Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Dog

healthy_dog_treats_sKeeping your dog healthy is obviously one of the main responsibilities you have as a dog owner. A healthy dog means a happy dog, giving you much more pleasure of ownership. Your dog will have more energy, be more responsive to you and will have a calmer and more settled nature. However, keeping your dog healthy goes much further than that. You will avoid costly vet bills, which can escalate dramatically, especially as the dog gets older. Most of the minor and major health problems that dogs can develop can be minimised or eliminated by keeping your dog healthy.

One of the most important things in avoiding health problems in your dog is to be aware of the warning signs. These are symptoms that, if not addressed, can develop into major issues. The good news is that if detected early, they can be dealt with relatively easily.

Here are some of the signs that your dog is not is healthy as he should be:

  • Smelly skin, coat and breath. Many people accept that offensive “doggy’ smell as normal, but it isn’t. The smell can also pervade places where the dog spends time, such as it’s bed. Your dog should smell ‘sweet’ or, preferably, not at all. If you’re in doubt if your dog has a “doggy” smell, ask a neighbour or friend – you may have become desensitised to it!
  • Poor coat. A dog’s coat should be shiny and soft. And I mean REALLY shiny and soft. If it is dull, wiry or greasy, it suggests your dog is not as healthy as he could be.
  • Aggressive or hyperactive behaviour. Although training of course plays an important part in a dog’s behaviour, if your pet acts unpredictably or aggressively it can be a sign of health issues.
  • Skin conditions. Itching, scratching, rashes, flaky skin – these are all signs of poor health in a dog.
  • Stiff joints. Many people expect that dogs will develop joint and muscle problems when they get older, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Observe your dog’s movement, especially first thing in the morning or after it has been inactive or asleep for a while. If it appears to be stiff or having problems with movement, then it points to less than optimum health.

If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should address them before health issues become more major. Fortunately, there is one very simple and effective way to reduce or eliminate these in dogs and keep them in optimum health:

Feed a good, healthy food.

Dr Michael Fox, author of 40 books on dog health and former vice president of Humane Society International states:

“It has taken me 20 years as a vet to realise that 90% of health problems in dogs result from the food they are eating.”

Choose a quality food and you will not only reduce or eliminate all the symptoms above, but you will be doing the best thing possible to ensure your dog’s long term health and happiness.

A quality food is one that has a high meat content and has no by-products, cheap fillers, preservatives, flavourings or colourings.

Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are two foods that have been independently rated as amongst the highest quality on the market. We ourselves have seen remarkable improvements in dogs’ health since they have switched to these foods (see www.petfooddirect.co.nz for a number of reports from dog owners).

If your dog displays any of the symptoms above try him or her on Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic and judge your results for yourself.

Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are both available in New Zealand from Petfood Direct. For more information and to order visit www.petfooddirect.co.nz or call 0800 DOG FOOD (0800 364 366).

The Five Most Common Questions About Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic

dogfoodquestionWe get lots of enquiries about our foods and five questions seem to come up all the time. Here they are, with the answers to each.

Which is better for my dog  – Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic?

The answer to this really depends on two things: how well the individual dog does on the food and your own personal preference. The main difference in the actual foods is that Earthborn Holistic Grain Free uses no grains whereas Pro Pac uses corn or rice in their formulas. In practice, we have seen some dogs do better on Pro Pac and others do better on Earthborn Holistic.

You can rest assured though that both are ideal foods offering a complete and healthy diet for dogs. Neither contain any by-products, wheat, cheap fillers, artificial additives or genetically modified ingredients. They are amongst the purest foods on the market today.

Why is Pro Pac cheaper than other similar foods when you claim that it is higher quality?

Although Pro Pac uses higher-quality ingredients than most other super premium foods you would find at a vet or pet shop, we can offer it to you for significantly lower prices for two main reasons:

Firstly, Pro Pac is made by an independent company that has made a deliberate policy to put their efforts into quality of the food rather than marketing. It is one of the fastest-growing pet food brands in the world and most of the marketing is done by word of mouth, rather than spending money on advertising (which gets passed on to the customer of course).

Secondly, here in New Zealand we the importer sell it direct to you, thus avoiding a retailers margin. That’s why we can sell it to you at a lower price and also offer free delivery throughout the country.

What is the difference between chicken and chicken meal and which is better?

Both are pure chicken meat, and therefore the best part of the animal to put in the food. However, chicken meal has already been dehydrated (had the water removed) before processing. When the food is dried during processing, ‘chicken’ will lose up to 80% of its volume as water. Because this has already been done before processing with chicken meal, you end up with a much higher amount of actual meat in the final product.

This can appear confusing, but suffice to say, there is more than 400% more actual chicken in the food when it is labelled as ‘chicken meal’ than simply ‘chicken.

Pro Pac formulas are all based on chicken meal. It’s one of the reasons why dogs do so well on it and love the taste. There is a much higher meat content than most foods on the market.

Is Pro Pac ok for allergy-prone dogs?

Every Pro Pac formula is designed to by hypo-allergenic, even if they don’t say so on the label. That’s because none of them contain any of the common ingredients which cause allergies, such as beef, wheat and artificial flavours, colourings and preservatives.

Occasionally dogs are allergic to chicken or corn. If that is the case with your dog, use the Pro Pac lamb and rice. Alternatively try Earthborn Holistic Grain Free which again has no common allergy-causing ingredients.

Can Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic be used in place of breed-specific or vet prescription formulas?

We are not vets and therefore are not qualified to give veterinary advice. In saying that, there is a degree of truth in the statement that many breed-specific and ‘special’ foods carry an element of marketing spin with them.

Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic have been formulated as being complete formulas for all breeds and life stages of dogs, backed up with meticulous research (the company’s scientists are amongst the most respected in the industry).

Vets in many countries around the world are recommending Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic too.

The most important thing, though, at the end of the day, is to look at the ingredients of the food you are using – and you can’t do better than Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic.

Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are sold exclusively in New Zealand by Petfood Direct. For more information visit their website www.petfooddirect.co.nz or call 0800 DOG FOOD (0800 364 366)

Human Foods That Can Harm Your Dog

dogfoodnottoeatWe often get asked if it’s ok to feed table scraps and other human foods to dogs. We always suggest that if you are feeding Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic you don’t NEED to, as these are completely balanced diets. However,if you WANT to feed scraps, you should be aware that some human foods are very dangerous to dogs and can even be fatal. Here is a list of foods dogs should NEVER eat:

  • Avocado
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Bones (cooked)
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Currants
  • Fatty meat trimmings
  • Fruit stones (pits)
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Marijuana
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Tea
  • Tobacco
  • Yeast dough
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in chewing gum and sweets)

Dogs have quite different digestive systems to humans, so you should never assume that if we can eat it then your dog can as well. And of course never decide what to give your dog based on what it ‘will’ eat. Rather, make your decision on what it ‘should’ it – and that is always going to be healthy, high quality dog food, free of any artificial ingredients or low-nutrition fillers.

 

How to Create the Right Eating Habits for Your Dog or Puppy

Two-dogs-diningIt’s essential that your dog puppy learns proper table manners if he is to become a good house-dog. This includes learning to give up his food to you without a struggle. He must also learn not to take food that does not belong to him. Training your puppy both aspects of table manners early on will prevent aggression over food or eating or not eating at the wrong time. Since both aspects go against the dog’s natural instinct, they are necessary lessons to learn for him when he lives with humans. It is often necessary for dogs to be trained against their natural instincts or they can become aggressive and even threats to their families.

When it comes to feeding time with your puppy, make him sit and put the bowl down. If he stands up, take the bowl away again, say “No” and tell it to sit again. Once he is sitting and the bowl is on the ground, then say to him “OK” and allow him to eat. What you are doing is teaching your dog or puppy that you will give permission when he is to eat. It may take a while; nothing conscious will get through for the first few weeks, but something is definitely getting absorbed.

In about a month or so, your puppy should have no problem waiting for the “OK” signal. While you are teaching him restraint, occasionally add food to his bowl while he is eating using your bare hand. If he growls when your hand comes near his bowl, say “No!” and take away the food. Feed him again at his next scheduled mealtime.

Once every other week, when he is in the middle of his meal, call his name to get his attention or say “No!” and take away the bowl. If he does not growl, add a treat to his meal and return the dish immediately, followed by saying “OK and “Good boy”. Once your dog or puppy allows hands near his bowl, accepts the removal of his food and waits for his “OK” signal on a constant basis then congratulations! You have been successful in communicating to your dog that he does not have to protect his meal as he would have in the wild. You have instilled in him (or her) that you determine what and when he eats and that you are the ‘leader’. You will find feeding to be a lot easier (he won’t develop ‘fussy food syndrome’) and he will also have more respect for you in other areas. Not only that, but your dog will be a lot happier too as it understands that you will lead him and make decisions for him, which is what all dogs, as pack animals, want their ‘leader’ to do.

If you want to master the simple skills of training your dog or puppy to be obedient and happy, click here
http://news.petfooddirect.co.nz/dogtutor

The Truth About Meat in Petfood

whatisinyourdogfoodWith the bewildering array of pet foods available these days, one of the best ways to assess the quality of a particular brand is to look at the meat used. There are two things to look at in particular:

  1. the quality of the meat source
  2. the amount of meat in the actual food.

Unfortunately, a pretty label is no guarantee that the food you feed your dog is doing its health any good. ‘Junk food’ is just as prevalent in dog food as it is in human food. And just as with you or your children, if you feed your dog a constant diet of junk food over a period of time, you are going to end up with health problems.

The first step to evaluating the quality of the food is to look at the ingredients on the label. However, you need to have an understanding of what the ingredients actually mean, as the terms used to describe them are far from straightforward.

Here are the most important things to be aware of when looking at the meat content (and therefore the quality) of a dog food brand.

1. Make sure the first ingredient on the list is a meat source. Petfood ingredients must be listed in order of weight before processing. If the first ingredients in a brand are cereals, grains or anything other than a meat then you can be sure you are not giving your dog much nutrition. Foods without meat as the first ingredient are often called the ‘junk foods’ of the pet industry.

2. Make sure the meat is from a named animal and not just called ‘meat’. ‘Meat’ can mean it comes from just about anywhere and can even be harmful. Only use a food where the actual type of meat is named, such as chicken, lamb or fish.

3. Avoid by-products. By-products are the parts of the animal that are everything BUT the meat. They can include feet, beaks, intestines – all of the animal that is left after the meat has been stripped from the carcass. Although high in protein, they are not quality ingredients and are best avoided.

4. Favour a food that uses named meat in ‘meal’ form. Chicken or lamb ‘meal’ is simply the meat that has been dehydrated before the food is made. That means that there is a lot more actual meat retained in the food after it has all been dehydrated than there is where the meat is only dehydrated as part of the final processing. Thus, the difference between ‘chicken’ and ‘chicken meal’ is that they are both ‘only’ chicken meat, but there is about four times the amount of actual meat in the final food in the ‘meal’.

Once you understand these things, it is not hard to see the huge differences in pet foods, and how to choose a quality one over a ‘junk’ food.

Did you know that all formulas of Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic Grain Free:

  1. have meat as the first ingredient
  2. have a named meat (chicken, lamb or fish) as the meat source
  3. have NO by-products of any kind
  4. use ONLY meats in meal form

It’s one of the many reasons they consistently rate as amongst the best foods on the market and are not only good for pets but extremely tasty too!

For more information about Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic Grain Free and to order for your dog or cat visit www.petfooddirect.co.nz or call 0800 DOG FOOD (0800 364 366), toll free throughout New Zealand.

5 Tips For Training Dogs Successfully

dogtrainingTraining a dog or puppy is not difficult. All that is needed is patience, dedication and some simple tactics and you will get great results.

Here are five top tips on how to train your dog or puppy successfully:

  1. Have only one person be responsible for training the dog initially. This is to prevent your dog getting confused and so that they can learn to recognise commands easily. If too many people are trying to train the dog at the same time this can stop progress in its tracks.
  2. Use positive reinforcements. If the dog does something good, you should reward this behaviour. If the dog cannot understand or follow your commands, never push him. Dogs are of course not as intelligent as humans; they will make mistakes. However, you should also realise that your dog or puppy won’t easily understand your commands in just one teaching, It takes repetition to train a dog successfully. Do not scold or punish your dog as he might develop fear. This will hinder his learning and willingness to be trained. You can use treats in order to encourage your dogs, although don’t overdo it.
  3. Teach commands just one at a time. Try to teach your dog or puppy one command after the other. If he cannot absorb it, try to stay on that command only because adding additional commands will just confuse the dog. Start with the basics.
  4. In executing commands, you should keep your voice cheerful so that the dog will happily follow your commands. Dogs will respond to a low and coaxing voice. If you shout or talk too loudly or aggressively, he may become startled and unresponsive.
  5. Train your dog in various locations. This allows your pet to adjust to different environments and to new people and situations. Take him to the park, the beach or through the neighbouring streets. This will help your dog associate with other dogs and people.

Training your dog can sometime be tough, but it will be worth it. And after all, in the end, you will actually be the one to benefit when your dog is fully trained. Having a well trained pet in your life not only increases the enjoyment of dog ownership it also has a positive effect on your stress levels.

For a powerful system for training your dog visit the Online dog Trainer http://news.petfooddirect.co.nz/OnlineDogTrainer

Tips For Toilet Training Your Dog or Puppy

pottytrainingToilet training your dog or puppy as early as possible is always advisable. However this can only achieved with a fair amount of persistence and patience. Although dogs are generally believed to be very clean animals, their animal instincts can drive them to relieve themselves wherever they find it convenient. This can be very frustrating for the dog owner and we all know how it feels to your have your floors and carpets soiled and messed when least expected. With the right training, however, your dog or puppy can be perfectly potty trained. Here are a few tips that will help you to toilet train your dog or puppy – and remove the need for that carpet cleaner!

Patience and Persistence

It is important to take note of the fact that the younger the puppy, the longer he may take to learn and get into the mode of the habits that that are being taught to him/her. Therefore, it is very important to be patient and persistent. Your dog will gradually learn the rules and form the right toilet habits when trained on a daily basis. Remember, that every dog has his own individual learning curve. So, punishing your dog every time he makes a mistake is not going to solve the problem.

Creating the Right Habits for Your Dog

Many animal trainers behaviorists believe that getting the dog into a habit mode is the key to perfect toilet training. It is therefore recommended that the dog owner takes the dog out every few hours as well as 30 minutes after the dog eats his meal. Choose a specific spot outside where you would be taking him on an everyday basis. Also, praise your dog now and then or when he obeys well. If however, he refuses to go outside, wait for fifteen minutes and try again. Gradually your dog will understand that going out is a sign of going to the bathroom. Also, pay attention to your dog’s body language and behaviour. If he/she starts to sniff or circle around, it is a sign that they need to relieve themselves. Select a designated spot each time you notice that your pet dog needs to relieve himself and take him/her to that spot every time.

React to ‘Accidents’ the Right Way

As mentioned above, every dog has its own individual learning curve. This learning curve is greatly affected by the owner’s reaction to any ‘accidents’ caused by their pets. Each time your dog displays symptoms of relieving himself, call out his name or clap in order to distract his attention. Constant control on his activities will help you determine his/her behavioral patterns as well. Make sure that you don’t vent out your anger or frustration on your dog if he does cause an accident. Carefully clean up the mess and ignore the dog completely while doing so. If he/she does try and approach the accident area, make sure you don’t yell at him or react in any way. Simply ignore your pet – otherwise you may find he may not be able to bond with you. The key is to train the dog and not instil fear in him.

Confining Your Dog or Puppy

At times confining your dog or puppy is the best approach towards their toilet training. Large crates or cages are used to hold them and restrict the area of their movement. Dogs will usually refrain from reliving himself at the spot where he sleeps or sits as they are essentially sanitary creatures. Whenever, Mother Nature calls, a dog would instinctively move out of the cage or crate in order to relieve himself. This gradually would become a mode of habit for him. However, it is important to ensure that the pet owner gets large sized crates and cages to confine the pet dog so that he/she has enough room to move about. This helps in creating a pattern that the dog will follow even after he is no longer confined to a crate or cage.

Use of Repetitive Commands

The home owner should use a certain set of words for the dog repeatedly until the dog understands what exactly it is a sign for. For example, if you take your dog or puppy outside, you could say “go potty”. Dogs have a keen ear and the ability to learn quickly. They would gradually understand what exactly the owner is signalling by the use of these specific words. Use of these commands on a regular basis is important so that your dog becomes familiar with them and begins to follow them. them.

Keeping Your Dog or Puppy Happy

It is important that your puppy or dog bonds with you, its owner. This only comes with love, affection and care. Reward your dog with treats once in a while and praise him every time he obeys your command or responds well to the training.

With patience, persistence and consistency you can have a dog that is not only well trained for the toilet, but which is obedient, loving and a joy to own.

For more information on the best ways to potty and obedience train your dog or puppy visit The Dog Training Zone link: http://news.petfooddirect.co.nz/Pottytraining

World Record for Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic!

contaminatedOne of the biggest problems for all pet food producers is contamination. Unfortunately this is extremely widespread and the consequences can be disastrous. Usually the manufacturer will recall the product, but often not before illnesses and even deaths have occurred. Some recent examples are:

  • in 2007 a large number of pet foods were contaminated with melamine sourced from China. Thousands of dogs and cats were believed to have died as a result of eating these foods
  • Orijen withdrew from the Australian market in 2009 after its irradiation treatment process was linked with paralysis in cats.
  • in 2010 Eukanuba and Iams withdrew their products due to salmonella contamination.

Sadly, there seems to be an ever-increasing flow of product recalls due to contamination. Salmonella bacteria is becoming one of the most common. This is a concern because the bacteria can be passed on to humans from handling infected food. This can cause health problems such as severe nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea that can last for several months.

But now for some good news…..

There is ONE (and ONLY one) company that has NEVER had a single case of salmonella contamination of its pet foods.

In fact, this is the ONLY company has never had a SINGLE food recall for ANY contamination of ANY kind.

That company is Midwestern Petfoods, producers of Pro Pac Superpremium and Earthborn Holistic.

It’s an incredible record, especially as the company has been producing pet food for more than twenty-five years!

The reason of this astounding safety record is to be found in the company’s quality control systems, which, due to the difficulty and cost, are used by very few pet food producers.

Essentially, EVERY batch of Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are tested by the laboratory for a wide range of possible contaminants. No batch is ever released until the test results are obtained. This is referred to as “Positive Release”. VERY few other manufacturers go to this trouble to ensure every bag of food is in perfect condition.

Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are the envy of the industry for their perfect safety record. You can feed your dog or cat these foods with absolute confidence that not only are they getting the best in nutrition (no by-products, fillers or artificial ingredients) but they are the safest foods on the market.

Pro Pac Superpremium and Earthborn Holistic Grain Free dog and cat foods are sold in New Zealand by Petfood Direct, with free nationwide delivery. To purchase, visit www.petfooddirect.co.nz or call toll free on 0800 DOG FOOD (0800 364 366)

Dog training: How to Stop Possessiveness with Food

doggrowlThough sometimes we would like to think otherwise, the reality is that for a dog food is their first priority. Because of this, one of the very first steps in training your dog successfully is to make yourself seen by your dog as being the leader. You can use food to do this by showing your dog that he can only have his food at your discretion and command. Give him his dinner and allow him to eat for a few seconds. Then take his bowl away from him. Use an appropriate sound each time you do so, such as “leave” or “stop”, and keep the bowl for a few seconds. Provided he didn’t show any aggression as you removed the bowl, tell him how ‘good boy’,give it back and allow him to continue eating. Repeat this two or three times during each meal for a few days, then once or twice a week for a few weeks.

Some dogs are never possessive with their food, but you may find if your dog came from a large litter, the only way he could obtain his share of the food was to threaten his brothers and sisters. Finding that this action achieved the desired result (getting more food), he may well try it with you. If you don’t sort this out very early on, this possessiveness will transfer to other things, such as bones, toys, furniture and so on – perhaps even to other members of the family. this is all clearly unwelcome behaviour.

To stop your dog being aggressive with his food, don’t give him possession of it! By this I mean feed him by hand for a couple of weeks. Prepare his food in the bowl as usual, but don’t put the bowl on the floor for him. Simply feed him a handful at a time. The bowl of food on the floor almost instinctively makes him want to guard it, so if he is not put in this position of needing to guard, he will not bite!

Feeding by hand also helps if your dog is dominant in other areas. It makes him completely reliant on you for the most important thing in his life (such as his food) and this will reinforce your position of pack leader, as he is only receiving the food from you and not from the bowl. You can also use this period of hand feeding to your benefit by making him perform for some minor order from you for some of the food. Get him to sit first before one handful, or to lie down for the next, and so on. Don’t make him run around for the food as this could cause digestive upsets.

You will find that after a couple weeks of this regime, his general attitude over possessions will change. You can then try giving him his food in a bowl again, and, provided there is no sign of aggression, continue to feed him normally.

For dogs that are food possessive, do not give them bones or toys, as they will attempt to guard these in the same way. Once the food possession has been sorted out, you can try introducing a toy, but make sure the dog understands that it is your toy, and he is only allowed to play with it with you, and when you decide the game is to end, you must end up with the toy.

For more great ideas on how to train your dog effectively visit the Dog Training System here Click Here!

Big Happenings in Petfood

searchThe world of pet food is a fast changing one. With new products coming onto the market all the time it can be hard to keep up with finding the best food to feed your dog or cat. However, in the face of this, a couple of clear trends are emerging.

Firstly, the internet is having an increasing influence. This is in two areas. There are now more companies selling online direct to the customer and providing home delivery. Secondly, however, the internet is the place where people go to do their research. Online sources (such as www.dogfoodadvisor.com) are proving to be far more informed and independent than the average vet or pet shop assistant in showing people just what the good foods are and why. Vets and pet shop staff are given very little (if any) nutritional training and tend to be influenced solely by their relationship with the companies whose products they sell.

The second big trend is that the big companies are losing market share to smaller, more innovative companies. Without big marketing budgets, smaller companies tend to put more effort into the quality of their ingredients and use that as their selling point. They can also often afford to sell their foods at a lower price and therefore offer both better value and quality.

Petfood Direct is at the forefront of both of these trends:

  • Buying direct from us you get your pet food delivered direct to your door, freight free throughout New Zealand.
  • Our feature foods, Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free and Pro Pac dog foods are both independently rated as amongst the best quality foods on the market. Dogfoodadvisor.com, the world’s leading online dogfood reviewer, rates them much higher in quality than brands such as Eukanuba, Hill’s Science, Nutro, Royal Canin or Pro Plan.
  • Rather than being more expensive than other foods, Earthborn Holistic and Pro Pac are up to 30% cheaper. We don’t need to buy expensive advertising or subsidise retailers to promote these products. Word of mouth is spreading the message about these foods so we can pass the savings on to you.
  • Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are growing at a phenomenal rate around the world and are currently sold in 76 countries.
  • Pro Pac has increased its sales worldwide on an average of 22% per year – for the last decade!
  • Worldwide sales of Earthborn Holistic more than doubled in the last 12 months.

More and more people around New Zealand are discovering the dramatic difference that these foods make to the health of their dog.

The best foods for your dog at a lower price. It’s a winning formula that is part of a worldwide trend.

Earthborn Holistic Grain Free and Pro Pac are available in New Zealand from Petfood Direct. For more information and to order visit www.petfooddirec.co.nz or call 0800 364 366