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Dog Food – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Oct 142014
 

Until Swagger was my keeper to use as a stud dog with my girls, I hadn’t had experience with an intact male and the minor issues that arise.  Swagger is a superb pet while being a major part of my breeding program so I strive to keep him healthy and happy in order to pass along his best traits to the next generation of pups at Alangus Mini & Toy Aussies.

The only true issue that I have encountered is keeping Swagger at an optimum weight.   With the assistance of Dr. Laurelee Rubsch of MVP Vet in Louisville, KY, I have found the perfect combination of food and supplements to keep him feeling his best.   Because there are other dogs in the general population that might encounter similar stumbling blocks (both male and female, breeding and non-breeding), Dr. Rubsch’s holistic approach is worth sharing.

Although my dogs are house dogs and live a basically calm life, there are times that they inadvertently  reach their stress limit, just as we do.  Because of Swagger’s situation with intact girls cycling, he would sometimes be off his food whether it was a time for them to be bred or not.  Once he stopped eating, it seemed a bellyache would start a cycle for him and he blamed the food for his belly ache and then to “save” himself, he didn’t want to eat again, a downhill spiral.

Once I pinpointed that Swagger does much better on kibble that does not contain chicken or chicken fat, that was the first step to his feeling like the little man he was meant to be.  Once I ruled out foods with chicken, it was even more difficult to find foods that did not have chicken fat because it is a staple in the majority of dog foods.  I won’t say that he has an “allergy” to that protein source, but I will say that his stomach flora seems to be much more stable on other proteins.  My veterinarian tells me, as does Internet research that this is very common, more common than I had realized.

My next step was reading about irritable bowel syndrome, which can be a disease, but often is a symptom as in Swagger’s case from the cycle I mentioned earlier.  That led me to adding Tripett Canned Green Tripe  to his daily menu. Tripe is the stomach contents from cud chewing animals and is a natural probiotic. It is not a whole food in itself, but 1/3 can each day gets Swagger off to a good start just like a good breakfast sets us up to perform at our best.  I only feed my girls once each day, but Swagger gets his tripe in the morning as an “extra”.  The girls love it too and I also give them some occasionally, although not on a regular basis.  The canned tripe is available online from www.chewy.com or at some pet supply stores.

Dr. Rubsch advised adding additional probiotics (Probiotic Miracle) to the menu as well as Standard Process Canine Enteric Support powder *1/8 teaspoon of each daily.  On my own, I also added Seacure for Pets because it is touted as another all natural supplement with awesome reviews (and I will add my own).  These 3 supplements along with the tripe have Swagger in the best condition he has ever been in and full of spunk and vinegar as is the saying around here. Note..these products are available on Amazon.

This regimen may seem extra, but I have seen the difference in the health of my boy. It is probable that once Swagger’s digestive system was stabilized, that the supplements could be discontinued but since they are only food source supplements and not drugs, I see no reason to make changes when it is working and working well!  If you find your dog under undue stress for any reason causing a stomach upset or loss of appetite, or they just need a boost to look their fittest, you might consider adding some “yummies” to their diet, but only after your veterinarian has checked them for underlying health problems that need additional treatment.

 

 

 

 

Oct 092013
 

 

57356,1380530546$SS172$One of the most important things we can teach our dogs is a reliable recall.  We practice and practice in our backyard when there are no distractions and it is an easy thing for them to run back to us since they know the territory and have nothing more interesting to distract them.  Then, we take them to the soccer field to play Frisbee or the dog park where there are lots of fun things to see and smell, and they might act like they don’t know who we are when we ask them to return unless we have done some serious practice.  And, I might add, some dogs are easier to teach reliable recall than others!

In teaching recall, one of the things that is super important is that we always make it fun and rewarding for them to come to us.  As puppies, if they don’t come when we call, we must make it a game and run away rather than toward them and act like our closest family member has just come home from Afghanistan when they finally “catch” us.  We should NEVER punish a dog for not coming although I have done it in my distant past and paid the consequences of a dog that became a “runner”.  Letting them drag a long lightweight “clothesline” when they are not quite dependable gives us the edge. We can just step on the end of the line when they start to dart, and reel them back in with lots of “good boys”.

When working on recall, I try to keep a few of the very best “jackpot” treats in my pocket, ones that aren’t used for the usual sit and down and spin.  It has to be something that they can smell from a distance and tastes scrumptious and is only used when what they are asked to do is especially tough.  Since I get samples occasionally from chewy.com, I have decided one they have sent me would be excellent  to use for training recall  or to use a jackpot.  Nature’s Variety Instinct Mini treats are freeze dried raw chicken so nothing but meat and natural ingredients as is typical of this company’s products.  My dogs go crazy when I get out the box and if I have them in my pocket, they sniff and sniff at my side.  I dare say, if I can them to “go out” at all, they will be quick to return if I have these little treats ready to pop in their mouth when they come back to me from a distance.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Minis are available from chewy.com with free shipping over $49.  I do not receive any money for my reviews, although I do like to share products that I like and this company gives me the opportunity to receive samples for the reviews.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Blog for email notifications when one is posted, click HERE. Your comments and experiences with your dogs are welcome!  You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 3:10 pm
Sep 022013
 
Three Aussies

Morning Nylabone Ritual in Motorhome

We just returned from 21 days on the road in our motor home with three of our dogs, Izzy, Rosie and Swagger.   It was both an educational journey along the canals of the northeast and a fitness journey along the bike trails. If you’d like to read where we went and see a few pictures, the blog is posted at PACK EM UP.

Our three smallest travel well and don’t take much space.  We did start out the trip with Swagger not feeling so well.  He has struggled off and on lately with stomach issues and I am doing trial and error to determine the trigger that is playing havoc with his digestion.  I am slowly adding and deleting from his menu to determine the culprit of what seems to be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, either brought on by stress or what he eats or both.  When I had his last bloodwork done, his liver enzymes were a bit elevated and the vet recommended putting him on Denosyl, a supplement which helps the liver to do its work properly.  By the way, we ruled out all the parasitic causes of diarrhea first.

My old standby for dogs with diarrhea is boiled chicken and rice for a few days but in Swagger’s case, that seemed to make him worse so I changed to  lean hamburger (rinsed and drained) and rice.  When I made that change and he improved overnight, a light bulb went off and I started to consider that he might not be tolerating chicken or chicken dog food well.  Surprisingly, many dogs are “allergic” to chicken.  Over the course of a few days, when I would add in a tad bit of chicken or a rich dog treat, he would start to have symptoms again.  As always, I carry a variety of food with me when traveling, so along with the burger/rice mixture, I also gave him some canned lamb dog  food (Solid Gold) which he tolerated well.  I slowly moved on to Solid Gold Bison kibble and he was as good as new.  A couple of weeks into a red meat only diet, he is feeling spunky and eating like a little Trojan, something he hasn’t done for awhile.

I am continuing the Denosyl as recommended by the vet because as a supplement, it is a plus for dogs with or recovering from IBS.  I also read on Dog Aware  that probiotics are best given in the evening to help stomach flora replenish themselves overnight and prevent empty stomach nausea.  I had always given them in the am, so I also made that change.  For several years, I have used Dogzymes Digestive Enzymes from Nature’s Farmacy with my dogs and also with pet sit client dogs that had stress diarrhea when their owners were traveling.

It is certainly too early to make a definitive diagnosis of intolerance of chicken or chicken products and may just be circumstantial, but for now, I’m playing it safe and letting him put on some needed weight with alternative protein sources.  I’ll keep you posted on the long term outcome.

Jun 282013
 

I was mailed a sample of Orijen dog treats for review and frankly, my dogs LOVE them.  The treats are small meatball size and can easily be divided into smaller pieces.  They are not gooey so they do not make a mess in your treat bag and the high quality ingredients take away the guilt we might sometimes have “stuffing” treats into our dogs mouths each time they agree to do what we have asked when we are training.  I shared with some other folks in my training class, and their response was the same…dogs love them.

Orijen is a Canadian dog food company and I have purchased their products in the past by mail order although none of my local stores carry the brand.  The food is given the highest rating on dogfoodanalysis.com and is very high calorie so even though a little pricey, the quantity you feed can be reduced making up for the difference.  I especially like the food when my dams have a litter of puppies and they need the best I can give them.

Chewy.com has good pricing, home delivery with free shipping on orders over $49 and no sales tax.  If you are in an area where a variety of dog food brands are not available, or you just like coming home to a heavy bag of food on your doorstep rather than lugging it home from the store, this is an alternative.

Check them out at http://www.chewy.com/s/orijen

Note–chewy.com does not support Alangus Aussies in any way other than providing a treat sample for my  review

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WDJ Recommended Foods

 Alangus Aussies, Dog Food, Dog Health, Helpful hints for dogs  Comments Off on WDJ Recommended Foods
May 042013
 

I subscribe to Whole Dog Journal newsletter and even though it is a small publication, I always look forward to reading the articles.  Once a year, the publishers analyze and list their recommended food brands in alphabetical order based on a variety of criteria, much like those used at dogfoodanalysis.com.  We often talk about dog food on this Blog so I thought I would share ten of the recommended brands (not a complete list) for you to consider.  Since I rotate foods at the end of each bag, I have used some, but not all of these brands so this is not a personal recommendation but for your consideration.  Of course, within each brand, there are a variety of protein sources ie red meat, chicken, fish etc.

  1. Blue Buffalo
  2. Canidae
  3. Champion (Arcana and Orijen)
  4. Drs Foster & Smith (for home delivery)
  5. Fromm
  6. Merrick
  7. Natural Balance
  8. Nature’s Variety
  9. Precise
  10. Solid Gold

I’m often asked the quantity that I feed and I typically feed my dogs approximately 1 level cup per day.  However, caloric content is quite different among foods and if I see one of my dogs moving beyond what I consider their optimum weight, I reduce their portions.  My dogs that are not going into the show ring are kept leaner for their better health and less stress on their joints during activity.

Note:  My blog platform has changed somewhat and this is a test to determine if those subscribed to previous posts are still receiving their email updates.  If not, you can subscribe by adding your email at the top of the menu section on right right side of your screen.  You will only receive an email when I do a new post and I welcome your comments.

 

Mar 012013
 

why won't my dog eat?In my pet sitting business, I often heard the comment “My dog won’t eat”.  There are some reasons to consider if our dog isn’t eating the yummy food we put in front of them.

1–The dog just might not be hungry.  Free feeding is when the owner leaves a big bowl of food always available.  Often times, the dog over eats and munches throughout the day and just isn’t hungry.  In my opinion, this is not the way to keep our dogs at a healthy weight.  I know what I do when there’s an open bowl of cookies in my line of vision. A better practice is to determine the optimum quantity your dog should eat each day to maintain a good weight and feed in one meal or two meals a day at a fairly set time and place.

2–The food we are offering is low quality.  Low quality can mean it contains large amounts of food coloring or is rancid or is just “cheap, low grade food”.  Dogs have such good sniffers, they sometimes shy away from what their dog smarts tell them is unhealthy for them to eat.  Dog foods have added oils and if left in a plastic container, opened bag or hot environment can become rancid, stale, and even have mold growth.  There is no reason at all for dog foods to contain food coloring, except to make it look appealing to the humans.  It is a good idea to consider storage methods and also to watch for expiration dates on dog food bags.  I have found if I buy smaller bags that are fresh, my dogs are much more excited about their meals.

3–The dog is bored with the food.  There was an excellent article in Whole Dog Journal recently about the advantage of rotating among brands of dog foods and also meat sources.  I’ve long thought that was a good idea and do it to keep my dogs interested in what’s in their dishes.  Also, if started early in their lives, the rotation helps them develop stomach enzymes for a variety of foods and minimizes upset when a change is made.  If, for example, they are fed one brand of food for 5 years and then all of a sudden their food is changed, you can expect major diarrhea because their bodies are not equipped for the change.  The added advantage is that they do not develop allergies to specific protein sources or ingredients.  I should add here that you can check the quality of the foods at dogfoodanalysis.com.  I try to keep my dogs rotating among the foods in the 4-5* classification.  I reserve 6* foods for my bitches that are nursing puppies because of their high caloric content.

4–Do you wash the food bowls regularly?  Dogs are dogs and cleanliness isn’t as important to them, but our domesticated and pampered house dogs will sometimes turn away from the remnants of spoiled food in their bowls.

5–Lastly, the dog might be sick.  Prolonged weight loss from not eating can, of course, be from illness.  Because we know our house pets so well, there are typically other indicators of illness besides loss of appetite so I put this last on the list.

Having ruled out illness in our dog, it’s time to evaluate our feeding methods or the food we are offering if our dogs routinely are not interested in their next meal.

 Posted by at 7:14 pm
Aug 302012
 

As I was reading the newest edition of The Whole Dog Journal today, I was reminded of the dangers of some dog treats, particularly chicken jerky and semi soft treats imported from China.  The first issued warnings were in 2007 from the FDA and frankly, nothing has changed.  Warnings are still on their website available to the public.  Additional information can be found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm092802.htm

Since those warnings, I find myself looking at the small print on the back of dog treat packages for the country of origin, and if I see China, it goes back on the shelf.  And, you do have to be careful because sometimes “packaged in USA” is in big print and “made in China” in very tiny print.

Perhaps circumstantial, but I have had a couple of pet sit client dogs with ongoing diarrhea while their owners were gone when I was following the instructions to give the pups a “treat” each day.  When the treats stopped, so did the stomach upset.  Enough said.

To quote from the article Jerky Treats (and others) still Making Dogs Ill,  The Whole Dog Journal, September 2012:

“All of these treats have been associated with a type of kidney failure in dogs called acquired Fanconi syndrome.  Affected dogs may show any or all of the following signs:

*Decreased appetite

*Lethargy

*Vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with blood

*Blood tests may show signs of kidney failure”

There are plenty of wholesome treats on the market for our dogs.  My pups love baby carrots, frozen green peas, fresh or frozen green beans, chunks of sweet potato or apples in addition to some treats that I pick up from the pet store shelves. I’m not a fanatic and my dogs do occasionally get some “junk food”, but I admit I’m very careful about where the products come from.

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
Jun 192012
 

I know puppy poops is an odd topic, but since I have big dogs and little dogs in my house and I also run a busy pet sitting business, I see lots of them.

Of course, a normal dog poop should be firm and with shape and a normal brown color.  Sometimes, that’s just not what we find in the yard, unfortunately, and for lots of different reasons.

First, I’d like to address puppies.  The number one reason that the new puppy you just brought home has what I call pudding poop is stress and the second is a quick change in the food you’re feeding or too many treats.  Both of those have easy solutions.  If it’s stress related, give the puppy more time alone to rest away from the kids and commotion of life and perhaps add just a little yogurt to their meal to help their gut flora.  When changing puppy food, do so slowly by combining the new food with the old food for a few days before taking the old food out of the mix.

I should also mention that worms can cause puppies to have diarrhea, so be sure to rule out that possibility by either giving worm meds appropriately or having their stool checked by your vet.

Another reason for puppies to have pudding poop is a little more complicated.  Puppies have antibodies which protect them against all kind of stuff in the environment as long as they are nursing from their mommies.  Very shortly after they are weaned, their own bodies have to pick up the slack and do the work on their own.  A couple of “bugs” that are out there that can make a puppy sick with diarrhea are giardia and coccidia.  Most adult dogs have immunities but are often carriers so they can pass these ailments to puppies.  In addition, either can be picked up from the grass, standing water, or even from the floors or toys or bowls in our multi dog households.  You may even bring your puppy home from the breeder to find that they are in the process of “shedding” the organisms through their poop.  If the poop looks like it is encased in mucous or has some blood, those are indicators that they need some medicine from the vet, usually Flagyl for Giardia and Albon for Coccidia. Although not immediately life threatening, small puppies can get dehydrated and we just don’t want their bellies to hurt, so get them in for a checkup.  In most cases, the vet will want to also treat your other dogs because both are highly contagious.

In a worst case scenario and if your puppy is very sick and lethargic along with diarrhea, get the vet ASAP because they just might have Parvo.  Luckily, very early treatment and intervention raise the chances of survival.  You will know the difference between a romping puppy with loose stools and a sick puppy.

Diarrhea in adult dogs often is the result of eating too much food, stress, too many treats, or food from our plates.  I see stress diarrhea a lot with my pet sit clients because our dogs are a little confused when we leave for an extended period of time.  I keep a probiotic called DogZymes on hand and have terrific success with adding a small amount to each meal to keep tummies feeling good.  It is available from NaturesFarmacy.com.  It is an all natural product and I have seen no ill effects, only positive results.  I use it for my own dogs when we are traveling or have guests in the house.

If, however, your adult dog has diarrhea with blood or mucous, they may also be fighting off giardia or coccidia as mentioned above.  My dogs tend to get a round of giardia in the early Spring when there’s a lot of rain and my backyard grass is especially wet.  When I see that mucous in their stool, I immediately give them a round of Flagyl.

This may be more than you wanted to know about puppy poops, but if you are intrigued by the topic, the Internet provides all kinds of detailed information about the ailments I mentioned.

 Posted by at 8:33 pm
Apr 302012
 

The puppies are into their 3rd week of life and I started them on food today and they took right to it. The first week, I use a mix of the puppy food I like (Diamond Natural Puppy for Small Breeds) mixed with Puppy Gold which is a milk like product for puppies and a little hot water to make a gruel. They were all about it. I could tell from their fussing they weren’t getting satisfied so I’ll offer them food 3 or 4 times a day and let Izzy clean up the leftovers.

The puppies are moving about a lot in the last couple of days. I changed out the big Perla whelping bed for a crate that is big enough for them and Izzy and they’ve learned to come in and out on their own. By the end of the week, I’ll change it out again for a small crate since Izzy won’t be with them for very long at a time. She’s about finished except for letting them nurse 3 or so times a day.

The puppies are starting to come out to potty so I put a pee pad just outside their crate door for them. Their instinct tells them to leave their den for business, which is the first step in potty training. Once they start to be rambunctious, the paper one will be traded for the washable kind.

The progression is interesting for the mama dog with puppies.  It goes from constant watchfulness and fierce protection, to the “let me out to rest” phase, to ” please keep them away” at about 5 weeks. Once weaned at 6-7 weeks, the mama will go back to them to play and train them, a very important time I think which is why I like  keep them until 8 weeks old.

 Posted by at 1:53 am
Jan 212012
 

Diamond Puppy FoodWellness Puppy Food

My litter of miniature and toy Australian Shepherds are in the process of being weaned.  At about 3-4 weeks old, I started offering small breed puppy food to the puppies. Initially, I mixed the kibble with hot water and K9 Puppy Gold powder available online. I’ve found that the PG gives the food a smell that is irresistible to the babies and makes the transition much easier with no stomach upset.

After a few days of “soup”, I slowly decrease the water, continuing with the addition of PG. By 4-5 weeks old, my litter is eating heartily and my dam is visiting them less often. With five chunky monkey puppies, that’s a good thing. She’s done her job well and deserves to gradually move to the sidelines.  

There are many excellent puppy foods on the market, but I have chosen to use Diamond Puppy Food for Small Breeds and Wellness Puppy Food  for Small Breeds. I initially start with the Diamond because it is grain free and the kibble is tiny so there’s no danger of choking.  About five weeks when the pups have their teeth, I start adding the Wellness to the mix. The Wellness kibble is still small but larger than the Diamond.

You may be asking why I use two foods instead of only one. I have a couple of reasons, first it gives the new owners a choice of two different foods in case one of them is not available in their area. The biggest cause of sick puppies at a new home is a change in food. Secondly, I think slow change up on dog food occasionally with different protein sources helps the gut flora of an adult dog to be adaptable, much like they would be if they were scavengers. 

I’m very picky about dog food and have a link from my vet on my website about choosing a food for your dog.  However, I am not brand loyal as long as the food is rated at least 4* on dogfoodanalysis.com and does not contain corn and wheat, high causes of allergies in our pets.  I do buy smaller bags of food for my adult dogs and rotate among brands like Timberwolf, Wellness, Merrick, Orijen, California Natural etc.  It has worked well for me and my dogs do not typically have issues with stomach upset.

 Posted by at 3:19 am
Jan 102012
 

Rub A Dub Dub, five puppies in a tub.

The puppies just turned three weeks old and are starting to munch down on puppy food along with still nursing.  I’m currently feeding Diamond Puppy Food for Small Breeds because I’ve had good luck with it before as a starter.  It seems to digest well and not cause upset.  I add a heaping T of Puppy Gold to each serving along with a little hot water.  After another week or so, I’ll phase out the hot water.

One of the black tri females and the red tri female are still available (bottom right with eyes open), but the others now have families watching and waiting for them.

Rub A Dub Dub, Five Aussies in a Tab

 Posted by at 5:51 pm
Jan 012012
 

A mama dog requires at least double the calories she would eat normally and if she has a large hungry litter will often eat 3x as many calories. I have taken that into account with my bitches by feeding them high quality food and also by adding a product called K9 Puppy Gold to her food for the extra calcium needed for a good supply of milk.

This product is a powder and can be mixed with hot water and poured over the food to make a stew or just mixed in dry.  My females love the flavor and gobble it up. I have found it keeps their coat shiny and helps them maintain their weight during the stress of nursing.

Once the puppies are changing over to puppy food, I also to mix Puppy Gold with their kibble and keep them on it as a supplement until they leave for their new homes. Fat and fluffy puppies are the result!! 

 Posted by at 5:58 pm
Dec 222011
 

I know you new puppy parents are perusing my Blog to not miss a moment of your new friend’s life so I took another video this morning.  It’s with my Iphone and not high quality, but has a good view of the little ones.  They are eating really well, as is Momma Dog, and their little bellies are starting to pooch out.  I love the time when they start to turn from newborns into puppies.

At this point it is very very important for me to keep Fancy healthy with as many calories as I can get down here.  She’s currently eating Orijen Fish dog food because it is very high calcium and  very high calorie (600+ kcal per cup), a six star food, the very best rating.  That is much higher calorie count than I would like to feed my dogs normally because when not whelping I like to keep them just a tad lean.  Fancy loves that particular food and I’m adding some hot water to make a stew because her intake of fluids needs to be maximized as well.  This morning early, she ate about 1 1/2 cups of dog food covered with hot water.  At lunch she got another bowl of  1 1/2 cups mixture of cottage cheese, rice and chicken that I had cooked earlier and frozen for her and a little puppy food.  The extra calcium in the cottage cheese and the protein again will help her milk supply.  With five nursing puppies, a female dog can lose a lot of her body fat and sacrifice her own health just as nursing skin mothers do.  Tonight she’ll get another meal and perhaps a chunk of cheese if she’s still hungry.  To compare, when not with puppies, Fancy eats 1 cup of food per day and maintains a healthy weight.

I’m not seeing a way to link to my video on my version of WordPress, so if necessary, you may need to copy and paste the url into your browser:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vpBTrynYPM

 Posted by at 6:09 pm

I’m a Believer

 Dog Food, Uncategorized  Comments Off on I’m a Believer
Apr 282010
 

My sermon for the day has to do with feeding your dogs premium dog food.  I’m a believer in high protein, low or no grain, food.  Proof is in the bag!

My oldest mini Australian Shepherd left me at age 16 1/2 and my German Shepherd at 14 1/2 and I attribute it to feeding them high protein, high quality dog food along with a few supplements along the way.  Check this link for my local veterinarian’s discussion of pet food   http://www.alangusaussies.com/index_files/Page564.htm

Again, I am no veterinarian, but I know what has given me good results with my dogs over the last 25 years.  I give my dogs daily fish oil and NuVet Plus http://www.alangusaussies.com/index_files/AvailablePuppies.htm as a supplement to their premium food.  I can also share my favorite dog foods if anyone is interested but there is no “one” that is the best, just ingredients that provide a more healthy diet for your pet.

As my two older dogs became geriatric, I began giving them LubriSyn which is a miracle cure for arthitic pain and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements.

Vet bills are very expensive, a sick and unhealthy dog is sad, and the small cost of providing good food will far offset the health issues of feeding “corn chips” to your pets on a daily basis (ie food with corn as the main ingredient).

 Posted by at 4:31 pm