Cat food and other formulas now available again

Pro Pac cat food is now back in stock. Our apologies for any inconvenience; we were caught by surprise at how popular it was.

Some of the Pro Pac dog formulas we were out of are also back.

If you’re not familiar with the Pro Pac cat food (and if you have a cat!) it is extremely high quality. It is one of the very few foods on the market to contain lysine, a highly beneficial natural ingredient that aids bone growth and eyesight in cats. It is very high in meat and protein and cats love it!

As with the dog range there are no by-products or fillers and it has only natural ingredients. We also have samples available which can be ordered direct from the website or by giving us a call.

Pro Pac is cheaper than supermarket foods?

We’ve recently made some big changes to the main page of our website. In particular we’ve included some important information about pet food (and Pro Pac) that you might find very interesting.

In researching other dog food brands we also discovered something very interesting. Apart from the vastly superior ingredients in Pro Pac (which means you will probably end up with a different dog with minimal if any health problems) Pro Pac actually works out cheaper than most of the supermarket brands (such as Beneful).

We have compared the energy levels of each food and you’ll see that to provide the same amount of energy (kilocalories) with Pro Pac you can feed a LOT less. So a bag goes a LOT further.

Check out the comparison chart on our website www.petfooddirect.co.nz (about halfway down the page).

The warehouse is now back in full swing so if you are needing more Pro Pac supplies remember you can order online at www.petfooddirect.co.nz or give us a call anytime (24/7) tollfree on 0800 364 366. We normally get the order on the courier to you on the same day.

Is Corn A Bad Ingredient in Dog Food?

Corn CobIt has been said that if you were to ask ten dog owners for their opinions on the right food to feed a dog you will get twelve different answers! It seems everyone has an opinion, and knows the “facts” about dog food that they have “heard” somewhere. Of course, a lot of the blame for the confusion can be laid at the feet of the petfood manufacturing companies themselves. After all, when you look at the poor ingredients that are used in many foods you can’t help wondering how the company concerned could have the conscience to market it as a “complete nutrition” for dogs, let alone with all the marketing hype that is found in most dog food advertising.

All this has led to many owners literally “throwing the baby out with the bath water” and denouncing anything that isn’t pure raw meat as bad food dogs. Without wishing to get into the debate over the merits or otherwise of a raw diet for dogs (apart from saying that many dogs I have observed on a raw food diet do not seem particularly healthy), the truth is that a dried dog food can not only be convenient and economical for the dog owner, it can also be extremely beneficial for the dog.

A common ingredient in dried dog food is corn. For some reason (no doubt something to do with information spread by petfood sellers whose brands don’t include it), it seems to have something of a negative connotation. Some people say it is unnatural, not well digested by a dog, of no nutritional value and simply a cheap filler used by companies to keep their prices down and their sales up.

But let’s look at some facts and we will find that corn is not only NOT harmful to dogs, it is also highly beneficial.

Corn is a carbohydrate and is thus an energy source. Dogs need a lot of energy, and corn is a very good way to provide it. Corn is one of the most digestible carbohydrates, with a 99% digestibility. This is why it has been described as “probably the perfect carbohydrate for dogs” by a number of nutritional experts.

The other reason corn is viewed negatively is because of the view that it can cause allergies. However, it is one of the least causes of allergies of any ingredient of dog food. In a study of 278 cases of food allergies for dogs where the cause was clearly identified, drone was way down on the list. Far ahead of it were beef, dairy products and wheat. Of the 278 cases of allergies in the study, only 7 were caused by corn.

Corn is also not a “cheap” filler. Human-grade corn (particularly when it is not genetically modified as is the case with Pro Pac) is not cheap to produce or buy.

As long as corn is not the FIRST (and therefore the main) ingredient in a food, it can be a highly beneficial component of the overall food for a dog. In fact there have been many reported cases of dogs that, when corn was removed from their diet, lost weight and coat condition and had a big drop in energy levels.

If you have heard that corn is “bad” and a “cheap filler” then you only need to look at the many dogs in magnificent condition who have a quality dried food that contains corn to know that corn is actually a highly beneficial ingredient.

 

How often does your dog scratch?

Beagle Scratching

Have you ever noticed how much your dog scratches itself? It’s an interesting question and the truth is that most dog owners don’t really give a second thought to the amount of scratching their dog does.

In fact, many dog owners simply accept that a dog which often licks or scratches itself is perfectly normal. However, the truth is that your dog shouldn’t scratch itself any more than you do (which presumably isn’t that often).

Observe your dog over an hour or so and notice how much is scratches or licks itself. If it is more often than a couple of times then you may have a problem. Think of it from your pet’s perspective – if it is scratching a lot it obviously has some sort of skin irritation which will be at the least annoying for it, and it may even be causing it discomfort or pain. If it is an obvious issue then it should be addressed.

The first thing most people think of as the cause of scratching is fleas. In actual fact, this is one of the least reasons your dog may have an irritation. Of course, if possible you can inspect the dog’s skin and fur to see if there is any evidence of fleas. If it is not immediately obvious then it is best to look for other (and more likely) causes.

Some animals can react to things in its environment. These included natural elements such as grasses, pollens and plants. A change in season can set off allergic reactions, and are more common in the summer and spring. This is because many of the offending substances are present in the air. Dogs can often be outside more during these seasons as well.

Both fleas and natural irritants can be combatted with medicines from a vet or pet shop. However, before going to that trouble and expense there is one other allergy-causing factor that you should look at closely – the food you are feeding your dog.

In fact, allergies caused by ingredients in dog food is one of the most common causes of skin problems in dogs. If you are not feeding a quality food you can be almost certain that it will be the cause of the problem.

It is a simple fact that you cannot feed things to your dog that don’t agree with it without it trying to eliminate it from its system. The ways its body will try to do this include runny stools, bad breath and body odor – and skin rashes and sores.

All of the following dog food ingredients are common causes of allergies in dogs. Most of them have no place in an animal’s diet:

  • Beef
  • Animal fat
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Dairy products
  • Cereal by-products
  • Artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives

If your dog suffers from any of the symptoms above check out the ingredients of the food you are using. Also be very mindful of any additional foods you allow the dog to eat such as table scraps.

Many people have the attitude that the dog can just eat anything. They seem to think that a smelly dog that scratches a lot is “normal”. However the same people are not very happy when they run up an expensive vet bill.

The food you feed your dog does make a massive difference to its health and wellbeing. It need not cost you any more as with a decent food you feed less anyway. But putting a little bit of care into what you feed will definitely be worth it.

Food Recalls on the Rise: Are Petfoods Really Safe

dogs

Since the food scare of a few years ago when hundreds of dogs died around the world there has been increased focus on the safety of dog and cat food. Regulations were tightened and the result is that there have been an increasing number of recalls of products by companies due to contaminated ingredients. In the last few months alone such well-known companies as Eukanuba, Iams and Nestle One have all had to remove some of their formulas from sale. Most of the problem has been caused by the presence of aflatoxins. These are naturally-occurring fungal substances that are highly toxic to animals, causing liver cancer.

So how do you know if the food you are feeling is really safe? Often these contaminations are only picked up once the food has already been put on the market for sale. And although there is testing, the first sign that there is a problem can be the illness or even death of pets. Losing your pet this way would be a terrible shock to any pet owner, but fortunately there are things to minimize the risks.

Firstly, buy a food where the company can guarantee the country of origin for the ingredients. There are few companies who will actually give you this guarantee, but the problem is that they may source ingredients from countries where the cost is lower, but which have low controls on quality. Most of the problems with petfood contamination have come from ingredients from Asian countries that have much lower standards and controls than the US. The highest regulations for quality are the US and Canada so if the ingredients all come from there the risks are minimal.

Secondly, make sure the ingredients are ALL from the US or Canada (avoid Asia). These countries have the most stringent controls on ingredients in the world so foods made from ingredients sourced from these countries will be safer. Beware, though, that just because a food is made in the US or Canada doesn’t mean all the ingredients come from there.

Thirdly, go for the best quality food you can (based on the ingredients). Supermarket and other cheap brands are cheap for a reason, containing all sorts of fillers and things that pets are simply not designed to eat. They may not be illegal, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be harmful. A better quality food is going to give your pet all sorts of benefits, including better coat, clearer skin, less smell and better energy. You’re going to save money in the long run too, because you won’t have so many trips to the vet.

There is one company that is virtually unique, having NEVER had a food recall in its entire 25 year history. It also guarantees the source of its ingredients, and they all come from the US (apart from the lamb used in those formulas, which comes from Australia and New Zealand). It also has no genetically-modified ingredients, another thing that very few companies can claim. There are no fillers or harmful additives in the food either; it is all made from natural human-grade foods. And it is sold at an economical price.

The company? Pro Pac

We’re very pleased to bring one of the safest and healthiest dog and cat food brands to New Zealand and know it is one of the best choices you can make for your pet’s health.

With the increased tightening of regulations surrounding petfood ingredients the number of food recalls is predicted to increase. But with Pro Pac’s stringent quality controls being amongst the highest in the industry, you can be sure it will remain one of the safest foods on the market.

Foods for Your Dog to Avoid at Christmas

Christmas is a time when we can give dogs foods that can be harmful. Here’s what to know to avoid creating health problems for your dog.

Christmas can be a particularly hazardous time for dogs. It is a time when we tend to consume foods we don’t eat any other time of year, and if some of these find their way into our dog’s digestive system they can cause some quite severe health problems. The other thing which can make things worse is that, being a time when we socialize with friends and family more than usual, it can be other people who unwittingly feed dogs things they weren’t designed to eat. It is no wonder that health problems with dogs occur at Christmas more than at any other time of the year.

The first thing to realize is that dogs have very different digestive systems to humans. Their digestive tract is short and wide, meaning they are designed to have food pass through quickly. Anything that they cannot digest quite rapidly may cause a problem.

The amount of food a dog can digest is also a lot less than a human. It is of course obvious that dogs are smaller than humans (usually!) and so the size of their stomach is much smaller. Most people overfeed their dog at the best of times but at Christmas – with the amount of extra food on offer – it is more tempting than ever to give the dog scraps from the table.

Just remember that table scraps are never a good idea for a dog. Human food is entirely unsuitable, and feeding scraps is one of the main causes of obesity in dogs. Don’t feed your dog bits from your table and make sure your guests know that you don’t want them to do that either. Your dog will be perfectly happy without the extra food. You also don’t want your dog to get into the habit of begging either.

If you make it a rule not to feed your dog any human food it will be easier to steer clear of any food related health problems. Be aware, however, that some foods are also harmful to dogs. Some can even be fatal, even in small doses. The worst include chocolate, alcohol, grapes and raisins, fruit pips and avocado.

Of course all of the above are what we tend to favor at Christmas. Take extra care not to leave any of these foods within reach of your dog. Christmas is a time for fun with all your family, including your pets. Keep a watchful eye on what your dog eats and have a safe and happy time.

Christmas Wishes

Just wanted to wish you and your family the very best for a great Christmas. We really appreciate your support this year in helping us to make Pro Pac a great success.

Remember, if you need more before Christmas there is still time to order and have it delivered. We will also be open throughout the holiday period. Our warehouse will be closed for deliveries on the statutory holiday days only.

Again, thanks [!name!] and have a lovely Christmas. Give your pet an extra hug from us!

Dealing With Food Allergies in Dogs

scratching dog
Photo courtesy of Beatrice Murch

Does your dog appear to be allergic to its food? Here are some things to help you deal with allergy problems in dogs.

Food allergies are a relatively common problem in dogs. If a dog is allergic to one or more ingredients in food, some of the most common symptoms it will display include:

  • scratching, biting or excessive licking of its paws or skin;
  • rashes, redness or other skin irritations.

If your dog is displaying some of these symptoms then you should definitely consider it as a reaction to something in its food and there are several things you can do. Firstly, it is important to realize that it could be an allergic response to something other than the food. Other causes that are also common include fleas and ticks, medications and even irritations from grasses and plants (the latter are especially common on springtime). So don’t automatically assume it is the food.

However, if you do think it is the dog food that might be causing the allergy, the first thing you need to do is to look at what you are feeding. If you are using a commercial food, look carefully at the ingredients on the product’s packaging. Ingredients that most often cause allergic reactions and other problems in dogs are: beef, wheat, dairy, soy. Also, anything artificial in the food such as flavorings, colorings or preservatives.

All of these are known to create allergies in dogs. Many people are surprised to learn that beef is actually one of the most common culprits. Your dog may also have a sensitivity to some grains, such as corn, although this is somewhat less common.

If the food you are feeding contains any of these ingredients then you should immediately suspect it as a possible cause. Try feeding your dog a food without any of these problematic ingredients. There are many good brands on the market and they are not necessarily expensive. You will also find that a better quality food works out to be quite economical; while the initial outlay for a bag may be more, you will find you don’t need to feed as much (there are fewer fillers). You will also have fewer expensive visits to the vet!

Try your dog on the new food for at least six weeks to judge if there is an improvement. Of course if your dog’s symptoms get significantly worse then you should stop immediately.

Finding the true cause of a food allergy in your dog is something of a process of elimination. However, by eliminating the most common ingredients that are known to cause allergic problems you can speed up the process considerably.

How to Get a Fussy Dog to Eat Properly

Do you have a dog that can be fussy with its food? Here are some ideas that will help you.

Many people have to deal with a dog or puppy that is fussy with its food. It can in fact be quite stressful thinking that your dog is not receiving adequate nutrition because it doesn’t appear to be eating properly. Apart from the stress it can also be frustrating, not to mention costly – you may have a cupboard full of opened bags of dog food that your pet has refused to eat!
The first thing to realize is that dogs are not naturally fussy. A dog will eat virtually anything (unlike cats). So if your dog is turning its nose up at food it points to different issues which are largely behavioral. The worst thing you can do is also base your buying decisions on what the dog appears to want to eat; it may not be the best option as far as nutrition goes. After all, we don’t do this with our children – if we only fed them ice cream and fries it would not be good for their health.

Golden Retriever 12 weeks - Courtesy of Beatrice Milek/commons.wikimedia.org
Golden Retriever 12 weeks - Courtesy of Beatrice Milek/commons.wikimedia.org

So when addressing a fussy dog, of course the first thing to make sure is that you are feeding a decent food, with quality ingredients. Many low quality supermarket foods are filled with cereals and fillers that aren’t very appealing. Some even contain sugars and flavorings that are designed to make the dog want to eat it but they certainly aren’t healthy.

Assuming you are trying a quality food there really shouldn’t be a reason your dog won’t like it. But if it is being picky or refusing to eat at all it may well be the approach you are using to feeding it. If a dog believes it has a choice over when or what it eats, it will develop the mindset that it is in charge. It will think that it is the leader of the pack and by being fussy it is showing you that it is doing its job, which is to be in charge of the food.

However, in reality a dog does not like to be in charge – it would much rather that you were. So you must start making the decisions for your dog. Ironically, once you let the dog know you are in charge it will actually be much happier. It will no longer have the stress of having to make decisions and you may well find its behavior improves in other areas as well.

Therefore, begin to instruct the dog when and what to eat. Put the food down at mealtime and don’t allow it to start eating until you say so. If it does not start eating immediately don’t get stressed and make a fuss. Leave the food for a while and if has not been eaten, remove the bowl until the next mealtime.

Don’t feed your dog scraps from the table or allow it to beg. This again is showing that you are giving in to your dog’s demands and it will encourage it to be fussy.

With perseverance for only a short period of time you may well find that what you thought was a fussy dog is now eating perfectly normally.

How to Find the Right Puppy Food for Your Pet

If you have a new puppy it is important to find the right food to keep it healthy. Here are the things you should consider.

If you have recently got a new puppy for your family you may well be wondering how to find the best food for it. After all there are a huge number of different brands on the market. You may also have found that much of the advice you have already received is quite confusing.

The first thing to bear in mind is that there is no more important time in a dog’s life to be feeding it a quality food than when it is a puppy. You have gone to the trouble to get a puppy in the first place. Give it a good start in its life by feeding it a quality food. The cheap brands on the market simply do not offer good nutrition, no matter what the label says. In the long run it will end up costing you more as poor nutrition is one of the main causes of health problems in dogs. Therefore you may well find large vet bills later in the puppy’s life.

The first place to get advice on the right puppy food is from where you purchased your puppy. If it is from a pet shop or breeder they will have already been feeding it a certain type of food. Although is is not essential to continue with the same food, it’s a good place to start. Just remember that they may have been using a particular food because they get a good deal from the manufacturer, not necessarily because it’s the best.

Next, do some of your own research. Look for puppy foods that have a specified meat (such as chicken or lamb) as the first ingredient on the label. If it is chicken or lamb meal that is even better, as meal is simply a more concentrated form of meat. Avoid ingredients such as cereals, soy, wheat, dairy products of beef as these are fillers or can cause allergies and skin problems. You should also certainly avoid anything artificial such as preservatives, colorings and flavorings as they are definitely harmful.

Anything labelled as by-products, animal fat, or non-specific meats (in other words labelled simply as ‘meat’) is also not desirable as they can contain all sorts of things that are unfit for human (and animal) consumption. They are of questionable nutritional value and can cause health issues.

It is important that you give your puppy the best start in its life be selecting the right puppy food. Get the best you can afford and remember that the more expensive foods may not be as costly as they seem; you will generally feed a smaller amount than with foods containing cheap fillers so a bag will go further.