Category: Pets

7 Tips for Making Your Own Dog Food

making your own dog food

Want to save money and keep your pet healthier? Then you’ll want to start making your own dog food.

Making your own dog food at home is an easy, affordable way to make sure your pet is getting the best. Instead of paying for overpriced brand names full of additives, you can provide food at a much lower cost.

This is a great choice for dogs with dietary restrictions, picky eaters, or any beloved pet whose diet you’re concerned about. Making your own dog food is easier than you might think, too.

Keep reading for everything you need to get started.

Why Start Making Your Own Dog Food?

You may be wondering if it’s really worth it to cook for your dog. There are actually a lot of compelling reasons to make the change away from commercial dog food.

It’s tempting to think that the bags of pet food you find at stores are healthy, good choices. However, the reality is that pet food isn’t regulated the way human food is.

There are a few rules and standards, thanks to the FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). But these rules for pet food aren’t very strict, and they also aren’t very well enforced.

Because of this oversight, companies can put just about whatever they want into your pet’s food.

Have you heard about pet food recalls? These happen often because companies use ingredients that aren’t good for pets. Then they’re forced to recall the products later when problems start.

When you make your pet’s food at home, you can add more nutrients while avoiding the preservatives in store-bought food. You can tailor the mix to your dog’s needs. And yes, you can even save money.

This is a great choice for dogs with allergies, IBS, or other common issues affected by diet. It’s also ideal for dogs that have responsibilities they’ll need to be alert, focused and healthy for.

Today, our dogs may be more than just companions. Many people keep dogs who help them in their day-to-day life. Someone who lives alone in the city might keep a dog for protection, while other people may have an emotional support animal (to get your dog certified, check out Certapet for ESAs).

All dogs need healthy, high-quality food, but these dogs may benefit from it even more than others. Now, let’s get into how to start making your own dog food.

How to Make Dog Food at Home

In order to successfully make your dog’s food, you’ll just need to follow a few basic rules.

Some dogs may need extra-special diets, such as a grain-free diet. However, if your pup doesn’t have any restrictions on their diet, a good ratio to keep in mind is 50 percent protein, 25 percent vegetables, and 25 percent grain.

Another ratio that also works is 40-60 percent protein or raw meat, 20-30 percent starches (cooked), and 20-30 percent raw fruits and vegetables.

You’ll need to check which foods are safe for dogs to eat before getting started. Most of us know that dogs can’t eat chocolate, but you may be surprised to learn about the other ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onions.

Finally, you should add certain supplements to the mix, since food on its own doesn’t always have everything a dog needs to stay healthy.

Tips for Making Your Dog’s Food

Now, here are our top tips for making your own dog food.

1. Use a Great Recipe

Your dog’s food is only as good as the recipe you use. Follow the ratios above to get a good blend, and make sure you choose high-quality, nutritious ingredients.

Make sure each recipe you choose has protein, fats, calcium, essential fatty acids, and carbs in it. The best recipes will come from professional animal nutritionists or veterinarians. Remember: just because your dog likes it doesn’t mean it’s good for them.

2. Follow the Recipe

When you good for yourself, you may love to substitute other ingredients and make various adjustments. However, when you cook for your dog, you shouldn’t improvise. Instead, follow the recipe exactly as it’s written.

Making even small changes to the recipe can have effects you don’t want. For example, removing the skin from a chicken before cooking it can change its nutritional value.

Substituting ingredients can also throw off the nutritional balance. Find reliable recipes, and then follow them perfectly every time.

3. Get a Food Scale

To get the ratios right, you’ll need to accurately measure the food you use. A food scale is the most reliable way to do this.

Measuring cups aren’t always accurate, especially for certain ingredients like meat. A food scale is the best way to make sure you’re actually feeding the proper amount each time.

4. Cook Foods Thoroughly

Some foods, such as certain meats and vegetables, can be fed raw.

However, for those foods that need to be cooked, you should be sure to cook them all the way. If you don’t, harmful bacteria could make your dog sick.

5. Add Supplements

To provide the proper nutritional balance, you’ll need to add some extra supplements to your dog’s meals. No matter how good the recipe is, it will probably still lack a few essential nutrients.

Calcium is an example of something dogs need that isn’t often found in their food in high quantities. A pet nutritionist can help you decide what supplements you’ll need.

6. Don’t Add Too Many Carbs

Excess carbs can cause your dog to gain weight or even develop allergies. Some experts don’t think that carbs are necessary for a dog’s diet at all.

Consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist to decide what’s best for your dog.

7. Check the Results

After making your own dog food for a few weeks, schedule a vet visit to make sure the diet is working well.

Watch your dog’s behavior and weight for any changes.

Ready to Start Making Your Own Dog Food?

If you follow these tips, you can easily change your pup’s diet for the better.

Interested in other ways to save money by making things at home? Check out our DIY tips here.

These 6 Luxury Pet Beds Will Make You Wish You Were a Pet

luxury pet bedsAre you one of the over 43 million Americans who own a dog?

Do you want to upgrade the over 16 hours of sleep that your beloved kitty cat gets every day (we know, we’re jealous, too)?

If you’re like most people, you already spoil your pets rotten. They probably eat better than you do, dress impeccably, and you’re on their schedule, not vice versa.

Your pet may not be a celebrity (not yet, anyways) but that doesn’t mean they can’t sleep like one!

In this post, we’re sharing just a few of our favorite luxury pet beds, so that your furry friend can dream of chasing mice and squirrels in a fabulous setting!

1. The Felix Chien Toile Dog Bed

Toile isn’t just for wallpaper anymore!

First up on our list of luxury pet beds? This elegant offering from Felix Chien, which depicts a lovely country scene and lots of wildlife to entertain your pet.

You can choose from four different sizes to ensure that your pet has all of the space they need. If you’re crate training your dog, you also have the option to purchase a crate cover and mattress in the same Toile print.

The bed is machine washable for easy cleaning and has a 100% cotton cover to keep your pet comfy in any room in the house.

2. The Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed

Does your pet sometimes struggle with walking? Do they have back or hip problems? Have you just noticed that their fur has a nice salt-and-pepper sheen to it now that they’re getting older?

If so, then this orthopedic dog bed is likely the right choice. Featured on Pawcastle’s guide to choosing the best beds for dogs, it’s expert and pet-approved.

It comes with three foam layers for added comfort that, like a memory foam human mattress, remembers and conforms to your dog’s shape. But don’t worry — the bed doesn’t get “sunken in” after a few weeks.

In fact, it’s been proven to hold almost all of the original shape for nearly 10 years. Even better? It’s cover quickly zips off, so you can toss it in the washing machine when it’s completely covered in fur.

Choose from burgundy, chocolate brown, or khaki brown to fit with your decor and your pet’s personal preference.

3. Beasley’s Couch Pet Bed

Next on our list of luxury pet beds?

This incredible, couch-shaped bed from Beasley. Especially if you’ve been trying (with limited success) to get your furry friend off of your sofa, this bed is exactly what you need to hammer the message home.

We love that it has an overstuffed bolster to support even larger breeds of cats and dogs, and is made from recycled fibers to minimize your impact on the environment.

Additionally, the bed doesn’t shift or mat up, which means that even if your pet is on the more rambunctious side, there won’t be any issues. If you have a larger breed, we highly recommend this option.

4. The Snuggle Sofa Bed From Enchanted Home Pet

Another one of our favorite luxury pet beds is this amazing option from Enchanted Home Pets.

It’s essentially a miniaturized version of a human couch, complete with legs and an elegant backrest!

The legs don’t only elevate the look of the bed. It will also help to keep your pet warm, especially if your home tends to get a bit drafty during the winter months.

We also love the minimalist white and gray pattern of this bed, which is essentially a take on the “hygge” trend for animals.

To clean it, use a damp rag with all-natural cleaning solution — or simply soap and water.

All you need to do is toss their favorite toy on the couch, and they’ll be sleeping peacefully for hours.

5. The Outdoor Chaise Bed From The Refined Canine

Do you have an animal that loves to spend just as much time outdoors as it does indoors?

If so, we think that this curved wicker bed from The Refined Canine is a perfect choice. Especially if you have a larger dog that’s between 55-75 pounds, they’ll enjoy the spacious look and feel of this bed.

Concerned about keeping the bed outside in the wind and the rain? There’s no reason to be. It’s been specially designed to stand up to the elements, and is even waterproof!

The pillow can be washed by machine, and for best results, we recommend letting it dry naturally in the sun to help it keep its shape.

We think it makes a great addition to any outdoor deck or porch.

6. The Haute House Isabella Pet Bed

Let’s be honest — if you’re shopping at Neiman Marcus for items for your pet, then you’re living life the right way.

We just can’t get enough of the final offering on our list of luxury pet beds, the Isabelle bed from Haute House, retailed at Neiman Marcus. It’s available in stark white (for those whose animals find muddy paws unbecoming) or blush pink for the millennial pet in your life.

It’s been designed with an elegant Alder wood frame and even comes with nailhead trim adorned with jewels. So, for pets who know that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, this is simply the only choice.

At 50 pounds, it’s on the heavier side, which is why we suggest that the bed take up a more permanent residence in your home.

Haute House also has several other offerings, including a Hollywood Regency-style circular pet bed that matches perfectly with the human-sized furniture the brand also designs.

Pamper Your Pet With These Luxury Pet Beds

Your pet can now live in the lap of luxury — but instead of falling asleep on your lap, they’ll snooze in one of these luxury pet beds.

Looking for more pet inspiration from your favorite celebrities? Need to find pet-friendly hotels for your next vacation? Can’t resist browsing through the latest trends in dog fashion?

We get it — and we’re here to help.

Spend some time on our website and blog to ensure that your pet is the envy of the park!

8 Barktastic Dog Travel Tips Guaranteed To Make Your Doggo Happy

dog travelYour dog is apart of your family; therefore, you want your dog to join you for all of your adventures.

Exploring a new city? What better companion to have than your dog. Maybe you’re moving to a new home and your dog is high on your moving priorities.

If you plan on traveling with your dog, you need to plan carefully. Traveling with a dog means keeping their safety in mind and traveling under acceptable conditions.

In certain cases, traveling with a dog is more expensive than boarding up your dog or hiring a dog sitter.

Read these 8 tips on dog travel before doggo joins you on your next excursion.

1. Visit the Vet

Make sure you bring the dog in for a check-up before you embark on dog travel. Inform the vet you’re going on vacation and are planning on bringing your dog.

Here’s what the vet will look for:

  • Making sure your dog is up-to-date with all vaccinations
  • Deliver a health certification (is required for air travel)
  • Check their medical records and any medications prescribed

Even though the health certification is the only required document, bring their shot records and prescriptions to be safe. All airlines are different and they have different requirements for bringing pets on planes.

And always bring food and water. Feed your dog regularly with similar feeding times and duration that you do while at home.

2. Choose the Right Crate

A crate is the safest method of dog travel.

A crate also comes in handy when you stay in someone’s home or have to be in a hotel. You can buy a crate from almost any pet store; however, you have to be sure you’re choosing the right crate.

Here are some pointers when buying a crate:

  • The dog should be able to stand, sit, and lie down in the crate
  • Make sure it’s made of a strong material and there are handles on the crate
  • Check if the bottom is leak-proof
  • The crate is fully ventilated
  • Place ‘live animal’ marking on the crate plus your name, address, and phone number.

You should also add some of their favorite stuff inside of the crate. These include a favorite blanket and a favorite toy. Find a way to always have water for the dog to drink, such as a water bottle.

3. Identification Tag

When you’re in unfamiliar territory, the chances of your dog running away increase.

In case this happens, make sure your dog can always be properly identified.

The best way is an ID tag hanging from its collar. On this tag, write your name, address, and phone number. You should also write the dog’s name and try to include proof of rabies shot.

If you want to increase your chances of finding your dog, implant a microchip before you leave.

Always have a picture of your dog on you. This way, you can show strangers or make ‘missing dog’ posters.

4. Travel By Car Instead of Air

Your dog is already used to the car. You know how excited your dog gets when you drive it to the park, the beach, or the dog bar. When you travel by car, your dog will be far happier instead of traveling on a plane.

Traveling by plane can be scary for a dog. They’re locked in a crate. They’re away from you and aren’t familiar with their surroundings. And there are extra costs associated with air dog travel.

Just remember: if you’re on the interstate or a major road, leave the dog in a crate or keep the windows rolled up.

And always stop to let your dog go to the bathroom and drink water.

Feel free to walk your dog when you stop for gas or food. Last but certainly not least, never leave your dog unattended in the car with the windows rolled up. If you’re traveling over the summer, doing this can be life-threatening.

5. Look for a Dog-Friendly Hotel

If you’re on a long road trip or backpacking, you’ll want to stay at a hotel. Always be sure the hotel is dog-friendly.

When you find a dog-friendly hotel, be sure to respect the property and other guests. Make sure the dog isn’t barking a lot and they don’t have an accident inside of the room. If the dog makes a mess, clean it so the staff doesn’t have to.

Try to be with the dog as much as possible. If left alone, they could become anxious and destroy the room.

Are you not 100% sure you can trust your dog in a hotel room? Ty the Dog Guy offers training and coaching.

6. Take Your Dog on a Cruise

There are dog-friendly cruise lines. Some even provide special accommodations for dogs, such as a lounge and free dog food. But before bringing your dog on any cruise ship, make sure you read the guidelines before boarding the ship.

7. Always Keep Your Dog Calm

Traveling can be excited — some dogs enjoy the thrill of being somewhere new, but others can easily become scared or uncomfortable. Even if your dog is more adventurous, always bring a little token of home.

A blanket and their favorite toy are great travel entertainment for your dog.
Is your dog still stressed out? Give your dog some love. Regularly pet your dog to reassure it. As long as you’re there, your dog will be fine.

8. How to Explore New Surroundings with a Dog

Traveling is exciting but can be overwhelming. You feel out of comfort zone, and so does your dog.

But exploration could also be good for your dog; they love seeing new surroundings, sniffing new items, and hearing the different commotion.

While you’re taking your adventure in, don’t forget about your dog.

Make sure they’re not eating foreign objects and aren’t terrorizing anyone. If your dog seems stressed, take the dog back to the hotel or car.

Have Fun with Dog Travel

Your next vacation will be so much more fun with your dog companion at your side. Understand your dog is more vulnerable to a lot of different issues when away from home. Always keep your dog comfortable and happy.

You want to have a fun trip, and you should make the trip equally fun for your dog.

If you want more advice for your pets and children, read our blog.

6 Genius Ways to Save Money on Puppy Grooming

puppy groomingAh, the joys of being a puppy parent. Cuddling up to a sweet pooch is priceless, but the cost of having a dog can add up.

For example, getting a dog groomed can cost between $30 – $80.

Don’t spend a fortune on grooming when you can do it for less. Here’s how you can save money on puppy grooming:

1. Do All of It Yourself

Who knows? You might have a knack for puppy grooming! You can save money by rolling up your sleeves to groom your pup yourself.

Try watching some videos on YouTube or taking a class to learn the ropes. If your dog has a simpler cut, it won’t be too hard

The biggest perk? You get to see how adorable your puppy looks while it’s drenched in shampoo!

2. Do Some of It Yourself

If the idea of razors scares you, start small. If you just give your dog a bath at home, you can save money at the grooming salon. You can also do other small things like clipping their nails in advance

Cut out any tangles or mats in their fur before you send them in. Some grooming salons charge by the hour.

Do as much as you can, only use the professionals for the things that you can’t do yourself.

3. Get a Deal

Sometimes, you have to pay to get your dog professionally groomed. The key is not paying full price! Browse discount websites to look for puppy grooming discounts or deals.

Sign up for loyalty programs at local salons, they might send coupons via email that can save you some bucks.

4. Find a Student Groomer

Dog groomers have to start somewhere! Student groomers who are looking to build portfolios are always looking for new dogs to work on.

You could save major cash by letting a student groomer or hobbyist groom your dog. You can find them on sites like Craigslist or local animal care schools.

You can also ask around for other owners’ recommendations. Word of mouth is the best way to find someone you can trust.

5. Get Simple Cuts

If you have a high-maintenance dog, consider getting simpler cuts. Fido doesn’t always have to get the most fabulous cut.

Save the expensive cuts for special occasions. Get an inexpensive, low cut for every day.

Every now and then, treat your pup to the glam special. But for most grooming appointments, less is more.

6. Visit Less Frequently

Next time you go to the grooming salon, consider getting a shorter cut than usual. This will buy you more time between visits.

A pair of dog clippers will go a long way. Shave a half of an inch of fur between appointments. A little work along the way will save you more work later on.

In colder months, you want to be careful not to let your pooch sleep outside. Dry, cold air can dry out their skin. This means more visits (and money) to the salon.

So, where can my dog sleep?

Bring them inside to cozy up during cold weather!

Puppy Grooming for Any Budget

Using these tips is just one of the things pet owners can do to cut back on spending.

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford to spoil your dog. Pamper your pup without the extra perks. Your wallet will thank you later.

Learn more ways to save money on pets.

The Ultimate Guide to Owning Saltwater Fish

saltwater fishOwning a fish tank is one thing, but fish owners interested in taking it up a notch should consider keeping saltwater fish.

Keeping a saltwater fish tank is a bigger challenge than freshwater, but the benefits are immeasurable.

For instance, saltwater tanks replicate actual ocean water and give access to some beautiful reefs and exotic tropical fish. With that said, fish owners will get back what they put into the aquarium — so it’s important to make some sound decisions.

Start by using the tips below in order to build the most attractive saltwater tanks and to keep fish that are healthy and long living.

Understand The Different Types of Saltwater Fish

Researching fish is the first step of setting up an exquisite saltwater fish tank.

Some popular types of saltwater fish include clownfish, blue devil damselfish, angelfish, and gramma. When looking up the different types of fish, it’s crucial to learn what food they eat, their stages of development, breeding information and other important info.

The different attributes that each species has will inform the best ways to take care of these fish. Using that information will strike the right balance in the tank chemistry.

Buy the Right Aquarium

When buying a saltwater fish tank, it’s important to start by choosing the right size. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to buy a tank that is slightly than the buyer thinks they need.

It’s important to leave room both for natural fish growth and to add new fish. A 50-gallon tank is a great aquarium to start with.

On top of buying the aquarium itself, fish owners will need to buy a quality heating mechanism, thermometer, and filters that are efficient and long lasting. This will keep the water clean and comfortable for the fish and will keep them alive.

Get the Accessories That Bring it To Life

A saltwater tank is every bit as much a lifestyle statement as it is a hobby. It adds life and pizazz to home interior in the same way that garden marquees add to the landscape.

Keeping a tank filled with exotic fish is a cool conversation starter any time company is over.

Because of this, many fish tank owners go above and beyond to add the most beautiful reefs, rocks, decorations and other fixtures.

Adding live plant life to saltwater tanks makes the fish more healthy and the tank more attractive. Some examples of live plants that are great for any saltwater aquarium include java moss, pygmy chain sword, anubias nana, and different types of ferns.

Keep the Aquarium Clean

Cleanliness is essential when keeping a saltwater tank. Saltwater leaves more deposits, so must be cleaned more frequently than freshwater tanks.

Always get rid of fish food that isn’t eaten, and swap out the water every week or so. Keep the filters clean and always maintain lighting in order to see when the tank is accumulating too much dirt, waste and algae.

Contemplate these points and start looking for some thrifty DIY ideas that will make the aquarium a beautiful centerpiece in any home.

Share Your Tips

Do you own saltwater fish? Maybe you have a specific type of saltwater fish that you enjoy breeding more than others. Let us know in the comments!

5 Good Reasons to Buy Pets for Kids

pets for kids It’s obvious that children love animals. From toys to clothing to movies, animals are everywhere!

Even more than animals in general, kids love their pets.

There’s a reason why veterinarian is always a top answer when kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

Getting pets for kids can benefit them in so many ways. In this article, we’re breaking down the top five reasons why.

5 Benefits of Pets For Kids

Pets teach kids valuable lessons and life skills. Plus, they just make them so happy. What’s cuter than kids and puppies together?

Here are the best of those lessons, life skills, and joys!

1. Companionship

It’s no secret that pets and their owners experience a special bond. This bond gives both parties a sense of companionship. This companionship can be particularly comforting for kids.

It’s been proven that pets help reduce stress levels, likely because of their non-judgmental affection.

Kids are comfortable in front of their pets, even when it comes to developing skills like reading.

Reading to pets can help kids feel more confident when reading aloud. It helps shelter pets feel less anxious too.

2. Socialization

Interacting with pets helps kids learn how to socialize with humans too.

Kids, especially infants and toddlers, often find a connection with pets that is much easier to navigate than the complicated social world of humans.

Studies show that kids with pets often develop higher levels of self-esteem. This is likely due to the sense of competency that results from successfully taking care of another being.

3. Responsibility

It is important for kids to learn the effects of their actions, specifically the importance of responsibility.

Assigning a child with the responsibility of caring for their pet gives them the appreciation that they won’t get from completing other chores: the animal’s love.

The fun aspects, like play time and meal time, are great for young kids to take on. As they get older, it’s also good for a kid to learn the less fun responsibilities, like cleaning up after the pet. This helps to teach them to put in the work for the things they love in life.

4. Nurturing

Having to remember to care for another living being is a great lesson for a child’s developing mind and developing ego.

Kids who learn to instinctually care for a pet at a young age have a leg up in developing their sense of empathy.

Plus, the practice of being a caregiver builds instincts that we keep for a lifetime.

5. Family Bond

A pet that the whole family cares for can help strengthen the bond between family members.

Families grow closer with the shared experiences centered around the pet.

Even if a pet isn’t conducive to your lifestyle, animal centered activities can still help the family bond.

For example, a trip to an Interactive Aquarium can give the whole family new shared experiences outside of the day-to-day activities of school and work.

There You Have It!

Pets for kids can be a great developmental tool and a great way to make them happy all in one.

For more articles on kids and parenting, click here.

5 Crucial Products Your Frisky Feline Needs to Have

cat productsCatnip and Cat Condo not cutting it anymore?

Don’t fret, Fearless Feline-Mom. We’ve scoured the Internet for you to find some of the coolest, newest kitty products for your four-legged friend. Think of them as the “new essentials” for your furry companion.

And now, after tirelessly whittling down the list to its cat necessities, we present the 5 crucial products all cat-moms and cat-dads need to have. Be sure to look for online coupons before you buy them!

1) Kitty Products For the Cat Abroad

We all have to travel. That means we all have to make the decision: Do I bring my cat with me or hire a sitter?

For those of you who like to bring your cats along for the ride, or those who have just moved into a new place, we’d like to share “Feliway”.

Feliway contains no drugs or sedatives. Instead, it simulates a “natural feline facial pheromone.” This enables cats to feel a sense of security.

This product is proven to significantly reduce urination incidents, as well as other territorial or anxiety-driven behaviors.

2) For the Cat with an Itch that Won’t Quit

Responsible pet owners know the importance of applying flea and other pest-shielding medications.

Unfortunately, fleas are growing immunities to traditional methods. This often leaves owners at a loss.

That’s where Pet-Lok comes to the rescue. This cat flea medicine is different from other brands, because it is comprehensive.

The result is a family of products that not only prevents fleas and other pests from ever biting, but also treats cats if they get fleas. It also has products for inside the home and out in the backyard. This creates a barrier far beyond your pet.

3) For the Cat with a Sneezy Parent

We examined dozens of air purifiers, and we’ve found one that’s quite impressive.

Called Molekule, this purification system is different in that it breaks down irritants at the molecular level. So, it leaves behind pure air that is free from any chemicals.

Other air purifiers have filtration systems, which help to trap pollutants. This one is different — it doesn’t filter the air, it fundamentally changes it.

4) For the Cat with an Appetite

The feeding frenzy may be familiar to you. You put a bowl of food down and before you know it the food is gone.

The brand “Catit” has a variety of nifty products, and the “Senses 2.0 Digger” is a great solution.

It requires dexterity and simulates what it’s like for your cat to hunt for food. Best of all, it helps your cat to slow down and enjoy its meal.

5) For the Cat who Has Everything

Okay, Big Spender, this one’s for you. Go Pet Club has created a series of huge “Cat Trees” and condos.

This is not your momma’s scratching post.

These have ladders, tunnels, swings, plants, and rope bridges.

Kitty Products For Everyone Else

We go to incredible lengths for our furry companions. We love them, and they love us back.

These five products will never replace the love and kindness that pet owners display every single day. Check out our site to ensure you get the best deals on them.

Nevertheless, they’re sure to make for one happy feline.