CAN DOGS EAT FRUIT? IS IT PART OF RAW FEEDING DOGS?
The short answer is…yes, it’s a great part of raw feeding dogs!
Obviously, if your dog has particular dietary requirements, then it’s best to check with your vet, but on the whole, fresh fruit and veg is great.
However, there is one caveat to that...
For your dog to get the nutrition from the fruit by being able to digest the produce, it ideally needs to be broken down… i.e. bashed, mashed, smooshed or grated and ground, to release the goodness. A dog’s digestive system is a lot shorter than ours, so there isn't that much time to break things down.
In the wild, a wolf (our domestic friends differ by only 2%) eats the fruit and veg mostly from the contents of their preys stomach, where it is already semi-digested; so we need to replicate this as much as we can to benefit our pets digestion.
Can dogs eat fruit with the skin on?
Absolutely. You may want to remove things like the skin from bananas, the peel from oranges and grapefruits, or the hairy outside of a kiwi – I don’t think anyone, let alone a dog, would like to eat those. But keeping the skin on things like apples and peaches adds to the nutrition.
Again, I have one caveat – that you use organic produce where possible. If you don’t, then yes, it may prove more beneficial to remove the skin, as this is where most of the chemicals and pesticides will be held and could outweigh the goodness that it may contain.
Be aware that grapes and raisins can cause problems in some dogs, so best to avoid those.
If you’ve got any ideas on fruit and veg recipes for your dog, or any questions on why you should give raw feeding dogs a go, comment below.
Dog treats recipe: 7 smashing, healthy recipes
If you want to make your own treats and need a good dog treats recipe, there aren’t many places you can look on the Internet that give you sound, knowledgeable advice about how to make them. Believe me, I know…
Oh, there are quite a few recipes out there, but certainly not ones that will enhance your dogs’ health. In fact, the majority are recipes for hard biscuits that are made from indigestible white flour and peanut butter, amongst other inappropriate things. I don’t know where the idea came from that peanut butter is a great source of nutrition for dogs, but believe me, it isn’t!!
And with all the pet food and treat recalls that seem to be on the increase, I think it’s even more important we take control of our pet’s nutrition.
Whats in Each Dog Treats Recipe?
For those who need some ideas on recipes I have compiled an e-Book with 7 of the top Oscar’s Organics recipes.
Each recipe has a full, step-by-step guide on how to make it. I have also listed each ingredient, with a full explanation of what the health benefits are which shows why I chose to include it in the treats. Most of the ingredients are there because I was looking for ways to help Oscar and to improve his health:
For example, I started using certain spices like cinnamon in the first dog treats recipe I devised. I incorporated it into the treats as it can stimulate the digestive system and helps with gastrointestinal spasms and nausea. Oscar suffers from a form of IBS, where occasionally, the intestines spasm in the opposite direction, so for him it’s perfect and helps soothe and regulate his system.
This e-Book is a result of years of research and trial and error in creating these treats and gives you all the reasoning behind every ingredient I use and I would like to share it with you. I encourage the use of fresh, species-appropriate ingredients that will enhance your dogs’ health, not destroy it. As I’ve mentioned on other occasions, just because it’s a ‘treat’, doesn’t mean it has to be bad for your dog.
This eBook gives you not one dog treats recipe, but 7. You may find other offers such as ‘101 recipes’ or some other such high number – but don’t let the number fool you – these are 7, fully researched and tested treats that I guarantee your dog will love and (providing they don’t have any underlying health issues) will definitely benefit from.
FAT FOR DOGS – WHAT TYPE AM I FEEDING MY DOG?
Do you know the right fat for dogs and what you may be inadvertently feeding them?
If you feed your dog commercial pet food such as kibble, you may have noticed the pungent smell when you open a new bag of food… This is due, very often I’m afraid, to the odour of rendered fat, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans. Yet this unpalatable and indigestible form is still used and listed as ‘fat’ under the guise of it meeting your pets nutritional requirement.
Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed-grade animal fat over the last fifteen years. This grease is often held in huge drums that may be kept outside for weeks, exposing it to extreme temperatures with no regard for its future use. It is taken to rendering plants where it is mixed with other types of fat which end up as fat for dogs and cats in their food.
These fats are then stabilised with powerful antioxidants (chemicals) to stop further spoilage, and then this blended product is sold to end users, including pet food companies…
These fats are sprayed directly onto the kibbles and pellets to make an otherwise bland or distasteful product palatable. Pet food scientists have discovered that animals love the taste of these sprayed-on-fats and the manufacturers are masters at exploiting this.
The best source of fat, which your dog needs, is direct from a fresh, dietary source and if you feed your dog a raw food diet, then chances are it is already included in the food.
However, if you do feed your dog commercial food, then there is a high likelihood they are missing Omega 3 in their diet.
So, what is a good fat for dogs that provides omega 3?
An easily accessible oil that is rich in Omega 3 and provides essential health benefits, is cod liver oil or fish body oil.
Cod liver oil helps to overcome more problems seen in modern food than any other single supplement. Cod liver oil supplies vitamin A, vitamin D and the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in an activated form.
Vitamin A – essential for a healthy immune system and healthy mucous membranes, which includes the gastro-intestinal (digestive) tract, the urogenital (reproductive and urinary) tract, the ears and the eyes.
Vitamin D – essential for healthy calcium metabolism, which means among other things healthy bones.
Omega 3 fatty acids balance out the Omega 6’s in the diet, produce vital anti-inflammatory effects and are essential for normal growth and development, including most especially the nervous system.
If you have any questions on good and bad fat for dogs, comment below, we’d love to hear from you.
To your dog’s health!
a simple video to show you How To Stop A Dog From Chewing...
This is a simple and calm technique on how to stop a dog from chewing – brought to you by Doggy Dan, the online dog trainer, who I think is great. By simply removing the object they are focused on and giving them one that they are allowed to chew, their energy is redirected, not stopped…
Dogs love chewing things, it’s natural and they love to do it, so they need to be shown the things they are allowed to touch and those they are not – like your sofa, or your shoes!
If it’s a habit for your dog, then you may need to keep repeating this process outlined in the video, by showing calm and consistent consequences of action. If they do keep repeating the behaviour then you may need to isolate them for a few minutes so they get the message. Remember this is done calmly (not with aggression) and without speaking to them.
3 Step Process: How To Stop A Dog From Chewing:
And of course, being the pack leader is essential so they take you seriously and not just think it’s a game. Set your dog up for success :)
dog food reviews: do you know HOW TO READ A LABEL?..
STOP! Read The Label – You May Be Shocked…
We all want what’s best for our pet, and with all the mass marketing going on, we have a plethora of manufactured food to choose from…
Are you blindly following what you read on the internet; what you see on tv adverts? Behind the pretty packaging, do you really know what’s in your pet’s food? Can you tell from the label? Have you even read it??
For a while, when I used to feed Oscar processed food, I didn’t know to look. I trusted the big brand names, what other people told me, and the reviews you see around (that are sometimes actually paid for by the brands themselves). It wasn’t until much later, when I started to look more closely and started to read independent dog food reviews that I discovered just exactly what some of the ingredients were and how misleading a label could be.
I’ll go into more depth about the content of some manufactured food in other blogs, but today I thought I would share some things I learnt about reading the label, so you can start to make an informed choice about the food you feed your dog.
The worst offender is dry, kibble food, and the labels can mess with your head while trying to work out exactly what proportion of each ingredient really make up the whole.
Let me be straight – I don’t advocate using the majority of commercial food (kibble and wet) at all on a daily basis, but if you feel that’s what is best for you and your circumstances, then please, read on, so you know what you are buying and are able to choose the best food you can…
Protein For Dogs - What's The First Thing To Look For?
The first ingredient should ALWAYS be a protein – meat, poultry or fish, and listed as a specific type – i.e. chicken. At the very least, the 2nd and 3rd ingredients should also be a specific, named meat. Your dog is carnivorous by nature and needs to have a diet high in protein. If it’s not first – ditch it before you even go any further down the list.
Why is it important for it to be first on the list?
Everything is listed in descending order, i.e. the first ingredient is the most and the last ingredient is the least. BUT, it’s done by wet weight, not volume.
What does that mean?
It means, that when all the ingredients were raw, that percentage was used to create the ingredient list…
The one thing they don’t tell you in normal dog food reviews:
To make commercial pet food, they dehydrate the ingredients. The thing with raw meat is, in it’s natural state, it is around 70% water, so when it’s dehydrated it shrinks massively and the volume of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th ingredients on the list are then likely to make up the bulk of the food. These other ingredients are so often all grains, so the protein source could actually be less than 20% of the total food – and that’s bad. A diet high in grain can cause untold health problems for your dog as the years progress.
What is grain?
Some grains are: brown rice, white rice, barley, corn, millet, and any derivative of those such as rice ‘flour’ or corn ‘gluten’.
Is there anything else to look for besides protein for dogs?
Yes – splitting; splitting is when a manufacturer lists different components of one food as separate items, to hide the fact it makes up the bulk of the food…
Here’s an example from a label I found, which looks ‘ok’ on first glance:
INGREDIENTS: Chicken, brown rice, white rice, rice bran, rice gluten and rice flour
This sounds like there are a lot of ingredients, but apart from ‘chicken’, they are, in fact, all named parts of the SAME ingredient…a lump of cooked rice.
Chances are, this particular dog food has a lot of rice in it and when all the ‘rice’ ingredients are added together, it will be far greater than the portion of chicken.
In order for the manufacturer to be able to put chicken first (indicating that there is more meat than rice in their dog food reviews label), they split the rice up into parts and weigh each of those parts; each individual part of the rice now weighs less than the meat.
If they just listed the rice parts as ‘rice’ then the ingredients list would look like this:
INGREDIENTS: Rice, chicken
See what I mean? It’s tricky!
So, if you are going to use commercial pet food, take time to study the ingredients list – don’t assume because it’s a big named brand that it’s going to be beneficial for your dog. On closer inspection, you may even find those brands you have trusted for years, are the worst culprits. Do your own research and don’t be blinded like I was, for years.
I’m a believer in feeding your dog a natural, raw food diet which is high in good sources of protein for dogs, and if you’re interested in moving your dog over to this then check out A Complete Guide To Putting Your Dog On A Raw Diet.
Whatever you do, or whatever you feed your dog, be sure you are doing it with conscious intent…
DOG DISCIPLINE – BECOME THE PACK LEADER
In order for your dog to be happy, you need to know about dog discipline, so they know what the rules are…set them up for success.
In answer to all of the questions that people ever ask me regarding training, it only ever comes down to one thing… you need to become the pack leader.
When I mention discipline, I’m certainly not on about punishment and ruling through fear – becoming the pack leader involves mostly non-verbal communication, using body language that your dog understands, and earning their respect, so they want to listen to you.
Again, I reiterate, the key is getting them to do what you want through love, choice, respect – NOT fear of being punished.
You need to convince your dog that you are the person in charge: the decision maker; where you should go on the walk; how to behave in different situations; and how to respond to all the strange things that you encounter while out.
Is Dominating Part Of Dog Discipline?
Dominating your dog is certainly not the way to become the pack leader; in fact this can backfire badly on you later on if you teach your dog that physical strength is what it is all about.
Whilst you may force your dog into submission, it will not be convincing your dogs mind that you are worthy of the position and that you should become the pack leader, only that you are a bit of a bully.
In order to understand how to become the pack leader you must first realise that the following means nothing to a dog…
Is controlling food part of dog discipline?
Asking your dog to sit before her dinner is a start, but falls a long way short of what you need to be achieving to become the pack leader, and things like walking through doorways first is only necessary when your dog is on the lead.
So how do you become the pack leader?
All dogs worldwide, regardless of breed, use the same ways to check to establish the pack leader. During my research I found a great guy who teaches you how to become the pack leader and it’s all on video, so it’s so easy to put into practice, all you have to do is understand and copy what he does… I have personally used his tricks and tips to great effect.
The important areas where you need to take control when becoming the pack leader to instil dog discipline are:
Getting your dog to switch off is directly connected to how you meet and greet your dog after your return home. The difference is so subtle, but it is the difference between being the pack leader or the follower, which is so important when establishing dog discipline.
If you would like to learn from a great teacher, and through videos, which leave you in no doubt as to how to achieve your goals, then I can’t recommend Doggy Dan highly enough…
How often should I be exercising my dog?
I was once chatting to someone who had just bought a dog and they asked me – ‘How often should I be exercising my dog? Once a week…twice?’ The question astounded me somewhat as I thought it was obvious… but apparently not.
And, since then, the amount of people I’ve come across who own a dog and who don’t walk them for days on end, is too numerous to think about. It appears to me, more often than not, that it’s those with a garden and/or those who own small dogs.
Those with gardens think that’s enough, and those with small dogs don’t think they need the exercise because they have the house to run around in – small dogs may have small legs, but they are still robust and need to walk and play and run, and while getting out into your garden is great, a walk is also about mental stimulation from the sights and smells out and about.
So, Just How Often Should I Be Exercising My Dog?
Every day come rain or shine!
Health permitting, you should be walking your dog at least twice a day for at least 20 minutes each time, and given the chance to run around off-lead, or at the very least on a long extendable bungee lead if needs be. The chance to mix with other dogs is also essential for healthy social development. If you have a problematic dog who has difficulty mixing with other dogs, then it’s advisable to get qualified advice from a trainer to work through any issues.
Remember, dogs sniffing and foraging around is equal to humans reading a daily newspaper, having a catch-up chat or watching a favourite tv programme.
Every dog is different, fitness-wise, of course, and if you have any concerns about their fitness you should always visit your veterinarian and get them checked out and seek their advice.
I Have A Puppy…
Walks that are short and often are best. It’s good to be aware that for around the first 6 months of a dogs life, their bones are still growing and are fairly ‘soft’. So avoid encouraging them to leap and jump up and down excessively, as you could cause damage to their joints that might not show up until later on in their life – like arthritis or dysplasia.
Try not to let them go up and down stairs by themselves either, especially going down, as it’s a constant jarring motion – carry them down if you can, or walk before them so they can’t run.
My dog as so much energy, is there anything more I can do to tire them out while exercising my dog?
Try taking a toy, tennis ball, or football while out walking – most dogs enjoy playing fetch. If you want to add some more distance to each throw, try hitting a tennis ball with a racket, or use something like a Fling ‘n’ Fetch ball launcher.
Frisbee’s are great too. Remember to try and throw them fairly low to the ground so your dog doesn’t have to jump too high to grab it, and soft ones made especially for dogs are best to prevent chipping of teeth!
Is there anything else my dog can do for exercise?
Yes – swimming is great. There are many hydrotherapy pools around now and you should be able to find one in your area. Swimming is particularly good for those dogs with joint problems as the exercise is non-weight bearing.
While recovering from leg surgery, exercising my dog, Oscar, had to be done through swimming. While the majority of dogs there were recovering from surgery etc., there were a couple of Retrievers who were there just for the fun of it, which was great to see.
Still wanting more stimulation for your dog?
There are other options: have you thought about agility or tracking? There are many local clubs and a great place to start is agilityclub.org. Your dog will have fun, get lots of exercise and above all mental stimulation, that can, in most cases, be more tiring than a long walk!
CAN DOGS EAT CHOCOLATE?
Do you give your dog a sneaky bit of chocolate now and then? I have to admit I used to before I realised exactly what the side-effects could be.
Chocolate is toxic and poisonous to dogs.
Chocolate contains an alkaloid called theobromine, which is naturally occurring in the cocoa plant, from which chocolate is made. It’s this active ingredient that is a type of stimulant. Unlike humans, dogs can’t metabolise theobromine fast enough so it results in the over stimulation of the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and causes an increase in blood pressure.
In some cases, if too much theobromine is ingested it can be fatal from symptoms such as rapid heart rate. Other symptoms include; diarrhoea, vomiting, increased urination, excessive panting, hyperactive behaviour and seizures.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate In Small Amounts?
As a rule, the larger the dog, the more they can eat and cope with. It also depends on what type of chocolate they may consume:
With the offending ingredient being the theobromine, then the darker the chocolate (the more cocoa), the worse it is for your dog.
General toxicity levels that could kill a 16lb dog (i.e. Bichon Frise / West Highland Terrier size):
So, if your dog should get their hands on some of your chocolates, check the details above to see if they are likely to be ok. But, in short, the answer to the question – can dogs eat chocolate – is definitely no, it’s just not worth the risk and if they do have a sweet tooth, it’s better to give them healthy dog treats of their own made from sweet fruit and vegetables.
5 TOP TIPS ON HOW TO TRIM A DOGS NAILS
I know many dog owners are not sure of how to trim a dogs nails and are a little afraid of doing it wrong, but if you’re careful and take your time to make it a pleasant experience, it’s easy to do.
Here’s a short video I thought was quite good at showing you how. It’s also worth watching just to see the very cute Boston Terrier :)
Tip 1 – Get your equipment ready before you call your dog. Get a good quality
dog nail cutter (either from your local pet shop or vets), some favourite treats and something to stop bleeding, should it occur, like styptic powder (an antiseptic clotting agent).
Tip 2 – Create a relaxed environment. Make sure you are in a comfortable place for your dog and a secure position for you to trim a dogs nails easily. A good idea is on the floor, with your dog laying on it’s side so all four paws are facing you.
Tip 3 – Always cut at a 45º angle; if your dogs paw is flat to the floor, bring the clippers to the front of the nail at the tip, with the clippers parallel with the floor, then raise the handle part up to 45º and snip off a thin strip.
Tip 4 – Do one nail at a time – and slowly, bit by bit. This is important as you need to AVOID cutting too much off in case you cut into the quick. The quick is the bit inside the nail that contains the blood vessels and nerve endings. As you snip check inside the nail and once you see a secondary section inside – stop and don’t trim a dogs nails any further.
Is It Easy To See How Much To Cut Off?
If your dogs nails are light coloured then yes; if you look closely you can see where the nail is slightly more pink/darker in colour – that’s the quick, the part to avoid.
The quick can be quite long, so don’t assume that you can cut close to the nail bed. If your dogs nails are black, then you won’t be able to see the quick from just looking, so it’s very important you take it one thin snip at a time and more important that you look inside each time you do.
Tip 5 – When you trim a dogs nails, after each snip, on each nail, give your dog a small treat and praise them and encourage them to stay put. If they are afraid, let them move and encourage them back with another treat. Try not to tell them off, as that won’t help – they need to let you do it out of pleasure (from the treats and your praise) rather than fear, otherwise, it will always be an ordeal for you and a stressful experience for them.
Remember, the more you do it, the more they will get used to it. But, if you need to build it up because they become stressed, then do that. You could even start with just one nail a day and build it from there. After a while your dog will get to know it’s part of their routine and you will become more confident in how to trim a dogs nails, and they will be more confident in you!
DOG TOOTHPASTE: SHOULD I BE USING IT TO BRUSH MY DOGS TEETH?
The truth is, dog toothpaste shouldn’t be needed if a dog is fed on a raw diet and also gets to munch on raw meaty bones on a regular basis; the need for dental intervention shouldn’t be needed, as a rule.
Bones are natures natural teeth cleaners… They keep the mouth healthy…
If you don’t feed a raw diet, however, then feeding the commercial food, especially the dried kibble, can lead to a build up of tartar, as the food will inevitably stick to their teeth, especially the back teeth. Commercial food contains sugars (both natural and added) amongst other ‘sticky’ ingredients.
So, brushing your dogs teeth is a good idea to keep them healthy. However, a lot of the bought toothpaste is not natural (and loaded with chemicals), and if, like me, you choose to give your dog only natural food and substances, then a great alternative is home-made dog toothpaste.
Is human toothpaste the same as that for dogs?
No, it most certainly isn’t! Do not, under any circumstances give your dog human toothpaste. When swallowed, it’s not good for humans, let alone dogs; it can upset their stomach severely and constant use can lead to severe digestive problems.
I have noticed many posts on blog websites stating that they have used human toothpaste on their dogs to hide their bad breath… Let me say, quite categorically, if your dog has bad breath there is a reason for it – either the food you are feeding them is not agreeing with them; they have tartar build-up or rotten teeth; or there is a problem inside your dog’s stomach. If you are worried about your dogs breath, then a trip your vets is a good idea.
Don’t mask symptoms – always look for the cause and treat that.
A natural dog toothpaste is so simple...
Mix all the ingredients below and keep in an airtight container in your fridge. It should be the same consistency as your own toothpaste.
But above all, if you do use a bought variety, use a dog toothpaste, not your own!