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Pet emergency travel letter “ICE”

Land O Lakes Dog Show 2013 - Vizsla photo by Kathleen Riley
Land O Lakes Dog Show 2013 – Vizsla photo by Kathleen Riley

Do you travel with your dogs? Have you ever considered what might happen if you had an accident and were injured — or killed — and not able to communicate your wishes regarding your dogs?

Carrying an “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) information with you and bringing current photos of the dogs and a copy of critical medical information — or at the very least, the veterinarian’s contact information — will help you and your animals in case of an emergency.

Any easy way to store the information in a zip-lock plastic bag which will keep everything dry, and then put it in the glove box or attach it to the crates where your animals aren’t able to reach it. Having the information in a place that emergency responders can find it is good planning.

There is an easy PDF available for creating your own documents that was designed by Nancy Cox Starkey. All you need to do is fill in the blanks and print out the form. What an easy way to protect your pets.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

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Dog food review – Nature’s Logic Chicken (Dry)

Nature's Logic Chicken Dog Food
Nature’s Logic Chicken Dog Food

Nature’s Logic (Dry) is a food our dogs really like. They never turned their noses up at it so I would consider that palatable.

AAFCO statement on the bag says: Nature’s Logic Natural Chicken Meal Dinner Fare provides complete and balanced nutrition for All Life Stages. (This means the food will support puppies and up. I’m okay with that designation.)

Calorie Content– 551 kcal/cup.My dogs, are all around 75-pounds, ate about 1-1/2 cups (each) twice per day. It feeds out pretty well compared to most foods.

INGREDIENTS: Chicken Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat, Pumpkin Seed, Yeast Culture, Spray Dried Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Cheese Powder, Spray Dried Porcine Plasma, Dried Tomato, Almonds, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Carrot, Dried Apple, Sardine Meal, Egg Shell Meal, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Apricot, Dried Blueberry, Dried Spinach, Dried Broccoli, Dried Cranberry, Parsley, Dried Artichoke, Rosemary, Mixed Tocopherols, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Bifidium Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Pineapple Extract, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachtium Fermentation Extract

  1. Chicken Meal.The first ingredient is chicken meal which offers a great source of protein for your dog. Meal is the end product from cooking (rendering) the chicken.
  2. Millet.The second ingredient is millet which is a gluten-free grain that comes from seed grasses. Millet is a fairly hypoallergenic, is high in B-vitamins and fiber and essential minerals.
  3. Chicken Fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering (remember that is cooking) chicken. If you make chicken stock or soup, think of the fat that rises to the top, that’s what we’re talking about here. Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid (Omega-6 solid at room temperature and a fatty acid that is essential for life.)
  4. Pumpkin Seeds are high in fiber, loaded with vitamins and minerals and even better, have linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fat that helps keep skin and coat healthy and looking good.
  5. Yeast Culture This has high levels of “B” vitamins and is also high in protein. Also a decent probiotic to help with digestion.

In case you read through the ingredients and are wondering what Montmorillonite is and what it does… it is a clay product that is full of minerals and has approval from the USDA to be included in certified organic products. This is also good to get rid of some mold-based toxins and has even been mentioned as a method of controlling diarrhea.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

Thanks for stopping past. Be sure to visit our web site PetFoodEtc.com and “Like” us on Facebook for exclusive offers and contests.

Conquering pet clutter

Bailey the Chinook walking in the winter snow
Bailey the Chinook walking in the winter snow

No matter what the size of your home, and the number of companion animals you share the space with, you will be able to have a place that is spacious, clean and orderly. The upside is that you can achieve this without moving.

Filing folders. Make a folder for each one of your pets. In this folder you’ll keep health records, annual examinations and vaccinations, special health care issues. Keep track of veterinary visits by writing the date of each office call on the front of the file folder. Depending on how active your dogs are you may want to use a hanging folder and then have separate file folders on the inside for health, showing, breeding, pedigrees, registration papers and other important documentation. This system cuts down on paper piles and keeps important records handy for review and tax time.

Toys. Sort through your toys and get rid of the one’s your dogs and cats don’t like. Once you have weeded through the toys find a suitable container to keep them in. You can use a basket that sits on the family room floor and add a second basket for gathering toys and supplies for return to the designated spaces. To keep your animals more interested in the toys you save, rotate them in and out of use. Toys that are in good condition, but not of interest to your pets may be washed and donated to a local animal rescue.

Routine. Find a routine that works in your household and start using it. By performing the same tasks repeatedly, you will find yourself putting toys where they belong, filing papers, storing food and keeping supplies in one location. You may remember this from kindergarten, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” It still applies and will make your life simpler.

Feeding. Feeding your pets at the same times every day works well in most households. Keep all the food in the same place and you may store the bags in Rubbermaid® tubs with covers. Keep a measuring scoop stored neatly inside the containers and stack canned food next to the dry food bins. If your canned food does not have pop-top lids, keep a can opener nearby for simplifying the feeding process. Another added bonus to storing the food in containers is the reduction of mice and other pests trying to eat your expensive dog food.

Supplements and Medications. Keep a list taped in the cabinet near where you prepare your dog’s meals. This makes it easier for you, and anyone else who feeds your pets, to use the same system you do. If you have a pet that requires multiple doses of medication throughout the day, buy a pill dispenser from your local pharmacy that has a week-long supply of holders for the pills. Keeping your supplements and medications near the food will remind you to administer the dosages.

Appointments. Add grooming, veterinary, training class and show schedules to your calendars, computers or day planners. This helps you keep track of scheduling for your dogs and makes your life easier.

Designated Dog Area. Designating one place for your dog supplies makes finding them infinitely easier. Your can designate an entire room or just one drawer, look to see where you currently keep most of your supplies and try to work something out near that area. Remember, working with what you have is easier than trying to set up an entirely new area. This is a place where hooks work well for leashes and more.

Grooming Supplies. Store your brushes, toenail clippers, shampoos and other grooming supplies in a tote box or plastic bucket. When you groom your dog, grab the tote or bucket and you are ready for a brush or bathe. Toss a lint remover brush into the tote or bucket to remove hair from your clothing. Lint brushes can also be stored around the house to remove hair from furniture and clothing.

Organize Instructions. If you have a trainer, dog walker or dog sitter work with your dogs, prepare an instruction booklet on where to contact you, the veterinarian’s contact information, feeding instructions and times. You could also include a photo of your dog, information on whether you let them on the furniture, outside schedule, disciplinary measures. Keep this booklet with your other dog supplies and pull it out when you ask some one to dog sit for you.

Tame the Paper Tiger. Scan through your periodicals, newsletters and papers. Copy or tear-out the articles you want and store them in a three-ring notebook for future reference. To stay on top of reading the articles, keep a traveling folder in your vehicle to read while waiting for appointments. Trying to decide what to keep and what to move on? If it is a monthly, keep it one month, a weekly stays for one week and daily papers are recycled at the end of the day. You can really cut back on paper if you use the library and Internet for reading things that interest you.

Storage Solutions. Look at your house and see what themes run through it, and then determine what type of containers you want to utilize. You can go as simply as plastic boxes, or as fancy as custom designed storage bins. The biggest key to deciding what to use for storage is finding what works for you and your animals. Look at alternatives such as old trunks, hat boxes, baskets, stainless steel or anything that fits your needs.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

Thanks for stopping past. Be sure to visit our web site PetFoodEtc.com and “Like” us on Facebook for exclusive offers and contests.

How to read a dog food label

Dave and Trey at the Dock Dogs event
Dave and Trey at the Dock Dogs event

Do you know how to read your dog food label? Knowing how will help you know if the food inside the bag is right for your dog, and it is a lot like reading labels for your own food too. There are some things that must be included on pet food labels, and you can find them on the front of the package and on the information panel which is usually on the back side of the packaging — also known as the bag.

Pet food companies work really hard to attract your attention to the front of the bag — you’ll know if they are doing a good job if the bag catches your eye.  As a consumer, the main things you’ll see on the front of the pet food bag are the name of the company, the product identifier, the product use and the net weight of the package.

The front of the package may also have a banner statement, where the manufacturer makes specific claims about the dog food like “premium,” “super-premium,” “natural” “grain free” and more. These are regulated by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

The information panel should also have the guaranteed analysis of what’s in the food, have an ingredient list, a nutritional adequacy statement, feeding guidelines, and the manufacturer’s contact information.

Legally, pet food labels are required to state the minimum levels of protein and fat, and the maximum levels of moisture and fiber in the food. While this is a great place to start, remember that the foods may have more than the minimum amounts or less than the maximum amounts on the label. Here’s an example of what you might see:

Guaranteed Analysis USMetricCrude Protein (Min.)23.0%230 g/kgCrude Fat (Min.)14.0%140 g/kgCrude Fiber (Max.)6.0%60 g/kgMoisture (Max.)10.0%100 g/kgOmega – 6 Fatty Acids (Min.)2.7%27 g/kg*Omega – 3 Fatty Acids (Min.).3%3 g/kgGlucosamine (Min.)550 ppm550 mg/kg*Chondroitin (Min.)150 ppm150 mg/kg*Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (Min.)70 mg/kg70 mg/kg*Lactobacillus Acidophilus (Min.)50 million CFU/lb50 million CFU/lb*Enterococcus Faecium (Min.)35 million CFU/lb35 million CFU/lb*Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Min.)900 million cells/lb900 million cells/lb

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

The pet food manufacturer is required to list every ingredient in the food and to do that in descending order by amount on a dry-weight basis. Keep an eye out for ingredient splitting that helps shift ingredients up or down the list. One example would be rice, rice bran, rice flour – all are rice and each ingredient is a smaller version of the one ahead of it. Here’s an example using peas:

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, pea starch, peas, pea flour, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), natural flavors, tomato pomace, potassium chloride, sunflower oil, brewers yeast, salt, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), yeast culture (saccharomyces cerevisiae, enterococcus faecium, lactobacillus acidophilus, aspergillus niger, bacillus subtillis), choline chloride, taurine, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), glucosamine hydrochloride, tryptophan, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), chondroitin sulfate, yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract.

If you are looking for a good quality food, find one with good quality animal protein and it should be in the first few ingredients. You want to keep an eye out for something as generic as “poultry” and head toward something more like “chicken” or “duck” or “turkey” instead. The key is knowing what they ingredient is. While you are looking, check the fat source too. Fat provides energy and essential fatty acids so quality is important.

Just like protein, you’ll want to recognize the type of fat like, turkey or chicken fat which is more digestible rather than something like animal tallow. Also look for the source of linoleic acid, an important Omega-6 fatty acid, which include most vegetable oils (soybean, lecithin, corn oil, wheat germ oil, sesame seed oil, and linseed oil) so look for these on the label too. Balanced plant and animal fats are critical for a glossy coat and soft, pliable skin.

In addition, be sure to look for whole grains, vegetables, and other real-food ingredients on the label just like you would for your own meals. Remember if you see the same ingredient in various forms the odds are good that it is being split to change where it shows up on the ingredient panel. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad, but being aware makes you a better consumer.

Every pet food label must have feeding recommendations for the animals it is feeding, and for dogs it should address the different body sizes. As you try different foods, you may notice that the feeding guidelines are overestimating the amount a typical pet would need to eat every day. The feeding amounts are based on manufacturer feeding trials and for most of our companions, it is unlikely they need the high quantities of food the feeding trial dogs get. Use the guideline as a starting point and then adjust up or down based on your pet’s needs.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

Thanks for stopping past. Be sure to visit our web site PetFoodEtc.com and “Like” us on Facebook for exclusive offers and contests.

Dog food review – NutriSource Large Breed Grain Free (Dry)

NutriSource Large Breed Grain Free Dog Food - Buy it now http://bit.ly/Zjnddx
NutriSource Large Breed Grain Free Dog Food – Buy it now http://bit.ly/Zjnddx
NutriSource Large Breed Grain Free Dog Food - Buy it now http://bit.ly/Zjnddx
NutriSource Large Breed Grain Free Dog Food – Buy it now http://bit.ly/Zjnddx

NutriSource Grain Free Large Breed Chicken

AAFCO statement on the bag says: NutriSource® Grain Free Chicken Large Breed dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages. (This means the food will support puppies and up.)

Calorie Content – Metabolizable Energy (calculated): 3,500 kcals per kg, 350 kcals per cup.

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, pea starch, peas, pea flour, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), natural flavors, tomato pomace, potassium chloride, sunflower oil, brewers yeast, salt, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), yeast culture (saccharomyces cerevisiae, enterococcus faecium, lactobacillus acidophilus, aspergillus niger, bacillus subtillis), choline chloride, taurine, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), glucosamine hydrochloride, tryptophan, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), chondroitin sulfate, yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract.

Let’s take a look at the top ingredients:

  1. Chicken. The first ingredient is chicken and that means whole chicken before moisture is removed. Figure the raw bird is likely to be 80% water, and after cooking most of that moisture will be gone. Cooking reduces the meat to a small percent of the original weight. If the chicken were to be weighed after cooking it would be lower on the list.
  2. Chicken Meal. The second ingredient is chicken meal and there is probably more of this in the food than the chicken from ingredient #1. This is still fine and the chicken meat meal offers a great source of protein for pooch and is actually the end-product of rendering (cooking).
  3. Pea Starch. Pea starch is a carbohydrate extract and is often used as a binder for forming the kibble shape.
  4. Peas. Peas are a legume and are a quality source of carbohydrates while being high in fiber.
  5. Pea Flour. Pea flour is a powder made from roasted yellow peas. This is an excellent and healthy substitute for wheat and helps support more stable blood sugar levels.
  6. Potatoes. It looks like these start out whole, so they are a good source of digestible carbohydrates and other healthy nutrients.
  7. Chicken Fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering (remember that is cooking) chicken. If you make chicken stock or soup, think of the fat that rises to the top, that’s what were talking about here. Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid which is an Omega-6, and will be solid at room temperature. Linoleic acid is a fatty acid that is essential for life.

This food looks good on paper, and the dogs that have tried it really like the palatability and they look good while eating it.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

Thanks for stopping past. Be sure to visit our web site PetFoodEtc.com and “Like” us on Facebook for exclusive offers and contests.

Teaching your dog to SIT

Dalmatian sitting at Des Moines FDalmatian sitting at Des Moines Dog Show Feb 2013-679 - Photo RileyPhoto.Zenfolio.comeb 2013-679
Dalmatian sitting at Des Moines Dog Show Feb 2013-679 – Photo RileyPhoto.Zenfolio.com

Your goal is to train your dog to SIT within a few seconds of your command. You will be practicing with your dog to SIT – even with some small distractions – for one-minute.

Difficulty: Easy
Supplies: Your dog, Leash, Yummy Treats, Enthusiasm, Patience.
Time Required: 5- to 10-minutes at a time for three to five practice session a day, every day – yes, every day – until your dog understands what SIT is all about.

“SIT” is the easiest command a puppy can learn and is a great first command to teach. In my classes, students are encouraged to use SIT as a default command, which means when the dog doesn’t know what to do in a new situation, SIT is a good response. The default SIT will help your dog be successful in stressful situations for your and him. Even though we talked about SIT being easy for puppies to learn, you can successfully teach dogs of any age.

How To:
Preparation: Get you really tasty soft treats (cheese, hot dogs, soft dog training treats) that are cut into bite sized pieces – think no bigger than a pea – ready in your pocket or training pouch. Have your dog on a leash (I like a leather lead.) in front of you.

1. With your dog in front of you, hold your tasty treat above the dog’s nose, just out of reach.

2. Move the treat over your dog’s head in a straight line toward the tail. Think of a straight line from nose to tail. If you are doing this correctly, your dog will need to back up or sit to be able to keep his eyes trained on the treat.

3. Once your dog’s rump hits the floor, praise and treat. Be sure your dog is still sitting when you give the treat so you are rewarding the SIT behavior.

4. Add your SIT command once the dog starts offering the SIT behavior. Your voice should be businesslike for the command, and happy-go-lucky for praise. “Spot, SIT.” Then SIT happens and you get to praise and treat. Initially, you’ll treat for every sit, just like a Coca-Cola machine. As the dog improves, you will become more like a slot machine with random rewards like every third or fifth sit. Remember to vary your slot machine rewards so your dog doesn’t anticipate.

5. Repeat the steps throughout the day. I like short sessions doing five sits in a row and doing it three-to-five times throughout the day. Your goal is to have your dog sit quickly and reliably. Once your dog sits reliably, you’ll want to have him sit longer before treats and become a slot machine with treats rather than a Coca-Cola machine.

Things to Think About:

  • Training: Dog sees food (also called a “lure”) and the food encourages the SIT to happen. This is luring. Luring is a great place to start your dog’s training. You’ll want to shift to dog hears SIT (or sees SIT hand signal) and sitting makes the food reward happen. This is the real meaning of rewards in training.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

Thanks for stopping past. Be sure to visit our web site PetFoodEtc.com and “Like” us on Facebook for exclusive offers and contests.

Dog grooming tips

Dalmatian puppy photo by RileyPhoto.Zenfolio.com
Dalmatian puppy photo by RileyPhoto.Zenfolio.com

SHAMPOO: Use a shampoo specifically for dogs. The pH of their skin is different than people’s and our shampoo can cause dermatitis. If you are in a bind, you can use a mild dish soap like Ivory. It is best to stick with products that are designed for dogs and we have lots of options for your pets too.

CALLOUSES:
Some dogs develop callouses on their elbows. Use hemorrhoid cream on them to keep them soft. (Check with your DVM and look at your labels to be sure the ingredients are safe. Remember to keep your dog from licking the cream off.)

TOENAIL TRIMMING and NAIL BLEEDING: Using a good quality nail trimmer will help you keep your dog’s nails short. If you accidentally clip too close and don’t have styptic powder and sticks, you can use flour, corn starch or softened bar soap to stop the bleeding.

BRUSHING: Brush in the direction the hair grows. Once you have an area brushed out, work from a new area into an area that has all ready been brushed. After the entire dog has been brushed you can go over them with a comb. Depending on your dog’s coat, several brushings per week will help maintain a healthy coat. If you need breed specific directions on grooming, try the library, contact your local breed club or talk with your local groomer. For mixed breed dogs, you may need to get several books to cover all the breeds represented by your dog.

BATHING: Regular brushing should cut down on your need to bathe your dog. Every time you bathe your dog you are removing the natural oils from their coat and it takes several weeks for the oils to return to the skin and coat after shampooing. Always use shampoo that is developed for dogs as their pH is different than ours. You will want to brush your dog out before bathing. To protect the ears, place a cotton ball in the ears. To protect the eyes from soap, you can smear on some Vaseline or eye ointment around the outer rims. Be certain to rinse out all of the shampoo and conditioner when you are finished. You dog can be dried with a hair dryer (make sure the setting isn’t too hot) or a specially designed dog blow dryer. In cold weather be sure to wait several hours after bathing before putting your dog outside. There are some great moisture magnet cloths available to help wick moisture off your dog. Keep some moisture magnet towels available for after swimming too.

EARS: Check ears weekly. Using an ear powder, remove any hair blocking the ear canal. You can use your thumb and index fingers or a tweezers to pull out the excess hairs — ask your DVM or groomer to show you how the proper technique. When pulling the hair be sure to use quick movements. Use an ear cleaning solution after removing the excess hair. To clean the ears a cotton ball or cotton swab can be used to remove wax and secretions. If you dog is scratching or rubbing his ears or if they smell foul, the ears need some attention. Always check the ears before and after swimming making certain they are dried out after getting out of the water.

EYES: Remove the discharge that gathers in the inner corners of the eyes using a cotton ball soaked in water. There are specially formulated products to help keep the eyes clean and remove tear staining.

TEETH: Rub teeth with gauze or cheese cloth soaked in a baking soda solution. Specially formulated toothpaste and cleaners are available for dogs too. Along with daily cleaning you can help maintain healthy teeth by providing chew toys and using hard dog foods. Find more information here: Dog and cat tooth care

NAILS: If you can hear your dog clicking over your floors, the toenails are too long. Nails that are too long can cause serious problems for your dog. Long nails are uncomfortable, can cause damage to muscles and tendons, can cause serious injury if the nails catch on something and tear off. Nail clippers and grinders are available for maintaining and caring for dog toenails.

CLIPPING: Long coated breeds may need scissoring or clipping to maintain a neat and healthy appearance. Hair between the pads of the feet should be trimmed on all dogs and especially on dogs living where it snows as ice balls can form in the feet and cause problems. Breed specific books, breed clubs and your local groomer can help you learn more about maintaining your longer coated breeds.

DOG GROOMER: Your dog groomer should be an excellent source of information for you. Remember to take your dog in on a regular basis to make the experience better for your pet.

Do you have a tip or review to share? Let us know so others can benefit from your knowledge. Email us anytime, and tell us your story.

Thanks for stopping past. Be sure to visit our web site PetFoodEtc.com and “Like” us on Facebook for exclusive offers and contests.