Tag Archives: sea treats

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Omega 3 – the super oil for brainy dogs

Omega 3 oils are the new trendy supplement in both the pet food and human market, but unlike many dietary fads, Omega 3 oils are a true ‘super supplement’.

Dogs are facultative carnivores and evolved from wolves (in fact they now share the same name, Canis lupus). Their wild ancestors would have thrived on a diet of wild game that had in turn lived on a diet of wild grasses. Omega 3 oils are made by grasses and algae and therefore, such grass fed animals are a rich source of the Omega 3 oil which dogs cannot manufacture on their own.

Fast-forward to today and sadly many of our farmed animals do not have access to pasture and therefore their own level of Omega 3 is limited.

What are Omega 3 oils?

Omega 3 oils are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and come in many forms.  Of these forms, ALA, EPA and DHA are the most talked about. People can convert the form known as ALA to the healthful EPA and DHA but dogs are not as proficient at this process and ideally need to consume EPA and DHA directly for optimum health.

Why are they so important?

Omega 3 oils have a host of health benefits but of key importance is its role in reducing inflammation, maintaining a healthy skin and coat and aiding brain function.

Many dogs suffer from the pain and of arthritis and a study of omega 3 supplementation found that arthritic dogs were better able to weight bare (Roush et al. 2010).

Many dogs, particularly Labrador retrievers can suffer from the uncomfortable skin condition, atopic dermatitis.  Studies show that enriching the diet with omega 3 oil can be beneficial in managing this condition (Gueck et al. 2004).

Omega 3 oils are great for brain development and can give a puppy a head start in life – it has been shown that puppies with high DHA levels were more readily trainable than those with low levels.  We all want a well behaved dog and it seems supplementation can be a simple way to make those formative months more productive (Kelley et al. 2004).

I was lucky enough to get my hands on some Sea Treats cold pressed salmon oil which contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6. The ever enthusiastic Roxy was chosen as a taste tester.

While most would mix this oil in with their pet’s food, I opted to see if it was tasty enough to be eaten from a spoon.

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I think this picture speaks for itself!

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For more information about Sea Treats Cold pressed Salmon oil, please visit, www.seatreats.co.uk

References

Gueck T., Seidel A., Baumann D., Meister A. & Fuhrmann H. (2004). Alterations of mast cell mediator production and release by gamma-linolenic and docosahexaenoic acid. Veterinary dermatology, 15, 309-14.

Kelley R., Lepine A., Burr J., Shyan-Norwalt M. & Reinhart G. (2004). Effect of dietary fish oil on puppy trainability. In: Proceedings.

Roush J.K., Cross A.R., Renberg W.C., Dodd C.E., Sixby K.A., Fritsch D.A., Allen T.A., Jewell D.E., Richardson D.C., Leventhal P.S. & Hahn K.A. (2010). Evaluation of the effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on weight bearing in dogs with osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 236, 67-73.

 

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Sea Treats – Making waves in the dog treat market

As facultative or scavenging carnivores, our canine companions have evolved to eat a diet of primarily meat and choosing a wholesome, species appropriate food for your pet can be one of the best ways to keep them fit and healthy.  But what about treats?

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There are many treats on the market that contain unhealthy ingredients and while as people we have the choice to consume unhealthy treats, our dogs do not.  Luckily for them there are also some incredibly wholesome treats that are both tasty and healthy and I was recently thrilled to learn about the Sea Treats range of fish based dog treats.

Having a background in zoology and conservation, I was extremely pleased to learn that the Sea Treats products have full Marine Stewardship Council Certification. This certification guarantees the fish used to make these treats comes from sustainable fisheries.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on three of their products  – Premium fish skin and kelp seaweed treats, Salmon, whitefish, potato and seaweed biscuits and Small fish skin cubes.

Firstly, I was extremely impressed to see each product contained very few ingredients:

The Salmon, whitefish, potato and seaweed biscuits contain (as the name suggests) just salmon, whitefish and  potato.

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The Fish skin and Kelp seaweed treats also contain just whitefish skins and Irish kelp seaweed.

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The Fish skin cubes contain just fish skin!

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It is a wonderfully refreshing change to discover a range with such wholesome ingredients and the fish skins in particular and perfect for those who choose to raw feed their pets.  Knowing the protein source we feed our pets is very important, particularly if a pet is on an exclusion diet or if a pet is on a protein rotation diet.  Many pet parents choose to rotate protein sources, for example, feeding fish for a few months and then turkey for a few months. There is a train of thought that feeding the same food for an extended period of time can cause food sensitivity, therefore, changing proteins regularly can be helpful.

But the key question is, how do they taste?

Today’s taste tester is the beautifully quirky Roxy. A Cornish dog through and through, she knows her seafood (it’s hard to avoid it when your daily walk includes running on beautiful beaches and exploring rock pools!).

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All three treats went down a treat (excuse the pun) but Roxy’s favourite was the Salmon, whitefish, potato and seaweed biscuits.  All three have a satisfying crunch that can be tricky to perfect if using a home dehydrator to make homemade treats.

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All three have a wonderfully fishy smell which for many dogs makes them super high value. Many training scenarios, such as recall require super high value treats and the fish skins in particular may be perfect for persuading wayward canines that coming when called is far more rewarding than chasing squirrels!

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Not only are these treats tasty, they also contain Omega 3 and 6. Omega 3 has been shown to have a host of health benefits, from being anti-inflammatory in older animals, to aiding in puppy brain development. Puppies fed Omega 3 were even found to be more easily trained (Kelley et al. 2004).

With all these benefits, there’s nothing fishy about these treats and it’s clear that Sea Treats are making waves in the vast ocean of unhealthy pet products.

For more information and to order online, please visit www.seatreats.co.uk

References

Kelley R., Lepine A., Burr J., Shyan-Norwalt M. & Reinhart G. (2004). Effect of dietary fish oil on puppy trainability. In: Proceedings.

 

Hundefutter

Do you really know what’s in your pet’s food?

Spike's World

 

 

 

 

Deciding what to feed your pet is one of the most important decisions pet parents can make. As humans, we have the freedom to choose what we put in our bodies, and as such, food labeling is strictly controlled to ensure we have all the information we need to make informed choices. Our pets on the other hand, rely on us to make this decision for them, and thankfully there is a huge array of pet foods on the market to choose from.

Dog food

Do you know what goes into your own dog food? Every pet parent should read the ingredients list to see exactly what they’re feeding their pet

However, it would appear pet food labeling may not be as transparent as its human counterparts, as was highlighted on a recent episode of BBC’s ‘Rip Off Britain – Food‘.

This show reported the difficulty many pet parents have with identifying exactly what ingredients go into the pet foods we see on the shelves. For example, a food may be advertised as ‘chicken and rice’ but in fact, may contain just a minimum of 4% chicken.  That leaves a whopping 96% of the food that can be composed of any number of animal and plant proteins.

This flexibility helps to keep costs down for the manufacturer and potentially the customer, by allowing the recipe to be changed depending on which meat and meat meals are cheapest at that time. However, for diligent pet parents that want to control the protein source they give their pet, such foods may be totally unsuitable.

Pets with a range of conditions, may need to be placed on an elimination diet to discover if they are sensitive to consuming a particular substance, and such foods may be purchased in all good faith, without the knowledge that ‘chicken and rice’ doesn’t necessarily mean the food is composed of just those two ingredients.

Many pet parents prefer to give their pet a varied diet by rotating the protein source they feed to their pets. In doing so, it is believed that the development of food sensitivities can be avoided.  There is a train of thought that if an animal is fed one food for a long time, the body can become sensitised to those ingredients and therefore by offering for example, chicken for a few weeks, and then fish for a few weeks, and so forth, food sensitivities can be avoided.

Thankfully there is hope, and I was so pleased to come across two foods that totally buck this trend.

AATU dog foods contain a single animal protein source, either free run duck, chicken or fish and an amazing 80% meat. As facultive carnivores, this high meat content is evolutionarily appropriate for our canine companions.  It also contains some great herbs and botanicals.        

Challenge pet foods have a great range of single protein salmon based dog foods that allow pet parents to be confident in the source of their dog’s nutrition. Their sister company, Sea Treats offers MSC certified fish treats so even your pet’s treats are free of unknown ingredients.

That both of these companies have such clear, transparent labeling is a sign that the pet food market is changing and I hope that pet parents will start to demand clearer pet food labeling information.  In the meantime, I believe we should all show our support by voting with our pockets!