Posted on October 24th, 2014 in Canine Corner
, Pet Food
, Pet Nutrition
Dogswell® is just that – swell. And I mean, really swell. These guys wasted no sense on naming their food. It’s just perfect.
Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with a dog food that has a tagline that reads: “Unleash the Happy!” Furthermore, one that lauds the following on its website:
“When it comes to nutrition, it doesn’t matter if you have two legs or four. In order to live life to the fullest, a body needs good, healthy fuel… not junk. LiveFree® provides a complete solution of natural pet food that delivers wellness through digestive health. Only LiveFree® dry food has DigestiBits™ made with pumpkin and prebiotics, so that dogs can live free from digestive issues and dog owners can live free from worry.”
The pet food company’s new line of dog food and dog treats, the aforementioned LiveFree®, could not have gone over better with the Smith Bassets. Franklin and Ramsey, who are inherently finicky eaters naturally as they were both formerly abused and neglected, took to the greatly gravy-licious wet food immediately. Like bees to new honey… Like hounds to dead fish smell at the beach… Like pigs to new poop… Like they hadn’t ever experienced anything this tastily awesome before, BOL!!!
Boom-Boom (aka Ramsey), who will, by the way, stand and stare at you until you put the proper amount of gravy-love in his dry kibble, lapped up LiveFree’s Adult Chicken Stew formula with his chow so voraciously you would of thought that he hadn’t eaten in weeks. Now please keep in mind, Ramsey is one of THEE most stubborn of the Hound breed on Earth, and flat-out refuses to eat unless there is WET CAT FOOD in his puppy chow. We have tried everything and the only “gravy” (aka wet dog food) that was on par and up to standard with his precious cat food fetish was the canned wet dog food line, LiveFree®. (We have since bought two cases…)
I wanted to give the new wet dog food at least two weeks when we tried it. Why? Well most of us pet owners like to get a good idea of palatability, plus we like to see how it affects energy, coat, weight and/or maybe even eyes (clarity, etc). We noticed after about a week in Franklin – a super-senior – that his, um, evacuations were more solid and less fragrant if you will. We also noticed that he was shedding less. With Ramsey, we noticed that he actually ate it and loved it, LMAO…. It was extremely relieving that the new wet food did not change the consistency or schedule of either one’s poops. And both of them seemed to have less GI discomfort (tummy-growling and gurgling, bad gas) after ingesting this recipe instead of another wet dog food. This obviously makes them both happier because they are more comfortable.
What makes me so happy about all of this is that LiveFree® is high in animal protein so it aligns with a dog’s natural diet, plus it has added nutrition for holistic health. There are antioxidants to support immunity, vitamins and chelated minerals for better nutrient absorption and the food is even nutrition-boosted for specific life stages. You can choose from formulas in the LiveFree® line including Chicken, Lamb, Salmon and Senior Chicken. (This revolutionary dog food company also offers different lines for accommodating different health issues, such as Vitality® and Nutrisca®.)
DogSwell® is actually quite thorough and very well-spoken on their website, too. The site is extremely helpful, and offers a ton of detail about the products, a blog, a testimonials section, and lots more!
LiveFree® is available in dry food (chicken, lamb, salmon, and turkey recipes) and canned food (chicken, lamb and salmon stew recipes) for puppy, senior and adult dogs. You can visit the LiveFree® website for some great details and even more reasons why you should try it. Also, the LiveFree® product fact sheet is quite helpful if you want to learn more about the premium dog food brand.
And don’t forget to visit the brand on Facebook and Twitter, too! You can also find them on Pinterest and Instagram.
This post is a review and the Administrator, JL Smith, received free product to test on the dogs. That said, ThoughtsFurPaws.com never posts dishonest, distended or distorted reviews. All opinions herein are those of JL Smith, the Administrator. DogSwell is not responsible for this content.
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Premier Pet Brands Offer Fun Variety of Seasonal Ideas for Treat-Gifting Plus Howlin’ Halloween Instagram Photo Contest
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Lunchbox, but all opinions herein are those of the Administrator of this blog, JL Smith. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews.
Are you one of those dedicated dog-lovers who spend time making homemade puppy freezer pops to give to family and neighborhood dogs? Do you make your own dog food? Do you keep a dog treat bag in your car or purse just in case…? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then Walmart’s Big Heart Brands have a real treat in store for you – and the pooches in your life — this howlin’ Halloween season!
Halloween Treat- and Gift-Giving for Dogs: Make the Ultimate Treat Basket
Gift-giving is always enjoyable; the feeling of watching someone’s face as they open your gift is priceless. Well it’s the same sentimentality with gift-giving for dogs! Right? They hop up and down, smile, and get all animated when they know they’re getting something… So why not make up some Halloween doggie gift bags for the whimsical waggily-tails in your life?
With Big Heart Pet Brands, like Milk-Bone™, Pup-Peroni® and Milo’s Kitchen®, it’s really quite simple – and it’s a fun, creative way to show your love, appreciation and friendship. (Bonus: being the random treat-giver in the neighborhood gets you in any dog’s good graces, too!) There are so many choices at Walmart.com; you can mix and match to make your Halloween doggie goodie bags more varietal!
Tips and Tricks for a Safe Halloween with Dogs
Everyone knows that dogs are part of the family. Walmart and Big Heart Pet Brands feel the same way as we do! This is particularly true on the famous All-Hallows Eve; after all, in years past, how many dogs have you seen romping around the neighborhood with the kids, dressed to the nines, politely protecting their people? But as much as our canine companions love to shadow us in costume and get goodies, there are dangers lurking that all dog-owners should be aware of. So let’s discuss this imperative part of the fall holiday: dog safety on Halloween.
- Tricks, But No Treats : Yes, we all love our dogs and their tricks, but they absolutely cannot have any human Halloween treats. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is extremely dangerous for dogs. Candy or sweets with xylitol, the artificial sweetener, also can cause serious issues for Fido.
- Doggie Dress-Up: Dog Halloween costumes are not recommended unless you know that your dog likes to wear them. For pets that prefer to go au naturale, suiting them up may cause undue stress. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, move or bark.
- Pumpkin Fun: Of course it’s great to carve and showcase pumpkins, but be extra careful with those candles that go inside to light them. Dogs can easily knock them over and cause a fire, or they can drag a costume piece near it, or even get burned or singed from sniffing it.
Instagram Halloween Dog Photo Contest!
Who doesn’t love doggie dress-up? Well it’s time to show off your most delightful doggie Halloween pictures and enter for a chance to win a $5,000 prize! Big Heart Pet Brands is having a one-of-a-kind dog costume contest on Instagram, and I highly encourage you to enter, and to browse the hilarious photos already in the running! Simply use the hashtag #TreatThePups to enter the Tricked Out Costume Contest!
For more howlin’ good fun this Halloween, and to see an awesome video on making Halloween treat bags/gifts for pooches, check out the Big Heart Pet Brands dog treat bags video!
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Pun intended. Yes. These meaty, moist , and macho cat treats are the best Temptations yet according to Maxwell Anderson Smith and Tater Tot Turnbull. Two of the most reliable cats around the beat, Maxxy and Tatey had a grand old time batting these spherical, smelly-good treats around the hardwood kitchen floor before ultimately engorging. Designed to make snack time into play time, Temptations Tumblers™ were created to be round so when you toss them into the air, they spin away and give your cat-treat-crazy-cats a chance to hunt ‘em down, pounce, leap, turn, twist, dash and chase. And of course spy for a minute (if you’re Maxwell)…
Here, I’ll show you – watch this sweet-ass funny cat video; it accompanies the release of Tumblers™, which are now on store shelves for MSRP $1.50. The funny cat video will definitely give you a giggle – it’s like a show commercial featuring some seriously flexible felines! I know the first 20 seconds might seem confusing (the first 20 seconds don’t involve animals but I believe it’s meant to be that way), so don’t jump ship-stick with it if you want to see some outrageously awesome slow-motion cat antics!
Crunchy on the outside with a soft meaty center, and containing 30% protein, Temptations Tumblers™ will have your kitties chasing their tails for some more fun – and for some more meaty treaties… The brand scored a four-paws-up with Maxxy and Tatey, and must be intent on shaking up everykitty’s favorite time of day! #TimetoPlayBall
Available in Tasty Chicken & Turkey and Savory Salmon & Tuna flavors, these new cat treats will surely have your cats “tumbling” all over the place like Max and Tate! Go check out Temptations Tumblers™ cat treats on Facebook!
This post has been sponsored by the Temptations brand, but concerns the opinion of the Administrator of this blog. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews. All opinions are of the blog owner, JL Smith.
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Okay so we’re going to try taking a new route today – a fun one, an interesting one, a reptilian one. I realize my blog is mostly about dogs, cats, animal welfare and all that four-legged jazz, but I thought you all might want to take a walk on the wild side with me and learn something new from “Jim the Reptile Guy.” Jim has raised snakes for practically his whole life and is also a great writer. He’s very passionate about all kinds of snakes, not just his own, as well as geckos, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles.
So we all know that there are tons of guys and gals and kids just like Jim all over the world. I mean, there are literally hundreds of thousands of young boys out there begging Mom for a snake or lizard right this very minute, right? So Jim has kindly put together a very detailed and informative article on the best snakes for beginners and kids. You’ll hear from Jim the Reptile Guy again in a about a month!
Who knows, maybe BlogPaws Nashville will see an appearance of a snake… or gecko…? (After all, we did have a Capybara this year!) (+ I would have to borrow one, lol!)
Are you a budding reptile enthusiast or a parent to one? Do things with scales and shells appeal to you more than those with fur or feathers? Perhaps you’re a lover of all animals and are simply looking to add a cold-blooded critter to your family? No matter the reason, the rhyme, or the season, anyone interested in learning more about reptiles is welcome company in my book.
Today I’m going to be sharing some basic information on my favorite member of the reptile family – the snake. More specifically, I’m going to be talking about which snakes make the best pets, especially for your little people (children.)
I’m an animal enthusiast, but there’s just something about snakes that I’ve always loved. While many in our culture see them as the villains of the animal kingdom (thanks a lot, Bible), or the stuff of nightmares, there’s no denying that snakes are one of the most unique animals on the planet. They can perfectly adapt to a variety of environments and, while not all snakes would be happy living with humans, there are a handful that, when cared for properly, do make wonderful pets.
First things first, though. Before we talk about which snakes may be a good fit for your home, there are some things you’ll need to understand:
– Snakes are NOT domesticated like dogs and cats. While most snakes in the pet trade have been born into captivity, that doesn’t mean they’re domesticated. They’ve evolved over thousands of years to eat, breed, and survive. It’s our job as their caregivers to understand this first and foremost. If you start treating a snake like a cat or dog, letting them roam free, bringing them out for every guest to greet, and not considering their needs first, accidents can and will happen.
– Snakes are reptiles, and reptiles are cold-blooded animals. Snakes use thermoregulation to manage body temperature, thus, you’ll need a hot side and a cool side for your tank or terrarium.
– Snakes and reptiles kept as pets will likely require veterinary care at some point in their lives. Before you add a reptile to your family, please be sure to have access to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.
– A snake is a long-term commitment – many live 20 years or longer.
– Snakes eat rodents. While frozen/thawed rodents are best, some snakes (like Ball Pythons,) can be finicky eaters and may eat only live rodents. Make sure you have access to these should the need arise.
– Snakes are known in the reptile community as master escape artists, so be sure to have an escape-proof tank.
– When considering a snake as a pet for your child, consider the size and temperament of the snake and always supervise children when handling. I’d recommend six as the minimum age at which you’d acquire a snake as a pet for a child.
Now that we have the prerequisites out of the way, let’s look at some great options for you or your child’s first pet snake! I’m going to list the top five breeds I’d recommend for a novice snake owner, five being the one I’d recommend least and one being the best.
5. Boa Constrictor
Boas make the list at number 5 because they’re commonly found in pet stores and are a favorite in the pet trade. I do NOT, however, recommend a Boa for a first snake, especially
Adult Boa Constrictor
for a child. I own a Boa. I’ve owned many Boas and love them. They are absolutely my favorite snake, but I’m an experienced guy who’s been keeping snakes for years (I’ve even bred them). So why don’t I recommend them for a beginner or a child? Because Boas get BIG!
Big snakes need big enclosures. Big snakes also need bigger food. Lastly, bigger snakes are harder to handle. They are heavy and while most experts will tell you that any snake over nine feet will require at least two adults present when handling, I say seven feet. A female Boa can easily reach the 8-13 foot range while males will usually reach between 6-8 feet. Your child may be very happy with a baby or juvenile Boa, but once that cute little baby reaches adulthood, your eight or nine-year-old won’t even be able to handle it. The snake will simply be too big, and at that size, could overpower a child.
A Boa is a terrific intermediate snake for those who’ve gained the experience and have the desire to add a larger snake to their home. Captive Boas come in a wide variety of beautiful color patterns. They are often a favorite among teenage boys.
Appearance: “The coloring of boa constrictors can vary greatly depending on the locality. However, they are generally a brown, grey or cream base color, patterned with brown or reddish brown “saddles” that become more pronounced towards the tail. It is this coloring that gives Boa constrictor constrictor the common name of “red-tailed boa” (per Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boa_constrictor)
Size: Typically, they range in length from 20 inches as neonates to 13 feet as adults.
Life span: Captive life expectancy is 20 to 30 years.
Food: Baby Boas will eat pinky rats and mice. Juvenile boas will eat small rats and graduate up to medium, large, XL, and big adults can eat Guinea pigs and rabbits.
Jim’s Daughter with Bianca, his Boa.
Here’s a picture of my six-year-old daughter, Mena, with our Sharp Sunglow female Boa, Bianca. Bianca is a little over one-year-old in this picture and is still growing like a weed. Bianca has been handled regularly since she was a baby and Mena has also been well versed (by me) as to the proper
Jim’s Daughter with His Boa, Bianca.
handling and care of our pet. Because of my love for the snake, Mena has been raised not to fear them. She simply sees a beautiful animal that she loves. Over time, though, Bianca will get much bigger (see the adult female pictured above.)
4. Milk Snakes
Milk Snakes are generally very docile, hardy and are good snakes for beginners and children. They come in a wide variety of color combinations, but the most common is black/red/yellow.
Size: Hatchling milk snakes range in size from 12-15 inches in length. Adult milk snakes reach anywhere from 3 to 5 feet depending on the locality from which they originated.
Life span: Usually 12 – 15 years, though they can live as long as 20 years.
Food: Baby milk snakes will eat pinky mice and graduate up to hopper mice. Adults will typically eat a large mouse or weanling rat.
Fun Fact: The common milk snake is often confused with the deadly coral snake because of the similar colors and pattern. A milk snake has yellow bands with black bordered on either side. A coral snake has black bands bordered by yellow bands on either side. Here’s a handy rhyme I learned as a boy that will help you differentiate between the two:
“Yellow then black, venom they lack. Black then yellow will kill a fellow.”
Milk Snakes are a good beginner snake for kids because they’re easily handled, and are pretty active in their cages. Ensuring you have an escape-proof enclosure will be paramount. Also, because of their colors, kids really seem to like them. Please note, however, that baby snakes (no matter the breed) can be a little nippier. They are tiny and vulnerable, so until they get bigger and are used to being handled, they may bite if they feel threatened. No worries, though, the bites are painless.
3. King Snakes
King Snakes, like Milk Snakes, are generally very docile, hardy and good snakes for beginners. They come in a wide variety of color combinations, but the most common is the California King Snake which is black/white.
Size: Hatchling King Snakes range in size from 12-15 inches in length; adult King Snakes reach anywhere from 3 to 6 feet.
Life span: Usually 12 – 15 years, though they can live 20 years or longer.
Food: Baby king snakes will eat pinky mice and graduate up to hopper mice. Adults will typically eat a large mouse or weanling rat.
King Snakes are a good beginner snake for kids because they are easily handled, and are pretty active in their cages just like Milk Snakes. Ensuring you have an escape-proof enclosure will be paramount. While their colors aren’t as varied as Milk Snakes, they’re still quite beautiful. As with Milk Snakes, baby King Snakes may be a little nippier at times.
King snakes will eat other snakes as well as lizards, fish, and rodents. Because of their willingness to eat other snakes, they should always be kept alone. King snakes are also immune to the venom of rattle snakes and will eat them in the wild!
A beautiful subspecies of King Snake is the Grey Banded King Snake.
Grey Banded King Snake
2. Ball Python
The Ball Python is my personal favorite as far as a beginner snake. They grow to a maximum size of only 3-5 feet. They’re also docile and easy to handle. Their name comes from the fact that, when threatened, they roll themselves into a ball, using their big bodies to protect their small heads. Were it not for the fact that they can sometimes be very finicky eaters, they would have been #1 on my list.
Size: Hatchling Ball Pythons range in size from 12-15 inches in length. Adult Ball Pythons reach anywhere from 3 to 5 feet. Females grow larger than males.
Life span: 20 years or longer.
Food: Baby Ball Pythons will eat mice and weanling rats. Adults will typically eat small rats.
Ball Pythons are a great beginner snake for kids because they are so docile and so easy to handle. They aren’t active until nighttime, though, so if your child is looking for a snake that will be active during the day, a Milk, King, or Corn Snake would be a better choice. As with Milk Snakes and King Snakes, baby Ball Pythons may be a little nippier at times, especially near feeding time. On the opposite end of the scale, they may be so shy that they don’t eat at all. While docile and lovely, Ball Pythons require a lot of patience. Making them feel comfortable means maybe not picking them up for a week or more. Excited kids wanting to interact with their pet may find this a difficult task.
Because of their popularity in the pet trade, Ball Python breeders have selectively bred animals over the last 20 years or so for a wide variety of color and pattern mutations. We refer to them as “morphs,” as they are genetic mutations. Here are a few examples:
Normal Ball Python as they’d be found in the wild (and in most pet stores)
Here’s a dominant mutation known as a Pinstripe:
Here’s a co-dominant mutation called a Pastel:
Here’s a recessive mutation called an Albino
1. Corn Snakes
Normal Corn Snake
Corn Snakes are #1 on most “best pet snakes” lists and they clinched the #1 spot on my Best Snakes for Children/Beginners list as well. They are very docile, hardy and great snakes for beginners. They come in a wide variety of color combinations, but the most common is red/orange.
As a pre-teen, I owned several corn (and rat) snakes. They are easily kept, handled, fed, and they seem to have a very outgoing personality. Yes, snakes have personalities. I’ve met Corn Snakes who were jerks and ones that seemed sweeter than many dogs I’d known.
Size: Hatchling Corn Snakes range from 12-15 inches in length. Adult corn snakes will reach anywhere from 4 to 6 feet.
Life span: 15-20 years or longer.
Abbott Oakeetee Corn Snake
Food: Baby Corn Snakes will eat pinky mice and graduate up to hopper mice. Adults will typically eat a large mouse or weanling rat.
Corn Snakes are the best beginner snake for kids because they are easily handled, reluctant to bite, active, colorful, and big enough to be cool but not so big that you’d worry about your child handling his or her pet. Ensuring you have an escape-proof enclosure will be key as Corn Snakes are pretty active. They come in a variety of colors and there are now even scaleless Corn Snakes! As with Milk Snakes, baby Corn Snakes may be a little nippier, especially near feeding time, but with regular handling and a full belly, this will quickly fade.
Albino Corn Snake
Like Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes are extremely popular as pets. Also just like Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes are available in a wide variety of color and pattern mutations. Here are a few examples:
Snow Corn Snake
Scaleless Corn Snake
So there you have it, my top five. Now you’re probably wondering where to potentially acquire one of these awesome critters. Well, believe it or not, all of the varieties I’ve talked about can probably be found in a local pet store, especially one that specializes in reptiles, but they won’t have all the color and pattern mutations. If you’re interested in acquiring a morph, my two favorite sites are http://www.kingsnake.com and http://www.faunaclassifieds.com. The former has a classifieds section and the breeder should be able to ship your new pet priority overnight right to your door.
*Habitat setup is the most important thing you can do as the owner of a new pet snake, but we’ll talk about that in another article!
Jim Moorman is an author, father, and reptile-lover; you can learn more about him on his website. Jim has been keeping reptiles for over 20 years and has learned through hands-on experience, through research, and from being an active part of the reptile community how to best care for and keep many types of reptiles as pets.
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