Nutritional Food For Your New Puppy

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Puppies, being in their developmental period, need all the nutrients that they can get to help the bones and muscles develop. On the other hand, adult dogs need food to just maintain their body, due to which they do not need nutrients in the same way. What this also means is that while an adult dog can eat the same food as a puppy, a puppy cannot live off adult dog food and needs a more nutrient-rich diet.

What should my puppy’s diet include?

The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) outlines the nutrient profile for growing puppies. According to the nutrient profile, puppy food contain a minimum of 37 nutrients which should include 11 vitamins, 12 minerals and 10 amino acids. You can check the packaging on the dog food to see if it meets the nutritional standards set by the AAFCO to see if it is the right food for your puppy. While we are on the subject of dog food, you should know that choosing an economic dog food brand is not a great idea, as it may feature cheap ingredients with low biological values, that do little to fuel your puppy’s growth. You want to look at trusted puppy food brands that use quality ingredients, are easily digestible, and have greater nutritional value.

When you are planning a diet for new puppy, you want to have optimal amounts of protein, fat, fiber and calcium, not going overboard with any of it. Too much calcium and your puppy can develop a skeletal disease, too little and it can find itself in the same place. Don’t forget water, one of the most crucial nutrients that your puppy needs. Dogs can survive even after losing half the protein mass and all the body fat, but they cannot live if they lose even just 15 percent of the water in the body. Be sure to refill the dog bowl with water regularly. As far as treats go, you want to keep it limited to about 5-10 percent of its calorie intake. Too much and your puppy will fill itself up on treats, leaving little space for nutrient-rich food and supplements.

Making the switch to the new diet

If you have just brought in your new puppy home, then you should start with the same diet that the puppy has been accustomed to, and then gradually make a switch to the new diet over ten days. A sudden switch can cause intestinal upsets. If your puppy shows signs of constipation, loose stools or vomiting, then cut back on the amount of new food in its diet, and make the switch to the new diet slower.


Are You Feeding Your Dog Poison?

 Feed Your Dog Healthy FoodA new study on pet food shows that most pet foods on the market contain substances that are hazardous to your dog. Common problems like dry, itchy skin, gastrointestinal issues, or eye infections could all be linked back to the poor quality of the ingredients in your pet’s food.

In the study, hundreds of dogs were put on a diet of standard dog food containing industrially farmed meat. The study showed that, before long, many of the dogs were showing signs of skin irritation, conjunctivitis, weakness, and other pain. And it was only until the dogs were switched to a diet of organic grains and proteins (fresh-caught fish) that these issues subsided.

The problem with standard dog foods is they contain meats from animals treated with drugs and antibiotics, like oxytetracycline. The drug residue left in these animal’s bones and tissues, used in meat meal during dog food production, ends up being ingested by our pets, who have adverse reactions to the medicine. This is known as food residue syndrome.

How can I deal with food residue syndrome?

To undo the damage caused by food residue syndrome and maintain good health, follow these 3 easy steps:

  • Eliminate the unwanted chemical residues (stop using contaminated food)
  • Add what is missing: Omega3 (anti-inflammatory nutrient that counteracts the inflammatory response of Omega6, prevalent in feed used in today’s farming )
  • Restore and maintain the correct function of the immune system (choose food with select natural ingredients that enhance immune system function)

Most common health problems require a very simple change – a change in diet. Many pet owners can benefit from this approach before they try a drug regimen. While a drug regimen can be successful, as soon as it is stopped, the problem can reoccur as the underlying cause – contaminated food – has not been eliminated.

“I love my dog and want them to be healthy, but does this mean I have to catch them a fish every day to eat?” you might be thinking. As it happens, acquiring fresh, organic protein that is free of chemical residue is actually much simpler – and cheaper – than it sounds.

Know (and Trust) The Source

Preparing a raw diet, or homemade meals, is a great way to ensure you know what your dog is eating – and it doesn’t have to be all that difficult. However, with this approach, it is your responsibility to make sure that they get all the nutrients their body requires.

For those who enjoy the simplicity of factory made dog food, but want to avoid the harmful drugs and by-products commonly found in them, don’t give up hope just yet! There are a few brands out there that hold themselves to a higher standard when it comes to ingredient selection and food preparation. Our favorite is Forza 10.

Forza 10 was created after Sergio Canello, D.V.M., became disheartened with the poor quality of commercial dog food. All of the focus was on sleek marketing, with no concern for the contents of the food. People were feeding their dogs garbage and they didn’t even know. So Dr. Canello decided to fight back.

He developed a proprietary blend of key ingredients to be both the most nutritious and delicious dog food on the market. With nothing but ocean-fresh fish, organic meats, and whole vegetables, Forza 10 promises a well balanced, by-product free diet that is sure to cleanse your dog’s system and keep their engine burning clean.

Forza is the first European pet food ever approved by the USDA.

Forza is the most prescribed food in Italy by Vets over household names like Science Diet and Royal Canin

Forza has the optimal balance of Omega3 and Omega6 nutrients

There are multiple studies done that show Dr. Canello’s special food as helping dogs slim down and boost their immune system. They prove the link between contaminated food and health issues is real, as does the fact that Forza’s OTO product can effectively treat an ear infection without any assistance from prescription drugs.

Dr. Canello and his team at Forza are truly doing something amazing with pet food. That is why we are proud to feature their products on PetPlus.

Caring for a pet is easier with PetPlus with members-only wholesale prices on all the leading products for your pet care needs with free shipping.


4 Natural Ways to Keep Ants out of Your Pet’s Food

ant pet foodIt’s the scourge of many a pet parent: the ants come marching each springtime and don’t let up until the weather turns cold again. The ants’ target? Your pet’s food bowl!

Worry no more. You don’t have to just put up with these pesky invaders trying to snack on your beloved’s goodies. You can fight back, and without poisons. Here are five non-toxic ways to keep ants out of your pet’s food.

1. How to Remove an Ant Infestation From Pet Food Without Throwing it Away

If there are already ants in the food, then place the food in the freezer. Wait until the food is frozen and the ants are dead. Then, working in batches if necessary, use a strainer over the sink or a trash can to sift the dead ants out of the food.

2. How to Use Peppermint Oil to Repel Ants and Other Pests

I discovered the wonders of peppermint oil when crews broke ground near my apartment to construct a new line of the Washington, DC metro. Almost immediately, our home was infested by mice that presumably came inside to escape all the excavation and major construction that disrupted the environment.

We’d always entertained ants, which wasn’t ideal, but mice? Aw, heck no. I was not having it! After lots of research to find a non-toxic way to repel mice, I discovered that 100% peppermint oil (that’s 100% peppermint oil, not extract) works wonders. In a spray bottle, I mix a tablespoon of oil for every 1 cup of water, which is a potent potion.

Both mice and ants are guided keenly by their sense of smell, and 100% peppermint oil seems to completely bungle their olfactory operations. Since occasionally spritzing peppermint oil near my HVAC vent and having the smell delivered all throughout my apartment, I have seen nary a pest, and certainly no mice and no ants. Refresh with more spritzes anywhere you think pests might enter your home, and you should largely be pest-free in no time.

3. How to Disrupt the Ant Trail

If you don’t want to try peppermint oil, then do your best to disrupt the ant trail to throw them off your pet’s food’s scent. You can keep a placemat under your dog’s food bowl, and after each meal, wash the food bowl and wash off all the crumbs from the place mat with soap and water. You can also wipe down the floor with a gentle cleanser along the trail where you’ve seen ants marching, leading up to the space where you feed your pet.

Another option is to sprinkle baby powder where you’ve seen ants enter your home. Sprinkle talc lightly in a circle around your pet’s food dish. (Make sure your pet isn’t around to inhale the talc.) Ants can’t seem to stand being around baby powder and will beat a hasty retreat in its presence.

4. How to Create a Moat Around Your Pet’s Food Bowl.

Ants will drown in water and won’t be able to cross water to get to your pet’s food. You can use an aluminum baking dish that you would buy in the grocery store. Place your pet’s food bowl in the baking dish, and then fill the dish with just enough water to create a moat around the food bowl so that ants can’t access the food.

Of course the moat won’t prevent ants from entering your home in the first place. My favorite method has been peppermint oil. After the initial inconvenience of purchasing the oil and mixing up a bottle of 1 tablespoon of oil to one cup of water, it’s been so simple to just spray it around any time I notice an ant scouting out our kitchen. He runs for the hills, and I never have to host him or his friends again.


One Woman’s Mission To Help Homeless And Needy Pets

Financial hardship doesn’t only affect people; it affects their pets, too. Lynn Molnar realized this back in October 2011 when she noticed people around her struggling to keep their pets and began hearing stories of abandoned pets.

“I remember being at the dog park and a woman who was a realtor came in with her dog, and she shared a story about going to a house to look at it and finding a Golden Retriever abandoned inside,” Lynn said. “I think this was the clincher for me, because I have a Golden Retriever, and I know how much they love and want to be a part of a family. I couldn’t imagine the anguish that dog went through to be left alone, then my heart turned toward the people — imagine their pain, their fear, their tears.”

Lynn decided to start Thankful Paws. Thankful Paws is a pet food bank located in Bel Air, Maryland that serves financially needy people, with a priority given to veterans, the homeless, and the elderly. Thankful Paws delivers pet food and supplies once a month to homes and a homeless resource center.

“Anyone is eligible if they fall within the Federal Poverty Guidelines,” Lynn said. “But we are small and deliver food personally, and try to keep our client base to the elderly, veterans, and the homeless. We help those we can. The first year we were in full operation, we delivered 12 tons of pet food. Last year that number jumped to 20 tons! The need is great!”

Paw Sign


Fulfilling The Needs

When delivering to homes, Lynn and her team take food right up to the door. Because delivery is once a month, they try to offer a month’s worth of food and supplies. When delivering to the homeless resource center, the provided supplies are based on a sign-up sheet where homeless pet owners can list what they need.
“Homeless populations go through leashes and collars at a much faster rate than non-homeless because of the constant wear-and-tear,” Lynn said. “We usually bring a big box of such supplies and let them take whatever they need. I believe in totally respecting a homeless person. Can you imagine living in a tent with your dog — rain, snow, heat? It would be so easy to abandon the dog and go to a shelter, but many take the harder way because of love. We serve them because of love, too.”

In doing this work, Lynn has seen some extraordinary compromises made by financially needy pet parents.

“Last year, an elderly woman shared with me that before we came to deliver food, she stopped taking her medicine because she couldn’t afford the medicine and cat food,” Lynn said. “Now, she is healthy and so is her cat! It may seem like a small thing – cat food – to but some it is like bars of gold!”

Most of the food and supplies that Lynn delivers come from PetValu, a pet food and supply store. Thankful Paws also receives donations from the Maryland Food Bank and individuals. While food donations are great, Lynn says that Thankful Paws is in need of financial donations, too.

“We are growing and need to hire staff,” Lynn said. “So far it has been all volunteer, but the workload is too demanding and we need a warehouse, trucks, and some paid positions. In the first quarter of 2014 we already picked up 7 tons of food!”

The Value of Giving Back

Despite all of the hard work, Lynn says that her job brings her tremendous joy. As a pet parent herself, she is familiar with the unique love that pet parents feel for their pets, as well as the value that a pet can bring to your life. She has a cat named Happy and a Golden Retriever named Hero.


“I knew early on that something was special about Hero, and it taught me that universal love — the unconditional love of a dog — is something we all need. People need love and to be accepted. People should do that for one another, but somehow we are forgetting to do so. Dogs represent that love and never judge us and always welcome us. We can learn a lot from dogs!”

Just last week, Lynn put those beliefs into practice when she saw a homeless man standing on a median with his dog. She stopped her car and talked to the man, and found that he’d fallen on hard times. She offered him a bag of dog food and a box of Milk Bones that she had in her car for Hero.

“After I left him and I was waiting for the traffic light to change, one of the man’s homeless friends came over to him and asked about the bag of dog food,” Lynn said. “I couldn’t hear everything, but what I did hear warmed my heart. He said to his friend, ‘I don’t know, this lady came out of nowhere and gave me the bag.’ That’s all I could hear. The light changed and Hero and I went home. I chuckled to myself, ‘this lady came of nowhere…’ I kind of felt like a superhero for a minute.”

We definitely think that Lynn is a superhero, and to thank her for all that she does, we are giving her a free trial of PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more.

If you want to support Thankful Paws, head over to the website to make a donation or volunteer:



5 Not-So-Obvious Ways To Save On Pet Care

Owning a pet is a wonderful experience, but it isn’t always cheap. The American Pet Products Association found that Americans spent approximately $55 billion on their pets in 2013, and that number is expected to climb to $58 billion in 2014.

If you own a pet, chances are you feel the financial crunch from time to time. But fortunately, there are ways to save on caring for your pet, and they might not be what you’d expect.

1. Spay or Neuter Your Pet

If you think that spaying and neutering only serves to keep your pet from getting pregnant or impregnating, think again. While controlling the pet population is a very important reason to fix your pet, it’s not the only one. Spaying and neutering can also save you money in the long run by improving your pet’s behavior and cleanliness and preventing certain diseases that could be costly to treat down the road.

Spaying or neutering improves your pet’s behavior by reducing the likelihood of sex-related aggression that can lead to fighting and expensive injuries. Spaying and neutering also controls marking around the house, which can help you to save on cleaning bills. As far as preventing costly diseases, neutering eliminates the possibility of your male cat or dog getting testicular cancer, and spaying keeps female pets from developing uterine cancer and reduces the risk of breast cancer.

These routine surgeries very rarely have complications, and most veterinarians suggest that you spay or neuter your pet around six months of age. To save on the procedure itself, you can search for low-cost spay/neuter programs in your area on the ASPCA website. A benefit of PetPlus is Pet Assure, which provides 25% off vet visits and procedures at participating vets.

RELATED STORY: How Much Should Spaying A Pet Cost?

2. Buy In Bulk and Consider Splitting Supplies

Buying in bulk tends to be less expensive, whether we are talking about packs of paper towel or bags of pet food. Buying in bulk might be something that you already do if you have multiple or large pets, but if you have a small pet or only one furry friend, it might not seem convenient.

It can be, however, if you have the space to safely store bulk items. Food should be kept in an airtight container, and food that won’t be used within a month should go in the freezer. If you don’t have enough room to store a bulk purchase, find someone who wants to share in the haul. Maybe you have a neighbor who owns a dog, and they’d like to split a bag of healthy food. Or perhaps you have a few cat-owning friends who would want to get together and throw down on a massive sack of litter. Reach out to your network; saving on your pet’s supplies might just be a phone call away.

3.  Feed Your Pet The Right Amount Of Food

Seem obvious? You’d be surprised. According to a recent study by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 50% of pets are overweight, and overfeeding is one of the leading causes of obesity in pets. Overfeeding therefore not only harms your wallet, it can also harm your four-legged friend. Ask your veterinarian to help you determine the correct portion size for your pal.

Remember that the portions indicated on most pet food labels refer to the average pet, and depending on your pet’s size, age, health, and activity level, their needs may be different. In addition, you should avoid free-feeding your pet, and you should serve your pet’s portion out of a measuring cup (as opposed to a scoop or coffee cup) to be sure that you’re doling out the exact recommended portion.

RELATED STORY: Your Dog Food Questions Answered

4. Alternative Boarding

Travelling tends to be expensive even if you don’t have a pet. If you do, you’ll need to add to your spending the cost of boarding your pet for each day you’ll be away. Going with traditional means of boarding such as a kennel can cost between $25-$45 per night. However, there are other options out there, such as in-home boarding. In-home boarding has become very popular not only because it is less expensive than kenneling (some in-home boarders charge as little as $15 per night), but also because your pet stays in a comfortable home environment, receives individualized attention, and is less likely to catch diseases that sometimes show up in boarding facilities. is one website that makes finding an in-home boarder incredibly easy. You can search by geographic location, browse profiles of boarders who have already passed a background check, and read reviews of boarders by pet parents.

Want to save even more on pet boarding? Sign up for PetPlus and get $50 off dog boarding services.

5. Buy Your Pet’s Medications Online

When your veterinarian prescribes a medication for your pet, you don’t need to purchase it then and there at the vet’s office. In fact, buying medication at the vet’s office is considerably more expensive than buying online. Why? Because according to The American Animal Hospital Association, vets mark up medications from 100 percent to 1000 percent!

These markups are so drastic because vets need to compensate for the fact that they aren’t purchasing medications in bulk, mostly because they won’t be prescribing large amounts of specific medications, but also because they don’t have the space to store bulk orders. Online pharmacies, however, do have the space and do buy in bulk, and therefore can pass those savings on to you. With PetPlus, for example, you could save up to 75% on your pet’s medications.

Do you know some other not-so-obvious ways of saving on pet care? Leave a comment below!