Your dog scarfs down dinner and then begs for treats. You put as much food in the bowl as is recommended, but it isn’t enough. What’s going on?
Is there a Problem?
While some dogs seem almost genetically predispositioned to approach every meal ravenously hungry and as though it might be their last, most of the time this is a learned behavior. Rescues may have been food deprived before being fostered or adopted, and may feel a lifelong need to beg for food and gobble it down as quickly as possible before it disappears. The most pampered, well-fed dogs may have learned that begging will result in treats, afterall who doesn’t enjoy watching their pet happily wag their tail when enjoying a treat! Or perhaps you are unintentionally overfeeding at meal times. It makes your dog happy, so it must be good, right?
Not necessarily. While we all take pleasure in watching our pets enjoy food and treats, overfeeding can literally be like loving them to death. Too many treats or too much food at meal time can lead to obesity and a host of other health problems. Feeding your dog the right amount of quality food along with health treats and snacks helps your dog keep weight down and stay healthy.
While many dogs are simply food motivated, an increased appetite can also be a sign of several health issues. Some of the health issues that may lead to insatiable appetite, or polyphagia, include:
Check with your vet if you dog shows noticeable changes in appetite. You’ll want to rule out or address any health issues.
Whether your dog’s problem is learned or related to physical issues, uncontrolled eating is not the answer. Here are four tips for dealing with your dog’s insatiable appetite:
Trim the Treats
Cutting back on treats for a hungry dog sounds counterintuitive, but if your dog has learned to expect frequent treats, she needs to unlearn that behavior. If you use treats as rewards, try substituting play, snuggles, or other positive attention lavished on your dog as you decrease the treats offered.
If you still want to offer treats, make sure they are made with fresh whole ingredients and are very low in fat and calories. Yes, calories count in the dog’s diet just like they do in yours.
Offer the Right Amount of Food
Just because your dog will eat several helpings doesn’t mean he should. Talk to your vet about your dog’s needs and review the nutrition information on your dog food to determine the right amount of food for your dog’s size and age.
My Perfect Pet recommends feeding amounts based on the ideal weight for your dog, or what the weight he should be, not the current weight (if overweight) or the weight he would like to be. Detailed feeding instructions for My Perfect Pet blends can be found here.
Meet Older Dogs’ Needs
There is a misconception that older dogs need the same amount of food, just “lite” or reduced calorie. In reality, as dogs age their metabolism goes down. At the same time, their systems become less efficient at processing certain foods.
Many senior formulations use fillers to bulk up food, but these fillers are hard to digest -- these undigested foods pass through the dog’s system enabling them to eat more, and forcing their systems to work harder in the process. When dog food is easily digestible, older dogs are better able to get the nutrition they need by eating slightly less while absorbing more of the nutrients.
Pack in Nutrition
Older dogs aren’t the only ones who need real nutrition. All dogs need a variety of quality nutrients for growth, energy, and health. The high heat used in highly processed foods can damage nutrients, and synthetic ingredients are harder to digest than naturally occurring elements. Fresh food, lightly cooked, offers real nutrition in an easy to digest form. That means your dog is likely to get more of what she needs, more easily, even if she has GI issues. What’s more, fresh, lightly cooked food smells and tastes great! Your dog will literally eat it up.
As a dog parent, you need to make healthy choices for your kids. That means talking to your vet about possible health issues, and if you find one, creating a diet plan as part of the treatment plan. It also means making healthy choices daily about food, whether it’s what you put down for your dog’s dinner or what kind (and how many) treats you offer during the day.
It’s your job to give your dog what he needs, not what he wants...even if he looks really cute asking for just one more bite!
Fleas and dogs don’t mix. Or too often they do. Flea bites can cause excessive itching and skin allergies in dogs. Dog owners need to prevent flea infestations and know how to deal with fleas when found.
Prevention starts with a healthy dog. That means choosing fresh, lightly cooked food that offers your dog all the nutrition she needs, along with regular exercise. Grooming regularly for a healthy coat and to help identify problems early.
There are conventional poisons for repelling and killing fleas, but since we’re talking about our kids -- and our own health too -- let’s look at some natural remedies:
1. Wash and spray bedding
Dealing with fleas means treating your dog and your home, especially your dog’s bedding, furniture your dog sleeps on, and carpeting. Vacuum weekly and consider steam cleaning carpets a couple of times a year. Dispose of vacuum cleaner bags immediately. Also wash your dog’s bedding using soap and hot water weekly. Dry with high heat. Then use a natural flea repellent spray on your dog’s bedding and around your house.
2. Herbal Shampoos and Powders
Bathe your dog in herbal shampoos that contain ingredients such as cedar, lavender, rosemary, bergamot, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, or citronella. Start by rubbing a thick ring of the shampoo on your dog’s neck. Fleas will naturally move away from water when you wash your dog, and they’ll head for the head. The ring of shampoo helps create a barrier that will repel or kill the fleas. Keep shampooing the rest of your dog’s body, rubbing the shampoo in deeply before rinsing well.
You can make or buy flea powders with powdered form of many of the herbs listed above. Sprinkle these on your dog outside to avoid mess and to keep repelled fleas from jumping off your dog in your house.
3. Lemon Wash
Slice one or two lemons. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the lemons and remove from the heat. Let steep overnight. The next day, make sure the water is cool and sponge or comb your dog with the lemon wash. This wash helps kill and repel fleas.
4. Diatomaceous Earth
Once or twice a year, sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas of your home you are unable to clean well. Diatomaceous earth will dry out and kill fleas. It is safe to use with these warnings:
For extreme infestations, you may need to consider other options, but in most cases, you can stop fleas through careful prevention systems and natural ingredients.
Whether people visit you at home or you run into people when you’re out and about, at some point you’ll need to introduce your dog to other people. While your dog doesn’t literally have to shake paws, you’ll want to teach your dog how to meet people appropriately. (Sometimes you’ll need to teach people how to greet your dog too!)
Making Introductions at Home
Teaching greetings, as with other things you teach your dog, requires repetition and practice. Having a few key commands
under your belt can help with this process. Try one of these approaches:
- Reward a calm approach. Instruct your visitors not to respond to your dog if she jumps up. Your visitor can look away or turn their back. Have your visitor respond with attention when your dog stops jumping up or approaches calmly. Practice first by teaching your dog your expectations when you enter the house. Then plan some visits to practice greetings.
- Have your dog Sit and Stay when the doorbell rings. Or instruct your dog to go to a specific “Place” and wait for permission to come and greet the guests. command Be sure to “Release” your dog when when you are ready to greet your visitor. Again, reinforce good behavior. Include your guests in the training exercise, letting them know they may have to wait for a moment while your dog goes to his “Place”, and asking them not to respond to a dog who is jumping or barking.
- Some people use a leash to control the interaction initially. If you are uncertain how your dog will react, are early in voice training, or have particular concerns (like an exuberant dog knocking over a child), a leash allows you to redirect as needed.
- Don’t force it. If your dog isn’t eager to meet new people, don’t push it. Let your dog come greet the visitor when she is ready.
Meeting People When You’re Out
You’re out for a walk or running errands and somebody asks, “Can I pet your dog?”
First, thank them for asking, especially if it is a child who should always be encouraged to ask before petting any dog, even when the tail is wagging. This is your opportunity to control the greeting. You may want to have your dog sit, as it’s harder for a dog to jump up on somebody if sitting. While you don’t give the other person commands, it’s okay to ask them to greet your dog in a way that is not threatening to your dog. For example, ask them to:
- Let your dog approach or sniff them before they greet your dog
- Pat your dog on the chest instead of reaching over your dog’s head
- Ignore your dog or step away if your dog starts to jump up
As with greetings at your house, you can practice greeting people outside your home. Plan to “run into” a few friends while out on a walk, or visit local pet friendly park. Most people are happy to participate in training exercises that encourage good behavior. When approaching others, instruct your dog to “Heel” so they are walking calming at your side. Ask your friends to talk to you and ignore your dog first. This helps to teach your dog to wait patiently until “Released” to greet.
At first, you should praise your dog for the behaviors you want and redirect as needed. As your dog gets the hang of appropriate greetings, your friends can respond with praise, pats, or treats. Keep practicing until your dog is able to greet people you encounter acceptably.
Pay Attention to Greetings
As a dog parent, be aware of both sides of a greeting.
Watch for signs that your dog is scared or uncomfortable around new people. If your dog gets nervous meeting people, it’s okay to say No to requests to say hi to your dog or to ask people to let your dog greet them first.
Remember that while there are a lot of dog lovers out there, some people don’t like or are afraid of dogs. If somebody doesn’t want to greet your dog, respect that and teach your dog to move on with you.
Try to anticipate the unexpected. Children, especially, can be unpredictable, and sudden movements or loud noises can startle even normally calm dogs. When approaching people with dogs, pay close attention to signs from their dog to determine whether they are comfortable around other dogs or people.
Most people (and most dogs) will be happy to meet your dog, though, especially if you’ve done your training and your dog knows how to meet people in a people-friendly way.
A well-trained dog is a joy to be around. What’s more, training keeps your dog safe. If your dog listens and follows commands, you can stop him from getting into unpleasant or even unsafe situations. Every dog should know these 10 commands:
Sit is one of the first commands many people teach. A dog that is sitting isn’t running or jumping. That means your dog isn’t escaping into the road or giving an over-effusive greeting. Sitting can also help an excited dog settle down while you get dinner or prepare for a walk.
A good exercise to practice when your dog is off leash and roaming around is to give the Sit command and train the dog to Sit on command regardless of the situation. Training to sit on command, even when at a distance from the dog, can be a lifesaver for situations where you can avoid a potential hazardous incident by commanding your dog to sit, thus keeping him out of harm’s way.
Down means different things to different people. The key is to be consistent so that your dog knows what you mean. Down most often means lie down, with belly to the ground. Down is often used when wanting the dog to remain in a particular location for some period of time, like when you are dining with your dog at a pet friendly restaurant. Down may be followed by Stay.
Often paired with sit or down, Stay is useful for getting your dog to maintain a stationary position. Stay helps keep dogs out of trouble or out of your way. It also trains dogs to wait and let’s them know you are boss. Stay can be difficult for dogs, so practice in very short sessions and build up to longer times.
Sometimes people say Down when they want the dog to get off of something. Down may mean get down from the counter or don’t jump on our guest or get off the sofa. Down is a fine command for these situations as long as you are consistent with your commands so that your dog knows what to do. However, many people use Down for lie down and Off for these other situations.
Recall is essential for safety and for ease of interaction with your dog. If your dog responds well to Come, you can get him back if he starts to follow his nose or chase a ball into the street. You also can get your dog to come in from playing in the yard or to come to you for medicine, nail clipping, or even snuggles.
6. Leave It
Have you ever had your dog find something smelly and oh so interesting while you’re out for a walk? Or maybe you’ve dropped something and you don’t want your dog to gobble it up. Leave It is the command for these situations. Leave It lets your dog know that something she’s headed for isn’t for her.
Of course, sometimes your dog will get something you don’t want him to have. It might be a child’s toy, your favorite shoes, another dog’s bone, or something dangerous to eat. Whatever it is, you want your dog to release it. Drop It lets your dog know it’s time to let it go. While Drop has clear safety purposes, it’s also handy for play. When you say Drop in play, your dog knows it’s time to give up a toy, such as a ball, for you to throw again.
Heel gives you better control of your dog during walks. This command keeps your dog to your side (usually the left side so that others can anticipate which side of you your dog will be on for passing). This reduces pulling and makes the walk more comfortable for you. It also puts your dog in a better position to meet people or other dogs along your walk. Variations include With Me or Let’s Go. Again simply be consistent with your wording.
9. Free or Release
Just as important as teaching your dog the above commands, is letting him know when he is Free or Released from the command. If you tell your dog to sit or stay, but never tell him when the command is ended, you are essentially letting your dog decide when to decide it is okay to do something else. By teaching the dog that there is a beginning and an end to commanded behaviors, you reduce the stress of uncertainty for both of you by making it clear when he is under command and when he is free to make his own choices.
Free is a useful command at feeding time too. Instead of your pup attacking the bowl or circling you while you put dinner down, have your dog Sit and wait for you to give the Free command. Teaching your dog to wait for the Free command before taking a treat from you is also a good way of teaching them it is not okay to grab food from your hand, but wait until being told he is free to do so.
When the doorbell rings, does your dog race to beat you to the door? And is he always the first to greet visitors? A great solution is to have a “place” identified where you train your dog to go on command, and wait there until being told he is free to move about.
The Place should be easily recognizable and somewhere your dog feels safe and comfortable. It can be a bed, a blanket on the floor, or even a beach towel on the ground, any place that the dog knows to go on command and wait.
Then when the doorbell rings, you can tell your dog to go to his place, while you greet your visitors, and wait until you are ready for him to come and greet. This is also useful when visiting parks or other locations where you want your dog to stay in one place, giving him a clear and familiar boundary for relaxing.
Training doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it does take consistency and firmness. Consistency is critical, because anytime you don’t enforce a command, you are essentially training your dog that obedience is optional. Even when enforcing a command is not convenient for you, it is important that your dog learn that there is expected behavior for every command, and ignoring it is not an option. Treats help especially when you are introducing new commands. Praise, cuddles, and play can be great motivators as well all. Teach your dog these 10 commands for safety and for a companion you and others will enjoy being around.
Nobody wants to see their dog suffering with itchy skin or rashes. Both of these are a common symptom of allergies. Allergies may be caused by many things. Fleas are the biggest cause, but food and environmental factors (soaps, pollen, etc.) may also be culprits.
Food intolerances (often confused with allergies) may be due to the way a food is processed, or by synthetic substances in the food that the dog’s system perceives as an allergen, and may also produce symptoms such as sensitive stomach, gas or diarrhea.
So how can you help? While there are treatments to help with symptoms, simple diet changes may make a world of difference. Here are three changes to consider:
1. Steer clear of meat meals.
Many people are surprised to learn that beef, and other meats top the list for food allergies in dogs. In reality, most dogs aren’t eating these meats in their natural state. Instead they are eating meat meals, which are highly processed and often contain lower quality meats or parts of the animal processed with high heat.
Meat is largely protein and when protein is exposed to high heat (as it is in the meal making process), the protein may change into a form that the dog’s system no longer recognizes as real meat. That is why you see synthetic amino acids listed as ingredients in many pet foods claiming to be made with real meat.
Most products made with meat meals also contain some form of preservative so they can sit on your shelf without spoiling. These preservatives can also trigger allergy symptoms. That means a dog who can’t eat the meat meal in a conventional dog foods, may do just fine with fresh, lightly baked beef like you find in some of our My Perfect Pet blends. Conventional wisdom suggests trying a unique protein, one the dog hasn’t eaten before, but before you start tracking down kangaroo meat, try offering food with real meat, lightly cooked for safety. Your dog may do just fine once you switch from meal to real.
2. Limit grains.
Corn and wheat are often used as fillers in dog food, even though these two grains are on the list of common allergens for dogs. Other common ingredients include brewer’s rice or other by-products of the whole grain, which are poorly digested and can also trigger allergic responses.
Whole grain brown rice that is fully baked and tender is tolerated by most dogs, and can even have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. Fully cooked whole grain brown rice is even recommended for dogs with certain environmental allergies, or sensitive stomachs, because of its ability to regulate the digestive tract and reduce overall stress in the dog’s system.
However, like any other food, when any grain is highly processed, its make up changes, which can cause problems for some dogs. Rice used in dog food should be whole grain, stored carefully and cooked lightly.
Grain Free doesn’t always mean better quality. Eliminating poor quality, highly processed grains from the diet is good, but the key to a healthier pet, with fewer health issues including allergy symptoms, is to move to a healthier, higher quality diet.
Because of its health benefits and the variety of nutrients and antioxidants it contributes to the diet, we include whole grain brown rice in some My Perfect Pet Blends. It’s lightly steamed and blended with other lightly cooked foods. Most dogs don’t need to go grain-free, but all dogs should go fresh and healthy, and the grains they eat should be quality food, prepared right.
3. Choose real foods for flavor and color.
Artificial colors and flavors aren’t a necessary or beneficial part of any dog’s diet, yet many commercial dog foods rely on these additives to make highly processed food more palatable. These artificial additives can cause allergic reaction in dogs.
Natural flavorings, although they sound better, are also highly processed. To avoid these types of additives, choose lightly cooked real food that is rich in color and flavor—naturally. Your dog gets better nutrition, better flavor, and fewer ingredients that may result in an allergic reaction.
Any one of these three changes may help reduce symptoms of allergies or food intolerance in our furry kids. There’s a common thread among them: Feeding our pets low-quality food of any type is a problem. Like us, our pets deserve quality fresh food, cooked for safety and flavor.
A diet rich in real meat and whole fresh foods gives your dog the basis for overall good health, good digestion, and a healthy immune system. Choosing quality real food will not eliminate allergies in all dogs, but a few simple diet changes may reduce allergy symptoms for many dogs. Regardless, these changes will contribute to a healthier pup.
Do you love to get away, but hate leaving your dog? You could kennel them or hire a pet sitter—or better yet, you could take them with you! Vacationing with your dog lets you take a break and see new places without missing your best friends (or them missing you!)
Traveling with a dog takes a little planning. You’ll need to think about where you’ll stay, where you’ll eat, and where your pup will do her business. You’ll need to pack items for your dog’s comfort and safety. It’s all worth it, but it pays to do your homework.
The good news? More and more people want to travel with their pets, so there are resources to help you find the information you need before you go. Before you jump in the car or head for the airport with your pup, do a little research. These 7 websites can help:
Whether you’re looking for a place to stay, eat or let your pup to run off-leash, Bring Fido
home can help you find it. You can also find pet stores, vets, and dog friendly events. Search by destination anywhere in the world, or use their list of most pet friendly destinations to choose where to travel. Have a specific question? Call one of their pet experts or tap into the knowledge of other dog-loving travelers in their forum.
Go Pet Friendly
Planning a road trip? Go Pet Friendly
can help you plan it. Select your start and end points along with the kinds of places—hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, services—you’re looking for, and Go Pet Friendly will show you options along your route. They boast over 60,000 locations within the United States and Canada. If you’re not sure where to go, check out their destination guides for dog-friendly cities.
Want to go check out a cattle drive or stroll through an aquarium? Is shopping your thing -- or do you prefer baseball? Dog Friendly
can help you find a place to stay, but it can also help you find unique or unexpected dog-friendly activities. Use their easy online search or check out their city guides and travel books to plan a vacation you and your dog will love.
Vacation Pet Friendly
Find a hotel, B&B, or vacation rental—and book it through Vacation Pet Friendly
. In addition use their planning information to find dog beaches and parks, and those that are pet friendly. One of the more unique categories they list is dog-friendly wineries and vineyards. Cheers!
Trips with Pets
Trips with Pets
also helps you identify pet-friendly places to stay along your route. In addition, they have a list of chains that have consistent pet policies that can help you find lodging all over the country. Don’t forget about car rental. You can book a car rental with a pet-friendly policy directly through this site. Check out their travel tips and travel supply store too.
Tap into these resources to locate dog-friendly businesses and recreation areas to make planning your trip easier. As you’re booking your travel, see if Southwest Airlines will get you to your destination. Pets under 25 pounds are allowed on domestic flights
, provided they are in an approved carrier!
Walk this Weigh
San Diego-based Walk This Weigh not only offers pet sitting and at home pet exercising, but also contracts with pet friendly hotels to take care of your dogs while you enjoy non-pet vacation activities like visiting restaurants and amusement parks. It’s the best of both worlds -- you get to bring your kids along for the trip without being tied to the hotel, allowing you to relax and enjoy while knowing your pet is playing, exercising and having fun in the care of a vacation nanny.
It’s Time to Book Your Trip!
And remember information can change. It’s a good idea to confirm dog-friendly policies when making reservations or before arriving at a restaurant or other destination.
Speaking of restaurants, we’ve got one more recommendation for you. You and your kid can enjoy dinner together as part of our Dine with Your Dog Program. My Perfect Pet food is made from restaurant-grade ingredients and is served in select eateries. Check out the list of dining spots for this growing program here
So hit the road and have fun on your next vacation—with your dog.
Our founder, Karen Scoggins, loved her dog Hunter. Sadly, in 2006 Hunter became suddenly ill. Shortly after he died, the culprit—contaminated dog food—made headlines around the country.
Had Hunter suffered for long?
It’s hard to say. Dogs can’t tell us when they hurt. As dog parents, we need to learn to recognize signs that our dogs are suffering. And then we need to do the responsible, right thing for our dogs. We need to give them what they need—not what they want.
Signs of Suffering
When people are in pain, we may wince, grimace, say “ow,” cry. We may limp or favor some part of our body. We know how to communicate that pain. Dogs have signals that they are in pain too, but we need to learn to read them.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, your dog may be suffering:
- Excessive grooming, especially in one area
- Panting (without exertion)
- No interest in food
- Change in behavior
- Not acting like themselves
These are good signs it’s time to see your vet and find out what might be wrong and what you can do make your pet more comfortable.
If you aren’t seeing signs of suffering, wonderful! Do what you can to keep your pet feeling great—but that may not be what you think.
Killing Them with Love
If your dog loves to eat—and most do—you probably enjoy feeding him, whether it’s treats or table scraps or the best kibble you can find (more on that last one in a minute). You give him something, and he gobbles it up.
He loves it. He’s happy. That’s good, right?
You absolutely want your dog to be happy, but giving him everything he wants isn’t the way to do that. Too much food can lead to overweight dogs and a host of other health issues
. Instead of overdoing the food, try play and attention instead.
Choosing What They Need
So how do you start choosing what your dog needs? First, forget kibble—even that expensive one with all the “good” ingredients in it. Kibble is hard to digest. Plus it’s highly processed, which means lots of synthetics are added to round out nutrients and make it palatable. Think real, fresh food for your dog.
Motivated by Hunter’s death, Karen dug deeper into what was in dog food. That’s what motivated her develop a food that made sure dogs were getting the food that their bodies needed and, just as importantly, that the food supply was safe. That’s why My Perfect Pet uses real, human-grade whole foods blended to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. The food is lightly cooked for flavor, preservation of nutrients, and safety.
You love your dog. You want her to be happy and healthy. You’d do whatever you have to do to avoid suffering for her. That starts with making choices to give your dog what she needs. It means setting limits and not giving her everything she wants.
If your dog is in pain, find out if you can do anything to relieve the symptoms or improve conditions. If you dog isn’t suffering, feed responsibly and wisely to help keep your dog healthy and pain free.
Weaning puppies can be challenging and messy. Input—getting the puppy to eat new food—can be a struggle, and the output can be downright messy and smelly. Weaning puppies often get diarrhea as their systems are still developing the enzymes needed to digest processed food.
It doesn’t have to be that way. My Perfect Pet food makes weaning cleaner, easier, and more pleasant for everybody. Here’s why:
1. Perfect Poops
If you think diarrhea is a necessary evil of weaning, think again. Breeders have dubbed us My Perfect Poop because diarrhea is not part of the weaning process with My Perfect Pet.
We hear again and again that there is no diarrhea, that stools are firm and small. Lisa Des Camps of Allure Bichons, said: “I have not had great luck with weaning to raw or to canned/kibble food. I found out about My Perfect Pet just in time. I put all my dogs on it and have noticed a huge difference. I have to tell you the biggest difference so far is in their stools. Hardly any and perfect consistency!”
What’s our secret? Diarrhea often occurs with commercial foods because puppies have not yet developed the enzymes to digest processed food. Since My Perfect Pet is fresh, rather than highly processed, puppies are able to digest our food easily.
Diarrhea isn’t just messy and smelly. It can be a health risk too. Puppies tend to walk in it and spread it throughout the kennel or pen, which increases the risk of bacteria and other pathogens. Better stools mean cleaner, healthier dogs.
2. No Forced Feeding
Just getting puppies to eat most commercial foods is a challenge. Not so with My Perfect Pet food. Breeders who feed mom My Perfect Pet food report that puppies crawl right into the bowl early in the weaning process. They just love the food!
That means no force feeding, no coercion. Instead over time, puppies begin to eat more solid food and less of mom’s milk. Instead of messy transitions, you get a clean, natural process.
Sandra Madia who used My Perfect Pet Buckaroo blend to wean a litter of pups says, “It was the easiest transition I have ever experienced.”
3. Easy on Puppies’ Systems
All dogs need proper nutrition, and that is especially essential for growing pups. And since puppies’ systems are still developing, it is critical that food be easy to digest. Lightly cooked whole foods offer easily digestible, natural nutrients—a perfect first food after mom’s milk.
If you’ve weaned puppies on dry food, you know that you have to moisten it to make it softer and easier for puppies to break down. Since My Perfect Pet food is naturally moist, puppies have no trouble eating it.
And since My Perfect Pet lightly cooked foods are both easily digestible and rich in natural nutrients, we don’t need to add enzymes, probiotics or other digestive aids commonly found in commercial pet foods. Puppies are better able to absorb natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, which means less stomach or intestinal distress.
In addition, our foods contain muscle meat, not ground bones. Bones, even when finely ground, can be rough on puppies’ developing systems. Muscle meat is easier to digest, so dogs get more of what they need with less upset to their system.
Breeders who have weaned with My Perfect Pet blends know it is cleaner and easier than weaning with commercial, processed dog foods—and that puppies love it. What better way to give your dogs the healthiest start possible!
Would you eat chips to clean your teeth? Of course not. Crunchy food doesn’t clean your teeth, and it doesn’t your dog’s teeth either. Actually, dry hard food is more likely to remain wedged in teeth and gums. That can become a problem.
Improper care of your dog’s teeth and gums can lead to a host of issues. Bad breath, one of the more obvious signs of poor oral hygiene, is often caused by poorly digested food remaining in the mouth for longer periods of time. And the staining you sometimes see around the mouth is caused by bacteria. The bacteria that causes staining, inflammation, and odor can also cause widespread infection.
In addition, poor oral health can lead to loose, broken, or lost teeth, which can cause pain and trouble eating. That’s the last thing you want for your dog.
So what can you do? Brushing teeth and gums regularly is a must for good oral health for your dog. And remember, what your dog eats counts too.
The Trouble with Kibble
Let’s go beyond that mistaken idea that dry, crunchy food like kibble cleans teeth. Besides getting wedged in the teeth and gums, many dry foods contain many heavily processed carbohydrates, which can lead to plaque build up. This, in turn, can cause tooth and gum disease.
The Benefits of Fresh Food
Fresh food, on the other hand, is more easily chewed and digested. That means undigested food is far less likely to stay in the mouth and cause problems. Another plus is that soft food isn’t as likely to get wedged between teeth and gums.
Fresh dog foods made with real, whole ingredients may naturally contain probiotics and enzymes that help break down food, giving fresh dog food another edge on keeping the teeth and gums healthy. And don’t forget about the vitamins and minerals found in fresh foods. Calcium, phosphorus, and B-complex vitamins help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. My Perfect Pet blends include the right mix of vitamins and minerals for your dog’s overall health, including oral health.
Switching to fresh whole foods improves breath and, more importantly, improves the overall condition of teeth and gums, and contributes to overall better health.
So definitely brush your dog’s teeth regularly—and remember to fill up her bowl with fresh highly digestible dog food for healthy teeth and gums.
Does your dog leave meals untouched or barely sniffed at? If this behavior is something new, you’ll want to talk with your vet to rule out a health issue causing the change in eating patterns. But if the behavior is common for your dog, you may have a picky eater on your hands.
Picky eating is a problem because dogs need to eat the right amount of a quality, complete diet to get the nutrients they need for good health and energy. If your dog turns up his nose at dinner, try these tips to make sure he gets the nutrition he needs:
1. Make it tempting
Picture a raw chicken breast on your plate or a processed chicken patty. Now imagine the smell of fresh roasting meat and that chicken just out of the oven. For most people, the roasted chicken is most appealing. Your dog thinks so too. Remember dogs have a strong sense of smell, and food that smells appealing is more enticing.
2. Avoid table scraps
Does your dog beg for table scraps but turn up her nose at what’s in her bowl? Probably because the taste and smell of what’s on your plate is much more appealing than what’s in the dog food.
Now if the food in her bowl is made with the same quality freshly baked meats and other fresh whole foods like what she would get from your plate, she’d probably be just as excited to eat her own food, and then be getting all the nutrients in the perfect balance for her.
Fresh, whole foods, perfectly balanced with natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your dog needs are much healthier than scraping food off your plate to make her eat what’s in her bowl. We get that you want to give your dog tasty food, but that food doesn’t have to come off your plate. Choose quality, real dog food to go in your dog’s bowl for optimum nutrition and taste.
3. Limit treats
Like table scraps, too many treats can put a damper on your pet’s appetite—or leave him holding out for something “better.” Use treats only for training and alternate with attention or play rewards. And since treats are often given with attention and praise, try giving that same attention when your dog finishes his dinner. And if your dog loves his food, you can use small pieces of food as treats, that way he’s not getting empty calories or ‘junk food’ just more good food as healthy treats!
4. Keep it fresh
If your food claims to have real meat but can sit on the shelf without spoiling, you know it is highly preserved. Food with preservatives taste different, and dogs know it. Maybe your dog isn’t turning up her nose at the food, but at the preservatives in it. That’s where a fresh food diet can help. Foods that are properly prepared and then frozen don’t need preservatives. That means your dog tastes the delicious flavor of beef or chicken or lamb along with veggies and potatoes or rice. If your picky eater has snubbed dry or canned foods, go fresh—your dog will notice a difference.
If you’re worried about a picky eater, start by ruling out a health issue. Then change your behavior to make sure your dog isn’t holding out for something “better.” Finally fill up your dog’s bowl with fresh, tempting meals, like all the blends we offer at My Perfect Pet. Picky eaters love us!
Get that picky pet licking his lips—and filling up on good nutrition.
Dogs should eat real food, just like people. Yet, most conventional dog foods contain a lot of highly processed and synthetic materials. If you want a happy, healthy dog, you’ll want to feed your kids meat—not powdered meals. Here’s why:
All natural (really)
You see “all natural” on a lot of labels, but it doesn’t always mean what you think. If you want natural vitamins but see amino acids on the label, you’re likely getting either synthetic nutrients to fool the dog’s system into thinking it’s getting real meat, or it’s meat that is so highly processed it no longer contains the nutrients that were present in its fresh form. Your dog’s body can utilize the amino acids in muscle meat more easily than they can synthetic supplements.
The flavor factor
If you’ve ever baked chicken in the oven at home or grilled up a few steaks in the backyard, you might notice that your dogs tend to hang around while you’re cooking. That’s because dogs love the smell and taste of fresh meat. Meat meal, on the other hand, is unpalatable without added flavors. Choosing meat over meal gives your dog food he loves without unnatural additives for flavor.
Which sound better—eating food that is 90–95% digestible or food that is 30–50% digestible? Meals are only 30–50% digestible. That means your dog doesn’t absorb as many of the nutrients out of the food (and means a whole lot more waste for you to pick up in the yard!). Muscle meats give a lot more bang for the buck because they are 90–95% digestible? That’s why animals in the wild eat muscle meat and organs first. You get to choose what to feed your dog. Why not give them give them food with good bio-availability of nutrients?
You know that meat left out at room temp spoils pretty quickly. So any food that can sit on the shelf for months without spoiling must be highly processed or contain preservatives (or both). Freezing gets around that, by using cold temperatures, instead of added preservatives, to stop spoilage. If you want real meat without preservatives, look in the freezer, not on the shelf.
Vitamins and minerals
Fresh foods contain a variety of vitamins and minerals our dogs need. My Perfect Pet includes whole food naturally loaded with vitamins and minerals, plus natural vitamin and mineral supplements only where needed to make the blends nutritionally complete and balanced. Compare that to dry kibble, which is highly processed and then gets sprayed with oils (again highly processed and preserved) to add the flavors and vitamins.
Better taste, better nutrition, no preservatives . . . real meat is the way to go. My Perfect Pet Food starts with real meat and vegetables. We lightly cook them and then freeze them for tasty, nutritious foods without preservatives or synthetic ingredients. If you’re looking for real meat, not meat meals, let us help you pick the perfect food.
Has your vet asked, “What are you feeding your dog?” Nutrition is the latest vital assessment vets check. Temperature, pulse, and respiration were joined by pain, and now by nutrition as elements to check in every pet at every visit.
The nutrition vital opens the door for a dialogue between vets and pet parents about fresh dog food. Here are four reasons fresh dog food makes vets happy:
1. Fresh food meets a dog’s nutritional needs.
You know to eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, that you need, and you know the healthiest way to get these is through fresh whole foods. Your dogs have the same need for nutrients from the foods they eat, and the healthiest way to ensure they get all of their daily requirements is also through a variety of fresh whole foods. My Perfect Pet has carefully formulated blends that begin with real whole foods that are easily digestible by dogs —meat, vegetables, and some with whole grain brown rice rice —that are lightly cooked for added safety and convenience. We add natural supplements where needed for rounded nutrition.
Talk with your vet about what your dog needs—and check out all the Essential Nutrients for Dogs we use in our food.
2. Lightly cooked fresh foods get the seal of approval.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) endorse foods cooked to the temperatures recommended by the FDA. At My Perfect Pet, we cook human-grade food to these recommended temperatures. Vets can get behind lightly cooked fresh food.
3. Lightly cooked fresh food is safe for pets and their people.
You’ve heard of Salmonella and E coli. These bacteria and others may be found in raw meat. That could make your dogs sick. Even if your pet doesn’t get sick, the bacteria can be spread through the yard and into the home, which can cause illness in other animals or people. People who are very young, very old, or have compromised immune systems are at greatest risk. Therapy dogs are often restricted from eating raw diets prior to visiting hospitals, health centers, or schools because of the close contact they have with people during visits.
In response to this risk, the FDA and CDC recommend avoiding raw foods for dogs. Lightly cooked provides the benefits of fresh food without the risk of bacterial illnesses.
4. Fresh food diets keep your dog healthy—and happy.
Feeding a variety of fresh foods provides not only an array of nutrients your dog need but also key enzymes that aid in digestion. Good digestion means your dog is getting more of what he needs. It can also mean a happier dog (no more upset tummies) and smaller stools. And let’s not forget about taste. Dogs love the taste of lightly cooked foods. Vets care about animals and they want to see your dog healthy and happy.
You and your vet want the same thing—for your dog to be healthy. So when they ask what you feed your dog, say fresh, lightly cooked food from My Perfect Pet! That should make your kids healthy and your vet happy.
Is your dog overweight? It’s easy to brush this question off, but pet obesity is surprisingly common—and it’s a real problem. To maintain optimum weight, dogs should get regular exercise and eat the right amount of quality, well-balanced food. If you’re not convinced your dog needs a change, consider these reasons to focus on dog weight loss.
Fewer Joint Problems
Joint pain isn’t caused only by being overweight, but more weight means more stress on bones and joints. To keep your dog’s joints safe, keep her weight down. Pain-free movement is not only more comfortable for your dog, but healthier too. A dog without joint pain is better able to exercise and be active.
Overweight dogs may have trouble breathing. This may show up as sleep apnea. That means your dog might stop breathing briefly during sleep. Dogs with sleep apnea may not get enough deep sleep, leading to a loss of energy during the day. While breed can be a factor in sleep apnea, so is obesity. Keep the weight down to keep your dog breathing easy.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes requires extra health care for your pet and can lead to a host of health issues. Being overweight is a key risk factor for diabetes. The good news is that exercise and maintaining a healthy weight reduce that risk. If your dog has diabetes, he may need insulin and a special diet and feeding schedule to help keep his blood sugar regular. Whether your dog has diabetes or you are trying to avoid it, getting to and maintaining a healthy weight can help.
Better Heart Health
A healthy weight improves heart health in people—and in dogs. Heavier weights are linked to high blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder. That extra strain can lead to heart failure. There are a number of heart issues you can’t control, but you can do something about your dog’s weight.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
While the exact link between cancer and obesity isn’t clear, dogs who are overweight have a greater risk of getting some types of cancers. Cancer can mean pain for your dog, difficult treatments, or even a shorter life. If lowering weight reduces the risk, why wouldn’t you help your dog lose weight?
You love your kids and want them to be around for a long time. One of the best ways to help them live a good, long life is to keep them healthy. As you’ve seen, maintaining an optimal weight reduces the risk of many health issues for dogs. Not only that, your dog will be more comfortable and have more energy and stamina at a healthy weight.
We always say: “Feed your kids the amount they should eat, not the amount they want to eat!” That’s a pretty good rule of thumb.
So, feed healthy foods like our My Perfect Pet blends, give your kids the right amount of food, and get active. Keeping your dog’s weight down is good for both of you!
We are what we eat—and our kids are, too. With the recent surge of dog food recalls, it’s never been more clear that good nutrition is critical for a healthy, happy dog.
There are a lot of options to feed your dog, but processed foods aren’t any better for dogs than they are for us. A diet of lightly cooked food for your dog has endless benefits. Here are a few:
At My Perfect Pet, we take safety very seriously. In 2006, our beautiful Hunter became suddenly ill. Within weeks of his passing the headlines announced the largest pet food recall in history. We knew there had to be a better way and that’s when started creating our own food, prioritizing quality and safety above all else.
We start by baking meats to FDA recommended temperatures in order to destroy common pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. The reason FDA recommends heating meats to a specific temperature is that heat is the surest and safest way to ensure that the risk of pathogens remaining in the food is eliminated, not just reduced. We also manufacture all food in our own Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility so we can control every step of our process and ensure both safety and quality at every step of the way.
2. Shinier coat
A shiny coat is one obvious visual cue of good health, and with a diet of lightly cooked, real foods, your pet is likely to lose the dull fur. You may notice this change pretty quickly upon changing to whole, lightly cooked food.
3. Healthier skin
Shiny coat often goes hand in hand with healthier skin. Healthier skin may be related to a reduction in allergy symptoms (see #7) or simply having a natural source of essential nutrients.
4. Cleaner teeth
Fresh, lightly cooked foods are more digestible, and since digestion begins in the mouth, more digestible food spends less time on teeth and gums feeding plaque and tartar. Dry crunchy food does not replace a toothbrush for dogs any more than it does for us. In fact, quite the opposite is true as dry hard food is more likely to remain wedged in teeth and gums.
Bad breath is often caused by poorly digested food remaining in the mouth for longer periods of time. Switching to fresh whole foods improves breath and improves overall condition of teeth and gums.
5. Better digestion
Lightly cooked muscle meats are much more digestible than meals or ground bones. Lightly cooking and grinding makes the meats easier for the dog’s system to break down, while preserving the nutrients naturally present in fresh foods.
Dog’s systems are much shorter than humans, making it even more important for their systems to be able to break down the foods and absorb the nutrients before passing through.
6. Less odor
No one likes a smelly dog, whether it’s dog breath, body odor, or gas. Odorous gas is a clear sign that the dog’s system is struggling with digestion. A diet of lightly cooked foods, more digestible foods can help to eliminate odors from a variety of sources, from the mouth with fresher breath to the tail which can wag without odorous gas..
7. Smaller stools
What goes in must go out, but if your dog is able to digest most of her food efficiently, there is less waste. When fed a diet of lightly cooked, nutrient-dense foods, your dog gets more useable nutrients, and you get less clean up!
8. Fewer allergy symptoms
Dog can have allergies, just like people. We have a list of the top dog food allergies here. Meat meal is one of the big culprits. By choosing a diet of lightly cooked whole food for your dog, you eliminate the synthetic proteins and amino acids that are a big cause of allergies.
9. Weight management
A reported 55 percent of American dogs are considered obese. As with people, being overweight can lead to serious health issues. Many pet foods include fillers and are extremely high in carbohydrates which are converted to sugar in the dog’s system and can lead to weight gain.
Choosing a mix of nutrient-rich food without added fillers and carbohydrates will keep your dog lean and fit. Making sure to feed the proper amount can help keep weight in line for your furry kids. Not sure how much to feed your dog?
10. More energy
If your dog is always running and bounding, more energy may not sound so good, but generally a healthy dog wants to walk, run, and play. Food is fuel, and the right food fuels your dog for an active life. (If you need some ideas for burning off some of that energy see our tips here.)
BONUS BENEFIT: Enjoyment
We couldn’t stop at just 10 benefits when there’s one more very important one to touch on -- enjoyment!
Which would you rather have? Dry rations or meals from a can, or fresh meat and veggies? Real food has real smells—and real flavor. Dogs love the scent and taste of lightly cooked meats. Watch them enjoy their meals like never before, and enjoy knowing that you’re giving them the best.
Clearly there are many benefits to a diet of lightly cooked foods. My Perfect Pet’s blends make providing a balanced diet of whole, real foods a breeze, and rewarding to watch them enjoying it!. Our lightly cooked food eliminates concerns about bacterial contamination while maintaining all the natural nutrients you are looking for in what you feed your kids!
You love your dog. You love your yard. But does your dog love your yard?
Dog-friendly landscaping keeps your dog safe and comfortable. It also gives space for your dog’s favorite (and necessary) activities, while keeping things pleasant for people. How does your yard measure up?
1. Pick pet-friendly plants
Let’s start with safety. There are a host of plants that can be dangerous to dogs. Check to see if you have these in your yard, and avoid them when planning new planting. Some common plants that are poisonous to dogs include:
• Azalea and rhododendron
• Morning glory
• Flower bulbs
For a more comprehensive list, check with the ASPCA
2. Make sure your mulch is safe
You probably know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Cocoa mulch contains the same toxic compound, so you’ll want to avoid cocoa mulch when landscaping. And while we’re talking mulch, make sure it’s organic if your dog tends to chew on wood.
While it’s not necessarily a safety issue, you may want to choose mulch carefully if you have a long-haired dog. You want your mulch in your garden, not your living room.
3. Include space to run and play
If your dog has run a path along your fence, make it part of your design. Edge it or mulch it and it will look less like something your dog did to your yard and more like a focal point your dog uses every day.
Give dogs a place to play and you may find fewer holes in your garden or yard. If your dog likes to dig, consider setting up a designated digging area, such as a sandbox. Start by burying treats in it to get him interested in digging there. Keep a shovel or rake nearby to fill in holes periodically. If he starts digging elsewhere, redirect him to his digging spot.
4. Escape the heat
Shade and water are attractive in any landscape—and they help keep dogs from overheating, too.
Shade trees offer heat relief to dogs and their human friends, but if you don’t have good-sized trees, consider a covered pergola or awning. If these aren’t a good fit for your space, consider a well ventilated dog house to give your kid a spot to relax out of the sun.
Dogs need extra water in the heat, too. Drinking water outside is a must, but make sure it is filtered and replenish it and clean the bowl regularly. You might also consider a water feature like a pond or pool that your dog can cool off in.
5. Set aside a doggie “potty” area
When you give your dog a place to do his business it serves a dual purpose. You know where the cleanup is, plus you keep the effects on your lawn contained to one area. Your dog’s diet can have an effect on your lawn as well, fresh food diets are much less likely to turn into discolored spots in the grass.
Locate it around a corner or behind a fence and you disguise it even more. If you have a male dog, add a marking structure, like a large rock, piece of driftwood, or even a small statue specifically for that purpose.
So, keep your yard safe for your dog, but don’t give up on your dreams of a lovely landscape. You can have a yard that you and your pet can enjoy - safely.
Have you ever skipped a run because it was raining? That might work for you, but your dog still needs exercise every day. Dogs who don’t get enough active stimulation are more likely to engage in problem behaviors like digging, chewing, and barking or whining.
No matter the weather, your dog has energy to burn. Here are a few ways to get your dog moving inside on the next rainy day.
1. Hide and go seek
This classic kids’ game is a great way to engage your dog and get him moving around the house. You can even use this game to teach your dog the “Find” command. Most dogs quickly learn that “Find” is a game, and can even learn to search for specific items when you say them together. Here are three ways to play:
Hide treats. Take some of your dog’s favorite treats and hide them around the house. Then say “Find Treats” and let your dog race around and find them.
Hide a toy. Gather some treats and a favorite toy. Hide the toy. Make the first hiding spot easy. Say “Find [toy].” When your dog finds the toy, shower him with praise, attention, and a treat. Repeat, always saying “Find [toy]” and making the hiding spots progressively harder.
Hide yourself. Have your dog stay and find a hiding spot for yourself. Again, pick an easy spot at first so your dog gets the hang of the game. Call your dog’s name and tell them to “Come” so they can find you and give lots of positive feedback when they succeed. Keep playing with harder hiding spots. If you have a second person, have one person stay with the dog while the other person hides. The person staying behind with the dog can then say “Find [name]” and teach the dog to search for that person. (This can also be a fun outdoor game when the weather is nice.)
Treat tip: With any of these activities, you want to avoid overdoing the treats. Use very small treats, like our Party Bites, as a healthy reward and use them paired with lavish attention to get your dog excited about the game. Once your dog is engaged, only offer treats occasionally, but give praise or play with a toy every time your dog completes the desired activity.
2. Obstacle course
If your dog is agile, set up an obstacle course and run your dog through it. Here are a few items you may have in your home to try:
An open-ended box to crawl through
A stool or crate to balance on
A broom set across two chairs to go over or under or a hula hoop to jump through
Toys to put in a basket or bin
A chair to go under or jump onto
Teach your dog how to navigate each part of the course. Then encourage your dog to go through it quickly several times. Offer treats and/or praise at the end.
3. Up and down the stairs
Stand at the bottom of the stairs with your kids and have them stay. Toss a toy or ball up the stairs and ask them to bring it back to you. Toss it again and have them retrieve it. Continue until your dogs are tired. This game works best for dogs that are agile on stairs and are not prone to hip problems. If you want a little exercise yourself, trying going up and down the stairs with your dog.
4. Chase games
Find a spot to play chase. A long hallway is perfect, but depending on your layout, you may be able to get your dog running through one or more rooms in your home.
Toss a ball or toy and have her bring it back. Alternately shine a laser pointer around the room and let her go after it. Just be careful not to shine it in her eyes.
5. Toy tag
This two-person game is a lot of fun for your dog. Each person should have some toys. Call your kid’s name. When she comes, give her a toy. Then have the other person call. Keep calling the dog back and forth. As the dog gets used to the game, move further away from each other or even into different rooms.
Here’s hoping for sunny weather, but when rain falls, you can keep your dog entertained, exercised, and happy with these games. And don’t forget to pick up some Bobo’s Bites or Party Bites to celebrate!
Did you know dogs can have food allergies just like people? Symptoms include rash, itching, chronic ear infections, and excessively licking their feet. Dogs may also have food intolerances, which tend to result in diarrhea or vomiting. Either way, understanding the cause of these symptoms is important.
Dog Food Allergy Culprits
What causes dog food allergies? The top dog food allergens might surprise you. These six foods are some of the top offenders:
- Meat Meals
Meat vs. Meat Meal
You may be surprised to see meat on that list. Although meat is an allergen, don’t start thinking your dog will become a vegetarian just yet. Even dogs who are allergic to one kind of meat may tolerate protein in another type. You should know this too: not all “meat” in dog food is the same.
Many dog foods use meat meals, which are processed with high heat. That heat can change the molecular structure of the protein, and that structural change can affect how a dog’s system tolerates the protein. That means a dog who can’t eat the chicken meal in conventional dog foods, may do just fine with lightly baked chicken like you find in some of our My Perfect Pet blends. The same is true for other meats.
Dog foods that use meat meals also need to add synthetic amino acids. Fresh or lightly cooked meats don’t need these supplements because they are naturally occurring in meat that isn’t highly processed and damaged by high heat. My Perfect Pet uses lightly cooked meats that are tolerated by many dogs who can’t eat meat meals. Learn more about our ingredients and how we make our food here
What to Do about Dog Food Allergies
Start by talking to your vet. If the vet suspects a food allergy, he or she may recommend an elimination diet to find the real culprit. This could be as simple as switching to a different type of protein or by trying fresh meat instead of a meat meal.
Once you know the cause of the allergy, you can keep your dog healthy by avoiding that allergen and following diet recommendations. If your vet has recommended a special diet, we’ve got you covered! Check out My Perfect Pet food options here