Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #10 more on homemade meals

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #10 more on homemade meals

Let’s make things straight about homemade meals for your dog

Before giving your dog homemade meals, take note of the following:

Please consider the following before you prepare homemade meals for your dog:

  1. Homemade dog food, as discussed here, means meals that are prepared and cooked with care, just like the food you cook and put on the table for yourself and your family. Table scraps and left-over food are not considered ideal homemade dog food. Table scraps are full of fat (and are usually salty) and do not contain the essential nutrients needed for growth and metabolic regulation.
  1. It is very important to supplement the homemade meals with the right vitamins and minerals, when you push the commercial dog food to the side. Unless you can fully commit to giving your dog a balanced diet, your dog may receive insufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals. In such cases, daily supplementation may be necessary to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
  1. The responsible dog owner who wants to cook meals at home keeps his or her eyes open to new findings and information about canine nutrition. Reading magazines or even newswires on the Internet can keep you up-to-date about new findings. You can then apply your new learning by adding (or removing) components from your dog’s daily meals.
  1. You should cook all food thoroughly. This reduces the risk of food poisoning. It is not true that dogs have magic stomachs that can withstand all bacteria. Dogs can suffer from food poisoning, too. Partially cooked meat can become a hotbed of harmful bacteria, so make sure that you observe proper handling and cooking times.
  1. Always remember that your dog’s health and vitality depends on both sufficient daily exercise, and good nutrition.

 

This was the tenth and final Yummy Zoom thought on dog food!

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #9 on homemade meals

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #9 on homemade meals

Are homemade meals a brilliant option for you and your dog?

The greater part of dog owners think that the words “dog food” refer to commercially made moist dog food and dry variety-food, or “kibble”. This, however, is a narrow definition, as you can as well make the meals at home and give your dog. People turn to making homemade meals, and skip the readymade dog food sold in stores, for a variety of reasons. Here are the most common reasons for this shift:

  1. Medical reasons. If a dog has been diagnosed with some life threatening disease, such as cancer, he may have special dietary needs that mean that it is considered best to take him off commercial dog food and serve specialized food instead.
    Veterinarians may design special diets for sick dogs to prolong the dogs’ lives and reduce the impact of the health condition.
  1. Needs based on physical exercise. When dogs are receiving intensive training, for instance for to participate in dog shows and agility, or if they are used for work such as pulling sleds, then they will need extra protein, fat and usable carbohydrates.
    It is easier to provide higher levels of these macronutrients by giving your dog homemade dog food.
  1. Allergies. It is a well known fact that some dogs have sensitive stomachs and digestive tracts. Some dogs are unable to tolerate anything that has been commercially prepared. When your dog shows signs of indigestion no matter what commercial dog food you give it, it’s time to shift to homemade dog meals.
  1. A more organic diet and less risk. It isn’t just ordinary nutrition you find in dog food. Various chemicals and preservatives are added too, in order to ensure long shelf life for instance. Some dog owners and researchers believe that over time, these chemical compounds can cause damage to dogs’ organs. That’s why many dog owners prepare homemade meals for their pets in the effort to reduce exposure to these potentially harmful additives found in commercial dog food.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #10 more on homemade meals

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #8 on gradual shift

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #8 on gradual shift

Make the change gradually when changing your dog’s food

Previously in this series of lessons, you learned about how important it is to make the change from old to new food gradually. This gradual shifting is especially important for young dogs or pups, and older or senior dogs. Pups and young dogs haven’t yet adapted to manmade or commercial diets, and the older dogs can have digestive systems that, just like their bodies in general, are becoming less active. The gradual transitioning between types of dog food should be done in no less than five days, and not more than ten days.

This gradual transition also as the benefit, that you can be on the lookout for signs of food allergy.

Signs of food allergy include rashes and coat problems. Vomiting can also occur in some cases. If your dog shows these signs of food intolerance or food allergy, stop the transitioning and consult with your veterinarian. The transition period will also show you how much of the new food your dog can consume within 24 hours.

The shift can be made by adjusting the amount of the old and the new food that you give your dog, so you can easily observe the reaction as the proportion of the new food increases over the days.

For the first day up to the third day of the transition period, give your dog seventy percent of the old food and only thirty percent of the new food. Gradually increase the amount of new food until you reach a hundred percent on the tenth day. Ideally, all of the old food should be phased out on the tenth day.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #9 on homemade meals

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #7 on Ingredients

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #7 on Ingredients

Don’t judge dog food by the design of the packaging or nice words

The marketing experts of dog food companies are very good at weaving an appealing message to lure in new customers. True and tested phrases are used to promote a new product, such as “hypoallergenic,” “fresh beef,” and familiar claims such as that “your dog will surely love this.”

You would be wise to look at the marketing messages for dog foods with a critical eye. Before you try a new brand of dog food, be sure to read the description of the content.

Is the new dog food really more nutritious than what you are giving your dog now? Look at the appearance of the food – does it look too fresh and too colorful? If it is, we can be certain of two things:

1) the dog food company has used a lot of artificial color to make the food more attractive to dog owners, and

2) the dog food company probably went to great lengths to hide the fact that they used meat byproducts.

You would better have a good understanding of what “meat byproducts” means. These are substances such as bone meal, organ meats like arteries and liver, and ground animal meals.

And here’s the thing: dogs probably don’t appreciate that the new canned food looks like a restaurant-style steak with gravy. Dogs appreciate food through smell and taste. And in the final analysis, the new food will only be worth the money you invested in it if your dog becomes healthier by eating it.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #8 on gradual shift

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #6 on water

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #6 on water

Don’t let your dog walk through a dry desert!

It is important to remember that a dog needs to drink some amount of water every day. This is more so, if your dog lives a highly active life or if you are training him for some performances such as agility. Keep an eye on how much water your dog consumes during mealtime. The best ratio for dogs is 1:2.

What does that mean? This means that with every one pound of dog food that you give your dog, he should have access to two liters of clean water to drink.

If your dog comes from a large breed and can consume three pounds of dog food a day, then your dog should receive at least six liters of clean water from morning until nighttime. Giving your dog a continuous source of water can help your dog regulate its own needs (i.e. your dog can drink water whenever it feels thirsty). If you see your dog panting heavily on a hot day, that’s a sign the dog is already feeling tired and dehydrated – and it’s also a sign that you need to give your dog some extra water.

However, as in all things, there are exceptions to this rule: If your dog is sick, and especially if it is vomiting, then your dog should not be given extra amounts of water.

During vomiting spells, isolate your pet and do not give your dog water until you have contacted your veterinarian.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #7 on Ingredients

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #5 on minerals

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #5 on minerals

Are mineral’s a dog’s best friends?

Calories obtained from proteins, fat and carbohydrates are the fuel that keeps the body-engine going, but minerals are very important to regulate the metabolism and other vital functions of the dog’s body. Many dog owners are not aware enough of this fact. This is the reason why this lesson is dedicated to explaining the many functions of minerals for the dog’s biological system.

  1. Calcium & phosphorous. Bone growth and healing injured bones are made possible with a good supply of the essential mineral of Calcium.
    Give young pups and senior dogs an abundant source of calcium if you want to prevent fractures and heal their injuries more quickly. Active domestic pets, trained dogs, and performance dogs all need constant calcium replenishment.
  1. Potassium. Cardiac activity and the normal functioning of the kidneys call for Potassium. Cells also need potassium to regulate chemical processes. The mineral potassium is also vital for the dog’s muscle growth and maintenance.
  1. Sodium. Dogs usually don’t need an addition of salt to their food, but a little salt in the food is necessary (the diet should be worth its salt!) A little sodium chloride (salt) in a dog’s daily diet can help prevent dehydration.
  1. Iron. Pumping iron! The red blood cells need some of the mineral Iron to function properly. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the dog’s tissues and transporting carbon dioxide away from cells, tissues, and organs.
  1. Zinc. Although more research is underway for this particular trace nutrient, it is widely accepted that zinc helps promote a healthy coat in dogs. Giving your dog too many raw egg whites can prevent your dog from absorbing and utilizing zinc in its diet.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #6 on water

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #4 on supplements

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #4 on supplements

The importance of a Right Supplementation for Your Dog

Vitamins and minerals are a vital necessity for a dog’s body just like a human’s body. To provide the right supplementation for your dog is therefore very important, so that your dog will live a long and healthy life. We are talking about just the right amount of water soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.

It is best if these vital nutrients are present in the dog’s normal, daily diet (which has been carefully put together by the dog owner).

If you are unsure about the vitamin and mineral content of the food that you are giving your dog, ask your veterinarian what type of supplementation would be best for your dog’s age, weight, and breed. Diet changes may also be recommended to add nutritive value to your dog’s daily meals.

Among the most common supplements that dogs are given are:

  1. Vitamin C. Although dogs are able to synthesize ascorbic acid on their own, many breeders in the United States consider vitamin C supplementation a good practice when a dog is pregnant. There is no harm in adding a little vitamin C to the supplementation regimen. (Although too much vitamin C would probably be non-helpful, because the dog’s system would simply excrete excess vitamin C.)
  1. Vitamin E or tocopherol. Dogs that have coat problems should be given vitamin E. Dogs that are suffering from flea infestations should be given vitamin B complex.
  1. Calcium & phosphorous. These should be given in proper amounts. Too much or too little calcium and phosphorous can cause havoc in a dog’s system. Too much phosphorous can negatively affect calcium absorption, and vice versa.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #5 on minerals

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #3 on indigestion

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #3 on indigestion

Is indigestion a problem for your dog?

Indigestion or maldigestion are among the most common health ailments in dogs. This is when the food isn’t broken down fully in the dog’s digestive system. If the food is not digested fully, an increase in certain bacteria flora in the dog’s digestive track is the unfortunate consequence.

If the intestinal flora or bacteria increases significantly, that may lead to increased water and gas production in the digestive track, which can be painful for the dog, and also cause flatulence. No dog owner wants to see their dog suffering from indigestion, and flatulence can in itself be unwelcome for human noses!

Other factors that can cause indigestion are: the dog’s age (senior dogs have more sensitive digestive systems), infections in the stomach or colon, and inflammation of the digestive tract.

Keeping an eye on what your dog is eating at any given time is a good way to avoid the problem. . New food items, meaning different from what he was used to eat, are very often the cause.

New dog food (no matter how expensive a new brand might be) can still cause indigestion. Some dogs are also allergic to soybean and wheat, so be careful with dog food brands that integrate soybean and wheat for dietary fiber, plant-based protein, and carbohydrates.

Most of the time, you have no reason to make changes in your dog’s diet, meaning to stop giving him a certain type of commercial dog food, except if your veterinarian tell you so, because there is some deficiency that your dog suffers from as a result of giving him a particular brand of dog food.

Even then, any changes in your dog’s diet should be done over a period of at least ten days. Ten days is the optimum transition time from old food to new food.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #4 on supplements

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #2 on fat

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #2 on fat

When it comes to fat in your dog’s diet, it’s the right kind of fat you want

One thing is clear about a dog’s diet: Too much fat can make your dog grow fat in just a few years, and that state of obesity can be very harmful for his liver and pancreas. This is the reason why a dog should never be given excessive amounts table scraps or left-over food, even if your dog likes its taste, if these food items are high in fat content. Such table scraps are not a good substitute for high-quality dog food, because of the high fat and salt content. Salt in itself is a food item that dogs don’t need in addition to the salt content of normal, un-salted food. A dog that is fed only on table scraps may get too little of the vitamins, minerals, proteins or roughage (dietary fibers).

The important task for dog owners in this regard is to find the right balance in their dog’s daily diet. You cannot and should not phase out fat, completely, from your dog’s diet. Of course, there are different kinds of fat.

If you give your dog only carbohydrates and protein, your dog will also suffer. Fat is needed by a dog’s body on the molecular level. But if you give your dog too much fat, your dog’s weight will balloon.

Where do you find the desired balance in the diet? The key words are omega fatty acids.  These fatty acids – there are several and each have their own number like Omega-2 and Omega-3, are naturally occurring in many fish, both salty and clear water species, as well as smaller creatures such as krill.

Unlike fat from beef or pork, omega fatty acids do not cause damage but still supply the chemical components needed by the dog for survival. Adding fish to your dog’s diet is an ideal step toward optimum nutrition.

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #3 on indigestion

Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #1 on protein

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Yummy Zoom: Thoughts #1 on protein

Can too much protein lead to kidney problems for your dog?

Is protein good or bad for your dog? The belief that dogs should consume only a small amount of protein, to protect their kidneys, is one of the most common misbelieves among dog owners about their dog’s preferable diet. The truth is that dogs, being direct descendants of the grey wolf Canus Lupus Lupus, have a digestive system that evolved primarily to digest food with high protein content. Protein is a life necessity for growth, tissue repair and daily energy. If a dog lacks protein, then he will suffer from various health issues, including weak muscles. The ideal is that around thirty to forty percent of a dog’s daily meals should be animal protein.

This is related to the possibility of food allergies. It is rare that dogs suffer from allergies of animal meat. But some dogs may suffer from allergies because they are eating soybean-based proteins.

This is why you should be careful when giving your dog new dog food brands that make use of soybean as the primary source of protein. Older dogs are most prone to food intolerances and food allergies, so make sure your dog is transitioned slowly from the old food to the new food.

If you own a puppy or young dog who hasn’t grown to his full adult size, then your dog needs a diet that is rich in protein.

If you train your dogs for dog shows, you have to give them more carbohydrates, protein, and water. Remember: dogs are capable of quickly digesting protein for energy – very little protein goes to waste. And yes, the dog’s kidneys are quite safe. Unless your veterinarian tells you not to give your dog a regular serving of protein, you can maintain the current protein level of your dog’s diet.

 

 

Coming up next: Yummy Zoom – Thoughts #2 on fat