Choosing The Right Dog Food For Your Family’s Best Friend

With its multitude of options, the pet food aisle can be a daunting place. One can of wet dog food might promise a “gourmet beef entrĂ©e” while another package of dry food might advertise “all natural ingredients” in big, bright lettering. You want the best for your dog, but where do you start?

The truth is that every dog is unique. Your dog’s breed, age, and personality can all affect his or her nutritional needs. There are some things all good dog foods have in common. However, to make the best dietary choices for your dog, you’ll have to consider your dog’s individual nutritional needs.

General Guidelines

The first thing to keep in mind is that your dog is an omnivore. It doesn’t take a veterinary degree to know that dogs love meat, but they also crave a well-rounded diet with nutrition from grains, fruits, and veggies. A balanced diet is the key to a dog’s health.

To ensure that balance, you’ll want to carefully examine the packaging and the label of your dog’s food. The ingredients list is an obvious place to start, but even the marketing and advertising on the package are worth reading. For example, a package advertised as a “beef dinner” or “beef platter” is only legally required to contain 10% beef, whereas a package advertised as “beef” alone must contain at least 70% beef. The same regulatory standards are applied to other ingredients, too.

Certain kinds of advertising, on the other hand, are basically meaningless. Many popular marketing terms like “gourmet” and “all natural” are unregulated by either The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means you can print those labels on just about anything. The next time you pick up after your dog, feel free to slap a sticker reading “all natural gourmet” on the bag!

The last, and best, general guideline is to consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet. Your vet is an expert on your dog’s nutritional needs. No matter what you’re considering or questioning, you’ll never go wrong asking a veterinarian for advice.

Excess Oil and Fat

A great rule of thumb is to check the first four ingredients listed on your dog food packaging. If you see oil or fat listed as one of those initial four, put the package back on the shelf. Not only are dog foods high in fat generally unhealthy, but they also put your dog at increased risk of bloat, a condition in which your dog’s digestive system fills with gas that has no means of escape. Within a couple of hours, bloat can be lethal for your dog.

Large or Small, Old or Young

Your dog’s size and age are two of the most crucial factors to consider when picking out dog food.

Large breed dogs are at higher risk for orthopedic diseases like arthritis. That means joint health supplements like glucosamine will be especially beneficial for larger dogs. As puppies, larger breeds are also in danger of certain developmental orthopedic diseases (DOD) which are caused by rapid, excessive growth. In these puppies, excess supplements can lead to growth at a rate their bodies can’t handle. The best dog foods for large breed puppies are lower in fat, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D to compensate for these risks.

In contrast, the greatest risk for small breed puppies is hypoglycemia. Their tiny bodies have high metabolic rates and fewer reserves of sugar and body fat. A small breed puppy’s meal should be packed with calories and, just like with small breed adults, should not contain chunks large enough to present a choking hazard.

Although the AAFCO and FDA don’t recognize a specific category of dog food for senior dogs, growing consensus suggests that senior dogs have unique dietary needs. Many of these needs will be dictated by health conditions your dog develops over time. Again, the best source of advice is your veterinarian, who already knows which conditions your senior dog is up against and will have the most up-to-date information regarding specialized senior diets.

Wet Versus Dry

Whether or not to feed your dog canned, wet meals or dry kibble is entirely up to you. The need to refrigerate opened cans of dog food and the affordability of kibble make dry meals a common choice for dogs. On the other hand, many dogs find wet meals more palatable. If your dog is a particularly picky eater, or if he or she struggles with a diminished appetite, the flavor boost of wet dog food might be the perfect solution. If you’re still on the fence, there’s no rule against feeding your dog a combination of wet and dry dog food.

Myths, Trends, and Reality Checks

Misinformation about dog food is all too common. It’s important to be thorough in your research to make sure you’re making sound, healthy choices for your dog.

Many dog families are wary of animal byproducts in their dog food, but dog food packed with hooves, hair, and manure is the stuff of urban legends. Today’s regulated animal byproducts include materials like organs and entrails, which are perfectly safe for your dog. If you’re still concerned about just what qualifies as an animal byproduct, call the brand of dog food you’re considering. Any dog food company worth their salt will volunteer that kind of information without any hesitation.

Some human dietary trends are hastily forced onto dogs. Gluten-free diets, for example, are almost always unnecessary for dogs, who very rarely have allergic reactions to wheat gluten. Other trends, like raw diets or home-cooked dog food, pose considerable risks to your dog’s health. Yet again, the best advice on any of these diets will come not from your neighbors or your Facebook friends, but from a trained veterinarian. If you’re absolutely sure about a special diet for your dog, the only responsible way to implement that diet is to consult with your vet first. If you don’t, you could do real harm to your dog, no matter how good your intentions may be.

Ultimately, the best way to know whether your dog’s diet is working as intended is to pay attention to your dog. A dog with healthy body weight will have a visible waist and ribs you can feel with your hand. If your dog is active, happy, and free from the any signs of digestive distress, you’ve probably made the right choice for your family’s best friend.

Spice Up Your Life With These Potted Plants

When it comes to choosing potted plants for your home, you will want to choose plants that are suited for the environment and climate around your home. Some plants require indirect sunlight and lots of shade while other plants require a healthy amount of sunlight every day to remain healthy. Below, you will find four of the most popular potted plants to add color, beauty, and spice to your life as well as their individual care requirements.

Aloe Vera

An aloe vera is a wonderful potted plant for someone who has very little experience caring for potted plants. It is a hardy plant that is very low maintenance. It only needs to be watered when the soil becomes dry. In a humid home, an aloe vera plant can go without being watered up to three weeks. If you live in a dry area, the plant will require water more often. The benefits of having an aloe vera plant in your home are numerous. Aloe vera is a plant that has many medicinal uses including skin relief for minor burns and soothing for cuts.

Busy Lizzies

Busy Lizzies re a popular type of blooming flower that are chosen as decoration for both homes and public areas. They are a perfect addition to any garden or as a companion piece within your home. Small with vivid colors, Busy Lizzies will bloom from May until October. They require a low amount of maintenance and thrive in small containers such as flower pots. They are sensitive to cold and frost, so be sure to bring in your Busy Lizzies at night if a drop in temperature or a frost is in the forecast. They will wither under direct sunlight, so keeping them in your home or in a shady area of your garden will give them the proper amount of care required to bloom to their fullest and most beautiful of colors.


If you’re looking for a potted plant that’s more exotic than the traditional flower or ivy variety, a bromeliad is a plant that will surprise and amaze your senses. A bromeliad starts out as a plain plant with large green leaves that are flat and wide like a sword blade. In the center of the plant is an odd-looking stem that will grow and blossom throughout the life of the bromeliad. This stem will blossom into a brilliant flower that looks like its been plucked directly from the tropics.

What makes these plants even more astonishing is that near the end of its life cycle, it has the chance to produce a flower that differs from the usual color and shape. Additionally, a bromeliad plant will produce little pups of itself near the end of its life as well. Although this plant only lives for a year or two, you can obtain a healthy bromeliad family from just a single plant if you properly transplant these bromeliad pups into their own pot. From its humble beginnings to its impressive end, a bromeliad plant will add plenty of tropical spice to your life.


Clematis vine plants are a striking and vibrant addition to your home or garden. They can be grown in a flower pot with ease. A flower pot is often an ideal place to keep a clematis plant since they have diverse needs in order to grow and bloom. A clematis plant requires at least six hours of direct sunlight a day while requiring its soil to remain cool. This balance of sunlight and cool soil is difficult to attain. In a flower pot, this can be accomplished by adding a cover over the top of the flower pot.

One thing to keep in mind is that a clematis plant is a vine, so it will need something to cling to and climb in order to reach its full beauty and remain healthy. Keeping your clematis flower pot near a lattice inside of your home or near an indoor tree can not only provide the clematis vine somewhere to cling but will also add a charming natural aesthetic to your indoor home decor. Clematis plants can begin blooming in early spring through to late fall, so depending on the type of clematis plants you have, you can enjoy their beauty for most of the year.

Escape Rooms are All The Rage – Here’s Why You Should Try One

Escape rooms are becoming one of the biggest trends for a variety of reasons. The idea is simple enough- you’re locked in a room, and you and the other people in the room need to escape. You will look for clues in the most unexpected places and, hopefully, you make it out in time! If you haven’t experienced the fun already, here are six reasons why you should try and escape room!

1. Team building

Escape rooms require a group of people to work together to solve puzzles and escape the room in the allotted amount of time. It’s a great opportunity for people to bond over a common goal. Friends and family may learn new things about each other through the process. It’s also a fantastic way for companies to encourage employees to work together. These collaborative skills can then be utilized to resolve conflict or to work together at work. The best part is that people will enjoy the learning process, too!

2. It’s fun

Escape rooms are specifically made to be entertaining and fun. There are a multitude of themes to choose from, such as spy, carnival, ancient Egypt, zombie apocalypse, and pirates. Some people will even dress up for the occasion. The puzzles are fun, and the ambiance promotes a positive attitude. It’s essentially a video game that you can play in real life. Plus, it’s much better than sitting at home all night.

3. Promotes creative thinking

Too often, our lives become mundane. This is especially true if you work in an office. In an escape room, you are forced to use your critical thinking skills to get out of the room. This promotes creative problem-solving skills that can come in very handy in every day situations.

4. Identify leaders

When a group starts to solve the puzzles, one or two people will generally step up to take charge. Employers can use this to watch how well these people succeed in a leadership role. It can also allow employers to see who has the intelligence and desire to complete the tasks.

5. Customized experience

Escape rooms come in a variety of flavors. You can decide what type of experience you want! You can pick the difficulty level based on the people who will be participating. For people who love puzzles and take them seriously, you can do a harder level than some friends who just want to try something new after dinner and drinks. You can even talk to the people who own the escape room about incorporating your company’s logo or a personalized message to someone for their birthday.

6. Private

You can rent out an escape room so that you have a private experience for your company or your friends and family. You can also meet new people and work with them if that’s more appealing to you. This once again helps you stay in control and have the experience that you want.

Escape rooms offer numerous benefits, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. See what all the buzz is about and experience one today!

How To Make The Perfect Omelette

The great thing about eggs is that you can turn them into a variety of delicious meals. While fried eggs, hard-boiled eggs and scrambled eggs are popular, omelettes are probably one of the top picks for a dish that can be made out of eggs. Learning how to make the perfect omelette will help you and your family enjoy this dish even more.

Your List Of Ingredients

Omelettes can be made in a variety of ways. However, to make the perfect omelette, you’ll need these ingredients:

– 1 tablespoon Oil, butter, bacon grease or a nonstick spray

– 3 eggs, beaten

– A splash of milk

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1/3 to 1/2 cup of grated cheese

– Your favorite ingredients such as ham, sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes or jalapenos

Prepping Your Eggs And Pan

Preparing the perfect omelette is easier if you have a nonstick pan. If you’re using a regular pan, you will want to add either oil, butter, bacon grease or a nonstick spray to your pan before turning it on to medium-low heat. This will allow your omelette to cook without sticking. Also, the flavor of these ingredients will settle into your eggs once they are cooked.

Some individuals prefer the taste of butter with their eggs. If you aren’t a big fan of butter, you can use one of the other choices.

After adding one of those ingredients to your pan and firing up the heat, you’ll need to prep your eggs by cracking them into a bowl. Throw in a splash of milk and use a fork to mix the two ingredients together. It should be noted that the more you mix and beat your eggs, the fluffier your eggs will be when fully cooked.

Cooking The Perfect Omelette

Once your eggs and milk are mixed, check the temperature of your pan and tilt it so that the bottom is completely covered with butter or oil. On a stove that has a dial that runs from 1 to 10, you’ll want to cook your omelette on 3. This medium-low heat will ensure that your eggs don’t cook too fast.

Take your egg mixture and pour it into the pan. You’ll need to periodically move the egg mixture by taking a fork or spatula and pulling the egg mix from the center to the edge. Watch to make sure that your omelette is being cooked evenly. You may have to rotate your pan once or twice if you notice a portion of your omelette is cooking faster than other areas.

You only need to pull the egg mixture a few times. You want to make sure that your omelette is one solid piece. At a medium-low heat, it should cook nicely. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and wait for the egg mixture to solidify.

Once the bottom of your egg starts to turn a light brown color, it’s time to add your ingredients.

Adding Ingredients

Cheddar cheese is one of the best ingredients that you can add to your omelette. Although, since you are making the perfect omelette, you may have a cheese that you like better. If you have a grater, use this to grate cheese and sprinkle it over the solidified egg mixture. If you only have a knife to cut your cheese, that will work as well. Just be sure to cut your cheese into slices that are thin so that they can melt.

At this point, you also want to add the rest of your ingredients. If you’re making a ham and cheese omelette, you’d add diced ham to your cheese. A Denver omelette is also a good choice for the perfect omelette. This type of popular omelette includes ham, cheese, diced onions and diced green peppers.

Make sure that these ingredients are diced or chopped so that they can easily warm up. Place them on one side of the omelette so that you can flip the other side over the top.

Once you’ve got all of the other ingredients in the pan, place a lid on top and wait for the cheese to melt and the other ingredients to get warm. This will probably take around 2 to 4 minutes.

Removing Your Omelette From The Pan

Once your cheese is melted and the other ingredients are warmed, it’s time to move your omelette out of the pan. Take a plate and set it on the counter. Lift your pan and place it over the plate. Tilt your pan slowly so that the omelette with the side of the ingredients slides out of the pan. When you reach the middle of the omelette, flip the rest of the omelette that’s in the pan over the top of the ingredients.

Garnish the top of your omelette with more cheese if you’d like. You can also add dollops of Greek yogurt, sour cream or salsa. A perfect omelette is one that you make with ingredients that you enjoy. Add a couple of pieces of toast to your dish if you’d like and sit down to enjoy your creation.