Bearded dragons are a hardy species of lizard who get their name from the bearded crest on their throats. They are an entertaining species and make an excellent choice for anybody new to keeping reptiles.
Bearded dragons originate from Australia. They can grow to a length of 24 inches and have an approximate lifespan of 10-15 years. Due to their diurnal nature they are most active during the day. These animals are fairly docile and enjoy being handled, though they are best kept solitary unless wanting to breed.
What Equipment Will I Need To Care For My Bearded Dragon?
Vivarium (3ftX2ftx2ft minimum)
UVB Power Supply (If using fluorescent tube)
Substrate (e.g. Sand or Beechwood Chips)
Food and supplement powder
Vivarium (3ftX2ftx2ft minimum)
Bearded dragons are terrestrial but will climb along small branches. Therefore, a fully grown adult will require a vivarium that is at least 3.5 feet (107cm) long, 2 feet (61cm) deep, and 2 feet (61cm) high. This will ensure that they have ample space to roam around their enclosure and some space to climb. Within their vivarium, they will also require an area to hide and a basking spot. Additionally, a deep substrate will be beneficial as they enjoy digging in the sand.
Please note: Vivariums are currently available in-store only. If you would like to organise a local delivery please contact us on 01482 585315 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book a delivery slot.
Bearded Dragons require a source of UVB light of around 12% (this could be a desert or intense category bulb), which will need to be replaced approximately every twelve months. They will also need a photo period of twelve hours per day – this means that the UVB light must be switched on for this length of time. You could do this manually or with a timer. It is also important to note that if a strip light is used the correct fitting will also need to be purchased to correspond to this.
As with most reptiles, a bearded dragon’s vivarium should be set up so that there is a warmer area and a cooler area to ensure the animal can move between temperatures as it feels comfortable to do so. A bearded dragon will need a daytime basking spot of around 36-38 degrees celsius, whilst the cooler areas of the enclosure should reach around 25-29 degrees. Night time temperatures should never drop below 20 degrees. A bulb fitting (either Easy Screw or Bayonet) will be required to power your heat source, make sure you buy corresponding bulbs and fittings!
It is also important to ensure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure has a thermostat and a thermometer, this will help you to easily identify the temperature in the vivarium and alter it if needed.
The thermomether will constantly monitor the temperature of your vivarium in both celcius and farenheit depending on your preference. It can also display the minimum and maximum temperatures the vivarium has reached so you are aware of any dramatic changes.
Komodo Advanced Thermometer
The units offer a range of mounting options from mounting on wooden habitats or clipping to the top of our Glass Terrariums. They have easy to use controls and clear monitoring readouts.
A thermostat, on the other hand, will actually make changes to the temperature of the vivarium for you. It is best to use a dimming thermostat, although other options are available. Dimming thermostats work by changing the amount of energy that is being directed into the heat lamp – i.e. increasing the energy when the temperature falls too low and vice versa. This ensures that your bearded dragon will consistently be at an optimum temperature with minimal input from you!
Komodo Advanced Thermometer
The unit will alternate the amount of energy directed to your spot lamp in order to maintain an optimum temperature.
Bulb Fitting and Bulb Guard
Once the correct bulb has been established, you must make sure it has the correct fitting and a suitable bulb guard to protect your bearded dragon.
This ceramic bulb fixture will support bulbs that have an easy screw fitting (not bayonet fittings) and a maximum of 200w. It is possible to use a bulb with a capacity of more than 200w with this fitting, however, it will only ever have an output of 200w. Equally, it is possible to use a bulb with a capacity of less than 200w, but in this case, the output will only ever be that of the bulb itself. This setup will be controlled by the dimmer thermostat if you choose to purchase one.
Komodo Ceramic Fixture ES
The Komodo Ceramic ES Lamp Fixture and Mounting Bracket makes securely installing heat or light sources within a reptiles environment simple and safe. Easily mountable, this heat resistant ceramic lamp fixture is suitable for various enclosures and for use with most E27 screw cap heat and light sources up to 200W.
The light and heat guard serves a very simple purpose – to protect your bearded dragon from coming into contact with the lamp and causing itself any heat-related injuries. Therefore, it is not essential but highly recommended due to the risks associated with having a bare bulb.
Komodo Ceramic Fixture ES
£14.95 – £19.95
An essential piece of kit in wooden habitats used to prevent your animal coming into contact with its heat source and potentially injuring itself.
Basking Area/Hiding Place
Beneath your heat lamp should be an area in which your bearded dragon can bask in the light and heat, mimicking the experience it may have had beneath the hot sun. This should include an area that it can climb on such as a rock or branch. The Komodo Basking Ramp is ideal for this purpose as there is a flat surface on the top for basking and a hiding spot underneath for shade.
Komodo Basking Ramp
The Large Basking Platform Ramp has a perfect basking spot on top and safe place to hide beneath for shade.
Sand is usually the favoured substrate for bearded dragons as it absorbs heat well and therefore best replicates the Australian outback from which they originate. However, it is important to consider that using sand particles that are too large can pose a risk to your pet’s digestive system if accidentally ingested. Therefore, it is advisable to use a fine or medium grain sand, or even avoid sand altogether and try Beechwood chips instead.
Bearded Dragons are omnivores, which means they will eat both meat and vegetation. When they are hatchlings, the correct ratio is 30% vegetation to 70% insects, and as they get older this can move to a 50:50 ratio. However, most tend to prefer bugs to greens, so it is important that the vegetation is always available.
Bugs that can be used include crickets, locusts, and cockroaches, as well as mealworms and waxworms as a treat. Make sure any insects provided are no bigger than the space between the dragon’s eyes. It is also important to gut-load and dust the insects with supplement calcium powder to ensure optimal nutritional intake. Remove any uneaten insects as they can become aggressive and potentially bite the lizard.
The greens which can be used include dandelion leaves, pak choi, watercress, rocket, and butternut squash as staple foods. Carrots, bell peppers, peas, and sweet potatoes can be given every few days. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and apples can be given once a week. Vegetation to avoid includes lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, melon, citrus fruits, and avocado.
In a nutshell, salads should be provided daily, with 6-7 suitably sized insects every couple of days.
The aforementioned food – mainly the vegetation – should not simply be left on the floor of the enclosure for your bearded dragon. It is important to put it in a food bowl as your pet will then know that this is an area where food will consistently be available; unlike bugs that will roam freely around the vivarium. Although they are a desert-dwelling species, bearded dragons still need constant access to water. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a shallow water bowl. The humidity in the vivarium should be kept between 20%-40%, preferably with a spray in the morning to recreate the morning dew they would encounter in the wild.
Arm waving behaviour is a submissive/passive display.
Dark beard and head bobbing is a dominant/aggressive display.
Brumation – a state of hibernation that bearded dragons can go into if there have been changes to light timing or temperature. Includes loss of appetite without weight loss and excessive resting.
Bearded dragons don’t shed their skin in one piece like some reptiles. Instead, their skin starts to shed in patches all over.
If this handy guide has piqued your interest in purchasing a bearded dragon, everything you may need can be found in-store or on our website. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call on 01482 585315 or drop us an email to email@example.com.
If your dog or cat suffers from itchy skin, it’s natural to assume that it could be nothing more than a simple case of fleas. But what should you do if, after treatment, the itching doesn’t stop?
When you first notice that your pet is itching more than usual, it is natural to feel a bit concerned. Itching that is particularly severe can cause your pet to develop hot spots, bleed, and be generally an uncomfortable experience.
Many people, seeing their pet itching, will begin a round of treatment for fleas – and will not understand why their pet’s symptoms do not alleviate. If this is you, then you might want to check: can you actually see any fleas? If not, then there is a pretty good chance it’s not this that’s causing the problem. Often in these cases, it tends to be allergies that are the real root of the problem.
The cause of your pet’s itching
The most effective way to cure your pet’s itching is to work out why they are itching in the first place.
There are several possible reasons why your pet could be itching. We can generally break these down into two broad categories: (1) food-based (allergies to specific components of food such as types of meat, wheat, soya, etc); and (2) environmental (grass allergies, a change of fabric softener, pollen, etc).
There are lots of products on the market designed to help soothe irritated skin or prevent your pet from itching (sprays, creams and medications). These can be helpful in easing some of the discomfort felt by an animal suffering from an allergy. But you need to remember that these don’t necessarily solve the problem – they only mask it. The problem is still there, bubbling under the surface, and can become worse if not addressed.
Common food-based allergies
Just like people, our pets’ allergies can be relatively straightforward (an allergy to one specific type of meat, for instance, can be easily removed from your pet’s diet), or they can be incredibly complex (an allergy to several types of meat and vegetables can be much more difficult to help).
Knowing some of the most common allergens can provide a good starting point for you to begin exploring what your pet may be allergic to. In dogs, chicken, beef, maize, wheat, and dairy tend to be the most common causes – in cats, it tends to be fish, lamb, corn, and dairy. Therefore you should try and avoid foods that contain these ingredients in the early stage of your investigations.
Meat and animal derivatives (this is always a potential issue because you can’t say for certain what meats are actually present in what quantities; so if your pet is reacting to something like beef you can’t guarantee it will not be in this food)
Meat and animal derivatives (this is always a potential issue because you can’t say for certain what meats are actually present in what quantities; so if your pet is reacting to something like beef you can’t guarantee it will not be in this food)
Please remember: This is not an ultimate or definitive guide (there are items on this list that some pets will be okay with eating, and others which may not have ended up on this list that your pet may react to). This table is offered to show some of the most common allergies that we’ve come across in recent years.
Where to start… create a “default” diet
Step one: Choose a food
To find which parts of your pet’s diet are the cause of their itchiness, you need to be able to break down the different aspects of their diet. We recommend you start this process by finding one single food that your pet does not react to. The aim of this is to create a “default” diet for your pet.
This is one of the most important steps you will take – as this forms the basis of your pet’s diet that you will always be able to return to if your pet suffers a reaction to a new food that you introduce. Depending on what is causing your pet’s allergy, it could also take a few attempts – but once you have one food that your pet is happy with, then you can then proceed to the next step.
This wheat-free dry food is ideal for dogs with a common chicken or wheat-based allergy. Whilst it is perfectly tasty on its own, if your dog has a preference for a dry/wet mix of food, then this is ideal for mixing with Forthglade wet dog food. There are three flavours in this range… Turkey and rice Lamb and rice Salmon and rice
(please note: the salmon and rice product contains a small amount of chicken fat – if you believe that chicken could be causing your dog’s allergies, then either the turkey or the lamb options may be better suited)..
Forthglade (wet and dry options available)
£20.95 to £23.95 (for a box of 18 trays)
With high-protein wet and dry food options available, Forthglade is well known for its quality pet foods. With a great choice of mixers, complete and grain-free options, there is no wonder it’s appeared on our list. Forthglade wet food comes in a range of mixer and complete options. If you are opting to use the “Just” range of mixers, make sure that you pick a flavour that corresponds with your dog’s dry food (so if you are feeding Burgess Sensitive Lamb, you could mix this with Forthglade Grain Free Just Lamb), and don’t forget to take out a handful or so of biscuits so your dog doesn’t get overweight! The other option is to go for a Complete Wet Food (which might be a better option for dogs that struggle to chew biscuits).
Forthglade dry food is a high meat, freeze-dried biscuit. The way it’s made locks in nutrients which means you don’t have to feed as much.
Whichever option you choose, you can be assured that your dog will be receiving a high meat product packed with only identifiable ingredients. This is why it’s on our list of recommended foods for allergies – because when you look at the ingredients label, you will only see ingredients that you can recognize.
£6.95 to £35.95 (depending on bag size)
Acana is one of the most protein-rich products on the market – packed with real meat that can attract even the fussiest eaters. The Acana range holds lots of variety, but at the early stages of testing your dog for allergies, we’d recommend one of the following to start off with: Grass-fed lamb Yorkshire Pork
Peejay Pets Grain Free
£12.95 to £13.95 (depending on bag type)
Cats can suffer a reaction to filler ingredients (like grains and wheats). By swapping to a grain free food with a higher meat content, you may be able to see improvement and additional vitality in your cat.
Applaws (wet and dry options available)
£11 to £15.95 (depending on food type and size)
Applaws have crafted a range of meaty delights that cats love. If you look at the ingredients label, you’ll be able to find that their products generally only have one or two main identifiable proteins (meats), which means it can be ideal if you are trying to whittle down which foods your cat may or may not be allergic to.
If you’re struggling to find a food that your pet won’t react to, and are thinking it could possibly be something to do with one of the filler ingredients located in most commercial foods, you could always consider trying a raw diet. We will caution you that this diet can be more complicated than a standard kibble, and will require continuous monitoring over time, but it can be really beneficial for cats and dogs struggling with allergies.
Nutriwolds Raw Food
£3.95 to £5.95 (depending on type)
Nutriwolds offer a high quality range of raw foods that are suitable for both dogs and cats. Their recipes contain chunkier blends (like their Unroast Beef) perfect for dogs and cats that like to chew and tear their meat, and finer blends (like Herby Turkey) that are ideal for smaller mouths.
Step two: Introduce your new food
Only feed your pet this food for three to four weeks. It can take up to six weeks for an allergen to fully work its way out of your pet’s system – but once on their new food, you should begin to see signs of improvement within the first two weeks.
Step three: Bringing new foods into your pet’s diet
After your three-week period has passed, you can then begin the next stage of introducing a new food. There are a couple of ways you can approach this – either introduce a new flavour of food into the diet (for instance, if you had been feeding turkey, then maybe consider lamb if it’s in the same brand), or introduce new treats. If you are opting for the treat-route, then we recommend opting for a natural treat with no (or few) filler ingredients. Just like with your starting point, doing this will make it easier to identify what could be causing the itching.
If the itching doesn’t start again, then you know that this treat or food is safe to give your pet. If it does return, however, then you know that this contains something that your pet cannot tolerate – you therefore need to return to their default diet for a few weeks to allow the allergen to pass through your pet’s system once again.
This process can take time – don’t stress
Because pet food tends to be formulated with several different combinations of ingredients, it can be difficult to find that one “right” food first time round – especially if your pet’s allergy is a result of one of the minor components of the food you provide. If you think this might be the case, then you could consider opting for a raw diet.
If all else fails most veterinary surgeries will be able to perform an allergy test to try and identify exactly what is the root of the problem – whilst this can be a more expensive option (particularly for more common allergies like those to chicken in dogs or fish in cats), it is definitely one worth pursuing if your pet suffers from complicated or environmental allergies.
Find one type of food that your pet is okay eating and does not suffer a reaction to and give them only this food for three to four weeks.
Try and find a food which contains only one type of protein (only one type of meat – for instance, go for an option which is just “turkey” instead of “turkey and chicken” or “poultry”).
After your pet has settled on its new diet, you can then look to introduce a new component, which you can try over the fourth or fifth week. If you’re feeding your dog a turkey-based diet, maybe introduce a rabbit hide roll or a beef stick.
Whatever treat you provide at this stage, try to keep it natural with as few ingredients as possible to keep matters simple.
Introduce only one new ingredient per week – and if your pet does have a reaction, then wait for another two to three weeks before trying a new food again (you want to give it long enough for the itching to settle once again).
Remember to take it slow and you will be able to gradually build up a picture over time of the foods that your pet is okay with eating.
Always bear in mind that the source of your pet’s allergies may not be limited to their food – environmental factors can also have a significant impact. If you are concerned that your pet may be suffering from a complex allergy that is particularly painful for them, then it is always advisable to speak to your vet.
Frenchies have built up a bit of a reputation for their cute features and happy nature – but one thing that lots of people don’t come to realise until they have a French Bulldog of their own is how prone they are to… errr… let it go…
If your French bulldog keeps farting, it can be a little embarrassing – and you’re not alone in trying to find a solution to make life a little less smelly. Luckily we’ve got experience in this area, so here are our top tips for clearing away some of the noxious gases from your life.
Why does this breed fart so much?
Lots of people who own French Bulldogs are quick to pass the breed off as being naturally flatulent. Is this true… well, yes and no.
Frenchies come within a family of dogs with short noses (called brachycephalic breeds; the same as Pugs, Boxers and Pekingese). Because their noses are so short they literally have to inhale their food into their mouth quickly – taking in a big gulp of air with every mouthful. The problem with this is all that air eventually has to come out again – and since you’ve found your way here i’m guessing you’ve become quite familiar with how.
So to this extent, the breed does have a natural tendency to toot. But another large cause of farting in Frenchies is actually linked to their diet – you’ve always got to remember that the quality of what you put into your dog will impact on what comes out the other end. Foods with a high dairy, wheat or grain content, or poor quality foods, will increase your dog’s natural emissions.
So now you know why it happens, let’s show you how you can help it.
Our top recommendations for reducing gassiness
(1) Slow feeder bowl
Because a large part of the flatulence of French Bulldogs is caused by gulping air when inhaling their food, one of the first things you can try is a slow-feeder bowl. By slowing your dog down, you are encouraging them to chew their food and so there is less opportunity for pockets of air to form during digestion.
You could also consider opting for smaller sized kibble. Because of the smaller surface area, there is less room for the air to get trapped during eating – which ultimately means there is less build-up during the digestive process so your dog will fart less.
Happy Pet Stainless Steel Bowl
These stainless steel bowls from Happy Pet are really easy to clean. Their weightiness helps to ensure your dog won’t be able to tip them over and send their food scattering across the floor – meaning they’ll still get the benefit of the slow feed design.
(2) Wheat free food
Take a look at what food you’re currently feeding your dog. If you’re reading through the ingredients and finding a high percentage of wheat, then you could consider swapping to a wheat-free diet.
Wheat and oats are high in fibre and starch. You’ll find this in the majority of whole-grain products. Because these sorts of fibres are not easily digested, it tends to ferment in the gut and creates additional gas (sometimes leading to bloating).
Burgess Sensitive Complete Dog Food
£6.95 to £35.95 (depending on bag size)
Burgess Sensitive’s wheat free range are one of our go-to staples when it comes to Frenchie flatulence. There are four types to choose from: puppy turkey, adult lamb, adult turkey and adult salmon.
Forthglade Complete Wet Food with Brown Rice
£23.95 for 18 trays
Forthglade is another go-to when it comes to any form of wheat based allergy or intolerance. With a high meat content and only identifiable ingredients, it can entice even the fussiest eaters to enjoy their dinner.
(3) Grain free food
Removing the grains from your dogs diet will also help reduce flatulence – for best results to minimise farting in your French Bulldog, go for a diet that is both grain and wheat free.
Ideally you need to be looking for a food that has a high meat content. This is because your dog’s body finds it easier to digest meat proteins compared to vegetable proteins and grains. The other benefit of this is that, in terms of quantity, you don’t have to feed as much! This can be really beneficial for helping to reduce farting in your French Bulldog by limiting the opportunity for them to inhale air when they eat.
Peejay Pets Grain Free Complete Dog Food
£12.95 to £48.95 (depending on bag type and size)
When it comes to finding a good quality grain free food with a high meat content, then you should definitely consider the Peejay Pets Grain Free range of complete dry kibble. You won’t find a single product in this range with less than 50% meat/fish content.
Acana and Orijen Complete Dog Food
£14.50 to £73.95 (depending on type and bag size)
Acana and Orijen foods have some of the highest meat contents on the market. Their high protein content means your Frenchie will be getting all the nutrients they need in an easy-to-digest format.
Forthglade Complete Grain Free Wet Food
£23.95 for 18 trays
Forthglade is another go-to when it comes to to grain free meals also (if you haven’t guesses, their range of foods really is quite wide!) With a high meat content and only identifiable ingredients, it can entice even the fussiest eaters to enjoy their dinner.
(4) Raw food
With a French Bulldog that keeps on farting, you want to make digesting food as easy as possible – opting for a raw diet can really help with this because of just how quickly your dog’s body is able to process it. Because raw diets contain only digestible meats which your dog’s body can quickly convert into energy, not only is there less poo, but less chance for gases to ferment in your dog’s stomach.
Nutriwolds Raw Food
£3.95 to £5.95
Nutriwolds offer a range of chunky (or finer textured) complete meals for your dog. Packed with locally sourced meat, your dog will love this range of food.
(5) Granulated charcoal
Another way you could seek to address your dog’s flatulence is through use of charcoal. Charcoal is naturally porous which gives it a higher surface area – what this means for your Frenchie is that it helps to absorb gases and toxins in the stomach.
Hatchwell’s Charcoal Granules are cost effective and really easy to use! Instead of struggling with getting your dog to swallow a tablet, you can simply mix a couple of tablespoons of these granules into their food. This means it will be effective almost as soon as they start eating.
What happens if it doesn’t go away?
If your dog’s farting doesn’t disspate, then the other thing to consider is whether it could be health-related. Irritable bowel syndrome, stomach infections and inflammatory bowel syndrome are a few possible factors that it could be. If your Frenchie’s flatulence is becoming a bit concerning, then speak to your vet.
Raw diets have grown in popularity in recent years as more owners have discovered the benefits that raw feeding provides. If you’re considering swapping your pet over to a raw diet, there are a few things you need to consider.
Lots of our customers feed their dogs, cats, and ferrets a raw diet. But the learning curve can be quite significant, both in terms of learning how to feed raw properly, and other practical realizations which occur only after feeding a raw diet has started. Here at Peejay Pets, we’ve been able to speak to our existing raw customers and discover what these are so that you can start raw feeding knowing what to expect.
This is by far one of the most important considerations of anyone wanting to feed a raw diet. If you don’t store your pet’s meat properly, it can cause them to become seriously ill.
Whilst one option is to make several small trips throughout the week to collect a couple of days’ food at a time, this can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Most people benefit from storing one to two week’s worth of raw and making the occasional top-up journey in-between.
To place this into context, if you have one moderately active dog fed at 2% of their body weight daily, then the average storage space you’ll require per week would be 1,750g raw for a 10kg jack russel or 5,250g raw for a 30kg labrador. If you’re planning to feed blocks of meat, can use this handy table to work out approximately how much room you’ll need to store your pet’s dinners here.
A raw diet can be really easy to prepare – as simple as taking it out of the freezer first thing in the morning before going to work, and last thing on the night. Many people when they first start out on a raw diet worry about what would happen if they forgot to take their meat out of the freezer. The answer to this is relatively simple – simply pop your raw food into a zip-lock bag or tupperware container and leave it in some warm water for a couple of hours (swapping the water over a couple of times to keep it a nice temperature).
But it is important to remember: you can never microwave or oven-cook your pet’s raw mince. Raw mince designed for consumption by dogs, cats, and ferrets contains bone (which is required for a nutritionally fulfilling diet) – which is soft when uncooked. When cooked in an oven or microwave, however, this bone solidifies and becomes sharp shards which risk becoming lodged in your pet’s digestive tract or oesophagus.
Waiting a couple of hours for your pet’s food to defrost when you forget to get it out of the freezer on the night/morning is okay for many people, but if you work a tight schedule then this may cause you some problems when it comes to managing time on an evening or in a morning before work. Therefore if you work uncertain hours, you may need to consider whether this would be the easiest diet to manage or not.
Whilst your pet’s digestive system has stronger stomach acids which enable them to digest raw meat, there are not immune from food poisoning or salmonella. Making sure you handle their raw dinner properly is essential to ensuring their health.
The following should always be kept in mind…
Never feed your dog minces that have been defrosted for more than 24 hours;
Don’t defrost and then re-freeze raw meat;
Don’t give your dog meat that has developed a layer of fur or mould.
The majority of raw pet foods will also undergo a deep-freeze treatment to help kill harmful bacteria. Minces from the supermarket, however, do not (as we generally kill the bacteria by cooking it). This is one reason why feeding minces from supermarkets is not recommended (with the other reason being that they do not contain the required offal and bone components that dogs need as part of a healthy diet).
Another large concern is ensuring that your dog’s dinner is properly balanced – if it is not then you could make your dog very ill. Nutritional balances are particularly risky for puppies and younger dogs as their bodies are still developing – if they do not have enough of one element of their diet (like calcium, for instance), then this deficiency can have lifelong consequences.
You’ll already be aware of the 80:10:5:5 ratio of meat, bone, liver, and offal. Making sure you get the balance right is essential to ensuring the long-term health of your dog and ensuring they do not have difficulty going to the toilet. There are a couple of ways you can approach this…
Daily balance: The first option you can consider is making sure that every single meal you feed your dog contains the right percentage of each component. This is a fairly easy way to ensure your dog’s overall health.
Weekly balance: This option allows you to be a bit more adventurous by spreading their intake over the space of a week. This option tends to be easier if you are feeding raw treats (like knuckle bones, chicken wings, etc) alongside a complete mince. If you decide to feed a knuckle bone, for instance, you would reach an overall balance by feeding a meat-only mince.
Whilst either option is okay, you need to make sure you keep track of your pet’s overall intake. Feeding slightly more of one component won’t make much of a difference in the short term, but if you consistently fail to balance their diet then this can cause problems in the long-term. Take liver, for instance – whilst if you overfeed slightly every now and again it won’t make too much difference, but because of the really high levels of certain minerals overfeeding on a regular basis can lead to problems like Vitamin A Toxicicosis.
You should also remember that different meats contain micro and macro nutrients. To ensure a balanced diet for your pooch, you need to make sure that you are providing a variety of different proteins, and feeding oily fish at least once every ten days.
There is no denying that raw meat can be expensive as a long-term option. Before you commence a raw diet, you need to consider how much you are willing to spend on your dog’s food on a weekly/monthly basis, and from there make the decision as to whether it is worthwhile.
Whilst a raw diet is an excellent choice, if you can’t afford to do it properly then you risk putting your animal in danger. Trying to reduce costs by opting for supermarket minces which do not contain the required bone and offal content increases the risk of your dog suffering health problems.
Raw diets are brilliant at enticing even the fussiest eaters to their dinner. Because of its stronger smell and meaty flavour, many fussy pets will be able to be coaxed into eating.
But this goes two ways – if your pet will instantly devour anything raw, but reject other types of food, then you need to bear in mind that this could cause problems later on if you decide that you cannot feed a raw diet anymore.
Holidays, kennels/catteries, and relatives
Another consideration you should make is what will happen if you decide to go on holiday. Regardless of whether you are taking your dog camping in the Lake District, or leaving them in kennels/catteries or with a relative when you take a trip to Spain, you need to consider how you will accommodate their raw diet. This is something lots of people worry about before putting their pet on a raw diet.
Most kennels/catteries (and, indeed, relatives) will be more than happy to accommodate your pet’s raw diet – especially since it is becoming an increasingly popular way of feeding animals. But there are those that don’t.
There are alternatives suitable for raw-fed pets, however. We often recommend owners turn to the Natures Menu Country Hunter range of pouches and tinned foods when an alternative to raw is needed. As this range is lightly steamed, it is one of the closest alternatives you’ll get you a raw diet whilst maintaining the convenience of pre-prepared complete meals.
Where do you go from here?
If you don’t think that you could feed a raw diet properly, and devote the required time and money to it, then there are plenty of very good dry and wet options available on the market which we would recommend you considering first. If you’re sitting on the fence, or would like to look at the other options available, then feel free to pop in store to speak to one of our trained members of staff.
Raw diets have been growing in popularity over recent years as more owners are seeking a healthier, chemical-free diet for their pets. But starting a raw diet for dogs can be quite a minefield if you’ve not fed raw before. Here’s our quick guide for getting started with a raw diet.
A raw diet can be an excellent choice for many dogs – many people consider it one of the most natural options on the market!By switching to raw, you are helping to provide your dog with better access to beneficial proteins, enzymes, and essential fatty acids – without all of the additional filler ingredients found in many dry and wet diets.
Because you’re completely in control of what you feed them, switching to a raw diet can also be an excellent choice for dogs with nutritional allergies and intolerances.
Other benefits to a raw diet include:
Helps anal glands;
Assists with joint issues;
Better, smaller poos that are less smelly.
Is it dangerous?
Feeding a raw diet isn’t necessarily dangerous – but you need to ensure you do it properly. Dogs have entirely different digestive systems to humans which allows them to process bacteria which would make us sick. But you are still feeding them raw meat which is a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria, and if you are careless then the chances of your dog becoming ill (in some cases grievously) are dramatically increased.
Most of these dangers are generally preventable through the following…
Never feed cooked bones (raw bones are soft – cooked bones can splinter and get trapped in the digestive system);
Ensure that you are providing your dog with a diet that takes into account their unique needs (whilst humans don’t need bone and offal in their food, your dog does as part of a healthy and balanced diet);
Supervise your dog whilst eating;
Don’t re-freeze raw meat, or leave it defrosted for more than 24 hours (as this gives harmful bacteria the opportunity to breed);
Always clean your dog’s bowl thoroughly after feeding.
One of the first things many people notice when they transition their dog onto a raw diet is just how little your dog actually needs to eat! This is because of the high-protein nature of the diet. When moving your pet onto raw for the first time, the difference can be quite dramatic!
The following are provided as a general guide for feeding a raw diet. Like with any diet, remember that your dog’s overall levels of activity may require more/less than the guidelines given.
Growing puppies require more nutrition and calcium in their diet to help with healthy growth and bone development. As the puppy gets older, they will not require as much – so the amount you need to feed reduces.
% of raw proportionate to body weight
7 to 10 weeks
8% to 10%
10 to 16 weeks
7.5% to 8.5%
16 to 20 weeks
6.5 to 7.5%
20 to 24 weeks
4.5% to 3.5%
36 to 56 weeks
68 weeks and over
For adult dogs
Adult dogs only require around 2% to 3% of their body weight per day (depending on how active they are). This can be given in either one large or two smaller meals.
Amount of raw (g)
80/10/10: The golden ratio
Lots of people considering a raw diet will come across the “80/10/10” feeding ratio – but might not understand what it means. As explained above, this accounts for…
80% meat (used for energy);
10% bone (used for calcium and stool-regulation); and
10% offal (used for nutrients).
This is a great starting point for if you haven’t got a lot of experience with raw before. The quantities of meat, bone and offal you provide will have a significant impact on your dog’s general health – and their poo will offer a good indication as to this (see below). Just remember that these are only rough guidelines – there is some room for manoeuvre if you are careful and ensure that your dog will still be provided with the right amount of food. If you are struggling with this, please feel free to visit us in store and speak to a member of staff.
Fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates
Dogs don’t derive as much nutritional benefit from fruits and veg as they do from meats – but that’s not to say that they cannot be a great addition to a varied diet and help with stool consistency. Some great options include…
Raw bones, treats and chews
Raw bones are a fantastic source of nutrition – being rich in glucosamine, calcium, phosphorus, and many even contain Omega 3 fats too! Chewing on bones is an excellent way of cleaning teeth and keeping your dog entertained – they’re also necessary for ensuring healthy poo that isn’t runny.
Just don’t forget that raw bones and treats do count towards your dog’s daily intake – they can gain weight from them just as easily as they can from their complete mince. Offer as a treat or reward, but remember not to overdo it.
Your dog’s poo… it’s important
When feeding a raw diet, your dog generally won’t poo as much as on conventional kibble diets.
But you can monitor your dog’s nutritional needs by keeping an eye on their poo. Here are a couple of common indicators…
White and crumbly: Too much bone – offer a meat only option or boneless treat.
Black: Too much offal/iron – reduce intake of offal, liver and spleen (but don’t forget that some meats, like beef or tripe, will naturally darken the colour also).
Yellow: Normal for a diet that is high in chicken and poultry meats – expect yellow poo during the first week or so if transitioning to raw using chicken or turkey mince.
Runny: Not enough bone and fibre. Give raw bones, increase intake of fibre rich vegetables, and ensure you are feeding a complete mince option.
Starting with raw
In the first ten days…
We recommend starting a raw diet with an individual, white meat protein source – we’d generally say start off with turkey for this purpose (simply due to the number of dogs who suffer reactions to chicken). But, of course, if you have a dog which is reactive to multiple different types of meat and you know that they can tolerate one type (for instance, duck), then start from this point.
Just remember to monitor your dog’s behaviour and overall health during this transition.
After the first ten days…
After ten days have passed, you can begin introducing other meats into your dog’s diet. Just be careful not to introduce too many different meats in one go – as this might overwhelm your dog can cause and upset stomach.
Because different meats contain different micro and macro nutrients, it should be your long-term goal to introduce a wide variety of protein sources to your dog to ensure they get a fulfilling and nutritious diet overall.
After successfully introducing three or four proteins…
You can then introduce oily fish. From this point onwards, ideally you should be feeding oily fish mince to your dog three to four times per week for optimum nutritional value.
Frequently asked questions
Can I mix it with dry?
No. Not only does your dog not gain anything from the addition of dry to the raw diet, but it can put your dog at risk due to the slower rate of digestion of dry food – in a worst case scenario, the raw food will sit on top of the dry, and harmful bacteria will be able to thrive in your dog’s warm stomach.
If you really must feed your dog dry biscuits at any point when feeding raw, we generally recommend waiting 12 hours.
Do I need to add supplements?
Supplements can be really beneficial for targeting specific areas of your dog’s diet. Some supplements can be ideal for joint health (such as cod liver oil), coat maintenance (such as salmon oil) and general health and flea prevention (such as garlic tablets). You can also find a number of Superfood blends which help provide useful additional nutrients for your dog.
Probiotics can also be particularly useful to have on hand when you start a raw diet for your dog, as they help restore normal gut function. During stressful times, it can also promote non-sloppy stools.
Other things you should consider
Before swapping your dog over to a raw diet, there are other practical factors you should really take into account. Take a look at our article on Things you should consider before swapping your pet to a raw diet.
Lockdown, for many, has brought mixed emotions. Whilst some have carried on work as normal, others have had more chance to enjoy staying at home a bit more. But as more of us return to work and offices, the next few weeks may prove a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for our pets.
Over the past year your pet might have become accustomed to having you around more. The sudden return to work will mean a wave of changes all at once for your pet; not being able to come and go as they please, not enjoying those extra treats throughout the day, a change in how often they can use the toilet, and one of the biggest, not being able to see you. This completely altered routine can cause significant stress.
But there are things you can do to make it easier for your pet – keep reading for our top tips!
Separation anxiety: what it is, and how to tell if your pet is struggling
Common signs of separation anxiety in dogs include…
Howling or barking;
Chewing, digging or destruction;
Common signs of separation anxiety in cats include…
Meowing, crying or yowling;
Urinating outside of the litterbox;
Destructive behaviour (for instance, scratching or biting).
What can you do?
Because of the sheer number of changes involved in the return to work, the sooner you can start taking the following steps the better.
1 – Getting into a new routine
One of the first things that might come as a bit of a shock to both you and your pet is the change of routine. If you’ve been relishing those extra few minutes sleep in the morning, and working a little later into the night, then it might not be just your pet who struggles with the return of the early morning get-out-of-the-door routine.
To help address this, start getting back into a routine now whilst you’re still at home. Waking up a bit earlier and going for a morning walk will help both you and your pet get into the habit of getting up earlier and feeling more refreshed when the time comes to return to the workplace. Even if you have a cat or kitten, getting up and going for a short walk by yourself will help them get used to you leaving the house early in the morning.
Top Tip: If you have the time in a morning, try taking your dog for a long walk – even when you go back to the workplace. Not only will this fun activity tire them out, but the exercise will release endorphins that will make it easier for your dog to cope with your absence. If you have cats, try spending some time playing in the morning.
2 – Start small
If you have gotten a new puppy or kitten over lockdown, then the chances are there has always been somebody home with them up until this point. A sudden absence of everyone from the house, even for a period as small as half an hour, can be a source of stress for your pet.
It’s important that you begin building up your pet’s confidence by taking small steps and gradually increasing this over time. Start off by finding (or creating) a time when everybody but yourself is out of the house. Now calmly go to the door and go through your normal routine (get your shoes on, if you have a house alarm set it up – just make sure you switch off the rooms your pet will be staying in – etc) and leave the house and garden. Wait outside for a few minutes – you can always walk around the outside of the house or to the corner shop – and then come back in. Give your pet lots of attention and treats – which will positively reinforce their good behaviour. Then, wait a few minutes, before going through the process again.
The idea behind this is getting your pet used to you being out of the house, safe in the knowledge that you will come back to them. Separation anxiety often arises when pets feel abandoned or they can’t get to you. Also, particularly if you have young animals, you need to take great care to ensure that your pet’s first experience of being left alone is a good one – the first time your puppy or kitten experiences something will have a significant impact on how they experience that thing in the future. For example, if the first time your pet is left home alone they are scared and panicked, then they will remember this experience as a bad one every time they are left home alone in the future – and it can be really difficult to change their mind. Because of this, it’s really important that you get this step right to help put your pet’s mind completely at ease.
It’s not just puppies and kittens!
You might think that, because you have an older pet who has experienced being home alone for long periods in the past, your return to work won’t make much of a difference so this step can be avoided. We’d suggest otherwise. Whilst your pet may have grown used to your absence in the past, it may be the case that they have gone through an extended period of having someone in the house with them at all times which can alter the way they feel about being left alone.
Over time you’ll be able to increase the amount of time you leave your pet to their own devices – from five minutes to ten, to half an hour and an hour, etc. Because you’re building this time up slowly, it will really help reassure your pet that no matter how long you are gone you will come back.
Q: Should I give my puppy a bone when I leave the house to give them something to do? A: As a general rule, we’d say no – particularly with younger puppies. Leaving your puppy unattended with a bone or other hard treat like an antler can be a serious choking hazard that could put their life in danger – particularly if you’re not home for long periods. Instead, you could consider trying a softer treat just before you leave the door (like a dog biscuit), or giving them a toy to keep them occupied – like a stuffed Kong or Grrrelli.
3 – Try a calming diffuser or atomiser
This is a really useful tool at any stage of your pet’s life and training. A happy, relaxed pet is more likely to learn new information quickly than a stressed and upset one – so this can be a great investment regardless of how old or well-trained your pet is.
If you’ve noticed your pet has been getting stressed when you’ve attempted either stage one or stage two, then a diffuser can be a really great investment to help calm your pet down and put them at ease. If your pet’s anxiety is really bad, you could also consider adding a couple of drops of valerian compound into their water leading up to you leaving the house – which will help relax your pet and reduce tension. In extreme cases, CBD oil could also be considered.
4 – Leave the radio or TV on
When you are at home, your pet has a constant source of stimulation and noises going on in the background. Whether it’s the sound of the washing machine running, the tv, typing or handwriting, etc – there’s always something going on. When you’re not home, though, all of that goes away and leaves your pet alone in an echoy home, with only the sound of their own paws clicking against the laminate to keep them company.
By leaving the radio on, you’re creating a source of stimulus for your pet. Don’t leave it on too loud, just loud enough for a bit of background noise during the day that can help your pet focus on something.
5 – Be patient!
It can be easy to become upset and flustered if your pet becomes stressed and destructive – urinating in the house, scratching, chewing and howling/crying are all signs that your pet is distressed. It’s important not to shout at your pet if this is the case, you need to try and correct their behaviour by addressing the source of the problem: the fear that they have been abandoned.
If your pet is struggling, it may be worthwhile speaking to a behaviouralist to see if they are able to help. Other options you could consider are leaving your pet at daycare, paying a dogwalker or pet-sitter to come visit your pet during the day, or leaving your pet with a relative.
Top tip Crate training is another idea which some owners find helpful. By creating a safe “den” for your pet, you can provide a safe place for them where they can go when they get stressed and upset – but it’s not wise to leave your pet in a crate for extended periods. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch – we’ll be posting an article soon about this topic.
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