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Homemade Pet Food Guidelines

Today’s Guest Blog, “Homemade Pet Food Guidelines” is authored by Mary Nielsen. Enjoy!

 

 Although there are a lot of good pet foods out there, and such foods as grain free or organic types are incredibly good for your pet, you always have the choice of deciding to make your own. Certainly, by doing so you can control exactly what goes into it every step of the way.

But before you think you can just throw your pooch a side of beef for dinner, or your kitty cat a chicken leg, there’s more to it than that. Just like you and I, your pet may enjoy just having chunks of meat for dinner every day, but the reality is that they will be healthier and happier if their meals are balanced, just like mine and yours. That might be the reason why you want to make home made pet food in the first place so that they are as healthy as they can be. So, here are the basics, and since the diets are different for dogs and cats, we’ll start with dogs first.

 

Homemade Pet Food

Canine Diet

Of course, you’ve already guessed that meat makes up the one single most important part of their diet, but this will give you a break down on how much and the other ingredients that must be added for proper nutrition.

  • Protein — This can be any type of meat from beef, pork, lamb, venison, what have you, and it should make up 40% of the total diet. If you can supply this amount of protein on a daily basis, then you are on your way towards proper doggy nutrition. One thing to take note of is that some of their calories must come from fat. Whether it is in the meat that you grind up, or whether your pour some liquefied fat into the mix, dogs need fat in their diet.
  • Vegetables — You may think that dogs are strictly carnivores, and while you won’t see them out grazing with cows, they need a proportion of their diet made up of veggies. Think about this for a second. Did you ever see your dog chewing on grass? They need that roughage and fiber to keep their digestive process normal. Vegetables like green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots and others, are wonderful for your pup, and they are filled with vitamins and minerals that aren’t readily found in meat. 
  • Carbs — Beans are a great source of carbs, and you’ll only need 10% per serving. Grains work too, but if you want to go grain free, then stick with beans and/or potatoes.
  • Calcium — As a supplement for strong bones and teeth, grind up some egg shells into their meals.

If you follow those basics when making home made dog food, your dog will thrive!

 

Homemade Pet FoodFeline Diet

Just like home made dog food, cat food you make yourself is very similar. But there are differences, so here is the breakdown.

  • Protein — Cats need at least 25% to 30% protein in their diet, but here is a major difference between dogs and cats. 15% to 20% of their diet must come from fat. Whether you grind up chunks of fat for their food or pour liquefied fat over the top, they need at least 15% of their calories to come from fat. Another thing to consider is protein quality. Eggs offer the best quality of protein for kitty, with fish coming in second. Lamb is also high, and so is poultry. Beef and pork may be easier to get, but they are also more difficult for a cat to digest, and therefore it is harder to extract the protein that is needed.
  • Veggies — Your cat needs fiber for proper digestion, and they get it with their veggies. Add in about 50% vegetables, including oats, rice, sweet potato, broccoli and others.
  • Carbs — 10% carbs will do the trick. Beans are a good choice here.
  • Supplements — Supplements like fish oil, taurine, egg shell calcium and ground bone powder are a must for homemade food and should make up 10% of each meal. This is a major difference between dog and cat food, and supplements must be added to keep your cat healthy and vibrant.

If you are going to make your own dog or cat food, make sure you do it correctly, or it will be more of a problem than it’s worth and can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies if it isn’t done right.

About Author

Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She started MySweetPuppy.net to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

 

Recalls from Blue Buffalo and Wellness Pet Food Brands

The FDA released a statement regarding recalls of Blue Buffalo and Wellness brand pet foods. These voluntary recalls were prompted by the possibility that the food contains thyroid hormones: 

“March 27, 2017  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising pet owners and caretakers, veterinarians, and the pet food industry to be aware that pet food and treats made with livestock gullets (meat from the throat region) have the potential to contain thyroid tissue and thyroid hormones. Pets that eat food or treats containing thyroid hormones may develop hyperthyroidism, a disease that is rare in dogs and usually triggered by thyroid cancer.

…symptoms of hyperthyroidism include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, increased appetite, restlessness, hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, rapid and/or labored breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Continued exposure to excess thyroid hormones can cause damage to the heart and in some cases, death.”

 

Additional information about the Blue Buffalo recall is in their press release:

 “Blue Buffalo Voluntary Recall: One Lot of BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain RecipeTM Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs Due to Potential Health Risk.”

Blue Buffalo

 

The Wellness company posted a note to consumers on their website:

“At WellPet, our team takes food safety matters very seriously.  …in an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily recalling a limited amount of one canned dog food product. A small amount of one recipe has the potential to contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Our Consumer Affairs team has received no reports of any health problems as a result of feeding this recipe. No other Wellness products are affected.”

food recalls

 

If you have pet foods from either of the recalls, contact the respective manufacturer right away. If your pet shows signs of possible illness, consult your vet. 

Dog Food Reviews

dog food

Dog Food Ingredients

“In early 2015, the law firm of Morgan and Morgan filed a class action lawsuit against Purina over ingredients found in its line of Beneful dog food. Despite this lawsuit, and the thousands of complaints of kidney failure that led to it, the products remain available to purchase at a store near you.”

In 2016, Reviews.com went on a quest to find which commercially available dog foods have quality ingredients. They spent over 1,400 hours researching more than 2,000 formulas to compile a list of the best ones:

“After reviewing all 2,223 formulas, we ended up with 134 dog food formulas — manufactured by 29 brands — that we confidently recommend.”

10 of Our Favorite Dog Food Brands

  1. Orijen
  2. ACANA
  3. Eagle Pack
  4. Fromm
  5. Nature’s Logic
  6. Stella & Chewy’s
  7. Wysong
  8. Pinnacle
  9. Primal
  10. Hi-Tek Naturals

See the complete list here and find out if your brand is on it: Best Dog Foods

NOTE: If you decide to change your dog’s food, remember to transition from the old diet to the new one in stages to prevent an upset tummy. Start by replacing about 25% of the old food in your pet’s meal with the new diet. Feed that mix for a few days. Next, feed a 50/50 mix then go down to a mix of 25% of the old food with 75% of the new formula. Finally, transition to 100% of the new diet. If loose stool occurs, cut back on the amount of new food in each meal until stools are normal then proceed. As always, if diarrhea, vomiting and/or lethargy occur, consult your veterinarian.

“Bone” appetite!

5 Gifts for the High Tech Pet Lover in your Life

pet

Technology has given us lots of great tools to play with, so why not enhance the lives of pet owners as well?  You probably have someone who is always buying the latest gadgets every year who is always looking for the next big thing, why not surprise them by showing them a new world of tech for pets!

Take a look at these five awesome gifts that both pet and owner will love to have!

1    FitBark

The name isn’t false advertising, the FitBark does a great job at tracking your dog’s activity, heart rate, trends, and comparisons to what other dogs with similar breeds and builds are at.  This is also a great community-building app that allows you show your family and friends how your pet dog is doing, including an easy photo sharing feature built into the app.

2    iFetch

Get ready for the future of dog entertainment.  Do you or your loved ones ever complain about not having enough time to play with their dogs?  iFetch is here to save the day, it’s an automated, interactive, ball fetching machine that disperses little tennis balls all by itself.  You can adjust the iFetch to toss your dog balls at distances of 10-30 feet.  Your dog doesn’t even need to wait for you to refill the iFetch, they can activate it by dropping the balls into the funnel.  This is man’s second-best friend.

3    Electronic SmartDoor

More new tech that makes the jobs as pet owners much easier, the Electronic SmartDoor is programmed to only let in approved pets.  It’s the VIP bouncer of pet doors.  It works via RFID tag that attaches to your pet’s collar, which activates the door as soon as your dog comes within range, then locks back when it leaves.  You can also program the door to only allow your pet to enter or only allow them to exit, which is great for reducing the amount of traffic in and out of your home.  A handy training device for new pet owners.

4    GoPro Fetch

Ever wanted to see the world from your dog’s perspective?  Of course, who wouldn’t want to fly on the back of a rambunctious little furball as they’re fetching Frisbees and chasing people!  GoPro Fetch is a easy to wear harness for dogs to cradle your GoPro camera on them securely and comfortably.  We can see some aspiring home movie directors making good use out of this gift.  Could this spark a new wave of Lassies, Wishbones, or Chances?

5    Whistle

If you’re looking for something that does a little more than act as a FitBit tracker, you might be waiting for the Whistle, a high-tech activity monitor that measures more than distance and heartbeats.  This little collar attachment can actually traces their habits and show you what your dog’s behavior looks like, so that you can see how much activity they are getting throughout the day, not just cumulatively.

Thanksgiving food: NOT for your dog

Thanksgiving

 

The holiday that is synonymous with family and food, Thanksgiving is also an exciting time for our pets.  All the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes for dogs to sample is like visiting doggy heaven.  We, as dog owners, need to be extra vigilant during the holidays about what we allow our dogs to eat, though.  There are still plenty of ingredients that can make our pets sick, and possible cause damage to their digestive system, liver, kidneys, or worse.  Here are some foods you want to avoid at all costs.

 

Real Bones

Stick to milk bones or toy bones for your dog.  Giving them leftover turkey, chicken, or other animal bones might appear to be a great gesture for your pet, but you would be putting them at-risk for some serious problems if they happen to start chipping away at them and swallowing pieces.  The bone shards can put their lives in danger if they cut into them on the way down, and out.

Raw Dough and Batter

Even though it tastes good and even if the cookie batter doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients, like chocolate, it can still cause major issues with your dog’s digestive tract if you feed it to them uncooked.  This is because dog’s have a higher average body temperature than we do, so the heat can trigger the raw batter to expand and making your dog want to throw it back up, or worse, depending on how far along the digestive process it is.

Alcoholic Beverages

You may have seen some funny videos of dogs drinking beer, but in reality this is not just some harmless fun.  Alcohol can make dogs really gassy, nauseous, and get really sick.  They can start vomiting, have seizures, and not to mention the immediate stress that is placed on their liver.  Dogs can die from drinking much less alcohol than you would assume.

Nuts

For multiple reasons, nuts are bad for your dogs.  There’s an immediate choking hazard involved, as they can’t chew them properly, there’s a hidden toxicity that can potentially kill dogs, and there is the process of having to pass them when they defecate, which can potentially damage their rectum/anus.

Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic

Many vegetables are potentially harmful to dogs, but these three ingredients will be in a lot of Thanksgiving dishes, so they are worth pointing out.  All three of these ingredients contain toxic properties to a dog’s digestive system.  Onions and garlic can kill off red blood cells, which can cause your dog to become anemic, which is not immediately apparent, but can cause damage to organs.

Nutmeg

This ingredient can ruin perfectly good dishes that are great for dogs, namely sweet potatoes and pumpkin.  That is because nutmeg can affect your dog’s central nervous system and cause seizures and nerve damage.

During the holidays and beyond, always keep your dog safe by avoiding these mentioned items.  Always use caution when tossing your dog any human food.  If you’re not sure he should be eating it, then don’t take any chances.  Negligence on your part could result in a very sick dog – or worse.

Why does my dog steal things and how can I make him stop?

As a dog owner, there’s a good possibility that you may have randomly come across a long lost sock, hairbrush, t-shirt or other object.  Being the culprit, your dog may be particularly good at hiding things in corners or under places where you would least expect them to go.  Why is it that they want to hide things? What can you do to keep them from getting their paws on something that might pose a choking hazard?

What Dogs Do

Behavior like “burying a bone” is found throughout many breeds, it’s inherent to their primal instincts.  The dog sees these random objects as toys that they might want to play with or teethe  on. So, they will extract said toy from your room and place it somewhere private so that you don’t take it back.  Dogs are smart in this sense, however, they don’t register this behavior as “bad” or theft, as humans do. It’s a sort of finder’s keepers rule in the animal kingdom.

If the dog is taking something right out of your hand, it’s either finding something irresistibly delicious or wanting to play a game of keep away with you.  Don’t chastise them or overreact, dogs need lots of attention and playtime. Snatching something will get your attention and “a dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do”!

How to Help your Dog

Try buying some more toys for them to chew or play with around the house.  Look into different types that they may not have.  It’s quite possible if they’re just bored with the ones they have.  In the meantime, try being more careful with leaving things around the house that they can reach.  As far as stealing food, you may want to look into ways of training them to better respect people when they are eating.  You should not allow your dogs to beg for food if they are already well-fed.  That means no staring if they are in the same room and certainly no food given at the table.  If you want to give your dog some scraps, you should wait until everyone is finished and deposit the food into their bowels.

Be Cautious

It is still possible that your dog may have a diet and/or digestive problem, so if their begging seems to be a bit more urgent and persistent, you may want to have their veterinarian examine them.  There are special doggy diets to make sure they are getting the proper level of calories, fiber, and nutrients to keep them satisfied and healthy.

That about sums up the case of the dog robber.  Just remember: keep objects they might want out of reach, keep them occupied with plenty of their own toys and your attention, and keep them well-mannered, well-fed, and you will see a lot less disappearing magic acts by your pup.

Cats and how to interpret sounds/vocalizations 

Cat

Cats possess a wide range of vocalizations second and when you are able to interpret the various sounds, you will have a better relationship with your cat. Usually, kittens and domestic felines are more vocal than older and feral cats. Also, some breeds are more vocal than others; for example Persian, Russian Blue, Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cats are not as vocal as the Asian breeds of cats.
Cats make numerous sounds and only an attentive owner will eventually understand and interpret them appropriately. A few of the more common sounds will be examined shortly.
“MEOW”: A cat will meow for most things; it can be tagged as a “multi-purpose” sound. Usually, this is a call for attention and the context will let you know the appropriate response to give.
Growling or hissing: this sound is heard when your cat feels threatened by something in its environment. This is one angry, frightened or aggressive cat and should be left alone.
Purring: Usually used when the kitty is happy and contented. It may also be used when they are agitated or worried about something; the body posture will help tell you which one it is.
Trills, Chirps, or Twittering: this sound is used when mother cats want their kittens to pay attention and follow them. They also use it when they want you to follow them to check something out, usually their empty food bowl. When these sounds come in short tones, your cat may be excited about something.
Howls or Yowls: this is usually a distress call, and is used when they are in pain or they have gotten themselves into a situation they cannot get out for, say a closet for example. In some cats, especially when not neutered, they are signs of a mating behavior and marking of their territory. Some cats will also let out this long moan simply because they are bored. However, if a cat howls or yowls frequently, a trip to the veterinary might be in order.
Screams and caterwauling: these are the mating sounds of a cat in heat and usually draw in the males. The screams come after the mating happens, so if you find it disturbing; it is advisable that you have your cats sterilized. Cats that are caught in a fight, for whatever reason may also emit these screams.
Growling and snarling: this usually indicates fear or anger, can also be used to warn another cat that they are crossing into another cat’s territory. These sounds are usually high pitched and may begin or end with a yowl. The cat may exhibit certain defensive body postures that you should be on the lookout for.
Having a better understanding of what your cat is trying to say, will ensure that you have a better relationship and develop stronger bonds with your kitty.

Why Does My Cat Scratch on Things?

Cat-ScratchThere’s nothing worse than coming home to the surprise redecorating of your kitchen table’s legs or living room upholstery, courtesy of your cat’s scratching instinct.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has some inexplicable scratch problem that most other cat owners don’t experience as well.  There are many reasons why a cat will scratch anything sturdy enough to take a beating.  Let’s examine this further. [Read more…]

Liver Disease in dogs

DDD_liver_gallbladder_pancreas-150x150The liver is one of the most important organs in the body of your dog. It performs various functions like aiding blot clot, digestion, detoxification of waste products, and manufacturing of the body’s building blocks. If the liver fails to work properly, your pet can fall sick causing hepatitis which can progress into serious liver disease.

The liver is prone to being affected by a variety of diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, toxicities and neoplastic and degenerative diseases. According to canidae.com, “Canine liver disease is the fifth leading cause of death for dogs, and it’s estimated that three percent of all diseases veterinarians see are connected to the liver”. However, liver diseases can be treated and your pet can make a full recovery. [Read more…]

Cats Whiskers

mittens2Did you know that the breed of cat called the ‘Sphinx’ often has little to no whiskers?  It’s true.  Do you even know what whiskers are and why cats have them? Well, truth be told – whiskers are quite important for our felines friends. The hairs commonly found on a cat’s face are called whiskers. They are long, thick, flexible, and they are also known as “tactile hairs” or vibrissae. Apart from the hairs which are located in horizontal rows on the cat’s cheeks, above their eyebrows and their chin, cats whiskers are also on their legs. [Read more…]