Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

This was Koira's costume a few years ago, but I still absolutely love it. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fit Food Friday: Rotational Diets

I've had a few questions lately about what I mean when I say I feed a "rotational diet" to my dogs. A lot of people feed rotational diets, and it doesn't always mean the same thing to all of us.

The basics are the same. Feeding a variety of different foods on a rotational basis is a rotational diet. (I've now used the word rotational so many times that I feel like it has lost all meaning to me- ever have that happen to you? I'm just going to say RD from now on, I think.) Exactly what is fed as part of an RD is what varies the most, person to person, dog to dog.

The big thing sticking out to the side is a tendon

I think most people who feed an RD rotate between flavors of kibble in the same brand (for example a fish formula and a beef formula by the same manufacturer), or else they rotate between flavors and brands both. I do those things, but I also add raw food into the RD I feed to my dogs.

Lots of meat and connecting tissues

I tend to buy meat on sale, get old freezer burned meat for free or dirt cheap, or get butchering scraps. This particular meat is butchering scraps from an elk. Humans may not like to eat the tendons and connective tissues that come with meat, but it is great nutrition for the dogs, who don't mind the texture and have jaws meant to deal with it. And of course, along with the silverskin (connective tissue from between muscles) comes some amazing wild game meat that the dogs absolutely love and that cannot be replicated with domestic animals.

Individually packaged pumpkin

So I rotate between a number of kibbles that work well for my dogs, some dehydrated foods, and raw. Since my dogs get such a wide variety, they rarely have any issues switching cold turkey from one to the other. And even when they do have an issue, it tends to be mild enough that a day or two of adding pumpkin to their food solidifies everything up.

Ptera's meal, with Weruva pumpkin on top

Ptera has had a venison based kibble before, and has had raw, but has not had raw elk. Wild game meats like elk and venison can be very different from domestically raised meat, lean and rich and with a different flavor and balance of nutrients. Since it is something new, I like to add a bit of pumpkin to the food to make sure we don't have any problems.

In the past, I've opened a whole can of pumpkin puree, used a few tablespoons a day for a day or three, and then had the rest of the can get moldy in my refrigerator. Or, occasionally, I'll remember to freeze the rest of the can in an ice cube tray and then lose the pumpkin ice cubes at the bottom of the freezer somewhere, to be found the next time I clean it out to the bottom. (I am not the most organized person in the world. Like, at all.)

Koira's meal, with Weruva pumpkin on top

Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up is 100% pumpkin puree, just like the cans, but in sized out pouches. They come as either 1 oz or 2.8 oz serving sizes. I got the 1 oz option for my dogs, because as much bigger as Koira is than Ptera, she is still a pretty small dog by most standards. One pouch is roughly the same as what I would use if I opened up a can. And while the pouches do cost more than buying a can, they are much more convenient, and won't go bad if they don't get used up in a few days (meaning that over time, if you use a few tablespoons from a can and throw the rest away, it doesn't take long for these pouches to be a better deal). And they would be great for traveling, when dogs often get nervous or excited to the point of digestive upset, and pumpkin can be a lifesaver. Way easier to have a few pouches than to worry about carrying a can with you, a can opener, a spoon to dish it out, and a way to store the opened can.

In terms of a rotational diet, I am likely not the norm, since I do add in raw food on a regular basis as well as feeding a variety of kibbles. The meat I feed varies a lot, though it is always pure meat with no added salt or flavorings (the dogs don't get bacon or ham, etc). But I try to be pretty calm about what my dogs eat overall. Outside of a very few foods, I don't worry much about if they eat a treat or a piece of food on the floor, because a tiny bit is unlikely to hurt them, and their stomachs are used to processing a variety of things. I try to feed high quality foods (which to me is a food where the majority of the protein comes from meat sources as whole meat or meal, but not by-products or generic "meat" rather than a named source, and produced in the US or Canada), and rotate what they eat both for variety and to make sure they are getting a well balanced diet over time.

Anyone else feed a rotational diet? If so, what does that mean to you for your pets?

Disclaimer: I was provided with Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way, and this review is entirely honest and in my own words. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Tug and Frolic

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You can see the crazy in her eyes

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Fun enough to be worth being in the cold Pacific Ocean

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Much fun, many teeth

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Koira was super patient with Ptera

The cutest part of all of this was that Koira was deliberately being gentle and teasing Ptera into playing. If Koira wanted to win this game of tug, it would be over in seconds. Even when Koira ended up with the toy all on her own, she would run past Ptera with it, or shake it, making it super tempting to grab ahold all over again. This marked the first time that these two have really, truly played together since Ptera came home, and it was totally adorable.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Vacation

I went on a vacation this past week, and so did my dogs. Ptera is enjoying cuddles and romping with friends.


Romping with friends
Bitey face

Romping with friends
Play bow!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fit Food Friday: Nutro Wild Frontier Final Thoughts

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Happy dog, healthy dog, fun beach day

For the month of September, both Koira and Ptera ate Nutro Wild Frontier's Woodland Trail recipe. Both of them enjoyed the food a lot, and stayed eager to eat every day at mealtime (and in between, because they are food hounds).

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Super crinkly bag at the end of the month

I noticed after the first few weeks that Ptera was extra silky soft. Though she looks short hair, and is, she has more hair and sheds more than Koira. And I didn't notice any particular difference in the amount she shed. But she did feel very nice, with a silky coat and clean skin. Koira didn't have as much of a difference. She's been trying to get over the vicious cycle of a bug bite that cause itching which made her scratch to the point of losing fur by her tail, back in August. I do think her hair is starting to come back, but she notoriously stays bald for a long time when stuff like that happens. Her fur that she does have, though, appears healthy and shiny, and her skin outside of the itchy area we are working on is clean and clear.

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Throughout the entire month of feeding Nutro, the dogs had consistent bowel movements. No excessively soft stools, or overly large ones.

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Ptera's food for a day, in a slow feed bowl

Overall, I felt like this is one of the best quality kibbles I've fed to my dogs, and I plan on keeping it as part of their normal rotational diet. It can be hard to find foods that work as well as this one for multiple dogs, and of course, there may be dogs who don't do great on this food. But both of mine love it, and do really well on it.

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Happy, healthy dog

We were provided with this food in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100% our own true experience.