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How to STOP WASTING Money | How to Save Money Tips

The safe withdrawal rate, also known as the 4% rule, is a rule of thumb that many people use in order to try and get an idea of how much money they will need to have saved when they retire. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb in my opinion and I’ve covered it in more depth in previous blogs. The basic idea of it is that you need to have roughly 25 times your annual expenses saved when you retire to have a reasonable expectation of not running out of money after you leave the workforce.

Some people want to be a little more conservative and use a 3% safe withdrawal rate and if that works better for you because you’re concerned that the 4% rule isn’t conservative enough then more power to you especially if interest rates remain low for log periods of time,ultimately it’s just a rule of thumb to give us an idea of how much money we may need to have in order to live in retirement. But some people take this concept even further and use it to not only give them an idea of how much money they’re going to need to save in order to be financially independent but also as a tool to help them stop wasting money on recurring expenses. Today we’re going to be talking about what those people do as we cover the 300x multiplier method. We’re also going to be looking into a similar strategy that people use to stop wasting money on one time expenses.

Welcome to  where you can learn about Investing, debt, retirement, and many other general financial education blogs because the school’s aren’t going to do it for us. So if any of those topics sound interesting to you or if you want to learn how to better handle your money and have more financial freedom be sure to hit that subscribe button.  And if you want to further support the growth of this site  you can check out some of the links.

So the 300x multiplier method is a way that people try to help themselves control their spending and figure out what their priorities really are all while helping to ensure that they are saving enough money to retire either early or at the normal age. Basically, in a nutshell, the 300 x multiplier method is where you take a budget you’ve already written, this is usually used in conjunction with a zero-sum budget but you can make it work with other budgeting methods it’s just a little messier and more difficult, and analyze all of the categories in terms of a retired persons lifestyle.

Say John takes home £36,000 a year and has the following budget categories: Rent, Transportation, household expenses, living essentials, and lifestyle. Transportation includes things like a loan payment that he may have on his car as well as insurance fuel maintenance and repairs and other fees such as car tabs parking tolls and anything else that might come up during the month. Household expenses include your utilities, internet, cable maybe if he has it, possibly a cell phone and other household materials. Living essentials include the groceries clothing Personal Care items medications and stuff like that. Lifestyle would include any sort of vacations entertainment movies gym memberships eating out giving would probably be there among other things. He writes down what he spends and asks himself, “Is this item worth saving 300 times what I spend on it so that I’m able to continue paying for it in retirement?” John can do this with any line item on the budget whether it’s his rent costs and asking whether it’s worth renting in a place that’s so expensive or whether he would be happier retiring earlier but in a less expensive place all the way down to smaller things such as a monthly Netflix subscription.

John’s monthly expenses in this hypothetical example anyway add up to about £2,500 a month. That means that according to the 4% rule he would need to have at least £750,000 saved by the time he decides to retire in order to have a reasonable expectation of not running out of money. If we assume that John’s Investments make on average 8% per year over the Long haul which is right about what the market has done historically we can get an idea of how long it will take John to not only reach retirement but how much time each individual item is going to cost him on his journey towards achieving Financial Independence which may help John figure out what is and what is not worth spending the money on.

Since John is taking home £36,000 a year and spending £30,000 a year John has £6,000 per year or £500 per month left over to invest for his retirement. His retirement savings goal is about £750,000 assuming he’s using the 4% rule as his guide. Under these assumptions, it’ll take John a little over 30 years to reach his retirement savings goal of £750,000. and maybe he’s okay with that and if so great but if he wanted to speed up his time to reaching retirement he could do it by looking at each of the line items in his budget and figuring out which of them survived the 300x test. For an example on a small scale take a look at his Netflix subscription which cost him £10 a month or £120 a year to keep. £120 a year * 25 to figure out how much John would need to save in order to cover this expense in retirement brings us to £3,000. So if John canceled his Netflix subscription in retirement he would lower his retirement savings goal from £750,000 to £747,000.

Looking back at this chart from the 30th year of John’s journey to financial Independence we see that £747,000 is not going to save him that much time as a matter of fact due to how the compounding works it’s going to save him less than a month since he jumped from £744,000 in November of that year to £750,000 in December. So in this particular example, John’s Netflix subscription probably isn’t something he’s likely to cancel because it’s just not going to cost him much more time to save enough to keep it. However, this can change if he had a bunch of small expenses similar to Netflix that when put together could add up to a big amount. Maybe at that point, he would want to change his buying habits and maybe cancel a few subscriptions but that’s not the case here so he moves on to another line item.

In this case, it’s his car loan which is costing him roughly £500 a month. £500 a month is £6,000 a year and to cover a £6,000 a year expense in retirement following the 4% rule you would need to save £150,000. Meaning that if John could find another solution to his Transportation situation or just pay off the debt before he retires he would lower his retirement savings goal from £750,000 to £600,000. That’s a 20% reduction in his total goal! And in our hypothetical example, John broke the £600,000 mark in his Investments in 27 years in 6 months meaning that paying off the car loan would save him two and a half years worth of savings for retirement. Or give him more wiggle room in retirement if you still decided to work and save for the full 30 years. So that’s basically the gist of this budgeting trick. but I can hear some of you already saying I’m not going to cut out all of my expenses only to live a life of boredom or destitution and my reply is good for you neither do I. this trick is not meant to stop you from spending any money ever or deny yourself all forms of Joy from spending it’s just to help you frame up future purchases a little bit differently so that you can be aware of the true cost of an item or service.

Small purchases can add up quickly especially if there’s a bunch of them and large purchases or debts can really slow down your journey to reaching Financial Independence, that doesn’t mean that no small or large purchase is worth making some of them are but we want to make sure we’re always at least consider it what we’re doing before we do it. Ultimately all of this trick is trying to do is stop you from experiencing buyer’s remorse and in my experience anyway, it does help. So before making your next purchase or signing that next loan or joining that next subscription service take a few seconds to figure out how much this new item will cost you per year multiply that by 25 and ask yourself if you’re willing to save that much money just to support whatever it is you’re buying.

If you are then, by all means, go forward with it but if not then don’t let yourself experience buyer’s remorse. Now, one thing that you may have noticed with the 300x trick is that while it may work well when it comes to recurring expenses like housing, debt, subscriptions and things of that sort it doesn’t quite have the same impact on one-time expenses. For example, let’s say that Henry was thinking about buying a new laptop that costs about £400. A laptop is not a recurring expense, it doesn’t cost him £400 a month or even £400 a year unless he was really into computers and bought new ones that frequently. For most of us, a laptop is more of a one-time thing.

We use it until it stops working and then we get a new computer. But since we don’t know exactly how long that computer will last us it is more difficult to figure out the effect of the purchase using the 300x method. So what can we do to help ensure that we don’t experience buyers remorse in this situation? We can look at these one time purchases through the lens of how many hours we would have to work in order to pay for whatever it is that we’re considering buying.

Let’s say that Henry makes £15 an hour or £31,200 a year. That laptop would cost him almost 27 hours of work to pay for, assuming we don’t take taxes into consideration. If we did Henry would likely be looking at roughly an entire working week to pay for that laptop. Once taxes are taken into consideration Henry could be spending anywhere from 1.5% to 2% of his entire after-tax income on a laptop which he may be okay with, and that’s fine, again just like the 300x trick looking at purchases through this lens isn’t meant to make us regret every purchase we’ve ever made or stop any future purchases we may make.

It is merely meant to get us to take a few seconds and consider our purchases more carefully so that we don’t fall victim to buyers remorse. It’s just meant to help us figure out what we consider to be truly worth the money and what we may not consider to be worth the money so that we can stop wasting it. But that’ll do it for me today once again if you enjoyed this blog be sure to subscribe. If you have a friend that would be interested in this kind of content be sure to share it with them and let’s really get this information out there and start our own Financial revolution. .

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Travel-Size Perfumes to Stay Fresh on Holiday

The summer is finally here, which means that travel season is upon us. As you jet off to your warm, sunny destination of choice – and escape grey and rainy England – one beauty necessity is a summer fragrance.

A travel-size perfume is the holiday essential that will keep you fresh in the heat but won’t take up that much-needed room in your suitcase. Here are some of our favourite mini perfumes to help you choose the perfect travel fragrance for those hand-luggage-only holidays.

1. Gucci Bamboo Eau De Parfum Spray

Our first pick is a luxurious summer fragrance, available in 30ml or 50ml. Gucci’s Bamboo is soft but intense, with sandalwood, Tahitian vanilla and amber fragrances contrasting exotic notes of feminine orange blossom, ylang ylang and Casablanca lily. The addition of floral notes makes this delightful perfume a perfect scent for the summer.

2. Dior Miss Dior Eau De Parfum Spray

Dior’s Miss Dior perfume is a classic fragrance, and wonderfully light, making it excellent for the summer. The signature Dior fragrance has refreshing floral tones – including touches of Grasse rose and lily of the valley – along with sparkling top notes of blood orange and mandarin. This fresh, bright, and delicate perfume is a great choice for your holiday perfume and comes in travel-ready sizes of 30ml and 50ml.

3. Prada Candy Sugar Pop Eau de Parfum Spray 50ml

Our next pick is a divine oriental fragrance from Prada. This fun and flirty fragarance is awash with fruity and floral tones, with citrus and white peach accords over a smooth vanilla base. This sophisticated, small perfume bottle is perfect for travelling and promises to be as bold as your holiday adventures.

4. Vera Wang Princess Eau de Toilette Spray

Another of our favourite summer picks is this Vera Wang travel size perfume, available in 30ml or 50ml. This rich, fruity aroma combines fresh mandarin, apricot, and apple top notes over a deep base of amber, vanilla and woody tones. Its soft, earthy quality brings a harmonious nature to Vera Wang’s Princess fragrance and as such is a calm and refreshing addition to any summer beauty routine.

5. Ghost Eau de Toilette Spray

The Ghost collection is one of the most popular fragrance collections, and the fresh, feminine bouquet of this perfume explains why. Hibiscus, rose petal, and jasmine are delightfully blended with sandalwood and frankincense tones to create this full but subtle scent, making for an ideal summery scent. Ghost Eau de Toilette is available in 30ml and 50ml.

Travel Perfume Atomizer

If you’ve already found your desired holiday perfume, but it’s too big to fit into your carry-on, don’t worry! We have a selection of Travel Perfume Atomisers to decant your existing fragrance into. Whether you want a simple or sophisticated design, get your favourite perfume travel-ready with our Perfume Atomisers.

If you want to keep on searching for great summer fragrances, take a look wide selection of perfumes for under £20 and under £10, and prepare for your trip without breaking the bank!

Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips on a Budget! (Save Money | Eat Healthy for Cheap!)

Everyone is thinking about their health and their new goals, all those types of things and when you start eating healthy foods you realize very quickly and then it can get very very expensive.

It’s typically more expensive to buy those healthy foods that make you look better, your skin feel better and makes you feel better to help you clean stay healthy than it is versus purchasing the packaged foods or the cans of  juice or even those junk foods that we all love so today.

I am actually going to be sharing my tips healthy by save money while you eating healthy and so stay on your budget I’ve been doing this myself and it saves our family a lot of money.

I want you guys to save a lot of money to share with your family since my blog is all about living the ultimate life or less and hoping that it will really help you guys out.

The first way to us to save money is by using coupons they really do exist and they aren’t as hard to find as you think they are the first way to get promotional coupons is to actually go directly through the manufacturer or through the brand like Procter and Gamble or Discountworld.   all of these different places they actually have their own coupons.

You can have them email you a special coupon, you can also find a lot of these coupons on their websites on a regular basis.You can also sign up for email newsletters from these companies and they will send emails on a regular basis with coupons for their products.

Another way to find coupons is within your Sunday newspaper you open that up and find coupons for frozen and vegetables.   I would also make sure you guys are checking your weekly apps or whatever purchased or you go to certain things throughout the year.

Buy one get one free promotions even on the produce items,  some outlets  like Whole Foods or super markets even have our there own coupon booklet you can grab as soon as you walk in a store. I would definitely look for those I believe with some goods they change the offers every month  it switches and suppresses the same so you guys can grab a coupon booklet and use those at checkout. Its a really good idea to check out what coupons are in there so you guys know what coupons to pair with what sales, that way you can save even more money.

Another way to actually get the coupons is on the actual product if you keep your eyes peeled you’re going to see actual stickies or peeling coupons directly on the product that will say say 50p off this item or whatever and I’ve seen on a ton of healthy items including vegetables so keep your eyes open because sometimes you’re going to see that plenty of them don’t have stickers and a tag. Always get your children to help you if you need it when you’re shopping say hey we’re looking for stickers or little offer tags they’re hanging them on products if you see me let mommy know that will really help you out and then you can focus on the important things and your kids can kind of play like a scavenger hunt in the supermarket for those peeling coupons.

The very last way that you guys can access find coupons is in magazines if you visit any magazine subscriptions which I’ve talked about before in the past and how you can get those for free.

lot’s of those magazine subscriptions actually come with one or two inserts now so I’ve seen a lot of coupons for cleaning products and things like that but I have also seen posting coupons for products  and healthy items even frozen items so keep your eyes peeled.  When you’re reading those magazines,  when it comes to healthy food and those items that are staples in your healthy food diet maybe it’s the quote, maybe it is still old cut out, whatever it is it’s healthy in your diet or in your family’s diet those are regular items or staple items that you have to buy on a regular basis.

Right the only way to really compare prices to be aware is to start writing down your prices, so get a little notebook or put it down in a note in your phone and actually write down what prices you are seeing for that same exact item when you go to the store. very soon you’re going to notice a base item or base price for that item then you can quickly make a spreadsheet that will show you the store the items a regular price.

I know it’s a little bit of work so if you don’t want to do this you’re not ready to do this to just yet,  you don’t have to but if you could do, this will help you know what is a good price. I mean you’re always buying this if you’re always buying brown rice or you’re always buying elements you’ll know exactly when to stock up and when to buy more of that items if you’re paying full price for that item every single time you go to the store then you’re not really saving money but if you can see oh hey all those actually are fairly cheap I am going to buy two bags instead of one because it’s on sale and I have ruin my budget to do that or you could say well I’m going to buy four bags up because I might not have to buy anymore until the next sale happens. This works really really well for those dry or packaged goods obviously would work very well for like the fruits and the vegetables because they go bad, but it works really well for those package treats.

Another way that you can save money when you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget is to grow your own herbs, this might sound like a lot of work but it totally isn’t the one of these herbs you can actually grow in your house like on your windowsill in front of your kitchen window if you have one of those they are very very inexpensive to make and the cost from a buying those herbs to growing them is ridiculously different for example basil if you were to buy it for instance  it’s about £3.33 per ounce for example and if you wanted to grow it it’s only 24p  and Also they taste different.

Buying it versus growing it and you can even again get your children involved have them help you grow the herbs put one of them in charge of watering them every day. Make it their job to help with the tiny family garden that you have inside your house. I am NOT much use as a  gardener, I know some other people love it. I hate it I hate doing it, something like that I can handle because it’s inside the house when you have those herbs you can actually freeze them you can put them in little ice cube trays to freeze and  you can use them for a whole year. 

So it’s not like you’re going to be wasting any herbs because you’re going in too fast for those of you who do love to garden or want to start a garden planning your own garden will save you a ton of money and it saves so much money versus the supermarket and again it gets your family and your children involved. It might be more of a life lesson than it is necessarily saving money but it can easily be a little bit of both.

Things that are easy to grow in your gardens without major problems are things like lettuce, garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers or strawberries.  Obviously you want to adjust that a little bit to depending on where you live.

If something is easy and cheaper to grow that is one of the best ways to save money. 

One of the easiest easiest ways to save money when you’re going to the shops especially if you don’t have a plan in place it’s buy the foods that are in season. Now you may have thought about this concept before but every single produce item is in season at one time or another.

If it’s not in season then that means that it has to be produced in a greenhouse or  produced in a different part of the world and then has to be shipped and what happens the price is when all that happens the prices get jacked up.

if you’re able to plan your meals or your snacks around these foods that are in season you’re not going to drop or pay an arm and a leg for healthy foods that you guys could eat with your kids or with your families.

I hope it helps you guys out and thank you so much for reading this.

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The First Butchers To Sell Vegan Plant-Based Meat

An award-winning traditional butchers has become the first in the UK to sell plant-based meat alternatives.

From next Tuesday (13th August) Thurston Butchers in Suffolk – who have gained award-winning status for their homemade sausages – will begin selling products from THIS, a West London based company producing ‘the world’s most realistic meat alternative’.

The seriously convincing plant-based products taste, look and have the texture of actual meat.

The butchers will be stocking the award-winning THIS Isn’t Bacon (that even sizzles like actual bacon) and THIS Isn’t Chicken in chicken tikka and sea-salt and black pepper varieties. 

Alistair Angus who runs Thurston Butchers said: “People are probably thinking it’s absurd for a butcher to sell vegan produce. But I see it as an alternative – we actually get asked a lot by our customers for vegetarian or vegan alternatives so this provides a perfect answer.”

“I’m also aware that people are thinking lots about their meat intake – I believe that people should be eating ethically sourced, local meat as often as they can afford. If they’re looking in to their meat intake and are looking for something different, then THIS is a great alternative.”

Plant-based startup THIS was founded by two meat lovers, Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman, who co-founded and successfully exited beef burger chain Chosen Bun. THIS is encouraging people to eat more plant-based foods without having to give up their favourite meaty flavours.

THIS Co-founder Andy Shovel said: “I was frankly astonished when Thurston Butchers reached out. It’s not every day, as a plant-based brand, that you get the endorsement of such hardened meat-lovers.”

“We didn’t even have to think twice about whether or not to supply Alastair and the team – it was a no-brainer. Our mission is to be the plant-based brand for meat-lovers. There can’t be many places better suited to realising that ambition, than a butcher’s shop! We hope that Thurston Butcher’s customers love THIS and they see plant-based food in a new light.”

Following two years of research and development, partnering with world-leading texture scientists and flavourists, THIS mimics meat in taste, texture, appearance and smell, but without the ethical or environmental impact, instead using peas and soya beans as the base.

Only the products that can truly fool a carnivore into thinking they’re eating meat make the final cut. 

In addition to Thurston Butchers, THIS have also recently launched their products into Holland & Barrett, Ocado, burger fan favourite Patty & Bun and Mexican food chain Chilango, which is all part of their mission to take plant-based eating firmly into the mainstream.

Alistair’s meat-loving customers are already raving about the launch: “So far we’ve had a great response to the news on social media, as lot’s of people are looking to cut down on their meat intake to help the environment.”

“We get quite a few customers who are looking for a delicious trusted alternative for suppers and BBQs, so offering these alternatives works alongside our ethos.”

“We have a very young team here and we want to be different – this idea replicates that and shows that we are not afraid of standing out,” explains Alistair.

www.this.co

Wear it. Flip it. Refocus. – After huge success in the US, Refocus Bands ® are launching in the UK & Ireland

After huge success in the US, Refocus Bands ® are excited to launch in the UK & Ireland, with 28 unique styles along with 9 mini styles for younger minds, each revealing a positive hidden message to help refocus your thoughts. 

From ‘Whatever it takes’ to ‘You got this’ there’s a healthy reminder on each reversible band to consciously focus on the positives in yourself and the people around you.

The National Science Foundation suggests that we produce up to 60,000 thoughts per day. 80% of our thoughts are negative and 95% were the same repetitive thoughts. 

Refocus Bands allow you to be more mindful and take control of your thoughts by simply flipping the band every time a negative thought overpowers you. Every flip helps encourage a positive thought that guides your inner voice in the right direction. 

Eric Kim, research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences said that “we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges” 

Refocus Bands are part of La Clé which was founded by Deanna Saracino, who wanted to create things that made people look good when putting it on, feel good when wearing it and be able to do good when buying it. This was “the key” to what she wanted her brand to stand for…and just like that La Clé was born. 

Back in 2001, it was common for Deanna to “borrow” the elastic rubber bands from the asparagus at the grocery store. She would write messages on them for her teammates and gift them as a way to bring her team together. 

Surprising to her, the rubber bands really resonated with everyone who wore them from marathon runners, sportsmen/women and to those who needed a few words of encouragement. 13 years later she fine-tuned the idea and Refocus Bands were born!

Refocus Bands will be launching in the UK on 8th August 2019 and will be available for £8 each at www.refocusbands.co.uk. Customers can get their first band for free by signing up to our newsletter!

Find Refocus Bands on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – @shoplacle.

Ends 

Is British Grown Tea the Answer to Climate Change?

New evidence is emerging to confirm that Tea is a ‘super plant’. Not only is it Britain’s number one drink, helping to solve our woes over a great cuppa, but British grown tea might also be a way to help protect Britain’s natural environment and reduce the carbon footprint of everyone who drinks it. Tregothnan was the first place in the UK to grow tea, planting in 1999 and producing the first ever British tea harvest in 2005. 

Tregothnan has commissioned research to demonstrate that these pioneering British tea gardens are the best long-term, carbon-reducing crop.

Tea or Camellia sinensis is the leafy green bush from which every cup of tea is made (approximately 2 billion people drink tea daily). Once a tea garden is established it can remain in same spot for hundreds of years – some of the oldest bushes in China are reportedly more than 600 years old. This avoids the over-ploughing of land and the potentially harmful effects of carbon release into water courses. It allows for the natural microbiology in the soil to flourish and the invertebrates that live in the soil to enrich this most precious global resource.

Tregothnan’s Single Estate teas do not have to travel by ship or by air from China, Sri Lanka or India. In fact, this rare and delicious tea has travelled the fewest miles of any tea ever made. Tregothnan’s Single Estate Black and Green Teas are enjoyed by smart consumers who want to create the lowest carbon footprint possible. 

Tregothnan has commissioned research to demonstrate that these pioneering British tea gardens are the best long-term, carbon-reducing crop. Tea bushes can grow in windswept areas of Cornwall where tall trees cannot survive. This is because of Camellia sinensis’ flat top (plucking table) and that they only grow to about hip-height. When tea bushes flush (grow new bright green shoots), this photosynthesis sucks the carbon from the air. Regular plucking stimulates further green growth, removing the carbon from the atmosphere – so the more tea we drink, the better our air quality will be!

Tregothnan has cherished its natural environment for nearly 700 years – generations of the same family have protected and managed the lands and the huge variety of the Cornish flora and fauna surrounding them. Tregothnan has SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest), SAC (Special Area of Conservation) and is a Marine Protected Area. Tea at Tregothnan grows in a spectacular landscape in the warm and wet climate on the banks of the 18-metre-deep sea creek of the River Fal. 

Tregothnan grows over 38 varieties of tea in its unique climate, although continues to experiment with many more. Tregothnan customers choose their tea because for the integrity of provenance, understanding more than ever about the process to get from bush to cup. Tregothnan has helped to educate British people about tea provenance, giving consumers seeking the immersive experience the chance to see and feel the environment of a real tea plantation. 

What is a Balanced Diet for Dogs?

by Lauren Samet

Just like us, dogs need a balanced diet for full health and vitality. Providing a dog with ad lib access to water and a balanced complete diet is vital to maintain health and prevent illness and is one of any animal’s five welfare needs according to the law (the Animal Welfare Act, 2006).

Many complete dog foods are just that; so long as fed according to the manufacturer’s feeding instructions, they provide a dog with all the nutrient’s they require to maintain full health and vigour. These nutrients are just like those in our diets but are required in different amounts for different animal species and different life stages (e.g. growth, gestation, old age). They can be divided into macro-nutrients (e.g. protein, fat, fibre) and micro-nutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals).

Dogs come in many shapes and sizes, what we recognise as breeds. Feeding a chihuahua would appear to be very different to feeding a great dane because of the amount of food each would need daily, however, apart from their daily energy requirements (chihuahua a little, great dane a lot!), the food you feed them would be quite similar.

All today’s domestic dogs originate from their omnivorous ancestor the wolf; they have the same monogastric digestive system (meaning single stomach), the same comparative digestive anatomy, and (for the most part) the same physiological requirements for baseline nutrients in their diets. This means that no matter their size all dogs require the following nutrients to form a balanced diet…

Proteins and Amino Acids

Proteins are comprised of amino acids which are the building blocks of all cells and is required for growth, repair and replenishment of cells around the body. Those amino acids which cannot be synthesized by the body are known as essential amino acids and must be provided in the diet. These consist of arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. 

Fat and Fatty Acids

Dietary fats (also sometimes known as lipids) are a source of energy in a dog’s diet, they also play a function in maintaining cell membrane stability, in producing steroid hormones within the body, and in maintaining a glossy coat and waterproofing in the fur and skin. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are called essential because they cannot be synthesized in a dog’s body so must be provided in the diet.  Some examples of EFA’s that should be provided in a dog’s diet include omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Carbohydrates and Fibre

Dietary carbohydrates include starches, sugars, polysaccharides and fibres. They are primary sources of energy for omnivores such as humans and dogs. Simple sugars (such as glucose) should be avoided in a dog’s diet but can often be found in cheaper pet foods because they are palatable, offering a sweet taste just as they do in human food. The fibre in a dog’s diet can provide the benefit of satiety and regulate stool quality; its presence in a diet is associated with maintaining a healthy weight. 

Water

Water should not be forgotten as an important nutrient in a dog’s diet. When given ad lib access to clean fresh water, healthy dogs can self-regulate their intake to ensure their needs are met. Water has many vital roles in the canine body, indeed 60% of a healthy adult dog’s body weight comes from water; water being a major component of blood and inter- and intracellular fluids. Water allows a dog to regulate its body temperature and allows respiration, urination and defecation. Dehydration can result in a myriad of problems, some of which include difficulty passing faeces, a lack-lustre coat, and heat stroke. 

Vitamins

Some of the vitamins a dog needs in a balanced diet include:

  • Vitamin A – Supports healthy vision, appetite, and skin and coat health. Natural beta carotenes also have antioxidant activity. 
  • The Vitamin B Complex – Linked to efficient energy conversion from food, the metabolism and efficient nervous system functioning. 
  • Vitamin C – Also referred to as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally in the dog’s liver and is, therefore, is not strictly required in the diet. It provides protection from free-radical damage, joint health and immune support. 
  • Vitamin D – Regulates and promotes the absorption of calcium and calcium balance, which is necessary for skeletal health and development. Thought to have roles in immunity and gene transcription.
  • Vitamin E – Sometimes referred to as tocopherol. Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and is also essential for reproduction, immune function, utilization of vitamin K in the body and red blood cell formation.
  • Vitamin K – One of the only vitamins aside from vitamin D that can be generated within the body, it’s needed for blood clot formation in the body.

Minerals

Just as with the vitamins, each mineral has numerous roles in the body, and all are required to maintain health. The functions listed below are just some of those functions.  

  • Calcium – The most abundant mineral element found in a dog’s body. It is important for skeletal growth and maintenance, and nervous system health. It should be balanced in the diet with phosphorus at a ratio of between 1:1 and 2:1 for optimal health. 
  • Phosphorus – Also important for the health of the skeletal system, to be fed in balance with calcium at the ratio stated above.
  • Magnesium – Plays a role in the stability of muscle and nervous tissues, hormonal regulation and the structure of bones and teeth.
  • Sodium – An important component of inter- and intracellular fluids for conducting electrical impulses around the nervous system. It also helps maintain osmotic pressure in the body.
  • Potassium – An important component of intracellular fluid, and also important for bone health.
  • Chloride – Found in the extra-cellular fluid of most mammals. It is important in maintaining osmotic regulation and acid-base regulation in the body.
  • Trace Minerals – Although found in much smaller quantities than the macro minerals, trace minerals in the body provide equally important roles in maintaining a dog’s health and are therefore required in a balanced diet. The trace minerals include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and iodine.

Ingredients

As the domestic dog is classed as an omnivore (i.e. eating meat and plants in their diet), there are a variety of ingredients that crop up in commercial dog foods. These range from meats and fish, to grains and veg, even insect-based proteins, bacteria, yeast and algae!

Part of the reason domestic dogs evolved as omnivores were their advantageous nature as scavengers meaning they could live alongside early human settlements and benefits from any available food scraps provided. As such their digestive systems are relatively flexible and good at adapting to eat different kinds of food – hence the variety in today’s pet food market. Some dogs may have food preferences or allergies just like their human counterparts, but most are relatively good at maintaining their health on complete and balanced dog food.

Pitfalls of an Unbalanced Diet

While most people might think deficiency of a nutrient is the most common problem with unbalanced diets, the most common issue with unbalanced diets in the UK is canine obesity. Overfeeding a dog and supplying it with more energy (calories) than it needs daily is providing it with a diet that is not balanced. Weight gain leads to obesity and this alongside associative secondary health problems (e.g. diabetes mellitus, cancer, joint pain) means it’s one of the top three welfare concerns for companion animals in the UK. 

References:
National Research Council. 2006. Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 
 

Would you help or hinder in a pet emergency?

by Danielle Cousins

If, heaven forbid, your dog were to be seriously injured, have a fit or stop breathing, how would you react?

In emotional and distressing situations, we can surprise ourselves by how we respond. Either we keep calm, which allows us to comfort our animals and assist those attending to them, or we make things worse by freezing or panicking, distressing our pet further and hindering veterinary help.

It is important to remember that, as the owner, you are a valuable source of information for any first aider or vet. After all, no one has better knowledge of what’s normal for your pet and what isn’t, so this will enable you to seek the right help quickly.

Know your numbers

Unfortunately we can’t know or predict when an emergency situation is going to unfold. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared.

Simple things like having your vet’s telephone number written down will be hugely helpful when you’re frantic and trying to seek assistance. Likewise, it would be worth noting down all the following information and putting it somewhere safe but accessible:

Your vet’s address and the best route there.

The number of an out of hours/emergency vet.

Your dog’s details.

Contact information of the nearest vet if you’re away from home.

Know what’s normal

In an emergency, there are two key goals: to prevent further harm to the animal, and avoid harm to yourself or others helping the animal.

These goals can be achieved by:

  1. Calling for help – your vet should always be your first port of call.
  2. Checking for danger – if you’re in a busy area or at the roadside, for example, you could be putting yourself and your pet in more danger by staying put. Find somewhere out of harm’s way, where you can assist your pet from a position of safety.
  3. Controlling the dog – try to put a lead on when possible. A slip lead is easiest.
  4. Checking vital signs – including respiration, pulse, temperature, and mucus membranes.

If you’re aware of what’s normal for your pet in terms of breathing, pulse and gum colour, you can check these vital signs in an emergency. It would be worth taking them multiple times and then taking an average.

Breathing (normal ranges)

When your dog is resting, they will take an average of 15-30 breaths per minute. This will depend on their breed, size and age and may be affected by factors such as temperature and whether they are sleeping or exercising.

You can check your dog is breathing by chest movement or by placing a hand or a tissue in front of the nose. When your pet is in a relaxed state, count the number of breaths they take in one minute.

Pulse (normal ranges)

You can feel for your dog’s pulse behind the left elbow or inside the hind leg. Use a finger and don’t apply too much pressure. Count for 10 seconds and multiply by 6, or for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. This will give you an average bpm for your dog.

For young dogs, the average bpm is 110-120, while for small adult dogs it is 80-120 bpm. For larger adult dogs, the range is typically 60-80 bpm.

Gum colour

The gums should be healthy pink in colour, not pale, white or blue. Colour should return to them in 1-2 seconds after pressing down on them. If the refill time is longer, it may indicate a problem.

How Vitamins Can Support Your Dog’s Health

by Lauren Samet

We all know that vitamins help to keep our skin healthy, our eyes bright, and our hair shiny – and it’s just the same for dogs! In this guide we’re going to take a closer look at some of the crucial vitamins for your dog’s diet; covering everything from the roles they play in the body to the effects of a deficiency. 

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is formed via the dietary precursors’ retinol and beta carotene. Beta carotene is readily converted to vitamin A within the liver by a dog’s metabolism. It’s usually found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and peppers. Vitamin A is also found in the liver (including fish liver oil) and in egg yolks.

Roles: Vitamin A supports healthy vision, appetite, and skin and coat health. Natural beta carotenes also have an antioxidant effect. 
Deficiency: Signs include impaired vision, skin lesions, and occasionally abnormal bone growth.
Toxicity: Signs can include lameness and abnormal bone remodelling.
Vitapaws products found in: EyeWell for Dogs

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be synthesized by the skin upon exposure to UVB rays in sunlight. However, just because mammals are able to make this vitamin does not mean they don’t need it in their diet. An absence of or weak sunlight(such as during the UK’s winter months) can mean that additional vitamin D is required in an animal’s diet, from sources such as eggs, cod liver oil and saltwater fish. Vitamin D is gaining more and more credit through research for its role in health and immunity, alongside skeletal health.

Roles: Regulates and promotes the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for skeletal health and development. Thought to have roles in immunity and gene transcription.
Deficiency: Signs include skeletal malformations (e.g. rickets, metabolic bone disorder), poor bone health and weak teeth.
Toxicity: Too much can result in vomiting and increased calcium absorption from the intestines, leading to calcium imbalance. Elevated blood calcium may contribute to calcium deposition (calcification) of the soft tissues e.g. heart and lungs, and kidney stones.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and is also essential for reproduction, immune function, utilization of vitamin K and red blood cell formation. It can be found in seeds, nuts, spinach and other leafy green veg, and is often used as a natural preservative in pet foods. Vitamin E is one of the few fat-soluble vitamins that does not have an upper tolerance limit, however too much in the diet may impact the absorption of other vitamins.

Roles: Protection from free-radical damage. 
Deficiency: Can lead to decreased reproductive performance, impaired immunity and even retinal degeneration.
Toxicity: None known, but high levels can adversely affect the absorption of other vitamins which may then cause deficiency of these nutrients. For example, reduced absorption of vitamin K can prevent normal blood clotting.
Vitapaws products found in: EyeWell for DogsJointAid Plus for Dogs

Vitamin K

One of the only vitamins aside from vitamin D that can be generated by the body; vitamin K can be produced by symbiotic bacteria found within the digestive tract (if a healthy gut microbiome exists). Generally, supplementation is not required unless digestive upsets are common, if the dog has had a period on antibiotics, or if there are any other reasons why the gut microbiota might be compromised. In these cases, it may be wise to offer additional dietary sources. Vitamin K can be found naturally in leafy green vegetables, cereals, soybeans, and other veg.  

Roles: Needed for blood clot formation in the body.
Deficiency: Rare due to the body’s ability to synthesise the vitamin internally, however, deficiency can cause increased bruising or prolonged bleeding.
Toxicity: Not known.

Water Soluble Vitamins

The B Vitamins

The B vitamins, collectively known as the Vitamin B Complex, are linked to efficient energy conversion from food, the metabolism, and nerve function. Being water-soluble they are more easily flushed from a dog’s system, so with the exception of niacin (vitamin B3), over-feeding to toxicity is not easily possible, although, before additional supplementation, vets will often recommend testing to establish current levels in the body. 

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine can be found in whole grains and wheat germ, liver, yeast, most legumes, lean meats and fish. Stability of the vitamin can be affected by heat and oxidation, so some loss will occur when cooking. 

Roles: Essential to the nervous system and muscular function, including the heart, thiamine assists with the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.
Deficiency: Deficiency can cause nerve damage and irregular coordination and seizures. Severe deficiency can even cause brain damage. Thiaminases (enzymes which break down thiamine) are found on the skin of raw fish; a diet high in raw fish can, therefore, cause deficiency. 
Vitapaws products found in: VitaMind for Dogs

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin can be found in liver, yeast, most legumes, cheese, lean meats, fish, nuts and green leafy vegetables. It is more heat stable than Thiamine but can be sensitive to light. 

Roles: Essential to metabolic and enzymatic reactions. Riboflavin also has a role in red blood cell formation and the maintenance of healthy skin and coat. 
Deficiency: Deficiency can cause anaemia and reduced reproductive function, alongside weakness and dry, flaky skin and coat. 
Vitapaws products found in: VitaMind for Dogs

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin can be found in liver, yeast, most legumes, lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.

Roles: Assists with digestive system function, the conversion of food into energy, skin maintenance and nervous function.
Deficiency: Chronic deficiency is sometimes referred to as ‘black tongue’. It can cause loss of appetite, diarrhoea, bad breath and emaciation.
Toxicity: Ingesting too much can cause liver damage, skin complaints and peptic ulcers.
Vitapaws products found in: VitaMind for Dogs

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

As with many other B vitamins, Pantothenic acid can be found in eggs, fish, lean beef, legumes and yeast, as well as potatoes, broccoli and cabbage.

Roles: Assists in enzymatic reactions involved in the metabolism and has a role in hormone synthesis, however, there is no known deficiency from a lack of vitamin B5 in the diet.
Vitapaws products found inVitaMind for Dogs

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 refers to a group of three compounds: pyridoxol (pyridoxine), pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. Sources of this vitamin include meat, fish, eggs, bananas and whole grains.

Roles: Assists with nervous system function, skin health, red blood cell formation, protein metabolism and the synthesis of antibodies in the immune system. 
Deficiency: Deficiency of pyridoxine can cause dermatitis, alopecia, seizures and anaemia.
Vitapaws products found in: VitaPaws Complete

Vitamin B8 (Biotin)

Biotin is available in foods such as eggs, fish, lean beef, legumes and yeast. There are several forms of the vitamin but only D-biotin is thought to possess the vitamin’s full properties.

Roles: Essential for protein and fat metabolism.
Deficiency: Biotin deficiencies are rare for dogs. Problems associated with deficiency are unknown, however, may be associated with poor skin health. 
Vitapaws products found in: VitaPaws Complete

Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic Acid)

One of the more well-known B vitamins (due to its advisable supplementation during human pregnancy), Folic Acid or Folate is available in food sources such as yeast, liver, eggs, green leafy veg, melons, carrots and pumpkins, and there are thought to be no ill-effects from over-consumption.

Roles: Essential for protein utilization and synthesis. Vitamin B9 assists with cell production and tissue growth.
Deficiency: Anaemia can be an indication of deficiency, as can issues with new cell formation, including red blood cells. Folic acid supplementation will often be prescribed if a dog is, or has been, on medication that may interfere with folate absorption.
Vitapaws products found in: VitaMind for Dogs

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin, Cyanocobalamin)

Lastly, vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, is found in animal-based products such as liver, fish, meat, eggs, poultry and cheese. Many B vitamins are found naturally in meat-based pet foods, however, the recent trend for vegan/vegetarian pet foods means that some dogs can benefit from additional B vitamin supplementation. 

Roles: Necessary for nervous system health (alongside iron and folic acid) and blood formation.
Deficiency: Can cause lack of appetite, anaemia and impaired nervous system function. Deficiency is rare due to most dogs’ common consumption of animal-based products, however, it can be caused by malabsorption in the digestive system. Some breeds are more susceptible to deficiency than others e.g. Border Collies, Beagles and Giant Schnauzers, for which it tends to be hereditary, although it can occur at any age.
Vitapaws products found in: VitaPaws Complete

Vitamin C

Also referred to as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally in the dog’s liver and is, therefore, is not strictly required in the canine diet. Many pet food companies take advantage of this and do not include added vitamin C in their dog food, however, additional dietary sources can be beneficial to a dog’s immunity, skin health and collagen formation in joints. Foods containing vitamin C include berries, potatoes (skins), green leafy vegetables and tomatoes. Although always check which foods are suitable to be fed to dogs as part of a balanced diet.

Roles: Protection from free-radical damage, joint health and immune support. Can assist in the absorption of iron.
Deficiency: Can lead to impaired immune function and slower skin healing.
Toxicity: High amounts are thought to have a laxative effect and can cause diarrhoea. As a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is easily excreted by the body. Too much vitamin C in the diet may impair vitamin B12 absorption. 
Vitapaws products found in: VitaMind for DogsEyeWell for DogsJointAid Plus for Dogs

For further reading, advice on which foods to feed and guidelines on the amount of each nutrient that’s recommended daily for a dog, visit the FEDIAF* website and download the nutritional guidelines for cats and dogs. 
*the trade body representing the European pet food industry



References
DSM (2018) Riboflavin [online]. Accessed at: https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/companion_animals/riboflavin.html
FEDIAF (2018)  FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Cats and Dogs [online]. Available at: http://www.fediaf.org/self-regulation/nutrition.html (accessed 03.01.2019)
Frigg, M., Schulze, J., & Völker, L. (1989). Clinical study on the effect of biotin on skin conditions in dogs. Schweizer Archiv fur Tierheilkunde, 131(10), 621-625.
Kritikos, G., Parr, J., & Verbrugghe, A. (2017). The Role of Thiamine and Effects of Deficiency in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary sciences, 4(4), 59.
National Research Council. 2006. Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10668.

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