Friday, September 3, 2010

Harmless foods you should avoid giving your dog to prevent health problems

Everyone seems to have a horror story about a dog that would eat anything. We all know about a time that a dog got into the chocolate cake, or the onion soup, or the garlic chicken. Most of these stories result in
harrowing trips to the emergency vet, terrifying vet bills, and huge amounts of worry and stress for everyone involved.

But what about the foods we choose to feed our dogs? Of course we wouldn't feed them an onion off a cutting board, but what about other vegetables? Most dog owners have no problem with throwing their dog some scraps as a treat, or even as they cook. Unfortunately, some innocuous and seemingly healthy foods can also be the beginning for one of these pet horror stories. Read on to find out which harmless sounding foods you should avoid giving your dog to prevent health problems.

1. Cat food.

Many dogs co-exist peacefully with their feline friends, but make sure to curb your dog's tendency to munch on your cat's leftovers. Dogs like cat food because it is higher in fat and protein, which makes it much tastier than their normal food. However, over time this habit can lead to a serious imbalance in your dog's diet, which can result in major health problems (and vet bills) in the future. Make sure to protect your dog by keeping your cat's bowl somewhere out of reach when they are not using it. Even better, find a spot for your cat's meals that allows them some privacy in addition to protecting your dog. Your entire fur-family will thank you.

2. Avocados.

It's easy to assume that most vegetables and fruits are good for your dog. After all, dogs eat grass outside, so why are vegetables any different? Many dogs owners develop a habit of feeding their dog small vegetable treats as they prepare dinner or snack on them, but you need to be careful what you're feeding your dog. Avocados contain persin, which can cause both vomiting and major stomach upset for your dog. Do your dog, yourself, and your carpet a favor and research the vegetables you feed your dog online.

3. Mushrooms.

Another seemingly harmless vegetable, and another dangerous food for your dog. Mushrooms contain a toxin that can both send your dog into shock, and in extreme cases cause death.

4. Raisins.

Raisins are a relatively new food on the radar, and the toxin that causes a reaction in dogs has yet to be identified. What is clear is that raisins and grapes, even in small amounts, can cause extreme kidney damage to your dog.

5. Fish.

Dogs are frequently fed fish because many pet owners assume that if something is safe for cats, it must also be safe for dogs. Dogs that are fed large amounts of fish of any type, in any form (raw, cooked, canned) frequently show a lack of vitamin B. This can lead to seizures, loss of appetite, and in very extreme cases, death.

Dogs love people food, and there's no reason not to indulge their tastes within reason. If you're not completely sure that a food is dog friendly, remember to research it online first before you feed it to your pooch. Your dog and your wallet will thank you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hunter's Summer Vacation

Its hard to believe that the school year is almost over and summer is here again. That means it is time for our annual camping trip. Hunter has gone on this trip every year since he was pup. Last year was no exception, his near obsession with water almost always gets him into some kind of trouble. If there is a lake stream or even a mud puddle he finds his way in it.

The trouble began last year with the stream that runs through the center of the campsite. Hunter is crazed over it and spends most of the trip trying to fiqure out how to get in it. By August the stream is running pretty low except for one spot (I think you know where I am going with this) the spot with the waterfall.

So my husband takes Hunter potty first thing in the morning, he lets him off the leash and turns his back on him for one second . Immediately Hunter makes a beeline for the part of the stream where the current is running strong and there is a four foot waterfall. All the while my husband is running behind Hunter yelling "Hunter NOOOO!" Hunter then proceeds to dive into the stream gets caught in the current and goes over the waterfall, then floats down the stream. My poor husband was an absoulute wreck till he got to Hunter who had washed up on the bank below without a single scatch, completely unfazed by the whole thing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5 Ways to Prevent Your Dog From Waking You Up Early

Volume 13 of The Whole Dog Journal recently came out with an article called “Sleeping in Is Sweet.” It explains five things to do if your dog is waking you up early and how to get those precious minutes of sleep back. Here are their suggestions:

1. Rule out medical conditions – Get your dog checked to rule out diseases or infections that may cause a sleepless pooch. Sleepless pooches with poor elimination infections can be a nightmare for you and your sleep.
2. Tire him out the night before – Exercise your dog the night before so that the energy that would normally go towards waking you up is gone. Exercise also releases endorphins, the bodies own endogenous opiate, reducing anxiety and helping doggies get a full nights rest.
3. Feed him earlier/ better; make the “last call later” – Feed your dog earlier so there is more time between his last meal and his last potty break. A bad habit can form quickly when its 5:00 am and your pooch has succeeded in getting you up as well as had the first meal of the day. High quality diets reduce elimination because they digest in your dog’s intestine more quickly.
4. Reduce stimuli in the bedroom – Turn off the television and play soft music. If he is crate trained, put a blanket over his crate. If he is a nighttime wonderer, put a baby gate across the door.
5. Train him to sleep in – Hopefully several of these ideas work for you. If these ideas don’t work for you, here is a simple idea that may help. If you condition your dog by setting your alarm forward five minutes eventually your dog will be in sync with your wake up time. As long as you have a quiet house, this is an easy idea that hopefully will solve your pooch’s problem.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Dog's Gas is not on the Guest List

If you have ever had to deal with doggie gas, you will appreciate this story. Last Thanksgiving, I had 17 people over for dinner. Hunter always engorges himself like it is his last day on earth and Thanksgiving was no different for him. He gobbled down his dinner as usual and soon developed a bad case of doggie flatulence. It became so overpowering that during a scrumptious turkey dinner, supplemented with mashed potatoes and gravy, he cleared the entire room! People started plugging their noses and saying, "whew, oh wow.” Some people even said things I can't repeat. All the while, Hunter had this look on his face like he was trying to say, "is there some kind of problem?!"
After that evening, believe it or not, I began to research canine gas prevention and it seems that dogs get gas when they eat to fast. Upon further investigation, I found out that if you put a small ball in the middle of their bowl, it slows down their eating and helps eliminate gas. It doesn't have to be a ball; you could also use a small container in a bowl as long as it slows them down. We have been trying this with Hunter and it seems to be helping. I hope this trick works for you to.