Archives for May, 2012

How Do I Tell If My Dog Is Sick?

By Christina Graham

Sometimes it’s hard for pet owners to tell if their dog is sick. Unlike kids or babies who can cry when they’re not feeling well, dogs can’t speak up and tell us what or how they are feeling. But there are usually tell tale signs that you can watch out for to help you determine if your dog is sick. So what are the things that you should look out for?

You’ll See a Change of Appetite

If you notice that your dog is refusing to eat, then this may be due to stomach problems. However, there can be other reasons for your dog’s sudden change of appetite. He could’ve probably swallowed a foreign object, or there may be something that is blocking his intestines that may need immediate attention from your vet. This is something that you shouldn’t take lightly as your dog may even need surgery. On the other hand, if you notice your dog eating more than he should, you should still consult your veterinarian as this could be a sign of hormonal disorder or even diabetes on his part.

Your Dog Starts to Vomit

There would be occasions when you could see your dog vomiting. It could be that he ate too fast; he drank too much water, or even ate some grass. However, if you notice that your dog is vomiting frequently in a day then it could be a sign that your dog might be suffering from stomach problems, or failure of his internal organs such as his kidneys, liver or bladder. It can also be a sign of some serious sickness like diabetes or even cancer. In any case, your dog might suffer from dehydration, so it is a must for you to bring your dog to your veterinarian so he would be able to determine what sickness he could be suffering from.

Sudden Changes in His Behavior

If you notice that you’re jolly, happy and energetic dog has become fatigued, depressed and not in the mood for affection, this can be a sign that your dog may be suffering from some sort of sickness. If you see that he has lost interest in his normal activities, and he has become irritable and lashes out at you, then it is time to give your dog a checkup.

To prevent your dog from having any sickness, you should always give your dog a high-quality food to boost his immune system. Make sure that he gets all the nutrition he needs, this should also include a quality dog vitamin as well. A pet owner who gives his dog the proper nutritional care he needs will not have to worry about many of the frequent illnesses that other dogs experience.

Christina Graham has been a veterinarian surgery tech and/or dog groomer for over 15 years. And in those years has gained an invaluable knowledge regarding a dogs health and nutrition. That’s why she created DogVitaminFacts.com to dispel any false myths and offer an honest helpful insight into the importance of good nutrition and a quality dog vitamin supplement for your dog. Go to DogVitaminFacts.com to learn even more.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christina_Graham

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 31, 2012 | 0 | Dog health

Two Dogs Caught in a Divorce: What Can You Do?

By Ron Ayalon

Divorces are usually messy enough without adding custody battles over dogs into the mix. But if you find yourself in a situation where your ex-husband wants to take one of the dogs but you don’t want to separate them, things can get tricky. Divorces are very personal; the situation between you and your ex will be very specific to you and him and you’ll need to decide whether you can reason with him out or if you’ll have to take this battle to the judge.

If there’s a way to avoid bringing the matter to a judge, you should try everything in your power to find that way: if you can, try to compromise out of court. But as divorces aren’t always so easy, it might be difficult to do this, and that’s where a judge is going to step in.

The way the law is currently written, dogs are regarded as property, and thus Buster and Lulu will likely be treated the same way a home or a car or furniture would be treated in a divorce. If you and your ex can’t come to a decision about what to do with the dogs, the court will decide for you, and that’s often based on whose name is on the dog’s registration and vet records. If you adopted Buster and Lulu as a couple, your chances are much better for keeping them both than if your ex brought one or both into the relationship from his own home first. If ownership is not so black and white, then the court will treat it a bit more like a child custody battle, deciding where the dogs would find a better home. Finances, size of house/yard and time spent at home all come into play in this case.

Divorce is going to be stressful for Buster and Lulu. They can sense human feelings and have probably been feeling the stress between you and your ex for a while. Depending on your situation, they might be changing locations to a new home. You want what’s best for them, and that would be trying to change things as little as possible.

Separating them will add stress to their lives and if they’re very close, they will miss each other. Whether or not the court treats them as objects of property or not, the fact is that they have feelings. If they were raised together, they’ve bonded and aren’t likely to enjoy separation.

The fact of the matter is you just want what’s best for your dogs. Just as the judge would use finances, size of house/yard and time spent at home to determine where the dogs should go, you should too. If keeping both dogs with you gives them the best life in terms of these things as well as staying together, then you’re making the right choice. But if you’re moving into a smaller space where two dogs would be uncomfortable living, or your finances will be tight supporting both of them, you should carefully consider your choice.

If it stands that both dogs would have a happy and abundant life with you, try to reason with your ex. If things get heated in person, try writing a letter instead. Make it clear that you’re not considering personal feelings at all and you simply want what’s best for these two loving creatures you’ve cared for so long. Your lawyer might be able to advise you about what a judge would do in a custody battle over the dogs; if it’s in your favor, let your ex know that he’ll probably lose if he fights. It may just sway him to let go.

Ivan’s Puppies has been breeding and training puppies for over 30 years. Our hard work has been paying off, as now we are proud to be breeding Bulldog litters with excellent quality, with little to no health problems and good temperaments. For English Bulldog Puppies, visit our website at http://www.BulldogsNewYork.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ron_Ayalon

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 29, 2012 | 0 | Tips

Soothing Your Pet’s Fear of the Veterinarian

By Christa M O’Conner

There aren’t many pets that generally enjoy trips to the veterinary clinic. Barking dogs, crying cats, strange people in lab coats who smell funny can all be strange sensations for your pet. This is especially true of exam rooms where they get hoisted onto a cold, slippery metal table and often get poked a prodded, blood taken, shots, and even have their temperature taken through their rectum. This can be a traumatic experience for pets and can lead to struggling, shaking, and sometimes even aggressiveness. There is a way to prepare your pet for successful trips to the veterinarian, since yearly checkups and the occasional sick visit are necessary evils.

Prevention is going to be easier than trying to cure a fear that has already developed. Take your kitten or puppy to the veterinary clinic early to get associated with the staff and location on a pleasant note. Most clinics allow patients to stop by to socialize without needing to get an exam. Associating the staff and the clinic with positive aspects such as pets and belly rubs will go a long way in getting your pet comfortable with the idea of visiting the veterinarian when it’s time to get exams and procedures done.

Another great method to get your pet used to being poked and prodded is to do mock exams at home a few times before your first annual exam. Lift your pet up on a table (if small enough) that has a towel on it so that they won’t slip. Give them a treat for sitting up there nicely. Check their ears, eyes, and mouth and give them a treat. Manipulate their paws and toes like you would if you had to cut their nails (don’t cut just yet, this is just practice) and give them a treat. Lift each leg and give them a treat. By repeating this process over and over again, your dog or cat will become used to the sensations and procedure of a typical annual exam which will help greatly when it comes time for the real thing.

Because pets are very in tune with humans’ emotions and demeanor, make sure you stay calm and relaxed when you go to take your pet to the vet. Tension and stress will easily be sensed by your pet so it’s important to remain calm and happy when you venture with your pet to the vet clinic.

Preventing and curing your pet’s fear of the veterinary clinic will go a long way with creating a good and stable relationship between you and your pet.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christa_M_O’Conner

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 28, 2012 | 0 | Dog health, Tips

How to Perform Dog CPR

By Ron Ayalon

Of course you don’t ever plan on a situation in which your dog Gonzo would need emergency CPR performed, but being prepared for even the worst situations is the best way to prevent tragedy from happening. Many people learn how to perform CPR on other humans in the course of their life, but it’s much more rare for someone to learn how to do the same procedure on their canine companion or in fact for them even to know it’s possible! Well it is indeed possible, and it’s something you should learn how to do just in case the unlikely situation should ever arise that Gonzo might need your help to start breathing again.

In any emergency situation, the best idea is to get Gonzo to the veterinarian or animal hospital as quickly as possible. But if you’ve determined that he’s not breathing, performing CPR early enough may save his life before you get to the vet and it’s too late.

One of the best ways to remember what to do during CPR is to remember the ABCs of CPR. ABC stands for Airway, Breathing, and Compressions.

1. Airway

The first thing you should do when Gonzo isn’t breathing is to check his airway. This means that you need to look into his mouth and see if something is stuck in his throat, preventing him from breathing. The beset way to do this is to lay him on his right side, open his mouth, pull out his tongue a bit and see if you can spot an obstruction. If something is there, you can try several techniques to get it out. You can try pushing up on the object from outside his neck, seeing if you can pop it out. If Gonzo is a small dog, you can lay him on his back and try to shake or push the obstruction out. Or you can reach in with your hand or some kind of tool to try to pull the object out.

2. Breathing

Once you’ve got the object out, or if there wasn’t anything in there to begin with, you can start on the B of the CPR ABCs. Usually for humans, you close the nasal passageways and try to pass breath through the person’s mouth. For Gonzo, it’s the opposite. Make sure his mouth is shut and then cover his whole nose with your mouth in order to pass breaths effectively. While breathing in, see if his chest expands with the air. If not, then there is probably something still blocking his throat. CPR won’t work if there is something blocking the airway, so it must be cleared first. Repeat Step 1 until you are confident that nothing is obstructing Gonzo’s airway.

3. Compressions

If you can’t detect a heartbeat, you’ll also need to perform the C of the ABCs. Gonzo will need your help starting his heartbeat again in conjunction with the mouth-to-snout breaths. You’ll need to put your hand on his ribcage while he’s laying on his right side, just below his front elbow. This is where his heart is. Press down for 10 compressions steadily, and then return to give 3 or 4 breaths through his nose. Keep repeating this process until he starts breathing again or until you get to the vet for further assistance. If you’re not alone, it may be helpful to have one person doing compressions and the other doing breaths.

If you’re reading this article for preventative information, go ahead and try to locate Gonzo’s heart now, so if the unlikely event does occur, you’ll already know exactly where to start your compressions. Having to give Gonzo CPR is a scary situation and it’s likely you’ll be panicked and afraid. Just try to remember to stay calm and do your best. Remember that Gonzo senses and reacts to your emotions. If you are calm, he will also be calm. Being calm allows you to think straight and save Gonzo’s life until you can get Gonzo to a vet.

Ivan’s Puppies has been breeding and training puppies for over 30 years. Our hard work has been paying off, as now we are proud to be breeding Bulldog litters with excellent quality, with little to no health problems and good temperaments. For English Bulldog Puppies, visit our website at http://www.BulldogsNewYork.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ron_Ayalon

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 26, 2012 | 0 | Dog first aid

Are You Ready to Have a Dog?

By Christina Graham

There are various reasons why someone would like to have a dog, including you. Maybe you want someone to go with you while you’re out for a run, have someone to sit on your lap and cuddle with you while you’re watching TV. Maybe getting a dog will help your kids learn the responsibility of taking care of one, or simply because you want your kids to have fun and play with the dog. Either way, getting a dog is a huge responsibility. Are you ready to commit to taking care of a dog for 10-15 years? Yes, that’s how long dog’s live, not to mention the expenses incurred while taking care of one. So what makes you think you’re ready to have a dog?

Basic Needs

Just like humans, you should also prepare for your dog’s basic needs. These are food and shelter. Supplying your dog’s food means giving him the food that will provide all the nutrition that he needs. Not only that, but you would also need to give him medications, and vitamins, to cure or prevent certain allergies or illnesses, and help boost your dog’s immune system to fight off other possible sicknesses. Shelter is also another basic need. Having him live in your home won’t be enough. You should also be able to provide him his beddings, and an area where he can run and play around. You should also make sure that you have baby gates to prevent your dog from entering restricted areas around your house.

Physical Activities

You should also be aware that dogs need to get their exercise, and play time as well. Dog’s who don’t get any exercise at all either become moody and lazy or even more hyper around the house. You should get them the provided exercise and play time that they need in order for them to develop a healthy lifestyle as well. Besides play time, you should also have the patience to train your dog. Training your dog will teach him discipline, especially when you have other people around your house or around your dog. You should have the patience to teach your dog how to behave in front of other people, adults and kids included. Training your dog would also help you from the headaches of constantly barking, and using the restroom in places he shouldn’t and so on.

Time and Understanding

Your dog also needs your companionship. You should also always have time to spend with your dog. Some dogs also have separation anxiety from their owners. It is essential for you to train your dog, to alleviate separation anxiety, or if you are going to leave for an extended period of time, make sure you can find a dog sitter who can take care of your dog. And most of all, you should understand that your dog will also make mistakes. He will chew on your shoes, pee in the carpet, and accidentally break your most expensive vase and so on. You have to understand that these things aren’t things that he does purposefully to get on your nerves, he just needs a little bit of your training to teach him what he should and shouldn’t do, most of all, he needs your forgiveness. Just because he made a mistake you shouldn’t abandon your dog. Forgive him and in order for him not to make the same mistake again, teach him.

Christina Graham has been a veterinarian surgery tech and/or dog groomer for over 15 years. And in those years has gained an invaluable knowledge regarding all aspects of dogs. That’s why she created The Daily Pooch, a daily blog dedicated to dog lovers. She posts regular updates on all aspects of your dog’s life from training to health and nutrition and everything in between. Head over to TheDailyPooch.com to see what it’s all about.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christina_Graham

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 24, 2012 | 0 | Choosing your dog, Tips, Understanding Your Dog

Dog Safety – Keeping Dogs Secure in a Car

By Debbie McKay

Using a car harness for your dog will make journeys a safer experience – for both you and your dog. It helps drivers to concentrate on driving, minimising distraction and increasing visibility by keeping your dog under control in the car.

Here are just a few reasons why you should use a dog car harness.

  • To control a lively or nervous dog in the car
  • Prevent the dog from distracting or interfering with the driver
  • Prevent the dog from escaping through a window or open car door
  • Protect the dog from injuring itself and passengers in case of an accident or heavy braking

It’s advisable for your dog to always travel on the rear seats of your car, as many modern cars now have safety bags for both front passengers and drivers. These are not designed with dogs in mind! But the main reason is for driver safety and to minimise distractions!

Are you legally required to use a car restraint for your dog in the UK?

The short answer is no, but perhaps it should be! The Highway Code only recommends that you use a car harness for your dog, or a pet carrier, cage or car guard. However, the police could still charge you with not having full control over your motor vehicle.

The grim truth is that if involved in a car crash an unsecured dog of average weight, say 20 kg, travelling at just 30 mph, would project the same force as an un-belted small child. This will cause passengers serious or life threatening injuries. So is it really worth the risk?

What kind of dog harness should I choose?

Under heavy braking or in an accident your dogs weight is absorbed across the shoulders so for large dogs, it is important to choose a car harness which has a padded chest piece. Extra small dogs do not require this extra padding.

For the comfort of your dog, it is best to choose a harness which is fully adjustable with quick fastening click buckles and which will allow your dog freedom to sit, turn around or lie down on the seat. A swivel mechanism stops the car harness for becoming entangled, whilst giving your dog sufficient freedom to move.

If you only intend to walk your dog short distances, you can simply attach a lead to the car harness. This will allow you to move your dog safely in or out of the car easily. However, if you want to use the harness for obedience training or long country walks it’s advisable to purchase a separate dog harness.

It is important to measure your dog before purchasing a car harness, as breed sizes vary. Also, you will often find the gender of your dog will affect the size of the safety car harness you select.

Hi-Craft Harness for Dogs

The Hi-Craft Car Dog Harness is made from light-weight nylon for strength and durability and is currently available in five sizes – X Small, Small, Medium, Large, X Large. So there is sure to be one that is a perfect fit for your dog.

The Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness is fully adjustable with quick fastening click buckles. The swivel mechanism stops the harness from becoming entangled, whilst giving your dog sufficient freedom to move in the car with ease or without stress.

Debbie McKay writes for ValuPets.com – providing help and advice to all pet owners. Specialists in dog safety, including the Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness, dog food, cat food plus supplies for small animals, fish, reptiles and birds. Browse www.valupets.com for more information on discount pet supplies and accessories.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Debbie_McKay

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 23, 2012 | 0 | dog safety

Dog Games

By Larry A Binford

These games for dogs can be played out in the garden, on dog walks, in the house; as a matter of fact, these games can be played anywhere!

Suggested Dog Games:

Hide a treat or toy in the house, in the garden or anywhere else outside the house. Then ask Rover (your dog) to look for it. You may have to provide a little assistant for him/her. While hiding the treat or toy, move your pet so that he/she is not within sight or simply pretend that you are placing the treat/toy in different locations.

Throw the treat into grass in a way that makes it not visible. Then send your dog to search for find it. You can make the game a little less easy by:
• Not sending him/her for one minute or more, so that he/she is less likely to remember the precise location.
• Calling him/her away from the treat and then sending them to look for it.
• Calling the pet away, then asking him/her to something else such as asking him/her to sit or go fetch a toy, before sending him/her out to find the treat.

Another good technique used by a reputable dog behaviourist is to have a variety of boxes. Hide a treat under one of these boxes. You can have the dog leave the room or, if your dog is watching you, just act as if you are hiding the treat under each box. Then send your pet to search for the treat. He/she may knock the boxes over in order to find the treat, or it may simply choose to indicate the treat by pawing at it. You can then lift the box your dog to gain his/her reward. Dog games like this can be made more difficult as detailed above.

Whilst it is necessary that dog games are to be loads of fun, a good dog behaviourist will have some degree of control over the dog.

With dog games, you will not only get to increase your dog’s intelligence, you will also get to bond with your dog as well. With the assistance of a reputable dog behaviourist, and simple dog training games, you can help your dog become intelligent and improve its ability to think and focus.

If you want to hire the services of an expert dog behaviourist, just make sure that you choose a reputable one. Some dog behaviourists train dogs without making use of coercive or aversive methods, and rely on praise or treats.

There are other dog behaviourists who believe in using treats, praises and coercive methods and tools to train dogs. But, the general idea is NOT to make use of methods that could cause fear, confusion and pain.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_A_Binford

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 21, 2012 | 0 | Tips

How to Properly Deal With Fleas on Your Dog

By Christina Graham

Fleas can be very irritating and annoying, not only to our dogs, but to us as well. You’ll find yourself itching and scratching along with your dog, because fleas don’t only feed on dogs and cats. They will feed on any the blood of mammals, and yes, that includes humans too. So how does one deal with fleas?

What are Fleas?

There are a wide variety of fleas however; there is only one type of flea that cause dogs the most problems. This flea is also known as Ctenocephalides felis. Fleas are tiny parasitic insects with no wings that have 6 legs, and hind legs made for jumping long distances. Did you know that a flea can jump up to 30 feet? That’s why these fleas can also be a nuisance for pet owners and can cause severe itching on us too.

How do I Prevent Fleas?

This may sound too obvious, but the best way to prevent your dog from flea infestation is cleaning and grooming your dog regularly. If your dog isn’t infested with these tiny creatures yet, you should give your dog regular baths with flea repellent shampoo. But if your dog already has fleas, you can also buy flea shampoos over the counter to get rid of this tiny critters feeding on your dog. Try to avoid spot on treatments, as this can be toxic, and even deadly. You can try hot spot treatment sprays. It gives immediate relief to your dog. I give them to my dog, and it works great. Of course, it never hurts to consult your veterinarian for medications for these parasites.

Did you also know that fleas love to attack weaker dogs and cats? Fleas prefer to attack malnourished dogs because of their poor and weak immune systems. That is why it is essential for pet owners to give their dogs healthy diets and maintain great nutrition. Try to avoid chemical preservatives in your dog’s food, and always look for meat as the first ingredient. And just like humans, dog needs vitamins to boost their health and immune system too. There are natural supplements out there that are 100% pure, safe and effective. Vitamins can help strengthen your pet’s skin and immune system that can be caused by flea bites, or allergic reactions from the saliva of the flea, and other possible infections.

So remember, if you want a happy and healthy dog, regular grooming, and good nutrition is the best way to protect your dog.

Christina Graham has been a veterinarian surgery tech and/or dog groomer for over 15 years. And in those years has gained an invaluable knowledge regarding a dogs health and nutrition. That’s why she created DogVitaminFacts.com to dispel any false myths and offer an honest helpful insight into the importance of good nutrition and a quality dog vitamin supplement for your dog. Go to DogVitaminFacts.com to learn even more.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christina_Graham

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 20, 2012 | 0 | Dog health, Tips

Outdoor Dog Gear for Your Active Pet

By Lisa A Mason

Do you live a very active life? Is hiking and boating some of your favorite activities? Does your dog like to tag along with you? If you answered yes to these questions, then you need outdoor dog gear for your active pet. Taking your pet along for these activities is a lot of fun.

Dogs can be very entertaining and doing these things together can help build that bond between you and your pet. Here are a couple of items that can help keep your pet safer and make your trips more enjoyable.

Life Jackets

If you spend a lot of time around water, get your dog a life jacket. Dog life jackets are perfect for pets that enjoy riding along on the boat or playing in the ocean. The life jacket will help keep him safe anytime he’s in and around water.

Not all dogs are great swimmers, especially in rough waters. If you take your dog with you fishing, boating or to the beach, you won’t have to worry about her struggling in the water especially if the currents are strong. Anytime you’re around water, there is the possibility of an accident. For example, your pet could fall off the boat or be swept away by a strong current. A life jacket will help keep her afloat in any situation whether she’s just having fun or if an emergency occurs.

Life jackets are perfect for elderly dogs or those with arthritis or joint problems. Swimming can help dogs get the exercise they need without putting added stress on their joints and a life jacket will make it easier for him to swim.

There are several different types of dog life jackets available suited for different breeds and types of water. Some are made with mesh under the belly so the water will drain quickly and the life jacket will dry faster. Some are designed with reflective strips to make your pet more visible and others have added buoyancy for rough water like what you’ll find at the beach.

Dog Backpacks

Outdoor dog gear also includes dog backpacks. These are great for hikers, hunters, campers and they even come in handy for a trip to the park. Your dog needs supplies just like you do. She’ll need food, water, treats and toys so why not let her carry her own supplies. The extra space will make things a lot easier for you.

The saddlebag design distributes the weight evenly so it won’t put too much weight on your pet’s back. This makes them more comfortable and prevents strains. They have storage pouches where you can keep things separated so you can find what you need fast and easy. Most all dog backpacks have adjustable straps for a snug fit and reflective trim to keep him safer.

Most dogs don’t mind wearing a backpack. They can sense they’re doing something good and it makes them feel needed. However, you may need to go on short trips at first until he gets used to it. Outdoor dog gear makes it easier for your active pet to get the exercise needed to stay healthy, fit and safe.

Doggie Clothesline has a wide variety of outdoor dog gear for any size dog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_A_Mason

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 19, 2012 | 0 | Dog clothing, dog safety

How Long Is Too Long To Leave A Raw Dog Food Diet Out?

By Robert Mueller

The preservation of meat and fish is a science that has evolved for centuries. The purpose of preservation is to allow food to be stored for longer periods of time without risk of spoiling. Preserving food is a critical step to ensure abundance during certain times of the year when food is scarce.

Man and animal are both dependent on foods of plant and animal origin. As nature has taught us, food obtained in a fresh, raw state will spoil quickly. Because of this, the methods used to properly preserve foods and extend the shelf life of food have improved over time.

Freshness Factor Affecting Nutrient Density:
Some people are concerned about the fact that preserved food is not as healthy as fresh food. Preservation techniques such as freezing and dehydrating foods decrease their nutritional value. It’s true that fresh food is always preferable because it contains the maximum nutrient levels, however preserved food is always a better choice than processed and heat-treated food.

At What Temperature Do Nutrients Become Damaged?:
Foods that are heated to a temperature exceeding 118° Fahrenheit will be subjected to a destruction of the vital enzymes and “good bacteria” needed for proper digestion and utilization of nutrients by the body. For this reason, the preferred methods to preserve food (especially raw meat and fish) are through the procedures freezing and freeze-drying.

How Long Can Meat And Fish Be Kept From Spoiling?:
Fish spoils quickly and in climates with above normal heat temperatures, it will often spoil in less than 12 hours. A popular method for extending the storage life of fresh caught fish is to cool it with ice or freeze it.

The speed that meat spoils depends on several factors such as: storage temperature, acidity of the meat, structure of the muscle tissue, and the overall hygienic conditions used to process the meat. For example, a firmer muscular tissue, such as beef, spoils less quickly than organ meats. Proper hygiene and clean handling of the carcass has a positive effect on storage life. A good rule of thumb is to preserve the meat as soon as possible after slaughter.

Signs of Spoilage:
Spoilage is the deterioration of food, which changes the taste and smell and makes it a carrier of disease and germs. A typical sign of spoilage is when the meat smell is similar to that of rotten eggs.

Consumption of spoiled foods can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pains and nausea. Serious cases can even lead to death.

Bacteria’s Role in Spoilage:
Bacteria can only cause spoilage if it is allowed to grow within the fish or meat. Several factors contribute to bacterial contamination:

1. Damage to the skin of fish or meat allows the bacteria easy access to the flesh, causing it to grow.

2. Fish and meat contain high levels of internal water content (around 60 to 80% water). Ingredients with this level of moisture allow bacteria to grow rapidly.

3. Oxygen content is important when processing minced meat. The flesh will spoil very quickly because a lot of air has been mixed into it. Aerobic microorganisms need oxygen for their growth.

4. Acidity (the normal pH range) of meat and fish is neutral, i.e. 7 Bacteria grow between a minimum pH of 4.5 to a maximum of 8-9. Optimum growth is at 6.5 to 7.5. As a result, fish and meat are very susceptible to spoilage.

5. One of the most critical factors is the processing temperature. Equally important is the time between contamination and processing or consumption. The best temperature to grow bacteria is between 14°-158° degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing will inactivate microorganisms while long-term heating will destroy all microorganisms, both good and bad. At temperatures above 176° degrees Fahrenheit, they usually die.

The actual rate at which bacteria grow depends on a combination of all the factors listed above. A high moisture product will spoil much quicker than a dry, acidic product.

The Effects of Preservation To Food:
Preservation practices can have two important effects on food…

1. Retention of the original qualities and properties of the food (such as freezing raw dog food).

Or

2. Creation of a radical change in the composition of the food, which results in a product with completely new properties and quality (such as through the extrusion and heat processing of kibble dry dog food diets).

While there are other preservation techniques such as smoking, drying, corning, canning, and extrusion processing, nothing compares to the quality and integrity that freezing has to food.

Freezing Raw Meat For Optimum Results:
The ideal method of preservation meat and fish is to store it at a low temperature of -4° degrees Fahrenheit. This method is one of the best preservation techniques used today.

Special care should be given to fish because it does have a tendency to dry out quicker than other meats. Glazing fish with ice or cold water prior to freezing are both good methods of freezing fish. Freezing reduces enzyme activity in meat and poultry and stops the growth of bacteria and molds. Another great bonus is that it does not tenderize or sterilize your meat guaranteeing it to be as close to it’s fresh state as possible.

Freezing Raw Bones:
Fish and meat bones for canine consumption should also be frozen. This offers one of the safest ways to reduce the bacterial contamination levels and extends their shelf life considerably.

What About Freeze-Drying?:
Another very popular method of preservation is freeze-drying. This method combines the advantage of minimal heat and vacuum that in combination lowers the moisture content of the food to approximately 2%. Bacteria have a much harder time growing in a low moisture environment. The only disadvantage that I can see with this method is the cost to preserve. Because the freeze-drying process takes quite a bit of time to do, it can significantly increase the ultimate cost of the product.

Proper Handling of Raw Meat – The Best Prevention Method:
While manufacturers can do everything right from slaughter to end product, it is also important for the consumer to practice safe handling procedures for raw meat for both their family and pets. Paying attention to the details of handling meat and fish will ultimately render a safe, superior quality product.

We regularly educate consumers to not leave raw meat diets unrefrigerated for long periods of time. If the meat is not going to be consumed right away, it should be stored in a container with a lid and placed in the refrigerator for no more than 24-48 hours. Food left out for long periods of time, especially during the hot summer months or in warmer temperature climates can result in spoiled food and bacteria growth.

When feeding a BARF diet to your pet, it is best to not leave the food left out for too long. If your dog does not eat the food right away, cover their serving dish and put the food back in the refrigerator to be served later in the day. At the end of the day, you should dispose of any uneaten food. This helps to keep food at its peak freshness and avoid any digestive upset.

Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. He and his wife love to travel around the world with their dog, Moxie – a Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” monthly e-zine at http://barfworld.com/ezine.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Robert_Mueller

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

And you can follow us on twitter too

May 17, 2012 | 0 | Dog health, Dog nutrition