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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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