Pet Nutrition

/Pet Nutrition

The Easiest Kong Stuffing Recipe

Have you got a KONG lying around but not sure what to fill it with? Sure there are loads of great KONG stuffing recipe ideas you can try, numerous available here for instance. However, sometimes you just want to keep things simple if you’re in a rush. And this Lillie’s Kitchen solution is a no brainer as far as I’m concerned.

Lillie’s Kitchen is a healthy choice, yes it’s a bit pricier than some other wet brands of dog food but it’s full of real nutrients and smells good enough to eat! Grizzle’s favourite flavour is Fishy Fit Pie with Peas (it does make him a bit windy though, shhhh don’t tell him).

kong 2

kong 3

We buy our cans at Walnut Pet Supplies, but Tesco also seems to stock a wide range of them too; and at Christmas they have special editions like their Three Bird Feast which is just too tempting not to buy!

Prepping your stuffed KONG couldn’t be easier. Just open the can and stuff the KONG full of the mushy food. Really smush it in so that it’s jam packed and then pop in a freezer bag and stick in the freezer. If you want your dog to gain maximum enjoyment from his KONG and not have finished the food in seconds, then you need to freeze it first. This will mean he has to lick away at it to start the melting process before the food starts to drop out. When you freeze a KONG most dogs will spend a good 20 – 30 min working to get the food out, vs approximately 5 minutes when it’s soft and loose (too easy for them to squish the KONG and plop out comes the food!)

kong 1

kong 5

If you have a few of these KONGS in the house then you can stuff and freeze multiple in one go, thus reducing the time you spend and ensuring you have one on hand any time you need! Yesterday I froze a large and small KONG ready for the evening when we had guests over for dinner. Grizzle is a bit of a tricky doggy when it comes to human food and if we don’t keep him busy with his own dinner he’ll spend the entire time trying to steal food off our plates. I prepped his KONGS first thing in the morning and by 1700 they were frozen solid and kept him busy whilst we ate. Win win.

kong 4

A KONG is also a great solution for the working owner who leaves their dog during the day. We recommend giving dogs their breakfast in one of these, over a bowl which is typically gulped up in minutes. And for dogs who get easily bored by their kibble (something I see all the time), having to ‘work’ for their food often interests them into nibbling away at the KONG till the food is eaten up. You can top a ‘boring’ kibble stuffed KONG with something interesting and tasty, for instance pet safe peanut butter, bit of natural yogurt, banana, leftover meat, pate, etc. Just check to ensure what you are topping your KONG with is safe for your dog and then crack on!

Header Picture Credit: rawfeedingrebels.com

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Breakfast of Champions

Grizzle’s species appropriate HEALTHY weekend breakie of salmon, oily fish, raw meat ‘sausage’, blueberries, natural yogurt and raw egg with shell.

Just some of the physical benefits of a raw dog food diet are:

• Cleaner teeth and fresh breath.
• Better weight control.
• Improved digestion.
• Shinier, healthier skin and coat.
• Reduction of allergy symptoms.
• Harder, smaller, less smelly stools.
• Increased mobility in older animals.
• More energy and stamina.

We feed Grizzle Natural Instinct raw but like to also mix it up with other types of meat, including raw meaty bones, from time to time to not only keep it interesting for him but ensure he has the widest range of nutrients going into his body. Each week he will get a few different things in his bowl from raw carrot, to berries, yogurt, chunks of offal and so on. He absolutely loves it! Some of the health benefits of what he received in his weekend breakfast plate are below:

  • Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Suppliers like Paleo Ridge will have a range of fish and send you a ‘pick and mix’ style box of various sorts. If choosing your own then go for those packed in water over brine or oil and/or supplement your pet’s diet with krill oil.
  • Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, selenium, zinc and iron. High in vitamins C, E, A and B complex for your dog. Like any fruit or treat, blueberries should be fed in moderation; 2 or 3 blueberries make a good size treat.
  • Eggs are a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. For some dogs that are prone to digestive upset, eggs can give them a little protein boost. Adding eggs to your dog’s food is a healthy treat.
  • Plain, low or non-fat yogurt provides probiotic benefits and serves as an excellent source of calcium for our canine companions. … Avoid flavored yogurts that are packed with sugar, and never feed yogurt that contains the ingredient xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic for dogs.

raw diet for dogs

Helpful Guide to Choosing Dog Food

There are so many different feeding regimes to choose from that selecting the right dog food can be pretty confusing. This post attempts to guide you through making the right choice. Remember, any changes in diet should be made very gradually over at least a week to avoid upset and you should try a new diet for at least 10 days before making any further changes.

Wet Food

Tins or pouches – can be classified into 4 groups; Cereal Based, Premium, Ultra-Premium and Raw Feeding.

Cereal based dry food

Can be low in real meat content, high in low quality cereals which can contribute to food intolerances or allergies and possibly obesity

Super premium

Rich in real meat with a consistent quality carbohydrate source. Generally easier to digest and more nutritious.

Ultra premium

Rich in real meat with a consistent quality carbohydrate source. Generally easier to digest and more nutritious.

Raw

As nature intended. No cooking, no preservatives, no additives – just plain goodness. If you’re too nervous to make your own then try a prepared raw available from a number of suppliers such as Natural Instinct or Cotswold Raw. 

raw food

Raw: meat, eggs and supplements. This is providing your dog with the building blocks to help them fight illness from the inside!

Excuses

We’ve all done it. Made a food choice by following marketing ploys, social media or our vet. We’re then stuck in a rut feeding a food which we’re not really sure about but which seems to be ok. Our pooch is eating it .. well most of the time … and friends feed it too, the vet also said it was good (and it’s got to be as it was on the shelf in the waiting room).

But do we really know what this food is doing to our pets? Why not stop making excuses about why you feed a particular product and dig a little deeper?

“Oh but my dog loves the food I give him and laps it up without fuss” – yes this is true, but he might be loving the gravy and jelly in his wet food because it’s high in salt and sugar! The food may taste nice but if you inspect the ingredient list carefully you will see that it is actually far from healthy. Not only will it rot their teeth just like junk food, it will not be providing much in the way of quality nutrition.

“I buy it because it is economical” – ever wondered why this is? How about because the ‘meat’ is really by-product containing feet, fins, feathers and other artificial ingredients you probably can’t pronounce.

“But still …. it’s just soooo cheap” – canned food can contain as much as 85% water. Take this out and what do you have left? Is it really still that cheap? Why not put your own tap water into your bowl of dog food instead, that really will cost you less!

“Dog food is dog food is dog food” – but is it? Cheaper foods will have a higher cereal content which our canines can’t digest, so it ends up as squishy, stinky poo which you’re no doubt picking up a number of times per day. It will also be contributing to a host of other health issues such as diabetes, allergies, cancers and more. Transition your dog to a higher quality product – or my personal favourite: raw 🙂 –  and you will see fewer, firmer stools with a far less pungent smell.

“I feed it because it’s such a well known brand (or my vets promote it), so it simply must be good” – this one really frustrates me. If a dog food has a household name all this means is that it has a bigger advertising budget, not that it’s the healthiest food to feed. Just like there are many popular human foods being advertised on telly all the time (McDonalds anyone) doesn’t make it healthy or the right choice for your child. The same applies to your dog. Get under the wrapper, read the ingredient list, do some research on the manufacturers and what other foods they sell, interview your vet properly to understand just what qualifications they hold in canine nutrition and you might be surprised at what you find …

kibble dog food

Dry food (kibble): full of colours and preservatives, heated to an inch of its life. Helpful or harmful, what do you think?

What are animal derivatives or ‘by-products’?

This is what’s left of a slaughtered animal after all the best cuts have been removed for human consumption. With the exception of feathers, this can really include almost anything… feet, beaks, head, undeveloped eggs… the list goes on. Not what I would class as a quality ingredient.

And a final point when choosing dog food: Look out for sodium nitrite listed in the ingredient list. This is a color preservative which has been linked to the production of cancer-causing substances when meats are exposed to high cooking temperatures.

Feeding Your Cat a Healthy Diet part 2

I really don’t recommend feeding dry food of any kind (high protein or not) because it is so potentially dangerous for reasons such as:

  • water depletion (many cats on kibble are severely dehydrated)
  • high in plant-based proteins and carbs
  • risk of bacterial and fungal contamination and food which is essentially cooked to death
  • very calorie dense and without nutrients

Urethal obstructions and cystitis are extremely common problems seen in cats fed dry food. Urethral obstructions are painful, life-threatening and very expensive to treat. Because it is so painful cats often stop using the litter box (note, if your cat free roams you may not notice this).

Cats fed raw or wet canned food consume double the amount of water when compared to a dry fed cat (even though you will probably never see them drinking from their bowl!). Water is one of the most important nutrients for all living beings and cats are no exception.

cat care milton keynes

But my cat seems fine on the food he’s on ….

  • Every living creature is “fine” until outward signs of a disease process are exhibited
  • Every cat with a blocked urinary tract was “fine” until they started to strain to urinate and either died from a ruptured bladder or had to be rushed to the vets for emergency catheterization
  • Every cat with an inflamed bladder was “fine” until they ended up in severe pain, started passing blood in their urine and begin to refuse to use their litter box because they associated it with pain
  • Every cat was “fine” until the feeding of species-inappropriate, hyperallergenic ingredients caught up with him and he started to show signs of food intolerance/IBD
  • Every cat was “fine” until that kidney or bladder stone got big enough to cause clinical signs

Diseases ‘brew’ long before being noticed by the living being.

Cat Food Analysis:
cat food options

(the ones highlighted red are a big NO NO)

Top Tip: buying food from The Happy Kitty Company or Zooplus can save you a lot of money. It seems that some of the best cat food is made in Germany – both these companies stock what is considered to be the “top wet cat food”.

Cat food ingredients are listed in decreasing order according to weight, so formulas that are mostly meat will have meat listed as the first ingredient (remember though it’s by weight PRE COOKED). Feeding your cat a formula with a meat or identified meat meal (like salmon meal or chicken meal) ensures that your cat is getting its protein from a quality meat source and not an unidentifiable mystery meat source.

If a cat doesn’t get the majority of her nutrition from meat and fish she’s going to suffer some pretty serious health problems. The most crucial element is taurine, an amino acid essential to the health of your cat’s heart and eyes, as well as its immune system. It can’t be synthesised by the body so must be taken in through food, and the highest concentrations of taurine are found in meat and fish. A lack of taurine has been found to have such major implications for cat health that it is supplemented in all cat food. Cats deficient in taurine can suffer from heart failure, irreversible blindness from retinal degeneration, fur loss and tooth decay.
Common medical problems associated with dry food:

  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Hairballs
  • Kidney Disease
  • Obesidty
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Cystitis / Urethral Blockage (UTI)
  • Dental Disease
  • Asthma

Main concerns with cat food is how it affects a cats:

  • metabolism in regards to diabetes and weight
  • kidney and urinary health
  • digestive system, IBD and intestinal cancer prevention

Water Water Water

This is really the most important take away from the post. Water is so very important to your cats overall health that it just can’t be ignored. Cats do not have a very strong thirst drive when compared to other species so that is why it is so very important, critical even, that they ingest a water-rich diet. The cat’s lack of thirst drive can lead to low level, chronic dehydration when dry foods make up the bulk of their diet.

A cat fed a species appropriate diet will be passing more urine so the litter box will need scooping more frequently. I always recommend having two litter trays per cat. Why? Some cats are very fussy and will not poo in the same place they have previously pee’d . Or if they have to “go” frequently they will not pee in a tray which has had poo in it already (note, if you are home all the time, or your cat has access to the outdoors, this may not be necessary). However, if they are an indoor only cat or you are keeping them indoors whilst you go on holiday then I would recommend having two litter trays – one for each floor of your house.

Adding 1-2 tbs of water (plain or flavoured such as tuna water, without salt, chicken or beef broth, again without salt) per meal is beneficial. I feed raw and even with that I add water to each meal.

If your vet tells you to keep feeding dry because it helps with your cats dental health … be forewarned … ! it is about as healthy as crunching cookies is for your own teeth!! 🙂

cat sitter milton keynes

(Cat.Org)

Home Made Dog Treats: Meaty Eggy Yogurt Iced Treat

It was 24 degrees in Milton Keynes today so we were all about keeping cool and eating iced treats! While I got myself a cheeky Magnum, the day care doggies had the following frozen iced treats – home made, really quick to make and chuck full of nutritious ingredients you will have at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tbps natural yogurt (not flavoured)
  • 2 tbps natural instinct raw meat (this was minced and I used it for flavour and because it was in the fridge)
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 handful of blueberries

home made ice cream

Directions:

  • Pop everything bar the blueberries in the blender and wizz for 30 seconds
  • Pour into molds
  • Pop your blueberries in (they won’t all sink so long as you leave the mixture a little ‘chunky’)
  • Put your molds in the freezer
  • Wait till frozen

I put little wooden sticks in the molds as I intended to take them out like ice lollies; however, the dogs couldn’t wait to get tucked in so I just let them go for it.

Why these ingredients?

Blueberries are full of antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals

Eggs are one of the most complete sources of the building blocks of protein: amino acids

Yogurt is high in calcium and protein, acting as a probiotic it is good for your dog’s digestive system

Raw Meat is the natural food choice of dogs in the wild who forage on meat, bones, skin, organs, stomach contents, and an array of other parts

Don’t forget: Dogs are well equipped to handle the bacteria in raw foods.

dog ice cream

Holistic Solutions for your Itchy Dog

There are numerous reasons why your doggy may be scratching and before looking to treat the issue it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. The below 4 point list is not exhaustive but may help you assess what’s going on:

  • If dog is licking, biting or chewing at his paws excessively then suspect a yeast issue. Yeast most often affects paws, ears, groin, belly and armpits and occurs more in humid environments
  • If your dog is suffering with pimple-like spots, open sores or appears to be shaking his head a lot then you may have a skin infection on your hands
  • Dandruff could be to blame if your dog presents with large flakes on his fur, or if his fur is thinning over time
  • If itching is linked to warmer weather or is all year long then allergies could be what your dog is suffering with

Before rushing off to the vets I would recommend trying some holistic treatments at home. Combating health issues with natural foods, supplements and home-based care is, in my opinion, always preferable than pumping your pet up with pills and antibiotics from the vets.

Under or Over Bathing Your Dog

How often and with what you bath your dog is an important contributing factor to the overall health of their coat and skin. If you wash your dog too often you may be contributing to the problem as many shampoos (doggy or human) are chuck full of synthetic ingredients which strip your dog’s skin of natural oils which results in dry skin and … you guessed it: lots and lots of itching!

For dogs prone to dry skin I would suggest that bathing once a month is enough (unless they have rolled in stinky stinky stuff!) To this end I would add that if you have a dog who loves to roll in yukies, and you are combating a dry skin issue, then you could always pop a light weight jacket on him when going out for those walks which end up in a shower. No dodgy smells to deal with and no extra showers either – just more laundry loads,  no big deal 🙂

The best type of shampoo to use on dogs with dry skin is a natural one containing Colloidal Oatmeal. Bio Groom do a natural shampoo which is available on Amazon for just £6.49. If you can follow this up with moisturizing rinse then even better! Think of it as a conditioner treatment for your hair, it’s basically doing the same for your dog’s skin. Finally, give your dog a good brush daily to stimulate his body’s natural oils and help keep his skin in tip top condition (again, just like you would do for your own hair, or by body brushing before a shower).

Diet Deficiencies

For optimal coat and skin health, your dog needs essential fatty acids in their diet. Omega-3 (typically found in fish oil) is a terrific source of fatty acids and a lack of them is an extremely common cause for flaky dry skin. Good news though, because the cure is so simple! Simply try adding fish oil to your dogs diet (1 teaspoon per day). PetAmazed Best Salmon Fish Oil is easily available on Amazon and though not particularly cheap it’s worth it in my opinion. A word of warning: make sure to use the oil up within its shelf life, out of date oil should not be fed to your pets.

Why should you add oil to your dogs diet?

Many processed dog foods are heated to such high temperatures that any fatty acids they may contain will no longer be active (i.e. of any use!) once they make their way to your dogs bowl. Supplements work best when given over a long duration; and because it can take a few months to properly get into your pets system, and actually begin to work on supporting the skin and healing it, don’t give up if you don’t see results in a couple weeks.

Egg-tastic!

The mighty egg: in its tiny shell the egg is a great source of:

Vitamin A

Vitamin B12

Riboflavin

Folate

Iron

Fatty Acids

Selenium

Eggs help prevent itchy, dry and flaky skin and provide a thriving home for hair follicles, along with giving your dog’s coat a nice shine! The additional fat, protein and vitamins may be just what your dog needs in addition to your new bathing and oil supplement regime, so crack a raw egg into your dog’s food bowl a couple times a week (shell and all) and let him lap the goodness up. Warning: too much raw egg could cause an upset stomach so keep it limited to two or three times a week.

Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs

I can’t stop promoting the benefits of turmeric for dogs and therefore need to list it here as another option to try when looking to address the cause of the itchy flaky skin. If you are interested in giving your dog turmeric then check out my blog post on Golden Paste available here.

  1. Anti-inflammatory
  2. Antibacterial
  3. Protects the liver from toxins
  4. Assists in detox
  5. Promotes heart and liver health
  6. Reduces blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks by thinning the blood
  7. Promotes digestive health
  8. It can help prevent and even treat cancer
  9. Offers allergy relief
  10. Helps prevent cataracts
  11. Has been used in the treatment of epilepsy
  12. Natural pain relief
  13. Natural treatment for diarrhea

Home-Made Itchy Dog Spray

You could also try making your own home-made ‘anti-itch’ spray. With just three ingredients, this DIY solution could not be easier! If you cannot get your hands on a dog rinse then you can spray this on them instead.

690385443dd647a79706024d0643dd1d

My 6 Point Check List to Treat Your Dog’s Dry Skin

  1. Brush your dog daily
  2. Add essential fatty acid supplements to your dog’s diet (fish oil, coconut oil on its own or via Golden Paste)
  3. Bath only once a month where possible and use an oatmeal shampoo
  4. Finish your dog’s bath with a moisturizing rinse
  5. Make your own home-made itch spray
  6. Antihistamines (if severe)

If your dog’s coat is no better within a month to six weeks then the cause is probably not nutritional and you may want to investigate with your vet for another potential underlying problem.

Update: A holistic pet group recently recommended Dermacton as a great product for itchy dogs …

DERMACTON: STOPS ITCHING FAST  …. CALMS SORE SKIN  …. NATURAL & STEROID FREE!

I haven’t tried it on Grizzle myself but because of the rave reviews I thought it worth a mention here. Available from Aromesse Natural Healthcare (online) you are able to stock up anywhere in the world – UK shipping is free if you spend over £30. The range includes a cream a spray and a shampoo.

If you try it please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Home Made Dog Treats: Carrot, Oat and Peanut Butter Bites

I love these dog biscuits! They are so easy to make because they only need a few ingredients and just require 20 min in the oven – easy peasy!

The only thing I would say is make sure to buy good quality coconut oil and natural peanut butter. You don’t want any of the stuff which is full of Xylitol, a sweetener used in many foods including peanut butter. I buy Whole Earth Peanut Butter and The Groovy Food Coconut Oil; I think spending a bit more for proper quality food for my dog is worth it. Everyone wants their pets to live long healthy lives and I think the connection between food and longevity is huge. Anyways, enough chat, let’s talk recipe!

Home Made Dog Treat – 5 Ingredients and Only 20 Minutes Baking Time

dog food recipe

You will get approximately 18-20 biscuits from the quantities in this ingredient list, add or remove to suit:

– 3 carrots, pealed and grated

–  1 tbsp peanut butter (check there is no Xylitol in it)

– 1 tbsp coconut oil

– 150 grams oats

– 2 eggs (I like to use my own hens eggs = ++ natural)

 

  1. Heat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking parchment. I actually had to use two medium sized ones and I still ran out of space …
  2. Put the oats and carrots in the food processor and blend until you get a fine mixture
  3. Add the eggs, coconut oil and peanut butter and blitz again until smooth. To be honest I don’t mind a few larger carrot pieces, and it’s fair to say the dogs don’t either!
  4. Put the mixture in a bowl and leave in the fridge to chill for half an hour
  5. Scoop little portions onto your baking tray and flatten down slightly with the back of your spoon
  6. Bake for 20 minutes
  7. Leave to cool and then store in an air tight container

home made dog treats

I would say these biscuits will last a week but who am I kidding! Your dogs will go crazy for them.

Enjoy! 🙂 It’s really great to know where your treats are coming from.

home made dog treats

Turmeric Root: the herb that helps fight cancer in our pets

The amazing health benefits of turmeric

 

Could we cure cancer in our pets? Let’s turn that question on its head and look at prevention!

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and a lack of physical exercise”. – the health ranger

More than 1 in 2 dogs (1 in 3 cats) are diagnosed with cancer, and up to 50% of dogs will be affected by some type of tumor in their lifetime.

There is a medicinal herb that so desperately needs to be incorporated into our pets’ lives; a herb that is one of the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today.

That herb is turmeric root.

Turmeric not only improves conditions which are otherwise resistant to conventional treatment, but it also helps prevent disease occurring in the first place, along with aiding with:

  • Protection against toxicity from heavy metals
  • Destroys the root of all cancer: stem cells
  • Heart health
  • Detoxifies
  • Protects against unhealthy levels of inflammation – rodney habib

Check out my easy to make Golden Paste recipe below, it literally could not be easier to help your pet be healthier today!

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant , targeting multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway at a molecular level. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream so the body has a tough time utilizing it effectively on its own. Studies show that even just a small amount of black pepper boosted bio-availability of curcumin by up to 2000%, while adding fats and heat to the turmeric increases its solubility.

golden paste ingredients

Golden Paste is essentially the combination of the ingredients turmeric, black pepper, coconut oil and water gently heated over the stove. It can be stored in the fridge for up to four weeks, or frozen into moulds if you’re not keen on the taste (coffee bean moulds are ideal for this – available on Amazon on Ebay). The rule of thumb is to start with a small amount and increase gradually. Golden Paste should be consumed with a meal where possible. If you’re like me and have pets who can’t stand the stuff, then you can pop a little inside a bit of their raw meat or a favourite treat – easy peasy! Let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear your results!

Ingredients:

  • 60g turmeric powder
  • 250 ml water (you may find a bit more water is required, depending on the make of turmeric, what you are looking to achieve is a thick paste)
  • 5 g black pepper (freshly ground is best, no cutting corners here)
  • 70 ml coconut oil (the quality of your oil is important, try to source RAW cold pressed coconut oil. If none is available you can substitute for extra virgin olive oil)

Method:

  1. Start by weighing out the turmeric powder and grinding the black peppercorns
  2. Put your pan on a low heat, combine the turmeric and water. Stir well
  3. Simmer the mixture for approximately 7-10 minutes. If the paste is looking too dry or stodgy then add a bit more water
  4. remove from the heat, stir in the freshly ground black pepper and coconut oil
  5. Mix thoroughly and leave to cool
  6. Once cool, poor the paste into a jar and put in the fridge where it can live quite happily for up to four weeks (although I prefer to use my batch within two weeks = that much fresher and potent!)

Dosage:

Dogs/Cats: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon twice daily with food

finished paste