5 Ways Holistic Dog Food Can Make a Difference in Your Dog’s Life!

5 Ways Holistic Dog Food Can Make a Difference in Your Dog’s Life!

When choosing a food, it’s important to think about your whole dog – not just his stomach. And while we all have to pay attention to our budget as well, a high quality holistic dog food can really make a difference to both your dog and your wallet! What is holistic? As a reminder for those who may have missed my earlier post:

Holistic is a philosophy that believes in treating the whole – mind, body, spirit – of a person (animal). Those that practice it believe the three parts of the body must be treated together in order for real change or healing to occur.

So a dog food that is holistic takes into consideration your dog’s mind, body and spirit and how they all need to be in balance in order for your dog to be as healthy as he can be. Wondering what that looks like? Here are five ways a holistic dog food can make a difference in your dog’s life.

1. Higher Intelligence/Focus for Training

A holistic dog food takes into account that certain foods really are “brain food,” needed for proper development of intelligence (such as DHA and EPA for puppies) and for continued focus as adults. A dog on a proper diet will be easier to train. Here’s What a Stay Loyal Customer Experienced!

I’ve been bringing her onto your food she is glowing, and the changes in her behaviour have been incredible. The best way to describe it for me is, she used to be like a child with ADD, all run and energy, but with a limited attention span. Now she still has endless energy but she’s using that incredible brain of hers, waiting and responding not just go go go. It’s like before she was on a sugar rush whereas now she’s getting a more sustainable energy flow and boy is she blossoming.

Liz, Qld.

2. Fewer Bad Habits

Improper nutrition can have lots of side effects. While these are not things that are always caused by food, sometimes they are. For example, dogs that eat strange things, such as constantly “grazing” on grass, may be deficient in vitamins or minerals and are trying to get them in other places. Or, maybe the food doesn’t have enough protein or fats to make your dog feel full, so they may be constantly getting into the garbage or eating anything they find on the floor. Deficiencies can cause all kinds of symptoms and issues. It can even affect temperament. A holistic dog food can help reduce the occurrence of some bad habits.

3. Keep Them Acting Young

Your dog’s spirit slows down a bit as they age, but an improper food can make them slow down quicker. A Holistic food will have the proper nutrients, such as fat, to keep your dog’s energy level up and their spirit energized.

My Labrador Retriever at 8 years old had terrible discoloured and watery stools and really bad wind. She was starting to look old and losing energy. We were on a well known brand of dog food but I knew it wasn’t doing her any good and thought her food probably consisted of too much grain. So after going on the internet I found Stay Loyal and decided to give it a try. Her stools are now the proper colour and consistency and no more wind. Her coat is softer and shinier and she has gained energy and looks younger. I would definitely recommend Stay Loyal.

Karen, Qld.

4. More Relaxed

Most holistic dogs foods contain ingredients that help keep your dog in a more balanced emotional state. Additives such as rosemary (something Stay Loyal contains) can help promote calmness and relaxation.

5. Fewer Vet Bills

I did say a holistic diet could help your wallet and it can. Dogs fed high-quality food that takes care of their whole body generally need fewer vet visits because they are healthier. For example, we have antioxidants in our food – including green tea, turmeric and vitamins C and E – that help prevent against free radicals like air pollution, helping to keep your dog healthier. I know a 14 year-old sheltie that is the last remaining dog of her litter. The others passed away already of things like kidney disease. While this won’t happen with every dog, good food really can save you money on vet bills in the long run. Here’s what you can experience with a good holistic dog food like Stay Loyal. I’d just like to say how glad I am that I stumbled across your video on facebook. I just assumed dog food was dog food until i saw it. For years we were cleaning Dallas’s ears every week to avoid yeast infections and unnecessary vet trips. After a few weeks on your food we haven’t had to clean them since! It never even occurred to me that it was the food doing it, so thank you!

Tamara, WA.

A holistic dog food will not solve all your problems, nor will it keep your dog perfectly well-trained with a 30-year lifespan. That dog doesn’t exist. However, it can make your dog more trainable with less bad habits and healthier with less trips to the vet. These are all things both you and your dog will appreciate.

Should Your Dog be on Medication for Arthritis?

Should Your Dog be on Medication for Arthritis?

As your dog ages, he may develop aches and pains just like we do. Arthritis affects 20 percent of all dogs! Often, your vet will suggest putting him on pain medications, usually NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), to help your dog live a more normal, pain-free life. But if your dog starts having joint pain at age 7, with a life expectancy of 14-16, your dog is going to be on drugs for half (or more) of his life. Is this really a good idea? To help you make the best decision for your dog, here is some basic information you should know about NSAIDS and their possible risks for dogs.

What Is An NSAID Anyway?

NSAIDS are non-cortisone containing drugs. Simply put, they contain medicines that reduce inflammation and block pain. This allows your dog to feel better (less/no pain) and move easier (less inflammation means the muscles and joints are not strained).

There are many common NSAIDS that can be given to dogs for arthritis/joint pain, including Aspirin, Deramaxx, Previcox, EtoGesic, to name a few. Perhaps the most frequently used are Rimadyl and Metacam.

Some vets may suggest combining an NSAID with another pain-blocking medication such as Tramadol and Gabepentin. Both act in the brain to block the perception/sensation of pain.

Pros of NSAIDS

The pro here is that your dog can move easier and does not feel as much pain. It can help them stay active longer. Not every dog has the same reaction to every NSAID – some work better for one dog than another. So if you try one and it doesn’t work, it’s smart to try a different one instead of giving up on them altogether.

The majority of dogs handle NSAIDS without any side effects.

Cons of NSAIDS

Just like with any medication or drug, there are side effects that have to be considered. If the medication is effective, the one universal truth is that it is masking your dog’s symptoms. This means it’s hard for you and your vet to know if he getting worse, or if something else is going on with him. That can make ongoing care trickier.

And while the majority of dogs do handle NSAIDS fine, they are side effects that your dog could experience. Each one is going to have a slightly different list, so be sure to ask your vet to see the drug information sheets for any medications you are considering for your dog.

The most common mild side effects are:

· Decreased appetite

· Vomiting

· Diarrhea

· Behavioral changes, including depression or inactivity

Serious side effects are:

· Internal bleeding

· Lesions in the intestines and stomach

· Increased urination

· Seizures

· Pale/yellow gums

To reduce risk, follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Do not give two different NSAIDs at the same time. Do not give your dog an NSAID while on Prednisone (a corticosteroid drug used to treat inflammation). Give your dog’s body 7 days in-between stopping an NSAID or Prednisone and starting a new NSAID.

The main thing to remember is that NSAIDS do not solve, cure or slow down arthritis. They are used to manage your dog’s health and make him comfortable. There are ways to do the same thing, naturally, that do not involved drugs with possible side effects. A simple change in diet can even help. Check out this article to learn more about ways to naturally manage your dog’s joint pain

What Type of Dog Leash Should I Use?

What Type of Dog Leash Should I Use?

If you are a new dog owner, you may be surprised to find an entire aisle of dog leashes at the pet store. You were probably expecting to go in, find a lead in a color you like and leave. But now you are faced with more decisions that you were prepared for and the biggest question of all – which one should I get?

There are 3 main factors to consider when choosing a leash:

1. Size of dog

2. Activities you will be doing with your dog

3. Environment you will be using your leash in

With these factors in mind, here are the most common types of leashes and how they fit in with these factors.

Traditional Leash

A traditional lead is usually flat and made of leather or nylon. Nowadays they also come in biothene and you can even have a custom fabric one made if you like. I’ve even seen chain ones (not recommended as they are very hard on your hands should your dog pull). They usually come in 1.20 meters or 1.8 meters. Width usually varies from 1.2 to 2.5cm. They have a clip (that attaches to the collar) on one end and a loop handle on the other end.

The size of your dog may affect the width and length you want, especially in the case of small dogs. Small dogs will need a longer lead (closer to the ground so the leash has to reach further!), but a narrower width so it’s less bulky. For big dogs, it’s more a matter of preference and what else you will be doing with them.

These leads are great for training, because they keep your dog rather close. Most people who compete in obedience and rally events, for example, use the shorter 1.2m leashes.

These leashes are great for walking your dog in crowded areas, such as an urban setting. They keep your dog near you so that they are less likely to get tangled up with someone passing by. It also keeps them from running into traffic or getting into garbage bins you pass.

I myself use a 1.8 meter leash that is strong but soft on the hands and is easy to grip no matter where I grab it.

Slip Leads

Slip leads were born for convenience. They are a collar and leash in one – all you have to do is slip it over the dog’s head and you are good to go. They can either be a “choke” or martingale style (limited choke) collar. They are usually the same lengths as traditional leashes.

For small dogs or dogs that pull a lot, these can be hard on their tracheas/necks, even the martingale style. Any size dog can slip their head out of them if they are clever enough to flip their head while the lead is loose.

They are very handy for dogs learning off-leash sports, which is really what they were invented for. Agility dog owners use them so they can quickly take them off at the beginning of their run and put them back on afterward.

Like traditional leads, they keep your dog close, so they are good for those more crowded walks.

Retractable Leash

Retractable leashes come in various lengths up to 9m. The idea behind the retractable leash was that it gives dog a chance to feel off-leash, without actually being off-leash. Their biggest issue is that you cannot retract the leash (make it shorter) if your dog is pulling on it.

They make different leads for different sized dogs, so make sure you by the one that fits your dog – a Great Dane might break one that is made for a small dog like a Chihuahua.

If your dog doesn’t have a good recall, a retractable leash can be a great way to let them play fetch without having to worrying about them running away. They can also be used for training, such as practicing stays at a park.

They are best suited for areas where your dog has room to roam uninhibited. Walking in a forest with a bunch of trees may prove frustrating for you, as your dog wraps himself around trees. Walking in an urban setting can be dangerous as the leads are hard to see and people can trip over them. Big fields, the beach, or quiet roads with little foot or vehicle traffic are best.

Long Lines

A long line is just a very long nylon leash. They are used by horse riders to lunge their horses. Common lengths are 3, 4.5, 6, and 9m. Their biggest issue is that, unlike the retractable lead, they are cumbersome to carry around when not let out.

For little dogs, it can be hard to find a long line that is not heavy. You can always make one by attaching a snap to some paracord. For big dogs, these are great – just choose the length you want.

Like retractable leads, the long line is great for playing with dogs whose recall is less than perfect or for training things like stay or scent work. They are better than retractable leads because you can drop them and let your dog drag it if you would like. Then, you can step on it if your dog starts to run or if you need to, you can gather up the extra quickly. Try that with a retractable and you will slice your hands.

Long lines, like retractable, are best in wide, open areas were your dog has a lot of room roam. Of course, you can use them in other environments, but you might get frustrated at constantly untangling your dog.

Quality of leashes

In general, most leashes and collars are made strong enough for the application. However, be aware that larger stronger dogs do need stronger leashes and collars. Use common sense here… over engineered collars and leashes are probably better than thin flimsy ones. Also check the quality of the clips, rings, joins and stitching to make sure the individual leash you buy doesn’t have any obvious faults.

Once you decide on what type(s) you want, then all that’s left is choosing your favorite color. You may find you need more than one type of leash, to use during difference activities or in different environments. And that’s great. Think of your dog’s leash as his shoes – the right ones can make all the difference

Signs of Joint Pain in Your Dog (And a Natural Ways to Ease the Pain!)

Signs of Joint Pain in Your Dog (And a Natural Ways to Ease the Pain!)

It’s easy to forget that our dogs age faster than we do and therefore may start having joint pain from arthritis or dysplasia sooner than we would like. This is especially true for:

· Large breeds

· Very active dogs such those doing agility, herding, flyball, etc.

· Dogs with previous injuries to joint areas

· Dogs with hereditary conditions such as luxating patellas and dysplasia

·Overweight dogs

Even if your dog was very healthy in his younger years, he can still end up with aches and pains as he ages – just like us! And dysplasia can show up in young dogs, so it’s important for all owners to know the signs of joint pain in dogs.

11 Commons Signs of Joint Pain

There are a lot of signs that your dog may display if he has arthritis or dysplasia. These are in no particular order. Your dog may display some or all of these symptoms.

1. Slowing down of movements. He may not run as fast, or take longer to sit or lie down.

2. Difficulty getting into the sit or down position and difficulty getting up from these positions.

3. Trouble going up/down stairs.

4. Unable to jump up (like onto the couch).

5. Limping.

6. The appearance of laziness (your dog may act like he doesn’t want to do anything it will hurt if he does).

7. Crankiness when touched in certain places or made to move in certain ways. Some dogs may show their teeth, growl, bark or even snap to let you know, “That HURTS!”

8. Decreased appetite. If your dog is in a lot of pain, he may not eat much or at all.

9. Hunched back if the arthritis is in the spine.

10. Licking, chewing and biting of places on his body that hurt.

11. Doesn’t settle into a position. While some dogs take a bit to find the right “spot,” all eventually settle down. If your dog just can’t seem to “get comfortable” enough to stop moving and fall asleep, this may be because he can’t find a position that doesn’t hurt his joints. Especially if he is trying to lie on a hard surface.

Without knowing that arthritis could be the culprit, some of these can easily be mistaken for something else, so that’s why it’s important to always do a vet check if you think something is wrong with your dog. For example, you may spend hundreds of dollars with a dog trainer trying to “fix” a dog that’s snapping at you, or you may even surrender him to the shelter when all he needed was some pain meds. He was just trying to tell you he was in pain. Knowing more about how dogs communicate their health can save you time, frustration and money. And, your dog will be happier.

When you do go to the vet, be sure to ask about holistic approaches to managing arthritis. Many people have found natural supplements and changes in diet to really make a difference. The following 3 changes in your dog’s diet can really help alleviate some of the symptoms of joint pain.

First, dogs that are overweight are going to be in more pain, so if your pup is chubby, cut back on that food and try to do some low-stress moderate exercise. Long walks are better for dogs with joint pain than five minutes of sprinting after a ball – hard on those joints! (I like to see 2 to 4 ribs on dogs with joint pain. This really decreases the weight on those sore joints.)

Second, what’s in the food matters. Stay away from grains as they cause inflammation. Look for dog foods that contain cartilage and Omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish oil), which reduce inflammation. Stay Loyal grain free dog food contains all these things to help your dog’s joints, and no grains to inflame them.

Third, add supplements. Two natural supplements that appear to be affective is adding gelatin to your dog’s diet (ask your vet about amount) and bone broth. For the bone broth, you can start with about ¼ cup a meal and add more if needed. We have a great article on how make your own bone broth here.

grain free dog food

What is Taurine and Why Does my Dog Need It?

What is Taurine and Why Does my Dog Need It?

By now you have probably seen the word Taurine on your dog’s food ingredient label. And you have probably wondered what exactly it is and does my dog need it? Nowadays, it makes sense to be wary about what companies are putting in your dog’s food – we know some manufacturers put in things that are not necessary and sometimes even harmful. So let’s shed some light on what Taurine is and why you’ll see it on the Stay Loyal ingredient list.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is a powerful amino acid that dogs, cats and humans need. In fact, some people take Taurine supplements! Unlike other amino acids, Taurine does not build proteins. It’s found in the brain, eyes, heart and muscle.

So what does it do?

Taurine has many roles in the body, here are some of the big ones:

· Neurological development, including supporting the central nervous system and eyes.

· Regulates level of water and minerals in the blood

· Antioxidant properties

· Regulating immune system

· Forming bile salts (important part of digestion)

The Dangers of Taurine Deficiency

Taurine is found in muscle meat. As dog and cat food manufacturer’s got greedy – less and less muscle meat was finding its way into commercial pet food. By the 1970s cats were dying of certain type of heart disease (dilated cardiomyopathy) and were also going blind. The cause was traced to the lack of Taurine in their diet. Cats cannot synthesize Taurine themselves – dogs and humans can – so it is particularly important for them to have it in their diet.

However, it has been found that some dogs do not produce enough Taurine on their own. Certain lines of spaniels, retrievers and Newfoundlands are unable to produce their own Taurine. These dogs were dying of the same heart disease as the cats.

What is even more interesting, however, is that dogs with this heart disease that are given a Taurine supplement saw the disease reversed!

It can help dogs with epilepsy as well. Some research has shown that since Taurine affects how neurotransmitters are released in the brain, it may help to reduce seizures. It’s definitely worth looking into if your dog has seizures. Check his Taurine levels, if they are low, a supplement may lesson his seizures.

AND, if your dog already has heart disease, ask your vet about upping his Taurine – it just may save his life.

Good Sources of Taurine

It’s important to know that Taurine is broken down by heat, so cooking lessons the amount of Taurine in the meat anywhere from a half to two thirds.

When it comes to muscle meat, here is the amount found in popular pet food proteins:

· Raw fish – 128mg of Taurine per 100 grams

· Cooked Beef – 36mg per 100 grams

· Raw Beef liver – 20mg per 100 grams

· Cooked lamb – 48mg per 100 grams

· Cooked chicken – 34mg per 100 grams

If your dog is on a diet that consists of proteins that do not have a lot of Taurine, you may need to add a Taurine supplement to your dog’s diet if your dog food does not already have it added – just check the label to be sure. All the grain-free Dog foods in the Stay Loyal range have more than enough Taurine to keep your dog happy and healthy. Up to 1,000 mg of Taurine per day is considered safe for a dog, but it’s best to check with your veterinarian who will know what is best for your dog’s health

My Dog Has a Runny Nose – Should I Be Worried?

My Dog Has a Runny Nose – Should I Be Worried?

Just like us, dogs get running noses for a variety of reasons. Knowing what the possible causes may be and what else to look for can help you decide whether or not your dog needs immediate veterinary treatment or not.

A “running” nose means there is some type of discharge coming from your dog’s nose. There are many types of discharge, some of them indicate more serious conditions than others. Here is a rundown on types of discharge and what could be causing them.

Clear. Like us, clear discharge is a normal occurrence in dogs and is usually nothing to worry about. However, environmental allergies can cause an increased volume of clear discharge, so if your dog seems to have more than usual and it’s not going away (or appears when you go outside, are near someone smoking, etc.), he may have allergies.

Note: some breeds, especially flat-nosed, tend to have more nasal discharge than the average dog. This is something you are going to have to monitor for your individual dog and figure out what’s normal for him. So then, if something changes, you will know.

Thick, Colored Mucus. If your dog’s mucus is thick and a color – cloudy, yellow, green, etc. – then that’s a sign there is more going on than allergies. This could be a sign of a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. Often there is a bad odor as well. Distemper can cause a yellow nose discharge. Parvo can cause a running nose in puppies, so if you see this, take your young dog to the vet immediately.

Discharge From One Side. If your dog’s nose is only running on one side, they may have something blocked on the other side. This is probably a good time to visit the vet to have it removed safely. Even minor trauma can cause excessive bleeding from inside the nose, so things have to be removed carefully.

Blood. Blood can be coming out of your dog’s nose as a result of trauma, just like when we hit our nose. This can be mild to severe requiring vet attention. As mentioned above, a foreign object stuck in the nose may also cause bleeding. Finally, bleeding can also be a sign of a tumor (cancerous or benign) or nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) in the nasal cavity.

Dogs with a cleft palate or fistula – hole in the mouth – may have discharge after he eats. The discharge may come from both sides of the nose or just the one side where the hole is located.

Knowing a bit more about your dog’s nose and what any discharge may indicate can help you make the right decision whether to take them to the vet or not. For illness like distemper and parvo, even just a day or two can be the difference between life and death, so this is important information to know. Remember, pay attention to your dog when he is healthy so you can tell right away when something changes.