Here are some links to things that we use and wanted to share with you.
We feed Innova Dog food to our dogs. The puppies eat Innova dry Puppy Food. It is one of the most nutritious foods available. Many of the problems that dogs have later in life can be attributed to improper nutrition such as skin problems, kidney and liver problems. Not that all problems can be solved with food, but many can be prevented. The dog food industry isn't regulated so what you think is nutritious may not be. Many name brand foods are garbage, but the general public does not know that. If you look up the true meaning some of the ingredients, you will never look at dog food the same again. Innova uses only hormone free, human quality meat as well as fruits and veggies. Dogs are omnivores, so they need a variety of ingredients in their diets, and Innova provides that. I have been adding some Evo to the adults food but wanted to see some long term results before posting. I added it because of the higher protein content that I find necessary for pregnant and nursing moms, but found it has also made an improvement in their coats. Their stools are incredibly small (they were small before, but even more so now), which is great for clean-up. I also recently gave "Taste Of The Wild" wetlands formula, which is a grain free food, but the protein level is not quite as high as Evo. It is also rated a 5 star food and the dogs loved it. Worth a look! I would never give up Innova, but I do like to add something in with higher protein when I have pregnant or nursing moms, or am showing a dog and both of those foods were a success.
I have never had a dog with any skin issues at all, much of which is caused by dog foods. I have become frustrated a time or two when people write me with a question/problem and it is obvious it is food related. I ask what they changed the food to (not if, because it is apparent) and in 100% of the cases, it has been to something lower quality with good marketing. The normal excuse is "they didn't like Innova". If Innova is the only puppy kibble they have ever had in their lives, how do they suddenly not like it? Here is how: people start to give treats and cookies to soon after getting their new puppies home. They introduce snacks. Of course the puppy is going to try to hold out for the treats and not eat the food. It is like giving a toddler nothing but healthy foods, carrots and fruits to snack on and then giving them a candy bar. If they think they can get candy, they are not going to eat their broccoli. Then you think, oh they must not like their food, so you change it. Some people will do this repeatedly and say they have a picky eater. Truth is, if this happens it is because their dog was made into a picky eater. A dog will hold out only so long, and will not let themselves starve. Changing their foods repeatedly is bad for them. I made the same exact mistake with my first Bernese Mountain Dog. I just knew he was going to starve to death if I didnt cater to what I thought were his whims, so I changed foods and then when he would "get tired of it", I would do it again. He was an awful picky eater his entire life and it was all my fault. I realized it too late with him, but NEVER made the same mistakes again. The very second any of my dogs starts acting like that and holding out for food, they get no more treats. They eat when they are hungry and then they get treats again slowly.
There is a great website out, which I only recently found. It gives ratings of dog foods and explains why the food is good or bad. if you don't know much about canine nutrition, give it a look and compare your dog food or any that you are considering.
We do many other things for our dogs but this food is a good start for you. I have no doubt that what we do works and provides our dogs with the best nutrition. In addition to the dog food I feed my dogs raw vegetables. I will give them baby carrots like treats and they love them. I also give them raw broccoli starting from the time they are puppies. These veggies provide antioxidants and lots of good vitamins just like they would for us. Sweet potatoes (cooked) are also a favorite. I also mix some olive oil and ground flax seed in with their dog food every single day. If it is healthy for us then it is healthy for them.
If you are skeptical at all I will share my experience. If you read my about us page, you know our family raised Bernese Mountain Dogs. Berners have a very short natural lifespan. usually 7-8 years, but many go sooner as early as 4-5 years. They have many health problems and cancer is rampant in the breed. I got my dogs from the healthiest I could find to start. Most in their lines lived to be 8 and in one or two cases 9. The things I do for my Tibeans, I started doing with them. I wanted them to live as long as possible, and to be healthy and hoped for at least an extra year or two, but never imagined the wonderful results. We just lost our last one recently. She was 13 1/2. We lost the one before at 13 also. She was healthy and still played and ran and jumped and was her goofy Berner self until the last 5-6 months of her life. I don't know if it was any thing in particular, the result speaks for itself.
You can read about Innova on their website. It also has something where you can locate a retailer that sells it near you. If you adopt one of our puppies then you will need to purchase some of this before you bring your new addition home.
There are also other things nutritionally that we do with our dogs. We feed them only natural treats, and cookies and Wellness is the brand we prefer. They also have a dog food which is good, but we don't feed the dog food as I don't find it to have all of the things I am looking for in a food. I do keep a cookie jar full of their cookies and use the training treats.
A wonderful product that we give all of our dogs are "Greenies". It is great product and does exactly what they say it does. Wonderful for dental hygiene and does not stain. Many imitations are being made and they look alike. If it isn't Greenies brand then it isn't the same.
Here is a link to the coat products we use. We use the shampoo, conditioner and anti-static spray.. I have used many products over the years, but always came back to this one, so I don't bother with any others now. You know the old saying, "If it aint broke, don't fix it". It was never broken, but just in case there was something better I kept trying. There never was so I wasted a lot of money on junk. This smells soooo good too. When it is raining and my dogs go outside they don't come in smelling like wet dog, they smell like Vellus, which is really nice. The shampoo and conditioner are concentrated, so a small bottle makes almost 10 times the amount of shampoo. You can either get their mixing bottle, or you can get a $1 empty plastic bottle at a beauty supply store and use a measuring cup to mix the proper ratio.
Here is one exception to my shampoo rule. I haven't tried it, but I know people that have and like it. Just to be fair, I will put a link to it too. It doesn't smell as nice as Vellus, but if you have a particularly thick coat to deal with, I have heard that it is good. I havent tried it, but enough people have said good thigs about it to mention. I should order some just to have an idea, but haven't gotten around to it.
I put some of my dogs hair up in pony tails. I also have seasonal bows and cute things like that. I love the bands that this company sells. They are coated so they will not tear the hair like regular bands. You can call them and they will help you pick the appropriate size for your dog. I like the removal scissors too. Never put regular bands in your dogs hair, and always redo the pony tail every two days. This company also sells leashes, but understand that they are show leads, not regular leashes and do not work the same. (Click on the drawing of the dogs on the top of the page to enter the site)
"How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With" by Clarice Rutherford and David H. Neil. This is the very best training book I can recommend. It not only tells you what to do it tells you why. It tells you what to reasonably expect at what age. It tells you how to break a bad habit after one starts. So much of what I will tell you about training will be in this book. You must use positive training methods with a Coton and the techniques in this book are easy and they really work. You can order it from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble It doesn't matter if you have nevr had a dog or have had dogs all of your life, this book will be beneficial for you.