Choosing the right diet for your dog or cat can be difficult. There are a myriad of factors you will have to consider, ranging from your pet’s current health to your pet’s age. Here are some tips for choosing the ideal diet for your pet.

Closely Examine the Label:

Avoid buying a type of food based on the name alone. Product names often guide consumer decisions, which can be problematic. Manufacturers will emphasize certain ingredients in a product, but their emphasis may be deceiving. Ingredients must be listed in order of weight, so by reading the label on the packaging, you can find out exactly what you will be feeding your pet, and how much of it. The recommended portion size will vary depending on your pet’s age and weight. To determine the correct portion size, speak with a veterinarian and monitor your pet.

Consider Life Stage and Body Condition:

Younger cats and dogs have different dietary demands than older ones because they are in different life stages. For instance, puppy food is higher in protein for energy and growth, while senior dog food is typically higher in antioxidants to boost immune response. Additionally, your pet’s recommended diet will depend largely on what kind of health condition they are in. If your pet has a history of diabetes, allergies, or arthritis, discuss with your veterinarian how to properly alter their diet.

Speak With Your Veterinarian

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There is no individual more qualified to assess the right diet for your dog or cat than a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can ask questions about your pet’s lifestyle, check up on their overall health, see if vaccinations are up to date, and more. This information will help your veterinarian guide you in determining a good diet for your pet.

When you bring home a cute Labrador puppy, don’t forget that he has some basic needs. You have to start the basics of Labrador training from the very beginning, especially potty training. After all, you wouldn’t want him pooping around the house.

Start housebreaking a Labrador puppy as early as 8 weeks of age, but remember it will take time. Expect your pup to be potty trained by about six months of age. Yes, it almost takes that long because the pup is like a child and needs to be taught to obey you.

It is important for you to understand your pup’s body language. With a little bit of common sense, you will be able to make out when he needs to go out to do his ‘thing’. Don’t assume that your responsibilities are over because you brought him home. You have to spend time with him and understand his needs. It will be very frustrating at first, so you have to be very patient and gentle.

Labrador training can be a very daunting task. You must realize that a pup needs to relieve himself around six times a day. And when it is a pup, it can’t wait till you are ready to take him out. He will learn bowel control to only an extent when he is around twelve weeks of age, so you have to be very prompt in taking it out whenever you feel he is ready to go.

One common mistake during Labrador training is that people lay down newspapers for the pup to do his ‘job’ inside the house because going out so frequently seems like a big bother. This might work when the pup is small, but you will not like to continue the habit and have a big dog squatting inside the house every time he needs to relieve himself. This will only make proper training more difficult for you and the Labrador, as he won’t understand why you keep changing your commands. So from the very beginning, make it a habit to take him out.

Always take your pup out as soon as you get up in the morning and before going off to sleep. Take him out after every meal and try to take him out every hour or so in the beginning. Earmark a spot outside and take him there every time. He might not relieve himself every time, but praise him nonetheless. Take him out especially if he seems excited or starts circling or sniffing around. Once he starts relieving himself at the designated spot, he will realize that is what he is meant to do.

In case you are going to be away at work, you can put your pup in a crate. Dogs usually don’t poop where they sleep, so he will not soil the crate. However, don’t leave him there for long. In case he does soil the crate or goes inside the house, don’t yell at him or push his nose in the mess. Clean up the area nicely, as dogs tend to poop in the same area if they are able to smell it.

Learn to read the signs that your dog is sending out. He may be sniffing the floor, scratching at the door, or standing by and barking near the door. Give him his last meal 1-2 hours before sleeping so that he gets time to relieve himself before you turn in for the night. Follow these simple steps, and your Labrador training will not seem such a daunting task.

As pet owners, we are often faced with the dilemma of what to feed our dog. There are so many brands in the market, each offering something new, and it is but natural to get totally confused. Which brand should we go in for? What are the essential ingredients in a dog food? How will I know if I am feeding my dog properly?

One can learn only by trial and error, and it is the same when it comes to deciding what kind of food is good for your Labrador. You should keep a few basic principles in mind. Remember- dogs are active creatures.  They need a good diet to build up their bones and tone up their muscles and also require a good amount of energy. Therefore, your dog’s feed should have a balanced ratio of protein and carbohydrates. Calcium is also a very important supplement in dog food.

Before buying any dog food, you must always read the list of ingredients carefully. Ensure that the food has a high percentage of meat and protein instead of fillers. These fillers only make your dog feel full and don’t provide any actual nourishment.

Dog food should not be substandard at any cost. The standard of food we humans consume is what your dog also needs. Many dog food companies use ingredients that are full of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, but we humans don’t use them because they are low in energy levels and have low grade proteins. These items are not suitable for your dog either.

You should be aware of what food items to avoid when feeding your dog. Wheat, corn and soy are three things that bring out allergic reactions in dogs. Wheat and corn are high in carbohydrates and can cause obesity in Labradors without providing any real nourishment. Though corn and soy do have certain other nutrients, the processing they go through for the end product, i.e. dog food renders them pretty useless.

Dog food companies usually include meat by products such as head, feet or other useless parts of animals instead of adding proper portions of meat. There have also been instances where many dog food companies have used just about any animal that has been killed accidently.

Such animals are not chosen hygienically. Another harmful ingredient is Brewer’s rice, which is just discarded rice left over from the husk. Such items are not fit for human consumption, and so, they are added to substandard dog food.

Always make sure that the dog food you choose has no artificial preservatives. These are added to increase the shelf life of the product, but have no real benefits. Ethoxyquin is one such preservative which is known to cause some kind of cancer in dogs. Other ingredients to avoid are artificial coloring and flavoring, BHT, propylene glycol, etc.