Jun 24

Vet Dog Food Alternatives

No trip to the vet is complete without the usual vet dog food suggestions and offers. I guess we have to face it that vets these days are just like any other enterprise or business and are in the practice of up selling and offering products in order to increase their profit from your visit.

I know we all trust our Vets with our pets lives and health so how can we really argue with them when it comes to food?

Who should we believe about the best food for dogs?

Vet dog food suggestions My most recent trip to the vet was to restock my dogs dry food which is a specialty food to assist with allergies. It was one of the suggestions from my Vet about food to combat his allergic reactions however it’s not cheap but appears effective. I do realize its far more expensive than normal supermarket or pet food alternatives but feel I am making this call the save money in the long run in vet fees.

As an alternative my lady keeps suggesting I try one of the more natural organic dog food alternatives but for now I’m worried that if i change his diet again, his allergies may get worse and I’m back to frequent vet visits. Below are some of the foods I have tested;

So what have I tried?

What I’ve tried so far and that has worked quite well for me (or should i say, Leo my Labrador) is Royal Canin and Hills Science Diet dry food.

Royal Canin best food for dogs

My Lab has joint dysplasia and so in order to work with his joints and keep them working properly I really have to monitor his diet and weight.

I tested the Royal Canin Canine Vet Diet Obesity Management DP34 briefly before settling back into the normal Hypoallergenic. It was useful to lean my Labrador up but as its only prescribed by Vets am not sure this is a long term solution for my guy (quite cost prohibitive).

The good news is due to the dysplasia I can’t walk him as far or run with him before he starts to limp and so his energy / food requirements are a little less. He is just a little less active and so accurate measurement and use of the Royal Canin is that little bit easier.

Hills Science Diet vet dog food suggestions

Another of  the offers or Vet dog food suggestions is the Hills Science Diet. They also have a dry food for large dogs such as my Labrador that assist with health and joint mobility. I did some homework before buying (we all do this right?) and from the reviews it appeared that many dog owners swear by it. I cant say he is any more mobile from this food and I actually feel its costing a bit more than the Royal Canin alternative in the long run. (Slightly different measuring system and amount).

The cost of Dog Food Alternatives

The issue i have with all of these dry dog foods is the astronomical cost of them in both the cost of the food itself and my time to make my way to the vet. As every owner can agree it seems that every trip I take to the vet has a bigger bill attached to it.

As soon as these thoughts are out of my head however I instantly feel guilty that I am putting my wallet in front of my beautiful dogs health and well being and well, that’s not right either!!  So what to do?  I want him to be happy, pain free, healthy and mobile and obviously have a great quality of life but save myself as much cash as i can at the same time.

Your thoughts on best food for dogs?

The joy of pet ownership!!  Vet bills and pet health issues in this financial climate will certainly take a toll on every pet owners pockets. And with some families needing to juggle their finances appropriately to care for ALL of their family members (human and animal), so anything that can assist in keeping costs down and pet health at it’s optimum is a great start to the juggle. Here are some of my tips;

  • Measure cost of Vet dog food alternatives against retail but also dont forget to measure your pets consumption. With some foods you can feed your dog less!
  • Don’t forget to factor in vet bills versus cost of food. Its no use supplying cheap food and receive huge bills in return.
  • Pay attention to your pet on the varied diets. Does he look happier? How glossy is his coat?
  • I know its a horrible task but also pay attention to his waste. You can tell a lot about your pets condition by his waste.

 

Leave a comment about your thoughts?

Mar 20

How to check if your Labrador Retriever is overweight

Labrador Retriever is overweight Labrador Retrievers are amongst one of the most popular breeds of dogs, known for their soft, loyal and energetic nature that makes them an ideal dog for any family home particularly where children are involved. However they are also well know for their susceptibility for easy weight gain.

If your Labrador is carrying around excess weight this can be detrimental to his or her health, bringing about hip dysplasia, arthritis and many other illnesses if not treated. This being awful for the dog but also for the finances, due to the accumulation in huge vet bills over the years.

If you are concerned that your Labrador Retriever is over weight then the simple techniques listed below will help you decide whether or not you should consider putting your dog on a diet, and if so what the best diet option is.

  • Feel your dogs ribs: you should not be able to see your dogs ribs as this means your dog is likely to be underweight, however you should be able to feel them with out having to feel around too much.
  • Look for curvature: When overweight some Labradors will take on the form of a rectangle. The healthy form of a Labrador should be curved and tucked up before the hindquarters.
  • Your dog should not be out of breath and excessively panting after short walks: Labrador Retrievers are energetic dogs; hence this variable will need to be taken into serious consideration if you are considering buying one. They will need regular exercise to keep them at a healthy weight.
  • If you need some empirical evidence that your Lab is overweight then the ideal weight for a male dog should be between 27 – 36 kg and between 25 – 32 kg for a female. If you want to quickly work out what the weight of your dog is then use the bathroom scales, work out your weight, pick up the dog and jump on the scales again, look at the total with both of you on the scales and deduct your weight from the total, this will leave you with your dogs weight.

Labrador Retriever

 

If you are concerned that you’re dog if overweight then it’s time you put it on a diet. Changing the feed you use will be the first thing to consider. If you are uncertain as to where to look for a prescription pet food then Hills dog food is a good place to start as Hills prescription diet is specially formulated for dogs that are overweight.

Jan 24

Dog Swimming Games – Make it fun

Dog Swimming Games

Its summer and I can never have enough swimming!!

Dog Swimming Games

Face it dogs love swimming. Its very rare to find a dog that wont enjoy a plunge in your pool, river or the local pond (sometimes to the detriment of the back seat in your car). But owners often forget to include simple training ideas when playing with your dog in the water.

  1. Commands work. Don’t forget to make the occasion one also of training by including commands inside your play. Make sure you dog hears the correct “command word” when he is in the middle of his swim and returns to your side. Utilizing your reward toy and employing positive praise when they behave to your expectation is the key to ensure your dog understands your requests and has fun and learns at the same time.
  2. Toys make Dog Swimming games work. Don’t forget a throw toy like a tennis ball, stick or a tug of war rope for playing in the water and even a long leash in case your not quite leash free yet. All these simple toys all make the playtime work for training and fun. With the right toys it can be the difference to your over excited dog romping all over the place causing havoc and your well controlled behaved dog being the envy of other bystanders.
  3. You are getting in the water right? I used to have to wear a wetsuit with my Labrador as he would scratch my chest trying to sit on my lap in the water. You participating with your dog will be what makes the moment special. Sure it wont always be warm enough for you but romping in the water with your dog renews the bond between yourself and him. You can keep a closer eye on them from in the water than on the side. You can also direct and control the fun making it more useful for training. Shouting out words from the side of a pond is probably not going to reinforce any training benefits for you.
  4. Safety comes first. If its somewhere with a strong current like a river or the surf make sure you consider your pets safety. If its too rough find somewhere else like a side lake or pond to play. Utilize the long leash mentioned above to keep your dog safe and safe but more importantly yourself as well. As a fellow dog owner I know in a crisis I would probably go in after my dog if he was in trouble and may likely put myself in jeopardy too.

Dog Swimming Games are for owners too.

I am a big fan of including my dog in everything I do but perhaps we should also remember to include ourselves in their games as well. I see so many dog owners sitting down while their dogs play like its all just too hard. Everything our dogs do can include training as well as fun but if your not active how can you change simply play into learning time?

 

***Photo thanks to dionhinchcliffe and his dog Champ***

Dec 20

What to feed my dog? 5 Important things for my Dogs Diet.

What to feed my dog

Dog Heaven

If you are like me, your dog is family if not more. I always want to do the best for my dog and his health and seeing him happy and healthy is good enough reason to give some thought to his dietary intake. This includes buying the best dog food that I can and asking the question as often as possible with experts and other dog owners about what to feed my dog. With so many different brands of dog food on the market, and so many different experts, opinions and theories, it’s important to do your research before buying dog food.

As a rule of thumb (and there is many rules to choose from)  most dogs should be on a primary diet of dry dog food. Therefore, this article will focus on how to pick the best dry dog food for your furry companion.

Important things to decide on what to feed my dog.

There are 5 important things to think about when deciding on the best food for your dog

  • First, a good general guideline for a healthy dog’s diet is food consisting of approximately 50% meat and 50% vegetables. That means no or minimal grain, wheat or other filler. Sometimes this is hard to determine from the information provided on the regulated part of the label (i.e. the guaranteed analysis or the ingredient list). Don’t stress too much, just do the best you can. Reading the back of a label can be enlightening (or worrying) and I know I started doing this when I needed to work out a allergy solution with what to feed my dog.

  • Second, try to make sure that the protein source is from meat. On average (depending on process) It takes about 5 lbs of animal meat to make 1 lb of dog food. Some types of meat included are chicken, lamb or venison. Even if 1 source of protein is listed first, be sure to scan the rest of the list to check for unhealthy filler or substances you don’t want.
  • Third, grains are not necessarily bad. Any grain you feed to your dog should ideally be used in its whole form. The best grains for your dog, when used in the proper proportions, are rolled oats, barley, quinoa, millet and brown rice.
  • Fourth, dogs are carnivores by nature. However, a well-planned vegetarian diet can work for dogs. If you feel strongly about this, please consult your veterinarian to determine the dog food for your situation.
  • Fifth, there are several retail and prescription only dog foods available for specific conditions such as diabetes, skin conditions, allergies, weight loss and joint problems. Before starting your dog on any of these types of feeding regimens, consult your veterinarian on the best solution for your dog specific needs.

Last thoughts for you to remember with What to feed my dog?.

Maintaining an active nutrition for dogs does take some time, but similarly to picking out your food, you should do

You mean I shouldn't be in here??

You mean I shouldn’t be in here??

your research and pick out the best dry dog food. Take your budget into consideration as well. Coupons are often available in the paper, online or at your veterinarian’s office. Follow these helpful tips, and when when your stuck with the question “What to feed my dog?” when in doubt consult your veterinarian

 

 

 

 

 

***Photos thanks to eraphernalia_vintage & Jordan Batch***

Nov 30

Help me my pooch is one of those Fat dogs!

Help I think I am one of those fat dogs!

Fat Dogs

How unhappy do I look?

Within the last few decades, Americans have increased their diet both in quality and in portion size. With human obesity comes a host of diseases, including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. A lesser known fact is that our dog companions can also suffer from obesity and exactly the same range of diseases affect them too. And if anything their health care treatment can come at an equal or greater cost than our own!

Fat Dogs don’t come naturally!

Some animals are naturally predisposed to obesity, while others become obese when their owners treat them a bit too often or leave out the food bowl. Being too busy to exercise your pet certainly wont help. Many Americans view their pets as their children, so spoiling them seems only natural.  The problem is that with fat dogs (owner embarrassment aside) there are many health consequences and when animals become obese you reduce their ilfespan and most certainly their quality of life. As a dog owner you can kill your pet with kindness!

6 easy to follow tips to help your obese pooch

1.  Take the animal to the vet.  The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with the vet to discuss your pet’s weight and how to control it. They can also make sure there aren’t any pressing issues that need dealing with before finding a weight loss solution. Together you and your vet you can come up with a course of treatment like point number 2.

2.   Feed the animal a prescription diet food.  If your animal is obese, the vet will likely prescribe a diet dog food.  A common one that is used is Hills prescription diet dog food for your canine.  Give the exact amount that your vet recommends daily.  You will likely no longer be able to leave the food bowl down for your pet to eat whenever he would like. If a prescription diet is out then take the simple action of feeding your pet 1/3 less than you normally do. Just like humans you don’t want to starve your pet but reduce the weight gradually.

3. As per above some dog breeds if left with an unlimited amount of food will keep eating all day. Remember dogs can scrounge in the wild and will look for food all day. If you provide an endless supply many dogs will take advantage of that. Have specific feeding times and stick to them religiously. Let your pooch learn when feeding time is. Even build some training into your fat dogs daily routine. Let them know they need to sit,stay etc etc before feeding time.

Fat Dogs

This wont help your pet loose weight

4.  Limit treats.  Spoiling our animals with treats feels like a loving action but adding all those high protein tasty snacks on top of their normal diet means your only adding to the problem. Find healthy solutions to treats, do a web search for some ideas or go and look extra hard in the pet food isle or shop next time.
Try some great ideas for dog treats that wont affect their weight.

5.   Let your animal exercise.  Put your walking shoes on, grab the leash and take him for walks as recommended by your vet. And remember to start with steadily increasing distances dont try to for a marathon with your poor overweight dog yet. If you have a good back yard, try to get him to play with a toy that engages him.  Just like humans, exercise helps those Fat Dogs burn up calories and accelerate weight loss.

Dog Obesity ideas

Doesn’t that owner look comfortable sitting down!

6. Find a local dog park and take your pet there to meet other dogs. There is nothing like socializing with other dogs and racing around for 20minutes smelling tails and playing tag with other dogs to help speed up his weight loss. There is also the walk to the park and back to take into account with your fat dogs weight loss regime. The good news is this is slightly less intensive for you (unless you can do with a walk to help shed a few pounds too)

In the real world Americans are struggling with their weight and diet, as are American dogs. However just like you with guidance from the vet and a little discipline, your animal, too, can shed the excess pounds. Perhaps this is the time for your pre-new years resolution for you and your dog to become healthy together!

 

 

***Photo thanks to Jeremy Vandel, Normanack, Inkknife_2000***

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