In last week's blog, I looked into what is toxic to our dogs. Following on from that, I'm going to talk about what I've done and learned over the years in giving my doggos the best diet and lifestyle I can. I'll also include what I've learned over the 30+ years that I've been a dog owner. This is not only what I've read in magazines like Dogs Today and Your Dog, but also from other dog owners, breeders and veterinary surgeons.
Things have been quiet since our frantic dash to the vets last week. Fortunately, neither Poppy nor Devon have eaten any grapes. I can safely say that because there's been none in the house since that fateful evening!
My two goldies are kept on a strict diet to help maintain a good immune system, keep their joints strong (goldies are prone to joint problems), shiny coats and the list goes on... I'm particularly wary of them gaining too much weight because of the history the breed has for bone and joint problems.
I remember there was a lady I once worked with who had a goldie. We were both dog lovers so we got along really well! Unfortunately, her goldie had severe problems with his joints. I can't remember how old he was but I do know that he was more than ten years old.
The poor boy could not move around much. When he needed to go into the garden to toilet, my friend or her husband used to have to carry him. He did suffer, and it broke my heart to hear what he went through.
When we decided to buy a golden retriever, after owning border collies for over twenty years, I read all that I could on the breed. I also searched for a reputable golden retriever breeder. As it happened, not only did I find an excellent breeder, but I also gained a very good friend. There is not much that Ann doesn't know about Goldies.
Both Poppy and Devon have been hip scored - something which is strongly advised when purchasing a pup. Ann also recommended keeping them on a raw food diet. Seeing as both pups were in excellent health as were the other huge pack of goldies that she owned, not to mention baring in mind her wealth of experience, there was no hesitation in keeping my golden girls on this diet.
I did look into the pros and cons of raw food. Neither of my collies had been on this. Both had been fed on kibble. My first dog, Tammy was fed Pascoe and tinned dog food. My second collie, Willow had never tried tinned dog food. I found it too soft for their teeth and, seeing as the sight of a tooth brush sent both my collies curling their lips, it was decided that dry food alone would be best for keeping the teeth in the best possible shape. Some of the foods Willow was on was Arden Grange, James Wellbeloved and Bakers.
Willow lived a long and happy life. She was fourteen when she died and right up until the end the vet commented on how good her teeth were. She was a little overweight though, as was my first collie, Tammy. It was over indulgence on my part, as a result of not being able to resist those chocolate brown eyes which seemed to plead; FEED ME.
I've always worried about Poppy and Devon's weight, and after much research and remembering what my old work colleague went through with her goldie, I've been determined to remain strict on my goldies' weight.
I was told by the vet that the ideal weight for Poppy (who was two years old at the time) is 28 - 31 kg.
Poppy's weight was not a problem until she was spayed. She's always been a gannet and does not turn her nose up at anything.
But two years ago, I took her to the vet for her usual check up and was horrified to discover that she weighed nearly 40kg! Not only that, but the vet told me she had a clicky knee. Now this really frightened me. Fortunately, the vet told me that it wasn't a concern, so long as we brought her weight down and maintained it. We were also advised to put her on Yumove. This is something both Poppy and Devon are on.
What is Yumove?
Yumove is a joint supplement which comes in the form of a tablet and is put into the dog's food bowl. My two goldies shovel their food down so there's no need to disguise it. Whereas my collies would eat the food around a tablet, so sneaky work was involved (hiding tablets inside food or grinding it into a powder and mixing into their food)
Tammy though, was very clever and stubborn. She'd wise up to what we were doing so, there was only one thing that would work...
I'd gently open her mouth, place the tablet at the back of her tongue, then hold her mouth shut and gently rub her throat until she swallowed. Believe me, it was the only method that worked! - there was also a lot of soft gentle coaxing on my part.
Sorry, I'm digressing! - Yumove includes the following ingredients:
180mg Green Lipped Mussel (containing natural Chondroitin)
125mg Glucosamine HCl
25mg Vitamin E
15mg Vitamin C
1mg Natural Antioxidant
1.5mg Hyaluronic Acid
What is Green Lipped Mussel?
Also known as, Perna canaliculus, the green-lipped mussel comes from New Zealand.
Researchers discovered that native coastal Maori people ingested the green lipped mussel and that they suffered less joint problems than those who lived inland.
The Green Lipped mussel is full of essential omega 3 fatty acids and glycoproteins. These help reduce inflammation, and is well known for easing painful joint conditions, for example: osteoarthritis.
From a personal point of view, I have arthritis in my foot and I can honestly say that Green Lipped Mussel works! Admittedly, my arthritis is still in the early stages but it's enough to cause me discomfort. I use a gel called Pernaton and it really helps to ease the aches and pains. however, this gel is for humans, not dogs!
So, the first thing I do to aid my girls' health is to give them the recommended dose of Yumove.
Next week I'll explain why I feed Poppy and Devon a BARF diet #BARF #RAWFED and why it came recommended by their breeder.