Lara’s Progress

Lara is now 15 weeks of age and has been here almost 3 weeks. Time flies when you have a puppy! She’s getting huge now and is almost as tall as tallest Springer Beau and bigger than Rush (cockerpoo).

She’s not just got bigger, her character has change, she’s no longer than quiet shy puppy; she is a thug! She’s bitier, noisier and more active, but on the up side, she does settle down whilst I’m working (she’s currently asleep at my feet) and she’s still go a great appetite.

Her appetite has led to some frustration when trying to feed her using a slow feeding bowl as she just couldn’t get the food out as fast as she needed to. I have changed her diet from one that had over 50% rice and only 16% meat in it (expensive food as well!) to one that contains 30% meat and 30% rice and that appears to be filling her up better (she doesn’t bolt her food as fast now, always a concern with a breed that is prone to bloat). She can now also cope with a slow feeding bowl, but in the early days, she had half her meal in an ordinary bowl to take the edge of her hunger and then the rest in the slow feeding bowl. When I saw that she was happy to tackle the slow feeding bowl first, rather than the open bowl, I knew she was ready for a full meal from the slow feeding bowl. No more frustration now when she has her food in a slow feeding bowl.

She’s continuing her education with regards on self control around food, which is much easier now that she isn’t so hungry and with recall games (luckily I’m a member of Susan Garrett’s Recallers programme, so lots of games to play). I do need to go back and revisit the collar grab game as we’re going through a bit of a blip with regards to that.

We’re having loads of fun playing tug games with various tug toys, but work is needed on getting her to bring items back. Normal enough stage for a puppy.

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She is bitey, and will be started to change her teeth soon. When she gets bitey, she is given an appropriate object to chew one. As with most puppies, squealing like  a puppy just makes her bite harder, so re-direction onto an appropriate chew toy is important. I need to find some old towels to moisten and freeze, so that she has a cooling chew toy for when those gums are sore.

We’ve had a couple of days where Lara has had a bit of an upset tum; not bad enough for a vet visit, but enough that she’s had to wake me up several times overnight to go out. She is good as she does let me know when she needs to go out and her house training is coming on fabulously, but I could have done with a bit more sleep. I have definitely had ‘puppy brain’ for the last couple of days and have gone through the ‘why did I get this puppy/’ ‘This was a mistake’ stage. Funny how things improve when you get a good night’s sleep as I did last night.

We’ve also started playing with teaching her to put her front feet on objects (only low ones) and she’s learning to search the living room for hidden treats (easy searches to start with). She still has little meanders on lead whilst the big dogs runabout, and she’s finally started to play with the other dogs, but that is supervised.

We are now having an issue with her coming in from outside. She’s getting a bit big to pick up and fetch in (she really is a big puppy for her age!) and  have fallen into the bad habit of luring her in through the back door (bad trainer) and so she has started holding out to see what is offered,k before she decides whether to come in or not. It’s cold and  I really don’t want to stand there with the door open for several minute whilst she decides to come in, so a new strategy was needed.

She now gets about 30 seconds to decide whether she is coming in or not. There is no food in view and I’m not luring her. If she decides to come in the door, that behaviour is marked and then a food reward is produced and given. If she decides that she isn’t going to come in, the door is closed and I’ll open it a minute or two later and try again. I think it took six attempts the first time I tried this, we are now down to just two attempts on the last go. Something I need to keep working on until it is cracked.

Apart from these minor problems and a bit of redesigning of the leather suite, Lara’s ast 3 weeks have been progressing in the right direction.

Her microchip is registered in my name, but I do need to change her KC registration over to my name.

I do need to get some more photos of her though!

Comparing Protein Contents of Dog Foods

It can be difficult to compare dry dog foods to canned dog foods to raw diets as you cannot directly compare the protein and fat contents due to the differing levels of moisture in each of these different forms of dog food. To be able to compare dog foods directly, we need to compare the analysis of each based on  ‘dry matter’ i.e. comparing them all as having no water.

Converting dry matter basis

This can be the hard part.  All pet foods have different levels of moisture.  Canned foods can have up to 80% moisture whereas some dry foods can have as little as 6%.  This is important for two reasons.  The first is that the food is priced by the pound, and when you buy dog food that is 80% moisture, you get 20% food and the rest is water.  So the amount of food your pet consumes is small and expensive.  The second reason for understanding percent moisture is to help you compare crude protein and fat between brands and between canned and dry.  The listings on the label are for the food as it is, not as it would be on a dry matter basis.  So, without converting both brands of food to a dry matter basis, you will not be able to compare them accurately.  Fortunately, the conversion is not complicated.

If a dry dog food has 10% moisture, we know that it has 90% dry matter.  So we look at the label to check the protein level and see that reads 20%.  Next we divide the 20% protein by the 90% dry matter and we get 22%, (20/90 x 100 = 22%) which is the amount of protein on a dry matter basis.  Does this make sense so far?  Good.

Now let us compare this to canned food that has 80% moisture content. We know that with80% moisture we have 20% dry matter. The label shows us that the food has 5% protein. So we take the 5% and divide it by the 20% (dry matter) and mulitply by 100 to give us 25% protein as dry matter (5/20 x 100 = 25%) So the canned food has more protein per pound on a dry matter basis than the dry food.

We can do similar calculations to compare fat, fibre etc.

The same calculation can be applied to raw diets assuming that you know the protein and fat contents of the ingredients and the moisture content.

All too often, I hear people stating that canned or try dog food is lower protein than dry dog foods; as you can see, this is not necessarily the case. The same is often said of raw diets, but many of these actually work out as 40-50% protein calculated on a dry matter basis.

So remember, if you are trying to compare protein levels of different types of food, you must look at them as dry matter content to avoid the misleading difference due to differing moisture contents.