There is certainly more than one way to train your dog, and dog training does not have to be a chore if you will take the time to learn the simply ways of how to train a dog.
Training your dog should be part of your daily relationship with your dog which takes away the work out of it and your dog will gradually evolve into a better behaved and social pet.
A well trained dog will enhance the bond between both of you and improve the quality of her life.
Different people hold different views when it comes to training their dog.
Views as diverse as:
Using a reward to encourage your dog during training.
Be firm with your dog so that she will know that she cannot get away with bad behavior.
Assert yourself as the pack leader.
Whatever may be the approach, the bottom line is that you want a well behaved and cultured dog that you will be proud of both in private and in public. A dog that will not chase after every moving thing or barks at every opportunity among many other good behaviors that a dog will benefit from proper training.
What you may not realize is that in your daily relationship with your dog, you are already providing some training for her without knowing it. For instance every time you call your dog by name and she comes to you, then your dog already understands the come command you only need to associate it with the word “COME”.
The key is understanding how your dog learns
A lot of dog owner complain that their dog will not listen to them. But then how will your dog listen to you if she does not understand what you are talking about any more than a human being will continue to pay attention to someone that is supposedly speaking to her in a foreign language.
In the same vein if you want your dog to listen to you then you have to understand how she learns. This will enable you to communicate effectively with her.
One of the primary ways that dogs learn is through the consequences of their behavior and their future behavior is determined by the nature of the consequences.
Like humans, animals (dog inclusive) will make effort to get the good things of life and avoid the unpleasant – this is where the power of effective communication with your dog resides.
If the behavior of your dog results in immediate reward (whatever the reward may be), then your dog will make effort to repeat that behavior so that she can get the reward. It is important that the reward come immediately after the good behavior so that she can associate the reward with her good behavior.
The consequences of your dog’s behavior either positive or negative must not just be immediate but must be consistent.
If her behavior results unfavorable consequences such as being ignored then she will strive not to repeat such behavior.
There is no questioning the fact that homemade dog food is clearly the best option for any dog owner who wants to be certain about the quality of ingredients that go into the diet of his dog with the additional benefit of a lower cost, for this reason it is very important to know the proper recipes for homemade dog food.
You do not need to be an expert in nutrition to be able to come up the proper recipe to prepare homemade dog food that is balanced and highly nutritious. What you however need is a guideline that will enable you to feed your dog on homemade food either cooked or raw like a nutrition expert.
A vital fact to keep in mind is that you should not obsess about ensuring that every single homemade dog food must be nutritionally complete but as long as she gets all the nutrition she needs over the course of a week or two, she will be OK.
In order words, your dog’s diet (not every meal) must be complete and balanced i.e. it supplies all of the dog’s nutritional requirements.
These guidelines will help you feed your dog on cooked or raw homemade dog food.
Meat and other animal products: this should be at least half of the diet. Unless you dog exercises regularly then you will want to avoid meat that is high on fat which could lead to obesity. If however you decide to fed your dog with fatty meat and limit the quantity served so as to control your dog’s weight, this may lead to deficiency in other required nutrients.
So your best option is to feed her on lean meat with a very low percentage of fat or poultry with the skin taken off. Dark meat poultry is preferred to breast except your dog will benefit from a very low fat diet.
Boneless meat: this includes both red meat and poultry.
Fish: source of vitamin D. canned fish such as pink salmon, sardines, jack mackerel make good choices. Make sure you take the bones out of fish that you cook. You may feed your dog with large quantities of fish once or twice a week or small daily quantities. It should be an ounce of fish for every pound of meat.
Eggs: a nutritious inclusion to any diet. Dogs of not less than 20 pounds will be OK on a whole egg per day.
Organs: liver should be about 5% of organs feed your dog but you should also include chicken and other liver type. Small daily quantity is better large quantities feed less often.
Fruits and vegetables: supplies fiber which is important for digestive health and also provides antioxidants and other nutrients that promote good health and longevity. Deeply colored fruits and vegetables are very nutritious.
Non starchy vegetables: low in calories and can easily be fed in varying quantities. Too much though can cause gas. They must be pureed by blender, food processor for it to be properly digestible by your dog.
Without mincing words, if your dog is overweight then you need to know about diet dog food in order to cut back on the excess weight and help your dog’s overall health. A dog that is overweight or out rightly obese needs to be put on a diet.
Health risk of an obese or overweight dog
Just as in humans, extra weight on your dog put extra demands on almost all the organs of her body. Overloaded body organ increases the risk of diseases and may even result in outright death. The health risks associated with overweight dogs are pretty serious and all dog owners need to be aware of them.
Health consequences of an overweight dog
A very common complication associated with obesity/overweight in dogs is sugar diabetes.
Damage to ligaments, bones and joints – studies has shown that about 25% of dogs suffering from overweight develop severe joint complications. This may result in Arthritis.
Just like with humans, overweight in dogs result in increased blood pressure (hypertension) and extra work required of the heart to pump extra blood to excess tissue may result in congestive heart failure.
The lungs of an overweight dog labor to function properly which leads to difficulty in breathing.
Because fat is a good insulator, your overweight dog may feel well clad in wintering conditions but the heat wave of the summer will make her life miserable. Excess fat reduces the capacity of your dog to regulate her body temperature.
Fat is stored in liver and an overweight dog will have extra fat stored in the liver. This may lead to a decreased liver function.
Compared to dogs at optimum weight, overweight dogs have more problems when it comes to giving birth.
Digestive disorders – the likelihood of developing constipation is greatly increased.
With an overweight dog, the excess weight means a drop in resistance to bacterial and viral infections i.e. decreased immune functions.
Skin and hair coat problem.
The exact connection between cancer and obesity is not known but studies have shown that dogs suffering from obesity have a high risk of cancer, particularly urinary cancer.
A drop in the quality and length of life.
Now that we know the health risks associated with dogs suffering from obesity or overweight, it is time to get to the guts of how to help our dogs from these health risks.
Just because you dog does not look overtly obese does not means she is not overweight and on her way to being obese. Therefore to be on the safe side you should occasionally check out on the fat accumulation of your dog.
Here are the steps to follow in order to check if your dog is gathering fat:
To check if your dog is quietly adding the fat, try to feel the spine and ribs of your dog. Ideally you should be able to feel just a layer of fat between the skin and the spine or ribs and if you struggle to locate the rib cage then your dog is overweight.
Get the weight of your dog. The easiest way to do this is to first find out your own weight on a scale then while carrying your dog, check your combined weight on a scale after which you should now get the difference by subtracting your weight from the combined weight of yourself and your dog to get the weight of your dog.
In 2011 a study found that about 53% of dogs are either overweight or obese and a different study suggests that 45% of dogs in the U.S. are either obese or overweight. These are damning statistics so make sure that if your dog is not in the number, it is not on the path to add to the figures.
Dogs with tendency to be overweight: Dog breed issue
Some dog breeds (including some small breed) have a tendency to be obese while some other breeds such as German Shepherds, Greyhounds and Yorkshire Terriers are naturally slim. Breeds with a tendency to be obese are:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Bernese Mountain Dogs
Besides genetic reasons, your dog may be suffering from overweight because you are overindulging her with too much treats and human food or outright poor diet. This non genetic reason is heavily responsible for dogs becoming over weight and this is where diet dog food becomes very important.
The frequency and food portions also play a part in your dog being overweight or obese.
The truth is that as a dog owner you can hardly be certain of the safety and the quality of the commercially produced dog food; if you must bring up your dog in a healthy way then you must learn how to prepare healthy dog food.
Despite all the regulations meant to control the quality of the production of dog food, it is still possible for just about anyone to get into the business of dog food production without adequate knowledge of dog nutrition.
Having your dog doing its business within the house can be pretty irritating and disgusting, this also means more cleanup work for you, therefore every dog owner must learn how to house train a dog.
Different dogs will present different challenges when it comes to house training however there are some basic instincts that will help in your house training of your dog.
It is not unusual for your dog, particularly a puppy to frequently pass out waste either immediately after eating or a few minutes after and at irregular intervals but this is part of the things that you need to bring under your control in order to make house training your dog a success.
Preventing accidents and rewarding success is the key to successful house training.
If you observe or feel that there is something unusual about your dog soiling the house, for instance if you dog suddenly start relieving herself in unusual locations and at inappropriate times or she has already been house trained then you may want to consider medical observation as part of the process of resolving the issue.
It may be wise to see your vet and have him rule out the possibilities of a medical condition. Some medical conditions that are traceable to inappropriate defecation and urination are:
Gastrointestinal Upset – if your pet is defecating unusually in the house and you observe that her stool looks different e.g. loose stool. She may be suffering from gastrointestinal Upset.
Change in her diet – a change in your dog’s diet may result in house soiling problems. It may cause her to eliminate more frequently than usual.
Incontinence – urinary incontinence can be result in your dog house soiling. When a dog is suffering from incontinence she may be unaware that she has relieved herself. For older dogs it may be age related incontinence.
If you recently administer some medication to your dog and then you notice an unusual house soiling then you may want to visit the vet and have him check if there is any connection between the medication and the house soiling.
Some reasons why a dog may soil in the house
If a dog has never been house trained, it is only natural to expect her to relieve herself at the location that she feels like doing so.
An incompletely house trained dog may also be guilty of house soiling just like a dog that has never been house trained. Due to the incompleteness of her house training, she may not know how to communicate to her pet parents that she needs to relieves herself outside.
A breakdown in house training may results in dogs that had been previous house trained soiling the house.
A dog may also develop a preference for a particular surface e.g. on a carpet, on a blanket or on the couch. This could happen when the dog has been house for significant period of time in a particular location and got used to eliminating herself on that surface.
A well house trained dog may soil the house due to anxiety. A sudden disappearance of a lovely family member of the addition of disliked person or pet may cause a dog anxiety which may result in house soiling. A dog may also house soil due to separation anxiety when her owner leaves her by herself.
Some dogs are just damn afraid to go outside to relieve themselves, so they will simply do their business inside the house. Sometimes rainy conditions and the cold may also be responsible.
Some dogs soil the house, particularly urinating in the house for scent marking i.e. a territory claim as commonly seen among the big cat family in the wild. This is a way of passing a message to another dog within the territory that says: “I’m here and this is my territory so keep off”. Dogs that scent mark tend to raise their legs while urinating on vertical surfaces.
A dog may also soil the house out of excitement or when rebuked.
How to resolve house soiling due to a preference for a particular surface
If you notice or think that your dog has preference for a particular surface for relieving herself, then you will need to employ that surface type as part of her house training. For instance if your dog loves to eliminate on concrete and your prefer that she does it on grass in the yard, then get a concrete and lay on the location in the yard where her house training her to eliminate and sprinkle some grass on it.
With the passage of time, gradually increase the quantity of grass on the concrete until she is comfortable with it before you take away the concrete slab.
Solving house soiling due to the fear of going outside
A dog that was raised indoors or one that moved into urban area from the country may be afraid to go outside to relieve herself. As a dog owner it is your responsibility to help them overcome this fear.
Dog skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found in dogs but full blown skin cancer does not appear suddenly on a dog’s skin, it usually starts out as a bump, lump etc. and this is good news for every dog owner because early detection of those strange and foreign swellings on your dog’s body increases the chances of survival if these growths turn out to be cancerous.
Since dog skin cancer usually starts out as visible swellings or lumps on the dog’s skin, it is imperative to have some basic understanding of the different types of lumps that may appear a dog’s skin. This knowledge will be very helpful in many ways including calming your frazzled nerves.
The different types of lumps or wounds on dogs’ body
The onset of cancer on a dog’s skin begins as swellings or lumps that starts out small and quickly develops into cancerous cells or manifest as a wound (lesion); in the case of the later it means the cancerous cells causes visible damage on the dog’s skin. Some of the most common visible wound or lumps on a dog’s body are:
Lesion: is an injury, a wound or a damage caused to the living tissues of the body, it can occur both on the skin and in internal organs; basically lesion can afflict any part of the body that consist of soft tissue or where tumor can be found; lesion that is caused by a tumor is classified as benign or malignant. Tumors are therefore classified as lesions however lesions are not necessarily tumors.
The most common causes of lesions in dogs include abscess, excessive self licking (Acral lick dermatitis), mite, flea, fungal or bacterial infection; but they can also be the result of certain dog skin cancer such as basal cell tumor, squamous cell carcinoma, epitheliotrophic lymphoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumor and fibrosarcoma.
Warts: these are common skin lumps found on aging dogs and they have been linked to over vaccination; for the most part warts are benign but they could also be cancerous. The physical appearance of warts on dog’s skin usually indicates if it may turn out to be cancerous; a wart that remains the same in shape and size is largely harmless but when it begins to grow in size and shape then it is essential to have it checked by the vet as this type of wart could be cancerous.
Skin tags: these are visible harmless, small growths hanging from the dog’s skin and consist of fatty deposits. When the dog’s skin cells grows excessively it results in skin tags and like warts they are usually seen in older dogs; while they are generally benign any random growth of skin tags could suggest a cancerous tendency and should be checked by a vet.
Cysts: these are slow growing sacs that are filled with pus, fluid or semi solid material and they are usually painless and non cancerous however they can grow within cancerous or malignant lumps. Cysts are formed as a result of the blockage of the sebaceous glands or due to infection; false cysts, true cysts, dermoid cysts and follicular cysts are non malignant. Some dog breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel have predisposition to sebaceous cysts.
Tumors: an abnormal tissue growth due to uncontrolled cell division, it serves no useful purpose in the body and can either be malignant or benign.
Malignant and benign tumors
Malignant dog skin cancer
Benign dog skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell tumor
Mast Cell Tumor
Squamous cell carcinoma
Hemangiosarcoma of the skin
Hair follicle tumor
Fibrosarcoma of the skin
Different types of skin cancer in dogs
Basal cell tumor: a very common slow growing dog skin cancer that occurs on the outer layer of the dog’s skin (epidermis). An overgrowth of the basal cells will either be benign (basal cell tumor) or malignant (basal cell carcinoma). Like most tumor the cause of basal cell tumor is unknown but permanent cure can be achieved with surgical removal; this means that the prognosis is good.
Basal cell tumor are commonly seen in older dogs of some breeds such as Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry blue terrier, Poodle and Wheaten terrier
Mast cell tumors: these are cells that occur mostly in the skin and can also be found in some other tissues of the body such as respiratory tract; they are also a natural component of the immune system. The tumor is produced from these mast cells.
The exact cause of mast cell tumor is unknown but it has been linked to hereditary as seen in some breeds such as English bulldogs, pugs, boxers and Boston terriers.
Mast cell tumor can either be benign or malignant and common symptoms include blood in the stool and vomiting. Mast cell tumors are rated on the three level of increasing severity with the third level (grade III) considered to be the most aggressive and malignant while grade I is benign.
Surgical removal is usually the first port of call in the treatment of mast cell tumor and this will usually take care of grade I & II. Radiation and chemotherapy are the other treatment options available and the prognosis is much better for the lower grade mast cell tumors that are in their early stages than the higher grade.
Lipomas: one of the most common fatty skin tumors that are formed underneath the dog’s skin; they are benign masses that have a tendency to grow bigger and even replicate on the body but unlike other tumors these replication does not suggest malignancy. They are quite common in adult and overweight dogs.
Usually the vet will recommend that the tumor should not be touched while keeping a watchful eye on it but when it is located in a part of the dog’s body that could impede movement or if it is causing discomfort only then will attempt be made to remove it. Some dog owners will request to have the tumor removed for cosmetic reasons.
Sometimes the lipoma may be infiltrative and would invade other tissues around it; in situations like this the lipoma would have to be removed. Therefore any type of lump or tumor should always be brought to the attention of the vet for further examination.
Papillomas: this benign tumor sometimes referred to as dog warts are either caused by viral infection or may be spontaneous and non viral in origin. The viral papilloma is also referred to as oral papilloma because it is usually found in the mouth of young dog and will normally go away as the pup’s immunity develops. The non viral papilloma affects the dog’s skin (cutaneous) and is commonly seen on the feet, head and eyelids of older dogs.
Melanoma: is a very common dog skin cancer which can also infect the mouth; it is the abnormal and excessive growth of the cells that are responsible for pigmentation that result in malignant melanoma. Melanomas are either benign or malignant depending on which part of the surface of the body it occurs; they are generally grouped as oral malignant affecting the lip, gums and tongue and non oral malignant which are usually seen on the around the eyes, foot, nail and skin.
Certain dog breeds appear to have a greater predisposition to this tumor such as Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier, Springer Spaniel, Boston terrier and Cocker Spaniel.
Treatment of melanoma is basically through surgical removal or vaccination and the prognosis is a function of how advanced the tumor is and the location on the dog’s body. Chemotherapy has not been too successful in the treatment of melanoma.
Hair follicle tumor: this is almost entirely a benign tumor which is as a result of the disorderly or abnormal growth of the hair follicles and they are permanently cured through surgical removal; the prognosis is generally good. The exact cause of hair follicle tumor is unknown though there is some suggested genetic links.
With the dangerous preservatives, artificial additives and vitamin fortifications that goes into the production of commercially made dog food, it has become very essential for every dog owner that truly cares for his furry friend to learn how to make dog food otherwise the health and indeed the life of that dog is been put in jeopardy.
While these poor quality commercial dog foods (but rich in waste materials) may not appear harmful to your dog in the short term however they are not providing the optimum nutrition for your dog either and with serious health conditions such as cancer in dogs linked with poor quality dog food, it is almost suicidal for dog owners to put their entire trust in off-the-shelf dog food rather than learn how to make dog food.
Reasons why dog owners should learn how to make dog food
Another reason you should learn how to make dog food is because it gives you control over the quality of what goes into the guts of your dog.
By learning how to make dog food you will be able to cut back on the cost of feeding your dog as the cost of preparing your own dog food is cheaper than the cost of the high end commercial dog food.Unless you can afford to feed your dog with commercial dog food made with human grade ingredients then you are stuffing up the guts of your beloved furry friend with rendered protein (meat) I.e. the leftovers of animals (meat-by-products) after all the meaty parts have been used up – worthless and low quality protein.
If you know how to make dog food then you can decide on the meat source to feed your dog particularly if your dog is allergic to certain types of protein.
A particularly good reason for knowing how to make dog food is that you can prepare and freeze your dog food for several weeks ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about what your dog will eat for the period that the frozen food will last.
Some of the concern about dog allergy is due to lack of variety in the food they consume and this can be easily taken care of if you decide to dictate the diet of your dog from the comfort of your kitchen rather than from off the shelf of those who care more about their pocket than your dog’s health. You knowledge of how to make dog food puts this power in your hands.
High quantities of stool and bad odor are signs that your dog is probably feeding on poor quality food which may be as a result of fillers in commercial dog food.When you know how to make dog food then you are in a good position to take care of such things.
Reasons dog owners are reluctant to about homemade dog food
The fear of not been able to feed their dog with a balanced diet. The truth is that there is a vital connection between health and nutrition so if you feed your dog with unbalanced diet then you risk compromising the dog’s health which is the primarily reason why there is this huge crusade against off-the-shelf dog food. But the complete truth is that making a balanced homemade dog food is not as complex as it may sound – if you can feed yourself a balanced diet then you can learn how to make dog food that is healthy and balanced.
Some dog owners are reluctant to learn how to make dog food because they think it will take a lot of their time. While making dog food will certainly take more time than going to the shop to purchase dog food but once you get a handle on hold to make food for your dog along with a number of dog food recipes at your finger tip, the time it takes to prepare your dog food will drop over a short time. You can always make dog food that will last some weeks which will make up for the time spent in preparation.
Some vets are opposed to the idea of homemade dog food and they do have their reasons for this. This is because some of the dogs they have seen fed on homemade diet are either malnourished or out rightly overweight. Lots of pet parents who have switched to homemade dog food do so without taking the time to learn how to make do food before switching to homemade dog food.This article aims to help dog owners have detail knowledge of how to make dog food that is balanced and healthy.
Homemade dog food fall into two general categories
Homemade cooked dog food simply means that the food you prepare for your dog from your kitchen was cooked before being served which a raw diet means the food is served uncooked (raw).
It should be noted that whenever the phase “raw dog food “is used in this article, it’s a reference to homemade raw dog food as opposed to commercial raw dog food.
There are different arguments being put out by those who are in favor of home cooked food dog food as the preferred (or even out rightly the only right way) way for making dog food. However, those in love of raw dog food think otherwise and they are not without their own set of arguments.
In this article we will take a detail look at how to make dog food both cooked and raw, listing the arguments on both sides and the benefits (if at all) one has over the other. We will conclude this section of this post by trying to identify the better route to tread and perhaps if both home cooked and homemade raw food can be feed to your dog.
Home cooked dog food vs. raw dog food
Like I have already indicated that the debate between proponents of home cooked dog food and those in support of homemade raw dog food is one of the hottest debates in the world of homemade dog food.
The arguments of those opposed to cooked dog food but in favor of homemade raw dog food
Proteins in food get destroyed when it is cooked at a high temperature.As much as 50% of minerals and vitamins in food also get destroy as a result of cooking.
The enzymes which regulate the chemical reaction in the body of a dog are also destroyed by cooking.
Dogs are carnivores animals and therefore are naturally capable of digesting and absorbing the nutrients in raw meat. The freshness of the meat supplies all the nutritional balance that nature requires.
Raw feeder say that dogs have feed on raw diet for thousands of years before man decided to domesticate their food for commercial gains. Dogs could never have been around now if they could not thrive on raw food.
Raw feeders say that preparing dog food that is similar to what dogs eat in the wild before they were fully domesticated by man can be beneficiary for dogs suffering from certain health problem or food allergies because you can adjust your dog’s diet to meet his health needs.
One of the most common bragging points of proponents of homemade raw food is the undeniable evidence of good health that most of them have seen in their dog. They are quick to show off their dog’s improve shiny, soft coat, whiter teeth, fresh breath, less doggy odor (your friends will think you spend a lot on dog grooming), bright eyes, smaller stool, more energy and that health problems like skin or ear infections they were battling with was all gone once they switched over to raw feeding.
Raw bones helps in cleaning dog’s teeth.
The arguments of those opposed to homemade raw dog food but in favor of cooked dog food
The potential risk of bacteria in raw meat could affect the dog’s health.
Dogs that feed on raw food could easily be subject to nutritional deficiencies if the pet owner does not make extra effort to learn about the nutritional balance required for dog food. This is the one of the main reasons why vet are opposed to homemade dog food (this includes homemade cooked dog food).
Bone in the raw meat may choke the dog to death.
There are no scientific evidences that raw food hold any specific benefit.
Supporters of cooked dog food say that cooking made the food easier to digest for the dog.
Some opponents of raw feeding say that feeding raw will make their dog vicious, mean and bloodthirsty.
As listed above both camps in the dog food war have their pros and cons regarding how to make dog food but our position on this issue is pretty straight forward. Like with humans, every dog is different so what works for one may not necessarily work for the other even if they are of the same breed, parent and size.
The questions of which homemade approach will be best suited for your dog may require trying out the approach that you feel incline towards and if one does not work for you, the other will most likely work.
If neither cooking nor raw appears to work for you then you can mix both approaches, which essentially involves cooking the meat, chicken or whatever the major protein source may be (which constitute the major part of raw). The remaining part of the dog diet will serve raw. If you don’t try out things then you cannot know if it will work for you and how well it may work.
A complete list of dog food ingredients
The following list is a real attempt to provide an exhaustive list of ingredients that can be safely used in the making of homemade dog food include the reasons and benefits of using the ingredient.
When as a dog owner you have a sound understanding of how to make dog food and the ingredients that are ideal and unsafe for your dog’s diet then you are in a good position to confidently take to making your own dog food.
The reason lots of dog owners keep away from making their own dog food is because of lack of knowledge of how to make dog food is balanced and healthy. But with sound knowledge of the ingredients for making dog food you will naturally find yourself coming up with varieties of homemade dog food.
About the most important thing you have to know when you are learning about how to make dog food either cooked or raw is that the most important ingredients used in making dog food are those that provide protein. The sources of protein for homemade dog food (both cooked and raw), falls into two general categories:
Because dogs are omnivore animals they can eat both animal based and plant based foods.
The first thing you need to know about how to make dog food that is balanced is that dogs rely heavily on protein for survival because protein contains vital amino acids that are crucial in the production of cells. Deficiency in protein will result in a host of health problems in the dog such as dull and lifeless coat and a weak immune system.
Protein in homemade dog food may be provided by plant sources, animal sources or both. Protein has many functions such as supplying amino acids to build the muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, nails, hair and skin. It also plays a vital role in enzymes and hormone production.
Essential sources of animal based protein for dog food:
Organ meat such as liver, kidney, etc.
Essential sources of plant based protein for dog food:
Shelled hemp seeds
Even though dogs are omnivore animals they have a simple gastrointestinal tract which cannot digest large quantities of plant based protein and some of these plant food may be deficient in some vital amino acids. Therefore dog owners should feed more animal based protein food and moderate quantities of plant based foods.
All proteins are not all equal. Proteins from animal sources are far more complete than protein from plant based sources i.e. animal protein contain all the essential amino acids while plant based protein do not.
The down side is that animal protein is high in fat (particularly saturated fat) and cholesterol which may result in health issue when too much of it is consumed.
The best animal protein to be used in making dog food (same as with man) is fish and poultry but keep away from fish with lots of mercury.
Some recent studies carried out on senior/adult dogs showed that dogs that were fed on 100% animal based protein compared with senior/adult dogs fed on increasing levels of plant based protein and decreasing levels of animal protein had:
Increase in body fat.
A drop in the level of blood proteins – a measure of superior nutritional status.
A drop in lean tissue.
Based on these finding it was obvious that while plant based protein is OK for dog food, however dog diet made up of primarily animal based protein foods:
Helps in maintaining dogs muscle mass.
Helps in reversing certain age related changes in skeletal muscles of adult/senior dogs.
Enhances the well being and long term health of adult/senior dogs.
Cooked fish is also an excellent source of protein for dogs and salmon is the fish of choice because of its high omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids because they are essential for pets (same with human beings) but their bodies cannot produce them, which means they have to be present in their diet. However, there has to be a balance between the ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid contained in the dogs’ diet.
Decreases blood cholesterol levels and maintains healthy blood pressure.
Development of the immune system and the eyes (the retina and visual cortex).
Additional food sources rich in omega-3 fatty acids for homemade dog food
Sardines (good as a supplement).
Cooked eggs are an excellent source of complete protein and fat for dogs. The quality of protein found in eggs is higher than those found in meat, poultry and fish. It is the most easily digestible (i.e. has a high biological value) protein source and it is more readily available to your dog when cooked than served raw. Egg shell is also an excellent source of calcium for your dog.
Diary product such as cheese is also a good source of calcium and balanced proteins. Though cottage cheese and regular cheese contain protein, they have different amounts of fat. Cottage cheese is a good choice for a dog that requires a lower fat diet.
As you learn more on how to make dog food and put your knowledge into practice, you should steer clear of making your dog food with inferior protein source such as meat by products. These are meat taken from a carcass after the main meat has been stripped off.
Even though these meats by product contain some protein, it is less digestible for dogs which means the protein will go through his system largely undigested increasing the volume of stool.
Meat by-product includes:
Corn and wheat are popular sources of protein in many brand dog food but they are inferior sources of protein. While dogs fed on corns and wheat will be able to render a little bit of protein out of it, however protein gotten from these sources are difficult for dogs to digest. A great deal of this protein will therefore go through the dog’s system unused.
Carbohydrate requirement in dog food
Carbohydrates are an excellent source of quick and easy energy. Protein and fat are also a source of energy however they are only accessed for energy in the absence of carbohydrate.
Because carbohydrates are easier for the dogs’ body to convert to energy, protein and fat are only used for energy when carbohydrate is absent in your dog’s body.
This is the reason carbohydrate is responsible for regulating how much fat and starch will be broken down and used.
Glucose obtained from carbohydrate is what primarily maintains the health of the organs of your dog’s body such as thyroid, nerve tissue, heart, brain and liver. This means that if your dog’s diet is low on carbohydrates but rich in protein and fat then the glucose requirement of your dog will be met.
Essentially carbohydrates is not bad for dogs but too much of it as found in commercial dog food is bad. The pet food industry use a lot of carbohydrates as a source of energy in dog food because is cheaper than protein, so the driving force is profit and not the love and the health of dogs.
Since carbohydrate is not essential to a dog’s diet, your furry friend can live a healthy life with without it. Ideally you should include carbohydrate in the diet of your dog depending on the energy level you want out of your dog. Because if carbohydrates are easier to convert to energy and glucose than fat and protein then it means the protein and fat conversion into glucose and energy is an expensive task.
So why put your dog’s body through the expensive task of converting fat and protein into glucose when an easier process of getting the same result exists.
If your dog requires a lot of energy then more carbohydrate will be needed than an average dog that sits at home all day long with very little energy demanding activities. If you feed your dog with a lot of carbohydrate and he does not make use of it then your dog will start adding fat and may even become obese and by the same token a dog that you intend to put on diet food will do will with extremely little or no carbohydrates.
A thorough understanding of carbohydrates is essential for preparing dog food that is healthy and balanced
Sources of high quality carbohydrates for your home prepared dog food
Rice -brown rice helps with intestinal problem like diarrhea and less likely to cause dog allergy symptoms, brown rice is more
nutritious than white rice (which is simply brown rice with most of the nutrient polished out of it).
Sources of low quality carbohydrates to avoid in homemade dog food
Minerals and vitamins
You will need more than just feeding your dog on quality protein food, carbohydrates and fat ingredients in order for it to thrive. Homemade dog food requires an all encompassing knowledge of how to make dog food.
Canine body cannot make its own vitamins (with the exception of vitamin C, in addition they need vitamin A, B, and E) so it has to be feed through his diet.
Minerals and vitamins such magnesium, calcium and iron are essential nutrients needed by the canine body.
A sound knowledge of minerals and vitamins is essential if you really want to know how to make dog food that is well balanced and healthy.
Minerals help the canine body carry out certain functions and prevent deficiencies. Some minerals are required in large amounts (macro minerals) such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfur. Mineral required in small quantities are called trace minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, selenium, iodine, fluorine and chromium.
Calcium is essential for dogs particularly growing puppies. Calcium can be found not just in teeth and bones but it is also needed in the blood.
Calcium in the blood provides very important functions in the canine body. Muscle contraction and nerve function, hormones and blood clotting.
For a balanced homemade dog food you can also provide the essential calcium by making eggshell powders and this is very easy to make. Simply save your egg shell (about 12-15 minimum), leave them until they are very dry then grind the in a food processor and use it as part of making your homemade dog food.
Your dog needs a calcium/phosphorus balance. While the eggshell or bones will provide the calcium needed, fish and meat which are quite high in phosphorus helps to inhibit absorption of calcium in the dog’s diet when the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is not the ideal.
A deficiency of calcium and phosphorous in a dog’s diet may lead to bone deformities, fracture and weakness.
Sources of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and for dogs can be found in bone meal, fish, muscles and organ meat, beans, molasses and vegetables.
Chloride and sodium assist the functions of the dog’s nervous system, muscles and heart. While chloride is needed for the production of stomach acid, an imbalance in the sodium/chloride mix may result in dehydration, fatigue, hair loss and may even cause paralysis in dogs.
Dietary source of chloride and sodium are fish, meat, beans, sweet potatoes and whole grains.
Deficiencies of potassium in a dog’s diet may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing and other illnesses that are similar to sodium/chloride deficiency.
Sulfur is vital for the maintenance of the dog’s nails, hairs, skin, wound healing and detoxification of the body. Sulfur deficiencies shows up in skin condition in the dog.
Dietary source of sulfur are fish, meat, eggs and molasses.
Occasionally use liver meat, beans, poultry, red meat and kidney as a source of trace mineral for the dog food.
Even though trace minerals is required in small quantities that does not make them less important.
As a dog owner it is ideal to always have some recipes for dog treats that you can always put to use if you want to prepare some delicious homemade treats for your dog. Even if you can afford to buy commercial dog treats, homemade dog treats gives you the advantage of being in charge of your dog’s diet at cheaper price.
There are two major types of dog training, which are behavioral dog training and obedience training for dogs.
Behavioral dog training is aimed at correcting the bad habits of your dog such as car chasing, jumping, chewing, furniture jumping etc.
It is very essential to be consistent during behavioral training, so that you do not end up confusing your dog. For instance do not allow your puppy on the bed if you will not be willing to allow her on the bed when she is older.
Obedience training for dogs however is getting your dog to obey specific commands such as come, sit, stay and also teaching it to heel.
Obedience training for dogs opens up a channel of communication between the dog owner and his dog since effective communication is essential in order to instruct the dog on what is expected of her.
Tips for obedience training for dogs
A very important aspect of obedience training for dogs is to reward your dog during training for good behavior; this will greatly enhance the learning rate of your dog.
Before you issue a command to your dog like come, sit, heel or stay etc learn to first call his name in order to get his attention. For your dog to master obedience training you will have to patiently repeat the same command several times before your start seeing results.
If you are unhappy with the poor performance of your dog during training make sure that your frustration or anger never shows up in your tone of voice because dogs can feel human emotions and will therefore start associating the training with your frustration.
When you issue training commands to your dog make sure you always let it out loud and clear repeating them as often as possible, by so doing your dog will soon start associating the sound of those command words with the corresponding meaning, at which point you will start seeing results that will gladden your heart.
Obedience training for dogs should always start out with the heel command as it teaches your dog the fundamental skills needed to be a good follower. Because dogs are pack animals, the heel command establishes you as the pack leader in the eyes of your dog which will make the other aspects of the training a lot easier as your dog learns to follow you as its leader.
Never be in a hurry to get your dog to master obedience training commands, otherwise you will get everything messed up. Patiently teach one obedience command after the other and only move to the next command when it is pretty obvious to all and sundry that your dog has mastered the command.
Basic dog training commands:
The sit command is a very easy skill to teach a dog. It is also of the commands that make it easy to manage a dog because a dog that is able to sit on command is easier to bring under control than a dog that is yet to learn the command.
Teach a dog to sit on command
Get down to your dog’s level – face to face – and with a treat in hand that is held just about an inch over his nose and not any further because you don’t want your dog jumping to reach it. The treat is the trick that you will use to teach your dog to sit on command.
Get his attention on the treat while holding it slightly over his nose, and then gradually move the treat toward the top of his head backwards while he will naturally track it with his nose and eye until it is held in a position that will force your dog to sit.
The moment he sits, say the sit command with excitement like “SIT!!!” and hand him the treat. The reason behind your excited response is to show your approve of what he has done by sitting while at the same time you are associating the action of sitting with the word SIT. Never forget to always mention the obedience training command word every time your dog responds to the command.
If for whatever reason you are unable to get your dog to the sitting position as just described then use the other hand to gently guide him to sit at point when you think he ought to have sat down. Every other thing reminds the same.
So you want to learn how to become a dog trainer? The fact that there are no formal paths to learning how to become a dog trainer makes pursuing your interest as a dog trainer more of a personal walk. This means that the full weight of the responsibility of becoming a dog trainer rest fully on your shoulders, therefore you have to find out the necessary steps that you need to follow in order to arrive at your destination as a professional dog trainer.
Dog training is a pretty rewarding business but most dog trainers are self employed people or they work for other dog trainers. Dog trainers are also hired by pet related businesses like pet stores, shelters, groomers and vets.
My intention is to help you answer this question: how do you become a dog trainer?
Before you start out in your desire to become a dog trainer, you should bear in mind that the work of a dog trainer is not just about training dogs but also teaching people how to train their dogs.
Those that train dogs are the dog trainers and those that train people how to train their dogs are dog training instructors.
So the first question you need to answer is: Do I want to be a dog trainer or a dog training instructor? If you don’t want to work with people then you should be thinking of becoming a dog trainer.
What is popularly understood as a dog trainer is an instructor who runs classes for dog owners. He teaches the owners and not the dogs.
In actual fact most dog trainers end up interacting more with people, by teaching them how to train their dogs, than training dogs.
So you must be prepared to interact with people of all shades, both the good and the ugly, if you will succeed as a professional dog training instructor.
It is very essential that you also read widely about the profession itself from people who are successful dog trainers.
It is a lot easier to achieve success in life if we learn from those who have walked the path we desire to walk rather than trying to rework the wheels.
After you have educated yourself well enough the next natural path to follow in your pursuit to become a dog trainer is to enroll yourself as an apprentice with an establish dog trainer.
It is important to state once again that self education comes before internship because the knowledge you have acquired during the time when you were educating yourself in dog training and about dogs will greatly help you during your apprenticeship.
As an apprentice you get a firsthand experience of how to become a dog trainer beyond the books and the videos. You experience in practice what you have already read in books and seen in videos and then you learn more by acquiring experience.
What is a good dog food? This is one of the most common questions that veterinarians are asked by dog owners who sincerely want to feed their canine friends with the best dog food regardless of the cost.
Just like human beings, the health and the longevity of your dog depends on the food that you feed him; food has the capacity to harm or heal your dog and it is the foundation on which ill or good health is built. Therefore it is essential that you know what constitutes a good dog food in order to be better informed when choosing a healthy and safe food for your dog.
It is worth pointing out that while we may talk about knowing what a good dog food is, this is not to suggest in any way that a particular dog food type or brand is the best as there is no such thing as the best food for a dog since what may be the best dog food for one dog may not be for another dog.
So as a concerned dog owner what you should be looking for is dog food that is of high quality and the best for your dog.
One of the foremost factors of a good dog food is the species appropriateness of your dog’s food. A specie appropriate dog food contains moisture as well as lots of quality protein which are very essential to the health of your dog.
Your dog’s diet should have high moisture content which is required to avoid organ dysfunction like kidney failure.
It is very essential that the food you feed your dog be nutritionally balanced and complete because deficiencies will develop in dogs a whole lot quicker than in humans.
Tips for knowing what constitute a good dog food:
There is a link between the poor health in dogs and the low quality ingredients in the food.
A good dog food must have high meat content which includes muscle meat, ground meat, bone, chicken and organ meat (liver, kidney and heart).
In the absence of meat as the primary source of protein, a good dog food should have chicken, turkey, duck, fish (good source of omega-3 fatty acids), liver, kidney, heart, or eggs as the main protein source.
A good dog food must have high quality grains like quinoa, oatmeal, barley and brown rice instead of corn or wheat.
A good dog food should include quality fruits and vegetables (good sources of vitamins) such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas and sweet potatoes. Garlic, onions and grapes should be avoided.
Your dog’s meal must not contain by products.
Ensure that it does not contain lots of fillers.
Good dog food must not contain preservatives that are considered to be carcinogens (BHT, BHA).
There should be no artificial colorings like yellow, red and blue dyes.
List of high quality dog foods
There are a variety of dog foods such as homemade, frozen raw, dry, wet etc. but the most important determinant factor of a high quality dog food is the quality of the ingredient.
Clearly topping the list of high quality dog food is a balanced dog food diet that is homemade; it is expected that homemade dog food will be balance and nutritionally rich because the dog owner is able to decide on the quality of the ingredients that goes into his dog’s diet.
Raw food is particular good for dogs because your dog can consume the food in its natural state with all its nutrients and enzymes still intact, which usually gets destroyed during processing or cooking.
Human grade canned dog food is OK for your dog though it is quite expensive and this is certainly the best option for dog owner who do not have the time to get into the kitchen and prepare their own dog food. Human grade is safe for dogs because it has been approved for human consumption.
Dry and wet dog food that are made with quality ingredients that has already been talked about in this article and will be further enunciated upon in this article.
Having a good understanding of what makes for an excellent dog food is very essential to the health of your dog.
The remaining part of this article will focus on off-the-shelf dog food, that identifying how to choose the best dog food either dry or wet dog food.
The commercial dog food industry has come under heavy scrutiny since the 2007 pet food recall that left thousands of pets dead in its wake and ever since then pet owners have become a whole lot more careful and knowledgeable about what they feed their pets.
The most important factors in selecting a high quality dog food
Every bag of dog food should have a minimum percentage of protein, fat, carbohydrates, moisture and fiber. Protein is essential to the diet of a healthy dog and the chief source of protein is meat (by far the most important ingredient in dog food), quality meat and not by products which are basically slaughterhouse leftovers such as feet, heads, intestines, hair, beaks etc.
You should pay less attention to dog foods that are made with generic meat ingredients (e.g. meat meal) which is usually a commercial way of hiding the meat source which could include dead animals, killed diseased animal, road kills, spoiled meat etc.
The protein that dogs gets from the meat source is very important because it contains all the essential amino acids that dogs require for survival compared with plant protein and it’s also easy to digest.
The dog food brand should be readily available in order to avoid having to switch food brand which could cause digestive upset for the dog.
Make sure that the food brand is manufactured by the same brand; this will reduce the chances of your dog falling victim of a repeat of the dark days of 2007 pet food recall when thousands of pets died as a result of contaminated dog food from different manufacturers. In reality the reason this affected so many manufacturers is because the pet foods was actually manufactured by one company for different pet food brand names using the same contaminated ingredients from the same source.
A good dog food will vary from dog to dog and the decision should not be based solely on ads or someone’s recommendation but some other more important factors should also be considered such as:
A vet’s recommendation particularly if there are health issues involved.
The breed of the dog; some breeds such as toy and miniature breeds don’t do well on dry food.
The preference of the dog should never be overlooked.
The following is a list of some of the best off-the-shelf dog food in some of the most prominent dog food categories:
Best dry dog food.
Best wet dog food.
Best raw dog food.
How to easily identify a high quality dog food based on the AAFCO nutritional standards
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets the nutritional standards for pet foods and animal feeds in the USA. Based on a dog’s stage of life, the AAFCO defines two nutritional profiles which are:
Adult maintenance: it means that the food is nutritionally complete and therefore can be fed to dogs as a complete diet without any needed supplement besides water.
Growth and reproduction: the food is nutritionally complete to sustain puppies, working and pregnant dogs.
For a dog food manufacturer to state that a particular dog food is “complete and balance”, it must have been verified by AAFCO in one of two ways:
Laboratory analysis and feeding trials.
Any dog food that passes the laboratory analysis will state on the package that the dog food “….is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles”.
If it meets the rigorous standard of passing the feeding trials in addition to the laboratory analysis, the following will be written on the package of the dog food: “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that … provides complete and balanced nutrition”.
In the same vein if the dog food does not meet any of the AAFCO nutritional profiles it should be stated on the dog food package: “…This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only”; meaning it is not for long term use.
Some dog foods are designed for a particular life stage such as food for “adult or senior dogs” which will not be ideal for any other stage of life. However any dog food that is said to be ideal for “all life stages” must have met the more rigorous growth and reproduction profile and therefore safe for all dogs from puppies to adult or working/pregnant dogs etc.