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Introducing Dr. Alvar+

During this summer, we brainstormed how to best communicate the high quality of our products. We’re really good at talking about environmental benefits, but when it comes to the active ingredients, functional nutrients, health benefits of our products.. It’s complicated, it’s a lot, it’s difficult to fit into snack-sized content! (When you read this article further, you’ll see exactly what we mean 😉🤷🏼‍♀️)

As a result, many potential customers may not look beyond the main ingredients – which are of course also important, but it’s the small details that make the big difference in your dog’s health.

Allow us to introduce Dr.Alvar+ compounds, the new way we will from now on package product benefits. Let’s dive deeper into THE PLUS.

Dr. Alvar+ compounds, more than a sum of its parts

The + are nutritional solutions included in our dry food formulas to support the wellbeing of a dog at a delicate life stage or with a certain specific need. They’re developed by Alvar Pet’s extended team of veterinarians and dog food experts.

Adjusted levels of essential nutrients together with carefully selected active ingredients create a synergistic combination that provides targeted health benefits to cater to dogs’ individual needs. Just like mathematical equations, Dr. Alvar+ compounds are based on science; scientific research of dog’s nutritional needs.

The compounds are included in our dry food recipes. Giving a dedicated name to these nutrient sets helps us communicating the product benefits in an easy-to-understand way.

What is in Dr. Alvar+ compounds?

The compounds consist of carefully chosen functional ingredients, vitamins and minerals. Often the lists of technical-looking words like chondroitin sulphate or fructo-oligo saccharide, or think about the antioxidants and vitamins of berries.

As nutritional solutions, however, compounds are not only about functional ingredients added to the recipes. Dr.Alvar+ also emphasises how we have formulated each individual recipe to ensure a balanced intake of essential nutrients, like protein or fat, based on the different needs of dogs.

We primarily source from the Nordics, harnessing the superpowers of our northern nature. Not all the nutrients are available from the Nordics – at least not yet – so some of the tiny but mighty ingredients such as psyllium and glucosamine are sourced from further.

Life stage compounds

Our life stage compounds make sure that your dog gets the nutrients it needs throughout its healthy and happy life.

Puppy+ badge

Puppy+

Nutrient cocktail designed to ensure the optimal growth of a puppy. From the puppy’s first food up to 12 months and the brink of adulthood.

  • Adjusted energy and fat level support healthy and balanced growth rate, and high quality protein provide building blocks for the intensive growth and development.
  • Highly digestible ingredients together with prebiotic fibres ensure healthy digestive functions and support the development of balanced intestinal mibrobita.
  • Essential omega-3-fatty acids EPA & DHA to ensure the optimal development of brain and nervous system.
  • Antioxidants to support building up the natural defences.

Our recipes with Puppy+: Verve, Zippy, Steady, Serene

Senior+

Dogs start showing signs of aging from 6 years and up, and the right nutrition can add healthy years to their life!

  • Moderate fat and energy together with higher fibre content help maintain healthy weight and support the feeling of fullness while ensuring the intake of essential nutrients from the daily portion.
  • Highly digestible protein and L-carnitine help supporting strong muscles and lean body composition and help preventing the loss of muscle mass of an ageing dog.
  • Omega-3-fatty acids, important for the brain and nervous system, contribute to the maintenance of cognitive functions.
  • Antioxidants help supporting the natural defences and fight against oxidative stress.

Our recipes with Senior+: Delight, Slender

Mother & Puppy+

At the last third of the gestation, pregnant bitches have specific nutritional needs that can best be met through food designed to that purpose. Similar formula also serves for the needs of puppies during weaning from the age of 2-3 weeks.

  • High protein and fat help support the bitch during the last stages of gestation and through lactation, and cover the intense needs of weaned puppies.
  • Omega fatty acids and correct mineral balance to contribute to the healthy development of the puppies.
  • Antioxidants and prebiotic fibres to support the bitch’s immunity and the development of natural defences of the puppy.
  • Highly palatable food helps ensuring the acceptance of the food.

Our recipes with Mother & Puppy+: Zippy

Special needs compounds

Dr.Alvar+ special needs compounds are the cornerstone to needs-based and science-backed nutrition, where you can target specific needs with the active, functional ingredients.

Digestion+

Designed to support the dog’s digestive system and gut health. For dogs with a sensitive stomach.

  • Highly digestible ingredients ensure good digestive functions and reduce fermentation in hind gut, contributing to firm feces.
  • Psyllium husks further support stool consistency with its gellifying properties.
  • Beet pulp and prebiotic FOS and MOS help creating a healthy microbiome favouring the precense of good gut bacteria over pathogenic species.
  • The metabolic end products of bacterial fermentation of fibres nourish the gut epithelium and help support gut-derived immunity.
  • Omega-fatty acids contribute to the gut cell wall integrity, helping to soothe the intestinal epithelium.

Our recipes with Digestion+: Verve, Delicate, Steady, Bug, Serene

Skin & Coat+

Designed to boost your dog’s skin and coat from the inside. Provides targeted health benefits to issues like itchy skin or dull coat.

  • High quality protein and amino acids to support keratine synthesis for hair growth and skin cell renewal.
  • Omega fatty acids contribute to the skin integrity and moisture via supporting the epithelial fat layer together with the group B vitamins.
  • Vitamin A supports renewal of epithelial cells and prevents dandruff.
  • Chelated zinc and linoleic acid support hair growth and shine.

Our recipes with Skin & Coat+: Baltic Sea, Root, Serene, Bug, Delicate, Zippy, Verve

Weight Control+

Maintaining ideal body condition is one of the key ways to supporting the long and healthy life of a dog. This compound is designed for weight watchers.

  • Moderate calorie and fat help to limit energy intake while ensuring the balanced intake of essential nutrients from the daily portion.
  • Increased fibre level help diluting calories while filling the stomach and supporting the feeling of fullness despite the energy restriction.
  • Highly digestible proteins help maintaining healthy muscle mass and together with L-carnitine contribute to the lean body composition.
  • Omega fatty acids and chondroprotectants help supporting healthy mobility of joints.

Our recipes with Weight Control+: Delight, Slender

Sensitivity+

For dogs with sensitivities, less is often more – careful would be the one word to describe our approach to designing this compound.

  • Selected, simple protein sources limit the exposure to multiple allergens, making the product potentially suitable for dogs with skin and digestive sensitivities.
  • Highly digestible protein sources, moderate fat and balanced fibre composition, including prebiotics, support healthy digestive functions and together with antioxidants help supporting gut-derived immunity.
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids nourish and soothe the skin.
  • Balanced intake of vitamins and minerals contribute to the skin renewal and hair growth.

Our recipes with Sensitivity+: Root, Delicate, Steady, Bug

Joints & Mobility+

Supporting joint health may be of specific interest to the owners of big dogs, sporty dogs, aging dogs or overweight dogs.

  • High quality proteins and ideal balance of minerals such as calcium help supporting strong muscles and bones.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate are the natural building blocks of joint cartilage.
  • Anti-inflammatory omega-fatty acids help supporting healthy mobility of joints.

Our recipes with Joints & Mobility+: Sturdy, Slender, Delight

Finding the right equation for your dog

Phew, that was a lot – applauds to anyone who made it this far! 😅 👏🏼 Choosing the correct mix of compounds to suit your dog’s needs can feel overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here: to help.

You can start by building a tailored meal plan for your dog – and you’re always more than welcome to reach out through our customer support. You can also find more info about Dr.Alvar+ in our nutrition-related FAQ section.

Also, if your dog has a special need that our Dr.Alvar+ compounds don’t cover, we’d love to hear! We’re always looking for ways to further develop our product portfolio in order to serve and support the health of even more dogs and their different kinds of unique needs. 💚

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Grain free dog food

Doctor Alvar is here to answer questions around grain free dog food 🩺

Is grain free dog food really better for your dog? 🤔

For almost two decades, there have been several dog foods with the label “grain-free” or “no grain” in pet stores and online shops. Many dog owners seek grain-free versions, perhaps thinking they are a healthier option for their dog, or because they have heard that grains are harmful to dogs. Dr. Alvar decided to investigate the phenomenon and below are answers to frequently asked questions about the topic!

What does grain-free dog food actually mean?

Simply put, grain-free food means that grains have not been used in the preparation of dog food. According to the labeling practices of the European pet food industry association (FEDIAF), the English terms “grain-free” and “no grain” differ in that the former does not allow any traces of grains in the food, while the latter only requires that grains have not been used in the recipe. This difference can be significant if a dog has been diagnosed with a food allergy to a specific grain, as even small amounts of that grain can cause symptoms.

Ultimately what is the best food for your dog comes down to your dog’s individual needs, i.e. activity level.

Does grain-free dog food mean that there are few carbohydrates in the food?

Sometimes it seems that the term grain-free is understood to mean that there are no “carbs” in the food. In practice, however, most dog foods contain sources of carbohydrates in some form. If not grains, then in the form of potatoes, peas, or other vegetables.

Aren’t carbohydrate-rich ingredients in dog food unnecessary fillers?

There are no recommended carbohydrate intake levels for dogs, but using different carbohydrate-rich, plant-based ingredients brings a good source of energy to the food in a well-digestible starch form, and ensures the intake of beneficial fibers. The right fiber composition of the food ensures proper functioning of the digestive tract and supports the formation of a balanced bacterial flora in the intestine. Fibers also help dilute the food’s energy content and support the formation of a feeling of fullness. In addition, plant-based ingredients also provide other beneficial nutrients, such as minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. Especially in dry food, the preparation method of the food requires some source of starch.

If there are carbohydrates in the food anyway, does it matter where they come from?

This is where the individual differences between dogs come in. If a dog has any sensitivities and does not seem to tolerate certain ingredients in its diet, it makes sense to look for better alternatives. A classic immune-mediated food allergy is practically always related to the food’s proteins, which are also found in plant-based sources. For example, a dog can be allergic to the protein of a specific grain or legume. The symptoms of traditional allergy include itching and diarrhea of the skin, and the symptoms of allergy can be avoided by excluding the specific ingredient from the dog’s diet. On the other hand, the unsuitability of the ingredient may also be related to its characteristics, such as poorer digestibility, in which case certain ingredients may cause more gas for some dogs.

There are naturally different nutritional properties associated with the carbohydrate sources used in diets. Oats are particularly linked to several accepted health benefits in human nutrition due to its fiber beta-glucan. Not all of the health benefits of oats, such as lowering cholesterol, are necessarily essential for dogs, but the beneficial effects of beta-glucan on intestinal well-being are also known in dogs. Barley, for example, is known to positively affect postprandial blood sugar regulation and is therefore an interesting source of carbohydrates for weight management and dogs with diabetes. Potatoes, on the other hand, are considered a relatively “neutral” ingredient in terms of nutrition. Potatoes are highly digestible and, in addition to starch, contain some fiber, group B vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium.

I have read that grain-free dog foods could lead to heart disease. What is this about?

A few years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration began collecting information on a possible link between the occurrence of a specific heart disease in dogs, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and dogs’ diets. It appeared that diets containing a lot of legumes were associated with the occurrence of DCM. Legumes are typically used in grain-free foods, which is why the role of grain-free dog foods in particular was discussed. There is no clear link between diets and the occurrence of the disease, and regular monitoring of the matter has been discontinued. However, the international scientific community is likely to continue to research the best sources of ingredients for dogs.

You don’t have to use grain-free dog food “just in case”

How do I ultimately choose the best food for my dog?

In addition to the raw materials used in the food, many other factors affect the food’s individual suitability. The energy content of the dog food should correspond to the dog’s activity level so that dosing does not have to resort to extremes. Active dogs can benefit from higher protein content, while slightly more moderate protein levels may be beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The fat content and choice of fat sources can not only affect the energy density of the food, but also ensure a balanced intake of essential omega fatty acids. The selection of carbohydrate-rich ingredients can affect the fiber composition and protective nutrient content of the food in the manner described above. In addition, it is important that the food is palatable and that the quality of the ingredients is high.

The best food with the most suitable composition for your dog is most reliably found by trying it out. However, avoiding certain ingredients in advance is not necessary, so grain-free food does not have to be used “just in case”.

Alvar’s dry food range includes both grain-free recipes and foods containing oats and/or barley, suitable for dogs with different individual needs. All foods contain the necessary nutrients in the right balance, and the recipes are also designed to support certain nutritional needs through our Dr. Alvar+ compounds.

Through our recommendation engine, you can create a personalised feeding plan for your dog!

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Alvar’s tips for a safe Christmas

Kaapo dog with Christmas gifts and tree.
“*Sniff sniff* I can smell something yummy in the oven, *sniff sniff* hmm is it roast pork, let me put on my sweetest puppy eye stare so I can get some!” – Kaapo

We can’t be the only ones who experience these puppy eyes 👆🏼 during Christmas? Not all Christmas treats are good for dogs, and that’s why we’ve put together a list to ensure you and your furry friend get the best and safest Christmas together. ❤️

If your pup has been extra good this year – how about getting one of Alvar’s Christmas Bundles to put under the tree?

Here are Alvars tips for a safe Christmas with your furry friend:

🦴 Avoid giving your dog bones from the Christmas roast and put the frying fat and fatty table scraps far away from your dog’s reach. The bones can get stuck in their system and the fats can irritate their tummy.

🍫 Nuts, raisins, chocolate and anything baked with yeast are a no-go for dogs. The same applies to alcohol and anything with xylitol. All in all: avoid snack sharing with your pup.

💐 Christmas decorations and flowers are lovely, but for example poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, tinsel, string, ribbons as well as other festive decorations and plants are not something you should let your dog chew on.

🗣 The Christmas stress, noise, family gatherings and many delicious smells can be stressful for some dogs. They might need more down time, a walk or time alone. You know your dog and their needs the best, so ensure a comfortable and safe surrounding for your pup.

🕯 Last but not least: watch your Christmas candles.. Fire and dog fur are not a good combination.

Instead of sharing your Christmas treats with your dog, treat your dog with some delicious dog snacks: check our Christmas offerings below for inspiration!