally have any special pet related Christmas traditions you carry out?

As an additional bonus entry you can follow me on Twitter and RT my giveaway tweet:

Good Luck!

T&C:
1. Open to UK readers only.
2. One obligatory entry per reader – leave comment on my blog plus extra daily entries in form of a RT.
3. There will be 1 winner in total.
4. The winner will receive 1 x bundle of Zoflora goodies and £25 Pets at Home voucher. The prize will be provided by Zoflora.
5. Winner will be picked at random and informed within 7 working days via email or Twitter.
6. Winner will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
7. Closing date is Monday 15-12-2014 at 23:59pm, any entry made after this time will not be counted.

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

***

16/12

WINNER UPDATE

Well done @JudeVFR400

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?