Every single day as we feed our two very different Labrador Retrievers, we always wonder what are we missing?
What should we feed them? Are they lacking the nutrients and vitamins they need? Should they each receive different food choices? Should we rotate more the types of food they get to eat?
I feel like we are missing a critical link. So I've continued my search for the best products we can give our pets and for the education we need to give us the knowledge that is not given to us without us bluntly asking for it, if at all. Never stop asking questions and if you don't understand the answer given, ask again.
Right now we do rotate our dogs food. We stick with the same manufacturer but give them different types. For instance, their last large bag was chicken as the first ingredient and now they have lamb and rice. However, at this time we are looking to change them to a more expensive food that is full of real meat, vitamins and veggies. I believe when we put out a little extra money for the food we give them, it might just make a big difference for the amount of veterinarian trips as they age. Just my opinion. Stay tuned.
And PLEASE read two things on a bag of dog food before you purchase it.
1) Ingredients. If the first six are not whole foods and ingredients that you know, consider looking for another brand.
2) Expiration date. If the food claims to have probiotics you will want to see a date that is far away. This hopefully, means the food was recently made and put in the bag. You want the freshest possible batch. If the date is only 3 months from now please put it back.
Being a groomer, I see dry skin, ear infections, yeast problems, obesity, fatty tumors, anxiety, cancer and more in the dogs I groom and some of these in my own furry best friends. There has to be a critical link we are missing in food choices that will help with the root cause of these issues. Just like in humans.
My labs are so incredibly different. My Zoey is a happy, chubby, life is fabulous while lying on my back kinda black lab. Her tail is always wagging in circles and zig zags....and she will kiss and kiss you! But because of her weight I worry about her receiving too much starch and fat in her diet.
My other lab, the slim, serious, always concerned, rarely gives out kisses chocolate lab, Haley eats the same food as Zoey. However, Haley is not obese on this diet and she seems to more often have dry flakes on her back and a ton of separation anxiety. So should they eat the same food?
Yes, I know genetics can play a role but I am reading more and more that genetics are not as often a factor in disease and other health issues as previously thought. This is for us humans as well.
So what do we do?
Because I am still researching food choices and the connection to health, I want to share 4 things we are doing NOW to help support our dogs health.
1) Steam and share asparagus, carrots and broccoli. Asparagus has cancer preventing properties, and has the ability to reduce inflammation and our dogs love it as long as I make it a fun experience to eat it. Example, one piece for me, one for you and one for you. Remember just give them a little it can cause bowel changes and smelly doggie farts. Just sayin.
2) Share a banana a day with them. Each of our dogs get a piece of banana that is about an inch long. Bananas are high in potassium which is great for muscles and blood vessels, fiber which helps with keeping poop normal without diarrhea or constipation. Bananas also offer vitamin B6 and vitamin C that helps protect and revitalize cells. I just read today that bananas have a smell that can be very offensive to some dogs so never force them to eat it. (Yes, eat your bananas too)
3) Exercise! Even living in Maine where everything seems to be covered in ice or turned to ice right now, exercise is super important. Get out with them and toss their ball, walk around the yard several times or take them on leash for walks. If walking on the road please be super careful to check their paws when you get home. Keep them out of sand and salt as much as possible! My hubby took the snow blower out in our back yard and made a path about 8 feet wide around the inside of our fence. This gives the girls a chance to run a bit and a place in the corner for easier bathroom breaks.
4) Supplements. This is not for all dogs but for my Haley who has an overwhelming amount of separation anxiety, supplements may be the help we need. We have a holistic veterinarian in our area and she and I talked, I filled out a lengthy questionnaire that she gave me and after review we have started Haley on Chinese Herbs. This has just become routine here so I will absolutely keep you posted on how they help her and the differences we see in her personality. She is not a fan of taking capsules so I plan to keep plenty of peanut butter and cheese in the house.
Finally today, I want to say please remember this blog is my thoughts and beliefs as I do research through a ton of different websites, blogs, books and through talking personally with our veterinarian.
A couple of my online favorites are, Whole Dog Journal and The Dog Advisor.
This blog is to help share with you the ideas I am learning so that you can talk directly with your veterinarian to see what your pet has for options. I am a complete believer that we have choices and to never settle. Through our love and dedication to learn more we will help our pets thrive!
I am not a veterinarian, I am a dog loving, fur baby momma who spends her days as a pet groomer and her nights and weekends reading and researching all things pets. I am my own favorite kinda nerd. You too?
We will be talking again soon so please share comments below or message us anytime.
Hand to paw,