Category Archives: nutrition

Peanut “Brittle” for Dogs

First, let’s be clear that did should not eat real, human, peanut brittle. There is far too much sugar, and the broken pieces are sharp and could cause internal injuries.

That doesn’t mean that our fuzzy friends can’t enjoy a peanut-y treat. Below are a few recipes for peanut brittle alternatives.

Two things to remember about dogs and peanuts are:

  1. Use unsalted peanuts and peanut butter.
  2. Read the peanut butter jar to ensure xylitol is not an ingredient as this is toxic to dogs.

Check out this list of foods safe for dogs, and read about dogs and spicy food.

Key Ingredient – Dog Peanut Brittle

Husky Haven – Doggie Peanut Brittle

The Lazy Pitbull – Peanut Butter & Apple Sauce Cookies for Dogs

Husky Haven also has a very extensive list of other dog safe recipes.

Happy #PeanutBrittleDay!

As always, if your dogs eats something you suspect to be poisonous, be sure to seek medical advise as soon as possible.

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours per day and 1-855-764-7661. 

For day to day peace of mind, consider having a Pet First Aid kit, such as this one by the AKC, available.

Are regular feeding times important for dogs?

Dogs, by nature, are creatures of habit. There are several reasons why establishing and maintaining regular feeding and toileting times is important for your dogs health.

The main reasons to keep your dog are:

  • Routine brings security for your dog
  • Preventing overeating
  • Allows you to monitor your dogs habits
  • Maintain regular digestive rhythm
  • Prevent attraction of pests and insects

As most dog parents/guardians/owners have experienced, most dogs will want to let out at the same time every morning, whether you are ready or not. Waking you from a comfortable sleep isn’t the only motivation they get, they also need the routine as a part of their daily structure. Predictability and stability reduce stress in your dog, and keep them from having nervousness, and fear which can manifest into chewing, urinating indoors or other disruptive behavior. Part of a regular routine includes feeding at the same time and in the same location, regular walks, and providing the dog with a place of their own – to escape to in times of anxiety.

This means that the home environment should be as stable as you can manage; with the same people around, similar times going outside, predictable bed and waking times, and regular meal times. Most adults have a regular waking time, so including letting the dogs out and feeding should be part of most routines. You can use a dog door to allow unmonitored entry and exit if you have a controlled environment outside, and use of an automatic feeder (that will dispense dry bulk food in measured portions at programmed times) can alleviate some of the demands of a morning routine.

The two schools of thought on feeding methods include: free feeding, where food is available to your dogs all day in unmeasured quantities, or some method of timed feedings. One practice in use is to present half of the dogs daily food portion for 15 – 20 minutes (longer if the dog is a slow eater), then removing the food until the second of the two feedings. This establishes a feeding routine. Two benefits to timed feedings are portion control and the ability to monitor consumption. Dogs that have a very large appetite may be prone to overeating. By leaving an uncontrolled portion of food available, they may continue to eat regardless of their nutritional needs.

Presenting food twice a day at regular times allows you to monitor consumption habits. A change in the speed, quantity, and intensity of consumption can indicate changes in health and the consultation of a veterinarian may need to be sought. For example, a dog who refuses food or only eats a small portion may need to change food or may need to be put on a feeding plan by a vet.

A common digestive problem with dogs is constipation. Having a regulated flow of food going through can help keep their digestive tract active and functioning. Should you notice a slow down in bowel movements, this could indicate the beginning of, or a forming blockage. The American Kennel Club gives an extensive list of common treatments for constipation on their site. It is a very comprehensive article.

As an aside, Mercola has a great article, with video, including graphics of dog poop and what the structure of each deposit can mean. They also give suggestions how you can correct your dogs diet based on their fecal outcome, and also when you should seek the advice of a professional.

Finally, leaving food unattended can attract pests and insects to the dogs dish. In urban areas, this attraction can neighbors animals, and rodents. Dry food is less prone to bacterial growth through the day, but the addition of wet food, sauces, toppings, or moistening dry food can cause a build up of bacteria that can be toxic to dogs. Ensuring food is consumed in a timely manner, so nothing remains in the bowl; and regular cleaning of food and water bowls, can eliminate unwanted attraction.

Using an automatic pet feeder, such as the PetSafe Healthy Pet Automatic Feeder can help alleviate the burden of keeping your dog on a regular schedule, help control portions provided, and -with the proper programming- only dispense the amount your dog will eat to keep their bowl empty during the day.

Check out this post for what you should be looking for in an automated feeder.

 

Sources:
Pets4Homes – Sticking To A Routine to Help Reduce Stress In Your Dog

Petfinder – How Often To Feed Your Dog

PetMD – Why Free-Feeding Is The Wrong Choice For Most Dogs

AKC – Dog ConstipationAKC – Dog Constipation

Mercola – Assessing Dog Poop

Image: Beagle On A Sofa by alex_ugalek

Top Automated Pet Feeders

Take the stress out of routine pet feedings with these top automated pet feeders! Open the box, pop in some batteries, pour in your bulk dry food, set when your feeds should occur, and you’re good to go!

Check out my write-up here about what you should look for in a “store ‘n feed” dispenser, and start your search here:

1. PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

2. Petnet SmartFeeder

3. Crown Majestic Diamond Series V3

4. Home Intuition Portion Control 6-Meal Feeder

5. OxGord Automatic Electronic Timer Programmable Dog Feeder for Large to Small Dogs

6. Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Food Dispenser

7. Feed and Go Automatic Pet Feeder with Built In Webcam

8. PYRUS Automatic Electric Pet Dry Food Feeder with LCD Display

9. BABADIO Automatic Pet Feeder with Remote Controller

10. topPets Large Automatic Pet Feeder with Programmable Portion Control

11. GemPet SmartFeeder, Automatic Pet Feeder controlled With Your iPhone, Andriod

12. HoneyGuaridan A26 Automatic Electronic Pet Feeder with Voice Reminding and Programmable Timer

13. PetPal WiFi Automatic Pet Feeder

14. Animal Planet Programmable Electronic Pet Feeder

15. QPets 10 Lbs Automatic Programmable Pet Feeder

Be sure to leave your comments below with the pet feeder you use, and any helpful advice for fellow readers.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links which, when you buy something, provide this site with a small percentage of your purchase; this is at no cost to you.

short hair spotted dog watching food off camera

What to look for in an automatic pet food feeder

In today’s hectic life, with people having more commitments than ever, giving the routine tasks to automation can free up valuable time. Buying an automatic pet food feeder can alleviate the daily routine of feeding your pets. No longer will you have to ask “did you feed the dog”, “will Fluffy be fed this afternoon if I am late from work?”

Listed below are key features to look for when you are shopping for an automated pet food self feeder. These will helped you make an informed decision when you compare the ever-expanding variety of these feeders.

One caution before you continue, is that these feeders can only feed dry bulk food; if you are looking to feed moist food (like you would find in cans, plastic containers, or pouches), these feeders would not provide a solution to that problem.

  • Capacity. Take a look at how much your dog or cat eats, and how many portions will be fed per day. Remember, that if you have multiple dogs or cats, you will need to adjust your calculation accordingly. You will want to ensure that the hopper or bin of the product is large enough to allow you to avoid refilling it frequently. For example, if you have a small dog who eats two cups of food per day, a machine with 24-cup capacity will give you 12 days between refills. If you have two dogs, each eating two cups of food per day, that brings you down to 6 days between fills.
  • Programming. All automated feeders will dispense food on a schedule that is either preset or user defined. Most feeders give the option to preset a schedule specific to their pets needs, and some allow up to 6 specific feeding times. Check the user manuals online to see how easy programming the machine is. Controls vary widely and can range from basic LCD displays with few buttons, to full-color displays with clearly labeled buttons. Some models are WiFi enabled allowing the user to program times using a smartphone or web interface.
  • Dispensing Quantity. Most machines have a standard size ‘portion’, for example 1/8 of a cup. You can dispense as many 1/8 cup portions as you need at each feeding time. Note, that if your pet requires less than the minimum portions size, you may end up accidentally overfeeding your pet.
  • Ease of Cleaning. Look for dishwasher safe parts, and easy disassembly. Especially in the summer or during warm months, you will want to ensure you follow the recommended cleaning schedule to prevent pests, and to keep the machine running smoothly.
  • Power Source. Does the unit you are considering come with a wall outlet, or does it require batteries? Most are designed to utilize battery power, but do not come with batteries in the box. Consider adding some to your purchase, or look into a wall outlet to avoid replacing them. The common battery life is six to eight months before they require replacement. Is there a wall outlet located close to where you will be installing the pet feeder?
  • Durability. The purpose of a timed release pet food feeder, is to ensure your pet only has access to the food at regular intervals. Food-motivated pets, larger dogs, strong cats, or smart pets of any kinds, may be able to defeat the food containment bin. When looking for a solution, think of the skill and strength level of your pet, and the construction of the feeder, to determine if you pet can obtain early access to the food.
  • Hopper size. With new sizes and formats of food pieces from all food manufacturers, can the unit you are considering dispense large pieces, food with mixed sizes, light freeze dried pieces, or all of the above
  • Connectivity. Newer options on the market can allow you to program your automated feeder from your smartphone or a web interface. Some allow you to record a voice message to your pet to alert them to feeding time. Several models have live voice and video allowing you to communicate with your pet in real time. Think of how the device will be used, and the amount of technology you are looking for.

All-in-all, there are several brands and models available to choose from, with new feeders coming to market all the time. Consider the points above to make the best decision for you and your pet.

Vacations, long weekends, late work hours, or even the stress of day-to-day life can cause pets to miss their feeding times. This can add stress to their lives, and may cause health issues, especially if your pet is on a veterinarian prescribed feeding schedule.

One of the units that meets several criteria is the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed 12-Meal Automatic Feeder. It has a large capacity with translucent walls to monitor usage, can dispense both large and small food pieces, has a default Dog and Cat setting (but allows you to program custom times), and features dishwasher safe components.



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Is it safe for dogs to drink milk?

In short, the answer is yes. It is not toxic but some dogs may be allergic, and even in dogs without an allergy, milk can cause digestion problems including vomiting and diarrhea when consumed in moderate to large quantities.

Most dogs can drink milk in moderation, however dog owners need to be aware of the symptoms of lactose intolerance if they plan on giving their dog milk. The most common symptoms are:

-AKC

Also, check out this AKC article about “Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

These Himalayan Yak Cheese Chews are made with three ingredients. Yak Milk, Lime Juice, and Salt. They are nice and hard to keep your buddy occupied for hours. They are lactose free and grain free!

Chewy.com shipping cartons leaving the distribution center with dog food and toys

Why I keep ordering from Chewy.com

Last week I came home to another pleasant surprise, my recent Chewy.com order!

As you can see from the picture below, we were all excited that it had arrived! Read more of our experience below!

Two dogs, a sheltie and shihtzu, smelling food and treats in a box from chewy.com

This is a repeat order from this great company. I browsed the site looking for a brand of food that wasn’t offered in the grocery store. Both dogs were getting picky, and it was time to change their food, but I had tried all the brands in the store and wanted to try something new.

After checking out the wide variety of brands available, I settled on a 5-pound bag of Nutro Adult (Lamb and Rice), a bag of Zukes Mini Naturals Roasted Chicken training treats, and a bag of Blue brand Blue Bits training treats.

They have a free shipping offer when your order reaches $49.00, but my order did not pass it. The shipping charge was only $4.95, less than if I had used a local delivery company to go to the pet store for me. The low shipping charge was surprising given that I had a giant bag of food. Regardless of how big your order is, or how many pounds of food you buy, your shipping charge for orders under $49.00 is $4.95. Shipping for orders over $49 is free!

Checkout was nice and easy, and I got a fancy postcard from them last year for being a customer! Its easy to get lost on Amazon with their extremely wide selection of products, but browsing Chewy.com was nice and easy because of their highly focused, curated, selection makes it nice and easy.

There are even helpful videos to give you more information about your favorite brands.

On the desktop site, hover over “Shop by Pet”, hover over the type of pet (dog, cat, bird, reptile, horse), and you will see the headings, Food, Treats and Supplies. It’s like the site knows me, and answers my questions of “how do I find” before I ask it.

The AutoShip selection gives you a 5-10% discount when you sign up to have products shipped to you on a regular basis. No need to “remember to buy dog food” because- it comes to you!

Will I be buying again? The answer is yes!

UPDATE: I just learned that Chewy.com has a philanthropic effort called the Chewy.com Rescue and Shelter Network. It is open to all registered non-profit organizations that specialize in assisting pets in need. Joining the Rescue Network is free, and gives non-profit organizations access to programs providing donations and fundraising opportunities. Check out their About Us page for the details!