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As a clinical veterinarian food issues come up with my clients every day. Like so many things in life, there are a lot of choices good and bad to sort through.

Can My Dog Eat This ? What Not To Feed Your Dog

Can My Dog Eat This ? Toxic Foods For Dogs.

Let me throw a little background in here for you. When we are talking about dog food there is one giant difference between us and dogs. We eat a variety of foods to balance our nutrition, dog food is totally balanced. Every piece of kibble or mouthful of pate has the proper nutritional balance.
So every item we add to the diet unbalances it. It’s tough to accept, I know.
We spend our lives learning about food groups and balance and we try to apply this to our dogs, but it doesn’t work.
So all of the non-dog food items should be considered treats, and should be kept in very low proportions, ideally less than ten percent of the total daily calories.

For the FULL STORY, Click here!

Another great article by Jenny Jones.

Homemade Dog Food - How to Make Your Own and Make Sure It is Healthy and Balanced 1

Homemade dog foods are becoming more popular with dog owners.  Often people feel that their dog will be getting a healthier diet and they like having more control over what they are feeding their dog.  It can have its advantages but, if not done correctly, it can actually be harmful to your dog.

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Homemade dog foods, if done correctly, can take more effort but be worth it for your dog

Getting the Right Balance is Absolutely Crucial

While, if managed appropriately, homemade dog food can work well for many dogs, too many people start feeding this way without getting appropriate advice.  Dogs need a very specific balance of nutrients to ensure that they get everything they need to stay happy and healthy and without the proper knowledge, it can be all to easy for a dog to start to suffer nutrient deficiencies which can lead to long term medical conditions and a loss of body condition.

Seek Advice From a Suitable Qualified Nutritionist or Resource

To make sure that you get the right balance for your dog it is so important that you get advice from a suitably qualified expert.  There are too many websites and individuals out there ready to offer advice on what to feed your dog that are lacking suitable experience and these can be confusing, misleading and damaging.

To ensure that you are feeding your dog an appropriately balanced diet we would always recommend seeking the advice of a fully qualified and certified pet nutritionist.  Your Vet may be able to provide you with details of one they work with, or you could also refer to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition to find someone near you.

Consider the Lifestage of Your Dog

It is extremely important that you also consider the life stage of your dog and you should seek advice in terms of when changes may be required.

Puppies require a diet that will support their active growth.  It is not just about feeding them more while they are growing. They need an appropriate balance of calories, proteins, fats, calcium, and other nutrients to ensure that they do not become ill, underdeveloped or receive too much of anything.  A large breed puppy will require to be fed on a puppy specific diet than a smaller dog will as they take longer to fully mature and they are at particular risk if they receive too much calcium in their diet too.

Senior dogs can sometimes require changes to their diet too.  They may require fewer calories if they are beginning to put on weight if they are more sedentary.  Some elderly dogs can actually start to lose weight as their metabolism changes. Again, this is why it is important to consult with a certified nutritionist to ensure your dog will be getting the nutrient levels and ingredients that could benefit them the most.

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Puppies need different nutrient levels to adult dogs while they are growing and it is important that any homemade dog food takes account of this

 

Consider Any Medical Requirements

Sometimes a medical condition can mean that a dog benefits from a more specific diet.  Of course, there are lots of prescription diets on the market and sometimes a change to another generally commercially available diet can be enough to support the dog’s condition.

Sometimes, if the requirements to support the condition are complex, the prescription diet is expensive, or the ingredients just don’t work for your dog then a very tailored home cooked diet can be an option.

If this is to support a specific condition it is really important that this is introduced in conjunction with your vet and a qualified nutritionists advice, to make sure that you are not going to be risking aggravating the condition.

Some conditions that often result in a recommendation to change their diet include allergies or intolerances, chronic pancreatitis, kidney disease, heart disease or bladder stones.

Is Raw Or Cooked Better?

Home cooked diets are usually fresh but the meat they use can be either raw or cooked.

Raw food diets are becoming increasingly popular in the dog world.  Their supporters believe that it is feeding as nature intended and that your dog is getting as much of the benefits from the meat as possible.   It is an extremely fast-growing sector of the pet food market.

The critics of this type of feeding argue that there is a greater risk of the dog developing an illness because of the risk of potentially harmful bacteria that would be killed during the cooking process.  This risk can also spread to the owners if their dog licks them. They also cite the fact that there have been no wide scale independent studies done to measure the benefits of raw feeding, whereas many commercial dog foods go through rigorous testing.

Whether you choose to feed raw or cooked is a personal choice.  There are raw foods available that have been pre-prepared to be nutritionally balanced (although you should research the reputation of the company). You should still take advice from a qualified nutritionist when making up your own diet though to make sure you are getting the right balance and quantities when preparing your own raw diet.

If you are giving bones as part of a home cooked diet, it is extremely important that your dog is supervised and that you feed these raw.  Cooked bones can easily splinter and cause internal damage. Even raw bones do carry a risk of causing a blockage too, so care must be taken.

If you live in a household where someone (dog, person or another pet) has a condition affecting their immune system then a raw diet should be avoided for your dog to minimize the risk.

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Raw feeding is a rapidly growing area in the dog food world but it is important that you do your research and weight up the pros and cons

Should a Home Cooked Diet be Free of Grains?

Grains have become a dirty word in some parts of the dog food community and grain free diets have become the new big thing.  Like any other ingredient, there can be some dogs that do not tolerate particular types of grains well, but this can be said of certain meat types or vegetables too.

Providing you pick a quality grain that is appropriate to feed to dogs and it is part of a balanced diet there are no problems with adding grains to a home cooked diet and they can, in fact, reduce the overall cost of the diet too.

If you are using grains as part of the diet for a carbohydrate source, these should not be given raw.  They need to be cooked for ease of digestibility.

Homemade Dog Food - How to Make Your Own and Make Sure It is Healthy and Balanced 5
Grains have developed an unfair reputation in the dog food world in recent years.  Providing they agree with your dog and they have been cooked, they can be beneficial as part of a balanced diet

Calcium is Crucial

You do need to add a balance of vitamins and minerals to a home cooked diet.  Again a certified nutritionist can advise you on the correct amount and variety.  Calcium is one of the key important additions. Some people believe that adding some yogurt to their dog’s diet will be enough.  Your dog needs a high proportion of calcium and just adding a blob of yogurt is not sufficient.

It is important to ensure they are receiving the right amount and this is generally done by giving it in the form of a supplement.  For those raw feeders that regularly give their dogs raw meaty bones, then they will also be getting a better amount of calcium in their diet too.

Homemade Dog Food - How to Make Your Own and Make Sure It is Healthy and Balanced 6
Calcium is important in your dog’s diet.  If your dog has raw meaty bones regularly this can provide much of the calcium that they need

What About Supplements?

It is not just calcium that your dog needs though.  There are a number of other vitamins and minerals that should be added to your dog’s diet so that they get the right balance of nutrients.  While they may get some of these through the ingredients you feed, generally, an overall supplement is required to help keep them healthy.

It is not enough to just go and get a standard over the counter multivitamin and mineral.  They need one that is tailored to supplement a home cooked diet.

There are a number of companies that specialize in these types of supplements and BalanceIT have a very good reputation. Their website is also a fantastic resource in terms of what foods are suitable and helping to get a good balance for your dog.

Don’t Forget About Oils

Again a nutritionist will be able to keep you right with the details, but the amount of fat that your dog gets in their diet is also important for helping to keep them happy and healthy.  Fish Oils are often added as they provide additional healthy fats and they also have other beneficial nutritional value too.

Some people think that adding coconut oil will be sufficient.  It is a very on-trend oil at the moment. While it can be a beneficial oil (if care is taken not to give too much as this can cause a stomach upset), it is something that is better used alongside other oils in moderation rather than instead of as it does not have the qualities that fish oils do and it is mostly a form of saturated fat.

Zesty Paws produce a well  regarded Salmon Oil supplement, for example.  It is sustainable sourced and produced in an FDA approved facility..

What Are Some Of The Potential Advantages of Homemade Dog Food

Useful for controlling allergies or intolerances

It can be helpful to use a homemade dog food if your dog has an intolerance or allergy as you can control exactly what your dog is being fed.  You know the exact ingredients and can tailor it based on what will work for your dog. Sometimes an elimination diet may still be required to establish exactly what works for your dog but, once this is established, home cooking can help to ensure your dog does not have a flare up.

See our article on allergies and how to manage them for more general guidance.

It is easier to control the freshness of the ingredients

By feeding a homemade dog food, you are able to have more control over the freshness of what you are giving your dog.  There have been a number of recent scares within the dog food industry that have resulted in recalls for certain brands.  With freshly prepared ingredients you can minimize any risk.

It is easier to ensure that the ingredients are ethical

If you are passionate about living an ethical lifestyle, it can be hard to follow this through when looking at your dog’s diet.  By preparing a homemade dog food you have more control over the ingredients that you are using. It means you can purchase meat that you know is organic, or meets certain welfare standards.

It also means that you can pick things that are sourced sustainably, use environmentally friendly packaging or are grown without the use of pesticides, for example.

See our article on being an ethical dog owner for more general dog product tips.

What Are Some of the Potential Disadvantages of Homemade Dog Foods

Without Expert Advice, the Diet May Not Be Appropriately Balanced

We know we have covered this already but it cannot be overstated.  The KEY thing when feeding a home cooked diet is that you must ensure that your dog is getting the appropriate balance of nutrients.  This is where so many people go wrong. As mentioned before, make sure that you consult with a board certified pet nutritionist or, at the very least, consult an expert website or book that have been produced by one.  While there is a cost associated with a consultation, it will be so worth it for your dog’s health and well being in the long run and of course, it could also save you some potential large vet bills, should your dog become ill because of a deficiency in their diet.

It is Not Generally As Convenient as a Prepared Diet

Preparing a homemade dog food requires a  lot more thought and advanced preparation than purchasing a commercially available dog food.  You need to plan out the ingredients carefully, the preparation of the meals take a lot longer and you usually have to cook up in batches in advance and then freeze them.  You will even need to consider whether you have a suitable freezer!

It can be more difficult if you are holidaying with your dog or if they are staying with family or using a boarding service as you need to be sure they have the facility to store any food you may provide them with pre-made.

For many people though, they believe that given they have this extra hassle when cooking for themselves every day, why wouldn’t they do it for their dog if they believe that it is beneficial.

Homemade Dog Food - How to Make Your Own and Make Sure It is Healthy and Balanced 7
Dry or tinned dog food is much more convenient and easy to use than a home cooked diet

It Can Be More Expensive Than a Prepared Diet

Unless your dog is on one of the most expensive of the commercially prepared diets or a specialist prescription diet, then homemade dog foods do tend to be more expensive.  As long as you are aware of this and budget for it upfront, then this is about personal choice. Some people do not think about it at first and it is only once they start to look at it cumulatively over time that they realize it is having an impact on their bank balance.

Another Great Article by Jordan

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Owning a dog is a rewarding experience, but it can be expensive. In just their first year of life, owning a dog can cost anywhere between $1400 to $2000. Between food, toys, treats, vet bills, medication, grooming, and whatever else comes up, owning a dog can be pricey.

The first year of a dog’s life is pretty expensive, and you can count on the cost to decrease from that point forward. Nevertheless, owning a dog will still cost a couple of hundred dollars per year. For many, that can take up a sizable chunk of their annual budget.

Thankfully, there are ways to cut down on costs. Everyone loves to save money when they can and saving money as a dog owner is not a far-fetched idea. Here are 8 ideas to save money as a dog owner.

1. Make Dog Treats at Home

Making your own dog treats can be easy and is a great way to save some money as a dog owner. You don’t have to be a great cook or baker when it comes to making your own dog treats. Your pup likely will not mind if you are not a master chef.

Making dog treats often involves some inexpensive ingredients and your oven. For example, you can make some baked chickpeas by simply putting some chickpeas in a pan and baked them in the oven. A cursory search online can lead you to endless do it yourself dog treats.

2. Start Grooming at Home

Grooming can be a large yearly expense if you have a long-haired dog breed. That cost can soar if you have a long-haired and large dog. In fact, grooming for long-haired dogs can cost an owner $265 for small dogs, $320 for medium-sized dogs, and as much as $408 for a large breed. By learning how to groom your dog at home, you can save a lot of money.

Grooming at home will often have to start with some research. Certain dog breeds have some special requirements for grooming and others do not. In general, most dogs need regular baths with a nice brushing either before or after. Taking care of your pup’s coat can almost entirely remove grooming costs.

3. Make Your Own Dog Toys

Although the cost of dog toys per year is not much, you can still save money by making your own dog toys. If your dog is a chewer and loves to rip apart any new toy that you give him, you can end up saving a pretty penny. Here are some of the many different dog toys that you can make at home:

  • T-Shirt Rope Toys
  • Ball Tug Toys
  • Plastic Bottle Dog Toys
  • Rope Tug Toys
  • A Muffin Tin Puzzle

There are a seemingly endless number of different dog toys that you can make at home. This can help you cut your costs by $40-$100 a year. Talk about some great savings.

4. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise

It might not seem like it but making sure that your dog gets enough exercise can actually be a money saver. Having a dog that is in shape is more of a preventative measure against future expenses. Not to mention that exercising your dog can be as easy and inexpensive as a walk around the neighborhood.

By regularly and sufficiently exercising your pup, you can reduce the likelihood that you will be met with costly vet bills in the future. Sufficient exercise can protect against your dog developing disorders such as obesity or excessive chewing. It pays to have an in shape dog.

5. Supplement Your Pups Meals

You can either make your own dog food entirely or help supplement your pup’s meals to make sure that they are well-rounded. By supplementing your dog’s food with fresh and healthy ingredients, you can better nourish your pup. Often, these healthy ingredients are cost-effective.

Supplementing your dog’s food is another sort of preventative measure to save money against future vet bills. Feeding your dog high-quality food will strengthen his immune system and can help prevent him from becoming overweight.

6. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Did you know that the vast majority of dogs suffer from periodontal disease? Periodontal disease can cause complications such as heart, kidney, and liver issues. That is why taking care of your dog’s teeth can save you money. Not to mention that you save money from getting a professional cleaning done on your dog’s pearly whites.

7. Shop After the Holidays

If you are looking to save money as a dog owner, then you are probably already keeping an eye out for sales. Lucky for you, at least once a year there are large sales all across the country. If you are in the market for any dog-related needs, try shopping after the holidays.

Skipping the holiday rush can save you a lot of money. Often, retailers are looking to get rid of their holiday stock before the stock for the new year comes in. This makes shopping after the holidays the perfect time to stock up on the things you need for your dog.

8. Make Your Own Dog Bed

Dog beds can be expensive, but you always want to make sure that your pup has a comfortable place to sleep. Making your own dog bed can be done without any serious sewing skills. In fact, you can find instructions on making your own dog bed that requires no sewing whatsoever! Check online to find an easy DIY dog bed to start saving money.

More Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners

Saving money as a dog owner can require a bit of extra work, but it does not have to. You can try to cover as many bases as possible with an all in one money-saving option. That might seem like a far fetched idea, but it is a reality. If your dog suffers from anxiety, joint pain, or stress, then you can try giving him CBD treats.

CBD is a naturally sourced substance that has been shown to be an effective treatment for stress, anxiety, joint pain, and some neurological disorders. Not to mention that you can buy CBD treats that are packed with all-natural ingredients and nutrients like FOMO Bones’ CBD Dog Treats. Try CBD treats today to reap the many benefits.

Another great article by Jordan Clark Martin.

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Popular brands of CBD oils (cannabidiol oil) and pet parents who try it say that mixing the oil with food is a foolproof method that yields great results. While the opinions and reviews of other people are usually a great guide on what to do and what not to do, they do not tell us how safe the method or the product is.

This is why you should always listen to the words of an expert first. This time, the expert you should seek answers from is a veterinarian!

We want what is best for your dog, so we’re compiling the best guide for you based on the advice of vets. We’ll discuss

  • The potential benefits of CBD oil in dog food
  • Why pet food with CBD oil could be a good choice for a dog’s body
  • The advice of vets on CBD oil and risks associated with it
  • Why vets do and don’t recommend using CBD products

The Potential Benefits of Pet Food + CBD Oil

This is all about the method of cannabis oil administration. Why would this be a good choice for your dog over other methods

  • It is easier to give than oil straight from a spoon. Food is associated with pleasure in a dog’s brain while the medicine is not. They expect the food to be tasty, so they may take the CBD oil better with their dinner.
  • Even a small amount can be spread pretty evenly into your dog’s food if done properly.

Why Food With CBD Oil Could Be a Good Choice

Now let’s get into why CBD oil products in pet food would be beneficial. CBD oil:

  • Could lessen the duration and frequency of seizures in dogs with epilepsy. This is being studied and reviewedby a team of vets and the American Kennel Club.
  • Has the ability to calm dogs with anxiety. CBD in humans is shown to produce these effects, and researchers now believe that the same could be said of dogs as well.
  • Can ease the chronic pain of cancer, arthritis, and other injuries. It can also help ease inflammation.

Other effects are studied less but have the potential to work in dogs as they work in humans!

What Vets Say About CBD Oil and Pet Food

The treatment of ailments in dogs with CBD products is new to the world of veterinary science. Some are hopeful of the benefits, and some are skeptical. Both sides agree that there are potential benefits and risks associated with it.

Pro CBD Vets

Most pro-CBD veterinarians take this stance because they have seen the effects for themselves. Patty Khuly, VMD, MBA has written an article about why she believes that CBD products can be effective for treating ailments in dogs even though it is currently illegal to give these products out herself.

“For my part, I’ve chosen to flout federal law in favor of patient care. Most of the patients I’ve medicated with CBD oil have thrived. After recommending it to hundreds of patients (I carry it in-house now), I’ve not yet observed an adverse reaction. Sure, some patients have balked at its delivery, but that’s about it for negatives.”

Dr. Gary Richter has also been outspoken on the issue, hoping that the regulations on the use of medical CBD oil will change soon.

Anti CBD Vets

Those on the opposite side of the debate are mainly concerned about the lack of medical evidence surrounding the use of CBD for pets. More research is being done all the time, but it isn’t enough yet to get everyone on board with the positive effects of cannabidiol.

Dr. Jerry Klein, though he does not strongly oppose the products, warns that there just isn’t enough evidence to support using it as a form of medicine yet.

“Currently, most of what veterinarians know about CBD oil and dogs is anecdotal, and there is limited scientific evidence about the effects of its use.”

Risks of Using CBD Oil on Dogs

Many vets agree that there are risks associated with giving your dog CBD products just as there is with any medicine. These include:

  • Low blood pressure. This can make a dog tired or disoriented
  • Increased drowsiness. CBD products may cause fatigue in some dogs
  • Dry mouth.
  • Lowered liver enzyme activity. This changes the way that dogs metabolize some medicines

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide for yourself whether you will take the plunge and give your dog CBD oil and pet food or not. A veterinarian can’t stop you, but they can warn you or encourage you about the effects of CBD. Talk to yours and see what they may have to say on the subject.

This is our 3rd year at the Arlington Heights Farmers Market and we are really enjoying the market and the people and especially the folks who are bringing their dogs out for a fun visit and a pleasant walk.     Our many loyal customers have made it very gratifying and encouraging for us to participate on Saturday mornings.

We just started selling special, all natural, super healthy chew treats!   These sound a bit gross, but the dogs love them!  They are chicken claws, chicken necks, pigs ears and pigs feet.  They have all been dehydrated and we added our own special blend of Olive Oils and mild spices.   The dogs LOVE them and they really help keep their teeth clean and strong!

The past few Saturdays have been so very hot.  We brought frozen bottled water and found lots of thirsty customers loved that too!   Soon we hope to add some ice cold, fresh melon sticks, complete with a compliment of salts, sugars and other spices to help keep our human friends cool and healthy too!

Come on out and enjoy a fun morning at the Arlington Heights Farmers Market!

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