It has been just over three months since the girls last had their haircut. They are booked in for a trim on Wednesday as their hair is starting to cover their eyes and look a bit wispy at the ends. I prefer the slightly longer teddy bear look so have them cut in the aptly named teddy bear trim. This cut does require regular maintenance but is manageable if you keep up weekly grooming sessions at home. It is interesting to see how their coats change throughout the year, I have noticed that Ruby's coat has started coming in much darker at the roots and Daisy's raven black coat is suddenly intermingled with single silver strands. I will post 'after' pictures once they are back from the groomers on Wednesday.
Yesterday Ruby and Daisy both had their annual BVA eye test. I am please to announce that they both have clear results and current clear certificates for another year.
Although both girls are DNA tested clear for Prcd-PRA the BVA eye scheme relates to conditions involving the actual eye its self. During the examinations they are checked for eye conditions of the lens, retina and other internal structures. It is important to point out that the BVA test only gives a portrayal of the eye at the time of the examination and should therefore be done in conjunction with and not instead of the DNA test for Prcd-PRA.
After the eye testing we went for a great walk. The wind was bitter as we walked through the vast farmers fields with the dogs. They had a great time sampling the muddy ditches and racing off after the birds. We were eight strong with two Standard Poodles, four Aussie Doodles, Ruby and Daisy! Being the smallest of the bunch they still hold their own and interact very well with dogs of all sizes. It is great to go out on a 'pack walk', the dogs all get on great and love chasing one another about and exploring together. Walking in a group is without a doubt a great way to socialise your dog with others.
At the end of the walk we headed back to my friends, where we left the dogs playing in the grounds while we headed inside for a well deserved cup of tea and warm scone with butter and jam. A lovely time was had by all.
Spring has sprung... Or so we though! We are back in a cold snap but the last couple of days have been relatively mild and the sun has even made the odd appearance! With the evenings starting to get longer, the girls have been enjoying some extra long evening walks. Yesterday, while I walked through the open fields in the late evening sunshine, the dogs contentedly playing around my feet, I realised just how happy having these dogs makes me. As they raced about, chased one another and occasionally stopped to check I was keeping up, I realised that my life feels so much more alive for having these two little scruffy dogs in it. It was an idyllic hour, the sun was warm on my face and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it (especially playing in the muddy puddles!) I apologise for this self indulgent post but there is nothing more to say except, if you have never owned a dog you will probably not understand a word of what I have just said. They really are rather great!
Ruby and Daisy are both fed a raw food diet. This diet consists of raw meat, raw meaty bones, raw fish and vegetables and is sometimes refered to as BARF. A BARF diet is a modern day adaptation of the diet wild dogs have evolved to eat after hundreds of thousands of years in the forests and scrubland of the world. Raw feeders are generally unable to feed whole prey to our dogs because we can’t easily get hold of it or store it! We can instead source quality meat, bone and organ tissue to emulate the carcass. Feed fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds to reproduce foods found in the gut of rabbit or deer– In short dogs eating as nature intended.
The main reason I have chosen this diet for my dogs and in turn the puppies I raise is quite simple really. Feeding this way avoids grains, starches, additives, fillers and preservatives found in almost all commercial dog foods available today. I know exactly what my dogs are eating and can adapt their diet to suit there needs. Other benefits also include a reduced doggy odour and 'dog breath'. Naturally clean white teeth - no need for toothbrushes or de-scaling. Chewing raw meaty bones helps prevent gum disease leading to improved general health but, even more importantly, the dogs love it! Less is definately more with raw feeding. The food in its natural state is more concentrated for want of a better word. It does not include all the fillers of commercial pet food so less is needed to provide a balanced diet. This in turn can make feeding a raw diet more economical as well as the dogs producing firmer, smaller poos that are easy to pick up. Always a bonus! A great benefit to weaning our puppies onto a raw diet is that they develop at a more appropriate rate. Quick growth spurts are avoided. They also have lovely white teeth, bright shiney coats and great temprements. The additives in many foods often make puppies very hyper... the equivalent of feeding your baby fast food for every meal!
The base of my raw feeding is Natural Instinct. Natural Instinct is founded on the simple premise that dogs and cats deserve a healthy, biologically appropriate, balanced diet made from all-natural human grade ingredients with no cereal or fillers. They use only the very best DEFRA approved British meats and premium quality fruit and vegetables, ably supported by natural supplements such as spinach, sea kelp and Scottish salmon oil that combine to ensure a top-notch meal brimming with essential nutrients. Please visit their website to find loads of great information on raw feeding and how to get started.
I also substitute about 7 meals a weeks with raw meaty bones, tripe or fish. I feed lamb necks, lamb ribs and whole chicken carcusses or wings. I also feed occasional meals of sprats or mackerel. This all goes towards providing a healthy, natural and balanced diet for my dogs. You should never feed bones that have been cooked as they become brittle and can splinter. You should also avoid weight bearing leg bones. Swaping between meat minces and bone ensures teeth are kept clean and keeps the range of food interesting.
Raw feeding should not be daunting, it is an easy, economic way of feeding your dog the very best of natural foods. Using a complete raw food that has all the correct ratio of bone, meat and veg is the easiest way to feed your dog a raw diet allowing you to add a more 'DIY' approach as you become more confident on what is appropriate to feed your dog.
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