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“What do you feed your dog?” is probably the third most common question that people ask me after “What’s your dog’s name”? and “How old is your dog”? The reason for this is simple. Dogs are family and we are constantly thinking about their well being. What we feed our pets makes an impact on their health, growth and longevity. With so many different types of dog foods in the market today, the average dog owner can get very confused. Do I choose a raw diet or a commercial, pre-packed one. Do I choose the wet food or dry food option? Is grain-free better or does my dog need some grains in his or her diet? The questions can be never ending.

Here are a few things I keep in mind before feeding my dog anything (food and treats):
  1. Reading the label to know what goes into the dog food. If the ingredients aren’t human-grade, it’s not fit for my dog either
  2. Saying no to chemicals and preservatives unless they are natural preservatives required to keep the food fresh
  3. Major portion of the food must be meat (or vegetables). Say no to meat bi-products especially if the meat is not named in the label
  4. If I opt for a diet with grain, I don’t tolerate low quality grains like corn or wheat and I choose whole grains over processed grains
  5. Research, research and more research! I read a lot of reviews, company information and pet blogs before choosing something new for Leo

I would have loved to serve Leo home-made meals or get him raw food all the time because that’s the only option that allows me to control every single ingredient that does into his diet. However, being a vegetarian, handling and storing meat is a real big problem for me. I have tried doing it for Leo because I love him so much but it’s just too hard to do every day. That’s why I chose the dry food option.

Pros to Dry Dog Foods:
  1. It is easy to handle – this is perfect for vegans and vegetarians who don’t like touching or seeing raw meat. Dry food gives us the illusion of no meat and it works!
  2. Storage isn’t a big problem with dry food – large quantities can be stored in an airtight container for longer times, thus reducing the number of your store visits as well as staying fresh and yummy for your dog.
  3. There are many dry food brands in the market today and they use different kinds of meat as well so you can mix and match flavors to keep your pup engaged. Always remember to get good healthy meats though.
  4. The cost is comparatively low so if you are on a budget, like me, you’ll be happy. Just remember not to feed your pup cheap big store brands like Ol Roy etc. – these can be harmful for your dog’s health and lead to shorter life spans.
  5. If your pet is on a diet, then dry food allows you to correctly measure the recommended quantity for your furry friend and helps prevent overeating.
  6. A little teeth cleaning happens every time your dog eats his food since dry food is more hard and rough in texture.

Remember,

To prevent dehydration, always provide your dog with a clean supply of water. And I cannot stress this enough – read the ingredients, do your research, talk to experts and make sure that you aren’t choosing brands that use dead and diseases animals, meat bi-products, low quality grain as fillers and fill the food with chemicals, artificial preservatives and unnecessary fat and calories.

When you find a great dry food, stick to it. But if you find it boring, unhealthy or hard to swallow, you can choose the wet food option. It’s great if you have storage space and the money to buy them because it isn’t cheap. Choosing the right brand is important once again – read, research and review.

As you can guess, wet food closely resembles real food found in the wild so your pup will enjoy it. That’s why I treat Leo with some wet food every few weeks because that’s all I can really afford. That’s also how frequently I want to see real meat, being a vegetarian.

In Conclusion,

The important thing is to buy your dog foods that fit it’s needs and your lifestyle. Not all dogs have the same needs – it depends on their breed, size, age and health problems. Not all owners are the same – it depends on your income, dietary choices and beliefs.

If you still think that your dog isn’t getting all the necessary nutrients, don’t worry! You can buy quality meal toppers as well to ensure your dog’s well-being and enhance his eating experience. Add a dab of it on top of your dog foods.

Taste of the Wild has really worked out for me and I see myself sticking to it for a very long time. I have used both their dry and wet food options and they’ve never given me a reason to complain. I buy it on Amazon from a trusted seller and it comes to me on time, every month.

Woof!

The post What Do You Feed Your Dog? appeared first on Tale in the Tail.

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Leo had his very first ear infection last week and I realized how little I knew about treating it. Me being me, I went online and to our veterinary doctor to gather all the information I needed. I’m writing this post to share my findings and hope that my readers find it helpful.

Ear infections are apparently common in closed ear dogs who are active and outdoors a lot. Signs of ear infection are scratching at or behind the ears, shaking the head more frequently or rigorously and red or swollen insides.

Since I was on vacation for 15 days without Leo, I’m not sure when or how he contracted the ear infection but I knew that he needed medical care because he exhibited all the above symptoms. The poor thing could be in a lot of pain. Leo also had patches of dry blood and a slimy wax-like substance combined with an abnormal odor. I cleaned his ears like I usually do – by using MicrocynAH Ear Wash but the symptoms came back in a few hours. I was sure that my pooch had an ear infection.

My initial thought was to try some home remedies since my vet’s office wasn’t open yet. However, I learnt that ear infections can be caused due to bacteria, yeast or ear mites and only a doctor can test and know what the root cause is. I rushed Leo to our doctor at Tama Veterinary Hospital in Milpitas, California as soon as they opened shop. Luckily, the attendant was able to squeeze him in on the same day. Our vet did a ear smear cytology to study the infected cells under a microscope and found that the ear infection was bacterial. Now she was ready to treat it.

Step 1:

A Dex SP (dexamethasone sodium phosphate) injection was given to reduce the effects of the ear infection. When administered properly, it is a safe and effective way of treating such infections in animals and humans. As pet owners, we always want to know if medicines have side effects so talk to your doctor and get all the information you need about this drug.

Step 2:

The doctor also wanted to clean the outside of Leo’s ears and asked me to come back in an hour so that they could take their time and get the job done.

Step 3:

Once Leo was ready to go home, the vet gave me an ear solution and ointment to use for the next couple of days. Dechra Epiklean Ear Cleanser was recommended to clean and dry out Leo’s ears. It can be used regularly to avoid future ear infections and irritations so this is a keeper for every dog owner. The best way to use it is to pour a generous amount onto a cotton ball and squeeze it into your dog’s ear. Massage the base of the ear and allow him or her to shake off the excess fluid. Wipe the outer ear dry with a fresh cotton ball.

Step 4:

Once this is done, I was asked to put 3 drops of Otomax Otibiotic Ointment which is used to treat bacterial infections in animals. The gel can be squirted directed into your dog’s ears once they are clean and clear of debris. It is important to rub it into the ear by gently massaging the ear canal from the outside.

The combination of the above two medicines can be used twice a day (or as recommended by your doctor) to curb the ear infection and your dog should be fine within a week.

Veterinarians also recommend sedating your dog to flush out their inner ears. You can do this if you have a dog that won’t let you put things into its ears. I wasn’t comfortable with sedating Leo. Instead I brought him home and tricked him to administer the medicines.

Firstly, I let Leo sniff the medicine bottles so that he would become familiar with the new smells. Secondly, I distracted him with his favorite squeaky toy and made him go to the ‘down’ position. Next, I moved his ears up, found the ear canal and quickly administered the medicine. Leo was slightly irritated as expected but I calmed him with my other hand by gently stroking his back. Finally, I gave him a treat once I was done so that he would associate it with something pleasant. After repeating this 2-3 times, he was more comfortable with the whole process. You can try this too and avoid huge vet bills by unnecessarily sedating your dog.

There you go! That’s all I did.

Could I have prevented this ear infection? Maybe not! Leo is always exposed to microorganisms because he enjoys lakes, parks and hikes. I can’t keep him indoors and protected all the time. What I could have done is detect it earlier if I wasn’t on vacation.

We often ignore teeth, ears and eyes when we wash and groom our dogs but these are equally important. Clean them regularly to avoid infections and irritations in the future.

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The post Ear Infection in Dogs appeared first on Tale in the Tail.

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How many times have you or your pet stepped on dog poop while taking a nice long walk or hike? It ruins your shoes, irritates your dog and furthermore, it disrupts your wonderful time together. Picking up dog waste is a very important issue. Everyone knows that and yet, many pet owners don’t take it seriously.

If you are a home owner, don’t you want your lawns to be more usable for you and your guests? Get a scooper that’s right for you and clean your yard regularly. I recommend these 3:

Many diseases are transmitted to dogs, humans and other animals through feces. Salmonella, Ecoli, Giardia and Roundworms are the most commonly transmitted diseases. Parvovirus and Coronavirus are also known to be contracted through dog waste. Dogs eat random things on walks and there might be some poop in the grass they chew on – these diseases will easily spread to your dog and cause serious health issues. This can also avoid fly and bug infestation.

Everyone loves the outdoors and nobody wants to see and step on poop and ruin the experience.

Pet Owners, Start Picking Up Poop ->

Please clean up after your pets. Offcourse, everyone hates it. However, you have to be a responsible citizen and just do it so that we can all enjoy a good day out. That way, you won’t create problems for your neighbors and friends. Many pet scoopers and poop bags are readily available in the market. Also, they even come in cute prints with great scents. My top 3 recommendations are:

Poop Bag Stations at Apartments ->

Please provide pet stations around your community so that it is easier to dispose pet waste and keep the area clean. Terra Bound Solutions is a common pet station so talk to your pet-friendly apartment about installing some.

Finally, Call Out Irresponsible Pet Owners ->

Don’t let irresponsible pet owners or walkers get away with no picking up dog waste. Politely ask them to pick it up.

The post There is No Poop Fairy appeared first on Tale in the Tail.

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