Archive Monthly Archives: October 2020

Raw Food Diet For Dogs (2020 Reviewed)

Raw Dog Food Diet - 
A Diet Plan Breakdown

Our #1 Pick

Petzyo Raw Royalty

Gentle Dog Trainers No.1 Raw Dog Food

PETZYO DOG FOOD

  • Made with high quality natural ingredients
  • 100% raw food delivered to your doorstep
  • No preservatives
  • Single protein options
  • 100's of 5-star Reviews

Pet parents around the world want to feed the best dog food for their pooches. Those that are considering a raw food diet for dogs are usually doing it because they want their canine companions to have the best possible treatment.

Many who have tried have noticed a positive change in the overall health of their dogs, and, after all, a raw diet lets you control exactly what your dog eats.

Today, we’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks that come with feeding raw food to dogs followed by a quick guide on how exactly to create a raw meal plan for your dog.

pug and boston terrier waiting patiently for a raw steak

Raw Diet for Dogs: Benefits and Risks

Is raw meat good for dogs?

This question has caused a lot of controversy in recent years. Some pet parents believe it is the best possible option and that it has benefited their dogs greatly, while others caution against it.

There are a couple of reasons for this disagreement.

First of all, there is the question of whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores. Dogs have sometimes been classified as omnivores due to certain characteristics they have developed through millennia of living with humans, although the right term is actually domesticated carnivores (1). The point is, dogs were originally carnivores - before domestication. Their closest relatives are wolves, which are definitely carnivores, but dogs have been domesticated for millennia and they don’t live in the wild anymore.

As such, they got used to eating a mixed diet that must include meat, but not only. Still, many pet parents believe that feeding a diet closest to what they would eat in the wild is best for dogs, and no one has managed to provide a strong argument against that.

So is a raw food diet the right way to go? Well, for a start, there is definitely no harm in raw meat for dogs. Many pet parents do feed raw diets, and their dogs are completely happy and healthy. In addition to this, there are many testimonials from dog owners who manage to solve their pet’s health issues by switching to a raw diet - although there is no scientific proof for that.

The potential benefits of a raw diet include:

  • More energy
  • Better overall health
  • Healthier, shiny coat
  • Better oral health
  • Smaller stool

All of this sounds good, so what exactly is the problem with feeding a raw diet? Many veterinarians and some papers that have been published in veterinary journals warn that raw diets can often lead to a nutritional imbalance. However, this is not actually caused by the food being raw. The same problem can arise with any other kind of food, and the solution is obviously being careful and ensuring that your dog gets all the nutrients she needs.

“The only place I’ve seen a problem with this diet is puppies. If you don’t get the calcium and phosphorus ratio right, you can have bone deformities and growth issues”, says Doug Knueven, DVM, in an interview for FETCH.

Additionally, the risk of disease caused by bacteria in raw meat is often mentioned as the primary downside of feeding raw. The bacteria that cause concern are primarily E. Coli and salmonella. When it comes to E. Coli, there is actually not too much risk involved for dogs, except in the case of very young puppies that are still feeding on mother's milk. For that reason, raw food should be fed only with extreme caution to lactating bitches, but otherwise it should be fine (2). Salmonella is a bit more dangerous to dogs, but still it doesn’t cause disease as easily as in humans due to the dog’s strong digestive system (3).

What many are worried about, though, is the danger of these bacteria to humans who are in contact with the food and the dog. However, while caution should be exercised, following basic hygienic measures should prevent this.

Additionally, you should be cautious about feeding a raw diet to dogs with specific health conditions. Dogs who suffer from kidney or liver failure, for example, will not take a high-protein diet well. Dogs suffering from cancer should not eat raw food due to increased risk of infection. Finally, if your dog has digestive issues you can try to introduce a raw diet, but do it slowly and carefully (x)


Raw Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food

Poodle dog choosing between raw and dry dog food

So, is raw feeding dogs better than feeding dry food? There is no simple answer. Many pet parents claim that their dogs have been much happier after switching to raw food. And that makes sense. If you prepare the raw food for dogs yourself, you get to know exactly what goes inside. And besides, even commercial raw formulas are usually much higher quality and contain less mystery ingredients than dry kibble. In addition, the dog gets to enjoy eating something that resembles their natural diet.

One plus point for dry dog food is definitely convenience. Dry food has a much longer shelf life, you don’t need to store it in the fridge, and you simply need to measure the amount of food your dog should eat each day. If you buy quality kibble, you can also be sure the mix is well-balanced and your dog will get all the necessary nutrients. This can be especially convenient for dogs with specific dietary needs - if you find the right specialized formula, you don’t need to worry about supplements and adding the right nutrients, it’s all right in there.

Interestingly, better dental health is often mentioned as an advantage of both dry kibble and raw food. When eating raw meat and appropriate bones, dogs get to chew intensively which is what they were naturally meant to do and some say this leads to cleaner and healthier teeth. On the other hand, some dry kibble manufacturers claim that the shape and consistency of the kibble will actually lead to cleaner teeth. So, who is right? The best thing to do is try some options, and if you see something is working well, stick to it.

The truth is, if done right a raw diet will usually contain better quality food. Raw food contains real meat and not meat meals which can be suspicious. In the end, the form of the food is not that important, it’s the quality and the ratio of ingredients. However, it is experience that shows that raw food does work well for dogs. So, if you are thinking about it, definitely try it! If, after a couple of weeks, your dog doesn’t seem to agree with it - you can always switch back.


Raw Dog Food Diet for Beginners: How to Create a Meal Plan

Labrador chewing a large bone,

Raw feeding has been growing in popularity and there are a few companies in Australia that offer raw food formulas in frozen or freeze-dried form. However, if you have the time, choosing the ingredients that you’ll feed your dog can be rewarding both for you and your dog. It is not hard to learn, and it lets you control the quality and customize according to your dog’s needs. Below, you’ll find a guide to raw dog food for beginners.

PMR and BARF: What Is It All About?

If you are just getting interested in raw feeding, you might have encountered these acronyms. Although they might sound complicated, the philosophy behind them is actually quite simple.

The acronym BARF was popularised by a veterinarian from Australia, Ian Billinghurst, during the ‘90s. It stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (or Bones and Raw Food). Disappointed by the quality of commercial dog foods, he wanted to emphasize the option of feeding dogs with something closer to their natural diet.

The BARF diet consists mostly of meat, organs and raw bones, but it also includes fruits and vegetables and sometimes dairy and some supplements as well in order to provide the dog with all the necessary nutrients. If you look for guides on the BARF diet, you’ll often find various percentages, like 70% meat and bones, 20% organs, 10% fruits and vegetables. However, the exact proportions are not that important. The important thing is, it’s mostly meat; organs and bones are necessary for providing essential vitamins and minerals, and fruits and veggies to increase the nutritional value.

PMR stands for Prey Model Raw. It is a raw dog food diet plan based on the extreme attitude that dogs should eat exactly what they would in the wild: prey. Or whole carcasses of animals, that is. If you think of the Paleo diet for humans, the philosophy is quite similar. The PMR diet sometimes includes feeding actual whole birds, for examples, but some parent feed what is popularly called “Frankenprey” - a mix of meat pieces, but with bones, organs, and all.

In reality, there are actually no hard rules. Do you measure your own food in exact percentages for every meal you eat? Most of us don’t but we try to eat a healthy and balanced diet overall. This holds true for dogs too.

Follow these simple guidelines and you should be able to assemble a perfectly good raw diet plan:

Meat

Meat should always be the number one ingredient of a raw diet. At least half of the meal should be actual meat, but there should also be organs and bones added on top of that. Feeding a lot of meat is good, but remember that feeding only pure muscle meat is not appropriate.

“Nutrient deficiencies and diseases can be caused by feeding a diet with too much muscle meat and not enough of the other “parts” that create nutritional balance”, says Amanda Ardente for PetMD.

Dogs also need fat in their diet, in reasonable amounts, so don’t be afraid to feed cuts of meat that contain lots of fat. Just don’t go overboard. It’s important to find a balance, but that’s something you’ll need to figure out on your own based on your dog’s activity levels and whether your pet tends to get overweight.

Bones

If you ever tried giving your dog a bone, you probably noticed they love gnawing on those. Bones are actually important for a dog’s diet, especially when it comes to dogs that are still growing. This is because bones are a great source of phosphorus and calcium (6).

But is it safe for dogs to chew on raw bones? If the bones are raw, it is generally considered safe, so that’s great for a raw diet. Keep in mind that cooked bones should not be fed to a dog - they become brittle after cooking and pose a choking hazard. This is actually kind of true for raw bones too. Sometimes, a dog can swallow a piece of a bone and this can get stuck somewhere. One solution to this is to always monitor your dog if you are feeding bones. Not just while they are eating, but in general. If you notice the dog becoming lethargic, coughing or attempting to vomit unsuccessfully, go to the vet immediately.

Another way to get those essential minerals into your dog’s diet is by feeding ground bone. Bone meal is a great way to feed bone to your dog without worrying about your pooch getting hurt. It’s especially a good idea when making raw food for puppies.

Organs

Although they don’t always look appetizing to us, organs are actually a must in any raw diet for dogs. Organs such as liver, kidney, spleen, and brain, all contain lots of necessary vitamins and minerals. As mentioned above, feeding only muscle meat is one of the most common mistakes. Although it provides the protein, protein only is simply not enough for dogs. Liver is the most nutrient-dense organ, but it is also very strong, so you should try to mix it up and offer as many different parts of the animal as possible.

Fruit and Vegetables

Sweet potato, carrots, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach, all kinds of beans... These can all be a great addition that completes the nutritional profile of your dog’s diet. Keep in mind, though, that dogs really don’t need that much fruits and veggies, so keeping it up to 10% altogether is the right measure. It doesn’t have to be the same fruits and veggies all the time either, you can use what is in season.

Just, if you do this, remember that some foods that are completely fine for us can be toxic to dogs. Onions, macadamia nuts, and certain types of walnuts are quite toxic for dogs (7). Finally, some dogs simply refuse to eat certain fruits and veggies, while they adore others for no apparent reason. That is something you’ll need to learn by trial and error.

Eggs & Dairy

It is not necessary to add eggs or dairy to a dog’s raw diet, but they are a nice addition (unless the dog is allergic, of course). Egg can be a nice addition to a dog’s meal, and dried and crushed eggshells make for a natural calcium supplement. When it comes to dairy, adding a bit of yoghurt, for example, can help calm a sensitive stomach.


Final Thoughts

Raw food is not only good for dogs, but, if you make it yourself, you get to learn a whole lot about your canine companion. Besides learning about the natural canine diet, you get to learn the ingredients your dog likes the best and see how they respond to certain things. Setting up a raw meal plan for your dog is not hard, as hopefully you’ve gathered from the above.

However, it’s important to keep the meals well-balanced and always pay close attention to your dog. If you notice any issues or strange (for example lethargic) behaviour, always consult your vet to find out if maybe the dog is missing something in their diet. In any case, we wish you good luck in your raw feeding journey!

FAQ

How much raw food should my dog eat per day?

A general rule of thumb you could start with could be that dogs should eat about 2-3% of their body weight per day. However, the exact amount will actually depend on many factors: what exactly are you feeding, how active your dog is, as well as how old. If your canine buddy seems hungry, don’t be afraid to feed more, but if they start gaining too much weight make sure to control the portions.

Is raw food good for puppies?

Yes, raw food is fine for puppies (once they are ready to eat solid food) just as it is for adults. However, a raw diet of puppies must be carefully designed so it provides all of the essential nutrients. If puppies don’t get everything they need in the early stage of life (especially calcium and various vitamins), this might cause problems in the development of their bodies.

How do I start my dog on a raw diet?

Changing your dog’s diet suddenly can cause diarrhea and other intestinal issues. While your dog would most likely survive that, the more gentle way is always to switch gradually, just like when switching between different kinds of dry kibble. Just keep feeding the food your dog was eating before but feed a bit less every day and substitute this part with raw food. In about a week, your dog should be ready for a completely raw diet.

References
  1. Bosch, G., Hagen-Plantinga, E., & Hendriks, W. (2015). Dietary nutrient profiles of wild wolves: Insights for optimal dog nutrition? British Journal of Nutrition, 113(S1), S40-S54. doi:10.1017/S0007114514002311
  2. German, A. January 19, 2010. “E. Coli infection in Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved October 20, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_e_coli_infection
  3. Flaim, D. July 31, 2019. “Raw Dog Food and Salmonella Risks” Whole Dog Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2020. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/food/raw-dog-food-and-salmonella-risks/
  4. Lee, E. Raw Dog Food: Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks. FETCH by WebMD. Retrieved October 18, 2020.  https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks#1
  5. Ardente, A. June 30, 2020. “What You Need to Know About Raw Food Diets for Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved October 20, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/5-mistakes-people-make-when-feeding-pets-raw-food-diet
  6. Negron, V. March 8, 2011. “Can Dogs Eat Bones? Raw & Cooked Bones for Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved October 19, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_raw_bones_or_cooked_bones
  7. “Human Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat”. AKC. Retrieved October 20, 2020. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/human-foods-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/

Applaws Dog Food Review (2020 Edition)

Applaws Dog Food Review -
The Complete Analysis

Our #1 Pick

Petzyo

Gentle Dog Trainers No.1 Dry Dog Food

PETZYO DOG FOOD

  • Ethically sourced Kangaroo, sweet potato & superfood extras
  • Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
  • Australian owned with hundreds of 5 Star Reviews
  • Priced better than major food brands
  • Lightning fast free shipping

Are you considering switching your dog to Applaws? Looking for an Applaws dog food review to make up your mind?

If you’ve ever wondered about this brand, we’ve got you. Our experts reviewed everything there is to know about this UK brand so you can make an informed decision that fits your pet’s needs.

  • Applaws is a UK-owned, Australian-made dog food company
  • This brand prides themselves in using at least 50% meat in all their recipes
  • They have simple, easy to understand ingredient lists without artificial flavours or preservatives.
german shepherd waiting for dinner

Applaws Dog Food Review

Applaws Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

Taste & Digestibility 4/5

This brand fares well in the taste category. Most dogs really like the flavour and smell of the food, both in canned and dry options. This is probably because all recipes have meat and poultry as the first ingredient, which most dogs will love.

In general, owners are really happy with the smell: it’s strong enough to entice pups, but won’t disturb people in the same room. Because of the good reception among dogs and owners alike, we’re giving Applaws 5 out of 5 in this category.

Ingredients 3.5/5

Applaws has average-to-great ingredients throughout all their recipes. All their dog dry food options are grain-free, while their wet food recipes have some regular and some grain-free options.

Their wet food and pate recipes are meant as an occasional supplement to a complete dry or wet diet. However, all their canned options have meat cuts and other animal protein sources as the first ingredient. Plus, they have no additives, artificial colours or flavourings. All in all, Applaws canned dog food is a great choice to treat your furry friend.

Their kibble recipes are also pretty good. All recipes have animal protein of different kinds as the first ingredient. Most of these are present in meal form. According to the AAFCO,

Poultry meal is the dry rendered product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone […] Basically the same as "poultry," but in rendered form, so most of the water and fat has been removed to make a concentrated protein/mineral ingredient. – AAFCO, What’s in Pet Food [1]

Applaws dry dog food has poultry or meat meal as the first ingredient, depending on the flavour. After that, the next ingredients are faba beans, chickpeas and potatoes, in different order according to the specific flavour. These legumes roundup the carb needs of your dog, although they have a relatively high glucose index. In general, most dogs will digest all of these with ease.

Finally, we have animal fats, preserved with tocopherols, rosemary and citric acid. All of these preservatives are naturally-occurring and won’t cause gastrointestinal distress.

The rest of the ingredient list is full of easily-recognizable ingredients, without suspicious additions or artificial flavourings.

Because of it, we’re giving Applaws 4 out of 5 stars in this category.

Protein Content 4/5

In this category, Applaws dog food does reasonably well. As most brands, Applaws goes above and beyond the recommended protein amount. The AAFCO states all dog food should have at least 18% of crude protein [2], and this brand features a modest 24%.

While other dry foods claim to have up to 35% protein or more, Applaws states their recipes are 50% meat. That means that even if the entire crude protein percentage is lower than others, you can be certain it comes from animal protein instead of vegetable sources.

This is especially evident when looking at the rest of the ingredient list, where there are no peas, which is a common way to boost protein in grain-free foods.

PRO TIP: Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stains if you’re not using a washer. It’s easier than doing it entirely by hand!

We appreciate the fact that there are several protein sources available, in spite of their relatively limited range. Among their 6 recipes, most of them are based around poultry, one has beef and the other one is based around fish. However, keep in mind all recipes -including beef and fish- have poultry within the first 5 ingredients. If your dog is sensitive to chicken, you might have to look elsewhere.

As we already mentioned, all recipes feature protein in meal form. While this is a concentrated form of protein, it’s an otherwise healthy option that will give your pup the energy they need to stay healthy and happy.

All in all, we really like the protein sources and we’re giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Additives 3.5/5

In general, you’ll want to avoid artificial preservatives and flavourings in your dog’s food. In this regard, Applaws does well. They list all additives in their ingredient list, so you can have a better idea of their proportion within the recipe as a whole.

When it comes to preservatives, this dry food does really well. Applaws uses rosemary extract, tocopherol -aka vitamin e- and citric acid. This brand stays away from sulphites, which have been known to cause thiamine deficiencies and even death in large quantities. In fact, according to RSPCA Australia:

There are safety issues relating to sulphur dioxide and sodium and potassium sulphite preservatives – these can cause thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency, which can be fatal. – RSPCA knowledge base [4]

Nevertheless, pet food companies aren’t obligated by law to mention the preservatives on their food [4], so it’s good to see a company who takes the lead.

When it comes to extra goodies, this kibble packs a punch. They’ve added flaxseed and fish oil to supplement your dog’s omega 3 intake, as well as prebiotics -in the form of chicory-, apples, tomato, spinach and cranberry. In general, your dog will have plenty of micronutrients just from their dry kibble.

Since we like the fact that they don’t hide their preservatives, and they also include nutritious extras, we’re giving Applaws all stars in this category.

Variety 3/5

In this category, Applaws is average. You have the choice between dry and wet food, with the caveat that all their canned options are labelled as supplemental. This means they shouldn’t be used as the base of your pup’s diet.

On the other hand, their complete dry dog food can be used as the sole component of your dog’s diet. They have four adult recipes and one puppy option. Adult kibble comes in beef, fish, duck and chicken flavour, while puppies have plain chicken. However, as we’ve already mentioned, all recipes are fairly similar regardless of the main protein.

Finally, Applaws also has grain-free treats with a really good composition that you can offer occasionally to spice up their diet.

In general, if your dog can eat poultry, you’ll find any of these recipes fit their needs. Nevertheless, if you have a dog that can’t eat chicken, this isn’t the brand for you.

Since the actual protein components aren’t that different across all recipes, we’re taking off 2 stars for lack of variety.

Price 4/5

This brand isn’t the cheapest available, but it isn’t the most expensive either. On the other hand, Applaws offers above-average ingredients for a relatively good price. Compared to other premium grain-free dog food available in the Australian market, this is generally a good deal.

PRO TIP: This brand offers high-quality ingredients at a reasonable price for most budgets

However, they bag their kibble in small bags. While this isn’t an issue for small and toy breeds, if you want to feed a large pup, you’ll have to buy several bags at once. Nevertheless, this won’t be a problem since many retailers already sell Applaws dry food in packs of 2 or 4 bags at once.

If you want to save a bit more, look out for these bundle deals, as they usually offer a 5%-10% discount in comparison with the full retail price.

Although Applaws is reasonably-priced, the lack of large kibble bags made us take off 1 star.


Applaws Puppy Food Review

black labrador puppy eating kibble

Our Applaws review wouldn’t be complete without a thorough look at their puppy recipes. But if you were hoping for a wide selection, this isn’t it. This brand has only one puppy option in their dry kibble line, and no specific recipes in their canned food range.

We wouldn't add it to the list of the best puppy food available, nevertheless, the good features of the adult products continue in the puppy options. This grain-free puppy kibble is based around poultry meal as the first ingredient, followed by chickpeas, beans and potato. The rest of the recipe is packed with extra goodies like fish oil, flaxseed, chondroitin, apple and blackberry extract.

In general, we like the composition of their puppy dry food, and the 24% protein offers enough energy for your little one to grow strong. However, in spite of its good recipe, Applaws puppy food can be somewhat difficult to find in Australia. Here you can check the current stockist if you want to buy some.


Don’t Buy If…

While this is a good option for many dogs, Applaws might not be the right choice if you:

  • Have a dog that can’t eat poultry: while this isn’t very common, some dogs are intolerant or allergic to poultry or chicken. Since all dry Applaws recipes have chicken -whether that is as chicken meal, fat or flavour- this isn’t the right option if you absolutely cannot offer chicken to your pup. However, note their tuna and sardines canned food has no poultry or chicken, so that might be useful as an occasional treat.
  • Want to stick to wet or canned foods: as we already mentioned, Applaws doesn’t offer complete canned foods. Their pouches, pates and cans have nice ingredients and dogs love the flavour, but they are meant as supplements and don’t offer a balanced nutrition for your pup.
  • Have a large dog that eats a lot: this brand offers bags up to 5.7 kgs. Evidently, this isn’t enough for large and giant-breed dogs. While some retailers tend to package Applaws in 2- or 4-packs, this might not be available in your area, or you might just want to go for a bigger bag to avoid the hassle. In that case, this brand might not be the right choice.
  • Have a mini or toy dog that needs smaller kibble: Applaws has a small range of dry foods and none of them are targeted towards a specific dog breed size. This might not be an issue for medium and large dogs, but very small breeds -like chihuahuas, yorkies and many terriers- need a significantly smaller kibble size that fits their mouth [3]. If you’ve been the owner of any of these breeds, you’ll know how picky they can get, and kibble size can play a big role in palatability for them.

Is Applaws Dog Food Good? The Verdict

At this price point, Applaws is a great grain-free choice for your dog. Packing 50% meat, made in Australia and with a limited ingredient list, this is one of the favourite brands for budget-conscious owners in need of high-quality food. If you have a small to medium dog that can eat chicken, this brand is probably a good one to add to your regular rotation.

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References
  1. What’s in pet food. AAFCO. https://www.aafco.org/Consumers/What-is-in-Pet-Food
  2. What should I feed my dog? RSPCA knowledge base. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-dog/
  3. Does the Size of Dog Kibble Matter? Pet Care Rx. https://www.petcarerx.com/article/does-the-size-of-dog-kibble-matter/839
  4. Are preservatives in pet food products a concern? RSPCA knowledge base. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/

Optimum Dog Food Review (2020 Edition)

Optimum Dog Food Review -
The Complete Analysis

Our #1 Pick

Petzyo

Gentle Dog Trainers No.1 Dry Dog Food

PETZYO DOG FOOD

  • Ethically sourced Kangaroo, sweet potato & superfood extras
  • Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
  • Australian owned with hundreds of 5 Star Reviews
  • Priced better than major food brands
  • Lightning fast free shipping

Wondering if you should try Optimum for your dog? This dry food seems to be easy to find and it’s also endorsed by celebrity vet Chris Brown.

Is it a good option or should you pass? We did our research and our Optimum dry dog food review has everything you should know about this popular brand.

Hint: we weren’t thrilled with our findings.

  • Optimum is an easy to find dog food endorsed by celebrity vet Chris Brown
  • They have both a regular and a grain free line at an affordable price point
  • The ingredient list is very general, and doesn’t clearly indicate which vegetables or proteins are used in every recipe.
  • Several grain ingredients change in proportion according to the season, costs and manufacturer, so you can’t be sure if a new bag is similar in composition to your previous one.
hungry dachshund ready to eat

Optimum Dog Food Review

Optimum Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

Taste & Digestibility 2/5

While many dogs enjoy the taste of Optimum kibble, a good proportion of owners complain about the smell. It has a strong odour, and in some cases, it has been too strong to feed dogs with. In fact, we found some instances where owners would just send back foul-smelling Optimum dog treats or dry food because it seemed spoiled.

On the other hand, when it comes to digestibility Optimum doesn’t fare well. Many dog owners report their pups had strong diarrhoea, vomit, runny stools and general illness after feeding them with Optimum. Some pups even had to go to the vet for specialised care. In fact, in some instances this happened to dogs that were previously known as having a strong stomach and being able to eat pretty much anything.

Of course, gastrointestinal distress symptoms could be caused by different factors, including a sudden diet change. For starters, you should always introduce new foods slowly. This means mixing the old and the new food, starting with small quantities of new food and progressively increasing it. Eventually, your dog will be accustomed to the new food without stomach upset. Ideally, this introductory process should happen at least over a week, ideally 2 weeks.

However, another cause for this kind of severe stomach upset -beyond gas and slightly runny stools- is the quality and ingredients of the food. This includes wheat and other grains, a prominent ingredient in all Optimum recipes. We’ll dive deeper into Optimum’s ingredients down below, but this brand won’t get 5 stars in the digestibility category.

PRO TIP: Stomach upset can be caused by sudden changes in diet, but also by food intolerances.

Because of the reports from owners and gastrointestinal symptoms among dogs of various ages and breeds, we’re taking off 3 stars in this category.

Ingredients 2/5

While we always appreciate a short and simple ingredient list, Optimum’s is way too general to be useful. This usually means that less-than-ideal ingredients were used, and it’s a way to avoid alerting the owners. Let’s explore the ingredient list.

At the start of the list in both grain-free and regular options, we have poultry and poultry by-products or meat and meat by-products. While plain meat or poultry are essential in a balanced dry dog food, the addition of by-products should be taken with caution. According to the AAFCO, by-products are

Secondary products produced in addition to the principal product" AAFCO – Ingredients in Pet Food [1].

In simple terms, this means any product created with whatever is left over after the main product was made. In the dog food industry, meat by-products are often what’s left after taking out human-grade meat.

Named by-products are generally safe and healthy for your dog. These include poultry by-product. However, unnamed by-products -appearing as meat or animal by-products- can have anything from road kill, to dead-on-arrival poultry, to diseased livestock… Since you don’t know what you’re getting, experts recommend staying away from unnamed, generic by-products [2]. Unfortunately, Optimum has meat and meat by-products on the ingredient list, although luckily, they do mention it might come from poultry, beef or lamb.

The next 2 ingredients in Optimum dry food are also questionable: sorghum and/or rice and/or wheat, and then barley and/or corn. That means that depending on the season, the exact composition of the kibble will vary. On the consumer side, it also implies you’ll never be 100% sure what you’re feeding your dog.  Either way, any of these cereals aren’t the ideal basis of your dog’s diet. Sorghum, barley and wheat can be especially hard to digest for pups, so they should be avoided in large quantities. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, wheat is the third top allergy-provoking ingredient for dogs [3].

Finally, the addition of "vegetables" is quite vague. Are these human-grade veggies? potatoes? Green beans? Vegetables can be anything, and we’re not sure this is a positive feature in this case. This also means the recipe and proportions of those veggies can change at any time, making it more difficult to pinpoint food allergies or sensitivities if they arise.

All in all, we like their grain-free recipes better than their traditional ones, since the latter have wheat and corn. However, the ingredient list is mediocre at best and because of that we’re only giving it 2 stars.

Protein Content 2/5

As well already mentioned, the first ingredient in all Optimum’s recipes is animal protein and its by-products. This is a good feature, since some brands use grains as the first ingredient. In general, protein by-products that include things like kidneys, heart and other internal organs, have good extras that will round up your dog’s diet. Using meat and its by-products as the basis of your dog’s diet is the best way to make sure they’re properly nourished.

However, there are no protein options available beyond chicken, turkey and meat. This means you won’t have any options with this brand if your pup is allergic or prefers other flavours. Nowadays it’s easier to find exotic proteins like kangaroo and lamb, but Optimum doesn’t have any of those.

We don’t like that certain recipes labelled as fish or salmon also have other protein sources that aren’t indicated in the front of the package. In fact, their sensitive skin grain-free kibble, marketed as fish and vegetables, has poultry, poultry by-products and fish as the first ingredient.

On the other hand, Optimum pet food has a good amount of protein in line with AAFCO’s guidelines. As such, they go above and beyond the minimum recommended of 18%. In fact, most of their recipes pack a whopping 26% to 35% protein, which isn’t bad at all.

However, it isn’t clear whether or not this protein comes exclusively from animal sources -which probably it doesn’t-. In the likely case that the percentage comes from a mix of both animal and plant protein, it would be better to know the sources. So, for example, how much corn protein is in there? Are there peas boosting the protein?

Because we can’t know the answers to any of these questions, the mislabelling of protein sources in certain recipes, and there’s a possibility of inflating the protein through less than ideal ingredients, we’re taking off 3 stars.

Additives 3/5

All in all, Optimum is a very basic food. Their recipes are fairly straightforward, based on meat, cereals, vegetables, and a mix of vitamin and minerals. There are no nutritious extras that are nowadays common in our dog’s food like berries, seeds or algae.

At this price point, you can find other options that can offer a wide variety of micronutrients and healthy goodies to round up your pup’s diet.

On the other hand, Optimum doesn’t disclose what preservatives it uses on their dry kibble. Dog food has been at the centre of controversy for using sulphites to preserve food, even though daily sulphite intake has been linked to thiamine deficiency and even death in dogs. According to the RSPCA:

There are safety issues relating to sulphur dioxide and sodium and potassium sulphite preservatives – these can cause thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency, which can be fatal. - RSPCA Australia

In spite of this, there’s still no legal requirement to label preservatives in dog food [4]. Because of this, we don’t really know what Optimum -or almost any other brand- uses.

Because of the lack of extra goodies or superfoods, we’re taking off 2 stars.

Variety 3/5

This brand has plenty of options for your pup. They offer both regular and grain-free recipes, as well as dry kibble, wet food and treats. Their regular line has more recipe options, and their adult flavours include options for small and giant breeds, as well as a light recipe and another one for older dogs.

However, if you want to try the grain-free line, you won’t have many options to choose from. Their grain-free recipes are only for adult dogs, and come in just two flavours, either chicken or beef. On the other hand, while Optimum has some wet food recipes, they only come in 3 adult flavours, and one puppy flavour.

In general, we like that there are recipes adapted to your pup’s size, but we wish there were more protein options and a larger grain-free line available. Because of these shortcomings, we’re taking off 2 stars.

Price 5/5

Optimum is fairly affordable and easy to find, and because of it many owners have purchased this brand. Their grain-free line is especially affordable, although as we already mentioned, we’d love to see better ingredients and labelling.

We really like their big bags of kibble, which make it easier to save even more. Taking this into account, we’re giving this brand 5 stars.


Optimum Puppy Food Review

English bulldog puppy with dry food

Of course, this review wouldn’t be complete without a look at their puppy line. Optimum puppy food is very similar in composition and variety to their adult recipes.

This means they only offer 2 protein options -chicken and beef- and have both kibble and wet recipes. We appreciate the fact they have puppy food for small-breed dogs, as well as large and giant pups. This ensures the kibble size fits your dog, and it’ll be easier to meet their caloric needs.

However, our qualms with the adult recipes stay with Optimum’s puppy options. The use of generic terms like vegetables, without explicitly stating what this means, as well as the large amounts of grains are a reason to choose other brands instead.

Wouldn't make our best puppy food list.


Do Not Buy If…

Although some dogs might do well with Optimum, this isn’t the right choice if you:

  • Want to know exactly what goes into your dog’s food: as noted, Optimum has a tendency of putting blanket ingredients in their ingredient lists. This means that you won’t be sure the bag you’re getting today has the same composition as the one before. This can cause gastrointestinal distress for your dog, but will also make it harder to pinpoint the specific root of food intolerances if they were to appear.
  • Have a dog that needs exotic protein: if your pup doesn’t like or simply can’t eat poultry or beef, they won’t find suitable options within Optimum’s recipes. All their flavours, including the ones with fish, have poultry. You’ll find other brands that exclusively use a single protein source that make it easier to feed allergy-prone pups.
  • Want to avoid grains: Optimum’s regular recipes have lots of grain, including allergy-inducing wheat. Unfortunately, while it also has other grains easier to digest like rice, quantities depend on seasonal availability and might change from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • Need a variety of grain-free optionswhile this brand has some grain-free recipes, their range is very limited and you might have to look elsewhere to find the right food for your dog’s needs and size.

Is Optimum Dog Food Good? The Verdict

At this price-point, it’s hard to find dog foods that aren’t full of cheap filler grains. Unfortunately, and in spite of its endorsement by famous vets, Optimum also falls in this category. In general, we recommend going for other brands if you have the means to do so. There are some medium-range options -including grain-free recipes- that are more transparent with their ingredient list and won’t have as much corn and wheat.

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References

  1. Association of American feed control officials, By-products. https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/byproducts
  2. The Truth About Animal By-Products in Dog Food. Dog food advisor. https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/animal-by-products/
  3. Can Dogs Eat Wheat and Other Grains? American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-wheat/
  4. Are preservatives in pet food products a concern? RSPCA Knowledge Base. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/are-preservatives-in-pet-food-products-a-concern/

Best Small Dog Harness (2020 Buyers Guide)

Best Small Dog Harness Options -
The Complete Overview

Our #1 Pick

Puppia Soft Harness

The Best Value for Money

Puppia Soft Harness

  • Breathable material
  • Great range of colours
  • Machine washable
  • Soft padding

Though it is satisfying to have a huge hug from a Scooby-doo-like Great Dane, the sausage dogs and mini dogs of the world are truly special.

We love small dogs for their quirky habits, handsomeness, and larger than life personas wrapped up in a tiny package! However, many small dogs tend to charge ahead when going for walks and pull on their leads. Not quite so cute.

A dog harness can help you to instill good walking habits, whilst keeping your pup warm and comfortable when out and about with you. (1) They also tend to be better suited for smaller dogs that can have throat and tracheal issues with collars. Each breed of dog has slightly different needs.

So, in this article, we’ll cover the different types and qualities of the best dog harnesses, our top recommendation for a small dog harness in Australia, and an array of options for specific small dog breeds. After this, you’ll come away with all the information you need and a shortlist of harnesses for your small dog. Let’s dive in!

Dachshund harness

How To Find The Perfect Harness For Your Small Dog

Dog harnesses come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and materials. Collars may be easier to find, but they can cause a whole manner of health issues if your little pup is a puller. (2) A badly fitted harness, however, can be equally damaging. Here are some key factors you need to know to choose the right harness for your small dog.

H-Shaped Harnesses vs Step-in Harnesses

There are two main types of harnesses: The H-shaped harness and the step-in harness. Both have their merits.

The H-shaped harness is made of two loops. The first loop goes over the dog’s head and the second loop wraps around their ribcage. Typically, the lead attachment for H-shaped harness is at the top of the second loop, lying on their back. This means the lead is pulling well away from your dog’s neck and enables you more control whilst you are walking together. This style of harness is extremely popular because they are very easily adjustable. The straps are often changeable in length. Even if your dog puts on a little weight, you can alter the structure accordingly for a lasting fit.

Step-in harnesses are great because of how easy they are to slip on. You lie the product on the floor and line up your dog’s paws. You then pull on the harness and clip at the back. Step-in models tend to be a bit more padded and fitted than the H-shaped models but there are modern, malleable, and comfortable options in both categories.

Quick Guide to Lead Attachments

The beauty of using a harness in the first place is that they take the pressure off of your dog’s neck whilst walking. Instead, the pressure points are around the chest should your dog pull ahead from you. This is much safer in the long run. Another aspect of this is the lead attachment.

Dog collars typically have D-ring attachments at the front of the collar, right by their windpipe. You can imagine how unpleasant this is! Now the concept of having a front-attached lead is not bad at all. The issue is the placement. Collars put pressure on the neck. Harnesses distribute light pressure around the chest. If you are training your dog to walk nicely, the front attachment halts your dog from pulling too far as the front placement effectively spins them around. So front-attached harnesses are fabulous for pulling dogs and/or puppies in training. French Bulldogs and Pugs, however, have tender throats that you need to be wary of.

Dr John Brookes from Small Dog Place writes, “Brachycephalic breeds such as the Frenchies and English Bulldogs love taking walks just like any dog, but their unique anatomy makes it difficult for them to use a typical collar.  A strong pull of the leash can put undue pressure on the soft tissues of the neck and throat leading to more serious complications such as tracheal collapse.” (3)

That very same issue can make front-clip harnesses uncomfortable for Frenchies so they would be better off with back-clip models.

Mostly, harnesses will have their lead attachments at the back which has many benefits. There is far less pressure on the trachea and it gives you quite a bit of control whilst walking. They aren’t as effective when walk training your pooch though.

As for the small dog harnesses we recommended, most have both a back clip and front clip so you can adjust to your dog’s unique needs and anatomy.

What padding does your dog need?

Manufacturers are generally very aware that dogs will be wearing harnesses from anywhere between 20mins and several hours, depending on if you are going on a long adventure together. Therefore, you need to take your dog’s comfort levels into account when choosing the right dog harness for your pup. Some H-shaped harnesses are pretty basic, with simple hardy straps; no special cushioning. They are other harnesses that are very padded, adding an extra layer of warmth during the winter. It all depends on your dog’s needs.

PRO TIP: The humble harness will become a daily tool as you walk your furry companion. Comfort is therefore paramount.


Best Dog Harnesses for Small Dogs Reviewed

Now that we have identified the key factors of a fabulous small dog harness, let’s dig into the best small dog harnesses Australia has to offer. Here we’ve identified a few specific breeds and what we recommend for them, but you can translate these qualities to any and all breeds. We just wanted to help you by further personalising our picks.


#1: Best Overall: Puppia Soft Harness

Puppia Soft Harness
  • Breathable material
  • Great range of colours
  • Machine washable
  • Soft padding

We love the Puppia because of its fantastic size range! As a harness for small or toy dog breeds, this is a wonderful product with many great features.

First, let’s talk about the cool design. The padded mesh material comes in a fantastically bright array of colours, so your pup will be the envy of all at the dog park. The bodice is made of a breathable, high-quality polyester that is flexible and hugs your dog’s body. The straps are fully adjustable so you can make this product fit your dog perfectly.

This is an H-shaped harness so you slip the front loop over your dog’s head. It’s incredibly important that you measure your dog’s neck before purchasing the small or extra small sizes to make the fitting process easier. You don’t want your pup to get stuck!

The Puppia is a back-attached harness but the unique design is meant to distribute the pressure from the lead across your dog’s chest. This helps stop your dog from pulling without the strain of a front-clip.

This harness is machine washable but the manufacturer recommends hand washing and air drying to ensure the longevity of the product over time. This isn’t the most convenient thing in the world but we do agree that the integrity of the fabric will maintain better if you scrub it by hand.

Overall, we recommend the Puppia to all small dogs, regardless of breed. Tender throated or barrel-shaped dogs, long-haired or short-haired - the Puppia is suitable for all!

Pros

Cons

  • Breathable material
  • Hand washing recommended
  • Great range of colours
  • Back-attachment only
  • Machine washable
Cell
  • Soft padding
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#2: Best Chihuahua Harness: PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
  • 4 adjustable points
  • Small and extra-small sizing
  • Wide range of colours
  • Low price-point

What can bring you joy? (chihuahua) Ooooooooh Chihuahua!

Only a dog so stylish and fun could have an early 2000s bubblegum pop song dedicated to them. And whilst the age of copying the Paris-Hilton-Chihuahua-in-the-handbag look may be passing, your pooch is still one of the coolest around.

Chihuahuas are small but mighty dogs with tiny little chests. This makes the search for well-fitting harnesses quite challenging. We picked out the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness for this very reason - it comes in a petite and small size which should be a good fit for your mini pup. There are 4 adjustable points on the harness too so you can adjust the fit as necessary.

Chihuahuas are also notorious pullers and escape artists. That small dog syndrome gives them big dog energy when walking those streets. They own everything and will try to pull you everywhere. Maybe that’s why Paris had hers in her handbag! To help your little one stop pulling, the PetSafe harness is very secure with a front-clip and back-clip. You, therefore, have complete flexibility as to how you use it. However, Chihuahuas are also brachycephalic breeds, so the back-clip is probably better for them if your dog is a very strong and stubborn puller.

We love that the PetSafe comes in a wonderful range of colours to suit your dog’s chic style. It is economical and easy to use. To sum up, we think the PetSafe is the perfect option as a harness for Chihuahuas.

Pros

Cons

  • 4 adjustable points
  • No padding
  • Small and extra-small sizing
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  • Wide range of colours
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  • Low price-point
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#3: Best Pug Harness: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness No Pull

Rabbitgoo Dog Harness No Pull
  • Durable
  • 4 adjustable points
  • Stylish design
  • Front and back clips

Pugs are truly amazing dogs! We love the resurgence in popularity they had in the 2010s. Pugly is the new beautiful. For your stunning Pug, you have to take into consideration their very unique anatomical issues. As we mentioned, pugs are brachycephalic breeds. They are also very strong for their size. Therefore, your Pug needs a harness with good padding, durable support, and a back-clip attachment to prevent restricting airflow.

Introducing the Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness; the best harness for Pugs in Australia. First, this is an H-shaped harness with excellent padding and adjustability. Like the PetSafe, there are four points where you can adapt the straps to your pup’s body, making for a more comfortable fit.

The material itself is durable and easy to clean. A nylon oxford material makes up the fashionable plaid designed front. Cushioning in the inside make it super comfy for your dog.

The sizing is ideal for pugs and the breathable material feels fresh on the skin. No chafing or sweating. A bonus with the Rabbitgoo is the day and night use. If you are an early riser or late walker, your Pug won’t get lost in the dark, due to reflective strips on the harness. The high-vis ability makes this product safe to use at all hours of the day and night.

Though this is not the cheapest tiny dog harness on the market, this is a great pick for a harness for Pugs. Highly-rated, stylish, and long-lasting, this is an awesome product all-round.

Pros

Cons

  • Durable
  • High price point
  • 4 adjustable points
Cell
  • Stylish design
Cell
  • Front and back clips
Cell

#4: Best Dachshund Harness: RUFFWEAR - Front Range Dog Harness

RUFFWEAR - Front Range Dog Harness
  • Front and back clips
  • Wide range of colours
  • Padded and soft
  • Reflective strips

The original sausage dog! Dachshunds are naughty, playful, and oh-so-lovable. We totally understand why you fell for yours. Well, you’ll be glad to hear that your pup is not brachycephalic at all, so they will do well with a front and back clip. A good Dachshund harness would also have soft padding due to a fine coat and come in a small enough size for extremely small chests.

Our pick for a harness for your Dachshund is the Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness. This adaptable, colourful harness has it all. It is an H-shaped harness. Front and back lead attachments for flexibility. Structured, cushioned shell formation to keep your dog secure and comfortable as you walk. The size range is wonderful too. An extra small dog harness can be hard to find. Luckily Ruffwear has small, extra-small, and extra-extra-small options to suit your doggie’s needs.

We love the mix of colours you have to choose from. It is possibly one of the widest ranges of designs on this list. It’s not just fashionable, but also super practical. The Ruffwear has light-reflective trim for low-light walking. Early-risers and nightwalkers rejoice.

As for maintenance, this small dog harness is hand-wash only. For the high price point and quality, you’ll want to keep this harness in tip-top shape for as long as possible.

As a harness for Dachshunds, you can’t go wrong with the versatile, high-reviewed, and easy-to-use Ruffwear model.

Pros

Cons

  • Front and back clips
  • Hand wash only
  • Wide range of colours
  • High price point
  • Padded and soft
Cell
  • Reflective strips
Cell

Best Pet Supplies Voyager Step-in Plush Dog Harness
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Wide range of designs
  • Soft lining
  • Low price-point
  • Step-in structure easy to use

Frenchies seem to have taken the world by storm! They are the It dogs of our day. We can tell why you love this caring, sweet, fun-loving breed so much. Frenchies are brachycephalic so you’ll need a back lead attachment. They are excitable so they may pull on the lead when walking; you’ll also want to curb that in any way you can. Fine fur and thin skin call for a soft, smooth fabric lining, but not needing as much structure as the Daschunds do.

The economical product that encapsulates all of these features and more is the Best Pet Supplies Voyager. The Voyager is a step-in harness so it’s very easy to slip onto your dog’s body. The material is breathable, stretchy, and has a warm, soft lining that your Frenchie will love on cold evenings or early mornings.

With an astounding array of colours and designs, your pup will be so fashionable with their new coat. The Voyager only has a back-clip which is ideal for Frenchies, as it’ll never put pressure on their delicate tracheas. Size range is also quite impressive; with the Voyager there are extra-small and small options available in all colours.

This harness for French Bulldogs comes at a great price point for the quality and reviews. The cons would be that this harness is not as adjustable as the H-shaped models we have previously discussed. If you are interested in buying this product, you do need to take good measurements of your dog to ensure you have the right fit for them. But don’t worry. If it’s not right, the manufacturer offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you are unhappy or need an exchange in size. Win-win!

Pros

Cons

  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Not adjustable
  • Wide range of designs
Cell
  • Soft lining
Cell
  • Low price-point
Cell
  • Step-in structure easy to use
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#6: Best Jack Russell Harness: TRUE LOVE Dog Harness

TRUE LOVE Dog Harness
  • Good price-point
  • Reflective fabric
  • Durable
  • Car seat-belt loop
  • Two lead attachments

Our last harness recommendation is for the lovable, hyperactive Jack Russel Terrier. The OG rough and tumble working dog with plenty of attitude and spirit. The epitome of sweet small dogs in many ways! Jack Russell’s need a harness that can keep up with them. It needs to be durable, adjustable, and comfy on your Jack Russell’s skin. As super active dogs who love to roll around, resistant material is a must.

The best harness for Jack Russell Terriers is the True Love Dog Harness. Scratch-resistant and lightweight, even your boisterous, fun-loving dog couldn’t destroy this harness. It is built to last your pup through all his or her adventures.

This is an H-shaped harness with two lead attachments for maximum versatility. It has some other tricks up its sleeve too.  This doubles as a dog car harness as it has a loop for the car seat belt and reflective properties woven into the nylon fabric are added bonuses to an already solid product. The straps are fully adjustable, ensuring the perfect fit.

With excellent reviews and a decent, mid-range price point, we are struggling to find cons with this product. It’s a shame that the True Love only comes in four colours, which is far more limited than our previous choices. This doesn’t take away from the top quality and good size range available.

All in all, a great choice as a Jack Russell harness.

Pros

Cons

  • Good price-point
  • Limited colour range
  • Reflective fabric
Cell
  • Durable
Cell
  • Car seat-belt loop
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  • Two lead attachments
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Final Verdict: Best Dog Harness in Australia for Small Dogs

When it comes to small dog harnesses, we love the Puppia as a great all-rounder. The back-attachment is suitable for all breeds and the soft design is comforting for your tiny pup. Though we have given recommendations for certain breeds, we couldn’t cover all of the small dog breeds in Australia or we’ll be here forever!

That said, all of the products mentioned are extremely versatile so Pomeranians, Bichon Frises, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzus, Basset Hounds, and Beagles can all be catered for with one of these options. All you need to know is whether your dog is susceptible to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, in which case a back-attached harness is preferable. (4) You’ll also need to take into account your dog’s coat and pulling tendencies. Keeping those factors in mind, any on this list can be adapted to suit your small pooch.

FAQ

Are harnesses good for dogs?

There is a great debate among the dog-owning community regarding whether harnesses are better for dogs than collars. Or indeed, vice versa. It’s fair to say that both have their pros and cons. (5)


As you saw, many harnesses are padded and fitted, which can cause issues for long-haired dogs. The front-attachment of a harness can also affect your dog’s walking patterns as they adjust to this new sensation. Collars are more comfortable for your dog to wear for longer periods of time as they are likely used to wearing them all day every day anyway. Some breeds are even relatively excluded when it comes to sizing harnesses.


Megan Sullivan of PetMD writes “Pet parents with barrel-chested dogs, like English Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pit Bulls might have a tougher time finding a harness that fits properly.” (6)


On the other hand, harnesses are gentler on your dog’s throat. They can provide another layer of warmth and comfort for fine-haired breeds like the small dogs we spoke about today. Harnesses are also fantastic walking training tools.


It is best to review your dog’s specific, unique situation to judge what is best for them.

How do you measure your dog for a harness?

The important measurements to take are:


  • Your dog’s weight
  • Circumference of their neck
  • Circumference of their chest
  • Circumference at their rib cage

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and fully measure your dog before purchasing. Yes, adjustments can be made with the straps but this only goes so far! It is better to have a great fitting base and then adjust, than an ill-fitting base that you have to adjust too much. The harness should fit snugly but not be suffocating or too loose.

How do harnesses stop your dog from pulling?

We’ve mentioned in this article that harnesses can help with training your dog to walk nicely, but how do they do this? Well, essentially it’s a case of dictating the direction. Having a front-clip attachment for the lead means that your dog cannot get very far ahead of you without the lead pulling them around to face you again.

Kendall Curley at PetMD writes “Once you clip the leash to the front ring and begin walking, your dog has to stay by your side to keep moving forward. If she does pull, the leash goes off to the side—not straight back—which directs your dog back towards you. That gives you greater ability to control and guide your dog back to your side by applying a little pressure.” (7)

References
  1. Madson. C. September 21, 2020. “Dog Harnesses: Helpful Tools for Loose Leash Walking”. Preventive Vet. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/dog-harnesses-helpful-tools-for-loose-leash-walkin
  2. Remitz, J. January 16, 2018. “5 Ways Collars Can Harm Your Dog”. PetMD. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/5-ways-collars-can-harm-your-dog
  3. Brookes, J. December 31, 2019. “Harness Train Your French Bulldog Using These 7 Quick Tips”. Small Dog Place. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://www.smalldogplace.com/harness-train-your-french-bulldog.html
  4. Williams, K. “Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs”. VCA Animal Hospital. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/brachycephalic-airway-syndrome-in-dogs
  5. Clark, M. “Collar Versus Harness: Which Is Best For Your Dog?”. DogTime. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/43739-collar-vs-harness-best-dog
  6. Sullivan, M. November 29, 2017. “Surprising Dog Harness Dangers to Avoid”. PetMD. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/surprising-dog-harness-dangers-avoid
  7. Curley, K. October 11, 2018. “How Do No-Pull Dog Harnesses Work?”. PetMD. Retrieved October 18, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-do-no-pull-dog-harnesses-work

Best Raw Dog Food (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

Raw Dog Food Australia -
The Ultimate Overview

Our #1 Pick

Petzyo Raw Royalty

The Best Overall

Petzyo Raw Royalty

  • Made with high quality natural ingredients
  • 100% raw food delivered to your doorstep
  • No preservatives
  • Single protein options
  • 100's of 5-star Reviews
  • Very affordable

When it comes to providing the best possible dog food for your pooch, raw options should always be near or at the top of the list.

With many commercial kibble formulas using low-quality ingredients these days, pet parents around the world are becoming more aware of the benefits of feeding raw food to your canine companion.

However, you actually don’t have to make the food yourself if you decide to switch your dog to a raw diet. Today, we talk about the best ready-made raw dog food options that can be delivered right to your doorstep.

dog making a decision over kibbles versus raw diet

Raw Dog Food: Benefits and Drawbacks

Is raw food the best option for dogs? According to testimonials of many parents, yes, it is. 

You don’t have to look far to find stories of dogs who became more energetic or even solve certain health issues after switching to a raw diet. Is raw meat the only thing that dogs are supposed to eat? Not at all. Dogs have been eating mixed diets for thousands of years, so there is no imperative to force them back to eating only meat, although some believe that it’s only right that dogs should eat diets similar to what they would eat in the wild.

In any case, a raw diet has turned out to be the right choice for many pet parents who have tried it (1). Among other things, switching to a raw diet can raise your dog’s energy levels, give them a shinier coat, and improve dental and digestive health.

However, there are certain risks involved in feeding your dog food. Mainly, professionals who warn against raw diets say that raw diets are often not well-balanced so the dogs don’t get the right nutrients, which can lead to further health issues. Additionally, since raw dog food consists mainly of raw meat, there is some concern regarding the bacteria that could be in there, such as E. Coli and salmonella. While E. Coli in food usually doesn’t cause major problems in adult dogs (3), it could potentially cause disease in humans through contact with the food, while salmonella can be dangerous for both dogs and humans.

However, you should probably not be worried about getting sick from handling raw dog food, especially if you buy it from trusted manufacturers.

The whole concern about bad bacteria is overblown. When people are feeding a raw diet, they know it’s not sterile, and they’re more careful about washing their hands. Feeding a raw meat diet is no different than cooking chicken for the family ... you have to clean up the counter and your knife. - says Doug Knueven, DVM, in an interview for WebMD

In any case, raw dog food is a good option for almost any dog, except for those suffering from some specific health conditions. If your dog has any serious health issues, introduce raw food slowly in consultations with your vet. Feeding a combination diet with half dry kibble and half raw food is also a popular option among pet parents. For finding the best dry food, check out this guide.


Frozen vs Freeze-Dried

When you buy ready-made raw dog food formulas, you usually have 2 options: frozen or freeze-dried. The good news is, both freezing and freeze-drying are excellent ways to preserve nutrients in raw food. Whichever one you choose; you can rest assured that the food your dog eats will essentially be the same quality as if it was fresh.

Now, if you go with frozen dog food, you won’t have that many options as frozen food is usually only delivered locally or you have to get it in a store. Additionally, you have to worry about storing the food properly as it’s easy for raw dog food to get spoiled when not frozen. However, once thawed, your dog will be able to enjoy a completely natural meal.

Freeze-dried food might look a bit weird, but when you add some water it begins to look more appetizing. There are many advantages of using freeze-dried food: you get all of the nutrients as with fresh food, but the food is lighter, easier to store, and has a longer shelf life. Ultimately, it’s your choice, but both options are completely fine.


Raw Dog Food Australia: Our Top Picks

Looking for raw dog food delivery in Sydney, or anywhere in Australia? If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. These are your best options:

Petzyo Raw Royalty
  • Made with high quality natural ingredients
  • 100% raw food delivered to your doorstep
  • No preservatives
  • Single protein options
  • 100's of 5-star reviews
  • Very affordable

Petzyo's raw dog food option is far and away Australia's top raw option available!

They are a young Australian company dedicated to providing dog food that our beloved pets deserve. As pet parents themselves, the guys behind Petzyo were disappointed with the quality of commercially available dog food these days, so they decided to create a better solution.

The Petzyo Raw Royalty patties are definitely the best ready-made raw dog food option we have seen so far. First of all, you can choose the protein you want to include in your dog’s diet. They offer beef, chicken, or kangaroo, or any combination of those. Dogs with food sensitivities are often allergic to a specific protein source, so we love the option of choosing a single protein (or a mix) that’s best for your dog’s needs.

Moreover, these patties contain no preservatives or fillers. Instead, they are enriched with top-notch ingredients to ensure your dog gets a perfectly balanced diet. Seriously, pretty much everything inside is super nutrient-rich. The patties include sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, and blueberries (all full of vitamins), whole grains, flaxseed and fish oil for extra fatty acids, as well as yogurt, turmeric, and kelp which promote good digestion.

In addition to this, they will personalize the mix to suit your dog perfectly. When ordering their raw patties, you get to specify your dog’s weight and activity level, and they will tailor the meal plan so it fits perfectly.

The patties come in packs of 6 or 12kg. When you order food from their website, it will automatically give you an approximate amount of food your dog should eat per day, and how many days one order should last (and you can choose to have a new pack delivered exactly when the old one should be done). Unfortunately, the Raw Royalty patties are only available in Melbourne at the moment, but they say they plan to expand soon. They do make dry kibble too, though, which is available across Australia.  

Pros

Cons

  • Made with high quality natural ingredients
  • Not for dogs who are allergic to grains
  • 100% raw food delivered to your doorstep
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  • No preservatives
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  • Single protein options
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Prime100 SPD Raw Food
  • Designed for dogs prone to protein allergies