Little Dog Ready for Dog Treats | Big R

Your Dog’s New Favorite Treats

Little Dog Ready for Dog Treats | Big R

You’ve spent hours training your furry companion to do the trick of the century… and the day has come where all the hard work has paid off! Your four-legged companion is doing it,  he’s really doing it! The thrill of accomplishment is exciting. And you reward your pup with the kibble from their bowl…BORING! Whether your dog high-fived you, fetched you a drink from the fridge, or saved you from a burning building, they deserve a delicious treat that’s different from their everyday food (that’s why it’s called a treat, right?). So, in order to find their favorite ones, we have some tips for treats that’ll make your dog happy to do more tricks!

Healthy Dog Treats

Treats are a cheat-on-your-diet and splurge type of food. This doesn’t have to be the same for your dog! Treats can be delicious AND good for your pup – Greenies Dog Treats are proof of this fact. They have treats that clean your dog’s teeth and help with hip and joint care. All these added health benefits and still delicious! Not only should you look for treats that benefit your dog’s well-being, you should look for treats with real ingredients. Avoid buying anything that looks unfamiliar in the ingredient list, and stay away from treats containing wheat and corn. Hill’s Science Diet Dog Treats are a perfect example of this because they’re made with high-quality turkey and zero artificial flavors or preservatives. A healthy treat is a more delicious treat – trust us!  

Easy Dog Treats

This tip is as helpful to you as it is for your dog. Remember, these are the treats you’ll be carrying around for those training sessions – so make the treats something you’d want to carry in your pocket! This means avoiding messy, crumbly, and sticky treats. Beggin’ Party Poppers are perfect due to the ease and size – it even comes with a convenient canister to carry the treats in! For training sessions with your dog, picking a treat that is small and easy for them to chew quickly is best. This will increase training time as well as your dog’s energy for training. So pick a treat that works well for your pup AND you!  

Fun Dog Treats

It’s perfectly okay -and necessary- to mix up their treat selection! Using easier and smaller treats may be essential for basic training, but it’s key to surprise them with bigger and more special treats for their noteworthy victories. This can be done by treating your dog to True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts or Peanut Butter Sandwich Cremes. Both treats are a little bigger than the average training treat but are packed full of flavor. They are so healthy and tasty, your pup will behave perfectly just to get some more! Another fun treat is “human food” – the food they’re always begging to get. Rewarding them with some cooked chicken or mozzarella slices from the fridge is perfectly fine, but you don’t want to go overboard. Steer clear of feeding them your leftovers from dinner and foods their stomachs can’t process (like chocolate and grapes). So long as you’re keeping the health of your pup in mind, cooking for them is a fantastic treat!

Training your dog has a lot of ups and downs to it – but choosing your dog’s favorite treat should always be on the up-side! Big R has the tools and selections you need to find your dog’s new favorite treat. Don’t just take our word for it… Ask your pup! They’ll thank you by doing that trick perfectly or behaving properly. Treat them today at any Big R store!

 

Dog doing basketball trick

young girl caring for horse

How to Care for Your Horse This Winter

young girl caring for horseWinter can be a great time as loved ones gather together and bask in the warmth of each other’s presence despite the cold weather. But winter might be a different experience for other members of your family – members like your beloved horses. So while you’re enjoying time by the fireplace and warm cider, don’t forget to check on old Nelly. Here’s a few ways to care for your horse during the winter:

  1. DO increase water intake

An average 1,000 pound horse needs around 10-12 gallons of water per day – and eating snow doesn’t count! The special winter feed your horse eats contains less moisture than the pasture and feed they consume in the summer. For this reason, you must increase your horse’s water intake. If you’re increasing their salt intake, you should also give them more water to prevent dehydration. With this simple task, you will be able to keep your horse happy and healthy despite the chill.

  1. DO feed them fiber

Fiber in the form of hay is essential for the wellbeing of your horse during the winter. It helps keep their digestive system in check while warming up their body in the cold winter months. The digestion of hay produces heat to maintain a healthy body temperature that grain alone cannot do. Feeding them hay also helps prevent the number one problem horses have during the winter – weight loss. The perfect amount to give them is 1.5% of their body weight. In addition to fiber, your horse may need some extra nutrients to increase energy and support their immune system. Extra nutrients can be found through horse feed; Nutrena’s SafeChoice Horse Feed is a great and organic choice. Good quality hay and nutrients will keep your horse happy all through winter.

  1. DO keep exercising

Just because you might be in hibernation mode doesn’t mean your horse should be! So keep on riding and exercising them as you would normally. Unfortunately, winter is known to bring slippery and icy areas. You’ll want to avoid these areas as much as possible, and by trying to avoid these areas, regular riding may be out of the question. So if this is the case, try turning your horse out daily in a pasture or paddock to keep him/her moving. Another precaution to take is to change your horse’s shoes to help with their traction in the snow and rain. Keeping up their exercise is a must because it can prevent joint and muscle damage while increasing the overall health of your horse. Don’t let winter become an excuse for laziness!

  1. DO keep your horse dry

Could you imagine your hair being constantly damp and cold from rain water throughout a whole season? No? Well, don’t let your horse suffer through that either! Make sure to cool and dry off your horse from the rain, snow, and sweat that collects on their coat to prevent illness and ensure maximum comfort. If their long winter coat retains a lot of water and it’s difficult to get them dry because of it – it’s okay to trim their winter coat. If you do end up trimming their winter coat, blanketing them is a good way to go. Blanketing isn’t always necessary during the winter but it’s very helpful for when your horse doesn’t have a shelter to keep out of the rain or snow. It can also keep horses comfortable especially if they aren’t used to the intense weather or are very old or young. However, remember that if you do blanket your horse you must continue to do so throughout the winter – the blanket will stop them from growing a winter coat, so be sure to stay consistent. Whether you decide to blanket or not, keeping them dry is a must.

  1. DO regular grooming and hoof care

Just like you must maintain exercising in the winter, grooming consistently is a must! Groom daily or weekly to keep them in good health and to check for early signs of illness or disease. Hoof care is also very important to do for their health. In the winter, your horse is more prone to getting snow/ice in their hooves, so try cleaning these out daily when you check in on them. The easiest way to clean these out is by using a hoof pick. Choose a stainless steel pick that will not break under pressure for situations like these. Be sure to look for potential bacteria build-up or illnesses in the form of punctures, abscesses, cracks or odors when cleaning the hooves. Spray Wound & Hoof Care on the hooves to prevent bacteria and fungus or help with the recovery from wounds. Keep up with your farrier appointments during the winter – the wet ground can cause issues that may not be as noticeable to you as your farrier!

Your horses have a unique spot in your heart just like a close friend or member of your family. You want them to be comfortable, healthy and happy throughout the winter. We at Big R want that exact same thing! Stop by Big R for friendly advice on horse care and to grab essential horse care items for every season.

Puppy and kitten cuddle in a field | Big R

Your First Puppy & Kitten: A Guide for New Pet Owners

Congratulations on your new bundle of furry joy! As the proud parent of a new puppy or kitten, you have your work cut out for you. Bringing in a new family member can be challenging but is very rewarding. Take great care of your puppy or kitten, and you’ll have a best friend for life! Raise them confidently with our handy guide for new pet owners.

Puppy and kitten cuddle in a field | Big RFor Your New Baby Kitten

 

Welcome all feline lovers and new parents! How does it feel to have one of the most adorable baby animals the earth has to offer? Use these tips to make sure you’re the one human your kitten won’t be plotting against.

First the dot, then the world kitten meme | Big R Read more

How to Take Care of Chicks in 6 Easy Steps

take-care-chicks

Thinking about bringing some baby chicks home this year? They definitely are adorable, but they can require quite a bit of work and effort on your part. Because they are so little, they are prone to lots of accidents. Constant supervision is required, so making sure that you have time in your schedule to help them grow up is important. Here are some tips on getting started with your brand new baby chicks:

1. Check up on them frequently.

Baby chicks require full responsibility — consider yourself warned! They are just as adorable and lovable as puppies, but they also require just as much — or more — work. For at least four weeks, make sure you can provide time to cater to them and watch how they are growing. You or a family member should check up on them, at least, five times a day.

2. Have a living space for them.

They will get to move outside to an outdoor coop after they’re 4-5 weeks old, but until then, you’ll have to deal with their messes in a smaller space! They are temporary indoor pets, so get a dog-sized crate, a large box, or an extra large plastic bin. Line the bin with wood shavings — but not cedar, because the smell is too much for them!

3. Use a heat lamp.

Chances are your chicks are very, very young. Typically, they get sent out to be bought when they are only a day old. A heat lamp will help these babies stay warm and grow accustomed to warmer temperatures, which will prepare them for when they will be living outside. If the chicks stay close together, they are likely cold and could use more heat. On the other hand, if they’re spread out as far as possible, that’s a sign to lower the heat. If you’re leery of using a heat lamp, consider using a heating pad, similar to this one at Big R Stores.

4. Watch their backsides.

Besides keeping your chicks fed with food and water, cleaning their cages is another big responsibility. You will soon notice within your first few days of having your chicks that they have a tendency to relieve themselves a lot – and we mean a lot. Make sure you take note that their backsides aren’t caked with their feces. If the feces gets backed up, it can be fatal. Clean your chicks with a warm, wet cloth if this happens.

5. Give them outside time.

Once the chicks are a bit older, about 2-3 weeks, you can take them outside and watch them closely as they play around in the grass! Chicks are very curious and playful, and will love being outside at this age. Just remember to keep a close eye on them as they know how to fly and escape at this age, and are very easy prey for predators.

6. Bugs and worms are treats.

Chicks are more than happy to eat any little critters in your garden, like worms and other kinds of scraps. But these are treats and not the main course, so make sure they don’t eat too much! Their primary source of food should be their feed, but a little dessert never hurt anyone, right? View Big R’s selection of feeding and watering supplies.

The 6 Best Dog Foods For Small Dogs

1best-dog-food-small-dogs

Choosing the right food for your small canine friend can seem like an overwhelming task, especially with many brands available.

Tons of questions may pop into your head such as how to choose between a premium, holistic brand and a natural, organic brand or dry, kibble food versus wet, canned food.

These questions are common and should be considered when choosing what to feed your small dog.

Small Dogs Are Different

Small dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies or large breed dogs.

No matter the age or size, dogs- just like their owners- need a balanced diet that consists of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

Surprisingly, small dogs need a diet that contains high amounts of proteins and fats because they are known to be very active and have high, fast-working metabolisms.

It may be tempting to feed your dog leftovers from your gourmet dinner, but this should not become a regular habit. Real, manufactured dog food combines the necessary nutrients to produce a well-balanced meal for your dog.

Try Kibble Dog Food

Dry kibble is the most common choice because of its simplicity of being ready to eat without prior preparation.

Small dogs have smaller mouths, so their food must be small enough for them to eat. Choosing the correct size of kibble food is important so your dog can adequately eat the food and not have the risk of choking on pieces that are too large to swallow.

If you think the food is too large for your dog, feel free to soak the food in hot water and mash it up.

However, this can be quite time-consuming, and it would be more beneficial to just purchase wet food.

Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food is designed to be more flavorful and savory.

Compared to dry food, canned food typically contains high levels of protein and fewer carbohydrates.

Because wet foods come in tightly packaged containers, the meats and vegetables are able to absorb more of the flavors and look more appealing.

If your dog has sensitive teeth or other dental problems, wet food is soft and easy to chew. You may even serve your small dog a bowl of wet food and top it off with dry kibble pieces for a fun variation.

Dry Dog Food

1) Purina® Adult Dog Small Breed. This food is perfect for very active small dogs. Its first ingredient is protein so it provides the key nutrient active dogs need to keep their active lifestyle. By combining small kibble pieces with shredded protein, it gives dogs a variety of textures and flavors. ProPlan is very conscious of their quality assurance. They pride themselves on their extensive research to produce food that keeps dogs healthy.

2) Hills® Science Diet® Mature Adult Small & Toy Breed Dog Food. This food is designed to help increase the dog’s life expectancy from its balanced and digestible recipe. The food is enriched with calcium to help build the foundation of strong bones and muscles. Hill’s formula has three key beneficial components, which aid in keeping your dog healthy. It assists in building a healthy immune system, adding shine to the dog’s coat, and supporting muscle and bone strength.

3) Blue Buffalo Adult Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice. Blue Buffalo prides itself on using the best natural ingredients to create their dog food. There are no by-products in the meals (artificial protein), no added flavors or preservatives, and no corn, wheat, or soy products. The company has also added antioxidants, which aid the immune system and provide a healthy, well-balanced meal. The kibble is not only tiny enough for small breed dogs, but it is also shaped to help remove tartar build-up on the dog’s teeth.

Wet Food Brands

1) Purina® Alpo Chophouse Roasted Chicken. Purina products have an array of 20 flavors to choose from. The proteins range from beef, turkey, chicken, fish, and lamb. This is great for those picky little eaters because of the different tastes and textures. The meals are rich and savory in flavor. The gravy in each can has 23 vitamins and minerals and contains more protein than canned foods without gravy.

2) Beneful Prepared Stew with Lamb. Beneful wet dog food uses finely chopped ingredients and real vegetables in each package. The peas, carrots, and barley are kept whole so you can see them in the mix of meat or chicken. The meals come in savory flavors that leave the dog wanting more. They are packed with the key vitamins and nutrients needed to keep the dog full until the next meal.

3) Blue Buffalo Fish & Sweet Potato Dinner. Blue Buffalo is inspired by delicious home cooked meals. Like their dry food, Blue Buffalo’s wet meals provide a healthy, natural, and delicious meal. Each recipe is made with real meat or chicken and contains no by-products. For owners who want their dogs to have a grain-free diet, all of the wet foods are 100 percent free of grains and wheat. These meals will satisfy your dog’s hunger.

7 Best Grain-Free Dog Foods to Keep Their Tails Wagging

best-grain-free-dog-food

Dogs are a man’s (or woman’s!) best friend, and many of us consider our dogs to be part of the family. Owners want the best for their canine friends, including what foods they eat. It is hard for a dog’s body to break down grains as efficiently as they do proteins and fat. The digestion difficulty is why new grain-free dog foods have hit the market recently.

Listed below are the 7 best grain-free dog foods to keep your dog happy and healthy:

Dog Food #1: Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild offers a well-balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbs. Made with all-natural, real meat and vegetables, this formula will help give your pup everything that he needs for a healthy lifestyle. The grain-free formula includes sweet potatoes and peas, which help the dog digest and provide energy for an active lifestyle. Taste of the Wild offers a product line of nine different flavors to help satisfy your dog’s cravings of the wild!

Dog Food #2: Hill’s Ideal Balance

Hill’s offers a line of twelve different flavors, each made in consideration of the different age groups of your dog! The kibble is a grain-free diet with all natural ingredients. Hill’s Ideal Balance contains potatoes for healthy digestion, and lean protein to help keep your dog slim and trim. Ideal Balance is also packed with omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin and coat.

Dog Food #3: Purina Pro Plan

Purina’s kibble comes with natural formulas that deliver optimal nutrient absorption. It is always a good idea to mix up your dog’s protein, and Purina offers a limited number of grain-free flavors that include tuna, lamb, and chicken. This grain-free kibble is made without grain or soy and instead offers an alternative, healthier source of carbohydrates, including omega 6 fatty acids and zinc to help promote a healthy coat. Purina Pro Plan is also packed with antioxidants to help promote a healthy immune system for your pup!

Dog Food #4: Fromm

Fromm is a family owned company that manufactures gourmet foods for your dog! The food is created with your dog’s nutrition in mind. It is naturally formulated, which means the use of real meat, fish, fruits, cheese, and vegetables. It is also mixed with prebiotics and probiotics to aid digestion. Their Four-Star, grain-free line is a rotational feed with different proteins to choose from, so your dog will never go bored with one flavor!

Dog Food #5: Merrick

This grain-free dog food consists of high-quality ingredients and nutrition levels. They offer a great balance of protein and vitamins to help with your dog’s overall health, with fresh produce as one of their main ingredients! Merrick is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Mixed in, you will find omega fatty acids to help support skin and coat, as well as glucosamine to promote healthy joints. Merrick is a great choice for the health and well-being of all life stages and breeds!

Dog Food #6: Blue Buffalo

The first ingredient of Blue Buffalo dog chow is always real meat! Blue Buffalo contains fruits and veggies for a healthy lifestyle. They also use whole carrots, sweet potatoes, and peas as their grain-free ingredients. The dry food also includes LifeSource bits, a healthy blend of antioxidants and nutrients. Blue Buffalo stands by their no by-product meals -no corn, wheat, or soy, as well as avoiding anything artificial.

Dog Food #7: Diamond Naturals

Their formulated grain-free dog food is great for all life stages. There is no need in switching out your brand of kibble withDiamond Naturals, your dog can grow with the food! Diamond Naturals contains a high percentage of protein and zero grains, optimizing your dog’s digestion. A blend of omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and vitamins to help support a healthy lifestyle are also included. Sweet potatoes provide a good mix of carbohydrates for all-day energy, while the fruits, meats, and veggies add optimal health benefits for your pup!

6 Tips to Horse Hoof Care in the Winter Season

horse-hoof-care

The winter months are hard for everyone, especially any animals left outside! We know how to bundle ourselves up in the winter and protect ourselves from the cold, but do you know how to protect your horse’s hooves, which are susceptible to damage from the dry winter air and ice? Here are some important tips to keep your horses happy and healthy during the bitter cold winter months:

Know how to combat slower hoof growth

During the winter, your horse’s hooves will grow slower. Whether this is due to the colder temperatures slowing your horse’s system down or the work (or lack thereof) he is expected to perform, this slowing of your horse’s natural hoof growth can be troubling. Slow growth can delay the discovery of defects on your horse’s hooves, so keep your horse’s active with plenty of walks or exercise to be sure that they are not experiencing any pain.

Use sand or wood ashes to help your horse move

If your horse will be outdoors among the elements, consider placing sand, wood ashes, or wood chips to help the horse feel more comfortable. Icy situations are dangerous for your horse, so remember to proceed with caution and be patient!

Keep an open conversation with your farrier

Snow and ice – and cold weather in general – will change the growth of your horse’s hooves as mentioned above. This may result in seeing your farrier less often than usual. Be sure to ask what tools your farrier uses to fix your horse’s hooves, as they are more vulnerable during the colder seasons.

Change horseshoes if needed

Some horses may need to wear different shoes during the colder months. Anti-snowball rim pads, for example, attach onto the shoe without covering the entire hoof, and this may make it easier for your horses to stay active. Talk to your farrier about the best options for your horse, and consider the horse’s activity level as well.

Accelerate capsule growth

Making sure to accelerate the capsule growth in your horse’s feet will help weaker-footed horses stay healthier during the winter. Be sure to have your farrier and vet choose the right sole depth for your horse’s needs! By doing this, you can help protect your horse from moisture-related bacteria during long periods of rain or snow.

Remove obstacles and hazard

This is probably the cheapest way to keep your horses from getting injured during the winter! Take flower pots away from your horses if they are nearby, as they tend to suddenly break from cold temperatures. Make sure to keep the areas around your gates dry as horses can slip if they gather near it. Always stay alert to changing conditions.