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Your resource for advice from Hubbard® Life experts.


Vacations with Fido: Preparation tips for hitting the road

Summer usually includes at least one venture away from home with the entire family and “Fido” is, after all, a part of the family. 

Preparation and planning go into making a vacation a fun experience for everyone. How much thought is given to Fido’s comfort and enjoyment?

Start by making a list of the things that need to be taken with Fido. The list should include health papers with the veterinarian’s contact information, Hubbard Life dog food, Fido’s favorite eating and drinking dish, a water container, a couple of favorite toys, Fido’s bed and a travel kennel, depending on the living arrangements on the road. Also, don’t forget leashes, an extra collar and grooming items.

Keep in mind that this list requires a great deal of space. Now may be the time to re-think Fido making the trip and instead being checked into a plush Pooch Spa Resort where they get the royal treatment while the family goes on the trip. But if that is out of the question, read on.

Know ahead of time what, if any, restrictions the places you stay or visit have regarding pets. Places like state or federal parks have regulations posted on their websites for pets. Most require that they be kept on a leash at all times.

When on vacation there is a natural tendency to eat and sleep on a much different schedule than when at home. We usually adjust to this quite well but that may not be the case with Fido. The best plan is to keep pets on schedule. Avoid the temptation to share some of the delicious barbecue, hotdogs or pizza. The combination of an extreme diet change and a couple more hours in the car may be a bad mix than can ruin a great day.

Be cautious leaving Fido in the vehicle for a prolonged period of time. Vacation typically takes us to areas where we are not as familiar with the climate as we are at home. An example is in the mountains where the overnight lows may approach freezing. We may head out on a hike with several layers of clothes on and be sheading them as afternoon temperatures soar into the 90’s. Fido would not be doing well in the car in the afternoon.

The likelihood of Fido coming into contact with other pets is pretty close to 100 percent. While they may appear healthy, you never know what might be incubating in their system and contagious to Fido. This is why it is critical that all annual vaccinations are up-to-date and have been given at least two weeks prior to the trip. Most clinics are open to moving vaccination schedules ahead to help you prepare Fido for a healthy, safe trip. You may want to inquire with a veterinarian about any other things they would suggest to take along like nausea medication, which is especially important for a first time traveler. Another consideration is external parasite prevention.

Some detail to the things above will better insure an enjoyable trip for the entire family. At Hubbard Life we not only provide your pet with proper nutrition we share with you the practical day to day things that make living with our pets more enjoyable. For more information go to www.hubbardlife.com or catch up with us on Twitter or Facebook. Safe travels!

 

Posted on 6/28/2012 by Dr. Dave Whittington  |  Category: Dog
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Hay for Horses: What type of feeder is most efficient?

Feeding properly made and stored round bales of hay to horses is an excellent option for horse owners but it is a two-edged sword.

On one hand, feeding round bales makes life easier. You take a skid loader, pick up a round bale of hay (the equivalent of 15-20 small square bales) and put it where you wish to feed the hay. But on the down side, hay is soft and horses tend to lay in it (usually mixing it with mud) and do other natural body functions upon it rendering it inedible. Horses also tend to eat too much of an unprotected round bale of hay for there is no way to regulate consumption.

One way to prevent this wastage is to use a feeder designed for round hay bales. But there are about as many different designs of feeders as there are breeds of horses. Research conducted at the University of Minnesota evaluated hay feeders for horses, comparing the cost versus the decrease in wastage on nine types of round bale feeders.

Feeders used in the study ranged from a cinch bag (imagine a bale inside an onion/potato net bag), various ring-type feeders normally used for cattle, a top loading cone, a hay sleigh and couple of plastic domes. The control feeding type was using no feeder at all. Horses were allowed to eat hay with the respective bale feeder for 20 straight days with wastage calculated daily. 

All feeders allowed each horse to eat the recommended 2% of their body weight a day and thus maintain their weight. Hay wastage ranged from 57 percent with no feeder (these horses actually lost weight due to the large amount of their food stomped into the ground) to a low of about 5% using a model called Waste Less (a $1,500 feeder).    

The experiment suggested that it would pay to use some type of feeder if you wish to feed round bales of hay to horses. It will take about 2 to 5 months, on average, to pay for the feeders based on $100 per ton of hay.

From my perspective, it beats the heck out of unloading and stacking small square bales by yourself. The full research study on the hay feeders can be found at this link: www.extension.umn.edu/horse .

For more feeding tips and information, visit the Tips and Tools section at www.hubbardlife.com.

Posted on 6/20/2012 by Dr. Ed Bonnette  |  Category: Equine
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Free Range Chickens: Guidelines for a healthy farm flock

Free-range farm flocks require careful management and balanced nutrition to guard against disease, parasites and injury.

Cages for laying hens were developed in the 1920s to reduce disease and injury. Prior to that time chickens were typically allowed outside to graze and feed and layer boxes were used to collect eggs. In the 1980s, international regulations began to restrict the use of cages for layers. Today, laying hens must be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and allowed to fully extend their legs and wings.  In the United States, free range means that birds have access to the outside.

When birds are allowed to be outside, the opportunity for disease and injury increases and biosecurity becomes an important issue. Following are recommended steps to reduce the incidence of disease in farm flock or free-range poultry operations:

  • Isolate birds from visitors, other birds and animals
  • Clean shoes, tools and equipment, vehicles and cages
  • In areas that are high risk for avian influenza, under flyways or near wetlands, maintain outdoor enclosures covered with solid roofs and wire mesh or netted sides
  • Exclude wild waterfowl from the free-range poultry area
  • Provide feed and water for all non-confinement-raised poultry in an indoor area
  • Prevent access to surface water that could become contaminated with wild bird excrement

*Source: USDA/APHIS Further Guidance on Biosecurity and Disease Prevention and Control for Nonconfinement Poultry Production Operations

As free-range management systems have increased many diseases and management concerns have re-emerged. Some of the more common problems being observed with free-range poultry include the following:

  • Vent pecking
  • Cannibalism
  • Predation
  • Bacterial diseases (collibacillosis, Avian Intestinal Spirochaetosis)
  • Internal parasites (Roundworms or nematodes, intestinal worms, cecal worms, coccidian)
  • External parasites (lice & mites); and
  • Fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome

In most cases it is important to contact and work with a veterinarian or poultry specialist to determine what the problem is and a course of action required for preventing or treating further issues.

In many situations the problem is related to dietary inadequacies or deficiencies. Free-range poultry will perform better and have fewer problems when fed a complete balanced diet that provides correct levels of protein, energy, minerals and vitamins such as Hubbard Life Homestead poultry feeds.

In the case of cannibalism, a deficiency in protein, phosphorus or sodium is one of the root causes. All of the Homestead products provide a balanced diet that supplies the correct level of essential nutrients for optimal immune response and overall performance.

Information about the Homestead poultry products can be found on the Hubbard Life website, http://www.hubbardlife.com/Poultry.aspx.

Posted on 6/13/2012 by Dr. Doug Pamp  |  Category: Poultry
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