Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trainer Tips--Picking a pet food

I am realizing more and more than many people do not really know what they are feeding their dogs.  Your dog's diet has a huge impact on their health and life, the same way it does with us as humans.  I know that dog food can get fairly expensive, but that's no reason to be feeding your dog an unhealthy diet.

I am going to start with the basics.
Three things your pet food should NOT contain:

These things are filler products that offer little to no nutritional value to your pet, and are not easily digestible.  (This is true for cat food as well).  Furthermore, many dogs will develop allergies from these products.  Your dog could have been on the same food for several years without issues, then one day everything changes and they seem itchy and have bad skin or hot spots.  This is usually due to feeding a food that contains one of these things.

There is one particular popular brand that I hear many people use that is very unhealthy for your pet.  Can you guess which one it is?



So what was your pick for the worst dog food listed?  The answer is Pedigree.  Depending on the exact bag/ flavor, Pedigree ingredients lists 2-3 different corn ingredients.  This is NOT good for your dog!  Pedigree also lists:  wheat, brewers rice, and animal fat.  These are also not healthy things for your dog.
(See below).

So how do you know what to look for in a dog food?

The best way to pick a dog food is to flip over the bag and look at the ingredients list.  The first thing listed should be some sort of meat, or meat meal.  Better foods will have several kinds of meat listed.  A meat listed first (salmon, turkey, etc) is a better food than a meat meal listed first (salmon meal, turkey meal, etc).

Other things to look for in your pet food.  Obviously as stated above, you want a food with NO corn, soy, or wheat products.  Along with that you want to avoid foods that list "animal fat."  When a pet food lists animal fat in their ingredients, this could be anything from the grease at fast food restaurants, to animal products collected at a slaughterhouse.  Avoid foods listed with "animal fat."

Also beware of "Brewers Rice."  This ingredient is not as bad as the ones listed above, but if included on the ingredients label, it should be very low down on the list.  I generally try and avoid food with this ingredient.

Things you want to look for, of course, the meat listed first...but the label should also include plenty of vegetables and fruits.  Things like:  sweet potatoes, potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yams, carrots, etc.

The best dry dog food that I know is Orijen.  Orijen is 70-80% meat products, 20-30% fruits and vegetables.  It is the best possible food you can buy your dog.  Of course that also makes it one of the most expensive.  A large 28 pound bag of Orijen can run $90-$100 or more.  Obviously, many of us can not afford that.

Some owners enjoy a food that is lower in protein for their dog.  If this is what you are looking for, Natural Balance is a good choice for you.  Natural Balance lists sweet potato or a similar first ingredient, then meat.  This food is still a good choice in many cases, and does not contain any corn, soy, or wheat.

One of my other favorite dog foods is Taste of the Wild.  It is an excellent food at a good medium price.

If you are on a really tight budget but want to improve your pet's diet, try mixing an excellent semi-expensive dog food with a less expensive, but still good, food.  This can help stretch your budget.  We have often mixed Taste of the Wild with a brand that lists a "meat meal"as the first ingredient (lower quality food).

Another helpful way you can stretch your budget is to mix in left-overs with your dog's regular dry food.  This is not something that we do every day, but if I have something that I need to eat or throw out, I will often give it to our dogs.  Please keep in mind, that your dogs can not and should not have just any left-overs.  We avoid giving them things that are spicy, or adding too much liquid over dry food (soup, etc).  Also remember that several common people foods are toxic to dogs (list below).  If the left-overs contain any of these items, we will not give it to the dogs.  Remember if you are adding extra food to your dog's meal (i.e. left-overs), subtract that much in dry food.  If your dog gets a cup of food at meal time, it should always be a cup, even if you have added left-overs.  Be careful with this.  Adding left-overs can be an easy way to make your dog over-weight and unhealthy if you are not careful.  Remember they don't always get something extra in their food, and they don't just get any left-overs.  The most common left-overs we add to our dog's food is meat rice.

Helpful Hint:  If your dog has diarrhea or constipation, you can add pumpkin (canned or fresh) or cooked rice to help properly adjust their stool and balance out their stomach.  We have used this trick several times.

Dog Toxins:
Grapes/ raisins

Hopefully you will all take the time to read your pet food labels from now on and really know what you are giving your dog.  They are our pets and we love let's help keep them around for as long as possible!

Monday, May 20, 2013

FREE "Ask the Trainer" Day

Saturday June 1st, 2013

10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. @ Kihei Pet Supply in the Kukui Mall, Kihei
2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. @ The Pet Shop in the Maui Mall, Kahului.

Join us for a day of dog questions.
We invite you to come with all your dog questions and concerns to talk to a professional dog trainer at no cost to you.

Athena Angelic is an Animal Behavior Certified Dog Trainer, has been certified in pet first aid and CPR through the American Red Cross, is a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and runs her own dog training business.  Such Good Dogs specializes in training companion dogs, or family dogs, using positive reinforcement methods, combined with energy balance.  Such Good Dogs offers group classes, private lessens, pack walks, socialization, adventures, and boarding.

Athena has many years of dog training experience and loves nothing more than talking about dogs.  Bring any and all questions you may have about your dog to our "Ask the Trainer" Day.
Bring your dogs too!
Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kool Dog Kuts, LLC

There is a fabulous new grooming team that has recently come to Maui.
I wanted to let everyone know about them.

Kool Dog Kuts, LLC
Full Service Doggie Salon & Spa
Kustom Kanine Stylists

Denise Fauth & Todd Gibbs
310-415-3806 / 310-683-8085

I met these two fabulous people while working part time at West Maui Pet Supply.  They are on the West Side of Maui Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday (with some Saturdays), and at the Kihei Pet Supply store Monday & Tuesday.

This is Wickett & Gigi

Denise giving Gigi her pre-bath trim.

Bath time.

Kool Dog Kuts uses amazing whitening shampoo for these little guys!

Get that face clean too :)

Fluff dry off.

Gigi's post bath hair cut.

What a cutie pie!

Wickett drying off after her bath.

Wickett getting her post bath hair cut from Todd.

Wickett at home doing some training with mom after her haircut.
She's such a sweet girl.

Kool Dog Kuts grooming includes:  bath, nail trim, ear clean, and hair cut.
Prices vary on dog's size and breed.
Just a nail trim is $18.

Give them a call today to book your dog.  Watching them work has been a great experience.  The reason I am sharing their business with you is because I believe them to be good, honest, hard-working people that do a fabulous job at grooming.  I enjoy both Denise & Todd very much.  They are very experienced in grooming, and have a natural talent in dealing with dogs.  I would highly recommend them to you!  

If your dog has any grooming needs, please call them today!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Breed of the Month--Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Color:  Black, red, blue merle, red merle.  May have white markings.
Height:  Males:  20-23 inches/ Females:  18-21 inches
Weight:  Males:  50-65 lbs/ Females:  40-55 lbs
Life Span:  12-15 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Allergies, cancer, osteochondritis dissecans, patent ductus arteriosus, dental problems, corneal dystrophy, Collie eye anomaly, patellar lunation, iris coloboma, and persistent pupillary membrane.

Coat:  Double coat.  Undercoat is moderate mane and frill but varies with climate.  Outercoat is medium length and texture, weather resistant, straight or wavy.
Country of Origin:  United States

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

Breeds such as the Pyrenean Shepherd, Collie, Smithfield, and Border Collie contributed to the breed known as the Australian Shepherd.  This breed was actually created in the United States by sheep and cattle herders, not in Australia as the name may suggest.  Although the breed was initially intended for herding and guarding, the Australian Shepherd has become adapt at many helpful tastes.  The Australian Shepherd has remained the breed of choice for many farmers and ranchers.

The Australian Shepherd is friendly, smart, and enthusiastic.  He is intelligent and agile and excels at many things from participation in competitive sports to becoming a therapy dog.

The Australian Shepherd must have LOTS of daily mental and physical exercise!  This is a very high energy breed and needs a job to do.  He will not be happy sitting on the couch and lounging around at home.  This breed excels at many activities including agility, flyball, and obedience.

The coat of the Australian Shepherd needs regular brushing and care to keep the control shedding.

Using positive reinforcement training is a must for this breed.  They are intelligent and very eager to learn new things.  As long as you keep your Aussie mentally and physically challenged, there's not much this breed won't do for you.