All posts tagged: best dog food
Toxic foods for dogs

Find out what foods are safe for people but dangerous for pets!

Some foods that are considered good for people can be very dangerous for pets. The list below highlights some of the most common foods that can be dangerous to animals.

This is not an exhaustive list, and any decision to provide your pet with food not specifically intended for animals should be discussed with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist. For more information on foods that could be unsafe for pets, visit the ASPCA’s “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets” page.

The following foods may be dangerous to your pet:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot pits
  • Avocados
  • Cherry pits
  • Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Hops (used in home beer brewing)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy foods
  • Mushroom plants
  • Mustard seeds
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Peach pits
  • Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt
  • Tea (because it contains caffeine)
  • Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
  • Walnuts
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
  • Yeast dough

This information was compiled from various sources.

Yorkshire Terrier, Yorkie with his food bowl

Food and water bowls are an essential part of your dog’s kit. You’ll want to put a bit of thought into what you choose for your dog.

Here are some pros and cons of the 3 most commonly used materials.

Plastic Bowls. They’re durable and long-lasting. But if you notice your dog gnawing or chewing on the bowls, plastic isn’t your best choice. Ingesting bits of plastic can harm your dog internally. Plastic can also stain and will often develop a biofilm if not scrubbed and cleaned daily.

Ceramic Bowls. They’re heavy and very stable – a good thing if your dog tends to push its bowl around the floor while eating. But ceramic bowls are also porous and will need to be scrubbed and cleaned daily.

Stainless Steel Bowls. The #1 choice of vets because they are so easy to clean and sanitise. Stainless steel bowls are also the most durable. Look for bowls with a rubber coating on the bottom to help prevent sliding.

BOWLS FOR FAST EATERS OR THOSE AT RISK OF BLOAT

In some situations, you need a specialised bowl for your dog. Dogs that are at risk of bloat or gastrointestinal volvulus are typically large deep-chested breeds (like a great dane), but dogs can bloat even if they don’t have the typical conformation. Eating too quickly is one of the risk factors for this devastating condition. Dogs that eat very quickly often don’t feel satisfied and immediately look for more food, so they could also benefit from a bowl that will slow down their eating. You can buy specialised bowls with ridges in them to slow eating, or simply place an upturned bowl on a flat plate, so that your dog eats the food around the outside of the bowl.

RAISED OR NORMAL FEEDING HEIGHT

There is much misinformation out there about how to feed your dog. Unless your dog suffers from megaoesophagus feeding on the floor is fine. Having an elevated feeding bowl does not reduce the risk of bloat in dogs!

FOOD BALLS

Another option to slow fast eaters and to keep dogs occupied during periods of absence is using a food ball like a Buster Cube. Your dog needs to work at the ball and roll it around to get the food out. There are also a great number of puzzles you can use to deliver your pet treats and there is no reason you can’t use regular dry food for these, rather than high calorie treats. Kongs are also great to fill with food, whether that be soft or hard foods. For the thrifty and crafty among us you can easily make your own food delivery device with an old plastic drink bottle with the lid removed. If you place some dried food inside your pet can roll the bottle until he gets at the food. Just make sure you don’t do this with a dog that is likely to chew the bottle and ingest pieces of plastic! For smaller dogs you can recycle cardboard toilet paper rolls and simply seal one end with paper and masking tape and put some food inside.

CARE OF YOUR FEEDING EQUIPMENT

Whatever bowl you decide for your pet, make sure you clean the bowls daily and do not leave meat or soft foods out for more than an hour (particularly in warmer climates or outside where there are flies). Wash and scrub the bowls with normal dishwashing detergent and rinse well. Many are safe for the dishwasher too, and having more than one water and food bowl means you can rotate them as one set is being washed. Having multiple bowls in different locations and a constant source of fresh drinking water is also important for your pet.

We hope this guide has helped you make an informed choice on the best type of bowl to choose for your pet. This important purchase should be durable and functional, as well as being safe for your pet.

Sometimes people underestimate how important it is that dogs receive regular walking. Dogs require regular walking because it stimulates them in at least 3 different areas. These are the dog’s health, the dog’s social skills, and the training of the dog. Knowing these things, it would be wise to trust Waggy Walkys with the walking of a ones dog.

Health

Dogs need exercise and walking them provides the perfect opportunity to give them what they need. When walking a dog, you improve its ability to be limber and agile. Walking a dog also improves the quality of its life by helping to manage its weight. Dogs and cats alike sometimes need a little help digesting their food, with regular walking this can give them comfort and encourage proper intestinal processes. I’m sure many people may have witnessed a dog that seems hyperactive. This can be remedied by taking the dog on walks. Pets are like children and just like children, it is wise to direct their energies to constructive activities. Waggy Walkys offers an opportunity to provide every pet with all of these health benefits and more.

Social Skills

Walking a dogs offers much to gain in the area of its social skills. By walking a dog, the walker can establish expectations for how it should act in the presence of other dogs and other people.  A new dog or even a new environment might prove to be overstimulating to a dog not familiar with its surroundings. A well behaved dog can save the owner a lot of headaches as well. By consistently walking your dog you reduce the risk of it biting or otherwise hurting other dogs or people around it.

Another advantage to a dog’s social skills brought about by regular walking is it allows the dog to meet different people and come into contact with varied situations.  By offering a dog the opportunity to come into contact with new experiences you strengthen its cognitive ability. A loving dog owner should never deprive their furry companion the social development it needs, so if one needs help with walking their dog, Waggy Walkys is always there.

Training

Walking a dog provides a great opportunity to train it as well. First, walking a dog allows it to get comfortable with wearing a leash. The dog owner can establish a way to communicate an appropriate pace, whether it be walking, jogging, or running. Walking a dog regularly is also a great way to teach a dog simple commands like “stop”, “sit”, “stay” and “come”. Walking a dog is a great way to give it real world positive reinforcement. For those less experienced with training dogs in this way, Waggy Walkys is the perfect solution.

Conclusion

Walking a dog through Waggy Walkys or just in general offers numerous benefits for the overall well-being of a dog. Improved health, better social skills and an opportunity to train the dog are all possible through consistent walking. Lastly the benefits of walking a dog cannot be truly quantified because the joy a dog expresses while being walked is priceless.

Woman feeding dog

The decision on what to feed our canine children is a complex one. There are pet food companies shouting at you that, if you don’t feed their food, you don’t love your dog, and well-meaning others who want to convince you that anything commercial is taking the lazy way out. There are foods that are “all-natural” and foods with tasty bits to convince your finicky dog to eat. Just like feeding ourselves, it is very hard to sort out the truth from the marketing.

Prioritize nutritional needs. We all can agree that choosing the right food for life can be one of the biggest factors in longevity and quality of life. We also have to realize that just like human food, the best-tasting food is often not the most nutritious. Usually foods with “tasty bits” are sold to satisfy the human’s emotional needs more than the dog’s nutritional needs and are often the cause of obesity (a common killer of dogs).

Seek the advice of a professional. What “all-natural” really means is often anyone’s guess. To really choose the best food takes some research or requires finding someone knowledgeable who you really trust to advise what is right for your individual dog. This is not the salesman at the pet store who has only been informed by representatives from the food companies, and it shouldn’t be just some website that made sense to you. Typically, your veterinarian or a trained nutritionist (who can often be found and contacted on vet school websites) are the best resources to make decisions for your dog as an individual.

Debunking BARF. One type of food espoused by some well-meaning pet lovers is biologically available raw food (BARF). The idea of this approach is that raw food is closer to what a dog would eat in the wild. Unfortunately, dogs in the wild do not live very long, which, to me, is a flaw in their logic, but I try to consider all viewpoints on issues this important. From research as it stands now, there is no real evidence that there are any health benefits to eating raw meat. If, however, you do want to try it, make sure you do your research and do it the right way. With extreme choices such as raw food, there is no such thing as “I do mostly raw food”. Even proponents of the diet will tell you that there are risks if you don’t do it exactly right. In addition to finding organic food sources, you must balance the food with vegetables and other sources of micronutrients to meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs. Changing an adult dog to BARF too quickly can cause pancreatitis, so follow your vet’s instructions.

Carefully choose commercial dog food. Since most of us don’t have time to look for and properly prepare organic chicken, it is more sensible to find a high-quality commercial dog food that is preserved with vitamin E or other natural preservatives (eliminating chemicals and using high-quality meat instead of meat byproducts). These foods are formulated by trained nutritionist to be the best and help your dog live the longest, healthiest life possible; something that most of us are not trained to do.

Commonly, BARF is recommended for dogs with certain medical problems such as skin conditions or immune problems. Sometimes it helps, not because of any magic of raw food, but because the key ingredients to which the pet is sensitive are eliminated. This same thing can be accomplished with carefully chosen commercial foods, getting all the nutritional advantages of teams of nutritionists while avoiding the risks of parasitism, food poisoning, and skin problems.

Consider food allergy. Food allergy is a very common component of itchy skin in dogs. Chicken, beef, lamb, corn, soy, wheat, egg, and dairy products are common ingredients which induce these allergies, but, whether they are raw or cooked, the immune system looks at them the same. The key to choosing a food for skin problems is to pick one that does not include any of these ingredients, is preserved with vitamins, and preferably is supplemented with fatty acids (fish oils). Most large food companies now have their own versions of these foods. They are usually sold as prescription foods but are not significantly more expensive than over-the-counter foods of equivalent quality.  Food allergies are the most common reason for dog owners to seek a dog food that is made from a consistent Limited Ingredient Diet or LID.

Recommendation: with the wealth of foods that are available to help many different conditions, the lack of evidence that raw food provides any advantages, and the potential risks of raw food, I can’t recommend that it is a good choice at this time. As research is done, we may one day find that there are advantages, but, for now, high-quality commercial food is the better choice.