We ordered Bubbs his yummy dog food, Proportions from SmartPak, last Saturday.  I’m so happy with the LiveSmart dog food, Hearty Chicken Stew PortionPaks, and Harvest Mix fruits & veggies.  Bubbs LOVES breakfast & dinner time so much, and if he’s happy, his Mommy is happy!

You can read our full review on these products, HERE.

(Free samples are no longer available, and I’m pretty sure that the original Proportions website is no longer available either.  To purchase this food you’ll need to go through the SmartPak website.)

This food is a wonderful choice of dog food, and to think of what we used to feed our little man, I’m pretty grossed out and appalled!  After making the switch over to LiveSmart PortionPaks, I’ve noticed the changes in my little dog, and I’m very happy with the results and these changes.  GOOD changes.  Tina from VetTech.org sent us a great article she posted on her website, and it really shows the importance of feeding your dog a balanced diet, a great quality dog food, human-grade, and not just some dry kibble you’ve scooped out of a bag you purchased either because you had a coupon, got it on sale, etc.  To learn how to properly read a dog food label, and ensure that you understand exactly what you’re feeding your favorite canines, go HERE.

10 Dog Foods That May Lead To Cancer

By Tina Marconi (VetTech.org)

According to Dr. Carol, one out of every five pets is affected with cancer. In fact, she reports on an 80% increase in breast or mammary cancer and a 100% increase in prostate cancer. She attributes this to ineffective cancer treatments and lack of prevention of cancer.

According to Colorado State University, as many as 50% of pets die of cancer, making it a leading cause of pet death. With loads to worry about and treatments being insanely expensive, what can you do now to help prevent cancer in the future? Below, we have gathered ten dog foods that may lead to cancer to keep off of your next shopping trip. Many of these foods have also been known to cause illness in humans and are also a good choice to stay away from in all pet and people foods.

1. Maple Syrup
Found in only one percent of dog food, this may not be a leading cause of cancer but it does feed cancer according to Natural News. The sugar found in it can also cause weight gain, arthritis, hyperactivity, and others. However, this blog entry does get top spots for being part of “Pet Food Ingredients Revealed!” Other shocking entries and cancer causing agents are revealed. Free to read online, you can check out ingredients listed from best to worst, used with the most frequency, and alphabetically.

2. BHT/BHA and Ethoxyquin
These are preservatives that are often used in pet foods to preserve fats and stabilize the entire product. Developed in 1950, Ethoxyquin has actually been shown to have similar properties to Agent Orange, a poison used during the Vietnam War. Humans who were working with it in the rubber industry reported a dramatic rise in such diseases as cancerous skin lesions, loss of hair, blindness, leukemia, fetal abnormalities, and chronic diarrhea. In animals, it has been linked to immune deficiency syndrome, spleen, stomach and liver cancer, along with the same diseases in humans.

3. Cancer Tissue
You read that correctly. According to Precious Pets, animals that have cancer often find themselves becoming part of the pet food industry. With different standards for pet food, many cows, chickens, and other farm animals that are diseased – possibly even with cancer – find themselves becoming part of the pet food chain. Tina Perry has much more on a behind the scenes look at commercial pet food.

4. Genetically Modified Organisms
Also bad for people, genetically engineered food can be bad for dogs. They are often used to accelerate the growth of many crops, including corn, which can find their way into dog food. It is far more difficult to trace these GMO’s in dog food, but there is this entry from Yesterday and Tomorrow. It lists the dangers of genetic engineering and even lists foods that are good for pets.

5. Aflatoxin
This substance is so toxic it actually gets recalled, although not in every state. The toxic chemical is a by-product made by certain types of mold. Although it cannot be read off pet foods that include ingredients on the package, ABC does include a list of recalled foods that recently occurred in seventeen states. Brand names included Pet Pride, Old Yeller, and Kroger Value.

6. Blue 1 and Blue 2
These artificial colorings are used in candy, beverages, and baked goods. They have also been found in pet food and have been known to cause brain tumors in mice, according to Six Wise. You can also view the entire list of 12 dangerous food additives that are bad for both people and pets.

7. Gluten
Did you know that certain people can be allergic to wheat? Keeping in the tradition of what is bad for people is bad for pets, certain dogs can also be allergic to it, leading to a host of unexplained symptoms. While no link to cancer has been drawn, if your pet is having trouble with their diets, gluten may be the reason. Check out this article from Doctor J, an expert in gluten sensitivity in both people and pets.

8. Glyphosate
A current popular agricultural pesticide is known as Roundup. One of its active ingredients is glyphosate, which is highly toxic. Dr. Carol is a holistic veterinarian and warns of the dangers of this pesticide in pet and people foods. DNA damage and permanent mutations are a concern of the veterinarian. She also includes loads of cancer preventing tips for animals which include diet, exercise, vaccinations, spaying, and visiting the vet.

9. Fluoride
That stuff that is supposed to be good for fighting cavities can actually be harmful to pets. The Pet Examiner reported on a study done by the Environmental Working Group on popular dog foods. They found that all the brands of dog food tested all were found to contain bone meal and animal byproducts. It is believed that these ingredients are the source of fluoride contamination. Excessive fluoride can lead to weakened bones and teeth and even cancer.

10. Grains
The Dog Cancer Diet is a site that specializes in help treating diagnosed pets with the best in nutrition. In this section, they recommend that dogs and pets stay away from grains. They did not evolve on grains – which include rice, wheat, and corn – and should not be treated as such. They recommend that owners look for the primary ingredient to be meat. While grains are allowed, they should be farther down the list.

If looking for more on pets and disease, there is more to be found than the above ten dog foods that may lead to cancer. Another good source of cancer information is the Animal Cancer Center. Part of Colorado State University, they are researching and investigating into cancer in animals. Visit to learn more, get treatment options, and even read information about clinical trials.

If looking to avoid the entire host of pet food perils, there are loads of resources on the internet for making your own. Both Allrecipes and Dogtime include loads of homemade recipes for pets, some of which can actually be made on both the cheap and healthy.

This is such a great article written by Tina, go visit her website and this post at VetTech.org.  She has some other really great posts we think you should read and take a look at too!

Chad for IAMS sent us this pretty interesting article about pet owners and only 1 in 10 of us only consider the age of our pets when choosing pet food.  To tell you the truth, I can see how that happens.  We’re out of dog food or we’re getting low so we run to the store and pick up a bag and not even think about it.  Bubbs is going to be 6 years old next month, and according to most veterinarians, 7 years is the age when you should typically switch to a senior food.  *sniff sniff*  :)  He loves his Proportions, and next year we may think about switching the kibble portion of his food over to a be more appropriate for his age, but I might wait until he’s 8.

Denial.

ONLY ONE IN 10 AMERICANS CONSIDER THEIR CAT OR DOG’S AGE WHEN SELECTING FOOD

Pet Parenthood Survey from Iams Reveals Opportunity to Help Consumers Understand Their Pet’s Nutritional Needs at Various Stages of Their Lives

01.18.2011– MASON, OHIO (Jan. 18, 2011) – Results from a national survey* commissioned by Iams® and released today reveal that only 11 percent of U.S. pet owners take the age of a cat or dog as the most important factor when determining which formula to feed their pet. Propelled by this statistic, leading pet food maker Iams is reminding Americans to keep their resolutions to start 2011 off on the right paw by feeding pets a life stage specific diet.

“The new year is a time when we make resolutions to get healthier and improve ourselves, so why not extend that approach to our cat or dog’s overall well-being?” said Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, emergency veterinarian, in Alexandria, VA and a member of the Iams Pet Wellness Council. “I always tell my patients that healthy checkups start on the inside. Feeding a high-quality diet specific to an animal’s age, like Iams Premium Protection, which offers specially formulated life-stage specific diets, is one of the most important ways to ensure four-legged family members lead healthy, happy lives.”

In 2011, Iams is making it easier for pet parents to keep their new year’s resolutions by bringing its most advanced nutrition ever – Iams Premium Protection – to mass retailers nationwide.
“When choosing a food for your cat or dog it is important to select a diet that has the right ingredients for that stage of your pet’s life,” continued Dr. Nelson. “Diet requirements – including protein levels, calories and vitamins and minerals – vary over the life of a pet and, in turn, an animal’s needs change as he grows from a puppy or kitten, to an adult into a senior,” said Nelson.

Oftentimes pet owners are not sure which life stage their cat or dog falls into. As a result, pets might not be receiving the nutrients or nutrients at the right levels critical for optimal health for their age. While life stage can vary between species and breeds, general guidelines include:
• One to 12 months: Kitten and Puppy formula includes DHA for brain and vision development;
• One to seven years: Adult formula includes HMP to keep teeth clean during and after meals, as well as balanced omega 6:3 ratio for healthy skin and coat;
• Seven years and older: Senior formula with L-carnitine helps burn fat and keep muscles lean.

“Iams is deeply committed to enhancing the well-being of dogs and cats throughout their entire life,” said Neelam Modi, brand manager, Iams North America. “It is this commitment that inspired our nutritionists to work closely with veterinarians to develop Iams Premium Protection for each life stage.”
Other factors the survey revealed that pet parents consider when purchasing food for their cat or dog include:
• Read Labels – Only one of out of three respondents (30 percent) rank ingredients as the most important criteria for which food to feed their cat or dog. Reading pet food labels is essential to ensure cats and dogs receive optimal nutrition.
• Listen to the Experts – Nearly four out of ten (36 percent) pet owners cite personal recommendations from trusted resources such as veterinarians, as the most important factor of diet selection. Pet parents should consider looking to their veterinarian for nutrition recommendations.
• Invest in Your Pet – Nearly one in four surveyed rank price as a deciding factor when choosing their pet’s food. Feeding pets a proper diet based on age is a lifelong investment in a cat and dog’s health.

Iams Premium Protection comes in three formulas for each species (dog and cat), which include: Kitten or Puppy, Adult and Senior. For more information about Iams and its pet food formulas, visit www.iams.com.

Survey Methodology
The above sourced findings are from an Ipsos poll conducted October 22 – 25, 2010. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,006 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. were interviewed online via Ipsos’ U.S. Online Express Omnibus. With this sample size, results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled.

Go HERE to check some informative videos on the IAMS YouTube page!

Thanks, Chad & IAMS!

Last month Dogswell® launched their new certified Low Glycemic Index dog food, Nutrisca™.  Certified by the Glycemic Research Institue®, this new diet is one of the only grain-free dry dog food diets that does not incorporate potatoes or tapioca, both of which are high on the Glycemic Index), and instead uses peas and chickpeas which are lower on the scale, but high in protein and fiber.  Each recipe offers balanced carbohydrates for sustainable energy, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and glossy coat, antioxidants and super-fruits to support immune and urinary tract health and amino acid bound chelated minerals that are highly digestible to ensure optimum nutrient absorption.

Now, if you’re an avid All Dog Blog follower, you know that Bubbs isn’t the easiest one to please when it comes to food (and even some treats), and I really wasn’t sure what he’d think about this Nutrisca™ stuff.  When Dogswell® sent us a sample bag to try and review I really honestly thought he wouldn’t eat it.  He’s the…*sniff sniff* *give mom crazed look of “This dry stuff is boring, put some of that yummy Proportions™ Pumpkin Stew ALL over it and I’m down, Mom!” kinda dog.  However, he surprised me BIG TIME when I poured about 1/4 cup of Nutrisca™ into a bowl, he gave it a sniff and was off!  He ate all of it!  Yes, I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

After I snipped off a corner of the bag and poured some in, I gave it a sniff myself and this stuff is pretty enticing.  It smells like it has A LOT of flavor for kibble and it really must be pretty flavorful for Bubbs to down his whole bowl in one sitting.  It looks pretty nutritious too, not as dry as some kibbles we’ve tried.  You can really tell there is oils infused into this food, good oils such as Vitamin E & Salmon Oil.

Upon reading the ingredient list we noticed the first ingredient is Chicken & there is also fruits and veggies listed too!  There is not ONE grain listed either.  I went back and took a look at his old food (before we switched over to Proportions™ meals) and you would not believe the amount of grain!  Brewers rice, corn, corn meal, soy flour, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, corn bran…yea, pretty bad.  We’re still phasing out some of his old food, but as soon as we’re finished with it we think we may switch the kibble portion of his diet over to this new Dogswell® Nutrisca™.  Now that Proportions® gives you the option to order the Chicken Stew in Pumpkin Soup & Harvest Mix by itself, and allows you to use our own kibble, I think we’re definitely going to switch him over to this new food.

I love that there is no grain & potato starch in this food, and I love that he likes it!

According to the founder & Chairman of Dogswell®, Marco Giannini:

“We wanted to wow consumers by creating a food that addressed their need for grain-free and low-glycemic while still delivering premium ingredients, optimal protein, and taste that dogs will gobble up.  We’re confident that Nutrisca will be in a class of it’s own.”

We’re pretty sure Dogswell® got this one right on the first try.  They’ve met all the requirements that pet owners want, and the nutritional & taste-value that dogs need & want!  Nutrisca™ is offered in both Chicken & Chickpea Recipe & Lamb & Chickpea Recipe and is approved for ALL life stages!  Puppies can eat it too!  You can purchase either of these recipes in 4lb, 15lb, 28lb, and 1lb trial size bags.

Dogswell® Nutrisca™ dog food REVIEW:

  • NUTRITION =   (5 stars)
  • TASTE =   (4.5 stars)
  • LOOK =   (4 stars)
  • ACCEPTANCE/EXCITEMENT =   (4.5 stars)
  • PACKAGING =   (3.5 stars)

For an OVERALL rating =

/ (4 out of 5 stars)

We found Nutrisca™ over on the Petco website, but I couldn’t find it over at Petsmart.com.  It’s possible they might not have it available yet, but if you find it at your store let me know!  I might head out later this afternoon to see who’s carrying it.  You can also order it directly through the Dogswell® website HERE.  We’re super excited about this Nutrisca, and the way dog food companies are beginning to shape up one bowl at a time.  We’ll be keeping you updated on Bubbs progress with his new diet and how’s liking his slow switch to eating better, healthier, and soon-to-be grain-free & low-glycemic!

Thanks Dogswell®!

Disclosure:  My opinions are my honest and thoughtful reviews and were not influenced by any source.  I was not monetarily compensated for this post.  We received two trial size bags of Dogswell® Nutrisca™ to facilitate this review.

Not sure if most of you heard, but WE WON!

Yep, our little blog won the big Proportions Canine Nutrition Blogger Challenge and we could not be more thrilled (and surprised)!  This contest has allowed us to try a new innovative dog food that Bubbs absolutely loves, and others the chance to try it too.  But what it’s really given us is the opportunity to write and share about something we love, canine nutrition.  Giving your dog a great food is the start to a long, healthy, happy life and Proportions has really shown us they can help us do that.

We’d also like to say “Congrats!” to My Tail Hurts From Wagging Too Much (2nd Place) & DogTipper (3rd Place) for their BIG wins as well!  We’ll be adding a link to their sites, so you guys can check ’em out too!  Not only do we want to say congrats to them, but also everyone else who participated in the challenge AND to all of our readers who called and said “ALL DOG BLOG SENT US!”.  All of you bloggers did a great job in not only promoting Proportions, and sharing this great food with your readers and allowing them the chance to try something great!  Good job, everyone!  And a HUGE thanks to our readers!  We couldn’t have done it without you!  You guys ROCK!

Check out the press release announcing our BIG win:

PROPORTIONS ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE CANINE NUTRITION BLOGGER CHALLENGE

Prizes include coveted spot on Canine Nutrition Expert Tracie Hotchner’s Dog Talk radio show and cash prizes

PLYMOUTH, MA. – (September 21, 2010) Proportions, a new canine nutrition brand that is supported by a six-time Inc., 5000 animal health corporation, announced  the winners of its “2010 Canine Nutrition Blogger Challenge” a contest designed to engage and  reward the blogger community for its ongoing commitment to the betterment of canine well being through proper nutrition.

The contest ran in conjunction with Proportions’ Canine Nutrition University, a free, online series of topical content designed to educate dog owners about fresh ways of thinking about how they feed their dogs.  Each contestant received samples of Proportions “whole food” nutrition meals, along with a lesson plan from Tracie Hotchner, professor of Canine Nutrition University and renowned pet nutrition expert.

Contestants were encouraged to educate themselves and their readers about overall nutrition facts and compare that with the Proportions’ program.  The contest garnered amazing results and after a difficult selection process Proportions’ is pleased to announce the winners:

·         First place goes to Erin Dunn, All Dog Blog

·         Second place to Michelle Maskaly,  My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much,

·         Third place to Paris Permenter DogTipper

The first place winner will receive $200 and a spot as a guest on Dog Talk® radio with Hotchner, author of the Dog Bible and a 2010 GRACIE Award recipient, the radio equivalent of an Oscar, where she was named “Outstanding Host of an Entertainment / Information Show on Public Radio.”

The prizes for second and third place winners are gift cards in the amount of $50 for second place and $25 for third place.

Although not everyone placed in the contest, Proportions believes everyone who participated is a winner because they and their followers were able to learn more about canine nutrition and the Proportions program.

According to competition winner, Erin Dunn of All Dog Blog, the blogger competition allowed her the chance to compare Proportions against her dog’s current diet.  “[My dog’s] current food has ONE good ingredient. ONE. But Proportions has ELEVEN. ELEVEN! That is a HUGE difference in quality. HUGE.”

Additionally, second place winner Michelle Maskaly of My Tail Hurts from Wagging So Much has offered to donate her winnings to the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc. in New Jersey that is recovering from a recent flood.

Proportions plans to continue their educational outreach to bloggers through additional competitions. To be informed of upcoming challenges, please contact Caitlin@truenorthpr.com

Proportions has created a new, whole food canine nutrition program that encourages reducing the amount of kibble that is fed, replacing the calories in kibble with a human-grade protein-rich chicken stew and real fruits and vegetables, all in custom portions based on each dog’s unique needs.

To start learn more about the nutrition program and to receive a sample please visit www.proportions.com or call (800) 860-4956.

Proportions is backed by SmartPak™ Canine, a web and catalog destination for food, nutritional supplements and a variety of top-quality dog products which provides thoughtful, custom nutrition to enhance and extend the lives of animals. To learn more about SmartPak™ Canine please visit: www.smartpak.com.

Check out the posts we featured about Proportions that brought us First Place:

Yes, we’re still in a little daze and disbelief that we won, but we are so thankful that we’ve had such an opportunity to work with this great company that offers dog owners and their dogs what they want, need, and deserve!  And don’t think that just because this contest is over, we’re done telling you how much we love Proportions™! :)

Thanks, Proportions™!

Here’s a little video of Scott Kirsner from the Boston.com taste-testing Proportions himself while on a visit to SmartPak in MA!  This cracked us up, and thought you might enjoy it too!

We’ll keep you updated on everything that happens, and when we’ll be on Dog Talk with Tracie Hotchner!  We’re so excited to be talking with her, and we really hope we don’t sound too nervous!  We’ve never been on the radio before!

Stay Tuned!


We recently did a post telling you a little bit about Proportions™ dog food, the new innovative way to feed your dog and how to get a $5 Trial Pack.  Since we’ve had the chance to try it ourselves, we thought we’d tell you a little bit more about it, what we think, and why YOU should let your dogs give it a try too!

Lately, I’ve been really curious about what our readers have been feeding their dogs?  Everyone has their own opinions and thinks what they are feeding their dog IS the best.  To feed raw or not?  To go Organic or Premium?  Or make your own diet at home?  I really enjoy the topic of dog food because it is so controversial.

Since the infamous dog food recall of 2007, the subject of commercial dog food is a hot debate, and probably won’t go away soon, nor quietly.  And why should it?  Most dog food companies are still not giving us and our dogs what they need and deserve.  In all seriousness, what would you do if THIS happened to you?  Or go HERE to read some comments about what other dog owners are going through right now.  Honestly, the huge wake up call for me came when I found out they used “spray on flavoring”.  Just like you, I’ve been living under a rock when it comes to commercial dog food.  No more!  I don’t know about you, but if Bubbs became sick because of something I offered him, I’d feel so gulity.  And hurt.  And mislead.  And Angry.  And every emotion under the sun.

The truth is, if they won’t change…WE will have to.

I think a lot of us are just plain tired of the mystery.  How can any of us really know what is in our dog’s food?  How can we really be sure that what we are feeding our dogs is safe and nutritious.  The answer is simple, and obvious.  We can reject mass produced, artificial “junk food” for dogs and begin to feed them meals we have prepared for them in our own kitchens where we make our own meals, for our families.  They are a part of the family after all!  It’s time we stop scooping mystery formed-kibbles from a bag into their bowls and expect them to be excited!

Since we’ve been thinking of switching Bubbs over to something a little more nutritious, and more us his alley ‘taste-wise’, we’ve been seriously considering a couple different brands, Proportions™ being one of them.  Proportions has been around since 1999 and is a SmartPak™ sister company that specializes in pre-packaged, complete, and balanced meals that are designed specifically to YOUR dog and his or her needs.  They are also one of the fastest growing private companies in America, making the Inc. 500 list twice!

According to the Proportions website:

Proportions customizes your dog’s meals according to the seven key factors a canine nutritionist would review. Our easy-to-use online Calculator determines the precise daily caloric requirements for your dog, enabling us to customize his portions in proportion to his size, age, energy level and body mass. Each meal you receive has only the calories your dog needs to stay fit and healthy.

And instead of buying a large bag of food that may go rancid before you get to the bottom of it, our meals are individually portioned and wrapped, preserving freshness naturally, and labeled with your dog’s name. Every 28 days, your dog’s meals are delivered to your door.

Wholesome nutrition and sensible portions means higher energy levels, healthy coat and skin, a happier demeanor, better body condition and, in many cases, a longer life.

It makes sense right?!

Well, we certainly believe so and so does Bubbs.  Our little guy was very enthused to try this stuff from the get go.  You have NO IDEA how hard it was to get photos of the packaging and of the actual food in his bowl (below)!  He was whining and jumping all over me!  First, I read the instructions on how to serve it.  I opened the ‘Crunchy Blend’ and poured about half the package into his bowl.  *sniff sniff sniff* *looks at me* *Okay, I’m interested*  I then went to Step 2 and opened the ‘Stew’.  It all went downhill from there.  *sniff sniff sniff sniff* *sniff sniff sniff* *jumping whining* *please give me* *give me plleeeeeaaaasssee* *maybe if I give her kisses, lots of kisses she’ll let me have some!*  I could barely put on Step 3, the ‘Harvest Blend’!  The ‘Stew’ is definitely his favorite.

Here is a beautiful photo of it all put together in his bowl…it’s the only one I could get.

This stuff is 5 Star Restaurant-Quality dog food, I’m telling you.

Bubbs has never been THIS excited to eat.  Never.  And you know what, that made ME feel like I’m finally doing my job as his mom.  I was excited that HE was excited.  No more dry, mystery kibble for us.

I’ve been getting extra kisses all morning and he’s sleeping off his delicious breakfast on my lap.  He’s happy, comfortable, and FULL!  When he’s happy and comfortable, I’M happy and comfortable!

Proportions™ Dog Food Review (out of 5 stars):

  • NUTRITION =
  • TASTE =
  • LOOK =
  • ACCEPTANCE/EXCITEMENT =
  • PACKAGING =

For an OVERALL rating =

  • /

Okay, okay…I know I mentioned and promised FREE Samples!  We’re getting there!

All Dog Blog has teamed up with Proportions and their wonderful PR Rep, Caitlin to give you and your pups a chance to try this amazing food for FREE too!  No catch.  No shipping fee.  Nothing but a delicious, nutritious, balanced meal for your pup arriving on your front door step.  We couldn’t be more excited about this, and excited for YOU and your dogs to be able to bring you this great opportunity!

Here is how to get your FREE Samples of Proportions dog food:

****UPDATE: Due to overwhelming demand from our awesome readers sending emails (poor, Lea!), Proportions is asking that we please call 800-860-4956 M-F, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM and mention All Dog Blog to receive your free samples!  Again, I apologize for any additional inconvenience this may have caused you on our behalf, as well as on Proportions!  Don’t worry, you can still receive your FREE samples, we’re just going to have to get them to you a different way!  We’d like to thank everyone for being so patient and adaptable to this situation!  BTW…You guys ROCK!

Thanks, Proportions™.  Thanks, for being an honest, reliable company dog owners can trust.  Thanks, for finally being the company to step out of the norm and offer us what we want, and most importantly, what OUR DOGS WANT.  We are so grateful we’ve had the opportunity to try and review your wonderful, amazing, out of this world, and ‘out-of-the-bag’ dog food.  And Bubbs is too!

Disclosure:  My opinions are my honest and thoughtful reviews and were not influenced by any source.  I was not monetarily compensated for this post.  We received two samples of Proportions™ Custom Whole Food Meals to facilitate this review.

ABC News had a segment on this morning about the recent Salmonella outbreak in pet foods, and had a great message for all of pet owners out there on how to keep ourselves safe too.

Watch below…

It’s funny I should come across this NOW, right after I filled up Bubbs’ bowl of food, and NOW I’m typing on my keyboard.  Anyone have any Lysol to share?  I’m thinking it’s time to switch over to Sojos or Proportions.  We have some Proportions on the way, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about that right now.

I had no IDEA they SPRAYED ON FLAVORING.

*sigh*

When will dog food companies get it straight, this is NOT what pet owners want for their pets anymore!  Times have changed, and pets are no longer PETS, they are FAMILY MEMBERS and no wonder we have an overweight pet population.  I feel safer offering him what’s on MY plate, then filling up his bowl with Lord knows what.  If it’s safe for me, it’s safe for him, right?

More on THIS later.

P.S.  For more information on how to read a dog food label, visit our post we’ve written HERE.  It’s a MUST READ.

We came across a great project Purina® has started to get overweight pets back to their desired weight called Project: Pet Slim Down™!  In their effort to help stop pet obesity, Purina’s new project follows 8 overweight dogs on their journey back to health using Veterinary Diet® OM, or Overweight Management diet, and good ‘ole fashioned exercise for 90 days.

Pet obesity is a growing concern in this country.  According to a 2009 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, “45% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.”  That’s almost HALF of the dogs in this country!

Over at the Pet Slim Down™ website you can join the movement to keep track of your pet’s progress by using the tools to keep YOU motivated, to keep your dog motivated and on their way back to health.  They’ve also incorporated Facebook to easily share this journey with your family and friends!

I’ve seen a lot of overweight canines (and felines) in my day, and as a pet owner myself I know how easy it is go give into those pleading eyes, and the desire to share whatever it is WE are eating with them.  Oh, I know.  Once you start, it’s hard to stop.  It’s tough.  However, it’s important that we be good role models for them, they are our children after all, and we need and want them to be healthy, stay healthy, and live long and happy lives with us, don’t we?

I think all of us should jump on board this movement, even if you don’t feed Purina OM, to ensure your dog is as healthy as he can be!

If you decide it’s time to get crackin’ on your dog or cat’s weight problem, visit your vet for an assessment and a Body Condition System® score and grab your printable $20 coupon HERE for OM Overweight Management® or JM Joint Mobility® to get started right away!  Plus, they also have a great offer to keep you going with a Buy 3, get the 4th FREE!  Remember, these Veterinary Diets® are only being sold through your veterinarian,  you cannot go to the store and just pick up a bag of this stuff.  If your veterinarian does not sell Purina® Veterinary Diets®, let them know you’d like to offer it and join this Project!  I’m sure he/she will be on board and LOVE to go on this journey with you!

Visit the Project:  Pet Slim Down™ website today for more information on pet obesity, tips, tools, and how to get your dog (or cat) started on the journey back to health!  And don’t forget, you are NOT alone!

Thanks, Purina®!

Head over and join Dogster’s Proportions™ Dog Food group HERE, take the Proportions™ Whole Food Challenge by answering 5 simple questions, and you’ll be automatically entered to win 2 FREE months of their fabulous dog food!  You’ll have to register with Dogster first, if you don’t have an account already.

Proportions™ dog food is made from the finest human-grade ingredients, comes in complete and balanced proportions specifically for YOUR dog’s needs, and delivered to your door EVERY month.  It really doesn’t get any better than that, does it?!

If you head over to the Proportions™ website and click on ‘Get A Sample‘, they’ll ask you some questions about your pup and it will calculate the specifics on what Proportions™ is best for your dog.  If you decide you’d like to give it a try, you can enter the PROMO CODE:  FreeMonth2 to receive your second month completely FREE, and you’ll also receive a FREE 10-Day Starter Kit to make the transition to the food easier!  If you’ve got a picky pup, like we do, they also have the option to do a $5 Risk-Free Trial, with NO SHIPPING charge, and a coupon for 25% off your first shipment order!!

Based on Bubbs’ criteria for Proportions™, his daily meals would only cost about $1.32/day!!  Wow.

We’re dyin’ to try this stuff!  It sounds amazing!

Thanks, Dogster & Proportions™!

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Purina® just sent me some great information about a new nutritional breakthrough food they are now offering for older dogs called Vibrant Maturity® 7+ Senior Formula!  It’s been enhanced with botanical oils that provide your senior canine a balanced, nutritious, and benefits they’ll need to remain healthy and young, even as they begin to slow down a bit.

You can read about it in more detail below!

NEW PURINA ONE® NUTRITIONAL BREAKTHROUGH

HELPS OLD DOGS LEARN NEW TRICKS

Special Blend of Enhanced Botanical Oils Helps Improve Brain Function in Older Dogs

ST. LOUIS, July 21, 2009 – What if you could help your older dog remember things that he knew like when he was younger, regain his interest in his surroundings and improve his ability to be trained?  What if you could actually help your old dog learn new tricks and improve his quality of life during his senior years?

Purina ONE® brand dog food is unveiling a nutritional breakthrough discovered by Purina scientists that will be available exclusively in the Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Senior formula in July 2009.  The breakthrough centers on a special blend of enhanced botanical oils that help improve the brain function in older dogs.  The technology behind this innovation is neuron (brain cell)-targeted nutrition which provides an alternate energy source to help the older dog’s brain cells work more like when they were younger.

“Purina ONE is dedicated to transforming the lives of pets by using optimal ingredients that work with a pet’s body the way nature intended,” said Chris O’Neil, Purina ONE brand manager.  “The number of older dogs in the U.S. is increasing and we take great pride in developing a nutritional solution that helps improve brain function and promotes overall quality of life for aging dogs.”

Nearly half of the U.S. dog population is over age six, which is the age when dogs begin to show age-dependent decline in learning and memory.  According to a Purina survey of senior dog owners, one-third of the owners reported that their older dogs were less active and slept more.  And, 40 percent said their dogs had more trouble getting around, forgot where their water bowl was and forgot how to go outside, so were having more accidents in the home.

“Dogs start to show cognitive function decline around middle age,” said Dr. Mark Roos, director of product development for Purina.  “Some older dogs may eventually develop aging behaviors including memory loss, disorientation, reduced social interaction and learning impairment.”

According to Dr. Roos, there are many factors that may contribute to the cognitive function decline in middle-aged and older dogs.  “One reason is that the neurons (brain cells) in middle-aged and older dogs have reduced ability to utilize blood glucose,” explained Dr. Roos.  “Our goal was to find a nutritional solution that would provide an alternative energy source to naturally nourish the older dog’s brain.”

Dr. Roos says the normal energy source for most cells, including the brain, is blood glucose (or blood sugar).  As dogs age, their brains use these energy sources less effectively.  Neuron-targeted nutrition supplies an alternate source of energy to brain neurons.  The nutritional breakthrough discovered by Purina scientists is a special blend of enhanced botanical oils that helps the dog’s brain cells work more effectively –like when they were younger.

Purina scientists conducted a feeding study with 24 senior dogs over the age of seven to confirm this nutritional breakthrough enhances the cognitive abilities of older dogs.  In a series of cognitive tests, the research confirmed that the 12 dogs who ate a super premium dry dog food formulated with the special blend of enhanced botanical oils showed improvement in their brain function, including memory, learning and reasoning compared to senior dogs in the control group.

“The dogs who ate the formula with the enhanced botanical oils had a greater ability to remember things, such as where a hidden object was located, and learn new behaviors in a series of tests,” said Dr. Roos.  “They also had a greater ability to adapt to new situations and use reasoning compared to the control group.”

The enhanced botanical oils will be available exclusively in the Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Senior dry dog food formula, which also provides additional nutritional benefits for senior dogs:

    • Real chicken contributes protein for strong muscles and mobility;
    • Natural sources of Glucosamine help maintain healthy joints;
    • Antioxidant-rich nutrition contributes to immune health;
    • Omega fatty acids and vitamin E help maintain healthy skin and coat

“Purina nutritionists and scientists understand how a pet’s body works, and how to unlock the power of nature to promote optimal pet health,” said O’Neil, “They have spent many years discovering the true nutritional potential of nature’s ingredients.  And, their use of enhanced botanical oils as a nutritional solution to help improve brain function in older dogs is an example of the innovation Purina continues to bring to pet health.”

Purina ONE® offers a variety of super premium pet food formulas to meet the needs of puppies, kittens, adult and senior dogs and cats.  The product is available in grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide.  For more information, visit www.purinaone.com.

About Nestle Purina PetCare

The North American headquarters for Nestlé Purina PetCare is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Missouri, where Ralston Purina was founded more than a century ago. Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. One of the leading global players in the pet food industry, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of the Swiss-based Nestlé S.A. – the world’s largest food company.

I know that Bubbs is only 5 and is still a puppy to me, yet I know that in a couple years he’ll be closer to becoming a senior dog.  If I could keep him young and vibrant until the very end, I would, and now with Vibrant Maturity® I can.  When it comes time for Bubbs to be considered a ‘senior’ dog, you bet I’ll be feeding him this food!

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Being a loving and devoted dog owner you probably always make sure that your dog is comfortable as possible, and keep a keen eye out for any signs or symptoms they may not be.  Being that its spring, and the start of flea season, you may interpret your dog’s itching, scratching, and rubbing all over the carpet and furniture as a flea infestation and run out for flea meds and foggers.

It could be fleas, don’t get me wrong, those little buggers are extremely difficult to keep out of the house and off your dog; however, there could be other possible options if your canine continues to itch and scratch after being continuously treated month after month.  Ruling out fleas is easy since we can see them, environmental stimulants aren’t as easy and require a trip to the vet for further testing, but one thing you can try at home before heading to the vet’s office is determining whether it’s a food allergy.

Yes, just like us humans who can be allergic to certain foods, or ingredients in foods (peanuts, wheat, etc.), our dogs can grow to develop such an allergy to theirs.  Even if your canine has been eating the same food for months or years, he/she can still develop sensitivity to one of the ingredients in that food even with no prior problems.  Over time their immune system can acquire enough antibodies to finally result in an allergic reaction.

Some dog owners can easily and often confuse food intolerance with a food allergy, so let’s clear that up:

  • Food intolerance often appears as a bad reaction to a food the first time your dog eats it, is often caused by a toxin in the food, and usually takes the form of intestinal distress (nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, and/or vomiting).
  • Food allergy exhibits symptoms of severe itchy skin, chronic ear problems, and dogs will usually lick their paws, and chew on their legs and feet.

Now that’s distinguished, let’s dive in on how this can be done at home (I suggest discussing this with your dog’s veterinarian before attempting to change your dog’s diet for any reason).

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Finding the Source of the Allergy

In the past, the main allergens that tend to affect dogs the most are dairy products, cereal grains, and beef.  When getting started on determining if your dog’s dealing with a food allergy, your best bet is to try and eliminate all of these from his/her diet, and feed a single protein and single carbohydrate you’ve never fed before for approximately two or three months.  This is called an “elimination trial” diet, and it will be able to tell you if the change in diet has been working.  Because a food allergy tends to take months, or years to develop, your dog should not become allergic, or exhibit signs of an allergy during that two or three months you’re doing the trial.

Here is a list of items you should try to avoid, and eliminate from your dog’s diet:

  • Wheat, Barley, Rye (bread, snack crackers, treats, wheat/gluten, etc)
  • Dairy Products (milk, cheese, whey, casein, dried skim milk, etc.)
  • Soy
  • Corn (including corn gluten meal)
  • Beef & Fish (only if allergy symptoms are present/persistent because these are “secondary” allergies)
  • Artificial preservatives and colors (you want to see “preserved with Vitamin E”)

By eliminating these from the diet, you’ll be getting rid of 80% of all food allergens, including the three major sources of food intolerance (gluten, casein, and soy).  You’ll also have to consider the types of treats, table food, and stop offering chew treats (raw hides, bones, etc.) too.  For example, even Milk Bones® are full of wheat, artificial preservatives, and animal proteins many pets are allergic to, so you should take great care to read the list of ingredients before purchasing them.  (If you need information about reading a dog food label, you can visit one of my previous posts HERE.)

Your vet may recommend a commercial food which will suit the purposes of your elimination trial diet, or suggest preparing your dog’s food at home.  However, one precaution if you do decide to make it at home is to make it nutritionally balanced with all the essential vitamins, trace minerals, and fatty acids necessary to maintain proper canine health.  A supplement may need to be added to the diet in order to achieve this, such as Pet-Tabs.

Here is a list of some recommended commercial diets that may work well with your elimination trial diet (be sure that you full read the list of ingredients before purchasing because not all flavors will work with the trial diet):

The list above is only a few of the diets that may be recommended by your vet to help determine if food allergies is truly the cause for your dog’s itching.  If you have any questions about any specific diet that you find, check the ingredients against the common dog food allergens list I mentioned in the section above, and then contact your veterinarian to see if he/she feels it is appropriate for your dog’s personal medical situation.

If your dog’s symptoms have seriously improved after two or three months on the elimination trial diet, you’ll know that a food allergy has been the issue.  But if your dog’s symptoms haven’t improved, or possibly worsened, you’ll probably have to take more invasive measures to determine the cause.  There are blood tests available that can help you to identify other food allergies, environmental allergens that are affecting your dog which can tell you which specific ones are the cause of your dog’s problem.

So, if your dog is constantly biting and itching, and you are certain that fleas are not responsible, talk to your vet about what you can do to determine if a food allergy could be the culprit!

For more information you can check out this eBook HERE.