How Not To Make A Dog’s Dinner Out Of Your Pooch’s Diet

dog diet

Every pet owner wants to take good care of their pet. Whether it is a cold or fleas, it is essential to fix the problem so that your dog isn’t in pain. However, there is one area where dog owners are not up to scratch: their pooch’s diet. Pets are like humans and need a balanced and tailored diet. With that in mind, the following tips are here to help. This is how not to make a dog’s dinner out of their diet.

Take Them To The Vet If There Are Problems Like Itchy Skin

Yes, going to the vet is expensive and a lot of hassle, but it is the only way you will find out about allergies and deficiencies. Like people, dogs are allergic to certain foods, or their stomachs can’t digest them as well as others. Obviously, you need to avoid these foods, but it isn’t possible if you don’t know what they are in the first place. By visiting the vet and asking for a food trial, intradermal skin test or a blood test, they will be able to tell which items in foods are good and which are bad.

Go Au Naturel

If in doubt, opting for organic food is always a good option. Natural dog food doesn’t contain any chemicals or unnecessary additives. Therefore, it shouldn’t be hard to digest or cause them to be sick. Plus, the natural ingredients will boost everything from their mood to their stamina. The key is to find truly natural food because there are suppliers who fudge the facts. A good tip is to take the label test. This means forget about the packaging, reputation, and PR and focus on the ingredients. What you are looking for is a high percentage of meat as well as soy protein and corn.

Introduce Human Meats

If your dog has ever been sick bets are a vet has recommended chicken and rice. This bland diet is good to help “reset” the digestive tract when they are ill. To get the most nutrients out of their diet, a dog needs a balanced diet which can be commercially made however treats can be given. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to introduce meat you would eat, such as beef. Of course, the protein in meat is an essential nutrient. But always do your research first and avoid chocolate as it is poisonous to most dogs.

But Don’t Cook It

Every time you have a piece of red meat it will go in the frying pan or the oven. Humans have evolved to need cooked meat as a part of their diet, yet dogs aren’t the same. Pretty much every other animal species on the planet requires meat, and they should have it raw. When you cook it, the meat loses its nutritional value and your dog won’t get the same benefits. Also, chewing raw meat is good for their teeth. However, stick to beef because poultry and pork can cause salmonella.

Ultimately, your dog’s diet is down to you, so please take the responsibility seriously.

Sorry Chow Chow Owners, Your Pooch Just Isn’t The Best For Training

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Are some dogs harder to train than others? Unsurprisingly, the answer is “yes.” Despite the fact that all dogs are descended from the same species, the breeding process has made some of them a nightmare to live with. While poodles might be relatively easy to train, chow chows and pugs certainly aren’t.

Here are some of the breeds of dog that are hard to train.

Beagles

Do you own a beagle? They can be loving dogs. Too loving perhaps. The problem with beagles is that their strong sense of affection can sometimes get the better of them. Often all their training goes out of the window, once their emotions start racing.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Beagles need authoritative owners. They need people who are willing to be consistent in their instruction, even if their dog might seem adorable sometimes. That mean no feeding at the table, relatively few snacks and treat, and a strict doggie timetable.

Mastiffs

Mastiffs are impressive dogs. Perhaps that’s why they always seem to feature in films. But these giants hounds are certainly a handful to keep under control around the home. There’s no doubt that Mastiffs are gentle giants. But their gentleness doesn’t mean that they’re particularly interested in training: far from it.

To really communicate with a mastiff, you need to have a firm hand. Mastiffs will respond to their owners, but their owners must put themselves in the dominant position. Submissive owners or owners who break the rules around feeding time will soon have an unruly mutt on their hands.

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If you can get mastiff training right, they can make great companions. But they need to respect you first.

Pugs

Pugs are among the strangest dog breeds out there. Owners of pugs are often approached by people who’ve never seen a pug before asking “what is it?” Even pug owners have to admit their dogs look strange.

Pugs, however, can be a problem dog, according to training specialists Royvon. It’s no so much that pugs are unruly or aggressive, it’s just that they’ve got more important things to do, it seems than obey their owners. Pugs just want to be left to their own devices to do their own thing, it seems, and that can make them particularly different to train. Unlike most dogs, they’re independent spirits.

It’s not impossible to train a pug. It just takes a combination of consistent training and confident instruction. Pugs can become bored quickly, so great discipline from the start is essential.

Afghan Hound

Afghan hounds are a beautiful breed, thanks to their fur and ears. They’re also surprisingly intelligent: almost in sheepdog territory. But unlike sheepdogs, Afghan hounds are not particularly easy to train. They have almost cat-like personalities according to some experts, meaning that they’re more interested in what they can get out of you, rather than actually doing anything you tell them to do.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Even if you do manage to train an Afghan hound, getting that training to stick is a big challenge. Afghan hounds have a tendency to forget the lessons they learn, which is why they need to be regularly refreshed. There’s nothing worse than an unruly dog!

Dalmatian

Dalmatians are incredibly cute: everybody agrees with that. But their cuteness has also made them cheeky and unruly. In fact, Dalmatians are extremely highly strung compared to more laid-back breeds like spaniels. Because of this, they’re almost impossible to control without vigorous, active training.

To keep a Dalmatian successfully, owners need to be constantly vigilant and engaged with their dogs. Dalmatians need regular walks in the park, perhaps twice a day. And they need a daily training ritual to let them know who the boss is. Without these, things can quickly get out of hand and Dalmatians can become disruptive in the home. Over time, a lack of owner interaction can cause them to disobey your instructions, even if they are trained.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow likes to be the master of its own destiny. As a result, many owners find it difficult to control, especially around feeding times. To get the upper hand in your relationship with your chow chow, you need to establish a clear pecking order early on. It should be entirely clear who is the leader of the pack.

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In practice, this means being consistent. Just a small thing, like feeding your Chow Chow from the dinner table rather than out of its bowl can lead to disruptive behaviours, especially around meal time. Sometimes, Chow Chows can display aggressive behaviours. If this is the case, then you may want to consult with a specialist.

Ticks and Fleas spread diseases…

Ticks like this carry disease

I spent years learning about diseases, medicine and surgery to become a vet so I could help make animals better. Yet sadly there have been many times where I’ve either seen a dog die or be euthanised because of diseases that are preventable. For me it is heart-breaking to see a dog die like this, yet even worse are the owners crying because they did not know any better. I hope by writing this I can help prevent suffering to another dog and their owners.

Most people with a dog will probably have seen a tick or flea at some time or other. Whilst it is common to believe they may just be an annoyance to your pet, in some cases they can carry diseases which may be spread to your pet or in some cases even you.

Actually calling fleas an annoyance may not even be accurate as the itchiness that they cause can be extremely painful and lead to a dog destroying its own skin trying to get it to stop. However today I want to rather focus on ticks. In April this year I saw 23 dead dogs due to a disease carried by ticks. It is one that is relatively new to the UK; however it is very common where I studied as a vet in Slovakia.

This disease is caused by another parasite called Babesia which exists inside blood cells and is transmitted by ticks when they feed. When it enters a new animal the parasite spreads in the blood entering the red blood cells and then replicating inside it causes the cell to rupture and die. This process repeats until there are very few red blood cells left, it is treated, or the dog dies.

The symptoms vary, when the dogs I have seen suffering from this have arrived they have often been lethargic, the worse ones have been yellow with icterus and collapsed. The common symptoms are blood in the urine, lack of appetite, weight loss, pale gums and tongue, lack of energy and collapse. In fact the symptoms can be so non-specific that one of my teachers here actually once told me that if I cannot explain the symptoms by any other means then I should check for Babesia.

Checking for Babesia is generally easy with a blood test where a smear is examined under the microscope – if it is positive for Babesia then they will be seen within the red blood cells as in the dog below…

Babesia parasite inside a red blood cell
The dark puple “butterfly” in the middle circle is typically what Babesia looks like under a microscope © Chris Allen 2017

So we have the diagnosis, now for the treatment. Unfortunately this is where it gets complicated as although there is medication to kill the Babesia parasite, it can often be a battle to keep the dog alive long enough for the medication to work. Without enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body the organs cannot work, the heart starts working faster to try and move the few good cells it has around faster, and the waste is filtered into the urine. The regeneration of red blood cells takes a few days to really start, so one potential lifesaving treatment is a blood transfusion – however this often just buys more time as these red blood cells may then also be infected and destroyed by the Babesia parasite.

The next problem then comes with the cost of treatment as well; often these dogs need hospitalisation and intensive therapy which for some is unaffordable. It really can be a gamble as to whether or not they survive at all, even if treatment is attempted, potentially leaving a big bill and a dead dog vs the happy pet parent taking their dog home.

The main question though is why it is even necessary.  Although tick products are generally not licensed against tick borne diseases, to help prevent Babesia you should help protect your dog against ticks with a vet recommended treatment, remove any ticks you find as soon as possible, and especially make sure you do this if you travel into mainland Europe.

I fully support the Pet Parasite Action campaign – such a little thing as regular prevention could help save your dog’s life even though you may not know it. You don’t go out and leave your front door unlocked to avoid theft, why would you leave your pet unprotected against diseases such as this?

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