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What makes a good dog poo?

This is a serious question given the frequency we have of collecting and disposing of said extrusion 870856000345DS3from our beloved fur kids bottom.

Let’s start with a healthy poo:

Firm but not hard, slightly moist – it should leave a damp spot where it has been on the concrete, but no residue, no poo is left behind. While the dog should need to push to get it out, but not strain or have discomfort. The poo should not have an offensive odour, beyond smelling like ‘poo’.

The crusty poo:

A dog fed a diet of lots of bones will have a drier poo, indeed the Petfood industry at one time had as its objective a ‘kickable poo’ achieved by adding amongst other things more calcium to the processed dog food/kibble. With the tendency of ‘BARF’ being interpreted as ‘Bones’ many dogs end up with little else. The poo will be chalky, white even, and dry and crumbly. This is a sign that your dog has too much calcium and really needs a few vegetables and grains to loosen things up. Just like us they need good gut health, good bacteria to grow in their bowel so adding more fibre is a good move for these dogs. Also an oversupply of calcium interferes with Zinc absorption so you set up an unhealthy chain of issues.

Sloppy Joes poo:

We have all experienced the runs, the slops, the jelly belly, the compulsive trots. Beanie is one of these. Sensitive to the extreme in her digestion and gives me heaps of grief.

The causes are numerous, from Irritable Bowel, Irritable Gut, food intolerance, dicky liver, anxiety, stress etc. So treating this can be more complicated but it starts with getting the diet right and building up a healthy tolerance and gut bacteria.

If it is intermittent it is in some ways easier, as it is possible to isolate the trigger or triggers. This is Beanie. Occasional bouts of runny bums and I can usually trace it back to an event (food or stress).

What to do?  I take her diet back to simple foods, chicken and rice (white Basmati) cooked in chicken stock and try to keep her fluids up. I add Slippery Elm to her food as well (1/8 teaspoon – more for heavier dogs) as this helps heal the gut lining. It usually passes in a few days.

The constant sloppy poo is disheartening for the bag bearer not to mention how the dog feels (do they know?). You really do need to get to the bottom (!)of it, and that involves doing some detective work. It is almost invariably diet related, a food intolerance or digestive inadequacy. Beanie for instance cannot tolerate raw food or bones and even to the degree of the cooked cartilage bits on chicken (most dogs find this delicious!) will give her a few days of the jelly belly poo.

Often dogs find kibble very difficult to digest, and if kibble is your preferred diet I suggest you try to improve it and see if it makes a difference. I wrote a post on the 5 steps to improve commercial pet food here.

Food intolerance is a big topic but the easiest way to start is with an elimination diet, much like what I do with Beanie, make a very simple meal, one protein & one grain, cooked (raw can be part of the problem) for a couple of weeks and see if it settles. If not, swap the protein source. Once you have stable poo then you can adapt by adding new foods. I strongly suggest you use Wellbeing Essentials to stabilise and heal the gut, it adds pre & probiotics and good dietary fibres. Adding a probiotic and Slippery Elm can also assist.

Clearly ‘poo’ and its permutations is a larger topic than one post, so I will continue to explore this topic with another post in the future. 🙂

 

Wellbeing and the Perils of Polished Floors for Dogs

ice_slipPolished floors – an unnatural state for fur kids.

Beanie took a fall. A big fall. Happy little dog to be going on an outing, bounced into our friends house and immediately ran the length of the (carpeted) hall, which ended in the living room on a highly polished wooden floor. Screams of pain. Beanie has hurt her back leg and she is not happy. Emergency (Sunday) visit to the vet for the pain.

I am very fortunate to have as a friend and colleague one of the best doggie physiotherapists around (Dogs in Motion) and I can trust her to work out what is wrong and decide the best course of action.

This isn’t a post about Beanie and her problems, it is meant to remind us all that polished floors are like ice to dogs paws, there is no grip, the very thing that makes dogs agile and fast on grass is what makes contact with polished surfaces so perilous. I have been heartbroken watching old dogs struggle and slip getting to their feet on a polished surface while the dog owner shrugs their shoulders, with a ‘what can I do, it’s the floor’ attitude. I know of homes where the dog is trained not to run inside, where it must control its natural exuberance and joyfulness to accommodate the floor. Wrong priority in my view.

Making your home dog friendly is not just easy, it’s the loving act that says you care about their place in the family, that their needs are important and valid and that their biological difference can and will be accommodated. Don’t wait for the scream or the struggle. Make it part of your mindset to have consideration.

Polished floors can be beautiful, but they are cold and hard and unforgiving. They are at their best, in my view, as the surround to a beautiful rug, or runners allowing plenty of area for the dog and their human to lie on the floor and luxuriate in the softness of a beautiful carpet. And of course if the house has runners and ample rugs the dog can find traction and security in traversing the home. It’s a fundamental security, to feel safe.

A dog is never a design feature and home beautiful is not the deepest priority we can have.  Take a look around and see if you can make a difference to your dog’s wellbeing in the simple act of non slippery floors and walkways.

Chocolate’s not good for dogs!

“Chocolate’s not good for dogs – but you can have my milk”…the Oreos’ TVC was simply gorgeous (if you can remember it or see it here).Chocolate Puppy Love

However the young boy could have shared the Oreos as there is very little actual chocolate in one of their biscuits (and some other ingredients that are far worse for kids and dogs – but that is another post).

So what is it about Chocolate and Dogs? Theobromine is the toxic agent in cocoa and dogs can’t process it as well as humans. Theobromine has less impact on humans and we tolerate much larger doses (and yes it would be possible to overdose on chocolate and quite a few of us would like to try that!)

The darker richer chocolate is the most dangerous, but it is what chocolate is packaged in that creates the attraction.

Sugar and fat, the delicious combination that has us humans drooling is also very attractive to dogs (whereas cats don’t have a sweet tooth). Chocolate – the cocoa – is not at all sweet or even particularly attractive to the taste buds, but is made so with the addition of sugar and fats (some of which is cocoa butter). Fortunately (well for dogs at least) the more sugar and fat the less actual cocoa there usually is. Hence the point about Oreos.

So how much ‘chocolate’ is dangerous and should have you rushing your dog to the vet? I found this very helpful toxicity calculator at Ask the Vet and you can quickly find the answer to that critical question. Simply put, Milk Chocolate (or a packet of Tim Tams) is less dangerous – Theobromine wise – than that designer brand hand made Super Dark Chocolate, a small amount of which can be of consequence.

Calculator provided by www.AskAVetQuestion.com.


Note there is often discussion of Caffeine in Chocolate but actual Cocoa has very little (or no) Caffeine however it could be added by the manufacturer of the ‘chocolate bar’ for added buzz. Caffeine is not good for dogs either.  

I will assume that the problems is going to arise from the Self Service department of your dog’s delights, that is – the chocolate is stolen and a larger amount is ingested (the whole block or packet).

If this is the case, the symptoms to look out for are:

Vomiting and/or Diarrhoea in very mild case through to

Seizures, Tremors and even Coma in full toxicity.

If in doubt at all, consult your Veterinarian.

 

 

 

What food is good for your dog when you don’t cook for yourself?

shaggysausageandbowlWhat do you do for your dog when you just don’t cook. At all. Full stop.

Matilda’s Story: A friend recently was house-sitting a gorgeous Spoodle named Matilda and neither Matlida’s owner nor my friend cook for themselves, preferring to either eat out, or buy prepared food. Money isn’t an issue, this little dog previously had Wellbeing Meals (until I stopped making them) and she is dearly loved. So what does the dog get fed now?

Currently she is fed only commercial pet food. It doesn’t matter the brand, but staying with my friend it was a little heartbreaking to see Matilda approach her bowl, sniff, and walk away with disappointment written all over her face. She won’t starve herself, she eats it – eventually. But what can we do to improve her diet, and her life, under these circumstances.

Firstly adding Wellbeing Essentials to commercial Petfood is a big improvement. It adds real whole foods with life (not the beating heart kind!). While commercial Petfood claims to have all the vitamins and minerals a dog requires, these are synthetic chemicals, everything in Petfood is highly processed, no life left. Adding real food, in however a small amount, improves the diet and the dog’s long term health.

I enjoy cooking and making extra for the little fur kids is never a problem but I understand not everyone has the time or the inclination.

Fast, easy ideas for good food for your dog – all requiring little or no cooking.

Most importantly – Serve everything with a spoon of Wellbeing Essentials!

  • Protein – about ½ the meal:
    Sardines
    Canned salmon
    Canned tuna
    Takeaway chicken – remove most of skin and all of bones
    Eggs
    – scrambled, fried, poached, boiled
    Mince – easy to pan fry or can be served raw
    Piece of beef/steak cut for stir fry – pan fry/raw
    Cottage cheese
    Yogurt
    Cheese – sparingly because of the fat content.
  • Vegetables – about ¼ meal:
    Baby spinach (chopped – can be wilted with hot water. Or frozen spinach)
    Grated carrot
    Broccoli in the microwave and mashed
    Berries with her yogurt
    Grated apple
    Sun dried tomatoes chopped up
    Even try baby food vegetables – mashed or pureed
  • Carbohydrates/grains – about ¼ meal:
    Packet rice – pre-cooked – just add a little water.
    Chia pods – (not chocolate!)
    Puffed quinoa, wholegrain rice or millet etc from the health food aisle/shop
    Weet bix
    Spaghetti – just boiled
    Noodles – eg soba noodles take 4 mins to boil
  • Bones: 3 x week
    Raw chicken wings or necks
    Lamb leg bone – from the butcher (but only let her have it for 30mins otherwise she will most likely bury it).

All these are easy to do and make, and by adding Wellbeing Essentials Matilda’s humans can have peace of mind knowing that she is getting not only getting real food, any missing vitamins and minerals are covered.

Are Eggs good for Dogs?

brown-eggEggs seem to be one of those questions that dog lovers aren’t clear about whether to include or not in their dog’s dinner bowl. So let me assure you, eggs are great for dogs!

They are a relatively inexpensive source of high quality protein, rich in good fats, vitamins and nutrients.

So let’s get the negative out of the way. Eggs are often given bad press because raw eggs have a couple of issues. There is a risk of Salmonella with raw eggs, cooking kills Salmonella so that is easily fixed.

The second issue is that raw egg white contain avidin, a protein that binds with biotin and prevents its absorption. Avidin is destroyed in cooking. Again easily fixed. There is some argument that egg yolk contains biotin so they balance each other out, but effectively the raw white binds with it, so this isn’t in my view a sound point. Nil sum game.

Really an occasional raw egg is completely fine and will have little impact. To me it is more an issue if raw egg (whites) are frequently in the diet.

Read more about “Are Eggs good for Dogs?” here.

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe for Dogs – Gobble Gobble NomNom.

Here is one of our favourite recipes to keep in the freezer for “take-out” nights (take it out of the freezer that is!)
Ingredients Ready

Ingredients Ready

Gobble Gobble Nom Nom. (translation “Delicious Turkey Meatloaf”)

Ingredients
500g Turkey mince
250g Chicken Livers – cooked and chopped
250g cooked rice
250g grated raw root vegetables (can be mix of carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip)
50g of good quality bread soaked in 50g of milk
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 (free range) eggs

 

Method

Read more about “Turkey Meatloaf Recipe for Dogs – Gobble Gobble NomNom.” here.

Q & A: Can dogs eat fish, salmon and seafood?

Our question today comes from Leanne and her chocolate Labrador Bailey, 32kgs of pure joy

Bailey

Bailey

Question: “I have a question I have been meaning to email you and ask. Can dogs have seafood? Salmon and basic white fish? Do you think dogs get allergies to that type of thing?

Most Dogs love fish and most kinds of seafood too in my experience.  There are no reported allergies and white fish is often recommended for dogs that do have allergies.  It is often high in zinc which is great for skin.

For food safety, unless you are sure of the freshness and the source, I recommend that seafood is cooked. However you do need to be aware of bones. I run my fingers over raw fish and it is pretty easy to feel bones and remove them – often just pulling them will get the bones out. Salmon tail doesn’t usually have bones, so I like to buy it to share with the fur kids.

The bones in sardines and other tinned fish, salmon, tuna, mackerel are fine to eat as they are softened by the extreme heat required in the cooking of tinned fish and still are a good source of calcium. Try to buy low salt when possible in the tinned variety. I often have tinned fish as a standby when not sure what we are having for dinner or a good quick breakfast.

Dogs also like calamari, white bait – whole tiny fish – is another quite affordable fish and available frozen in the fish mongers usually. Smoked salmon, nom nom nom, is a delicious treat and something I have resorted to when it is particularly nasty medicine to get down. Read more about “Q & A: Can dogs eat fish, salmon and seafood?” here.

5 Essentials For A Happy Healthy Dog

  1. basket of foodSound nutrition. What you provide for you dog to eat is the major factor in their long term positive health, more than just the absence of disease, ageing well without suffering is what we want for our beloved dogs. Good health starts with good food, real food, made with love
  2. Exercise. Whether a lounge lizard or a working dog, all need some exercise, for the body and the mind. Healthy dogs need to be out with you exploring the world, and remember if they are left to exercise themselves it will probably involve getting into mischief.holidays and sam poodles 072
  3. Safe and secure. Dogs need both a physical place in your home to call theirs, a bed, a special mat, that is out of the way of feet and human traffic. And they need to know their boundaries of how you want them to behave. There is only one way to teach a dog anything and that is with love. A ‘canine companion’ knows the 5 basic commands, sit, down, stay, heel, recall(come to you when called). I like ‘give’ (or drop) too. With these essentials your dog will be confident of themselves and you will have a companion who is a joy to be with. “Give a dog a job or they become self employed.” That is up to you.
  4. sleeping-pupPlay. Dogs are the very essence of spontaneous fun and joy and are ever ready for a game, for play, even if that is watching the sunset together. They can bring out the child in us, the sheer delight in being alive. Fun toys, squeaky toys, smart toys, toys to catch and toys to cuddle needn’t be expensive. (and a toy box!)
  5. You.   The most fundamental essential that a dog needs to lead a happy healthy life is your love and your companionship. They give so freely of themselves, they open our hearts, giving our love back freely is the greatest joy for both you and your dog.Soulful eyes

 

 

 

 

5 of the biggest problems with dog food – and what to do about it!

  1.  10% moisture.slide_278011_2048850_free

Kibble, as commercial dry dog food is called, has almost all the water removed, it is dehydrated so that it keeps, it’s cheaper to transport (less volume) and easier for you to store at home. Nothing in that system is about the end consumer, your dog. The dog’s internal system has to re-hydrate the kibble in order to break it down and utilise it, the kidneys work the most, and the moisture must be taken from somewhere in the body.

  • Solution? Re-hydrate it yourself before feeding it to your dog. For every cup of kibble, add at least a cup of water or stock or milk. Whatever your dog likes most. It isn’t necessary to soak it, although that is better, the dog often won’t eat it once soaked as the intensity of flavour from dehydration (and flavour enhancers) makes it more appealing to the nose of the dog. Yes most dogs will drink water later, but not usually until the kidneys tell the dogs body that they desperately need water. By then damage is done.

       2.  Highly processed food is pro-inflammatory.

Simply put it doesn’t matter how expensive or how fancy it is, it is still a highly processed food and we know that highly processed food humans eat ie ‘fast food’ has long term consequences. We refer to these highly processed foods as ‘empty calories’ meaning it is converted into ‘energy’ for the body, but not the true nutrition that we think of with food and its complexity.

Read more about “5 of the biggest problems with dog food – and what to do about it!” here.

Love and Loss of Dogs

Aka Captain Curly Pyjamas, Sparky, Squeaky, Boo

Aka Captain Curly Pyjamas, Sparky, Squeaky, Boo

My darling boy Marley passed away – I had to make that terrible decision and let him join the angels.

He was a magical little entity, much bigger in life than his tiny frame would suggest. Bringing this little puppy into my life almost 15 years ago changed my life forever, is the reason for the business of Wellbeing for Dogs and the guiding light in my heart, where he remains.

He will remain the company mascot and our logo as he always did represent everything this company is about. Joy, integrity, fun, health, generosity, loving and kind. He epitomised love.

He was smart, had an insatiable curiosity, goodness was in his heart, and he made everyone his friend. A new little soul for a star was created, angel dust indeed.

I know many of you will have suffered this kind of sadness at loss – to have a dog in your life inevitably means losing them, and the pain of that can be unbearable. My heart goes out to you.

For me though, the joy I have experienced from that one little soul makes up for the pain I endure at its loss. I think the angels are rejoicing, a favourite has returned.