Tag: food

New Puppy Diet Tips – Feeding Them Right!

 

 

Got A New Puppy? Learn All About Feeding Your New Pet! 

One of the most exciting times in life is when a new member joins the family, be it a human or a pet. Puppies have a special place in our hearts and can send our loving instincts into overdrive, so how to make sure your new puppy gets the nutrition that’s scientifically right for them?

Firstly, it’s important to remind ourselves that human food isn’t suitable for dogs, and may even be harmful – especially for puppies. So while there are some safe foods to share with your dog, try to resist those puppy dog eyes, and don’t be tempted to feed from the table as it will only encourage bad habits and can lead to health problems.

How often?

Guidelines say that just weaned puppies can safely have puppy food they can access throughout the day left out because they are unlikely to overeat at a young age. Just make sure that wet food is replaced before it can go off – dry food tends to be OK. And please don’t forget the water! Pups can dehydrate quickly in warm temperatures, so a clean source of water is as important as nutritious food. Alternatively, consider feeding your new pet four times a day, and switch to three times a day when they reach 4 months of age.

How much?

How much to feed your dog will depend on the breed and the weight they are likely to reach as an adult – females tend to be lighter than males. Overfeeding your dog can lead to dangerous complications, as can the wrong combination of food and supplements. Best to stick to a breed specific puppy food brand, and check out some expert guidelines on feeding your new puppy. If you can monitor their weight with a reliable set of scales, this will be enormously helpful at this stage.

Growing up fast

By the time your dog turns 6 to 12 months, you can feed them twice a day and some puppies will start to switch to adult dog food. Again – check their breed, as larger breeds take longer to reach their full adult size and you’ll still wish to control your pup’s calcium intake to avoid bone problems later on. As dogs grow, you’ll want to start training them and they’ll burn off much energy through walks and exercise, but bear in mind safe levels for feeding and ensure they get dog treats that are right for their breed and age.

Emotional eating isn’t good for humans or dogs

There are plenty of ways you can show your love and praise to your dog that don’t involve food treats, which may be unsuitable or lead to weight problems. Praising your new puppy with cuddles, petting, an enthusiastic voice or simply giving them your full attention is just as effective, if not more, than stuffing them with useless calories.

Keeping those simple rules in mind should give your dog the best start in life, and help you enjoy a long and healthy bond with your beloved pet.

Rabbit Starter Kit – Tips For A Happy Bun!

Did you know that the rabbit population in animal shelters grows every year? Rabbits can be complicated, yet very rewarding pets if you know a few basics beforehand. Before you let that round little rump and those fuzzy paws entice you into an impulse purchase/adoption let us guide you through some of the basics of rabbit ownership!

Rabbits Aren’t Cats or Dogs

It’s important not to treat them as such. They are a very different creature and how you care for them and respect them can be vastly different. Here are a few of the key points you need to be aware of:

  • Rabbits are prey animals, unlike cats or dogs. Their instinct for survival kicks in each time they get spooked and its fairly easy to spook even a familiar rabbit.
  • It’s very important that you let them familiarize themselves with their environment in a quiet and respectful way. You can’t always be quick to scoop them up, or even approach them, if they aren’t used to regular human contact, or are shy.
  • Locate a vet that is trained specifically for rabbits. Cat and dog vets are not necessarily able to treat rabbits so be sure you have one picked out.
  • All pets have different personalities, but rabbits can vary widely. Some are laid back and up for anything, some are stand-offish, even at their best. If you’re adopting, spend time with your rabbit before you commit. Bunnies need forever homes to be truly comfortable, not temporary ones.

Rabbit Supplies

  • Cage/House – Even free-roaming (house tyrants, really) need to have an out-of-the-way bunny specific place that is off limits to you. It’s also important that you have a place you can confine them when doing house projects or when you go out. Rabbits can be dangerously curious and deceptively destructive!
  • Two Litter Boxes – Two are best, one for their cage, one for the house. You may place the litter box where you want, but rabbits frequently will pick their own location and it can be easier to just place the box in the spot they pick.
  • Bunny Litter – Wood chips are fine, but choose Aspen over Pine as pine can be unhealthy for them. Wood pellets and paper are also good choices – Cat litter is a big no-no!
  • Timothy Hay & Pellets – Rabbits should have unlimited access to this delicious hay. They should have a trough in their cage and have access to more while in their litter box. Rabbits are happiest snacking on it while doing their business. Food pellets are also necessary. Choose high quality pellets with lots of vitamins and minerals. Rabbits also love fresh greens like kale, cilantro, spinach, and, as a treat, banana!
  • Grooming supplies – A good, rabbit-specific brush is a must for the shedding season. Good nail clippers are also important.
  • Harness & leash – House bunnies love trips outside! Use a harness with their leash to better protect them and focus on leash training them in the home first, before you venture out. Make sure the space you walk them in is free from predators.
  • Food & Water Supplies – Food and water dishes must be secured. Bunnies are playful critters and anything not secured in their territory is going to get tossed about.

photo credit: Keithius morning chuck via photopin (license)

Camping With Your Dog – Fun, Safety, & More!

Whether its spring, summer, or fall getting back into nature with your dog can be a rewarding experience. Camping is just the change of scenery we all need once in awhile! Campfires, starry nights, swimming, and new smells are a delight to man and beast. Camping can be awesome, but it’s not always as easy as just tossing a tent in the back of your vehicle and hitting the woods – especially if your bringing your dog. Our friends over at Redfin have complied “The Complete Safety Guide for Camping with Dogs”. Here are some of the highlights to get you geared up!

Camping with Fido

  • Prep your dog – Make sure your dog is up to par before taking them out. A young spritely pup will be eager to bounce about the mountains and trails but an older dog may have a hard time keeping up with you. Be sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and is prepared for a potential onslaught of ticks. Your dog is going to encounter lots of aspects of nature they may not be around much at home.
  • Pack for your dog – Don’t forget to bring all the important things you may need for your dog. Make sure your first-aid kit is suitable for both your needs. Check out Redfin for a list of things to include. Leashes are still needed as well as other tether items to help keep your dog in your campsite and not out wrestling bears or snooping around other campers sites. Bring all the things that your pet needs to be comfortable and satisfied!
  • Safe Camping Practices – Keep your dog where you can see them at all times an know what to do in case of emergencies. Lots of interesting smells and new critters can lead a dog to danger quickly! Keep your human food out of their reach, and make sure you know and are following the campsite or park regulations.

Most importantly take it easy and have fun! Prep your pet for camping excursions in small steps! Maybe a night in a tent in the backyard? Then move up to something close and familiar before you hit Yosemite for a week!

photo credit: sonstroem Camp Dog via photopin (license)

Diet Changes for Your Cat – What You Need to Add!

Before cats became civilized and domesticated, their primary diet consisted of raw meat. Of course, you aren’t going to let your cat out to grab a bite to eat for dinner every night, so you’ll feed him/her a commercial cat food. But what kinds are the right ones that provide a balanced and nutritious diet that your fur ball will thrive on?

Well, if you understand the 5 ways to improve their diet, you can keep your kitty happy and healthy for life.

Veggies are Good

You may think that as a carnivore, a cat only needs meat to survive. The truth is that even when they were wild they always took in some veggies by eating grass or the digested vegetation in their prey’s stomach. So, giving your kittycat a few veggies is a nice little treat. Familiarize them into your cat’s diet by mixing them into their regular cat food, or if they will have them, giving bits and pieces as treats. Some veggie suggestions are broccoli, green beans, squash, and carrots, but always make sure that meat makes up the bulk of your cat’s diet. However, a few veggies added every once in a while is a good thing.

Always Serve Cooked Meat

Yes, cats ate raw meat in the wild, and they also got parasites like worms too. Meat treats are terrific for your cat, but be safe and make sure they are well cooked.

Eggs Make Great Snacks

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and B vitamins, and it doesn’t matter if they are sunny side up, over easy or hard boiled. Just make sure they are cooked, and you’ll be good to go.

Add Omega 3’s to Their Diet

Essential fatty acids, like Omega 3’s, are just as good for cats as they are for humans. Cold water fish are loaded with them, they are heart healthy and your cat’s fur will be silkier and shiny. Better still, research shows that they slow the spread of cancer, and if your cat has arthritis, they’ll reduce the inflammation.

… And Probiotics

If your cat has digestive problems, probiotics are the best thing you can do for them. Probiotic supplements are known for creating more effective and efficient digestion while strengthening a cat’s immune system too.

Follow the suggestions as illustrated, and you’ll see for yourself that a healthy diet means a healthy cat.

Thanks Feline Living for the great tips and infographic!

 

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Cookout Pet Safety For Your Summer Vacation

Most schools have let out for the year by now – that means summer is about to get into full swing! A favorite family and community pass time for ages have been the summer cookout. Lawn chairs, cool drinks, colorful dresses, and lots of grilling! Do you know how to keep your pet safe?

Cookout Pet Threats

  • Hot grills and fire pits – Most cats and dogs know better than to sniff around too closely to something that’s on fire, but sometimes the smell of those unattended burgers can be too much for them to bear! All reason goes out the window as they decide it’s worth the risk. Make sure someone is keeping a close eye on the food at all times!
  • Hazardous foods – While most foods found at a cookout might not kill your pet, they could cause some serious stomach upset, especially if they aren’t used to such foods. Onions and avocados are two bellyachers as well as all those preservatives and salt found in chips and hot dogs. Let guests know you’d rather they not feed your pet, or better yet, keep your pets sequestered elsewhere while the bulk of the food is going around!
  • Lawn games – Sometimes cookouts include horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, or other yard sport. An over anxious pet can easily get in the way of participants injuring both them and the guests. Chewing on abandoned lawn toys can pose a choking hazard too.
  • Candles and torches – Keep your pets away from tables with candles or tiki torches to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Strange people – Pets that aren’t used to large groups can become over excited or nervous during cookouts. Especially if there are loud noises like music or fireworks involved too. If your pet is familiar with most of the guests or easily excitable leave them at home or put them inside somewhere with some water, food, and toys of their own. DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN A CAR.

photo credit: frankieleon Dogs and Cats via photopin (license)

Tips Caring For A Pregnant Pet

Congratulations! It’s a boy and a girl and a boy and a girl and… If you’ve got a furry expectant mother on your hands you’re likely to see some different and new behavior. A cat’s gestation period is between 64-67 days, a dog’s is 58-68 days, and a rabbit’s is only 31 days!  You might be wondering what your role is as a standby expectant pet parent? Are there steps you can take to help your pregnant pet? You bet!

Pregnant Pet Tips

  • Lower the Litter Box – If your cat or rabbit is expecting kittens (yup, baby bunnies are called kittens too!) you might need to amend their litter box. High litter boxes can be difficult to get in and out of with a big belly! Consider getting a plastic litter box and cutting one side out of it so they can simply step in and step out. Be sure to place it on a large mat to help with clean-up!
  • Gotta Dog? More Frequent Walks – If you have a dog that you take outside to use the bathroom you may need to make these trips more frequently. Especially if you can’t adapt them to using puppy pads. To maximize your pet’s comfort, you may even need to let them out in the middle of the night too. Unless you want to clean up accidents in the morning!
  • Increased Nutrition – Just like humans, pregnant and nursing pets will have increased nutritional needs. Do your research and talk to your vet about how you may need to change your specific pets food and feeding times to meet their new needs.
  • Provide Nest Material and a Safe Spot – Ultimately your pet will choose where their babies will be born, but you can “offer suggestions” by ensuring they have a comfy out-of-the-way spot with all the things they need to nest.
  • Know Your Pets Behavior – The better you know your pet, the better you’ll be able to address their specific needs and tell when their behavior might be signaling the time is near!

Be sure to find good homes for your new critters and get them fixed as soon as you can! Puppy’s  & kittens can be fixed at about 8 weeks, and rabbits are usually around 6 months.
photo credit: Sukanto Debnath One day old Mongrel pups via photopin (license)

Organize You & Your Pet’s Life This Spring!

Somewhere along the line pet ownership got complicated. Between grooming equipment, travel items, medicine, and toys a pet-friendly home can get pretty cluttered! Don’t waste that valuable time allotted for the dog park trying to find the leash! Check out our top tips to organize your pet-friendly lifestyle this Spring!

Organize Now!

Accessorize – I know, you’re thinking “the last thing I need is more pet stuff!”, but hear me out! When it comes to grooming your pet you’ve got a brush, nail clippers, and shampoo – if you’re a bare minimalist! Maybe you have a moisturizing winter shampoo and a flea & tick summer shampoo? What about a toothbrush? Ear swabs? Conditioner/lotion? Things can add up fast. Instead of cluttering these things up in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen, why not consider a pet grooming caddy? This handy little one below from Everything Mary is under $30 and has room enough to accommodate and organize all your pets grooming needs and more!

Health Needs? Even a healthy pet may need to take medicine from time to time, or even a vitamin. You’ve seen those day-of-the-week pill organizers? Check out this cute pet version from ForgettingthePill.com!

This keeps pills organized, is great for travel and easy to slip into a grooming caddy, first aid or emergency kit, or a medicine drawer or bag.

Have a Car Kit! Don’t waste time looking for the leash, water bowl, or any other travel accessories your pet may need – keep an extra in a travel kit for your pet! Travel kits that are kept in your vehicle are a great idea for quick trips to the dog park, road trips, or to double as an overnight bag if your and/or your pet are staying away from home. You can include a few treats, food, fresh bottled water, toy, leash, and anything else specific to your pets needs!

Consider a Toy Box! Always stepping on a squeaky toy, or even worse, a spiky toy? You put them “away” in whatever area of the home your dog “owns” yet they always get drug back out? Consider a toy box! Adorable and functional for that pet that has everything!

Diet Changes For Your Pet? Read This First!

For most people feeding your dog is simply a matter of grabbing the dry kibble, putting some water in the bowl and hope that your pup loves it.

There is, however, a new movement of feeding dogs a raw diet or supplementing their diets with fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. Of course, dogs evolved from wolves, and therefore they enjoy a diet high in protein, specifically meat based products.

For many of us, knowing what human food to feed a dog can be a challenge. A diet that’s high in fat, sugar, and fillers is bad for dogs – and us, so why should we feed them unhealthy food? Luckily Pet Gear Lab has produced a super handy chart which you can download, print out and stick on your fridge. It lists all the common foods which you can freely feed your pup and those which you should feed moderately, or avoid altogether. It’s handy for kids, elderly parents or even a pet nanny to refer to when they feel like giving your pets tit bits.

This is what it looks like:

Head on over to Pet Gear Lab to grab the download and let us know how you’re getting on with introducing human food into your dog’s diet!

Food Labels and Your Pet’s Needs

Food labels can be confusing – whether they’re for you or your pet! Do you know what your pet is eating?  Keep your pets fit, healthy, and trim by understanding those sometimes tricky labels!

Know Your Pet Food Labels!

  • Know the right quantity – Different pet food has different nutritional values. Talk to your vet and be sure you know what your pet needs for their breed and size, then follow the serving sizes accordingly!
  • Real vs “Flavored” – Know the difference between brands that contains real meat, vs meat flavor. Wording on the bag will let you know approximately how much meat it actually contains, thanks to AFFCO regulations. Food that contains 100% meat is easy to determine – it will say so! Wording gets a little foggier though as that percentage drops. If it drops to around 25% it will often be advertised as “Chicken Dinner” or “Beef entree”. Around 3% will be described as “contains” or “with”, and none at all will say “flavored”.
  • Know how to read the ingredients –  Lots of people don’t know that the order ingredients are listed in (this goes for people food too!) is important!  Ingredient lists are designed to start with the largest quantity, by weight, with the first item listed being the main ingredient and the last item listed being the smallest. The first three ingredients should be the top sources of protein. Most ingredients that come after “salt”, make up less than 1% of the food.
  • Dry vs Wet – Most adult pets eat a dry kibble, but you should know that there is a greater difference between dry and wet food than just the texture! This handy infographic will help you understand:

You are what you eat, and that goes for your pets too! Make smart choices and know your pets unique needs.

Gardening For Your Pet – Grow Your Own Treats!

As March creeps closer one can’t help but feel Spring fever take hold and the pull to do a little gardening! Whether you live in the city or out in the sticks there is a gardening style to suit both you and your pet! Each pet has their own personality so try a few options from your grocery store to find out their preferences and then get busy planting!

Gardening for your Pet

The Urban Gardner: Here you may be restrained to window or balcony boxes and indoor planters. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow pet-friendly treats and snacks! Catnip is a given. It’s easy to cultivate, pretty and green, and drives kitties crazy! Bunnies also like to give it a nibble. Lemongrass and any variety of mint are also favorites for cats, rabbits, and even some dogs! Trays of wheat grass are an attractive multi-pet friendly option for indoor gardening and can be found at most pet supply shops!

Gardening for your pets!

The Backyard Gardener: If you’ve got a little space like a fenced in courtyard or a full backyard garden your options expand a lot! Many of the indoor varieties listed above are also great options for outdoor gardening. Lavender is a lovely fragrant plant that some dogs enjoy chewing. Other common vegetable garden plants dogs enjoy include spinach, pumpkins, green beans, melons, carrots, blueberries, and even sweet potatoes!  Cats often love to nibble thyme and it’s a great culinary herb for cooking! Try broccoli and zucchini as well (just don’t place a cucumber behind them)! Got a bunny hopping around? Plant a nice patch of parsley and kale – two rabbit favorites!

Some precautions: If your pet is going to be playing in your potted or outdoor plants, make sure that the plant leaves and soil are free from pesticides or fertilizers Be sure to always do your research before you introduce your pet to vegetation. Lots of house and garden plants can be poisonous!

photo credit: SIMBA !!! You Promised !! via photopin (license)

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