How To Choose The Best Dog Food?

dog foods

Dog owners are encountered with an ever-growing number of different dog foods. However, finding a good quality food that is appealing to your pup and within your budget is harder than ever.

All dogs have the same basic nutritional needs, but every dog is an individual and has unique dietary requirements. The perfect food for your dog will support his overall health, give him plenty of energy, and won’t cause digestive upset.

But how to choose the best dog food that ticks all of these boxes and is at the same time affordable and tasty? Being aware of the following factors the next time you go shopping for your dog, will help you find the perfect food for him.

Consider your dog’s unique traits

Factors like breed, age, activity level, and reproductive status have a great impact on a dog’s nutritional needs. If those needs aren’t met over a period of time, a dog can develop nutritional deficiencies and various health problems.

Puppies, pregnant and lactating mother require high-quality and calorie dense food. On the other hand, older, spayed/neutered dogs need fewer calories.

High energy breeds and working dogs also need more calories compared to pups who love lounging around and sleeping all day. Similarly, the food for small and large breeds should contain different amounts of nutrients that will support their individual requirements.

Depending on the age of your dog you can choose between puppy, adult maintenance, and all life stages formula. Some brands also have breed targeted food that is specifically designed keeping in mind the individual needs of your dog.

Understand the ingredient list

Every good quality food needs to have a named meat or named meat meal as the main ingredient. Meat meal is a concentrated form of meat that doesn’t contain water and has higher protein count.

Meat can include skeletal muscles, tissues from the hearth, diaphragm, and esophagus among other things. On the other hand, brain, kidneys, liver, blood, bone, and others are the organs that end up in meat by-products.

Some organ meats like liver and kidneys are healthy and beneficial for dogs, but you need to make sure that they are named. We strongly recommend that you avoid all foods that include unnamed protein sources like “animal by-product”.

Even thought AAFCO has strict rules and regulations some dog foods contain roadkill or expired meat that is in no way healthy for a dog.

Since dogs are omnivores you shouldn’t exclude grains from your dog’s diet unless he has allergies and needs to eat grain free dog food. However, soy, corn, and wheat are cheap fillers that don’t contain enough vitamins and minerals.

Look for foods that have brown rice, oatmeal, or barley since they are easier to digest and healthy wholesome grains. Furthermore, make sure that the food contains some type of fruit and vegetables.

Grain Free Dog Food

Look for AAFCO seal of approval

Many pet parents feel that AAFCO isn’t as rigorous as it should be when it comes to the quality of ingredients that ends up in dog food. But so far, their seal of approval is the only thing that guarantees that the food meets the nutritional needs of dogs.

Check the back of the package where all other nutritional information is and look for “complete and balanced” seal. If a food has it, it means that it meets the minimal nutrition requirements set by AAFCO.

Does your dog have any health problems?

Dogs that are diagnosed with conditions like pancreatitis, kidney disease, allergies, or diabetes can’t continue eating the same type of food. In cases like this, a change of diet is necessary to keep the disease at bay.

Nowadays, there is a wide range of prescription diets that are made for dogs with specific health issues. Still, some commercially made food can be just as good, and a lot cheaper.

For example, you can include a novel protein diet if you suspect that your pup is suffering from allergies instead of going with limited ingredient formula. However, it is wise to talk to your vet and have your dog examined before you make any dietary changes.

Decipher the product name

Did you know that the name of the product can tell you a lot about how much of any protein is found in it? For example, terms like “beef” or “beef for dogs” means that beef must make up at least 70% of the whole product.

Terms like “beef dinner”, “beef nuggets”, or “beef platter” mean that the product needs to have only 25% of beef. Furthermore, the term “beef flavor” requires that the product has only 3% of beef, which is present in trace amounts sufficient to entice a dog to eat.

Best Dog Food

Research the brand

After you narrowed your choices to only couple of brands of food you think your dog will like, it is time to research the manufacturer. This means a little extra work, but it will give you a peace of mind when it comes to the quality of ingredients.

The safest bet is to pick a brand that didn’t have any recent recalls or none what so ever. Manufacturers aren’t in the obligation to share all the information about their product on the label so you may end up calling them for additional information.

Conclusion

With so many factors to consider, finding the perfect food for your dog may require more time, but it is well worth it. Providing your dog with all the right and quality ingredients will keep him happy and healthy in the long run.

Consider your pup’s individual needs if you want to know how to choose the best dog food for him. Additionally, knowing how to read the labels, reaching out and researching the manufacturer are also things that will help you make the right choice.

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Being aware of the individual needs of your pup is one of a few things that can help you how to choose the best dog food that will keep your dog healthy and happy.

4 Reasons Why Your Dog Should Wear a Flea Collar

Fleas are exceptionally hardy creatures. Even if you manage to kill all the adult fleas with the most expensive flea medication in the market, you’re actually only addressing 5 per cent of the problem. This is because 95% of fleas are eggs, larvae, or pupae. It is for this reason that effective flea control requires a more holistic approach, preferably one that includes a variety of treatment modalities to help arrest the growth and development of these immature fleas and put a stop to their life cycle. One of the things you really should consider putting on your pet dog is a flea collar. And here are 4 reasons why your dog should wear a flea collar.

flea collars

It is effective in killing and repelling not only fleas but also ticks, lice, and other bugs
Most flea collars act in two ways. First they kill fleas within the first 24 hours of application. Some products can actually start killing the little pests within 12 hours after the initial application. What this simply means is that if your pooch already has fleas, you can expect that 80 to 90 per cent of the insects will be done for within the first 24 hours. Give it another day and the extermination should already be complete.

However, since your pooch will not be confined to a particularly zero-flea area, there is always the possibility of other fleas from the external environment crawling up onto your pet. Depending on the mechanism of the best flea collars that you’ll be using on your pooch, you can prevent this from occurring. A different active ingredient may serve as a repellent for these bugs that they will never go anywhere near your beloved dog.

With this combination of insecticidal and insect-repellent properties of flea collars, you are ensuring the best possible flea solution for your pet. But that is actually not everything because the best products in the market also happen to have a broad spectrum of activity. These are fully capable of killing and repelling ticks, lice, and other organisms as well.

It is much easier and less invasive to use on your dog.
Compared to spot-on flea medications, putting a flea collar on your dog is very easy. It is as simple as, well, putting on a collar. Spot-on topical applications will require you to meticulously part your dog’s fur so that you are going to apply the medication onto its skin and not on its fur. The same is true with medicated flea shampoos. You will have to massage the formulation onto your dog’s skin to make sure that the active ingredients don’t just stay on your pet’s coat. For tablet flea medications, you do know how challenging it can be to shove a large pill down your pet’s throat.

It can work almost all-year round
Topical flea medications have a maximum insecticidal effect that lasts about a month, some as long as 3 months. On the other hand, some of the best flea collars can work up to an amazing 8 months, although 3 to 6 months is the usual norm. With this in mind, you can actually use a single flea collar to last the entire flea season and even further.

It is more practical
This is a natural outcome of the lengthy insecticidal effect of flea collars. A monthly application of topical flea medications means 12 units of the product. A 6-monthly application of a flea collar means you only get to buy this product twice a year.

Flea collars are effective only against fleas that are already on your pooch. That’s why it should be made part of a more comprehensive approach to flea management and not be made as the sole treatment.

flea collars

10 Things All Dog Owners Should Know About Lungworm

You may have heard lungworm being discussed by other dog owners in the park or even seen posters in the vet waiting room. But what actually is lungworm, what are the symptoms of lungworm in dogs and what is the best treatment for lungworm?

1. Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is a parasite that can cause serious health problems in dogs and can even be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early enough.

2. Slugs and snails carry the lungworm larvae which means dogs can become infected when they accidentally eat these common garden pests, or their infected slime.1

3. A recent survey of UK vets by Bayer, experts in parasitology, indicates that the vast majority (66%) have experienced a case of lungworm in their practice within the last year.2

4. Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm, but younger dogs are more likely to contract the parasite, due to their inquisitive nature and new owners not knowing enough about the risks of the parasite. The average age of affected animals is between just 10 and 14 months.3,4

5. If your dog likes to rummage through undergrowth, eat grass, drink from puddles or outdoor water bowls then speak to your vet about preventative treatment. Be careful about leaving your dog’s toys outside too as slugs and snails can be attracted to them.

6. Spring and autumn are peak times for slugs and snails due to the wet and mild conditions. It is important to be extra vigilant around these times.

7. Lungworm infection can result in a number of different signs in your dog which may be confused with other illnesses. However, some dogs will not show any signs.

8. Not all worming treatments cover lungworm. Only monthly prevention with products available on prescription from your vet will protect dogs against the parasite; use only every three months leaves dogs at risk of disease and even death.

9. Lungworm is now endemic throughout much of the UK, according to a study by researchers at the Royal Veterinary College, one in five veterinary practices in the UK have reported at least one clinical case in a dog.

10. To find out whether lungworm is in your area, search by postcode at https://mypetandi.bayer.com/uk/lungworm/campaign-about-lungworm/

1. Conboy et al. WAAVP 2015
2. Survey of 300 UK Vets, conducted by Bryter in March 2017.
3. Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in 23 dogs (1999-2002), P. S. Chapman et al., Journal of Small Animal Practice (2004) 45, 435–440
4. Spatial, demographic and clinical patterns of Angiostrongylus vasorum infection in the dog population of Southern England, T. R. W. Blehaut et al., Veterinary Record (2014) doi: 10.1136/vr.102186

Gloria Hunniford Joins Campaign for Heart Disease Prevention in Dogs

Veterinary scientists have made a major breakthrough in the management of the most common form of canine heart disease, which has the potential to extend the healthy lives of dogs worldwide.  Gloria Hunniford has joined the campaign to educate owners on potential risks and what they can do to keep their pets happy and healthy for longer.

Heart Disease Prevention in Dogs

Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford discovered that her cavalier King Charles spaniel Gemma was suffering with heart disease when she collapsed earlier this year.  Now that her beloved pet is doing well with the right medication, Gloria has joined a campaign to raise awareness of the commonality of heart disease in small dogs, and encourage owners to seek out information on earlier diagnosis of the disease in their canine companions, to help them live a longer, healthier life.

Heart disease is one of the top five causes of death in dogs in the UK, with MVD accounting for the majority of cases. The disease is caused by the deterioration of one of the heart valves and predominantly affects small breed dogs, including cavalier King Charles spaniels, dachshunds, poodles and terrier breeds.

But the global EPIC study, led by Professor Adrian Boswood of the Royal Veterinary College, found that treating dogs with enlarged hearts – an early warning sign of progressive heart disease – before they display any outward signs delays the onset of heart failure secondary to mitral valve disease (MVD).

www.rvc.ac.uk/research/news/general/epic-breakthrough-at-the-rvc

Watch our video to find out more.