Remington Express!

Remington Express!

We took this one to the beach Christmas Day, and he ran and ran!

His Christmas present.

We have big plans for our little guy in January.

First, he's getting neutered. It's time.

Second, we're starting a new group obedience class where we'll be working up to the Canine Good Citizen test. (Ha! He needs a lot of work!)

Third, we're starting his field training so this city boy can be a real huntin' dog!

Fourth, we might sign up for a recall class a friend is teaching.

My weimaraner Remington Express

My weimaraner Remy

Remy and me

Thanks to Josh for the pictures.

What are you up to with your dogs?

The Missing Link Supplements for Dogs Review and Giveaway

The Missing Link Supplements for Dogs Review and Giveaway

What is The Missing Link?

The Missing Link is a company that offers superfood supplements for dogs, cats, horses, birds and small pets to help fill the nutritional void in many commercial pet foods.

The company sent me a bag of its Ultimate Hip & Joint supplement for my senior dog Ace and a bag of its Puppy Health formula for my weimaraner pup Remy.

This post is sponsored by The Missing Link. We are giving away a FREE bag of its Ultimate Hip & Joint supplement to one reader. Follow the simple options on the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post to enter.

The Missing Link supplements for dogs review

The Missing Link supplements for dogs review

My thoughts on The Missing Link:

The Missing Link is the first supplement I ever bought for my black Lab mix Ace. When I switched him to a homemade raw diet back in 2011, multiple dog owners recommended the brand for making sure Ace would get the vitamins and minerals he needed.

Ace’s vet has also recommended keeping him on a glucosamine supplement since retrievers are prone to joint problems. The Missing Link’s hip & joint variety offers about 450mg of glucosamine per Tablespoon in addition to omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, dietary fiber and plant nutrients. It is a powder supplement you sprinkle over your dog's food.

The Missing Link supplements for dogs review

I've been giving The Missing Link to my dogs a couple times per week and I do not notice any dramatic differences in their appearance or energy. I wouldn't expect to.

I feed my dogs a combination of dry dog food, homemade raw food and commercial raw food. In our case, The Missing Link is more about general health and providing my dogs with healthy vitamins and minerals. In Ace's case, it also provides a bit of support for his joints.

How much does it cost?

The Missing Link’s supplements are available online through Amazon and through various other retailers so the prices vary.

The cost for a 1-pound pouch of the canine hip & joint formula on Amazon is $23.99 (on sale for $20.28).

The Missing Link Ultimate Hip & Joint

Click here to order on Amazon

What’s unique about The Missing Link?

I appreciate how the products are available for multiple types of animals, not just dogs, and formulated specifically for their needs.

The company uses only the best naturally sourced and most effective ingredients, according to its website. The supplements are formulated by veterinarian Dr. Robert M. Collett.

Through his research, the company said Collett uncovered nutritional deficiencies in highly processed pet foods, some completely void of omega 3 fatty acid. His products are designed to target the nutritional gap between what animals would eat in the wild (nutritionally dense, whole, raw and fresh foods) and the modern commercially processed pet foods. Collett patented The Missing Link blends based on observations in his own veterinary practice.

To give you an example, here are the ingredients in the Hip & Joint formula my dog Ace is trying:

Ground Flaxseed, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Freeze Dried Beef Liver, Cane Molasses, Rice Bran, Primary Dried Yeast, Sunflower Seed, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Carrot, Ground Beef Bone, Dried Fish Solubles, Freeze Dried Oyster, Ground Barley Grass, Dried Kelp, Zinc Methionine Complex, Lecithin, Selenium Yeast, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Garlic, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Supplement.

You can learn more about all of The Missing Link’s products for dogs, cats, horses, birds and small animals HERE.

Pros of The Missing Link:

  • No preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors
  • Price is reasonable at roughly $20 to $25 for a 1-pound bag (should last a 50-pound dog about 80 days if given daily)
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Formulated by a veterinarian to support the pet’s digestive, nervous and immune systems
  • Contains live microorganisms
  • Available for dogs, cats, horses, birds and small pets
  • Works with a dry dog food diet, homecooked diet or raw diet
  • My dogs like the taste

The Missing Link supplements for dogs

Cons:

  • Should be refrigerated after opening (no big deal)
  • Contains high fiber which can give some dogs an upset tummy (introduce slowly)
  • There are a lot of ingredients so introduce slowly if your dog has potential allergies to things like alfalfa.

Would I buy The Missing Link?

Yes. I generally don’t buy supplements on a regular basis for myself or my pets but I do pick them up from time to time because I believe we all can benefit. The Missing Link is a supplement I have purchased for my dog Ace before.

Would I recommend it to others?

Yes, The Missing Link is a brand I trust and highly recommend as a general vitamin mix for your dogs. It's also a good option if your dog needs a specific supplement such as a hip & joint supplement.

Order on Amazon here.

The Missing Link supplement for dogs

Giveaway: Win a free bag of Ultimate Hip & Joint supplement for your dog

*The winner has been selected.

The Missing Link is giving away a FREE bag of its Ultimate Hip & Joint supplement to one lucky reader in the U.S.

There are two ways to enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

1. Just leave a comment on the post.

2. Post a holiday photo of your dog on Instagram and tag @TheMissingLinkPet

Make sure to confirm your entries using the Rafflecopter form below.

Everyone signed up for the $7/mo reward option or higher on Patreon receives automatic entry into ALL of That Mutt's giveaways.

Contest runs through Friday Dec. 30 so get your entries in soon! I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s email. Sign up for That Mutt’s daily training emails here.

Would your dog love to win a bag of the hip & joint supplement?

Let me know in the comments!

Our Road Trip to Yosemite and Merry Christmas!

Our Road Trip to Yosemite and Merry Christmas!

Josh, the dogs and I took a road trip to Yosemite National Park after Thanksgiving.

The dogs road in the back seat together with nothing between them (7 hour drive) and for the most part they got along well!

This was the first time they’ve cuddled, and they haven’t cuddled since!

I’m so happy I got to explore Yosemite with my old guy Ace. Memories like these are special, and I know I’m lucky just to have Ace here with us for another holiday season.

I hope all of you, my readers, are enjoying your holidays and that you get a chance to get out and explore with your family and of course your dogs!

I look forward to hearing more about all of your upcoming adventures in 2017.

Merry Christmas!

-Lindsay, Josh, Ace & Remington

Remy, Ace and me in Yosemite

Josh, the dogs and me!

My mutt Ace in Yosemite

I never thought THIS would happen:

Ace and Remy

 

How Do You Know Your Dog’s Raw Food is Safe?

How Do You Know Your Dog’s Raw Food is Safe?

This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends.

Feeding your dog a raw diet means just that—a diet of raw meat, bones and sometimes fruits & veggies.

The reason some pet owners feed a raw diet is because dogs and cats are naturally designed for eating raw meat, and raw food contains more nutrients than cooked food. Dogs and cats can handle more bacteria in their food than people can because their digestive systems are made for handling raw meat! (Think about a cat eating a mouse.)

I’ve been feeding my senior dog Ace a raw diet off and on for years without any issues.

Still, I have a few concerns.

For example, to save money I buy raw meat for my dogs from a grocery store because it’s generally less expensive than food from a raw dog food company. (My dogs eat a combination of homemade raw, commercial raw and also dry food.)

I am a little concerned about grocery store meat because sometimes the meat sits out on display for several days, and this gives bacteria additional time to grow. Since this meat is intended for people (to be cooked!), this is a non-issue as far as food safety for people is concerned.

Whenever I buy grocery store meat for my dogs, I either buy meat that is already frozen or I put it in my freezer for a week or so. This won’t kill all the bacteria—cooking the meat is the only way to do that at home—but it does help.

For those of you who feed homemade raw, do you have any concerns about grocery store meat? Have yours dogs ever gotten sick? Do you have any safety tips to share? Let me know in the comments as I could use some tips myself.

Other tips:

  • Find out exactly where the food is coming from (ask).
  • Ask how long it sits out on average.
  • Try to buy the freshest ingredients made as locally as possible.

When in doubt, you can always cook the meat. Dogs CAN eat cooked food, obviously. But the whole point of feeding raw is the benefit of all the nutrients and enzymes in fresh food.

Less bacteria in commercial raw dog food brands

My dog Ace has an autoimmune disease called panniculitis that can cause sores to open up on his body. To keep this under control he’s on a medication called Atopica. I’m thankful the medication is helping him but it also suppresses his immune system, making him more vulnerable to getting sick.

Because of this, I am careful about what I feed Ace. (I don’t worry much about my young, healthy dog Remy.)

Balanced Blends safe raw diets

Balanced Blends is a new company in Colorado focused on providing balanced, SAFE raw diets for dogs and cats so pet owners can feed raw without any worry. This is especially important for those who are new to raw feeding and might be more nervous about it. Like I said, it's also helpful for those who have pets with compromised immune systems like Ace.

Balanced Blends said it does the following for extra safe raw diets:

1. Fresh ingredients. It starts with fresh ingredients and makes the food in a refrigerated facility.

2. High pressure processing. The final product is applied with high pressure processing (HPP) in its final packaging. It is not turned into patties or nuggets afterwards, eliminating the risk of recontamination.

HPP use high pressure to eliminate food borne pathogens without using any heat, according to Balanced Blends. Since it does not use chemicals or preservatives, HPP is a natural anti-pathogen treatment that causes very little change to the nutrients in the food.

The process is recognized by the FDA and USDA as a safe anti-pathogen treatment for natural and organic food, according to Balanced Blends.

3. Test and hold protocol. All food is lab tested by a third party and only sold after it tests negative for harmful bacteria.

4. Lot tracking. The company has lot tracking for all its food so it is able to keep track of the specific ingredients that go into every batch.

Feeding commercial raw food is not for everyone, but it does eliminate some of the health concerns with dogs potentially getting sick from bacteria. You can also trust that the food is balanced. There are pros and cons to feeding both homemade raw or commercial raw, and a lot depends on your budget and your comfort level with the ingredients you buy on your own.

In the comments, let me know more about the raw food you feed your dog. It's helpful for anyone interested in getting started.

If you'd like a chance to try Balanced Blends for your dog, we have a coupon code below and a chance to win some free food!

Balanced Blends coupon code

Balanced Blends is offering 2-pound “starter packs” designed for those interested in trying a raw diet. Cost is just $12. Use code STARTERPACK at checkout. CLICK HERE.

Holiday Photo Contest – Win 5 pounds of raw food

*This contest has ended.

Balanced Blends is giving away 5 pounds of raw food ($30 to $40 value) to THREE lucky winners.

To enter:

1. Just take a photo of your pet celebrating the holiday.

2. Post the photo on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account (just pick one for your entry)

3. Hashtag the pic with #BalancedBlends #BecauseTheyreFamily #HolidayContest

4. Submit your photo using the widget to enter the contest!

Visit the contest page HERE. (This giveaway has ended.)

Let me know if you end up entering!

How to Feed a Balanced Raw Dog Food Diet

How to Feed a Balanced Raw Dog Food Diet

I believe a raw diet is the healthiest diet for most dogs and cats, but that’s only if the food is:

  • Made with high-quality ingredients
  • Nutritionally balanced

Feeding high-quality ingredients is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t take a veterinarian or nutritionist to tell you that real, fresh food is healthiest for most dogs.

This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends raw dog and raw cat food. 

Healthy ingredients for a balanced raw diet

The following are some examples of high-quality ingredients you could use in a homemade diet, and you would likely see some of these in the food from a commercial raw company.

  • Organic fruits and veggies such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, kale or carrots
  • Raw chicken, beef, turkey or pork
  • Supplements such as a vitamin mix or salmon oil
  • Some people feed a bit of all-natural, organic yogurt (although usually not necessary)

Some general tips on what to feed and what not to feed:

  • Avoid processed foods
  • Feed fresh food: Raw meat, fruits and veggies contain more nutrients than cooked
  • Avoid meat with added hormones or antibiotics
  • Feed organic meat, fruits and veggies when possible
  • Dogs don’t need grains, although they won’t necessarily cause any harm

How to feed your dog a balanced raw diet

How to feed a balanced raw dog food diet

When I first started feeding my black Lab mix Ace a raw diet (in 2011), I always followed the very general “rule” of giving him roughly 70% meat, 10% organ meat and 10% raw bone. I also added in a fruit and veggie mix which ended up being about 10% of his overall diet.

I still see this “rule” recommended by many of the other raw feeders I know online, and I think it’s a good start, especially for someone new to raw feeding.

A potential problem with this “equation” is it’s overly simplified.

I very much support and encourage dog owners to feed a homemade raw diet, but it does take some extra work.

It’s best if you can mix up the types of meat you’re feeding your dog (more variety of nutrients), but it’s even more important to feed him a wide variety of organ meat.

Unfortunately, buying a variety of organ meat (heart, lungs, brain) is difficult for many of us. It takes some work to track down food not normally found in a grocery store. Some options include working directly with a butcher or ordering through a local raw co-op. It just takes some extra planning.

Feeding pre-made, balanced raw dog food

The easiest way to make sure your dog’s raw diet is balanced is to buy pre-made raw food from a raw company like Balanced Blends. I recommend you do this for at least a couple of your dog’s meals per week.

Food from Balanced Blends is designed specifically to exceed the AAFCO nutrient profile for dogs, the company says on its website. Balanced Blends uses nutritional knowledge from veterinarians, a nutritionist and the AAFCO standard so you can trust your dog is getting optimal nutrients in every meal.

I'm not saying you can't feed a balanced homemade raw diet, but it is more difficult to know which vitamins your dog is potentially lacking. (I'm a worrier!)

However, I also understand it’s difficult to afford a pre-made, commercial raw diet for a large dog (or multiple dogs) so that's why I recommend the option of using a pre-made brand for a couple of meals per week. This is especially helpful when you're just starting out.

When I started learning about raw dog food, I felt overwhelmed and it was helpful to have a bag of pre-made food in the freezer for Ace. I could just de-frost a meal in advance and feed my dog without any worry.

My Lab mix Ace

I know everyone feeds a raw diet a little differently, so in the comments I'd love to hear what you do, whether it's mostly homemade, mostly pre-made or a little of both.

Balanced Blends starter packs

Balanced Blends is offering 2-pound “starter packs” specifically designed for those interested in trying a raw diet.

How do you make sure your dog's diet is balanced?

Let me know in the comments!

How to feed your dog a balanced raw diet

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