Monday, November 22, 2010

Tooth fairy should bring her lot's of noms.

There's finally something about Niila's teeth that is worth blogging about! Her permanent canine teeth finally showed up and like expected, the milk canine teeth didn't get loose at all. No matter how much we played tug-o-war with her, her lower canine teeth just refused to loosen. So today we visited a vet to get her canine teeth removed. We checked her with a different vet and he said that all four could be removed, but this new vet said that only the lower canine teeth could be removed, that the upper canine teeth are still too hidden inside the gum. It suited us even better.

Niila fell asleep really quickly, and I think the whole operation was over quite soon too. J.R. helped the vet but I waited in the waiting room. The vet only wanted one to help and it's easier for J.R. to hold her. We got one canine tooth to home with us but the other one got broken while it was being removed. Niila was one shaking whimpering thing when she got out. I felt sorry for her, but her teeth needed to be removed.

Hi! My name is Niila and I just got my canine teeth removed and it kinda sucks!
Hi! I'm Niila's milk canine tooth and it kinda sucks to be away from her gum!
Strangely, we didn't get any information from the vet how we should continue with her teeth. Should we just wait and see or should we start the pushing therapy again. We might have to visit her again for the upper milk canine teeth though, so we can ask her then. I'm just worried that the new teeth might be wrongly positioned too, even though I can't tell it for sure yet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giveaway winner

The Dog Food Giveaway is now closed and it's time to reveal the right answer. I asked you to guess which one is the high quality food and which one is the low quality food. The food on the left is Orijen Puppy, six star rated and the one in the right is Hill's Science Diet puppy, zero star rated. Only two of you guessed right: 27 Stitches and Silly Little Lady. And I thought this was an easy one!

The high quality food is the one on the left.
And now to the winner of this giveaway! I let Niila to do the drawing:



video



And the winner is A Tangled Yarn! Congratulations!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dog Food Week Giveaway!

The Dog Food Week is over and it's time for the first ever giveaway in my blog! I have had a whole week to figure out what to "give away" and I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with.

The winner of the giveaway will get an original "humiliate the dog" tube hat in size S or M and the hat will be hand knitted by me. The hat won't look exactly like in the picture, because I don't have that yarn anymore, but the winner will be able to affect the color and the size. There will also be a color print of the hat knitting/crocheting pattern included in case she/he wants to make more hats.


The winner will also get a fresh batch of Papu's Piggie Treats, the recipe to make them and a small cookie cutter. The cookie cutter may not be the same as the one in the picture.


How to win: There is a picture of two different dog foods below. One food is high quality food, rated with six stars in Dog Food Analysis. The other one is rated with zero stars. Guess in a comment which is which.


You don't have to guess right in order to win, because the winner will be selected randomly. If you are a subscriber, whether you are an old one or you just subscribed after reading this post, mention that in your comment too. Subscribers will get one extra entry.

International entries are welcome and I ship on my own expense. The giveaway closes on  Saturday 20.11. The winner will be chosen randomly. I will announce the winner on my blog on Sunday 21.11 and also contact the winner personally. Please make sure I have a way to contact you!


THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dog Food Week - Why to feed your dog with high quality food?

This is the third post of my Dog Food Week. The previous post was "How much does the high quality food cost"? If you want to know more about the Dog Food Week or the schedule, read the introduction post.

I think the real question should be "Why wouldn't you? Why wouldn't you feed your precious family member with the best food possible? People don't eat crappy food, so dogs shouldn't be forced to eat it either. But feeding quality food is more than just a kind act. It will help the dog to live healthier, longer life.

Improves health and elongates life

Think about the ways you can make your dog's life better and the ways you can ensure that your dog stays as healthy as possible. You can teach him tricks to make sure that it he gets to use his brains and doesn't get bored. You can play with him or take him to biking, hiking, jogging, walking or whatever to make sure that he gets plenty of exercise. You can take him to the dog park to give him a possibility to interact with other dogs. You can take him to the vet if he seems sick. So there's basically just activation and exercise. And oh, feeding.

Sometimes you're busy and you don't have time to go out for a long walk, or it's raining too hard, or maybe you don't have imagination to make up new tricks all the time. But you feed your dog every single day, no matter what.

Studies say that dogs will live about two years longer if they are fed with quality food. They will also stay healthier longer. That's what I want for my dogs. I want them to live a happy long life with me as I love them so much. I want them to be here with me as long as possible, and since there aren't so many ways I can ensure that, at least I'm feeding them with high quality food. I also believe that with right diet the dog will stay healthier longer, that even though the dog gets old, it will stay healthy.

And who wouldn't want his or her dog to live a long, happy, healthy life?

Poop is pop

And another very relevant reason to feed the dog with quality food is poop. It is the first thing that changes after changing successfully to a high quality food. The poop looks different and there's less of it. I have witnessed this myself. We spent a week dog-sitting my sister's dachshund and she ate some low quality dog food. Her poop was very dark and very, very smelly and quite loose too. Definitely not something nice to pick up. The same with my mother's dachshund. When our dogs poop (considering that they have not been eating something unusual), it's not unpleasant. The poop is solid, nicely colored (if you can say that from a poop) and definitely not as bad smelling.

We fed Niila with Royal Canin when we got her, because that was what she ate at the breeder's, and we didn't want to change that right away. And she pooped awful, awful poops and awfully lot too. When we changed to Orijen Puppy, the problem was solved. No more smelly piles of poop. I have heard this same story from other dog-owners too; on low quality food the dog poops more often.


So if your dog seem to poop a lot and the poop smells awful, is loose or the color is too dark or gray, it's probably because of the low quality food. Change for high quality food and watch if it changes for better. It's better for you too, since you will be picking it up! Just remember that it takes weeks for dog to adjust to a new food, so the change might not happen overnight.

Why support crap?

As long as people are bying cheap food with suspicious ingredients, dog food manufactures keep making it and less educated people keep feeding it to their dogs. Require quality and we will get more quality. And maybe the prices would become lower too since there would be higher demand for the food and also healthy competition between the high quality dog food brand. Who knows?

The next post will be a giveaway.  If you're worried that you might miss it, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dog Food Week - How much does the high quality dog food cost?

This is the second post of my Dog Food Week. The previous post was "How to detect the quality of the dog food? If you want to know more about the Dog Food Week or the schedule, read the introduction post.

Introduction

In my previous post I said that the dog food with highest meat content is also the dog food with highest quality. Unfortunately the dog food with highest meat content can also be the most expensive one. But is it really?

Let's take an example: In our veterinarian's they sell Hill's Science Diet (Plan) with a high price. And you could rationalize that it's high quality food because a) the price is high and b) it's your vet that's selling it, they should be interested about your dog's health. But even the Science Diet puppy food ingredient list starts with "ground whole grain corn". So despite the high price it's a low quality dog food.

So basically the price tag tells nothing about the quality of the food. The food can be pricey, but still be considered as a low quality dog food.

Quality costs, but so does crap too

The truth is that high quality dog food is not cheap... when compared to food with lower than low quality. The reason they make these low quality dog foods is that they can sell them cheaper and people would rather buy them than the better ones with pricier price tags. And sometimes they have played their cards right and are able to sell crappy dog food with ridiculous price tags like in the case of Hill's.

So to be able to see which dog foods are actually worth the money and which are not, you need tounderstand what makes a quality dog food. I've heard about so many cases in which someone thinks he or she is feeding the dog with high quality food because the food is from the vet or from special pet store and because it's ridiculously expensive! I don't know about you, but I am very willing to pay for dog food, but only when I know it's really worth the money.

The right starting point

Money is probably the first thing that prevents people from feeding their dogs with high quality food. But I think that comparing prices is not the right starting point when it comes to food. Of course everything sounds expensive when you have to pay it at once! Last time we spent 140€ for dog food and people think we are crazy. But instead of thinking about the price, you should evaluate how much you are willing pay for your dog's dinner per day. And if you're on the poorer side, you can think how much you can afford. Then simply find the dog food with most highest quality that falls into that budget.

Example

I decide that I'm willing to pay around 1€ per day and then I start to search for high quality foods that are easily available. Eventually I choose Orijen Regional Red, which has rated with six stars in Dog Food Analysis.

Orijen Regional Red costs 26,99€ per 2.5kg in Zooplus.fi online store. It does sound pricey because it's only two and a half kilos. Then I search for the feeding information from their website:

Daily Ration and Feeding Guide
WEIGHT OF DOG ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
(g/cups per day)
LESS ACTIVE
(g/cups per day)
1-10 kg/2-22 lb 75-150g/¾-1¼ c 55-115 g/½-1 c
10-20 kg/22-45 lb 150-275g/1¼-2¼ c 115-200 g/1-1¾ c
20-35 kg/45-75 lb 275-375g/2¾-3¾ c 200-275 g/1¾-2½ c
35-50 kg/75-110 lb 375-500g/3¾-5 c 275-400 g/2½-3½ c
50-65 kg/110-145 lb 500-575 g/5-5¾ c 400-525 g/3½-4¾ c
65-80 kg/145-175 lb 575-675 g/5¾-6¾ c 525-690 g/4¾-6 c

My dog weights about 5.5kg and I think she is "less active". The daily portion would be about 80g.

2.5kg / 80g = 31 days

Now I know that this bag of dog food would last for 31 days.

26.99€ / 31 days = 0,90€

So feeding my dog with this high quality food would cost 90cents, which is less than I was ready to pay!

Size matters

The smaller your dog, the less the quality food will cost per day. However, big dogs win something too. The dog food is usually cheaper in a big bag than in a smaller one, but big bags are inconvinient with small dogs, especially since you should change the dog food every now and then.

But no matter the dog size, you can always aim at the best and then make compromises due the money issue. Maybe your Saint Bernard eats like a horse, but you can still make sure that you're feeding him/her with the best food you possible can.

The next topic is "Why to feed your dog with high quality food?" If you're worried that you might miss it, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dog Food Week - How to detect the quality of the dog food?

This is the first post of my Dog Food Week. If you want to know more about the Dog Food Week or the schedule, read the introduction post.

Topic introduction

Before we got Papu, I thought that dog food is a simple thing. That you would just go to the store and pick what ever appeals to you, and that's fine. And you could even buy dog food from the vet to make sure that the dog food is high quality food. Obviously, it's not that simple. The quality of the dog food varies a lot, and the price of the food rarely tells anything about the quality of the food. Sometimes cheap dog food can be ten times better than the very expensive one.

Most dog foods are made for the humans, and by that I don't mean that humans can eat them too. I mean that they are trying to make the food appealing to us so we would buy them. They seem to try so hard that they spend all their budget to market the dog food instead of actually making the quality dog food that they promise in the fancy package.

I think it's hard for an unexperienced dog owner to know what to believe when they read the labels of the dog foods. They all promise to be the best dog food for your dog, and each dog food sounds better than the previous one. I myself found this out when I was picking the dog food for Papu for the first time. I was driven to make the best choice for her, yet I had no idea how to make the decision.

What to look in ingredient lists?

The decision should be based on the ingredient list of the dog food. They are easy to read once you know what to look for. The order in the ingredient list is based of weight. The more something weights, the higher it goes in the list. And since dogs are carnivores, the first ingredient in the ingredient list should always be meat. If it's something else, like grains or plant material, it's a low quality dog food. The line between low quality and medium quality is that easy to draw, and it can be done with just one quick look!

However, you should be aware of "splitting". Ingredient list with split ingredients might look like this "meat, corn, another part of corn, yet another part of corn". It looks like there's plenty of meat, because meat is the first ingredient. But if you could count all those corn parts together, they might actually outweigh the meat. They do this to make the dog food sound better, but if you train yourself look for this, you won't be fooled. You should also be vary if there are too many different grains in the list, since they might outweigh the meat too.

The third thing to pay attention to is the form of the meat. If the meat is in "meat" form, it has been weighted before it has been dried, which obviously makes it heavier and therefore higher in the ingredient list. When the water is removed, it probably drops further down the list. If the meat is in "meat meal" form, then you don't have to count the water factor. The meat should also be identified: chicken instead of poultry etc.

Examples

I have chosen some examples of real ingredient lists so I could demonstrate how easy it is to make the basic analyze of the dog food quality:

Corn Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat...

The first ingredient is "corn meal", so this automatically falls into "low quality" category.

Lamb, Brewers Rice, Corn Meal, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Egg Product, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken Fat...


This look good at first, since the first ingredient is meat. However the meat is in "meat" form so in reality it should be lower in the list. Then the real first ingredient is most likely to be grain...  I don't now have to analyze it any further because based on this information I know that it's a low quality dog food.

Cereals, meat and animal derivatives (min. 4% chicken in chicken kibble), vegetables (min. 4% vegetable in vegetable kibble) oils and fats, minerals, vegetable protein extracts...

What's in this?! I rate this lower than low quality.

Fresh boneless chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, russet potato, fresh pacific salmon, herring meal, sweet potato, peas, fresh lake whitefish, fresh northern walleye, chicken fat...

There are many meat products in this ingredient list, and they are all identified as well. Some of the meat is in "meat" form, but since there are meat in "meat meal" form too, it's quite safety to assume that the meat content in this dog food is high and therefore I place this in the high quality category.

Closure

It's relatively easy to detect if the food is low quality. Detecting whether the food is "medium quality" or "high quality" is harder. The quality is the higher the more meat it contains, simplified... But since the dog food manufacturers aren't always keen to share the exact percentages of the ingredients, it's sometimes hard to know for sure. Luckily the high quality dog food brands usually share this information openly.

There are also plenty of good dog food review websites on the Internet. They can help you to determine the quality of the dog food you're thinking about. My favorite website is Dog Food Analysis. They have reviewed dog foods solemnly by their ingredient lists and rated the food with stars from one to six They also have many interesting articles listed in their FAQ.

The next topic is "How much does the high quality food cost?" If you're worried that you might miss it, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Dog Food Week!

Yesterday I woke up early and for some mysterious reason I also felt really energetic. I had nothing to do before school, so I thought I could spend my morning writing that blog post about dog food I have planned for months and months. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, I am really passionate about dog food so I end up writing something that I usually refer as "megapost" or as "the post that is so long that nobody will ever read it".

So therefore I'm announcing this week as the Dog Food Week. I'm going to break my megapost into smaller parts and post them through the week. That way I have a chance that someone actually reads them. There is also going to be a giveaway at the end of the week, which is something totally new. I have never had I giveaway in this blog, so it's about the time. The prize of the giveaway will be something dog food related since this is a Dog Food Week.

Here is the raw schedule:

The Dog Food Week
  • How to detect the quality of the dog food? - Tuesday
  • How much does the high quality dog food cost? - Wednesday
  • Why to feed your dog with high quality dog food? - Friday
  • Giveaway - Saturday
If you have other dog food related topics you would like me to cover, or just questions about dog food, drop a comment. I will take all suggestions to my consideration, and I will gladly answer any questions.

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