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Annabell Dennis

Alpha Cat Mix – now available to purrr…chase directly from the Alpha Feeds website

By | Alpha Feeds | No Comments

cute catAlpha Cat Mix has traditionally been sold through our independent stockists and wholesale channels to an ever-growing and loyal customer base of cat owners and cat breeders across the UK. This fact, combined with the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) annual report 2021, which states that there are now 12 million cats enjoying life as pets in the UK just means it makes complete sense for us to launch our Alpha Cat Mix on our website.

cat foodThis means cat owners and breeders alike are now able to conveniently purchase directly from the Alpha Feeds website.

What’s in Alpha Cat Mix?

Alpha Cat Mix contains a variety of ingredients that come together with quality meat and fish to provide everything your cat needs nutritionally in each tasty meal. Being 100% complete you know your cat is getting all the protein, vitamins and minerals it needs.

All the ingredients are carefully cooked in order to ensure that digestion is optimised. Each delicious meal contains…

  • 32% Protein
  • Added Taurine – an essential amino acid
  • Extracts of Yucca Schidigera to aid digestion

Our Cat Mix is also…

  • A complete and balanced, nutritionally formulated diet for cats
  • Highly digestible
  • Extremely palatable

Why Alpha Feeds?

Established over 100 years ago, our greatly reputable name is synonymous with high quality nutrition, extensive ranges, superlative service & excellent value.

Located in North Nottinghamshire, Alpha’s manufacturing plant has full control over research, development, packaging and operational control, meaning we are confident that every bag of food we send out to our customers is of the highest quality. Furthermore, most of the natural ingredients in our feeds are grown by local farmers and shipped directly to the factory, ensuring all our products are fresh and have a positive impact on the environment.

States Michaela Armstrong, Sales Manager at Alpha Feeds, “Alpha Cat Mix is a great and tasty option for the felines in your life, we are huge cat lovers here at Alpha HQ and only use the finest ingredients of which we would want to eat ourselves”.

Experts in nutrition

Here at Alpha Feeds, we have a highly dedicated and skilled team of people who care about the quality of the products that we make and the service that we provide. Alpha products are now more in demand than ever with scientifically formulated recipes to suit dogs, ferrets and cats too.

Alpha is the number one name in pet foods. Our expert nutritionists have created an unrivalled range of quality products with scientifically formulated recipes to satisfy all species and breeds – why settle for anything less for your feline friend?

Buy Now

Alpha Cat Mix is available in two 10kg flavoured bags: Alpha Cat Mix Meat and Alpha Cat Mix Fish. Buy Online today on the Alpha Feeds website.

How to help resolve your dog’s bad behaviour

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Most dogs have some form of ‘bad’ behaviour that owners would like to correct. This behaviour can range from minor issues such as pulling on a lead, through to aggression, which can have far more serious consequences.

Some bad behaviour may never have been corrected at the puppy stage, such as jumping up at people, but bad behaviour can also be a new and unexpected trait in your dog. If the latter is the case, this could mean that your dog is unhappy, sick, or has developed a new fear or anxiety, so it’s important to understand what your dog is trying to tell you.

What is classed as bad behaviour?

What we see as ‘bad behaviour’ may actually be a fun game for your dog – your new shoes may simply appear to be a fabulous new chew toy. Barking at other dogs may not be bad behaviour but the result of your dog feeling overwhelmed.

Your dog’s bad behaviour can not only have a major impact on their health, but also your happiness. So, it’s important to take this behaviour seriously as soon as you see any early signs of issues, especially with things like aggression, which can be dangerous.

Common ‘issues’ that can be classed as bad behaviour include:

  • Pulling on the lead
  • Fear of loud noises
  • Phobias or anxiety
  • Jumping up at people
  • Barking at other dogs or people
  • Recall problems
  • Aggression
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Toileting in the house
  • Humping
  • Attention seeking

How to correct bad behaviour

No matter the breed of dog, from Great Dane to Jack Russel, one rule is always the same – the earlier you approach an issue, the higher chance you’ll have of working with your dog to fix it. Even an old dog can learn new tricks.

Reward Based Training

This technique can be successful if your dog’s behavioural problem is related to a breakdown or lack of training at a young age. This method rewards good behaviour and ignores or aims to re-shape the bad.

If you are able to find the cause of your dog’s bad behaviour and work out what you want to train your dog to do instead, then this method can be really effective. For instance, if your dog pulls on a lead, don’t tell them off. Simply stand still and wait for them to stop pulling and for the lead to slacken. Once it does, reward your dog and continue walking, repeating the process as and when required. The method does require patience but can be the simplest way of correcting behavioural issues.

Dog Trainer

If you try by yourself and don’t succeed or if you simply do not have the confidence or patience to address behavioural issues alone, then for straightforward behavioural problems, such as poor recall or jumping, a reputable trainer is recommended.  A weekly training class could make a world of difference, resulting in a content dog and a happy owner.

Usually, these classes come with ‘homework’, in which you will practice correcting this bad behaviour in your own time too, usually adopting reward-based training, as above.

Vet

For dogs displaying panic with loud noises, aggression, general anxiety or withdrawn behaviour, you should seek the advice of a veterinary professional.

A vet will be able to check your dog for any underlying health problems – if a dog is in pain or is feeling unwell, this can cause their behaviour to become problematic. If a health issue is found, medical treatment may correct bad behaviour. If, however, your dog is given the all clear, your vet can offer some help and advice but also may recommend a dog behaviourist to help you correct the issues that you are experiencing.

Dog Behaviourist

Dogs who are excessively destructive, or who bark the house down in your absence, could benefit from the help and guidance of a qualified behaviourist for their more complex issues. These behaviours are generally an attribute of underlying emotional distress, or anxiety and fear.

A behaviourist will work with both you and your dog to find the root of the problem, creating a training plan for you to undertake, which should correct poor behaviour. This strategy may involve a mix of reward-based training, socialisation, and other methods.

Say hello to @the_kelp_twins. Alpha’s latest sponsor recipients and all around CaniCross superstars.

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dogs, sun

Alpha Feeds would like to introduce our new CaniCross trail blazers Rocky and Rubble! These two gorgeous Kelpies (Australian sheep dogs) are owned by Leigh Collins. The trio are currently completing #100milesinfebruary to keep active and maintain their CaniCross fitness levels during lockdown.

Leigh has always been a keen runner, so it was only natural that when she became a dog owner, she discovered and fell in love with CaniCross. She has been CaniCross running with Rocky and Rubble for 3 years now, and both she and the boys love getting out; exploring new trails and meeting up with new people.

CaniCross has enabled Leigh to build a great relationship with her dogs and it has really helped them to create a team bond.

Being high energy dogs, CaniCross is not only great for Kelpies physically but also mentally. The sport is a great way for you and your dog (of any breed) to get fit together and make the most of the great outdoors. After a great time exploring trails, you can enjoy some hard-earned rest and snuggle time with your dog(s), providing you with the best of both worlds. What’s not to love about that?

Rocky and Rubble have taken part in a few organised CaniCross races and the boys have pulled Leigh in to podium places in all events. There are in fact lots of organised CaniCross races all over the U.K, where you can put your training in to action. There are also lots of different types of events from fun runs, night runs to two-day events; all open to all abilities, breeds and sometimes multiple dogs.

If you aren’t competitive, CaniCross is also a great way to get out, socialise and meet new people. Check out your local area for CaniCross groups, many groups will have equipment you can try to see if you and your dog enjoy the sport. Facebook is a good place to search for these groups.

Here are Leigh’s top tips for a successful and enjoyable CaniCross experience…

  • Remember to use a well fitted CaniCross harness for your dog. Never run a dog on a neck collar.
  • Your dog should be over 12 months old to partake in CaniCross.
  • You should build your dog(s) fitness and miles up slowly.
  • Use simple commands to help work together as a team. Left, right, steady and go are all good examples of this..
  • The human must always be behind the dog and never in-front dragging the dog.

Fuelled by Alpha Feeds

Despite how well your dogs are bred and trained, they cannot give the very best results if their diet does not provide their bodies with the nutrients they require both during and after each race.

This year Rocky and Rubble are really focusing on endurance, as well as speed, and are excited to put their training to the test.

The pair enjoy Alpha High Performance, the ultimate in performance dog feed. Our nutritionally formulated feed ensures excellent body development, optimum muscle and bone advancement and boundless energy in order to exceed the rigours of racing.

Alpha High Performance has been designed to meet the requirements of dogs in training, brood bitches and pups.

So, if you are considering CaniCross racing this year be sure to fuel your dog from the inside with a feed that will give them what they need to succeed.

Why not get out there with your four-legged best friend and give it a go? We are excited to see what adventures you and the wonderful Rocky and Rubble get up to this year.

CHANGING YOUR DOG’S DIET

By | Alpha Feeds, Food | No Comments

Whether changing your dog’s diet for health reasons or because they have stopped eating their current food, it is essential to make the switch gradual. Changing food overnight can shock a dog’s digestive system, leaving him bloated and experiencing pain and diarrhoea.

Reasons to switch

A bowl half full

The most common reason people look to switch their dog’s food is that their dog has simply ‘gone off’ their current food and is no longer eating it. If you have persevered with an old food and are still finding that you are throwing away more than he is eating – it may be time to switch.

Food Allergies

Symptoms of canine food allergies include vomiting and diarrhoea, skin infections and chronic itching. However, food allergy’s in dogs are rare. If your dog is displaying any of the above symptoms, talk to your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet – you may find that their symptoms are not connected to their diet at all.

Illness

If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes or kidney disease, your vet will most likely recommend a dietary change.

Careful food management will help to controls one of the above conditions, acting as a medicine. For example, foods with a lower glycemic index are digested, absorbed, and metabolised slower, causing a lower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Good nutrition can also slow down the progression of kidney disease.

The right diet can also support heart disease, liver problems and vitamin deficiency. In the case of any diagnosed disease, pet owners should follow the advice of their vet.

A change in activity levels

A shift in the seasons can spell significant changes in your dog’s exercise levels. In turn, this shift will affect the amount of food he requires and will need a calculated adjustment to match his energy outputs.

Many working dogs will vary in activity levels throughout the year. In the current lockdown, even those who should be busy right now may be finding themselves more rested than usual due to shoots, competitions and trails being cancelled, to name a few.

How to change your dog’s diet

With careful planning, you can successfully transition your dog to a new food within two weeks. Take it slowly to avoid a host of digestive discomforts. And, in the event of an illness or allergy – always follow the instructions of your vet.

Be sure to refer to feeding tables on the new dog food packaging as feeding amounts can vary between feeds and for specific breeds. If you are changing your dog’s diet to treat a weight problem, this is especially important. Weigh your dog regularly and, in turn, weigh out the exact amount of food in accordance with the brand’s feeding guidelines.

Day 1-3: Introduce a small quantity of the new food. This can be at any time during the day but for the first few days, keep his supper the same as usual to keep his stomach settled last thing. This gradual introduction will help get his palette used to the new flavours and hopefully leave him wanting more.

Day 4-10: Begin to reduce the quantity of current food and simultaneously increase the volume of new food. Serve the two as one meal; switching too quickly can result in an upset digestive system.

Day 10-14: By week two, the old food should be almost a distant memory, and by day fourteen, he’ll be eating the new food only.

Transitioning in this gradual pattern will alleviate any stress on your pet’s stomach while getting him used to a new flavour and texture. It is also important to note that you’ll need to adjust the feeding quantities accordingly if you give your dog treats. This may be most relevant to those currently training their working dogs.

Feed your dog the food of champions

Alpha is the number one name in pet foods. Our expert nutritionists have created an unrivalled range of quality products with scientifically formulated recipes to satisfy all species and breeds.

The Alpha brand is a very well-established, highly reputable name within the pet food industry and is synonymous with high-quality nutrition, extensive ranges, superlative service and excellent value.

Visit our website to see our full range of dog food and find your local stockist today.

Get into CaniCross in 2021

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With gyms still closed and unlikely to open in the near future, it is increasingly common to see people of all ages walking, jogging and running outside, trying to incorporate a little freedom and fresh air within their daily exercise routine.

Of course, it’s not just humans who need to get out for a bit of exercise. Our four-legged friends need to stretch their legs too. Whether you’re already an established 10k plus runner or you are starting your couch to 5k journey, why not team up with your dog and enjoy exercising together?

So, what is CaniCross? 

CaniCross is essentially cross country running with your dog. The great thing about this sport is that all abilities of humans and most breeds of dogs can participate.​

Originally a form of training, utilised by mushers with their lead sled dogs, the activity has now developed into both a recreational and competitive sport.

Canicross is dog-powered – they are harnessed and attached to their human, who is the driver, directing the dog from behind with voice commands. Canicross is not only a great form of exercise but also stimulates your dog’s brain and senses too.

What breeds are suitable?

Working breeds are a more popular choice for CaniCross but as long as your dog is fit, healthy and the right age (at least between 12-18 months old, depending on breed), there is no reason why they cannot participate.

Care should be taken with brachiocephalic breeds such as Boxers and Boston Terriers. Some breeds are also simply less energetic and less likely to enjoy the sport. If you are unsure whether your dog is suitable, please do consult with your vet for advice.

You should start with only light training for a few months so that you don’t overwork your dog – especially if they are still young, as his joints and bones will still be forming. For larger breeds, it is important to wait a bit longer to build up greater miles. Again, always consult your vet for advice.

What equipment do I need?

Equipment can be a little overwhelming. As with anything, what is right for some participants, doesn’t quite suit others. Prices can also vary largely depending on make and quality.

Bear in mind that in addition to CaniCross equipment, you should invest in some key items for yourself too, including trail shoes for grip and lightweight sportswear. Layers and waterproofs may also come in handy, particularly in the winter months. You will also need the following essential CaniCross equipment;

  • Comfortable fitting harness. You should be able to fit two fingers around the neck, chest and waist.
  • A bungee lead/line. It is important to have a bungee integration in your line to absorb shock for both you and the dog. An ideal length is approx. 2m at full stretch.
  • A waist/hip belt for the runner. A waist belt should fit neatly around your waist. A hip belt should be secured with leg straps, this is advisable for faster runners and/or those with strong pulling dogs.

Getting started.

You should find an off-road location that ideally has a single trail track, with a clearly defined route for your dog. Look for local woodland or forestry trails and try to use routes that mix up hard and soft terrain underfoot – too much of either can cause problems. Also, be sure to avoid tarmac trails where possible as tarmac can cause issues with both human and canine joints, plus it can be tough on your dog’s paws too. Gravel routes should also be limited due to causing discomfort.

Before you start it is important for you both to warm up. Walk your dog for ten minutes and provide them with some stretches (you may need treats to hand). If you can, try to play a little game of tug, as this provides a whole-body muscle warm-up. If you can lure them onto their hind legs, into a bow position, or into doing circles or figures of eight, you will ensure they have undertaken a good level of active stretching and muscle warm up.

The key to successful training is to start small and build on your CaniCross experience. Initially, you should begin with short interval runs (or jogs) of 50 – 100 metres. This will allow you both to adapt to the equipment and develop your skills of working together. Short runs will also help encourage your dog to lead in front and pull into the harness. Once your training is complete, free run your dog for the rest of your run (if you have any energy left) or walk them on their lead.

If your dog struggles to pull into the harness, try to encourage him to run ahead by rolling a ball out in front of you or having a friend run slightly ahead, encouraging them to pull. Be sure to praise both verbally and with the odd treat too. You may also want to develop a verbal cue, so they know what to do and when to pull.

Developing verbal cues.

A lot of canicrossers use mushers terms to help drive their dog, although you can use any term you wish, as long as your dog understands what you are asking of them. Start using these cues whilst out walking – when you need to turn left, use your cue as you approach the left turn and so on.

The terms most commonly used in CaniCross are…

Gee – right

Haw – left

On by – ignore keep going

Hike on – use more pulling power to carry forward

Let’s go – speeding up or starting to go

Steady – slow the pace

Whooa – stop

Stand/line out – stand still facing forward

Remember to reward your dog with verbal praise and/or a treat when they respond to cues correctly.

Enjoy

So now you have the basics to get you started, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy this bonding time with your dog. Enjoy the views, enjoy feeling fitter and, when we are once again out of lockdown, enjoy the social aspect of the sport. Whether you choose to run recreationally or competitively, there are plenty of community groups that arrange local CaniCross meet-ups and/or races. Visit the Trailrunners website to find your local group.

After a CaniCross session, why not consider feeding your dog Alpha, the food of champions? Alpha Feeds has a range of nutritionally balanced dog food that will help to keep your dog fit and healthy throughout their CaniCross journey.

Things to consider when rescuing / rehoming a ferret

By | Ferrets, Sponsorship | No Comments

Alpha Feeds are proud to sponsor Becca and her beautiful, rescued ferrets. We know rehoming a pet is a huge decision and commitment for any pet owner. It also poses a minefield of questions – from how to integrate a fostered pet into your home, to being certain of their background, the shelter/person you are rehoming from and so on. With that in mind, we asked Becca to introduce herself and provide her useful tips on rescuing ferrets, after having such great success in doing it herself…. You can also follow Becca and her ferrets on Instagram.

Hi! I’m Becca, I’m an animal lover from Kent, and among my many animals, my first pets were a beautiful pair of ferret kits that I actually found while looking at Degus 10 years ago! They were looking for a “quick sale” as they were an albino and a runt, unfortunately the albino, Minx, didn’t live very long, she got sick and passed away at two years old during a surgery. The runt, Buffy, lived out her whole life as a much-loved pet until she passed away in her sleep in 2019 at nine years old. In those nine years, I’ve had many ferrets, ranging from little kits being thrown out, to an elderly blind girl who was unwanted, purely because she had aged.

Ever since I was little, I’ve had a huge passion for helping animals. I decided I was going to be a vet at four years old and I am still set on that goal, although a lot of other things in life seem to have pushed themselves first! For now though, I rescue animals myself where I can, and I’m a volunteer exotics handler at Second Chance Animal Rescue where I get to care for foxes, meerkats, racoons, civets and many other wonderful creatures that have found sanctuary after a tough life – sadly, the sanctuary currently has 50 ferrets in its care too.

I live with four fuzzy babies, Odin, Crumble, Pearl and Tink, although over the past 10 years I’ve had 12 ferrets, each and every one being rescued and mostly elderly.

Odin was discarded because he was “too gentle” to kill rabbits, Pearl was going to be let out in a field because she was a runt, Crumble was sent away because other ferrets bullied her and Tink was going to have her neck snapped because she wasn’t producing enough babies.

All of my ferrets have had a rough start to life and yet now live very happily in their forever home, with me. If this sounds like something you would like to do, here are my top tips to help you successfully rescue a ferret (or four)…..

Things to consider when rescuing a ferret:

  • Personally, I’ve never had the chance to research where my ferrets came from as they’ve all been direct rescues, but I would definitely recommend researching any Rescues or breeders you’d be considering getting a ferret from. Social media, websites and visiting the shelter or home will give you a good feel for the rescue centre or person.
  • For any new rescues I take on and plan to keep, they go through a 7-14 day quarantine just in case they become unwell, in this time I get vet checks done, flea and worm treatments done, and it also allows me to have a good amount of one-to-one contact and get to know the new member. Be prepared for unexpected costs. With ferrets, I’ve come to realise you should always be ready for vet bills- even more so if you have no idea about the ferret’s background. I’ve been caught dealing with tumours, blockages, internal damage from parasites, deafness and blindness, and the expected spaying and neutering costs. Some Rescues do offer help with any vet bills that arise in the first few months, but this is something that is dependent on where you go, and how the Rescue gets its funding.
  • Definitely get insurance, it makes things so much easier if a sudden vet bill or other incident arises.
  • After quarantine, take it slowly. Spend around a week with supervised playtimes and group feeding. If everybody gets along and I feel they are all safe and happy, I’ll put the new ferret in with the others.

Be Prepared

  • Make sure you have a nice big enclosure- ferrets love to play and need a lot of space for their antics!
  • Provide lots of nice bedding- ferrets sleep 14-18 hours a day so hammocks and cat caves are perfect for snoozing!
  • Have the right food available- ferrets are carnivores and should only eat meat and/or a specialised kibble. Also make sure your food and water bowls are suitable, heavy ceramic or safely hooked bowls are perfect as these little guys love to tip things over!
  • Research! There’s something new to learn every day about these amazing little creatures, so a lot of research is very important!
  • Love them their whole life! Ferrets live 5-10 years, and they’re very smart and affectionate little creatures, and sometimes their way of showing it is a playful bite! They sometimes get depressed with being rehomed or adjusting to a new family, so please be prepared to love them their whole life!

Help to be prepared with Alpha Ferret Feast. Our carefully formulated, premium ferret food offers a complete diet to meet all the nutritional needs of working, pet and show ferrets of all ages and is the ideal way to feed your ferrets throughout all their life stages. Ferret Feast contains chicken & fish which are easily digestible sources of protein. It is easy to feed, removes the odour of more traditional feeding regimes and contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your ferrets need in order to remain in the very best of health. Visit our website to find out more.

Meet Alpha’s new sponsor recipient and hear their top ferreting tips.

By | Alpha Feeds | No Comments

Alpha Feeds has recently been on the hunt for ferrets to sponsor. Alpha Ferret Feast is a consistently popular product of ours, so we know we have many loyal customers of the ferreting kind out there, and the response has been tremendous.

Here, we would like to introduce Idris and welcome him and his ferrets into #PartoftheAlphaPack.

Idris’ background

Idris has been ferreting since his early teens, a skill he learnt from his Grandad. He still has some of the original nets that he learnt with, which are some 40 years old. In those days they were made of hemp and they took a long time to dry out.

Things have moved on and he now uses spun polyester, which dries quicker, doesn’t tangle, doesn’t rot and is generally easier to see as it is brightly coloured.  He has taught himself to make his own nets; sitting by the log burner sewing them is warmer than the fishermen are on the quayside!

Idris has had many ferrets over the years, some great workers and others just not cut out for the job!  He has also raised one litter of kits, which was an accident. It was however amazing to watch them grow and, as if things were meant to be, Idris has kept two from the litter; Merlin and Storm, who turned out to be great workers.

Ferreting; the essentials

It is essential to have a good working dog to work alongside your ferrets. Idris sadly lost his lurcher Taff, who was amazing at marking the holes where there were rabbits, but not before he taught Kai, a Parsons Jack Russell to do the same; saving him time not having to net up empty holes.

Idris’ eldest son has a similar passion for ferreting and has just got a beautiful lurcher puppy called Skye, which they can’t wait to train for next season. It’s great that the tradition of ferreting appears to be strong within the family and will continue through the younger generations.

Although Idris has ferret finders, he has to do his fair share of digging. A flask, spade and patience are essential attributes needed for ferreting!

He always eats what is caught and has invested in a mincer, with real sausage skins from his local butcher, to make some amazingly tasty sausages and pies!

5 top tips for successful ferreting

Now you know a bit about Idris, here are his top tip for ferreting…

  1. Look after your ferret’s health, provide a comfortable living environment including feeding your ferret a good quality food (such as Alpha Ferret Feast).
  2. Always get the Landowners permission to ferret, including permission to take a dog or dogs along with you.
  3. Survey the land before ferreting to ensure the safety of your ferrets, any dog(s) you have with you, any livestock in the area and of course yourself.
  4. Leave the land as you find it, no holes in hedges, close any gates and backfill in holes.
  5. Using collars and locators not only saves time but ensures you do not lose your ferret.

Idris has fed his ferrets (and unexpected kits) Alpha Ferret Feast since 2003. Have you tried it? Our premium ferret food is nutritionally formulated as a complete and balanced diet, to keep your ferrets’ optimum condition. Find out more…

Alpha Ferret Sponsorship Call Out!

By | Ferrets, Sponsorship | No Comments

Could your working or pet ferret be the face of Alpha Feeds in 2021?

We are now on the lookout for an adventurous, feisty, friendly, photogenic superstar(s) of the ferret world to represent our brand next year.

Whether you have a handsome hob, a pretty jill or a cute kit, we want to hear from you. This opportunity is for individual ferret owners and ferret clubs, we’re also happy for more than one ferret to represent our brand, so if you own a couple or even a business of them, please get in touch.

Michaela Armstrong, Sales Manager at Alpha Feeds says of this opportunity

“Ferrets are so unbelievably popular amongst many of our customer here at Alpha and we feel it’s about time we represented them more prominently on our social media channels and in our blogs.

Sponsorship is open to everyone, from excellent ferreters to pampered kits and anything in between. Sponsorship is our way of helping an individual ferret owner or even a ferret club with their exciting journey.

In addition to our generous sponsorship package, we will also provide in depth nutritional support for the ferret(s) that become #PartoftheAlphaPack”

Our Sponsorship Package

We feature our sponsors on our website and will write a blog all about you, which will really put you in the spotlight. We are also happy to support your news and successes on our social media channels.

In addition, our package includes:

  • £500 worth of sponsorship
  • 36 bags of food of their choice
  • Branded clothing for up to three people

Sounds good? We think so too. All we ask is that you remember us from time to time, proudly show you are sponsored by us on your website (if you have one) and share any joint content that we create together over social media.

How do I apply?

Please tell us – in no more than 200 words – why you or your club deserve our sponsorship. Please provide information about your ferret(s) and your ambitions for the future. If possible, it would also be great if you could attach a photograph of yourself and your ferret(s).

Submissions need to be made via email to info@alphafeeds.com.

The deadline for entering our sponsorship search is 20th December 2020.

How much protein does your working dog need?

By | Dog Welfare, Health, Nutrition | No Comments

It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet for humans and canines alike. We both need to watch our calorie intake, ensure we are eating enough of the right fats, take our vitamins and for those who exercise regularly, get enough protein in our diet too, so we can keep healthy and active for longer.

Protein packs a punch.

Proteins are essential macro-nutrients that act as building blocks in living tissue such as muscles and organs, producing energy when digested. Proteins also have functional roles (e.g. enzymes, hormones and antibodies) in vital processes in the body and therefore need to be consistently replaced. This can be accomplished by regularly consuming foods that contain protein.

All dogs, whether working or not, need protein as part of their diet. Highly active dogs use protein’s essential amino acids. Functions of these amino acids focus on muscle condition, tissue repair, and hormone synthesis.

Recommended Protein levels

The minimum recommended Protein Levels for Dogs are outlined by the PFMA – Pet Food Manufacturing Association, as below:

Unit: Grams per 100gr dry matter

A moderately active dog only needs about 21 to 26 percent crude protein. Working dogs however, need higher levels to maintain their health and energy whilst active.

Protein for working dogs

Working dogs need a good quality, sustainable diet to keep up their strength for the long working days ahead of them. By providing calories, protein enables them to keep up their energy to stay active, whilst also building strength.

Protein provides your dog with:

  • Stronger muscles
  • Greater bone and body mass
  • Improves nerve function
  • Aids the creation of cells
  • Can help in healing your dog’s wounds.
  • Your dog will even benefit from having a shinier coat and healthier skin due to the higher level of protein.

All dogs need protein in their diet but choosing the right food for your working dog is essential even from a young age, as this will help to build their strength and energy through to adulthood.

At Alpha, we offer a range of different foods for both active puppies and adult dogs, which are nutritionally balanced and formulated for health and vitality. Our foods range from 19% to 32% protein, helping you to choose the right food for your dog depending on their purpose and high performance.

Choose Alpha, The food of champions

Here at Alpha, we have a highly dedicated and skilled team of people who care about the quality of the products they make and the service that they provide. Alpha products are now more in demand than ever, with scientifically formulated recipes to suit all breeds.

Your animal’s health and vitality is our passion and we are committed to providing exceptional service and outstanding value.

Nutritional excellence is at the heart of everything we do and we expect your pet to thrive on our food, as much as we thrive on making it.

From our range, Alpha Worker Maintenance has the lowest percentage of protein, at 19%, as it’s a “maintenance” diet, so it’s ideal for dogs in off season, or for those who are retired.

For those busy working dogs however, Alpha High Performance has 32% protein, to ensure they can maintain their activity levels all day long. Most of our Dog food averages at 25% protein, offering your dog a quality feed that will keep them working for longer– please visit our website to view our full range.

Spotlight on Border Trail Hounds – One of Alpha’s new Sponsors in 2020

By | Alpha Feeds, Sponsorship | No Comments

Border Trail hounds

After receiving hundreds of applications to our recent call out for new sponsors, we have finally selected two fantastic recipients, who will each receive a sponsorship package from Alpha.

Border Trail Hounds are one of our worthy recipients of a sponsorship and, over the coming months, we would like to introduce you to their beautiful dogs, all they do and follow their success.

Run by Annabelle Connelly, Border Trail Hounds is made up of the very stunning Jas, lily, Moss & Rue, Henry, Holly and Tim. These working/racing Trailhounds will be competing over the coming months, with a fixture list due imminently.

Hound Trailing is an old Cumbrian sport that takes place up and down the local countryside most weekends from March through to October. The hounds travel in the region of 8 miles across fields & fells, following a scent of aniseed, which has been laid down for them to follow as a trail.

Completing the course in less than 30 minutes, the hounds race towards their owners, running in different grades during the season and collecting points throughout for the coveted title of champion.

Here, Annabelle provides her top tips for caring for hounds after they have raced….

‘After strenuous activity dogs should be thoroughly checked over to make sure they have no injuries or wounds that need vet’s assistance. A post exercise massage will help push toxins out if the muscle such as lactic build up which contributes to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which isn’t something you want when you exercise or work your dog often as this will end up inhibiting their performance. 

The morning after a race is crucial, that’s when you are most likely to see any visible lameness, limping, short strides or head nodding. 

If your dog is unfortunate enough to gain an injury, the next thing to do is to have a vet or licenced animal physiotherapist check them over to pinpoint exactly where the lameness is coming from. Once you know where is sore, it’s time to treat the lameness and help your dog recover as quickly and as safely as possible. 

My favourite things to use to treat a dog for a muscle injury are ultrasound treatment and massages. Massaging the sore muscle twice a day with a muscle liniment or plain warm water will ease inflammation in the muscle and improve blood flow to the injury, blood needs to be flowing through properly for it to carry oxygen and the right nutrients to the injury to help it recover. 

I also like to feed my dogs turmeric, banana and eggs as all three foods have great properties to help a dog recover from injury. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, eggs have all the amino acids dogs need to help recover faster and bananas are great to feed after activity due to their ability to replace glycogen lost when the dog is performing.’

Annabelle Connelly, Border Trail Hounds

Having worried about one her own hounds, Moss, becoming lame recently, we’re very happy to report that after a visit to a licensed physio, all is well, and Moss is back fighting fit and racing.

We are also pleased to say Rue won the Produce trial yesterday (Sunday 20th September). She ran her heart out to win by a length on the finishing line – what a fantastic start to the season! Moss was 4th as he unfortunately made a couple of mistakes, which cost him dearly, but since he was only at the physio a few days ago, we think this is still a fantastic result.

We very much look forward to supporting Border Hound Trails in their coming season. To find out more about them and follow their racing season, visit their Instagram page.

 

 

Preparing Your Working Dog For The Shooting Season

By | Health, Nutrition, Training | No Comments

man and dog on shoot in countryside

Summer is coming to an end, the first leaves of autumn are falling, and there’s a decided nip in the air. And what does this spell? The shooting season is nigh!

After a beautiful summer holiday, your dog will probably be looking a little wider around the middle, and maybe a little out of shape. You too may be feeling the same?! With this in mind – now is the perfect time to begin preparations for a busy season in the field.

Everything from feeding to training is about to ramp up – and it’s crucial to manage the transition back into the field with care. In this week’s blog, we talk nutrition and fitness preparation to get your dog in tip-top shape for work.

The DIY health check

Before embarking on your epic pre-season training plan; it’s good to give your dog a quick health check. Luckily, this is very straightforward and can be done for the comfort of your home. However, If your dog is displaying any signs of discomfort, infection or illness – a trip to the vet is recommended. The following steps will highlight any potential problems;

  1. Covering the entire body, thoroughly check your dog for any bumpy bits, and don’t forget the tip of his tail – after a hard season before, this area is prone to injury.
  2. Extend and flex all joints. You should be feeling for any resistance to manipulation and signs of discomfort.
  3. Check the mouth for redness in the gums, loose teeth over zealous tartar build-up; this can all lead to discomfort for your dog.
  4. Check your dog’s ears for redness, irritation and excess wax.
  5. Examine your pet’s eyes for clouding or discharge.
  6. Inspect all four paws looking out for discolouration or strange smells. Examine the length of the nails and study between the toes.

Let’s get moving!

After a few months of relaxing and restoring – your dog is ready to get back into training; and being a working breed, he’ll be turbocharged to get back into the action! Just a few extra pounds can increase the pressure on your dogs’ joints, increasing the risk of an injury, and after a sedentary period, your dog is likely to have put on a few!

Start your training light with regular walks, and increase the intensity gradually. Conditioning your dog for long days in the field, including some short sprints, is crucial. And, focusing on the duration and frequency of exercise will help no end. Activities like running beside you while you ride a bike, practising long and short retrieves (with a variety of dummy weights) and obedience training will all help build stamina and sharpen your dog’s mental response skills.

Nutrition for optimum health and endurance

As the energy levels and activity ramp up, it’s essential to feed accordingly. In the same way, you are building up the workout intensity – introduce new foods slowly. A sudden change in diet could lead to stomach upsets – just as jumping straight into intense physical training could result in injury. We suggest mixing the new food in with the current meal for a week to allow the dog’s digestive system to adjust.

As your dog’s energy levels grow, heralding the start of the season, gradually increase the volume fed, splitting it into two or three meals per day. It would be best if you were looking for a dog food that offers high levels of protein and fat to support energy levels and muscle repair. At Alpha, we provide a range of high performance feeds, including Alpha Sporting Puppy (29% protein), Alpha High Performance (32%protein), and Alpha Grain-free (25% protein).

*No dietary changes will be required if your dog enjoyed a busy and active close season. Vet’s and scientists agree that it’s best (if possible) to keep the dog’s nutritional profile consistent. This aids and maintains good metabolism.

 

 

The brilliance of the Border Collie

By | Breeds | No Comments

border collie laying in grass

Border Collies are smart, eager and always alert. Not only are they a popular working dog breed, they’re the 7th most popular breed of all dogs in the UK in 2020 and it’s not hard to see why.

Exceptionally easy to train, Border Collies are great around children and other animals and despite having beautiful, long coats, they don’t tend to shed as much as other breeds, which is a very practical plus.

Here are four excellent reasons why we believe the Border Collie is brilliant….

Athletic prowess

Border Collies are very energetic. With minimum effort they move freely and smoothly with both speed and stealth, which is what makes them amazing at herding.

With the ability to jump 6-foot-tall fences, they are incredibly agile dogs who are able to dodge, weave and jump with grace – that’s why the Border Collie frequently wins canine sporting activities for their agility skills.

Because the Border Collie is full of energy, it is important to keep them active, both mentally and physically, from an early age. From about two months, start to train your Collie basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ in stride. As they are superfast learners, he will soon be keen move on to the more challenging agility moves.

Intelligent and obedient

Intelligence is what really sets the Border Collie apart from other breeds in this field.

Ranked number one for intelligence out of all herding breeds has resulted in the Border Collie being the shepherd’s go to sidekick for generations. Their love of the outside, high energy levels, athletic ability and enjoyment of a challenge makes them the perfect fit.

Once trained, Collies rarely get it wrong. It is usually very hard to break their focus, making them an owner or handlers dream. With an extremely strong instinct to work alongside man, they are always ready and alert to commands. They are patient too, and are good with authority, children and other animals.

Friendly, playful and driven

Border collies are affectionate and love to get your approval in the form of praise, treats and cuddles. They have a tendency to form a particularly strong bond with one member of the household, but their pack mentality means they will always be friendly and affectionate to the rest of the household too.

As a puppy, they are all about playtime and will happily fetch and catch all day. This playfulness never really leaves them making them an excellent playmate for life.

With the focus, stamina and enthusiasm of an athlete, it is in the Collie’s nature to ‘get the job done’. Not only does this make them great for herding, it also means they are extremely obedient, particularly if they know they will be rewarded for their efforts with a treat or two.

Strong work ethic

Border Collies have herding down to a fine art. Herding is a trait that is deeply embedded in the Collie’s psyche, so they naturally are excellent at rounding up the troops and leaving no stragglers behind.

Collie’s do have a high prey drive and will chase any animal, whether large or small. This is not necessarily to hurt it, more because they feel the need to. Nonetheless, it is important for the Collie to understand the ‘recall’ command, and obey it instantly, otherwise they cannot be let loose around livestock.

Not only do Collie’s work hard to herd sheep, they are also a popular choice for search and rescue dogs, as well as tracker and sniffer dogs too.

To keep your Border Collie healthy and nourished, visit our website to view our full range of dog food, specifically made for working dogs.