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When to Start Training Your Puppy

The day you bring home your new puppy is a happy one. Your new, tiny, four-legged friend will bring you many laughs throughout their puppyhood, but as you will quickly discover, they also require a considerable amount of work. Aside from getting your new puppy their vaccinations and nourishing them with specially designed puppy food, like Bully Max, one of your biggest responsibilities will be to train them to exhibit proper behavior.

Starting with dog training from the moment you welcome your pup home can help establish rules and keep your puppy from developing bad habits. Putting off training until later will only result in you facing a larger dog with poor behaviors that you now need to help them unlearn.

Fortunately, training your new puppy doesn’t have to require hours of labor or be a miserable experience for anyone involved. Instead, it can be an enjoyable bonding time that takes place throughout the day. It can be a time where you and your new puppy get to know one another and improve your mutual communication.

Here’s what you need to know about getting started training your new puppy.

Getting Started With Puppy Training

puppy trainingWhen you bring your puppy home for the first time, you’ll want to develop a plan for training them. Starting from a young age can make considerably less work for you in the long run. Puppy owners will quickly find that a dog that understands where to relieve themselves, comes when called, and can walk properly on the leash is far more enjoyable and less work than one without this understanding.

We’ll discuss the basic principles to keep in mind as you begin to train your puppy.

Keep the Sessions Short

Puppy training should begin by instructing the dog in basic obedience. However, you should note that dogs this young have short attention spans. Therefore, you should plan on conducting your training lessons in 5- to 10-minute bursts a few times throughout the day rather than trying to do it all at once. Generally, aim to train the puppy for 15 to 20 minutes total over the course of the day, each day.

This system helps ensure that you have the full attention of your new dog. It also helps provide natural reinforcement of your lessons throughout the day, which can help your puppy remember.  Your puppy will also appreciate that it leaves plenty of time for playtime. Young dogs have a lot of energy, and helping them get it out with regular exercise and playing opportunities will make them more inclined to listen when you have your lessons.

Puppy Training Best Practices

As you begin to move through your training exercises, here are some general best practices that should help:

  • Consistency is key. Don’t allow the puppy to get you to repeat a command several times before obeying. Once you say the command once, expect a response. If they don’t give that response, gently remind them of the meaning, such as encouraging a seated position after the command, “Sit.”
  • Include all the members of the household. Having family members participate in the training reminds the puppy they need to obey anyone issuing the command.
  • Work on training in a variety of environments. Don’t restrict training to one room, which can create associations of the commands only applying in that room. Use the yard, different rooms of the house and even the sidewalk to practice. As your puppy becomes more experienced, add in distractions, such as practicing at parks.
  • Remember to be patient. This is a very young dog with a lot to learn. Remember the importance of patience throughout the process.

Basic Commands and Skills to Teach to Your Dog

Many young puppies first come to their new homes around 8 weeks of age. Right around this age, your dog is ready to start learning basic obedience commands and some behavioral lessons, such as “Sit” and “Stay,” so start with basic puppy training as soon as they come home.

Around the same age, you can also start working with them on leash training. You want your young puppy to know how to walk calmly on the leash without pulling or trying to play tug-of-war. You can begin leash training with them inside. Start by getting the puppy used to wearing the collar or harness. Then, begin connecting the leash and walking with them around the house.

Also around this young age, you want the puppy to get used to being touched all over. So, gently pet the puppy on their head, paws and stomach so that they get used to this type of interaction. At the same time, you can start introducing the puppy to their crate.

Introducing the Crate and Potty Training

As the puppy starts getting a little older, around 12 weeks, you can start with more intensive crate training. Prior to this age, puppies can’t control their bladders for very long, which makes it a challenge to use the crate for more than a few minutes. By 11 to 12 weeks, you can start using it for one- to three-hour blocks.

Crate training teaches your puppy to see their crate as a safe and secure place where they can go to rest. It becomes like a puppy home. This can be a helpful behavior for your puppy, when they know they have a secure place to retreat if they feel overwhelmed. To help your puppy with crate training:

  • Make sure the crate is large enough for them to comfortably turn around.
  • Add comfortable blankets or other bedding so that it is warm and cozy.
  • Make usage of the crate a low-stress time for the puppy.
  • Do not leave the dog in the crate for too long.

As your puppy becomes crate trained, this can help you with house training. Dogs don’t like to soil the areas where they sleep, so crate training can help introduce the puppy to the idea of only using the bathroom in certain areas. Once your puppy has been crate trained, you can be reasonably confident that they will keep it clean if you need to leave them for a short time. However, puppies do not have great bladder control, so you do not want to make this period of time too long while they are young.

As you work on crate training, you can further emphasize your house breaking lessons. Teach the puppy not only where you do not want them to relieve themselves, but also where they should. Choose an area that the puppy should use and bring them over regularly. This is a particularly important step when the puppy wakes up from a nap or when you let them out of the crate after they have rested in there for a little while.

From the time you bring your puppy home, you want to try and enforce the right areas where they should relieve themselves. However, note that most puppies are trained between 3 and 4 months of age. To avoid accidents with younger puppies, the best course of action is to bring them to the designated bathroom area at regular intervals or as soon as you see behavioral signs that they might need to go. These signs include:

  • Walking in circles
  • Sniffing
  • Going to an area of the house where they have had an accident before
  • Barking at the door

Now that you know the basic progression of training expectations for your puppy, we will review how you can best communicate these ideas to your dog.

The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

puppy handshakePositive reinforcement provides an established means of achieving desired outcomes in dog behavior. The basis of positive reinforcement lies in rewarding good behavior to encourage it to repeat and avoiding punishing bad behavior.

Punishments for dogs generally increase their anxiety, which can actually increase bad behaviors and bad habits, effectively leading to the opposite outcome of what you wanted.

During your training sessions, you want to provide your puppy with an immediate reward for doing a desired behavior. For example, if the puppy sits as soon as you issue the command, they should receive a reward. As the puppy begins to associate positive rewards with following commands and thus begins to obey reliably, you can slowly shift away from providing treats and shift toward expecting the puppy to behave well. To make this shift, consider using two strategies:

  1. Combine the primary reward with secondary rewards, such as back scratches and verbal praise. This praise can then transition to becoming the central reward in most interactions.
  2. Slowly transition to using the reward system on a random basis. Rather than delivering a treat of some sort for every incidence of obedience, it might be on the third incidence, then the fifth, and then the second. This helps prevent patterns from forming and avoids creating a dog that only listens for their treat. Keep in mind that this rate will have to vary depending on the situation. For example, if your dog faces many distractions while on a walk, you will want to increase your rate of reward to help them stay focused.

Keep in mind that you need to find rewards that will matter to your dog. Some puppies might respond best to cuddles or back scratches. Others might like a favorite toy or a particular dog food, such as treats. You need to find a reward that entices them strongly enough that they will look past distractions to listen to you. As you work through this process, you might find that obedience classes are a good choice for you and your puppy.

Obedience Training and Training Classes

Many new puppy owners will find that an important part of their puppy training process lies in training classes. Working with a dog trainer can help those new to puppy ownership better understand their dog’s behavior and how to train them. Many people, as they start training their puppy, find they have questions that pop up about specific behaviors. Puppy training classes offer resources, including access to trained professionals and other puppy owners who can offer insight into their own experiences. In this way, it can provide an excellent community for those trying to learn more about how puppies learn and develop.

Puppy owners who struggle with any behaviors may also find that the puppy training tips provided during the class offer valuable insights into how to properly motivate and train their dogs. When puppies go through obedience training, it can also do a good job of reinforcing the training. It works like this:

  • The puppy has to remember what they have learned in a completely new situation.
  • The puppy has to learn commands when surrounded by a number of distractions.
  • The classes encourage the puppy and owner to remember to practice the obedience training, which provides additional reinforcement of the puppy’s important lessons.

These classes can also provide immense benefits from a social perspective.

Obedience Classes and Puppy Socialization

In addition to the training itself, many dog owners appreciate the value these classes offer when it comes to puppy socialization. Once a dog has received their vaccinations at a few months old, you want to introduce the puppy to a variety of new faces, both human and dog. This helps create a well-socialized dog that understands how to react to strangers and does not show anxiety when introduced to other people in the future.

Puppy owners should also understand dog development. Often, around the age of 3 months, puppies enter an important developmental window for socialization. During this period, they often feel more ready to explore the world and have new experiences. Following this period, around 6 months, many puppies enter a fear stage in which they feel more anxious around new people, situations and animals. Therefore, the association they make with strangers during this socialization period can have a significant effect.

Obedience classes can offer an excellent resource for puppy socialization. Your dog gets the chance to meet a variety of different types and sizes of dogs as well as their owners. This creates a socialization class that benefits your dog’s emotional development.

Training your dog while they are still young can have a tremendous impact on your training outcome and the level of communication you have with your dog. Although it can feel like a lot of work, it can teach your dog to avoid bad habits and offers you the chance to bond with your puppy and develop a deep friendship for years to come.

Nourish Your Dog as They Grow With Bully Max

As your dog progresses through the stages of obedience training, the right dog food can help nourish their growing body. Bully Max’s dog food uses all-natural ingredients that have been specifically selected to support your dog’s muscle and bone growth and joints. In particular, our High-Performance Dog Food was designed to provide nutrition, not filler. So, you won’t see wheat, soy or corn on the ingredients list.

Our goal is to help your dog thrive from puppyhood into adulthood. See the difference quality food can make in the care of your new puppy.

Guide to Helping Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

Just like humans, dogs aren’t always going to be perfectly healthy. They have to deal with upset stomachs from time to time, just like we do. Mild stomach problems are usually treatable at home with some simple care strategies and natural remedies. However, more serious symptoms may require a trip to the vet to diagnose and treat your dog’s upset stomach.

Bully Max offers this guide to help you understand the signs and causes of stomach upset, plus the best remedies for your dog’s health issues.

Common Causes of an Upset Stomach

According to veterinarians, it’s completely normal for dogs to experience mild digestive problems every so often. The top reason is because dogs are curious animals who often eat something they shouldn’t while playing or exploring. When they ingest something that’s bad for them, retching and diarrhea are often quick to follow. These are natural and protective processes a dog’s body uses to expel things that shouldn’t be in their bodies. Other common causes of an upset stomach include:

  • Bacterial infections or imbalance
  • Changes in diet
  • Chronic health condition
  • Food allergy or sensitivity
  • Medication
  • Old age
  • Parasites
  • Spoiled food
  • Stress

Sometimes, you might be able to figure out what’s causing your dog’s digestive issues, while other times, it’s a bit of a mystery. Learning to recognize the signs of your dog’s upset stomach can help you determine how best to help your dog, whether it’s with at-home remedies or seeking professional help from a veterinarian.

Signs of a Dog’s Upset Stomach

dog upset stomachExperienced dog owners may already know how to recognize their dog’s gastrointestinal issues; however, new pet owners may not realize what their dog’s symptoms mean. The following behaviors may indicate that something is wrong within your dog’s digestive tract:

  • Acting uncomfortable or pacing
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Distended stomach/bloating
  • Drinking less water or no water
  • Eating grass
  • Eating less
  • Extensive drooling
  • Frequent stretching
  • Gulping to combat reflux
  • Gurgling stomach noises
  • Licking the floor, their lips, the air or objects
  • Loss of appetite
  • Passing gas
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Vomiting

It’s time to address your dog’s health if they aren’t acting like their usual selves and are exhibiting any of these symptoms. Sick dogs can have one or more signs of an upset stomach, and the intensity of their symptoms varies depending on different factors, such as their age and the cause of the upset. Some easy home remedies may ease their pain, or a checkup at the vet might be required. Let’s get into how to tell which type of care is best for your pet’s situation.

When to Try Home Remedies

If your dog is showing mild signs of an upset stomach, you can try caring for them at home before heading to the vet. Withholding food allows your pet to fast for 12 to 24 hours. Smaller dogs should only fast for a maximum of 12 hours. Fasting gives your pet’s digestive system time to work through what’s causing the upset. Slowly reintroduce your dog’s regular food after the fast to see if they can now digest it normally.

Bland Diet Foods

If they still have mild stomach upset, try a bland diet instead. Cooked white rice and boiled chicken are plain foods that are easier for a sensitive stomach to digest. The meat should be both boneless and skinless and only make up about 25% of the meal compared to the rice. The bland diet should be given as three to four smaller meals throughout the day.

Soothing Natural Foods

Pumpkin is another natural food that eases stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Be sure to buy plain, pureed pumpkin with no additives and not canned pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin’s high soluble fiber content will coat and soothe your dog’s digestive tract and their irritable bowels. It’s also an excellent source of potassium for a sick dog dealing with dehydration.

Pureed sweet potatoes are a good option, as well. They can typically be found in the baby food aisle at the grocery store. A spoonful of plain yogurt or cottage cheese can also be added into a bland diet to help soothe an upset tummy and encourage eating.

Alternative Hydration Methods

pitbull drinkingWhen your dog is having trouble keeping down water, it’s important to try different hydration methods to avoid dehydration. If it’s been a while since they’ve had a drink or vomited, first try slowly offering crushed ice cubes every two to three hours. Once they keep the ice chips down, you can begin offering small amounts of water. If their body doesn’t reject it, keep offering more water over time until they’re back to their usual drinking habits.

Dehydration is dangerous for dogs, especially in smaller breeds and puppies. To encourage drinking, you can add sodium-free chicken bone broth to their water. Your vet may also recommend a 50-50 combination of water and a drink like Pedialyte to help keep their electrolytes in balance.

A few tests can be done to determine if your home remedies are working or if your dog is dehydrated. First, try a skin elasticity test by pulling gently on your pet’s skin and then letting go. It should bounce right back into place. You can also check the condition of your dog’s gums. A healthy and hydrated dog should have moist and slippery gums, not dry and sticky. Their saliva should be clear and thin, not thick and pasty, and their nose should be wet.

When to Go to the Vet

Call your vet if your pet is exhibiting signs of dehydration. Your dog may need IV fluids and expert care to aid in their recovery. In addition, you should probably contact a vet if your pet’s mild symptoms don’t subside after 12 to 24 hours. Other serious signs that your pet needs professional or emergency medical care include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Signs of increased discomfort
  • Increase of vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit or stools
  • Foreign object in vomit and/or poop
  • Collapse
  • Weakness
  • No energy
  • No appetite after 24 hours
  • Dehydration

Certain foods, plants and household products are toxic for dogs. If you know your dog ingested something they shouldn’t have, reach out to your vet, local emergency animal hospital or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. They will help you determine if it’s life-threatening and requires emergency medical care or if it’s treatable at home.

When to Use Probiotics and Prebiotics

Studies show that probiotics and prebiotics supplements for dogs work together to aid their digestion processes and boost their immune systems. Prebiotics are types of natural fiber found in high-fiber foods that support the probiotics, or good bacteria, in a dog’s colon. These natural supplements also help inhibit the growth of bad bacteria while increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics may also help to:

  • Treat diarrhea
  • Relieve irritable bowel
  • Reduce intestinal inflammation
  • Prevent urinary infections
  • Reduce allergic reactions

Probiotics are a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, especially after recovering from an upset stomach. Illness, stress and other issues cause microbial imbalances in dogs. Probiotic and prebiotic supplements help restore balance. They are available over-the-counter and can even be found in some high-quality dog foods.

Improve Your Dog’s Health With Bully Max Dog Food and Supplements

Dealing with a dog’s upset stomach can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what’s causing their symptoms. Simple home remedies, like a bland diet and ice chips, can help your pup recover from a mild stomach issue. More serious problems will require timely help and expert care from a veterinarian. Your dog’s wellness is as important to us here at Bully Max as it is to you and the professionals who help care for them.

From adult dogs to puppies 4 weeks and older, Bully Max’s dog food is a safe and healthy choice for all ages and breeds. Most dog foods are plant-based, with ingredients that aren’t good for dogs. Corn, wheat and soy proteins can trigger allergic reactions and cause digestive issues. Bully Max’s High-Performance Dog Food is an all-natural, meat-based formula. It doesn’t contain any harmful artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or hidden ingredients.

Bully Max’s products also support healthy bones, joints, skin, and coat, and we promise there are no cheap fillers or negative side effects. Our 100% natural ingredients won’t change your dog’s mood or behavior. We never use creatine or steroids in our products. So, if your dog requires extra nutrition or you simply want them to look and feel their best, try Bully Max’s top-rated performance dog food and supplements to improve your dog’s health today.

How to Choose the Best Puppy Food for Labrador Retrievers

Labrador retrievers are revered as America’s most popular dog breed — and for good reason. Although they were originally bred to help with hunting and fishing, people have adopted Labrador retriever puppies as family dogs. These good-natured, high-energy dogs quickly become a part of the family, as they’re good with nearly everyone.

Growing anywhere between 50 to 80 pounds, Labs make great service dogs, hunting dogs or general companions. Labrador retrievers love to eat, though, leaving them predisposed to obesity and a myriad of health issues that go with it. That’s why it’s important to set your furry companion up for success as a puppy.

This article will cover health issues that Labs commonly deal with and how the right large-breed puppy food can prevent bigger problems later on. We’ll also explain how high-quality dog food like Bully Max can meet your Lab pup’s nutritional needs.

Common Health Concerns in Labs and What to Feed Your Puppy

As a dog owner, it’s important that you’re aware of common health concerns that Labrador retrievers face. Knowing what health obstacles your Labrador pup may face later on in life can help you pick the right diet to prevent issues as they get older.

Hip Dysplasia

lab puppy eatingEarly signs of hip dysplasia present as limping and painfulness when walking up or down the stairs. Unfortunately, Labs are predisposed to developing hip dysplasia for a number of reasons:

  • Types of exercise
  • Excessive growth rate
  • Improper weight
  • Lack of proper nutrition

Some Labrador retrievers are genetically predisposed to developing this condition. By meeting your puppy’s nutritional needs, you can prevent this disease from hindering their quality of life. Choosing a diet designed for large-breed dogs can help prevent excessive growth, which can lead to skeletal diseases (like hip dysplasia) and joint issues. Experts also suggest a diet rich in glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements can help with your dog’s joints.

Arthritis

Labrador retrievers are at risk for arthritis due to their size, causing joint problems in old age. Veterinarians recommend supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, along with medications to alleviate pain. In rare cases, a veterinarian may recommend surgery to manage your dog’s pain.

How can you prevent your Labrador from developing arthritis in the first place? Start them on the right diet early on. Like hip dysplasia, starting your Lab puppy on a diet that meets their nutritional needs early on can prevent harm to their joints and skeletal system. Add in regular visits to the veterinarian, the right kind of exercise (e.g., swimming) and supplements, and you can help prevent arthritis from acting up or even developing.

Prevent arthritis with a nutritionally sound diet, including:

  • One that is not too rich so that your Lab puppy doesn’t grow too quickly
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, which are found in fish oil
  • Antioxidants to fight inflammation

Seizures

Experts say that Labrador retrievers are somewhat predisposed to seizures. In some instances, a mass in the brain, metabolic disturbances, exposure to toxins, anemia or electrolyte imbalances are to blame. Although seizures in Labradors can’t be completely attributed to diet, idiopathic seizures can be helped with nutritional changes.

Some recent studies suggest providing your pup with:

  • Small amounts of fruit (e.g., apples and berries)
  • Fresh green vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Edible bones

Start With Healthy Digestion

New research is showing how important probiotics and prebiotics can be for growing puppies — just be sure you provide your pup with probiotics designed for dogs. Developing the right balance of intestinal bacteria from an early age can help support a healthy immune system early on. Ultimately, this will help reduce the occurrence of stomach issues like constipation, diarrhea and digestive tract infections.

Probiotics can help your Lab puppy’s digestive system break down food, improving their immune health and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Prebiotics, on the other hand, provide fiber to your puppy. The addition of fiber encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon. All in all, the prebiotics help feed the probiotics.

How Often Should You Feed Your Puppy?

On the topic of health, you should consider how much you are feeding your puppy. Since puppies grow at different rates, there is no black and white answer as to how much they should eat. However, the general rule of thumb is to feed your puppy according to the guidelines on their puppy dry dog food. You should also consider the size, age, activity and energy levels, and medical conditions of your pup when buying dog food.

labrador puppiesAs newborns, puppies might be a little round from the puppy formula they’ve gulped down. However, by 12 weeks, your Labrador retriever puppy should have a definite waist. Weight gain is normal for your Labrador pup but should not be in excess. If you find your puppy to be a little more round than recommended, reduce the amount you feed them.

Alternatively, if you notice your puppy is starting to look a little slim, increase their portion size. If you’re seeing their ribs, shoulder bones, hips, base of their tail, or spine very easily, it’s likely that your puppy is too thin. In this case, it’s best to seek the help of a veterinarian to rule out health issues. Once you have the all-clear from your veterinarian, provide your puppy more nutrient-dense, higher-calorie kibble to meet your lab puppy’s nutritional needs.

Once they start eating dry food, feed your puppy small, frequent meals throughout the day. When you first bring your lab puppy home, you might feed them three to four times a day. Soon enough, you’ll be able to start feeding your pup twice a day.

The most important thing to consider when determining your puppy’s food is that it meets their nutritional needs. The best puppy food for labs should be nutrient-rich, providing your puppy with what they need without having to overeat. For a balanced diet, you should provide your puppy with high-quality food.

How to Find the Best Labrador Puppy Food

What we put in our bodies has a huge impact on our health. The same can be said for dogs. Starting your Lab puppy on a clean, nutritious diet early on is a good way to set their future health on the right track.

The dietary requirements of a 12-week old Labrador retriever puppy are going to vary from when they’re a 13-year-old adult Labrador. Starting your puppy on high-calorie kibble can help them grow and build muscle. Feeding your puppy a nutritionally sound diet early on can help prevent skeletal diseases, such as arthritis. How do you achieve this? Feed your puppy food specifically designed for their nutritional needs. For a Lab puppy, this means a diet for large-breed dogs, containing a higher protein level.

Dietary Requirements

In general, your Lab puppy needs fats, high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. Veterinarians have concluded that the main nutritional requirement for Labs is protein. In fact, protein plays a vital role in repairing tissues, maintaining the musculoskeletal system, supplying energy and keeping the immune system up and running.

The second most important nutritional requirement for Labs is fat. For Lab puppies, a fat content of 8% is recommended, although, it’s not an exact science. If your puppy is incredibly active, for example, they might need more fat and protein content than a less active dog.

Although wolves are carnivores, dogs are not. Even though grain-free is a common pet food buzzword, studies show that dogs need to eat grain for healthy heart function. Moreover, there’s an important link between blood taurine levels and heart health. Although it’s too early on to definitively say lower levels of taurine cause heart problems, a grain-free diet doesn’t provide as much taurine.

Eating a variety of foods allows dogs to thrive, gaining access to the right amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals. For the healthiest life, a Lab puppy should eat an omnivorous diet. This means they should not only eat protein but also grains, fruits and vegetables.

Bully Max’s High-Performance Dog Food is designed to give puppies 4 weeks and older the most nutrient-dense food. This meat-based formula uses 100% natural ingredients and is packed with high-quality protein. Staying proactive and making your lab puppy’s health a priority early on can help prevent health complications down the road.

Where other dog food brands fall short, Bully Max steps in. In fact, the proof is in our formula:

  • Chicken meal
  • Brown rice
  • Whole ground flaxseed
  • Vitamin E supplement
  • Biotin
  • Calcium
  • Chicken fat (which contain antioxidants)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Menhaden fish oil

Our formula provides your labrador pup with a balanced diet, promoting all-around wellness. The perfect balance of carbs, amino acids and other natural ingredients provides food for your pup throughout all their life stages.

Dos and Don’ts of Feeding Your Pup

The list of healthy foods for Labrador pups is extensive, but it’s important to keep in mind how you can meet your pup’s nutritional needs. To start, raw food and processed meats, such as sausage and bacon, should be avoided, as they contain seasonings and salt that can be dangerous to dogs.

Additionally, vegetables, such as a sweet potato, should be cooked before being given to your lab puppy. Although some vegetables can be eaten raw, your puppy might have a sensitive stomach. If you want to feed your Lab puppy raw food, stick with green beans and carrots.

Make sure to remove choking hazards. Feeding your dog a piece of watermelon every once and a while can be a fun dog treat; however, you should remove the seeds. Additionally, some pits and seeds contain cyanide, a toxic chemical that can be harmful to dogs in large amounts.

If you see food labels with “byproduct meal” or “chicken byproduct,” this should ring as a red flag. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), rendered products vary greatly. While some rendered products might include the brain and spleens of animals, they can also contain expired meat.

Experts also recommend avoiding preservatives, such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. Studies show these preservatives are carcinogenic and are tied to several serious health conditions. Take ethoxyquin: This preservative is linked to kidney failure, cancer and immune deficiencies.

Lastly, be careful of raw food and the bacteria that can harm your dog. Just like humans, your pup is at risk of contracting salmonella and listeria. For this reason, cooking eggs and fish before you feed them to your dog can help prevent these illnesses.

The Best Food for Labrador Retriever Puppies Is Bully Max

The best type of food for your Labrador retriever puppy is dry dog food or wet food that is specially created with their nutritional needs in mind. When choosing the next bag of pet food, make sure that the package displays a “Nutritional Adequacy Statement” and make sure it’s right for your puppy’s months of age. By checking the package, you can make sure the food has the right nutrition and meets your puppy’s needs.

Bully Max’s 30/20 High-Performance Dog Food is the only performance dog food with a 5/5 star rating for every life stage without fillers, corn gluten meal and byproducts. The best dog food provides a balanced diet and is specially designed with your lab puppy’s needs in mind. Whether this is the first bag you’ll ever buy for your pup or the 100th bag of adult dog food, our formula is designed to keep your dog healthy and wagging their tail.

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Labs

If you are the proud owner of a Labrador retriever, you may be wondering how to best keep up with your dog’s energy and nutritional needs. Should you find grain-free dog food? Which kibble is best for large-breed dogs like Labradors? Does dog food need to be breed-specific? Is wet food or dry food best? With the sheer number of dog food brands on the market, it can be difficult to find the one that’s right for your pooch. 

The truth is that dog food doesn’t need to be breed-specific or grain-free (as long as the grains included are healthy), and, believe it or not, dry versus wet food doesn’t matter much. However, the right dog food can make a world of difference to your dog’s health, strength, stamina, and activity level. 

Learn about the nutritional requirements of Labrador retrievers, what ingredients to avoid, and how Bully Max’s products can help keep your dog strong and active. 

Why Labrador Retriever Dog Food Requirements Are Special

Labrador retrievers make great hunting dogs, able to retrieve ducks, rabbits, and more and bring them back to their owners. Because they are intelligent and very trainable, many Labradors also work as service animals, which means they need to be both alert and active. cute lab dog

Anyone who’s ever owned a Labrador knows they have a lot of energy. Maintaining that energy takes a lot of calories and building the muscle mass needed to play hard and work hard requires a lot of protein. 

Keeping Labradors strong and at a healthy weight helps prevent hip, elbow, and joint problems, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis in older dogs. This means that the diet you feed your Labrador retriever needs to have the right balance of protein and nutrients, without extra filler ingredients that only provide empty calories. 

Labradors are also known for eating just about anything and always acting hungry. This makes them prone to obesity. A dog food like Bully Max’s 30/20 High Performance Dog Food is specially designed to provide active, working dogs like Labradors the nutrients needed to build muscle mass and stay healthy. Higher-protein dog foods not only provide proper nutrition for this breed but can help curb your Labrador’s seemingly endless appetite, keeping their weight in check.

Foods and Ingredients to Avoid With Your Labrador Retriever

Many dog foods contain filler ingredients and limited ingredients that don’t add to the health profile of the food. Such ingredients can leave your dog lethargic and make it easier to gain unhealthy weight instead of the muscle mass needed for this high-energy breed.

Try to avoid the following ingredients in your Labrador’s food:

  • Soy: This vegetable-based protein simply does not provide the same usable high-quality protein as meat. Dogs are less able to process soy for energy and muscle maintenance. It can also be difficult to digest and cause bloating and gas.
  • Corn: Often used as a filler, corn is difficult to digest and can cause problems for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  • Wheat: The gluten in wheat is not a natural part of a dog’s diet and can also lead to digestive system problems and food allergies in some dogs.
  • Artificial colors and flavors: There is no need to add artificial ingredients to a dog’s food. Many companies do this to make their dog food more visually appealing and to compensate for flavor deficits resulting from subpar ingredients. The ingredients in artificial colors and flavors may cause behavior and health problems, as well.
  • BHA/BHT: These are chemical preservatives that are questionable enough in their safety profiles to even be banned in some countries. 
  • Propylene glycol: Used to keep moisture in semi-moist foods, this ingredient can be toxic in large amounts.
  • MSG: A common flavor enhancer, this ingredient provides no nutritive value and is a common allergen in pets. 
  • Sugar and corn syrup: Dogs don’t need added sugar in their pet food. It can lead to blood sugar spikes in the short term and obesity and diabetes in the long term.

What Dog Food Ingredients Are Good for Labrador Retrievers?

The ingredients in your Labrador’s food should be all-natural. Good dog food is also protein-rich, with 30% of calories coming from protein. For active and hard-working dogs, calorie-rich foods with high-quality ingredients like those found in Bully Max’s High Performance Dog Food are ideal. 

Look for the following essential ingredients in your Labrador’s food:

  • High-quality animal protein: Meat — including deboned chicken, turkey meal, venison, and lamb meal — is a significant part of a dog’s diet. It provides the protein needed to build muscles and stay active. For example, Bully Max’s dog food is ideal because chicken meal — a highly nutritious form of chicken with nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken — is the first ingredient. Bully Max’s dog food also contains fish meal and other high-quality protein sources.
  • High-quality carbohydrates: Carbs provide the energy that active dogs need. Look for high-quality carbohydrates and whole grains, such as brown rice, sorghum, sweet potato, or barley, and avoid low-quality carbohydrates, such as corn and wheat.
  • Healthy fats: An essential part of a dog’s diet, healthy fats promote proper cell function and improve your dog’s coat. Bully Max’s dog food contains chicken fat and fish oil — a source of healthy omega-3s, which promote heart and brain health.
  • Fiber: Soluble and insoluble fiber are important for your dog’s digestive health. Fiber comes from the carbohydrates in your dog’s foods but may also be added. Bully Max’s dog food contains dried beet pulp, an excellent natural source of fiber.
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, chloride, potassium, and other electrolytes promote organ function and help prevent kidney problems. 
  • Vitamins and minerals: Ideally, your dog’s food should contain all of the vitamins and minerals they need to support their immune system and joint health. These vitamins and minerals may be contained in some of the main ingredients and also added in as supplements. Look for vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin D3, calcium, and trace minerals in your dog’s food. Bully Max’s Total Health Powder can serve as the right supplement — with ingredients like glucosamine to help promote joint health, chondroitin to support the tissues in their joints, and phosphorus to support strong bone development. 
  • Fatty acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promote growth, immune function, and skin and coat health. They can be found in chicken fat, fish oil, and flaxseed — which are all ingredients in Bully Max.

What Dog Food Is Good for Labrador Hunting Dogs?

Labradors that work as hunting dogs need to be strong, well-trained, and have the sustained energy required to keep up on hunting trips. The best food for such dogs is protein-rich, high in calories, and made of natural ingredients with no byproducts or byproduct meal. 

labrador dog eatingEven non-hunting Labradors require a proper diet that provides them with the energy and nutrients needed for running and playing. Bully Max’s dog food contains all the important ingredients described above and none of the ingredients that should be avoided. In addition, our High Performance Dog Food also contains probiotic cultures that promote healthy gut bacteria and improve digestion, organic dried kelp that contains iodine and supports your dog’s thyroid system and hormone levels, and antioxidants and amino acids.

Bully Max’s dog food is 100% safe for all breeds and all life stages, whether you have a large-breed puppy or an older Labrador retriever, meeting Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for both “growth and reproduction” as well as “adult maintenance.” This means you can use it for Labrador puppy food, adult dog food, and for senior dogs, as well. 

Bully Max’s 30/20 High Performance Dog Food contains 535 calories per cup, as well as 30% protein and 20% fat, making it a top choice for improving your dog’s health and energy while helping build muscle. 

Choose Bully Max Dog Food to Keep Your Lab Feeling Their Best

If your dog works hard and plays hard, they need quality dog food that can keep up. Bully Max is used around the world by police K9 units, champion breeders, search-and-rescue dogs, and more. You want the best food option for your pet that prevents health issues and promotes healthy joints, healthy skin, and a healthy weight.

Originally designed by a dog owner struggling to find food that could keep up with his dog’s needs, this meat-based, calorically dense dog food is made with quality ingredients. 

Try Bully Max’s products today and give your dog one of the most researched, trusted, and best dry dog foods around.

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

From the moment you first bring home your German shepherd puppy, you probably want to find quality food that will nourish them throughout their lives. The right dry dog food for your German shepherd dog (GSD) can support your pet’s immune system, help them build lean muscles, and support them as they grow into strong and healthy dogs. 

As many people realize, a large-breed puppy (and, later, a large-breed adult dog) has different dietary needs than other types of dogs. You want to know the top picks for your special animal so that you can confidently provide them with the optimal diet. 

When you look at the wall of dog food choices at the store, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with the range of selection. Bully Max will help you uncover what to look for when finding food to support your dog’s long-term health.

What Makes German Shepherd Food Requirements Different?

German shepherd dogs have a large chest and are active dogs. These traits mean they have unique dietary requirements when it comes to achieving optimal health. Their high-calorie needs allow them to be high-energy and hard-working animals. 

Unfortunately, German shepherds can be at risk for a life-threatening condition known as bloat. Foods that are high in fillers, additives, and poor-quality ingredients — including those using too much corn, wheat, oats, or rice — can increase the risk for this condition. Symptoms of bloat in your giant breed can include:german shepherd dog

  • Attempting to throw up and unable to do so
  • A painful or swollen-looking abdomen
  • Rapid breathing without doing intense exercise
  • Excessive drooling beyond what you’d expect from your dog
  • Appearing restless or otherwise in distress or pain

If this is the case, bring your dog to the vet immediately. Bloat can be very dangerous for dogs. 

The large size of German shepherds also means they should eat puppy food designed for their size. Puppy food for smaller dogs often has a different balance of minerals, such as calcium, that can disrupt the dog’s ability to grow properly.

How Often Should You Feed Your Adult German Shepherd?

Your adult German shepherd dog will eat differently than they did as a puppy. While younger dogs may eat their puppy food a few times throughout the day, adult German shepherds should generally eat twice a day. Keep in mind that the calories adult dogs need will vary depending on factors like:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Overall size

The best dog food should provide your dog with the nutrition they need on this twice-a-day schedule. To help you further ward off bloat, it’s best to avoid giving your dog heavy exercise immediately after eating.

A high-protein food like Bully Max’s 30/20 High Performance Dog Food can help your dog meet their nutritional requirements on this recommended feeding schedule. This will help your dog remain a healthy weight as they grow. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of dog ownership, as dogs that become overweight can put excess weight on their joints. This can cause or exacerbate health problems, such as hip dysplasia, as the dog ages.

What to Look for in Quality German Shepherd Food

The right dog food for your German shepherd will help you:

  • Maintain their digestive health
  • Benefit their joint health
  • Promote healthy skin
  • Help prevent bloat and health issues by avoiding poor-quality ingredients

Therefore, promoting active German shepherd wellness comes down to paying attention to three main dietary conditions:

  • The food should be derived from high-quality, protein-rich ingredients. Remember that German shepherds need high-quality protein from trusted protein sources throughout all their life stages.
  • The food contains only natural ingredients. High-quality ingredients will meet your large breed dog’s nutritional needs without trying to fill out the food with poor ingredients, like excess corn. 
  • The food is made in a place with high health standards. You want to be able to trust that the high-quality ingredients are as described and don’t contain any mysteries.

Check for the Optimal Ingredients

While some dog owners may want to feed their dogs grain-free food, the biggest requirement in GSD food is finding kibble or wet food that has high protein concentrations for a large breed dog. This animal protein should come from identified meat sources, such as lamb meal, fish meal, or chicken meal, as you can find in Bully Max’s High-Performance Dog Food. The food should also contain plenty of rich fat, such as chicken fat. 

german shepherd eatingOther ingredients should also come from quality carbohydrates and whole food sources, such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, and whole grains. Omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids should also come from quality ingredients, including fish oil. Preservatives should be minimal to nonexistent, as many are bad for your dog’s health. When they’re included, natural preservatives will serve your dog best. High-quality food like this will help your German shepherd’s digestive system and get them the nutrients and calories they need throughout their lives.

To gain a better understanding of how dog food meets those standards, look at the first ingredients. A quality source of protein should be listed at the top. You want to see types of meat and nutritious sources of fat content, minerals, and carbs that you recognize, as well. 

If the manufacturers only list the protein source as byproducts and don’t provide information about the type of meat it comes from, that’s not a good sign. Byproducts can come from a variety of poor sources, including chicken feet, that provide little nutritional value. Examining the package itself can also give you some insight, as you can see if the food contains other helpful ingredients like antioxidants and probiotics, which can help further boost your dog’s health.

If you look at Bully Max’s ingredient lists, for example, you’ll see every ingredient spelled out for you. There should be no mystery ingredients when it comes to feeding your dog. This allows you to feel confident in the food you pour into your German shepherd’s bowl.

Even with these guidelines, keep in mind that your dog might have other dietary requirements. For example, some may have a sensitive stomach when on a completely grain-free dog food. Others might also show signs of a food allergy to certain ingredients or byproduct meals. If you see symptoms of potential allergies or gastrointestinal distress in your German shepherd, speak to a vet immediately.

If your dog has unique health needs, you might want to turn to additional supplements to help meet your pet’s health requirements. For example, to support joint health, supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can be beneficial. Bully Max’s Total Health Powder can help boost your German shepherd’s overall immunity, maintain healthy hips and joints, and increase their digestive health, among other things.

As you select your food, also make sure that you choose one for the right stage of life for your dog. Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs, as they often need to consume a higher percentage of their calories from fat and need different proportions of vitamins and minerals to help them grow into an adult dog. Always read the packaging carefully to make sure you get a product designed for your pet’s life stage. For example, Bully Max’s 31/25 Ultra Performance Dog Food is designed for all life stages, ensuring your German shepherd gets the right nutrition at the right time. 

Discover How Bully Max Can Help Improve Your German Shepherd’s Health

When it comes to feeding your German shepherd, you can trust Bully Max to provide the high-quality ingredients that large breed dogs need to meet their nutritional needs and grow healthy and strong. Our USA-made food offers high protein content and vet-trusted formulas designed for dogs just like yours. 

We’ve designed our products to fill the nutritional needs of active, strong dogs just like your German shepherd. Discover how Bully Max’s products can supply your dog with the nutrition you can trust.

How to Help Your Dog Gain Weight the Healthy Way

When it comes to our four-legged friends, it’s important that we treat our dog’s health as seriously as our own. Something you’ll want to help your dog with is maintaining a healthy weight.

An overweight or underweight dog can both face troublesome issues. On one hand, the American Heart Association warns that dogs who carry too many extra pounds can carry an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, and other health conditions. But being underweight can be equally dangerous. A gaunt dog could, for example, be a sign of an underlying illness or health condition — such as tooth pain or gastrointestinal issues — or an effect of aging or stress.

If you consult with your vet and find that your dog needs to put weight on to be in the healthier range, there are safe ways to go about it. In this guide, we’ll discuss what it means for your dog to be underweight and offer safe ways to add extra calories to their diet. The goal is to help them gain lean, muscular healthy weight so they avoid additional health issues.

Signs Your Dog Is Too Skinny

If you are concerned about your dog’s weight, especially if they have dropped pounds suddenly, the best place to start is to take them to the veterinarian or a certified pet nutritionist for an examination or counseling.

Vets often employ either a five- or nine-point scale to assess a dog’s weight; the lowest rating shows that the dog is near starving and the highest rating shows extreme obesity. Below are some of the signs that your dog is too skinny: 

  • Ribs are visible with just skin (rather than soft tissue) covering the bones
  • Shoulder bones, hips, spine, and base of the tail are easy to find, with little or no covering of fat
  • Viewing your dog from overhead, you see that there is a pronounced curve between the ribs and hips, and the spine or rib bones are visible.
  • When you look at your dog from the side, you observe a sharp rise in the abdomen from ribs to hips (this may be more natural for greyhounds but less so for other breeds). A gentle, gradual rise is healthier. 

When assessing your dog’s body weight, remember that you also have to keep in mind its breed and body shape — the profiles of a greyhound and a bulldog, for instance, are meant to be quite different.

5 Tips to Help Your Dog Gain Weight Safely

If you need to help your dog gain weight, here are a few ways to ensure they get where they need to be in the healthiest way possible.

German Shepherd Running

Give Your Dog More Exercise

Although suggesting your dog get more exercise may seem counterintuitive, the truth is regular exercise is important to a dog’s physical and mental health. Whether you have a collie or a pit bull, providing solid outdoor time to help your dog stretch its legs can help them maintain their ideal weight. A good walk or run helps to build an appetite, which is especially important if your dog is a picky eater. 

Feed Them More Frequently

If your dog isn’t eating enough, consider feeding them more frequently. This doesn’t mean providing food for them all day long, but rather adding another regularly scheduled meal to the plan, or even a few small meals. 

Between meals, it’s OK to give them the occasional snack — not human food or unhealthy options, but an all-natural, high-quality dog treat full of vitamins, minerals, and flavor. Bully Max Performance Chews can be provided as treats or added to regular meals to make up for any lack in a dog’s diet.

Formulated by veterinarians, the Performance Chews are an all-natural quality food that builds long-lasting muscles, provides 10 grams of raw protein in a single serving (two chews), and won’t alter your dog’s mood or behavior.

Be Consistent When It Comes to Picky Eaters

An underweight dog could also be the result of a picky eater. Besides giving them more exercise to build up their appetites, some best practices for dog owners include:

  • Control who they dine with: If you eat at the same time as your dog, they may be too distracted by the delicious smells of human food to eat their own. If you have other pets who eat at the same time, they might be “bullying” the skinny dog away from their food or otherwise distracting them.
  • Be strict about mealtimes: Dogs are creatures of habit, so feed them at set times every day. Give them their food; that’s what they should eat (don’t try to tempt them with other types of food if they are reluctant). After the meal has been left out for roughly 30 minutes, take away any remaining food so your dog learns that they will need to eat within this time frame.
  • Practice consistency: While it’s fine to give an underweight dog more than one meal a day and healthy snacks, you shouldn’t spend all of your time trying to get them to eat or switching dog foods or the amount of food until you find something they like. Consistency will ensure that your picky eater adopts the habits of a healthy dog. 

Store Food Properly 

Almost as important as what you feed your dogs is how you feed them. Besides feeding dogs too much or too little dry food or canned food, a common mistake includes storing your dog food incorrectly so it goes stale or loses its nutritional content. Dog food and puppy food containers are designed to keep the food fresh and nutritious, whereas a separate storage container may not. If you want to use one, keep the food in the bag and then place it in the other container.

It’s also a bad idea to mix different kinds of dog food, or even two lines of dog food from the same brand. Different dog foods have different formulations and may be digested differently. Mixing two types of food may cause an upset stomach or gastrointestinal issues, or the bacteria and germs that could exist in one bag of food might be transferred to a bag of new food.

Provide More Calories, but Do So Wisely

Pitbull dog sitting

If a dog isn’t getting enough calories in its meals, then the solution is obvious: Give them more high-calorie food. Adding calories to a meal needs to be done wisely, however, as simply giving them a lot more food per serving may make them overeat and get sick.

The number of calories in a dog’s food can vary widely, from only 200 calories to 600 per cup. With Bully Max 30/20 High Performance Dog Food, for example, you get 535 calories per cup with premium ingredients and a meat-based formula (the only one in its class) that is 100% natural, with 30% proteins and 20% fat.

The Bully Max 31/25 Ultra Performance Dog Food boasts even more calories (600 per cup) and the same meat-based formula designed to build muscle mass and maintain a healthy weight. You will be able to feed your dog with 60% less food than other brands that are stretched out with fillers, starches, artificial flavors, and other ingredients that can leave dogs bloated, fatigued, and uncomfortable. Our calorie-dense, vet-approved formulations are easy on the stomach (they won’t cause digestive issues) and give underweight and performance dogs the calories and nutrition they need without overeating.

The Safe Way to Build Your Dog’s Body Mass

If you want to bulk up your dog safely and effectively — adding muscle, mass, and size — turn to the solutions developed by veterinarians and used by champion breeders, K9 units, and discriminating dog owners everywhere.

The Bully Max line of high-performance, high-protein dog foods and muscle-building nutrition supplements can improve your dog’s overall health and energy and add the weight they need for their peak health performance.

Our all-natural brand is backed by a money-back guarantee. Get the results you want for your dog or we will provide a 100% refund within 30 days.