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Grain-free food: the benefits for your pet

Grain-free food: the benefits for your pet

Grain-free food: the benefits for your pet

Owners have a huge range of dog foods and cat foods today, however, choosing which is the best for your pet is sometimes tricky. A type of pet food that has a lot of people talking is ‘grain-free’ — but do you know why this kind of nutrition is proving popular?

Many pet nutritionists advocate feeding pets grain-free food to help them live better and healthier lives. Not only are there typically increased levels of protein in grain-free options, but this source is also supposedly good for animals that suffer from allergies and digestive issues.

Keen to know more? Check out our guide to grain-free food…

Grains aren’t great for pets

As carnivores, cats’ and dogs’ bodies aren’t meant to digest grain. Research shows that these creatures don’t have enough ‘amylase’ — an enzyme — in their saliva to break down grain sufficiently. Herbivores and omnivores have plenty of amylase to break down starch into simple sugars, which happens before food reaches the gut. However, dogs and cats produce amylase in their small intestines. Of course, many cats and dogs don’t get ill from eating grain, however, it’s worth noting that their bodies cannot break it down as effectively as other animals, which means they are less able to gain nutritional value from it.

Overall, your pet gets little benefit from grain, while feeding them it may cause digestive problems.

Fur

Healthy skin and a glossy coat are tell-tale signs of a healthy pet — but grain isn’t a great option to achieve this. Often, grain-free food is high in protein — so your pet gets a better dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which gives pets’ fur a thick and shiny look. Also, omega-3 strengthens hair, which means less moulting!

Allergies

The same as humans, pets are just as able to have food allergies and issues. Concerned that your cat or dog has a food allergy? Follow advice from some pet nutritionists and feed them a diet that copies what their ancestors used to eat.

Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a pet nutritionist, states that dogs should consume 60% meat and 40% vegetables/other foods — also known as the BARF diet (biologically appropriate raw food). This includes eating food like peas, carrots and apples (digestible fibre). Luckily, good grain-free pet food already contains nutrients contained in these foods — perfect if you want to save cooking time. If you have a cat go for roughage, like veg, to boost their immune systems and lower ageing!

A pet with a grain allergy may exhibit the following signs:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Skin irritation (itchy or dry).
  • Ear infection.
  • Fur loss.
  • Rashes.
  • Inflamed paws.

Weight

Similar to humans, the UK dog population is also suffering from an obesity problem. According to an information guide by The Kennel Club, between 30% and 60% of dogs are overweight. And it seems that felines have are susceptible to this problem too. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals found that there will be more overweight cats and dogs then healthy-weight pets by 2019. Obesity causes issues with the heart and joints, as well as contributes to breathing complications. Therefore, it’s key that you offer them a healthy diet today.

Lack of exercise and an overload of carbs can make pets gain weight. Grains often contain more carbohydrates than other foods — like meat. So, could this be another reason to make a nutritional change? Instead of grain, grain-free food features more meat, fish and vegetables, so they’re typically more nutritionally useful and help boost fullness.

A dog or cat that is carrying too much weight may show these signs:

  • Issues walking
  • Loses breath quickly.
  • Round face.
  • Ribs not easily felt.
  • Fat neck.
  • Reluctance to walk.

Liveliness

Are you walking your dog enough? Do you spare enough time to play with your cat in the evening? The government states that our dogs get a 30-minute walk every day, according to The Kennel Club, while PetMD suggests that you should engage your cat in activity for around half of that time. So, pets with energy to spare will help them get the exercise they require.

Protein is a pet’s main source of energy, and so, since grain-free food typically features a large dose of protein, it makes sense to consider feeding your cat or dog it regularly to help them stay fit. You could also offer your pet new toys to help get them more active when you’re not around.  

If you’re worried about your pet’s diet, exercise levels and general well-being, why not try grain-freed food? It could be the answer to a longer and happier life! Just remember to check with their vet prior to changing their diets.

***Collaborative post***
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Lifestyle, Pet care., pets

Opening up our home

Opening up our home

Opening up our home

Sadly, back in March 2017 we had to say a very sad goodbye to our loving Buddy who passed away in his sleep. Buddy was our German shepherd dog and was our fur-baby for just under 11 years.

Back then we said “NO MORE” dogs as the saying goodbye was just too painful. Time passed and our home was just too quiet. Come January 2018 we were welcoming our little Coco, a Siberian Husky girl into our lives and home, aged 8 weeks old.

preparing our home for a new puppy

Not long after our Buddy had passed away my Endometriosis started to flare up. Resulting in myself having to step down from my position at work and go in on a part-time shift. I found I was moping around at home, I got very depressed and if I am completely honest I ended up in a very dark place. Thankfully Ian got me back to some form of me again.

Getting Coco has really lifted my spirits. She gets me up and out everyday, whereas before I’d just get up and mope about – Coco is my anti-depressant.

Opening up our home

We go on lovely long walks with her, she comes out with us in the car. We go off into the countryside, walk along rivers. We visit dog exercise parks and stop off in pet-friendly pubs/cafe’s. She basically comes with us everywhere.

Coco is a very friendly dog and absolutely loves nothing more than to play ball, chase and no words can even begin to describe how much she loves her paddling pool…. she’d sleep in it if we’d let her.

With Coco being so friendly and her energy levels being so high we have decided to open up our home and become dog fosterers. We have been in discussions for a few weeks now with our local dog rescue centre and have been accepted to become dog fosterers.

Opening up our home

Coco with our sisters dogs at our sisters house.

What is a dog fosterer?

A dog fosterer is someone who is willing to open up their home and help provide a temporary home for a dog in need. To give lots of love and look after them, help build them up to get the best chance of a fresh start in life. Let’s face it we all deserve a second chance, even a dog!

We will be helping to play a vital part in the rehabilitation of the dogs which will help improve their chance of finding their new forever home.

We will be helping to build the dogs confidence if needed, building them up and helping them to get used to a normal lifestyle in a home environment. We will be giving the dogs the love, care and affection they deserve. They will have a friend forever with Coco.

Opening up our home

By fostering dogs, we will be doing a good thing by helping to build a dog’s confidence and helping to settle a dog with a new forever home with a loving family. Being part of that will be so rewarding.

Before we take in any dog, checks are made by the rescue centre and we get contacted from there. Coco will be meeting them outdoors first. Once they have met and if all goes well things will move forward from there and hopefully we can then help provide a safe loving home for a dog in need. Coco will love having a friend to burn off energy with.

We are really looking forward to fostering our first dog and opening up our home.

Opening up our home

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Pet care., pets

First time crate training

First time crate training

For those not aware, we recently welcomed Coco into our family. Coco is a Siberian Husky girl. Before we welcomed Coco home we made sure we was fully prepared for her as we wanted to make sure we had all the basics in place needed. Before we collected Coco we defiantly wanted to make sure we had a crate.

Reasons to get a crate

Our reason behind getting a crate and crate training her is because we believe a crate can help with preventing destructive and obnoxious behavior when we can’t be with her and keep her safe. We also want Coco to feel that a crate can be a safe and happy place for her to go when things get too much for her and she wants to be left alone.

A crate also helps when going out in our car to make travelling safe for her. Our aim for crate training is purely for safety and positive reasons and is never used as a punishment for her. Coco is never in her crate for long periods of time, an hour at the most.

Type of crate

When the decision was made to get a crate for Coco we then had to decide on what type of crate as there are a few different types to choose from. After our research into the crate we decided that a collapsible metal crate would be best for training her. We then had to decide on the size of crate to get.

With Coco only being a pup but a puppy that will grow quickly we went for a medium size one to start off with and will change size as and when needed. We hope that a medium size crate will be of correct size for her for a while, allowing her to have the height and movement room needed to stand and turn round.

Comfort of the crate

Cocos crate is located in our living room. This is where we are most of the time when we are at home. She can see us at all times when she is in her crate so she still feels apart of everything but feels safe at the same time. Her crate is in the corner of our living room so she gets a full view of whats going on. In her crate she has a lovely comfortable bed for added comfort

Making the crate welcoming

We wanted to make the crate a welcoming place to her, a place she will love to go so we made the crate comfortable with a bed. We made it a rewarding place to go so she gets a treat of some kind when she goes in, either a treat or her meal. We have placed a blanket over the top of the crate to cover the back and sides to give it a den feel to help her feel that bit more safer.

Length of time in the crate

Coco is only in her crate for short periods of time (no more than an hour maximum) when we ask her to go in, otherwise the crate door is left open for her to freely go in and out as she pleases. She always has access to water when inside with the door closed. We gradually increased the length of time she is in the crate starting off with just a few seconds at a time as we didn’t want her to be scared of going inside. The length of time inside the crate with the door closed was increased upon our judgment of Coco being confident enough.

Make it fun

With Coco only being a puppy everything to her is a game. We found that if we turned entering the crate into a game she listened more and picked up commands much easier. It’s a way of making learning fun. To her it is just a game but for us we are getting her to listen and do as asked but in a rewarding way so it’s a win win situation.

When playing ball after a while roll it into the crate – When it’s treat time hide 1 or 2 in the crate and say go crate – We fill her Kong toy up and ask her to go crate to have it and she can only have it if she stays in her crate, if she comes out with it we put it back inside and command go crate, this is repeated until she knows she only has it if in her crate. Another thing we do with coco is when we are doing daily training we now do them inside her crate – such as sit, down, paw etc as each command completed she gets a treat.

Patience 

Coco wasn’t keen on the crate at first but we allowed her the time to get used to it being there before we introduced her more to it. We started off by getting her to enter the crate using the command go crate and come out as she wished, making it as fun as possible and using the command EVERY TIME we want her to go inside her crate.

We then got her to enter the crate and try and keep her inside for a few seconds with the door open and us sat by the door. Treats are given each time she enters the crate. I use a few treats and then some of her dry food biscuits from her meal, saves on an upset stomach. From here we then went on to feeding her some of her meals inside the crate, after a few feeds we then gradually worked ourselves further away from the crate door leaving it open.

Once we felt Coco was happy enough we then went on to closing the door, starting off with a few seconds at a time and gradually increasing this each time. We always reward with a treat of some kind upon entering the crate, NEVER on coming out – reason being because we want it to be more fun staying put once inside otherwise she will be crying to come out to get a treat. We want her thinking that her crate is a good positive place to be!

We have had Coco six weeks now and she is currently happy to go in and out of her crate on her own. It took a few weeks to get her to do so but being patient paid off in the end. We have now moved on to Crate training Coco in the car – so far it is going very well. If you would like to follow our travels and adventures you can do so over on our travel blog.

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Dog bed, Hip dysplasia, Pet care., review.

Buddy sleeps in comfort

Buddy sleeps in comfort

Buddy recently had his 8th birthday, he suffers with hip dysplasia and at times this can prove very uncomfortable for him, we have recently been looking into getting him a nice comfy bed to sleep in at night as he got far too big for his old one and it was not supportive enough for him, we decided it was time for a change and he needed a comfy bed, he has recently been having a very comfortable night sleep with this new bed.

Buddy sleeps in comfort

When it arrived via courier Buddy was rather excited and he was waggy tailed and jumped straight into it, he loves his new bed and can be found on many occasions enjoying a nice sleep in it during the day, he fits inside his new bed perfectly, the bed has a lovely thick cushion thats sits inside, we chose the number 5 bed for Buddy as this size is for larger dogs, the bed size being 99 x 71cm means he has plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy a comfy nights sleep, they offer 3 other sizes but this size was best for Buddy’s size.

The bed is rectangular with high sides filled with 900gram polyester wadding panels, with a drop fronted front, it has a removable and reversible deep fibre filled cushion for easier care and for a cooler or warmer comfy sleep, it is also fire resistant.
                                   
The bed can be hand washed or you can wash it at 30 degrees, I have washed the bed once already and it washed up well and looks as good as new.

This bed retails at £78 from feedem this bed is of excellent quality, and Buddy seems very comfortable and happy with his new bed, feedem offer a wide selection of pet products at great prices.

 

Brad tested the bed out and was so comfy he fell asleep in it after school one day.

Disclaimer : Buddy was sent this bed in exchange for our review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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dog, Harrington's, healthy pet treats, Pet care., pet food, pets, review.

Harringtons pet treats

 Harringtons pet treats
Buddy was lucky enough to be sent some Harringtons pet treats, he has been really enjoying his treats, unfortunately Buddy suffers from allergies, he is allergic to beef and chicken so he is limited to what he eats.
Harringtons pet treats
He was lucky enough to be sent two packets of treats.
One being sensitive treats 160g
  • suitable for all dogs from 8 weeks old
  • No artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya, no added wheat.
  • Tasty biscuit bones with added herbs, sesame seeds and linseed for sensitive digestion.
Harringtons pet treats
The other being salmon rolls 160g
 
  • No artificial colours or flavours, no soya and no added wheat.
  • Rich in omega 3 and 6 oils, natural antioxidants, zinc and vitamins, help maintain healthy skin and coat.
  • Suitable for all dogs from 8 weeks old.
Harringtons pet treats
Harrington’s is manufactured in a purpose built factory in north Yorkshire, Harrington’s retain a proud family tradition of producing top quality pet food, sourcing locally grown products wherever possible, they aim to give pets wholesome food free from any artificial flavours or colours, Harrington’s pet food provides you with premium pet food without the hefty price tag.
Buddy is a German shepherd dog he is 7 years old, we have had him from when he was 6 weeks old and to us he is not a pet he is a much loved member of the family, so making sure he is happy is very important, we are normally told by the vets that he is over weight, whoops, but he does love his treats.

Buddy is normally a fussy eater but he really enjoyed these treats with no hesitation or fuss.

Harrington’s  is available in the UK and also in France, you can find Harrington’s pet food in most supermarkets, shops and also online, these treats have a RRP of  £1.89 but the prices may vary depending on where you buy them.

Harrington’s also cater for guinea pigs, rabbits and cats, offering a wide range of  products.
You can find Harrington’s on Facebook and Twitter
Disclaimer : Buddy was sent two packets of dog treats in exchange for our review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
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