Saturday, July 11, 2009

Benefits of Fiber in Your Dog's Diet

Benefits of Fiber in Your Dog's Diet

We know the benefits of fiber in our own diet, but is their any benefits of fiber in a dog's diet? Fiber was consider filler and bulk in year's past, but today, the nutritional value of fiber in the dog's diet is finally realized.

What exactly is fiber? It is a part of carbohydrates. Fiber is not highly digestible by the body. Your dog's diet can benefit from fiber in appropriate amounts. Just like humans, too much fiber in a diet can have negative effects on the digestive system. It is always important to monitor your dog's diet to maintain a healthy level of fiber to suit your pet's needs. Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of fiber in your dog's diet.

Obedience is prevalent in both humans and pets. Too often, pet's become overweight. Fiber in your dog's diet is a terrific way to help your pet lose excess weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to the longevity and quality of your dog's life. We know that fiber cannot accomplish weight loss on its own, but it can truly make a difference. Fiber helps to keep your dog feeling full and content without large amounts of calories.

The pets who achieve the desired weight goal may need a little extra fiber in the dog's diet to maintain the desired weight. Combining fiber with strict portion control, you will be able to create a dog diet that is healthy and satisfying for your pet.

Again, similar to humans, constipation does occur in pets. Your dog's diet should contain fiber to help prevent this medical condition from occurring. As your dog ages, his or her diet should contain elevated levels of fiber. Senior dogs tend to deal with issues of constipation more frequently than their younger counterparts. For this reason, you will note higher fiber content in senior dog diets.

How does fiber help keep things moving? Fiber absorbs water. With the absorption of water in the fiber, the contents in the intestine have more bulk. This is what causes the movement along the intestinal tract. The passage time through the bowel becomes more normalized and regular.

Healthy amounts of fiber in your dog's diet will contribute to fecal consistency. You will know when your pet is getting the proper amount of fiber when your dog relieves himself regularly. Too much fiber in your dog's diet will result in loose and messy stools.

Some studies indicate that a slight increase in fiber can assist in the management of diabetes mellitus. The fiber helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar from the intestine.

Take note that excessive amounts of fiber can have negative affects on your dog's health. For this reason, it is important to buy high-quality dog food from reputable companies to ensure a healthy diet for your dog. Watch for these sources of fiber in your dog's diet. Beet pulp, soybean hulls, rice bran, apple and tomato pomace, and peanut hulls. Grain such as oats and rice are also examples of indigestible fiber.

Fiber does have benefits in your dog's diet when used in moderation. Talk to your vet about the best amount of fiber for your pet.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Dog Food Allergies: Don't Blame That Itching on Fleas

Get rid of fleas ticks on your dog or cat

As a devoted dog owner, you're probably on the lookout for even the smallest sign that your pet's life is not as comfortable as you can possibly make it. So when doggie starts scratching at his belly or biting at his back, you may immediately take him or her to the vet for a flea dip. You'll also and use flea bombs all over the house in and attempt to have a flea-free environment for doggie's return.

But what if you've done all of that, and within fifteen minutes of returning home, the scratching and biting resume?

If your dog shows signs of allergies, but you are quite certain it is not from inhalants in the environment, fleas in his coat or other health problems, your dog could suffer from food allergies.

If, for example, your dog has been eating one particular food or a favorite treat for several months or even years, he or she might have developed an allergy to one of the ingredients in that food.

Your dog can go for months or even years eating the same food with no problem, but over time his or her immune system will be accumulating enough antibodies to finally result in an allergic reaction. If your dog has a bad reaction to a food the first time he or she eats it, this is a food intolerance caused by a toxin in the food (and there are, unfortunately, more of them than you'd like to think) but it's not an allergic reaction.

While it's natural to think that if your dog has a food allergy, he or she will exhibit indigestion like nausea or diarrhea, almost all canine food allergies cause severely itching skin, and dogs with food allergies very often chew incessantly at their legs and paws. If your dog has intestinal distress after a meal, you are almost certainly looking at food intolerance and not an allergy.

The difficulty in diagnosing food allergies in dogs is that most dogs who are allergic will suffer from more than one allergy at a time. So even if you were to attempt to diagnose your dog's food allergy by changing his or her diet, and your dog began experiencing the itching skin of a flea allergy, you might mistakenly think the change of diet was ineffective in treating the food allergy.

Finding the Source of the Allergy

The only way to determine the change in diet has been effective is to eliminate all other possible causes for your dog's symptoms, and put your pet on what is known as an "elimination trial " diet. You will feed your dog a diet which consists of a single protein and a single carbohydrate which you have never fed before, and water, for between two and three months. Because a food allergy takes months or years to develop, your dog will not be allergic to the new foods and should not become allergic to them in that amount of time.

Your vet may either recommend a commercial food which will suit the purposes of your elimination trial diet, or may suggest that you prepare your dog's food at home. While your dog is on the elimination diet, you'll have to be disciplined enough to avoid feeding treats or table scraps, and take away the chew toys. If there are other dogs around, keep your pet away from their droppings. Some dogs will nibble on other dogs' waste, and even that will be enough to invalidate your elimination trial diet.

If your dog's symptoms are seriously improved after two or three months on the elimination trial diet, you'll know that a food allergy was causing them. If they haven't improved, or have worsened, you'll have to look elsewhere for their cause, but you can let your pet return to the old way of eating

One precaution: if you decide to make your dog's elimination trial diet yourself, it won't be fortified with the essential vitamins, trace minerals, and fatty acids necessary to maintain your pet's health. So you'll have to get supplements and add them to the food before feeding your pet.

Nothing is as unpleasant to you, a loving dog wonder as watching your cherished companion suffer needlessly. If your dog is constantly biting and itching, and you are reasonable certain that fleas are not responsible, talk to your vet about what you can do to determine if a food allergy is the culprit!

Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios, including the internet best selling "Complete Guide to Your Dog's Nutrition".

Visit the link below now for Sharda's Special Free Dog Food Report.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dogs skin and coat problems

The verdict is in - here's why people just LOVE the brand new K9 KlearUp - an all-natural dog balm Guaranteed to help clear up your dog's skin and coat problems. "If you can only afford one item for the health and welfare of your dog, make sure it's K9 KlearUp!" - Nancy, New York. Click here to see all the success stories...

What's Really Going into Doggie's Dish?

The AAFCO sets the standards for pet food safety and nutrition, and the testing done by the AAFCO is used to determine whether or not specific ingredients are acceptable as pet foods. But the AAFCO will rate both low and high quality ingredients as being nutritionally adequate, because there is a demand for pet food in all price ranges. So you need to learn how to read past the AAFCO approval statement on your dog food labels if you want to know what Buster is really consuming.

Reading a Dog Food Label

The label tells us many important facts and figures that may otherwise dissuade or persuade us from purchasing the food. In short, it is important to read the labels. To actually read that label, and not to just give it a cursory glance, we will have to first know a little something about what can be found there and what it means.

The first thing most of us notice on any label is the product name. The product name may also contain primary ingredient names such as "Beef Dog Chow", or what kind of dog the food is intended for, such as "Puppies, Adult, Lactating", etc.

If, in the product name, an ingredient is listed, say for example that "Beef Dog Chow", that beef must be at least 95% of the total weight if there is no water required for processing, and at least 70% when water is included. So, for dry kibble, 95% of that weight needs to contain beef.

When the title contains "dinner, formula, nuggets," and other similar words, the ingredient named must be at least 25% of the weight. So in a product named Lamb Dinner, 25% of the total weight for the product must be lamb.

But, if only ¼ of that entire product needs to consist of lamb, the lamb may not (and probably is not!) the main ingredient. Ingredients must be listed in a descending order of weight. So, even though the bag says Lamb Dinner, the lamb may be fourth in order.

Example:

* Lamb Dinner Ingredients: Corn, meat and bone meal, wheat, lamb.

In that Lamb Dinner, the main ingredients are really the corn and meat and bone meal. Not desirable for a healthy meal.

On the other hand if the ingredients listed were

* Premium Lamb Dinner Ingredients: Lamb, ground rice, ground yellow corn%u2026

This presents a more desirable meal and one that your dog can actually consume and digest properly.

When it comes to the words "flavored" or "flavor" such as Lamb Flavored Nuggets, no exact percentage of the named ingredient, the lamb, needs to be present, but enough of that ingredient needs to present as to be detectable

Often times, the main ingredients will not be present in the title. In such a case, these foods often include items such as: ground yellow corn, meat byproducts, tallow, and other items that are not particularly digestible for your pet. The actual named ingredient will probably be down the list and make up only a very small part of the product.

Besides naming an ingredient with the product name, other phrases and adjectives are used.

Premium Dog Food, or X Premium and other like titles are making a justified boast, as these products complied with the nutritional standards for a complete and balanced dog food. This is definitely something to take into consideration when shopping.

Natural Dog Food means that there are no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.

If a product has given the calorie content on the bag, "Premium Beef Dinner: now with lower calorie content," this is done so voluntarily as a service to the consumer. Because the calorie content of pet foods does not have to be displayed in their labels, however, here's a formula to help you make sure Buster is not eating too much:

Multiply the carbohydrate by 4.2kcal (kilocalories) per gram, the protein by 5.65, and then the fat by 9.4 kcal per gram. If you need to convert the kilocalories to kilojoules (another unit of measurement for energy) simply multiply the total by 4.184. Of course, rounding to the nearest ten might be helpful, as long as you keep in mind that it's an approximation erring on the low side.

Where's the Fat?

A good way to find the higher quality dog foods by reading the ingredient list is to search for that first source of fat. Everything that is listed before that fat source, and including it, is the main part of the food. Everything else is generally used for flavor, preservatives, vitamins, and minerals.

For example:

* Food A:Ground yellow corn, meat meal, chicken fat, ground wheat, chicken byproduct meal, dried beet pulp %u2026

* Food B:
Turkey, chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, chicken fat, apples, carrots, sunflower oil%u2026

The importance of finding the source of fat and where it is listed is so you can find ingredients that may or may not be harmful to your pet, such as beet pulp or corn gluten meal.

Learning to read the labels on dog food is the single most important thing you can do if you intend to feed your pet a commercial diet. Buster may be the smartest dog who ever wore a collar, but he can't read, and he needs to rely on you to keep him healthy.

If what's in that can or bag doesn't sound like something you'd want to eat, it's probably not something your dog would eat if there were an alternative. So take the time to learn the language of labels!

Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios, including the internet best selling "Complete Guide to Your Dog's Nutrition"

Visit the link below now for Sharda's Special Free Dog Food Report.
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