What do the doggos say
"Well he took long enough to get my food right..But I will cut him some slack coz he loves me so much. Dad almost tears up every time he sees me excited about food. But that's him, always making such a big deal out of my little things ;)"--Princess Liea
"I am a new Dog. The girls agree. My coat is shiny, poop so nice and firm! I run around the garden more, and not to the vet every month. And Mom loves it that there is no scratching anymore! My Mom's friends keep asking her how she does it!" --Django
Our main ingredients. That's what makes your relationship with your Dog worth it.
Jishnu, Jack, and Eva
Jishnu, Jack, and Eva
LET'S TALK DOG
You can protect your dog from Cancer
It is more painful, because we as humans know what it is, are equipped to deal with it, with limited means though. But dogs often become a silent prey to this monster.
Here is what we can do to save our dogs from this disease.
Processed dog food labels: Its not what you think it is: Part 1
In this series, we tell you how to decode the mumbo jumbo on the Dog food label, and not get fooled by it!
Puppy Parents do not want to read this, but should!
Your puppy is cute, he is naughty and you literally cannot think of anything else in the world. You buy him a bed, nice shampoos, big bags of expensive processed food. And you are fully committed to be the best pet parent who ever walked the earth.
Having fun with him, IS your primary responsibility, making him comfortable in his new home. But there is a bigger responsibility that you have, and no one else can do this for him: To ensure that he ages when he should, and that he ages without pain.
And this starts not 7 years from now, it starts TODAY. When he is still peeing all around the house :D
Wrong lifestyle choices that you may make for your furry can lead him to get older much faster than he should. Hard to believe? But it is true, and no, you cannot reverse this. He may become prone to diseases like renal failure and cancer, get weak in the bones, start losing eyesight, get less responsive, all when he is still young.
What are the major factors that contribute to accelerated aging?
The biggest: Processed food
Just a quick search will give you hundreds of studies that emphasize the harmful effects of processed food. Just a little bit of convenience cannot justify the pain your pet goes through because of eating slow poison.
Lack of exercise
Well you see the spark he has when he is a puppy? Maintain that spark! Don't let it mull into a dull uninterested existence. Go to the park, take a walk, play on the rooftop, roam around in your parking lot if nothing else! If you make sure he is getting enough of mindless running around, he is bound to be a happy healthy dog.
Lack of company and mental stimulation
We all are very busy, and our furries often bear the brunt, spending long hours alone with toys they are bored of. Make sure they always have human or canine company, after all they are social beings, very, very social. Keep interesting things for them to fiddle around with..empty boxes, random objects, old sheets...anything which is safe for them to play with. This will ensure they have their explorer mode ON all the time! What an exciting simple little life!
Here are some more articles for you to go through.
All in all, feed well, play a lot and have fun!!
Help! My dog refuses to eat!
That is a very painful place to be in, when you care so much about your dog. But there cannot be just one reason behind this behavior, and the good news is, yeay we can fix it!
First we gotta get into the Sherlock mode. Do some RCA-thats Root Cause Analysis. (fancy eh!) Here is what you have to look out for:
Is your dog eating only selective things?
This might be because:
His body is telling him he is allergic to a particular food
He is crazy bored with the same food that you are giving him
His food doesn’t contain his desirable amount of meats
Is he refraining from all kinds of food or eating only after fussing?
He might be really sick or in pain and is unable to tell you
He is uncomfortable with a change in his surroundings or location
He is just being naughty and probably just needs your attention
So what do pet parents do usually?
- Feed by hand
- Keep on changing the menu infinitely
- Start feeding human food
Did you hear the buzzers go beeeep!! Please refrain from doing all the three above. I know its hard, I know it feels unjust, and ruthless, and what not! But hey! You want him to eat again, right?
So sit tight, we will fix it, here is what you are going to do:
- Take him to the vet and get an assurance that is not sick or has dental issues, or is in pain in any way.
- If he is on processed food, try feeding him a balanced fresh meal. Mostly, it works.
- Still no luck? Check for allergies. Try chicken, fish, lamb, veg. See if some ingredient is bothering him.
- Stick to a feeding schedule. Timing is VERY important.
- Take him for a walk before meals.
- Cut back on treats between meals.
Okay now it is getting tougher hmmm? No worries. Once you have assured he is not in pain and is not allergic to the food, it is just a behavioral problem, and this, my friend, too shall pass.
Keep his food in his bowl for 15 minutes only at meal time. Take it away if he doesn’t eat. Repeat till he starts eating, and praise him A LOT when he does! You need to know that your dog will not starve himself unless he is very sick. Please be brave and trust nature. A healthy dog can go without food for a couple of days. Remember, do not hand-feed, do not get angry at him, do not leave the food in his bowl. Do this a few times and do share your experience with us on how you felt when he finally ate happily?!!!
How to manage the weight of your chubby dog
Chubby dogs look cute, all right. Are they healthy? Are they enjoying their life with activeness or just tugging along sluggishly? Are they safe from obesity-induced diseases? Not really. To tell if your pet could shed a few pounds, feel around his ribs and spine. You should be able to locate both with only a thin layer of fat separating the skin from the bones. If you can’t find the ribcage, you have an overweight dog.
Check with your vet, what is the optimal weight for your pooch. As a rule of thumb, 15% above that weight is obese; zero to 15% is overweight.
To find out yourself, step on a scale at home. Then step on again, this time holding your pet. Now please subtract your weight :)
What are the benefits of being lean?
- Increased life span
- Fewer signs of aging
- Later or no onset of arthritis, pancreatitis, diabetes, heart disease, disc disease, ruptured cruciate ligaments, hip dysplasia and other forms of joint disease, surgical complications, compromised immune system, and even many forms of cancer.
Django has always been quite lean and super active, and hence I often got questions like “Don’t you feed him properly? I haven’t seen a lean lab ever!” Now, that’s a problem, you see? Should fat be the new normal? Absolutely not!
As long as the hips and spine are not protruding and no more than the last rib or two are slightly visible, he’s not too thin. If in doubt, ask your vet for an opinion. Puppies may look thin before their spaying surgeries (they naturally gain some weight after that), but it’s better that way.
Now, why is that happening?
- Because of you: Are you over-indulging your pet? Compensating lack of play-time with food? Giving in to his addddorable food-begging puppy eyes? There you go. Stop doing it! Are you not taking him out for a long walk at least once a day? Start doing it!
- Biological reasons: ask your vet about them.
Is low-fat diet the alternative?
It may be, but only after you have tried
- Portion control
- Healthy alternatives
- Good exercise
Okay the deed is done and the little devil weighs more than she should. What next?
- Feed fresh diet with natural fat and reduce the portion size as needed. Cut the intake by 20% for 6 weeks and observe.
- Choose cucumber, carrots, yogurt as snacks.
- Stop buying processed food/treats
- If your dog whines and cries for more food, hold firm, dont give in.
- Ration his treats by weight. Treats should never make up more than 10% of the daily intake.
- 10-15 minutes of high activity several times a day is needed. Try walking/swimming. Exercise will help your dog build muscle, and increase mental stimulation, taking his focus away from food.
- If you are reducing your dog’s food intake, put him on vitamin and calcium supplements.
- Keep a log of controlled intake and the corresponding weight loss over time. You will know what works.
- Click a before and after pic!
You will be amazed at how much younger and livelier your dog seems to be.
PS: Reduce the food gradually rather than making drastic changes all at once. Cutting the amount of food too dramatically will change your dog’s metabolism, making it harder to lose weight and easier to gain it back.
What if after all this there is still no difference?
Get a blood-work done by your vet to identify any medical issues.To sum it up, good food, exercise, and loads of love. That's all!
Try this test to see if your dog can count
Try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give your dog only two of them.
Did you try this little experiment? So now you know that your dog can count very well. Your dog will learn any skill for food. This is what I am talking about. So would you go the extra mile, if the life of your best friend depends on it? Of course you would!
We squeeze onto a small portion of the couch, and we let them hog the bed. We buy toys for them, sacrifice our shoes and pillows. We shower them with love and affection, regardless of how much pet hair we’re covered in as we leave the house. Yet the one thing that we sometimes miss out on; and that will do the most good, is real, good, food. And mostly, because we do not know about the best practices.
Good nutrition will do the most good.
Now there are many theories and principles of feeding your dog. I have come across examples of each of them working/not working. Just like people, it depends on the dog’s genetics/environment/your food habits/the dog’s energy requirements.
When Django, my little devil, was around 4 months old, he suddenly stopped eating processed kibble. It was recommended by many, and I thought that it was the best food I could give him. Apparently not. He made me research a lot. He was losing weight and not eating. I discovered the ill-effects of processed pet food: the deceptive labels, presence of carcinogens, road-kill, rotten/diseased carcasses. Just a quick google search will bring up tons of material on this topic.
It started making sense to me. I moved him to raw, and figured out natural supplements that would keep him healthy for life. He started responding, but was most responsive when i cooked for him. I tried many recipes, combinations, proportions until I got it right. That is how PawtBelly was born.
This was my experience, read on for some basic pointers of feeding:
- Know how to read labels. The first two ingredients are mostly what the whole food is. Next two to three are like side dish, and the rest is garnish. Anything that comes after salt is in trace quantities.
- Protein has to be the primary component : It can come from non-vegetarian sources, the best for canines. I have also seen vegetarian healthy dogs but they are fed a balanced high protein meal. Not just carbs and an occasional egg.
- Be careful on what your food manufacturer calls the components. ‘Meat’ and meat ‘by-products’ can easily mean discards/rotten/roadkill/hoofs/beaks/hair/feather/feet etc. What your dog actually needs is muscle, bone, organs. Look out for ‘human grade’, and if possible, ‘antibiotic-free’ food labels.
- Many vitamins, minerals and phosphorus come from bones and organs. Do not omit them. But do not feed cooked whole bones.
- Carbs have to be limited to not more than 10% of the meal: Rice/Roti must not be the base of your food. Protein must be.
- Vegetables are seen to increase the immunity from various diseases. Do put in greens and yellows in his diet.
- Yogurt, Turmeric, and Coconut oil are great add-ons for fighting infections
- Do not go low fat unless your dog is obese. They need the good fat to stay healthy.
- Avoid raw-hide bones in the market. They have loads of glue and bleach in them.
To conclude, keep his diet as fresh as possible, avoid all processed stuff. Try natural treats. Take him on regular walks, play with him. Overall, respect him. You will be surprised on how better, healthier, happier and smarter your dog can be. He might even count to ten!
The Story of Antibiotics for Dogs
Your pup is sick, and you are sad, and the vet says antibiotics. Hold that! Read this before you say okay, let’s shoot!
An antibiotic is given for bacterial infections. The most common are stomach, skin, urinary tract infections. Remember, antibiotics target bacteria, fungi and parasites; NOT viruses.
What can go wrong?
Side effects! The important thing is that these side effects may not occur when you gave the antibiotics, not even after, but after several days. That’s a bummer. Look out for an upset stomach, vomiting, rash, or ear infection.
This happens because antibiotics are like bombs. They kill good bacteria along with bad bacteria. No sir, they don’t know who they are there to kill! So stuff goes awry, you can guess, lots of civilians die, and the terrorist might still be in hiding.
Also, if friendly bacteria die, other bacteria multiply, and we have another infection (that’s what you look out for). It’s possible when antibiotics disturb the balance, and normally friendly bacteria multiply quickly and become dangerous. Your dog can get infected by its own normal flora. Sometimes bacteria develops resistance to even strongest of antibiotics, leading to prolonged infections, reduced life span, or death.
Now that, is serious.
What to do when your pet is infected?
Ask for a culture. It will identify whether the infection is bacterial in nature, and it will identify the specific type of bacteria. Remember not every antibiotic works on every infection. Dont allow it to be a guess-work.
Managing an antibiotic situation
- Protect your pet’s resident bacteria. Give antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, ask your vet. Your pup might take longer to heal, but let it if it can, on its own. Toughen up there!
- Once the antibiotic dosage is complete, feed Probiotics to restore the damage done by the antibiotic.
- Feed natural foods that boost the immune system
- The most common antibiotic is honey. If you can get Manuka honey, its antibiotic properties are the best (Apparently bees in New Zealand are just better at their job.)
- Garlic in small medically supervised dosages (it may be harmful in excess)
- Echinacea and Golden Seal
- Oil of Oregano (2-3 drops a day)
You can give your pup probiotics as a part of his daily food. It will enhance his bodily functions and help him stay healthy.
- Curd: Give curd as a snack or mix it in its food regularly. The taste is refreshing and soothing. Django is crazy about curd rice. Needless to say he is a true Bangalorean at heart.
- Green tripe is the inner lining of the stomach of a cattle, it is extremely nutritious and beneficial for your dog. There are some products available in the market that include processed green tripe, although the best is if you can procure it from a local butcher. (Best of luck with that!)
So what is the verdict?
Minimal use, supported with probiotics. Don’t go easy on this one.
Do share your experiences with antibiotics! I would love to hear from you.
Until next time,
Natural Feeding Guide
If you are wondering about the amount you should feed, here is a short guide. Please do adjust according to your dog. Puppies and lactating mothers need more quantities.
Amm, best quality dog poop. That’s what I want.
I always wondered about this. What goes in, often comes out in interesting forms. Colors. Textures. How to determine if all’s well in poo-poo-land? Typically what I have seen is grade 1, 1.5, and 2 come from natural food. They have very less odor. Grade 2.5 onwards smells quite bad, and that comes from processed food… Grade 5 is hell on earth, usually an infection. Rush to the vet in that case. Forgive me Django, your secret stuff is out.
So go to Pawtbelly if you want your grades to go up!
Update: This food is a flourishing business now, check out www.PawtBelly.com!
How to tell if your dog is too thin or too fat?
Managing your dog’s weight is totally your responsibility. If not done properly, he may suffer from bone diseases or diabetes because you weren’t careful enough. Django has a very good metabolism, and he always bordered around 3 even after eating way more than the prescribed amount. Slowly, he has gone to 5, and now I have to be more careful to not let him reach 7. The only way to regulate his weight is with food. Exercise helps, but not like us humans. Your dog may exercise a lot and still be overweight because he is eating more than he should. Vice versa, a dull dog can also be underweight if he isn’t eating enough. Check your dog for his BCS and share with us!
Benefits of feeding Fresh food to your dog!
Well, so much gaga about natural food eh? Are there even real benefits? I think there are!
These come from my personal experience mind you! And I am all for natural feeding to Django!
Processed Dog Food: Slow poison?
When I brought Django home, I had no clue how to raise a happy pet, and he was so tiny, I just couldn’t afford to make a mistake with him. I bombarded my vet with questions in every vaccination visit, sometimes barged into her clinic when I wasn’t sure whatever the little devil was going through was “normal”. He was simply growing up! That’s all he had to do while I obsessed with observing every little thing about him! Spent hours learning about dogs and read a lot of journals. That is how I realised, while I was trying so hard to make everything right by him, I was feeding him kibble (packaged pet food). And it was making him sick. He gave me first signs when he would rather go hungry than eat kibble.
So I researched, and found tens of findings that prove that the best food for dogs is natural. Few of them are*:
- Kibble is the main cause of illness and premature death in modern dog and cat: Australian Veterinary association
- Young animals grow fine in the initial days of feeding kibble, but when they mature, they rapidly age and develop deformative disease symptoms: Karolinska hospital, Stockholm
- Kibble-fed dogs can lose up to 32 months of their lifespan: study conducted on 500 dogs by Prince Laurent Foundation, Belgium
This looked like bad news, and I asked myself, how can so many people be wrong about kibble? But if this was true, would I take a chance with Django’s health? Not happening! So I continued my research, and here is what I found next.
Basic Ingredients that I could read on the label
Corn, Soy, meat by products, preservatives, vitamins, taste enhancers. They sound so normal. Here is the thing. The order in which these appear on the label is the order of quantity present. Corn and soy are cheap fillers, and directly go as waste. Meat by-products mean beak, feather, nails, hair etc. I discovered most of the kibble brands had corn, soy, and meat by-products in the top three ingredients.
They divide a dominant ingredient into smaller portions and trick you into believing there’s more meat in a product than there actually is. For example, a bag of pet food is labelled Chicken and Vegetables. The vegetable ingredient has been broken down into 3 different categories: vegetable, flour and protein. By breaking them down into different categories, the weight of the vegetable can be divided into three, leaving the meat ingredient on top of the list. So instead of calling it vegetable and meat, they can now call it meat and vegetable. Pure genius!! Also, anything that comes after salt, is minuscule quantities. That translates to “I fed Django mostly crap, garnished with some artificial vitamins, fats, and preservatives.” So while my dog might look plump, he is likely not getting the required nutrition.
What I couldn’t find on the label
Now this is the part that is scary. High temperatures and extrusion (powdering and shaping of the kibble) destroy proteins and fats. And this denatured material causes allergies.
- Heating meat and fish to high temperatures produces Heterocyclic amines which cause cancer.
- Heating vegetables and grains to high temperature produces Acrylamides which cause cancer and also affect the development of the brain and nervous system.
- Mycotoxins from grains cause kidney and liver failure.
- Diseased and dead animals: they won’t say it, but it is legal to put diseased and roadkill animals in pet food. That is why it is labelled unfit for human consumption. What!
Missing natural nutrients
This part is very important. Whatever is destroyed in the heating process is added as artificial vitamins. Nine years ago in March 2007, the largest pet food recall in history began. Before it was over – thousands of pet died, thousands more suffered years of kidney disease. The cause of this recall was Chinese imported vegetable proteins contaminated with melamine.
It can be poisonous, and it is hard for the body to absorb. It can also lead to vitamin toxicity if the vitamins are not proportioned well. It is important to know the country of origin of the food.
Here is a video done by Discovery on how the kibble is manufactured. Not appetizing at all.
I also thought about the cost. A leading brand may cost as low as Rs 150 a kg. How is it possible to create quality food with 70% protein, add nutrients, manufacture, and spend on advertising and distribution? There is a reason its cheap. And by now you must have guessed it.
To conclude, the world is divided into pro and anti kibble. But knowing all this, I have not fed kibble to Django, I couldn’t. I make his food, and his coat is shiny, his weight is perfect for his age, he is painfully agile, poopy-perfect (1/4th in quantity, solid, and smells a lot less than kibble poop) and he loves it. I am happy.
Update: This food is a flourishing business now, check out www.PawtBelly.com!
Join folks at Pawtbelly family to get the latest news and the best offers