How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Your New Puppy

Posted on 09/02/201808/26/2018Leave a commentPosted in Pets

Getting a puppy can be super exciting! But as you try to be a good puppy parent, how can you tell which dog food is right? With so many options, how do you choose which food is going to be right for your pup and which won’t be healthy for it? Don’t worry; choosing a dog food isn’t as overwhelming as it may seem. There are four important things to keep in mind as you research your dog foods: brand, size, calories, and ingredients.

Brand

You may not think brand matters as much as ingredients, but it’s very important! It’s so important because of the AAFCO feeding trials. Some dog food companies come up with a dog food recipe, make the food, and sell it to the pet stores, all without ever feeding it to actual dogs. These brands are untested and may contain nutrient deficiencies for your puppy.

The best brands use the AAFCO feeding trials and do scientific research to make sure they are selling healthy food. They also consult with veterinary nutritionists, providing a balanced food in nutrients. However, since AAFCO is a private company, they can only do so much and most of their requirements are just the minimums. It’s also important to look at the other three factors.

Size

There are two size factors that are important: breed size and kibble size. Breed size for your puppy matters as each breed grows at a different rate. You will want to make sure the nutrients in your puppy food matches what your puppy needs. For example, a larger breed, such as a Labrador, will need more calcium and phosphorus for proper bone growth than a small breed, like a chihuahua. Researching what specific nutrients your puppy breed needs to grow will help you find the best dog food.

Kibble size also matters. Smaller breeds and puppies may not be able to eat big kibble chunks or even big chunks in wet dog food. Keeping the dog food the right size will keep your dog safe from choking hazards or not being able to eat. You may look for dog foods made specifically for your breed’s size, such as a toy breed or small breed puppy formula.

Calories

Everyone knows how energetic puppies are! They grow up fast and need a lot of calories to keep up. Puppies need about a third more calories than adult dogs. While you could give your puppy more food, it is more advisable to pick a higher calorie dog food, especially one specifically made with the dietary needs of puppies in mind. As your pup grows, make sure to increase the calorie intake as well.

Ingredients

One of the most important things to check before choosing the best dog food for your puppy is ingredients. For any dog, the number one ingredient on the list should be a type of meat, not a meat meal or grain like corn. While people are fairly controversial about which grains a dog can and can’t eat, the consensus is that any grain should not be the first ingredient. You should also avoid ingredients like artificial sweeteners like fructose or dextrose, chemical preservatives like BHT and BHA, animal byproducts, and fillers, especially cellulose, which is essentially sawdust.

Puppies need a few important nutrients for their bodies to grow properly. They need more calories and more protein than adult dogs. They also need more fat, but be careful what type of fat is listed. Puppies need the omega fatty acid DHA for their developing brains and diets higher in this fatty acid have shown increased memory and trainability in puppies. Puppies also should consume their daily vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E and selenium. These focus on building the puppy’s immune system. As talked about before, each puppy breed needs a certain ratio of calcium to phosphorus so it’s important to research what your pup needs.

Finding the best dog food for your puppy doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you keep these four things in mind. With so many options, you will choose the healthiest one for your new pup in no time and then you can focus on more enjoyable things, such as playing with your puppy! With love and the right nutritious food, your puppy is sure to grow into a great, happy dog.

Words of Wisdom for a First Time Mother

Posted on 08/02/2018Leave a commentPosted in Family

There is no shortage of advice given to first-time mothers. Some are practical. Like, do not spend too much on children’s clothing. They will outgrow them quickly. Others are heartwarming. The adage “the days are long, but the years are short” is repeated often.

Becoming a parent opens up a large community willing to share their experiences. They will talk about exclusive breastfeeding. They will try to convince you of the virtues of the Montessori method on young children. A small, but very passionate, group will talk about the value of essential oils for getting children to sleep through the night.

But, there is one thing that young mothers almost never hear: trust yourself.

It seems obvious, but mothers need to hear it. Raising a baby is not a joke. It is physically and emotionally demanding, so it is easy to second-guess yourself.

But, the truth is that nobody knows your baby more than you. On that point alone, you are the expert. More experienced parents might have been doing the parenting thing longer, but they do not have your qualifications. You are the one who carried your baby to term. You were there when he or she came out into the world. You have been training for this moment for 40 weeks, more or less. Holding the baby in your arms means that you passed the interview and you now hold the job. Other people can try to sway you with their experiences, but this is your turf.

Parenting is a maze of questions with few definite answers. It is easy for first-time mothers to get lost. What breast pump should I use? Should I use formula? Will attachment parenting encourage my child to excel or turn him or her into an emotionally fragile wuss? On some nights — fine, most nights — you might stand in the middle of the room, trying to console an inconsolable baby and think, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

It might seem impossible at the time, but trust yourself.

The details of parenting will work themselves out. People always talk about maternal instincts, but that doesn’t always happen instantly. Sometimes, it takes time. As you and your baby get to know each other. you will be able to tell if your baby needs milk or just wants to be cuddled. You have to be kind to yourself and give yourself time to learn the ropes. Nobody is born knowing how to run. The first, unsteady steps are part of the process.

Parenting in this day and age is harder because there is too much information out there. Sometimes, they are even conflicting. It is a double-edged sword. On one side, it’s great to be plugged into so much knowledge. If you don’t know something, Google it. You can even hop on to a forum and ask a question. People will answer.

But, the downside is that it is easy to doubt yourself and compare your performance with others. Also, some parents can be pretty intense. Do you want some proof? Go to a parenting website, type “vaccine”, and watch the comments section explode.

When there is too much coming at you, what should you do? You are the only one who can answer that. Parenting is a deeply personal experience and what works for one family does not necessarily work for another. Information is there to help. Other parents can support you. Or they may not. But, it does not really matter.

You are the only one making decisions as a mother. Sometimes, your choice might be the unpopular one; but, stand firm. Whether it is standing up against an internet troll or setting boundaries with your mother-in-law, you need to believe in your judgment.

It would be nice if motherhood came with an instruction manual. But, that is not the case. In fact, it is bound to get confusing for a while. By the time you are an expert on infants, your infant has turned into a toddler intent to say no to everything. When you finally understand the mindset of a toddler, you have a preschooler trying to test limits. Of course, let us not forget about puberty.

No one is really an expert at parenting. But, there are steadfast ones. Years pass by throwing all sorts of curveballs, but strong parents are unfazed. Why? Because they trust themselves. Why shouldn’t they? When you are motivated by the love for your child, you are bound to make the correct decisions. Every choice is examined and all the consequences are considered. You cannot help but want what is best for your offspring. That is the nature of parenting, whether a first-timer or not.

So to you, the first-time mom who might feel tired and overwhelmed and a little unsure of what to do: trust yourself. You got this.