Oxbow Critical Care

Oxbow Critical Care – A pantry staple for small mammal owners

Oxbow Critical CareWhat is it?


  • Can be used as a top dressing on food and hay to encourage better intake or for food transitioning.
  • Formulated to provide essential nutrients for animals with poor nutritional status resulting from illness or surgery.
  • Contains high-fibre Timothy Hay and other vital nutrients to support proper gut health and digestion.


Created with input from leading veterinarians and nutrition experts who specialise in exotic animals, Critical Care is considered the top choice for helping herbivores recover from illness or surgery when they’re struggling to get the right nutrition. It’s not just for recovery though – you can also sprinkle it on your pet’s food or hay to help them eat better or switch to a new diet more smoothly. Critical Care is packed with important nutrients your pet needs and includes high fibre Timothy Hay to keep their digestive system healthy. It’s a must-have item for your pet’s pantry.




  • Powdered formula mixes easily to desired consistency
  • Highly versatile – can be tube fed, assist-fed by syringe or spoon, or self-fed by bowl or as top dressing
  • High in fibre; low in carbohydrates
  • Contains readily-absorbable chelated minerals and beneficial prebiotics
  • No refined sugars, artificial preservatives or simple carbohydrates


The smallest pets deserve the biggest love!

Written by: https://oxbowanimalhealth.com/

Bonus benefits of pet food ingredients: Superfoods

It’s a papaya, it’s a chia seed, it’s a superfood!

Food that has particularly high nutritional value is often labelled a “superfood.” These nutrient-packed foods are key sources of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein.

Superfoods in pet food are also functional ingredients. Functional ingredients provide bonus benefits beyond basic nutrition when they are part of a complete and balanced diet. Antioxidants, omega fatty acids and fibre provide some of these bonus benefits.


Antioxidants help keep pets healthy by protecting them from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of normal metabolism, but if more free radicals are produced than there are antioxidants to control them, health issues, like cancer and heart disease, can occur. Antioxidants in superfoods can work with antioxidants naturally produced by the body to control these free radicals.

The bonus benefits of antioxidants include immune system support and maintenance of healthy skin. Superfoods that are sources of antioxidants include quinoa, blueberries, carrots, oranges and spinach.

Omega Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are components of fats that are energy sources, are precursors of hormones and chemical signals, and have key roles in cell membrane integrity. Some omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential and need to be provided in your pet’s food because they either can’t be synthesised by the body or can’t be synthesised in enough quantities to meet nutritional requirements. They are required by young animals for proper brain and vision development.

The bonus benefits of some omega-6 or omega-3 fatty acids include healthy skin, shiny coat, anti-inflammatory effects and improvement of diseases like kidney disease and heart disease. Superfoods that contain omega fatty acids include chia seed, coconut, flaxseed, salmon and salmon oil.


There are two types of fibre — soluble and insoluble — that help support healthy digestion in pets. Soluble fibre turns into a gel-like substance and slows down food digestion, and insoluble fibre helps move food through the intestines.

Intestinal microbes (the microbiota) ferment some dietary fibre to produce an energy source for intestinal cells, regulate colon pH and encourage growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. Fibre also promotes the production of regular, firm stools, helps with weight loss by improving the sense of feeling full and helps control hairballs in cats. Superfoods that are fibre sources include quinoa, blueberries, oranges and papaya.

Superfoods in Pet Foods

As well as providing a high nutritional value, superfoods as pet food ingredients can provide bonus benefits that help keep pets healthy and active. Below are some examples of superfood ingredients used in Diamond pet food formulas.

Examples of Superfoods Included in Diamond Pet Food Formulas


If you ever wonder about an ingredient in a Diamond-brand dog or cat food and why it’s there, be sure to check out our ingredient glossary, or reach out to our Customer Care Team customercare@packleader.co.za

Written by: Diamond Pet Foods

Acana Puppy Food

How to choose the best puppy food

Choosing the best food for your puppy is pivotal in making sure they start off on the right paw!

A balanced and complete diet ensures your puppy will be set up for a happy, healthy life. Here are a few tips on what to look for and avoid when choosing the best puppy food, how to feed your new  puppy, different types of puppy food to consider, and of course a list of the best ACANA recipes for puppies!

What to look for in puppy food:

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right dog food for your puppy including, but not limited to, ingredient quality and nutrients that are necessary for growth. It is important to recognize that puppies do not have requirements for specific ingredients, but for the nutrients those ingredients provide. This is why it is important to look for food with quality ingredients like fresh or raw meat, poultry or fish balanced with whole vegetables and fruit! Quality animal ingredients provide a greater variety of nutrients, resulting in a food that requires less supplementation.

A growing puppy has several dietary needs that differ from an adult dog’s needs, which is why picking a food that is formulated with puppies in mind is a good idea. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a puppy food:

  1. Energy: Puppies grow fast and therefore have an increased requirement for energy or calories. This is an especially important consideration for puppies under 4 months old, as their requirements may be as much as twice the adult requirements. Pet Lovers can achieve this by feeding a calorie-dense food. Typically, formulated puppy diets feature a higher fat content to provide more calories. By using puppy specific recipes, Pet Lovers do not have to feed large quantities of food to provide their puppy with the nutrients they need!
  2. Protein: Protein is pivotal to providing puppies with the building blocks for the development of hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Dog foods high in quality animal protein should be desired over those that are high in plant-derived proteins, as animal proteins provide a more complete amino acid profile, making them a better quality protein source for puppies.
  3. Calcium and Phosphorous: You may be thinking that because a puppy needs more energy and protein, they must need more minerals. This is where Pet Lovers often get confused! While it is certainly important that minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are present in the food, it is equally as important for them to be present at the appropriate levels.
    • A note for large breed puppies: Due to the longer growing period of large breed puppies, their calcium needs are slightly different than small or medium breeds. Foods that are appropriate for large breed puppies will feature a lower calcium content in order to lower their risk of developing orthopedic and joint problems. It is important when choosing a food for a large breed puppy that the food has been formulated to be appropriate for their unique needs, and features an AAFCO or FEDIAF statement.
  4. EPA and DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in quality animal ingredients like seafood.

What to avoid:

Our focus when we make ACANA dog food recipes is to include high quality ingredients like animal proteins from fresh or raw chicken and turkey, quail, ranch-raised meats, wild-caught or sustainably farmed fish, and cage-free eggs. Puppies may be able to survive off a diet low in quality animal ingredients and high in carbohydrates, but it won’t help them be their best. Puppies thrive off a diet where the distribution of energy comes from quality animal protein balanced with fruit and vegetables, and low carbohydrates.

So, what is a “bad ingredient” and why should they be avoided? A bad ingredient is one that provides little nutritional benefit. Typically, these ingredients are less expensive. Examples of these are corn, soy, wheat, or tapioca ingredients.

With ACANA, Pet Lovers can be confident in the food they are feeding their puppy. Our first two ingredients are always fresh or raw, quality animal ingredients sourced from suppliers we know and trust! Every ingredient in our puppy recipes is carefully chosen by our Research & Innovation Team for a puppy’s nutritional benefit, providing them with a complete and balanced diet that meets our food philosophy. Every ingredient plays a role in keeping your puppy happy and healthy!

Best types of puppy food and how to feed puppies:

It is easy to become overwhelmed with the choices you need to make regarding your puppy’s health and well-being. Choosing the best type of food for your growing puppy is no exception!

It is important to note that every puppy is unique, and the same diet type won’t be the best option for every puppy. Here are a few diet options to consider:

  • Dry kibble
  • Freeze-Dried Treats

Dry kibble is perhaps the most popular way to provide a complete and balanced diet to a puppy. Kibble is generally more cost effective and convenient, especially for new puppy parents. Kibble can easily be portioned out according to your puppy’s weight and growth expectancy, and it’s easy to store.It is important for puppies that eat a completely dry diet to consume enough water to support proper digestion.

As mentioned earlier, puppies have a greater energy requirement than adult dogs. To ensure they receive enough calories, puppies will often need to have an increased feeding amount in comparison to adults. The exact amount of food that your puppy will require may depend on several factors such as: food type, specific formula, breed, their current weight, and mature weight expectancy.

In general, it is best to spread out your puppy’s daily feeding amount into several meals throughout the day. We recommend at least two meals per day, however Pet Lovers can feed in three or four meals if their schedule allows, and if it is what works best for your puppy. Feeding multiple times a day can help to distribute calories and energy throughout the day. This type of schedule works for any type of diet!

The best ACANA dog foods for puppies

Luckily, ACANA pet food comes in several nutritious recipes for puppies.

ACANA Puppy Recipe

Your growing puppy needs protein and fat from quality animal protein to support their development. ACANA Puppy & Junior recipe is balanced with 60%2 quality animal ingredients like free-run3 chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, and 40%4 fruit, vegetables, and botanicals4 like whole pumpkin. Please know that artificial colors, flavors or preservatives are never added in our kitchen. Our ACANA Puppy recipe features no grain ingredients5, with no added soy, corn, wheat or tapioca ingredients. Each kibble is freeze-dried coated for a delicious taste your puppy will crave!

ACANA® Puppy Small Breed

Your small-breed puppy is growing fast, requiring a diet that is rich in protein and fat from premium animal ingredients to support proper development. Rich with animal ingredients like free-run3 chicken and wild-caught flounder, plus nourishing cage-free eggs delivered fresh or raw1 to our kitchen by suppliers we know and trust, ACANA Puppy Small Breed has everything your growing puppy needs for optimal growth and development

ACANA® Puppy Large Breed

All puppies are not created equal. Your large-breed puppy has unique nutritional needs to support their rapid growth and bone development, including protein and fat from whole animal ingredients. ACANA Puppy Large Breed is rich in free-run3 chicken and wild-caught flounder, with the added nutrition of delicious cage-free eggs, for a recipe that gives your growing puppy everything they need to grow up healthy, happy, and strong.

ACANA® Freeze-Dried Treats

Rich with protein and flavor, ACANA Freeze-Dried Treats are made with 100% raw animal ingredients, including meat, poultry or fish and organs. Our animal ingredients are delivered to our kitchen where they are freeze-dried, locking in the rich nutrients and savory taste. These treats are soft and easy to break apart making them ideal for training or treating your puppy!

Written by: https://www.acana.com/en-CA/homepage


The four common dog health concerns

If you’re dog parents like us, you’ve likely encountered one of the four common health concerns with your pooch: Picky Eaters, Itchy Coats, Fatty Floofs, and Farty Furballs!

As obsessed pet parents (aren’t we all!?) we want what is best for our dogs. So when we started to notice that pet parents all over are experiencing four very common health issues with their dogs, it got us thinking. Isn’t there something that can help? There is, and it all starts with what goes in your dog’s bowl!

Let’s take a look at how Weruva’s canned wet foods can help your dog eat better and feel like a pup again.

Picky Eaters

Pups want the good stuff. We’re talking REAL MEAT! High-quality cuts of lean protein are what you’ll find in every Weruva recipe. Dogs are smart, they know when they’re eating REAL ingredients, like hand-prepared shredded boneless, skinless, breast meat chicken.

Itchy Coats

An abundance of healthy fats – Omega 3’s and 6’s help pups get a shiny, healthy coat. No more itchy and flakey scratches! Food allergies you say? We have a number of single protein recipes for those extra sensitive canines. Your pup will be looking like Fabio in no time.

Fatty Floofs

The same plan that the doctor prescribes for us humans – moderate exercise and diet are the keys to a healthy weight. For Fido, the same is true.

Dogs do best when their meals are mostly lean proteins, have a moderate amount of fats and minimal carbs. Don’t forget to provide ample drinking water and your pup will be on their way to a trim tummy!

Farty Pups

High quality food and proper fibre will naturally give your pup healthy gut bacteria. If your pup needs a little extra fibre, we have delicious recipes with added pumpkin.

So, whether you have a picky dog, itchy dog, fatty dog, or farty dog maybe it’s time to consider what goes into your dog’s bowl?

Travel with a senior dog

The Life of Riley: Adventuring with my Senior Dog

“Go as far as you can, and when you can’t go any farther, I will carry you the rest of the way.” That was the promise I whispered into Riley’s pointy ears after he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia 11 years ago. I never dreamed that my perfect adventure buddy would live to be 16, and I certainly didn’t think that he would be adventuring with me deep into his senior years. But he has, and with a sparkle in his beautiful blue eyes to this very day. I truly believe the adventures we’ve had, and the deep bond we’ve formed because of them have played a major role in Riley’s epic life. 

Many years ago, I asked a woman who was in her 90’s (and still working), what her secret was to living so long. She said, “keep moving, because it’s harder to hit a moving target!” I loved that advice – and it resonated with me because sitting still isn’t in my nature, or any of my four Australian Shepherds! And so, almost every day for 16 years Riley and I moved. Rain or shine, forest trail, river, or suburban sidewalk, we did something active. Keeping all the muscles in Riley’s legs strong would serve him well as he aged to compensate for his bad hips. 

As he went from adolescent, to adult, to senior, and now geriatric, I adjusted our activities to make sure they fit Riley’s ability and comfort level. 

I decided early on to focus on what we could still do in each stage of his life rather than dwell on the things we could no longer do. Lessening the intensity of our adventures was worth it because I still had Riley with me – his company still makes any outing enriching and fulfilling. 

That’s how we found paddleboarding. I discovered something where we could be together, I got exercise and Riley could just relax, swim, and play on a sandbar. Paddleboarding continues to be our special time together. Sharing adventures with my senior dog has taught me a deeper level of patience, compassion for the aging process, and gratitude for a life well lived. Here are some of the ways I’ve carried Riley through his golden adventure years.

Travel with a senior dog

Remembering the importance of enrichment

Keeping Riley’s mind sharp has been just as important as keeping his body strong. As Riley has aged, I’ve watched his vision and his hearing decrease. However, his sense of smell is just as strong as ever. So, I make it a point to let him sniff whatever he wants for as long as he wants. This is a great form of enrichment for senior dogs – they learn a lot from scent, and it paints a mental picture of things they might not be able to see and hear anymore. Our daily walks are slow, but Riley gets a lot of information from smells that keep his mind sharp while we stretch his legs. 

Every time I think Riley might not be able to handle a camping trip or a road trip, he surprises me. Every. Single. Time. Typically, senior dogs do better with routine and familiar environments, but this seasoned adventure dog seems to thrive on a change of scenery. I suspect because he grew up on the road with me, he feels at home, it’s what we do, and it’s how we bonded so closely. Even if we don’t have a road trip scheduled, getting him out to local parks to smell new things and take in a different view has helped keep things new and exciting. 

Finding fun ways to carry my dog 

These days I do physically carry Riley up and down stairs, in and out of the house, car and camper. But the other ways that I carry him (which he always prefers) is by trailer, board or kayak. These tools give Riley a way to be out with me where all he has to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. Our Burley bike trailer converts into a stroller, and it’s a great option for getting him out and about on longer walks. Or we can do lots of miles together if I tow him behind my bike. 

Travel with a senior dog

The sight of a paddleboard or my inflatable kayak still makes his nub shake. He loves being with me, and he’s happy to share the experience with my son or Willow. Paddling with my best friend lying comfortably at my feet as I ferry him across rivers and lakes is still magical after all these years.

A little extra special attention

Having two other dogs and a toddler can make it easy for Riley to get lost in the hustle of life. But I make a point to show him he’s still an important part of our family. Some days Riley is treated as part of the gang and sometimes I give him a little one-on-one time. I like to mix it up – car rides, walks or just sitting together while I give him a gentle massage. I also make special meals and treats for Riley – he gets extra perky around mealtimes with the anticipation of something new in his dish. Finding ways to spoil Riley and make sure he knows he’s still my buddy keeps our bond strong. 

Travel with a senior dog

Gear that helps keep adventures comfy and possible

Creating a comfortable environment for Riley and using gear to help his mobility has added years to his life. Since Riley still comes with us on road trips and camping adventures, I always make sure he has an oversized bed, easy access to water, and a quiet spot where he can nap. Bodie, Willow and my son create a lot of noise, so I always like to make sure Riley gets quality rest and alone time when we travel. 

We’ve been using the Grip Trex™ Boots on his back feet for added traction. As he’s aged and his back legs have become weaker, he needs help on surfaces that are a little slippery. His harness and shoes have become his senior dog uniform, like a cane or a walker, but they help immensely and he seems to understand that. We know we’re at the last stage of Riley’s life, but because of everything we’ve done, and all the right gear we’ve found, he’s gotten more adventures with us than we ever expected. 

Travel with a senior dog

So, keep moving, and bring your senior dog with you! You may have to do less miles and adjust according to what your dog is capable of. The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that it’s not how far or fast you go – it’s the company you keep that makes an adventure special.

Story written by: Maria Schulz www.https://ruffwear.com/blogs/explored/the-life-of-riley-adventuring-with-my-senior-dog

When should you switch from kitten food to adult cat food?

When should you switch from kitten food to adult cat food?

As a new cat lover, you might have questions on how and when to switch from a kitten to adult food. We’ve answered the top questions all cat parents need to know about making a smooth transition.


When it comes to feeding your cat, it’s important to note that kitten and adult foods generally differ in terms of protein, fat, and caloric content. Kittens grow quickly and need a lot of calories to support that growth, as well as plenty of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. These are the building blocks cats need to establish a strong and healthy body as they mature.


Around 10-12 months of age, your kitten will likely be fully grown. Since your cat has matured at this point and is no longer going through a growth phase, they no longer need to consume extra calories. This is generally the best time to start transitioning your kitten to an adult cat food diet. However, some larger breeds don’t reach their adult weight until up to 18 months of age. If you’re unsure, consult your trusted veterinarian for advice on when to change your cat’s diet.

To avoid digestive upset and to allow your kitten to adjust to their new cat food, we recommend transitioning over a seven-day period. Start with 75% of their kitten formula mixed with 25% of the new adult formula. Over the span of the week, slowly increase the percentage of the new food you add. By the end of the seven day span, if your cat is eating the whole serving and you don’t observe anything abnormal (loose stool, vomiting, excessive itching, etc.), you can go ahead and fully transition to the new adult cat food recipe.


If you run into any signs that your cat is experiencing digestive upset, slow down the transition. Some kittens are more sensitive to dietary changes than others, so it is important to observe your cat closely during the transition. The most sensitive tummies may require an adjustment period of up to a few weeks, so be patient.

Keep in mind it is always important to monitor your cat’s weight and body condition. Some cats become less active as they enter adulthood and their metabolisms slow down. Ensure you continue to encourage exercise and play even after your kitten has matured, and refrain from feeding those extra meal scraps under the table!


The easiest transition for your cat will be to feed them similar protein sources. For example, if you are feeding a chicken-based kitten recipe, we recommend transitioning to a chicken-based adult recipe as well. If you were feeding ACANA® First Feast as a kitten, ACANA® Homestead Harvest or might be good choices to try.


If you were feeding an all-life stage diet to your kitten, such as ACANA Pacifica®, you can continue feeding that recipe into your cat’s adulthood. You will just want to ensure you reduce the amount you are feeding daily — we recommend you follow the feeding guide for adult maintenance. A slow reduction in feeding amount may be necessary, especially if your cat likes to beg for food. Remember that begging doesn’t necessarily mean your cat is still hungry – they may just love to eat! Your cat’s body condition is the best indicator as to whether you are feeding the right amount. If you are ever unsure, we recommend consulting your veterinarian. Knowing your cat’s full history will help your veterinarian make the best decision for the individual needs of your cat.

Written by: Champion Petfoods – www.acana.com


Hay blends for rabbits

What is the Best Type of Hay for Rabbits?

As a bunny mom or dad, you’ve likely heard a lot about hay and how important it is for the health of your rabbits.  Like all herbivores, rabbits are made to eat plant material exclusively.  In the wild, rabbits eat a diverse variety of plants, including large amounts of fresh grass daily.  The best and most convenient way to meet your hungry rabbit’s instinctual appetite for grass in the comforts of home is by providing unlimited amounts of fresh, high-quality grass hay.  Simply put, hay is the most important part of your rabbit’s daily diet and should be available in unlimited amounts and always accessible for your rabbit to eat whenever the mood strikes.

How to Choose the Right Hay for Rabbits

When it comes to choosing the right hay for rabbits, pet parents often ask themselves, “what is the best type of hay for rabbits?”  The good news is that choosing the right hay for rabbits is not as daunting as it may seem.  All commonly available grass hay varieties are nutritionally interchangeable, providing the fiber, protein, and calcium required to support the digestive and dental health of rabbits.  Appropriate hay varieties for rabbits include:

  • Western Timothy Hay
  • Orchard Grass Hay
  • Oat Hay
  • Western Timothy & Orchard Blend
  • Organic Meadow Hay
  • Botanical Hay
  • Alfalfa Hay
  • Compressed Hay Stacks (Harvest Stacks)



 Western Timothy Hay: A Veterinarian-Recommended Favorite Hay for Rabbits

Timothy hay is the most common and popular hay for rabbits and is often recommended by veterinarians as an ideal choice for bunnies of all shapes and sizes.  This is because Timothy hay offers a balanced taste and texture profile that most rabbits love while providing the high fiber and balanced protein and calcium rabbits need for daily digestive and dental health.  For all these reasons, Timothy hay is a great hay choice for rabbits and has long been Oxbow’s most popular hay variety.  

Orchard Grass Hay: Soft, Sweet, and Simply Adored by Bunnies

Orchard grass hay is softer and slightly sweeter than Timothy hay.  If you currently feed your rabbit Timothy hay or another coarser and heartier option and feel like they’re not eating as much hay as you’d like to see (for reference, they should consume a pile roughly the size of their body each day), we’d recommend offering Orchard Grass to see if they prefer the softer texture and sweeter taste.  Similarly, you can mix Orchard Grass and Timothy hay together for an enriching combination of tastes and textures.



Oat Hay: Crunchy and Hearty Hay for Herbivores

Every rabbit has its own unique preferences, and some prefer hearty and crunchy when it comes to hay.  If this describes your rabbit, look no further than Oat Hay.  This crunch-tastic offers the added benefit of including taste, immature seed heads that rabbits love to snack on.  Try mixing Oat Hay and Orchard Grass together for a rabbit hay blend that has it all.

Western Timothy & Orchard Blend: The Best of Both Worlds

The only thing better than blending Western Timothy and sweet, soft Orchard Grass hay together is treating yourself to the convenience of buying them pre-blended!  Rabbits and pet parents alike love this enriching, delicious combination of tastes and textures.



Organic Meadow Hay: Mother-Nature Approved Hay for Rabbits

When it comes to choosing the right hay for your rabbit, there are many factors to consider.  For those looking to make the most sustainable and environmentally conscious purchasing decisions possible,  Organic Meadow Hay is an ideal choice – and another fantastic variety of hay for rabbits!  Similar in taste and texture to Timothy hay, Organic Meadow Hay is USDA-certified organic for a healthier, happier planet!

Botanical Hay: Western Timothy with an Herbal Twist

Do you have a rabbit with a refined palate and appreciation for the finer things?  We’ve got just the hay for your rabbit!  Botanical hay consists of Oxbow Western Timothy with a blend of enticing herbs including chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm.  These aromatic, enticing additions make Botanical Hay a first-class taste experience that is great alone or mixed with other hay varieties for rabbits.

Alfalfa Hay: The Ideal Treat for Grown Rabbits

When discussing the best hay for rabbits, Alfalfa is the only hay on the list that can’t be viewed as nutritionally interchangeable.  That’s because Alfalfa (a legume) is more nutritionally dense than grass hay varieties, with higher percentages of calcium and protein.  Most rabbits go gaga for alfalfa, but too much of a good thing (alfalfa) can potentially lead to obesity and other health-related issues over time.  For that reason, Alfalfa should only be fed in small amounts as a treat for healthy, adult rabbits.  Young, growing, pregnant, and nursing rabbits, meanwhile, can enjoy unlimited amounts of alfalfa to support their higher nutritional requirements.

Compressed Hay Stacks: Less Dust, Less Mess

If you’re looking for something different at your rabbit’s mealtime, you might want to give Oxbow Harvest Stacks a try.  These compressed Timothy hay stacks are less dusty and messy than loose hay and are great for travel or just as a way to add enrichment to mealtime.

Choosing the right hay for your rabbits is an important responsibility for all bunny moms and dads.  The good news is that the best rabbit hay is the hay your rabbit likes best!  Mix and match any of the hay varieties detailed in this article to determine which hay your rabbit likes best and to provide important enrichment every day.  Happy hay day!

Written by: www.owbowanimalhealth.com

When to switch from a puppy diet to adult diet

When to switch from puppy food to adult dog food

Owning a new puppy is an exciting, hectic time between training, socializing, and vet visits. As your puppy grows, you might wonder: How long should my puppy be on a puppy diet? Or when should I transition my puppy to adult dog food?

Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and it is recommended they continue to follow a puppy diet until they reach their full maturity. A puppy diet is different from the diet of an adult dog in that it contains a higher fat and calorie content to meet the growing needs of your puppy. When your dog reaches the end of its growth stage, their nutritional needs change. It is important that you switch them to a more suitable diet to support their overall health! 

How do you know when your dog has reached maturity?

Generally, a dog’s breed size will determine when they are done growing, usually somewhere between 10 months to 2 years. Here’s a general guideline for when different dog breed sizes reach adulthood:

  • Toy or small breed dogs (under 20 lbs) 9 -10 months
  • Medium breed dogs (20-60 lbs) 12 – 14 months
  • Large breed dogs (60 lbs +) 16 – 24 months

How do I transition my puppy to an adult diet?

When transitioning your puppy to a new diet at any stage, start by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of their current food, then gradually increase the new food over the course of 10-14 days until you’re feeding them 100% of the new food.  

The specific ratios between new and old formulas will depend on your dog, so keep an eye on the stool and slow down if necessary!

How to feed large breed puppies

It is important to note that large and giant breed dogs (maturing over 70 lbs) have different growth requirements and should not only be on a puppy diet for a longer period of time, but they should be on a diet appropriate for the growth of large breed puppies until they reach maturity.

What about an all-life stages diet for puppies?

Many ORIJEN® diets are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for dogs at all life stages, so they can be fed to both puppies and adult dogs!

If you have an adult dog and want to feed the same recipe to your new puppy, or if your puppy is sensitive to an ingredient in the puppy recipe, there are more choices that may be suitable!

You can make these diets appropriate for a puppy by increasing the daily feeding amount as follows:

  • For puppies 1 and 1/2 to 3 months old, feed 2x the active adult amount for their current weight
  • From 3 to 6 months old, feed 1.5x the active adult amount for their current weight
  • From 6 months until maturity, feed 1.25x the active adult amount for their current weight

Adult dog food diets we recommend

Every dog is unique, so not all dog food recipes will work for each dog. Finding the appropriate recipe can take some trial and error, but here are a few suggestions to consider!

Transitioning from ORIJEN® Puppy -> ORIJEN® Original or ORIJEN® Small Breed

Transitioning from ORIJEN® Puppy Large Breed -> ORIJEN® Original

Now that you’ve made the switch, make sure you’re following the feeding chart and monitoring your dog’s growth. The recommended daily amount should be divided into two feedings during the day. Our charts are based on the diet of an “average dog,” but know that you can adjust the daily amount up to 10% to suit your dog’s unique needs. The energy required to support a dog’s metabolism may be higher with an active dog, while a dog that is less active and weighs the same will need fewer calories to maintain their health. 

ACANA food and treats

How to choose the best dog food for picky eaters

Just like humans, dogs are individuals with unique food preferences and needs. The term “picky eater” is often used to generalize dogs who do not enjoy eating or cannot eat. There are, however, many reasons why a dog may be a picky eater. Each reasoning may require a unique approach when trying to find a diet that will work best for your dog. Here are a few common reasons a dog may be a picky eater, some tips on how to address them, and recommendations on which ACANA food and treats may work best!

1.         Your dog has allergies

Dogs can experience both food and seasonal allergies just like people. Allergies occur when the immune system views certain substances (like ingredients or foods) or environmental triggers as threatening to the body. In return, the body will react in different ways, including the development of rashes, ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

Dietary allergies in dogs are most commonly related to an animal protein (i.e. chicken, beef, fish). However, dogs may be sensitive to any ingredient within a diet. Symptoms of dietary allergies generally present themselves immediately after being exposed to the ingredient or food. It is important to note that any dog can develop allergies at any time during his or her life!

If you suspect your dog is experiencing an allergic response to something in their diet, there are a few things to try and troubleshoot. First, try and eliminate the triggering food or ingredient. One way to do this is by feeding a limited ingredient diet. Single protein, limited ingredient diets are a great way to narrow down the list of food that is safe for your pet to consume. Second, cut out all treats from your dog’s diet until you have a better idea of what is causing the allergic responses. In extreme allergy cases, a prescription diet may be necessary.

Allergens can take up to six weeks to make its way out of your dog’s body, or even longer to see improvements. It is always a good idea to consult your trusted veterinarian in these situations. Knowing the health history of your pet will better guide them in making the safest and best recommendations for your dog!

If allergies are a problem, here are some recommended ACANA diets to try:

2.        Your dog has digestive trouble

Some dogs are naturally more sensitive than others. For these individuals, diets that feature easily digestible proteins are a great place to start. Fish is a good example of an easily digestible protein. Fish, especially of the white variety, is low in fat and free of fibre making it a high-quality protein that is easy on your dog’s digestive system.

Alternatively, some dogs may benefit from a higher fibre diet in order to promote more regularity and slow transit time. In these cases, feeding a diet that features high fibre ingredients such as pumpkin, green beans, apples, or carrots is a great way to add bulk to your dog’s diet without adding a lot of calories.

If your dog has digestive issues, you can try these ACANA recipes:

3.        Your dog has personal preferences

Most dogs prefer a variety of flavours and will readily accept new foods. However, some dogs will have specific preferences for certain flavours or even textures.

Some dogs can get overwhelmed by more diverse food recipes that feature flavours from various sources – like a recipe that has beef, lamb, pork and chicken. These dogs may do better on something more simple like a recipe that features a single protein, limited ingredient diet.

Flavour fatigue can also happen to dogs who have been fed the same or similar flavours for an extended period of time. One way to combat this is to feed a rotational diet. Rotational feeding  simply means rotating between different dog food recipes to ensure your pet is getting nutrients and flavors from a wide range of ingredient sources to support overall health and maintain interest. Rotational feeding can be done daily, weekly, monthly or from bag to bag.

To use rotational feeding, start by replacing 25% of your dog’s old food with their new food, gradually increasing it over time until you’re feeding 100% of the new food.

Texture of food is also important to consider. Some dogs prefer the crunch that comes with kibble, while others want a more meat-like consistency that is typical of a wet or freeze-dried food. Figuring out what your dog likes best will help guide you on what types of food will work. Keep in mind that many dogs may enjoy a mixture of textures. In these situations, building a bowl using a kibble topper may be beneficial!

If your dog has specific preferences, here are some ACANA options to try:

  • ACANA Singles for dogs that need a simplified diet
  • ACANA Highest Protein for dogs doing a rotational diet

4.        Consider environmental influence

Do you pour your dog’s kibble into their bowl every morning and it sits there for several hours uneaten? Although feeding your dog may seem easy and straightforward, how and when you feed them may impact their feeding behaviour. It is also important to note that changes to your dog’s environment may impact their behaviour. For example, did you start a new job and now leave for the day at a different time? Have you recently moved? Do you have houseguests? All of these factors and more may impact your dog’s desire to eat.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Set a time for meals and make sure to stick to it.
  • Leave the food out for no longer than 20 minutes. If your dog doesn’t eat anything, take the bowl. Make sure to cover and place any wet or rehydrated food into the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
  • Try to avoid feeding treats or other foods in between feeding times until your dog is on a more consistent schedule.

You can further encourage your dog to eat their meals by making the food more enticing. To do this, add a yummy kibble topper such as a freeze-dried food. A few sprinkles can go a long way in keeping your dog on schedule.

Picky eating can be relatively normal for some dogs, especially if the picky eating is due to a taste preference. However, picky eating can also be a sign of an underlying health concern. You should consult your trusted veterinarian if your dog experiences a significant appetite change that lasts for more than 24 hours or does not return to normal.

Additionally, if you have a puppy, a senior dog, or a dog with severe accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, or a dog with a previous health concern that needs to be managed through diet (ie: Diabetes), it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately following a significant change in appetite.