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How to Pick the Best Food for Your Dog

How to Pick the Best Food for Your Dog

We all want what’s best for our canine best friends. It can be difficult to find the best dog food among the myriad of brands that are available everywhere you look. You can’t trust prices, because the most expensive brands aren’t necessarily the best, and the cheapest isn’t always the worst for your dog.

So how do you figure out what will work best for your furry friend?

Puppies

Start when your buddy is a baby. The right nutrition in the first year of their life is extremely important for a puppy’s growth and development. Finding the right dog food for puppies can seem like a big task, but at least there are special puppy formulas in almost every brand with additional nutrients and vitamins that puppies need to grow.

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One main difference between puppy and adult dog food is that puppy food has a much higher protein content. Look for puppy foods that are at least 30% protein, and contain 10-20% fat, depending on your dogs’ size and breed. One way to judge the value and quality of your puppy food is to make sure the first ingredient listed on the label is protein-rich meat, such as salmon, chicken, duck, or others.

In addition to the nutritional benefit, puppy food also has smaller pieces, which are easier for your little buddy to chew, swallow, and digest!

Adult Dogs

Your dog should have the best-balanced food for his adult needs, too. Some breeds are prone to bone issues, allergies, or weight problems and you should talk to your vet about special diets or supplemental needs if that is the case. Adult dogs should be fed twice per day, and require the carbohydrates, fat, and protein to maintain their energy and repair their body tissue.

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The most common adult dog food is dry kibble. It has the nutrients your dog needs, it’s relatively inexpensive, and you can find it everywhere. Canned, also known as wet, dog food is another great option. Make sure you’re still checking ingredients, but many picky dogs will happily eat wet food, and wet food tends to have more protein than dry.

You can also make dog food at home. This option will definitely allow you to know exactly what you’re feeding your pet but can be more expensive and definitely more time consuming than buying food at the pet store. There are a lot of recipes online if you’re interested in looking into this option!

Fillers, By-Products, & More

Some commercial dog foods can have ingredients like meat “by-product,” which means a part of an animal not intended for human consumption. Though that may sound bad, according to PetMD, “in many cases, by-products are high in nutritional value and are not an issue.”

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You may also have heard about fillers. In cat food, fillers such as corn may be bad for them. In dog food, the right fillers in the right amounts, like corn or chicken meal, can have the carbohydrates and fats your pet needs.

Switching Foods

Unless your dog has an iron stomach and no digestive response to different foods, the prevailing method for transitioning between dog foods is to change over gradually, over a period of 5-7 days. Start with 80% old food and 20% new, mixing a little more new into every meal until it is 100% new food.

If you are switching foods suddenly due to a health issue, you can make the transition as easy as possible by checking labels and finding a very similar formula of food. Also consider feeding your dog smaller meals more often, so that you can monitor if they eat it and if they have any stomach issues. If you do need to switch food suddenly, make sure your veterinarian is aware and has checked over your pet for any health issues they may have.

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When it comes to picking your dog’s food, you should start when he is a puppy. Make sure to get high-protein puppy-specific food, then transitioning to an adult dog food at 8-12 months, when their nutritional needs change depending on their size.

As they grow, continue looking for real ingredients and always check with your veterinarian to discuss any specific needs your dog might have. Always watch out for your dog’s energy levels and if their appetite changes. There are a lot of options, but having this information will help you make the right decision for you and your four-legged bestie.

Featured photo credit: Winsker via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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