Dog Food and Treats


Picky Eater? Milk-Bone Daily Vitamins Pick Up The Slack For Your Dog

When Django was a puppy, she had huge paws. She would be a big, sloppy chunky Lab when she grew up, I thought,  and that what just what I wanted. I wanted a big dog that would remind me of the Rottweiler I had in the past. Schatzie was a humongous sweetheart, quite literally. So when we brought home Django, I hoped she'd be just as big and lovable.

I can't complain because she is the sweetest dog I have ever known and always, always by my side. She goes with me wherever I go, gets upset when I stay out too long without her, and sleeps with me at night. She's by my side when I'm working, writing and cooking. She is part of my heart forever.

But she's not big. In fact, she only recently clocked in at 55 pounds, her highest weight to date. While she will eat most of her food over the course of a day, she is so selective about eating that I worry about her getting all the nutrients she needs. I tried the Milk Bone Good Morning Daily Vitamin treats because she will always eat a Milk Bone even when she's in a picky mood. I give my kids vitamins everyday to supplement their diet, so why not do that for Django and Hayley?  She gulped them down and wanted more. Whatever they are doing  in terms of flavor works, and the ingredients are filled with nourishment.

Health is top priority for both my dogs, and I'm not alone. 1 out of 3  dog owners are concerned that their dog is not getting enough of the nutrients s/he needs - especially given that essential nutrients are missing from many dog foods.

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Feeling Inspired? Try #InspiredbyCrafted Hill's Ideal Balance ($7 COUPON!)

I’ve always been a curious kid. It is the reason, I believe, why I became a writer. I love nothing more than learning about how things come to be. Learning about the new Hill's Ideal Balance™ Crafted® line the past few months has been informative and helpful as a dog owner. But more than that, it’s been inspiring. 

To think that years ago, the quality of dog food was rarely ever mentioned…it’s an unsettling thought. Whether pet food contained natural ingredients was not on the minds of most pet companies, and the process by which it was made was certainly not a priority, except perhaps, in the respect of cost value. So a dog food company that dedicated a new line entirely to an innovative wholesome, slow cooked type of food for your precious pup was a novel thought to me.


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Safety is #DiamondNaturals Priority (Just Like Ours!)

The top priority of pet owners when it comes to food is making sure that what we feed our pups is safe. With the recent and scary outbreak of dog deaths due to jerky treats (in which they still can't identify a specific culprit), food safety is at the forefront in the minds of many pet owners. And then we naturally consider nutrition.

When a pet food company clearly identifies their ingredients, and they are natural and pure, it is a big plus in my book. With my chihuahua, Hayley, entering her senior years, it is even more important that we feed her the most natural ingredients. You might recall we decided on Diamond Naturals Grain Free food a couple of months ago. I'm happy to report that the food definitely does seem to be helping Hayley's digestive issues.

When it comes to safety, it puts my mind to rest to know that the company has developed a comprehensive food safety system in which "every aspect of the manufacturing process at Diamond Pet Foods is tested and monitored. 



For example, in each of the company’s facilities, over 1,300 microbiological tests are conducted every week, including finished product tests, in-process tests and sanitation-verification tests." They also have a "test and hold" program where food samples are collected and tested, and then kept for the whole shelf life of that product, which typically runs for 12 months. I don't understand why more pet food companies do not instill these strict procedures, especially when what a dog ingests has the potential to kill an animal.

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Why Choose Grain Free Dog Food?

hayley dog, diamond naturals grain free dog food
Hayley is technically a senior dog, although you'd never know it by looking at her!

With all the varieties of dog food on the market, it can be overwhelming to stand in the dog food aisle and attempt to choose a food that caters to your dog's individual needs. I look at the different offerings and am never quite sure if the various foods are even all that different. They have foods for younger dogs, better vibrance, senior dogs, active dogs... the list goes on and on.

Grain free food is a food that is vastly different, however, because it doesn't contain any grains that can be harsh on sensitive stomachs. I have written before about my daughter Katie's battle with Hashimoto's Disease. Maintaing a gluten free diet is one thing that makes a huge difference in keeping the symptoms of her disease at bay. Likewise, her dog Hayley has had several issues with her stomach lately. At 10+ years, her older digestive system is just not what it used to be.

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Tips To Help Picky Canine Eaters Satisfy Their Appetite
Django, taking a seat at the kitchen table, thinking those sad eyes will elicit  her own plate.

When we adopted our black Lab mix, Django as an eight-week-old puppy, she was a typical growing and starving pup. As soon as I placed her puppy food in the bowl, she would basically inhale it. Literally, she ingested her entire meal in less than 10 seconds. I waited for her to bring it all back up the first couple of times, wondering how any lil dog could eat that fast, but she never did.

Back then, she was eating three times a day and did this same ritualistic scarfing every single time. Could she have worms? Why was she always so hungry?

On a trip to the vet for shots, I related this story to our vet.

"Then she'll inhale her food in 10 seconds. Is this normal?" I asked.  "And how can I teach her to not eat so much and so fast?"

"She's a growing puppy," Dr. Montella explained, "Feed her more."

Huh?

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Affording Grain Free Dog Food: It IS Doable!

It wasn't until a few years ago that I heard about a gluten free diet. My daughter, Kate, lives with Hashimoto's Disease and one of the many ailments of the disease is what they call leaky gut. Hashimoto patients are advised to stay away from gluten to help improve their digestion and stomach trouble. At the time, I knew very little about it but now we are pros. Of course, some people also go gluten free for weight loss and overall health but for us, having a gluten free diet is vital to Kate's well-being.

As I've mentioned before, Kate and Hayley, our chihuahua, have a super special bond. Kate notices when any little thing is bothering Hayley. Over the past year, Hayley has had a less than normal stomach. Without getting in the gory details, her bowels are unpredictable at times. Since Kate knows what it's like to live with stomach pain, she naturally feels bad for her.

We've tried different foods and some are better than others. Of course, some are more expensive than others, too. We have tried to big popular brand name dog foods only to have Hayley's stomach become worse. At her age (10+), we know it may have something to do with her advanced years but plenty to do with what she eats, especially since she has been given a clean bill of health from our vet. So you would think that I would have considered a long time ago what I'm about to write, but I didn't. 

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Could Greenies Be The Answer To Your Dog's Bad Breath?

When we adopted Hayley, she had been abused and neglected. Her fur was matted and had ticks. She was not potty trained and she would shutter in fear that we would hit her if we made any sudden movements. Furthermore, her teeth were in pretty bad shape. We did the best we could with cleaning them and by feeding her a good diet.

The vet recommended that we look into having her teeth surgically cleaned and restored, but frankly at the time, we just didn't have the additional funds to do it. She was much older than her given age and we were working hard on identifying and treating her medical conditions at the time.

All the while, we tried our best to brush her teeth and keep them clean.
At her age and state of health, we decided against putting through a surgery for her teeth. She wasn't in any pain but her breath was, oh, how do I say...terrible. So we tried many dental treats, specialty toothpastes, and nothing seemed to work. 

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