Choosing the best dry dog food to feed your dog

Dried Dog Food

Dry dog food, or kibble as it can otherwise be known, is often misunderstood, with many high-quality foods having plenty of nutritional quality to them. However, there are equally some examples of sub-standard kibble that don’t offer the kind of healthy and balanced diet your dog needs.

Here, we’re going to look at what you need to know about dry dog food and how to make sure you’re making the best possible choice for them.

The good bits

One of the biggest advantages of dry dog food and kibble is that it is very convenient, easy to store, easy to feed, and can be found just about anywhere.

You can store it in bulk as it keeps for some time; making it ideal if you don’t have easy access to shops, work unsociable hours or travel a lot.

Commonly known as kibble – there’s a fair bit to know about dry dog food and the various types available to you.

Dog nutritional science has come on leaps and bounds over the years. In addition to foods being available in a range of formulas for dogs at different stages of life, different breeds, and different health requirements, there are even options available for dogs with extreme sensitivities, allergies and medically driven dietary needs. For instance, Royal Canin offers a variety of different foods for different breed types as well as foods for small adult dogs, puppies and those with food allergies.

High-quality kibble can offer all the nutrition a dog needs. As an added bonus, it also doubles up well as training treats. It is easy to keep in a bag or pocket and, if your dog is on a diet while trying to shed a few pounds, you can use some of his or her food allowance for training – therefore not adding any additional calories.

When looking at dry dog foods, it is important to look at the ingredients and the nutritional make up to ensure it is going to cater for all of your dog’s needs. Avoid getting confused with mixer kibble which is often fed as an accompaniment to another food source as opposed to offering a ‘complete’ diet.

Things to be aware of…

While brands like James Wellbeloved or Fish 4 Dogs can help to ensure your dog has the best possible diet, there’s no denying that there are a lot of cheaper, low-quality dry dog foods on the market as well.

Many of them will use deceptive packaging to make their ingredients sound high-quality, so it’s important to read the label fully to make sure that you’re getting a decent meal for your dogs. Be aware of foods that are heavy on ‘fillers’. Lots of grains or oats are often used to ‘bulk out’ cheaper dry dog foods leaving the meat and vegetable content to a bare minimum.

While relatively uncommon, dry dog food is sometimes subject to product recalls too. Sometimes this is due to manufacturing errors, storage issues or problems with contamination. However, modern production and packaging methods mean that this is rare these days.

If you’re in doubt and need some advice though, please speak with a member of the team in store and they will be able to find the ideal food for your pet and your pocket.

Things to consider..

Dogs, like humans, have food allergies. Grain in particular – especially when used in high quantities as a filler – can cause gut and skin irritations. Grain free complete foods like Seven offer a fantastic alternative, often using vegetables like sweet potato as the carbohydrate source as opposed to wheat.

Increasingly popular, cold pressed dry foods – like Tribal – are also a great option. Cold pressing uses lower temperatures to produce the food resulting in a very nutritious and digestible kibble. It’s a bit like steaming vegetables rather than boiling them. The kibble slowly breaks down in your dog’s stomach – rather than swelling – making it much gentler and better for digestion.

Some owners find that their dogs aren’t as keen on dried food; preferring a wetter, more aromatic food choice. They also worry about feeding older and younger dogs a harder kibble because of their teeth. In both instances, adding a little warm water to the bowl can help to soften the kibble and release all the wonderful aromas; tempting even the fussiest of eaters.

Average costs of feeding your dog the best kibble

Kibble, in general, can be much more affordable than a raw of wet food diet. However, the costs can still vary widely. We all want the best for our pets and so, for the sake of their health, we recommend investing in the best kibble, for your budget, that meets all of their nutritional requirements. A properly fed dog is a healthy dog.

Dry dog food comes at a range of different price points. Brands such as Royal Canin tend to cost in the region of £40 – £50 for 10 – 12kg bags. A good mid-range food, such as Autarky, costs in the region of £30 – £40 for the same size.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing an all-dry dog food or kibble diet for your pooch, regardless of what age they are. What matters is that you’re taking care to select a food that has the nutritional quality they need and is specifically designed to meet their needs, given their age, breed, and health demands.

If you have any doubt about choosing the right food for your dog, why not pop in store to see us. We’re on hand and always happy to help!

Choosing the best type of food for your dog

Choosing the best  type of food for your dogIf you’re not sure what to feed your dog, we highly recommend that you read to the end. We have some fantastic advice for all dog owners, who want to know what the best food options are for their four-legged friends. From complete kibble to raw and bone fed (BARF), we’ll cover some basic details, pros, cons and considerations whether you’re feeding puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, dogs with allergies or those who need a ‘lite’ option.

Kibble/Dry 

Convenient and very common, dry food, also known as ‘kibble’ is a great food type for most dogs. Kibble comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavours and make ups depending on your dog’s age, breed and physical needs; as well as your budget. Below we answer the common Pros and Cons questions.

Why should I feed my dog a kibble diet?

  1. It’s very easy to store. You can feed your dog dry food at any time in the year. It’s also easy to pack for travelling and give to instruct friends, family or dog sitters how and what to feed your dog without any hiccups.
  2. It’s affordable. While there is a broad price range for complete dry dog foods depending on the ingredients, dietary modifications and brand name, most can be bought in bulk for a reasonable price.
  3. You also use it for training purposes as it’s light enough to pack in a pouch or pocket.
  4. It’s usually very easy to clean leaving limited residue or smell in the bowls.

 What are the downsides of feeding a dry dog food diet?

  1. Some people believe it’s not always safe for puppies. Dry food can require good jaw muscles and strong teeth, which puppies may not have either yet. However, a little warm water added to the ‘kibble’ and left to soak can soften the food enough to make it easier to eat, while also releasing the flavours; making it even more appealing for your dog at the same time.
  2. Some dry foods are poorly made, with poor nutritional value and consistency. It can also be too hard and stiff, which can be a sign of high-fat or high-carb content. We recommend feeding a good quality kibble, such as Seven, Fish for Dogs or Autarky.

Tinned/Wet

Wet food is often deemed as a more tasty option for dogs with low jaw strength and weak gut systems. But as ever, there are always pros and cons to balance each other out.

 Reasons why wet dog food is a good choice.

  1. Wet food is more stimulating to your dog’s senses. It’s, therefore, a good choice for puppies, senior dogs and fussy eaters.
  2. Wet food can be a great dog food choice for certain breeds that may have weak gut systems
  3. Wet food is also high in water content, which can help to reduce dehydration in more active breeds.

The downsides to feeding your dog wet or tinned food.

  1. Wet food can be expensive, depending on what you buy. Some cheaper products aren’t always as nutritional either.
  2. It is generally sold in smaller portions which can make it an expensive and bulky solution for larger breeds.
  3. You need to store it properly and keep it out of direct sunlight. Any opened tins or trays should be kept refrigerated too.

Raw/BARF

Increasing in popularity, raw dog food is considered to be a more natural and healthy choice for your dog. People used to think it was only suitable for certain breeds, such as German Shepherds, Huskies and Great Danes, but it is equally as suitable for a Russian Toy as it is a St Bernard. Complete raw food contains the right balance of meat, bone, vegetables, fruits and herbs to offer dogs a diet as close to that which their ancestors would have consumed.

 The benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet

  1. Raw dog food is high in protein. This is great for muscle mass, brain function, not to mention slower digestion.
  2. Raw food is also great for the gut, as strong bacteria is required to break down the meat and bones.
  3. For active, working dogs that are used for hunting, agility, flyball, canicross or fieldwork, raw food offers a great nutritionally balanced diet.
  4. Raw fed dogs tend to have smaller, odourless poos.

The downsides of feeding a raw/BARF diet

  1. Feeding a raw diet requires stringent hygiene. Bowls, surfaces and utensils need to be thoroughly cleaned to avoid illnesses in both dogs and humans.
  2. Raw dog food can be expensive. As with all dog food options, there is a range of options to suit a range of budgets, but as with cheaper dried food, cheaper raw food can have a higher bone content which can cause constipation.
  3. Some raw foods contain a lot of blood, which can be off putting for some owners. However, some foods, like Country Hunter, freeze their raw food into ‘blocks’ making it easy to measure out and remove some of the mess.
  4. As raw food is generally frozen, it is difficult to travel with and does require quite a lot of freezer space if you like to ‘stock up’.

Home-cooked

Some people prefer to take a home-cooked approach to dog feeding. This means either feeding them from their own plate, or cooking meals specifically for your dog.

As with all feeding options, there are upsides and there are downsides. Let’s take a closer look.

Positives of a home-cooked diet for your dog

  1. Home-cooked dog food is oftentimes more reassuring, as you know exactly what you have put into it.
  2. Home-cooked food allows you to manage serious food allergies carefully as you are only giving your dog what they can consume safely.
  3. With home-cooked meals, you can add grain-free alternatives such as oats and sweet potato.

 Negatives of a home-cooked diet for your dog

  1. Dogs can’t eat everything humans can; in fact, a lot of foods we eat are toxic to dogs. If you don’t know exactly what they should and shouldn’t be eating, you could end up with a poorly dog.
  2. Dogs, like humans required a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. But their needs are very different to ours. Unless you know exactly what to feed and how, you could end up with a dog lacking in vital nutrients.
  3. Home-cooked meals are expensive and time consuming to make.
  4. They also don’t last that long, maybe 1-2 days in the fridge.

We’re fortunate enough in the modern world to be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the right food for our pooches. Ultimately, the right choice for you needs to be weight up between what’s right and healthy for the dog, what you are happy to feed and your daily budget.

Of course, we’re always on hand and happy to support. So why not pop in store and have a chat with one of our members of staff?

Rooke’s Talking Pet Competition Ts & Cs

  1. The competition will run from Wednesday 8th April 2020 until 4pm on Sunday 26th April 2020.
  2. To qualify for entry, forms must be completed online, no later than 4pm on Sunday 26th April 2020. Any entries received after this time will not be counted.
  3. A shortlist of 4 scripts will be turned into videos and will be posted onto our Facebook page for voting by 5pm on Monday 27th April. The video with the most likes on the original Facebook post at 11am on Wednesday 29th April 2020 will be the winner.
  4. In the event that any winner cannot be contacted or is otherwise unable to take up the prize, Rooke’s reserves the right to award the prize to a reserve runner up selected at the same time as the original and using the same criteria from the remaining qualifying entries.
  5. There is one winner. The prize is a £100 Rooke’s voucher to spend in store.

For General Terms and Conditions for Rooke’s competitions/prizes CLICK HERE

Say cheese – hints and tips for capturing the perfect pet photo

Pet photography We’ve all been there. A camera roll filled with dozens of the same photo as we try to capture the perfect pet moment in time. And thanks to digital photography, we can just keep snapping away until we get the exact photo of our pet we’re after.

With entries for this year’s Face of Rooke’s now open, a Rooke’s discount card and the much-coveted title at stake, getting that perfect pet photo has never been more important! (lol). So to help you out, we’re offering a few simple hints and tips so that you can capture that winning shot…

Photographing your pets1. Capture Character 

The best photos are those that capture the subject’s character perfectly. The wry smile, open mouthed laugh, caring glance… the same is true of your pets. You know your pet best, so will know when he or she is at their most natural; whether that’s capturing a few ‘zees’ on the sofa, clawing at that cat post, tongue out after a frantic walk, or giving you the classic puppy dog eyes. If you aim to capture their character, you’ll instantly add interest to your photo.

2. Aim for the eyes Photographing your pets

The eyes are the windows to the soul – whether you’re taking about your prized pug or your spouse or partner. Taking a photo against a plain background allows you to focus in on the eyes and capture more of that expressive character that adds so much depth to your photo.

Photographing pets3. Get down to their level. 

When you get down to their level, you get to appreciate your pet in context. You get to see their world from their perspective, which can create quite a dramatic effect. Playing with different settings and backgrounds also allows you to capture different moods.

 

4. Avoid that flash Photographing your pets

There are a few reasons why you don’t want to use a flash if you can avoid it. Apart from the fact it can scare smaller animals, it can also do funny things to dogs’ eyes and even wash out the paler colours found in feathers for example. Pets with white fur can also end up looking completely washed out. Rather, try to go for well-lit spaces so that you can get some real contrast in your photo

Photographing pets 5. Make it fun

While we channel our inner David Bailey to get the perfect shot of our pooches, remember that it can be a little boring for them; especially if they are being made to stay still and pose. Keep lots of treats and toys to hand to capture their attention and reward their patience.

Face of Rooke’s is open to pets of all shapes and sizes. It’s open for entries now and will close on 2nd August 2020 at 4pm. You can enter online at www.rookespetproducts.co.uk/faceofrookes.

The winner will become the Face of Rooke’s for 2020/2021. After a winner’s photoshoot,  their photos will be used across all promotional activity for the year. You will also get a Rooke’s discount card to use for 12 months every time you shop in store. What are you waiting for? Get entering!

 

Easter 2019 at Rooke’s

Why not pop in store over the Easter weekend and support a couple of very worthy local charities?

Good Friday – 19th April & Saturday 20th April 

10am – 4pm

Lincs Ark at Rooke'sLincs Ark

From big to small, canine, feline or small and furry, Lincs Ark – a small local charity – helps to rescue and re-home animals of all shapes and sizes around South Lincolnshire.

Why not pop in to speak to the amazing team about their fantastic work –  and have a go on their tombola while you’re there!

Easter Monday – 22nd April 

10am – 4pm

Jerry-Green-Dog-RescueJerry Green 

Every year, approx 130,000 dogs go into rehoming centres around the UK. Charities, like Jerry Green, are instrumental in helping rescued dogs receive the care and support they need in the transition from one home to their new, forever home.

On Easter Monday, they will be in store talking about the amazing work they do, the dogs they have available to rehome. They’ll also be running a fun tombola for you to win some prizes while supporting a very worthy cause.

Hope to see you in store!

Everything you need to know about feeding your puppy

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time. But it can also be overwhelming with so much new information to take on. One of the biggest areas of concern for new puppy owners is food. In addition to worrying about what to feed, there are questions around how much to feed and for how long. In this article we’ll coverall the key points you need to know:

  1. How often you should feed your puppy based on their age 
  2. How much you should feed your puppy based on their weight, age and breed
  3. What to feed your puppy based on your lifestyle and preferences
  4. What to consider when making any changes to your puppy’s diet 

French Bull dog puppy with food

How often should you feed your puppy?

Puppies develop at a rapid rate. Between the day they are born and 8 weeks of age (the earliest a puppy should leave its mother) they go from not being able to walk or see to eating solid food.

They will then, depending on their breed, go on to reach their fully-grown size between 6 and 12 months. (Some very large breeds aren’t fully grown until they are 2 years of age). So, you can see how important their nutritional needs are.

As a rule of thumb however, you should be feeding as follows:

  •  2 – 3 months:  4 meals a day
  • 4 – 6 months:  2-3 meals a day
  • 6 + months:  2 meals a day (depending on breed)

Puppies are known for overeating, so it is important that you carefully measure out and keep track of what you do feed. Don’t be tempted to over feed. Their frame is quite delicate, and you could put undue pressure on it if they gain weight too quickly.

How much you should feed your puppy?

Puppies need to be fed little and often. They have small stomachs so need to spread their calorie intake across the day.

How much you feed them will be based on their weight, age and breed. Larger breed puppies need fewer calories per unit of body weight compared to smaller breeds because they grow at a slower rate.  Over feeding them can go on to cause issues with their skeletal structure in later life.

As a rule, stick to the feeding guidelines outlined on your choice of food’s packaging. This will be a suggested weight amount between a particular range based on the puppy’s age and weight. For example, 3 – 4 months and 5 – 10 kg.

When working out what to feed, also consider any training treats and other food you may be feeding in addition to their set meals per day.  In fact, using your puppy’s food for training can be a great way to get some puppy training in while not over feeding on additional treats.

What should I feed my puppy? 

You’ll be inundated with choices for what to feed your puppy. Most popular is a good quality dried complete food. These are easy to store, easy to measure and contain the perfect balance of nutrients your growing pup needs.

Some people prefer to feed a wet complete meal – either from a tin, a pouch or a tray. These can be particularly good for smaller breed puppies who may struggle to chew biscuits with their smaller puppy teeth or fussier eaters.

In recent years, there has been an increase in popularity for a raw fed diet – or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) as it is otherwise known. Based on a more homemade diet, it consists of raw meat, bones, vegetables and fruit, it avoids all processed foods and grains. You don’t have to make it yourself either, there are a number of top-quality raw food producers (and available in store).

Your choice of food should be based on what suits your your lifestyle and your dog best. If in doubt, pop in store to speak to the helpful staff.

 Before you make any changes to your puppy’s diet, read this. 

 When your puppy is about 90% of its expected adult weight, you can move him or her over onto an adult diet.

As mentioned earlier though, while most breeds will be fully mature at 12 months, it is relevant to size and smaller dogs will mature quicker and large/giant breeds much, much slower.

 Whenever the time comes to switch, do it gradually as you will almost certainly upset its stomach otherwise.

If you wish to introduce a new food (even if it’s the same brand but a different food), do it gradually over the course of a few days – reducing the amount of the old food and substituting it with the new food. This way your puppy’s stomach will have time to adjust without upset.

 If you have any questions about the food options available, why not pop in store and have a chat with our friendly and knowledgeable staff? 

And remember, if you are at all in doubt or have any concerns about your pet’s eating, physical development or weight, please speak to your vet.