pet-health Archives - Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

Last year, Hot Diggity! introduced an exciting new offering to all our clients; Forest Pack Hikes! This isn’t a normal potty break or breath of fresh air, this is a full-on socialization and sensory-rich adventure for your pups. When Pack Club dogs realize that it’s a Hike Day, they get as excited as if they’re going to Doggie Disneyland.

All dogs go through an initial consultation where we determine if they’re ready for Pack Club and if so, which personality pack they fit best. Dogs must go through this approval process to make sure that everyone has a great time on the hike and that the pups who are more interested in the smells at every corner don’t slow down the speedsters who want to crack their previous distance record.

On the hikes with our trained Pack Hike Leaders, the dogs get to explore a variety of trails depending on the day, and always on-leash. Each trail offers its different scents, sounds, and sights. This increased stimulation is beneficial for your dog’s mental and physical well-being. Instead of seeing the same things day after day at the route near your home, dogs on hikes get to explore a treasury of experiences that a forest has to offer. Over here are deer smells! Over there is an owl hooting! There are so many rocks and plants to sniff!

Currently, we have morning (7-noon) and afternoon (12-5) pack hikes three days a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. This means that while you’re stuck at the office, your dog is having the time of their life roaming the forest with a pack of friends. You might not be able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air from your desk, but your dog will be savoring that fresh forest oxygen and can tell you all about it after work.

Bella the labradoodle kisses our award winning Portland pet sitter and pack leader Alex on the face in his car as they're getting ready to drive home after a fun pack hike adventure

This is the only service we offer where we take multiple dogs from different families out at one time (unless you’ve signed up for Buddy Walks with a friend). Each pack has a maximum of six members, but the number will vary between packs and days. Normally we love offering specialized individual attention, but spending time with other canines is beneficial, too. Without regular socialization, dogs can become shy and reactive towards others of their own kind. This behavior often leads to further isolation from other dogs, and further behavioral problems that will then have to be addressed by a professional dog trainer. With Pack Club your dog(s) can enjoy the companionship of other pups well-suited to their personalities. While on their adventure, good behavior is rewarded through positive reinforcement training by our Pack Leaders. 

Some important things to remember before applying for Pack Club:

  • We require that dogs be up to date on their vaccinations and on their flea and tick prevention.
  • They need to have a normal, non-extendable, leash and tags on their collars with accurate information.

Even though our Pack Hike Leaders are extremely responsible and excellent pet caretakers, we just want to be prepared as best as we can and for your dog to be as protected as they can.

When the fun hike is said and done and everyone is all tuckered out from the great exercise and sensory experiences, our Pack Leaders give your dogs a towel wipe-down, check them for any little pesky passengers that may have tried to hitch a ride, make sure everyone is hydrated, and then load the gang up and take everyone home where they’ll probably be sleeping and dreaming of the fun they had on their hike until you come back home from work.

If you want to apply to get your pup accepted into Pack Club, just email us with your interest or give us a call! We still have a few spaces available and would love for your pup to join in on the fun. Three dogs go on a hike out in a field leading to a forest in the distance with their pack leader

In the Pacific Northwest there are many natural diseases hiding under rocks, in fields, or in puddles, waiting to get past our pets’ immune systems. However there’s one disease that we’re very fortunate to rarely ever encounter: Valley Fever. This special disease, caused by a fungus known as Coccidiodes immitis, is found in desert regions such as the American Southwest region including California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and more. While dogs and other pets living in the Pacific Northwest might not encounter the fungi here, many dogs are moved from high kill shelters in the Southwest to loving homes in the PNW, and sometimes those dogs have Valley Fever.

One such dog is a young Mr. Johnny Cash. Cash is a very sweet little white shadow of an Aussie who loves to be next to his person and is available for adoption from Deaf Dogs of Oregon at the time of writing this blog post. Cash was rescued from a high-kill shelter in the Southwest and discovered to have Valley Fever. To understand what that means for dogs like Cash, read on!

What is Valley Fever?

As mentioned before, this disease is caused by the fungus known as Coccidiodes immitis. This pathogenic fungus can and does most commonly infect humans, but it also can infect a wide range of other animals including cats and dogs. Dogs are especially susceptible because they like to sniff and dig in the soil which is where C. immitis grows. During the dry season, C. immitis exits in a dormant mode in the soil and is not infectious, but after a wet-spell the fungus grows long filaments of mold with infectious spores on the ends. When these spores are inhaled into living organisms they create yeast-like infections in the lungs.

Is Valley Fever contagious?

No. Valley Fever cannot spread from organism to organism. While in yeast-like form (when it has infected a living organism) it does not create the spores which are the only infectious part of C. immitis.

What does Valley Fever look like?

In healthy dogs and cats, their immune system usually isolates the fungus and prevents them from causing symptoms of the disease. Many infected animals don’t show any signs at all. However in dogs with weakened immune systems, including very young puppies and older dogs, these infections will grow too large for the immune systems to handle and can cause visible symptoms of the disease and infect other organs.

Valley Fever is classified into two diseases, the Primary Disease and the Disseminated Disease:

  • In the Primary Disease, the infection is limited to the lungs. About three weeks after infection symptoms such as a dry cough, fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy become apparent.
  • In the Disseminated Disease, the infection spreads beyond the lungs and infects other organs including the brain, bones, heart, and eyes. Often it affects the bones and the symptoms will then progress to looking something like arthritis. Dogs suffering will show signs of lameness or limb swelling. Other symptoms of the Disseminated version of Valley Fever may include wounds that don’t heal*, swollen lymph nodes, back or neck pain, seizures, inflamed and/or cloudy eyes, abscesses under the skin, and even unexpected heart-failure. Sometimes a dog may show no symptoms of the Primary Disease before showing symptoms of the Disseminated Disease.

Cash’s Valley Fever has infected his bones, but as he’s on regular antifungal medication the disease is not progressing further and is healing up. This does cause him to act like he has arthritis and be limited in movement, but this will go away when his infection does.

*Special note that if the dog does have open wounds that are oozing liquid, while the number of organisms shed in the liquid should be low (when receiving antifungal medication), this liquid may still contain fungus that could spore again and become infectious to humans and other creatures in the household. Therefore bandages should be changed daily and thrown away directly into outside waste containers to prevent sporing from happening in the house. Non-permeable surfaces can be cleaned with a diluted (10%) bleach solution. For most people and animals with healthy immune systems, there should be little to no risk even if a dog has an infected open wound, and the liquid oozing itself is not infectious since it does not contain spores. However households that have immuno-compromised members should consult with a doctor or a vet and follow their instructions on how to maintain a spore free home. (And once again, Cash does not have this problem and is NOT contagious.)

How is Valley Fever diagnosed?

In the Pacific Northwest, where Valley Fever is not native, you’ll need to let your veterinarian know the travel history of your new dog. If they then suspect that their symptoms come from Valley Fever, there are a few different blood tests that can be used to diagnose Valley Fever, along with x-rays of the chest or bones.

How is Valley Fever treated?

If your dog is sick enough to be seen by a veterinarian for Valley Fever, then the disease will likely need to be treated by extensive antifungal medications with courses usually lasting between 6 and 12 months. If the disease has progressed into the disseminated stage, then the treatment may be longer. The medication is easy to administer, it’s usually just provided orally in the form of pills or capsules twice a day.

For dogs with bone or joint pain or coughing, other medications may be prescribed as well to relieve the suffering from these symptoms.

If you have a dog with Valley Fever, you can still go on vacation no problem! Hot Diggity! Sitters know how to administer pet medications and will stick to your medication schedule to ensure your pet’s health while you’re away.

And to help out the new furever family of Cash, Deaf Dogs of Oregon is paying for a full year’s worth of medication (starting from when he moved up to Oregon, so about another 10 months left now)! So his new family won’t even have to worry about figuring out what medication to put him on or paying for it for several months and hopefully the majority of his treatment.

What is the prognosis for a Valley Fever infection?

With early detection and intervention, most dogs recover from Valley Fever. Even with the Disseminated Disease version of Valley Fever, more than 90% of dogs respond well to treatment and recover. Only a very small portion of dogs either need lifetime treatment or will die from the disease.

In short.

Valley Fever is a highly treatable disease that is common in dogs rescued from Southwest shelters. Left undiagnosed and untreated, it can become severe and dangerous to the dog, but when treated there is a high success rate of clearing up the infection. It is not contagious to humans or other animals, just painful and unpleasant for the infected pet. With love and care, as all pets need anyways, almost all dogs recover from this disease to live the rest of their lives happily and healthily.

So you can expect a lot of happy years with the lovely and sweet Mr. Johnny Cash if you adopt him!

And as an added help, Hot Diggity! will provide any family that adopts Cash 3 Free 30-Minute Walks to help transition him to his new home as well as a lifetime 10% discount on all of our services for all pets in the family.

To learn more about Cash, you can read about him here or just contact Deaf Dogs of Oregon and meet him yourself!

Oh, and are you worried about adopting a deaf dog? Don’t! Does your hearing dog really listen to you anyways? Just kidding. 😉 But really, deaf dogs are just like normal dogs and especially since most of them are Australian Shepherds, extremely intelligent and highly trainable. Plus when you adopt through Deaf Dogs of Oregon they’ll have already undergone some training from being in foster care and you get a free training session with a specialized trainer too.

Additional Reading:

Do you love making snacks for other people? What about your pets? Thanks to the internet there are a ton of DIY Dog Treat recipes available. By making the treats yourself you can control the nutritional content and ensure that your dog’s snacks are free of any dietary restrictions they might have. Here are 3 recipes guaranteed to make your dog a happy dog!

Just remember, snacks are no real alternative to their normal healthy diet and should only be provided in moderation in order to ensure that your pups stay healthy and fit.

Leftovers Trail Mix Supreme: Combine any of the following leftovers from your refrigerator to create a flavorful trail mix that you can bring along on a hike with your dog, or to feed your dog as a snack after a trip to the dog park.

Ingredients:

  • Pieces of meat (unseasoned best- or first rinse off any seasoning/flavoring, remember that onions and garlic are harmful to dogs as is too much salt!)
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetables such as carrots or green beans (no onions or garlic!)
  • Fruit such as apples or bananas (no grapes/raisins)

Directions:

  1. Cut ingredients into ½ inch thick pieces and mix together
  2. Lay ingredients on a small baking tray and spray lightly with cooking spray
  3. Place in a food dehydrator or an oven set to 200°F until dried.

Homemade Pumpkin Biscuits: Use cute dog treat shaped cookie cutters to make your own special doggie biscuits at home! Make sure to use only unsalted and xylitol-free peanut butter when making this recipe. Xylitol is poisonous to dogs and too much sodium is bad for their cardiovascular health like it is with humans. Adam’s 100% Natural Creamy and Unsalted Peanut Butter is a great wholesome peanut butter brand that is safe for dogs. You can also substitute cooked sweet potatoes for the pumpkin too if you want!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked pureed (or canned) pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups ground oat flour

Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
  2. Combine pumpkin, peanut butter, eggs, and oil in a bowl. Add in some baking soda and oat flour, then stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead dough or mix until flour is incorporated.
  3. Roll out dough with a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to cut out dog bone shapes, or just bake into whatever shape you like. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat up the coconut oil and mix with the peanut butter until very smooth. Drizzle over the treats and cool till glaze hardens (it does best in the fridge or freezer).

Doggie Delight Frozen Treats: It might seem like a dream right now coming out of winter, but the hot summer days will be upon us soon and that means you’re going to need creative ways to help your best bud beat the heat! Here’s an easy way to make fun treats that will help keep them cool in the sun. We don’t recommend freezing treats inside Kong or other hollow toys however, the ice can be too strong and suction your dog’s tongue into the toy, causing severe and life-threatening damage if it’s not caught in time. Instead just freeze these treats in ice cube trays or popsicle molds! We promise they’ll be fun enough for your dog as is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbs peanut butter (remember, salt and xylitol-free!)
  • 1 tbs unsweetened greek yogurt or unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp flaxseeds (must be stored in fridge in airtight container to avoid spoiling)

Directions:

  1. Mash the banana
  2. Mix with the peanut butter, greek yogurt (or unsweetened applesauce), and flaxseeds
  3. Stuff the mixture into ice cubes or popsicle molds and place into freezer for at least an hour

Have you made any of these for your pups? Did you do anything different? How did they like them? We’re always happy to hear from you!

If you have brought a new dog home and you find that he misses you terribly when you are gone, you have probably already discovered how helpful dog sitting and dog walking can be. Dogs by nature like to be active, and feel a strong need to be near their humans. So when they’re alone for too many hours, they can take out their frustration and energy on the furniture. In this post we highlight a few ways to help your dog associate entertainment with something other than your favorite Edwardian chair.

The Importance of Exercise

Your dog should ideally be taking several walks a day and at least a couple of nice long walks. They should have the opportunity to chase after a ball, run over a large safe surface, and enjoy smelling plants, trees and surfaces, as they love doing.

One of the main reasons for undesirable behavior, is a lack of physical activity. If your dog is acting up and you are at work all day just call us! We can help get your dog out on the town whether its a walk down the street, playing ball in the backyard, or even better- going on a whole half-day pack hike.

Even when at home outside of walk times your dog can still be entertained with safe chew toys for dogs. Make sure you use trusted brands only, since cheaper toys can chip and break off, or pose a possible choking risk for pooches. Puppies especially should have a wide range of toys, because they continue to teeth until they are about eight months old. You can also fill up a Kong toy with frozen xylitol-and-salt-free peanut butter to keep them hard at work for a few hours.

Check for Separation Anxiety

If your dog only misbehaves when you are away from the home, bringing home another dog (which will certainly provide welcome company for your pooch) won’t solve the problem of chewing.

As is the case with humans, desensitization can work well for separation anxiety. This treatment involves exiting the door for a few seconds, coming back in, lengthening your absence to a minute, then a few minutes, then half an hour etc., as a way of letting your dog know that absence is always temporary and that you are not abandoning them.

If you think your dog might have this condition it is important to speak to your veterinarian who may recommend treatment in severe cases. The key is to enhance your dog’s wellbeing through a combination of approaches. Exercise, for instance, is always a good approach.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

In addition to chewing, a dog with separation anxiety will often show other symptoms, including howling and barking, trying to escape, doing his necessities indoors, and pacing. One of the reasons it is so important to see your vet is that these behaviors may be caused by other conditions (including infection, bladder stones, neurological problems, etc.).

There are certain events that can bring about this type of anxiety, including a change of guardian, change in schedule, moving residence, etc. The death of a family member can also spark different behaviors.

Spraying Furniture as a Deterrent

When chewing is occasional, you can nip it in the bud by spraying your furniture with a natural spray, which you can make at home using essential oils. Blend around 1 cup of water with around 10 drops of citrus essential oils* and white distilled vinegar. The bonus of this type of spray is that (unlike sprays made with chemicals) it won’t contribute to indoor air pollution, yet it will lend your home a beautiful, natural fragrance; make sure you use therapeutic grade citrus essential oils, which are safe for dogs and humans alike.

To stop your dog from chewing on your furniture, provide him with plenty of activity, ensure he has toys to let out his chewing instinct on, and try natural deterrents you can make at home for a small price.

*WARNING for cat owners: Essential oils, including citrus oils, contain phenols which are harmless towards dogs and humans, but highly toxic to cats. Inhaling phenols or getting them on their fur and licking the phenols off will cause symptoms of toxicity and require veterinary intervention. Search for cat-friendly no-bite sprays such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray to use at home.

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Is your normal walk or run with Buster just not cutting it? Does the lack of a competitive component to hiking in the woods bore you? Do you and Buster just love to support your favorite organizations while having a fun time? Well we’ve put together a list of 7 Portland Walks and Run events for charity that you can bring Buster to! Due to insurance concerns, not too many runs are open to dogs, but there are still quite a few events still available throughout the year. Here are some charity events held annually around the Portland area that you can bring your dog to:

  1. The Humane Society for SW Washington holds an annual Walk/Run for the Animals usually in May. This is held in Downtown Vancouver and raises funds to support their adoption services. This year the event is May 5th, 2018.
  2. Oregon Humane Society holds an annual Doggie Dash event at the end of May to support finding homes for thousands of homeless pets. This is held in downtown Portland at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Doggie Dash will be held on May 12th, 2018.
  3. The Best Friends Society holds an annual Strut Your Mutt event in different cities all around the country including Portland in September. There’s lots of activities to do here even after you finish your run or walk and plenty of vendors to visit.
  4. DoveLewis holds an annual Westie Walk in August. Don’t have a cute Westie? Don’t worry! No matter their pedigree, all friends of Westies are welcome.
  5. The annual Corgi Walk in The Pearl is held in August. Every dollar raised goes to helping abandoned and abused Corgis find happy furever homes through the CRPWCC Corgi Rescue as well as to other pets through the Oregon Humane Society.
  6. Come out for a good time in late summer with the Family Dogs New Life Shelter’s annual Fun Walk and 5k Run. There’s a lot of fun vendors to meet there as well as great prizes in the raffle.
  7. Rose Haven isn’t an animal rescue, although they are pet friendly since they understand that the pets of the women and children they help are part of their families too. Instead, Rose Haven focuses on helping women and children going through abuse or other disruptive life challenges by providing them with a safe community and services to help them. Every Mother’s day weekend they hold their annual Reigning Roses Mother’s Day Walk which is fun and also dog friendly! The 2018 Reigning Roses Mother’s Day Walk will be held on May 13th.

We hope you have fun throughout the year helping these great organizations and getting in some wonderful sunshine and fresh air with Buster. Know any other annual walks or runs in the Portland area that are dog friendly? Let us know! And to find more great organizations helping pets in the Portland area, check out our Community Partners page.

While it might be difficult to get used to at first for either a new cat owner or a new cat, nail trimming is an important part of keeping your feline healthy. Without regular trimming, cat’s nails can actually grow long enough that they will curve into the cat’s paws. This is not only painful, it can lead to serious infections too. Thankfully, trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t have to be an H. P. Lovecraft horror fest with a few training tips and tricks.

  • Start by training your cat to be comfortable with their paws being handled. While they’re relaxed from being pet, offer them treats while you handle their paws. Don’t continue if they become uncomfortable, and stop the treats when you stop handling their paws.
  • If they already like being on their back, this is the best position to be able to trim their nails in and a great time to train them to be comfortable with having their paws handled. However some adult cats already don’t like being on their backs and will have a hard time with it, so you’ll have to find an alternative position where they’re comfortable.
  • For adult cats that are already afraid of nail trimmers, help improve their association by pulling out the nail trimmers during happier times such as feeding and petting. Don’t use them at these times, but just place them nearby so that they become familiar with their form and reduce their negative association with them.
  • When do you trim a cat’s nails, start with just one at a time and then give them a treat. While they’re eating, cut the next nail if you can. It helps at this point to have an assistant providing your cat the treats.
  • Especially at first, don’t trim more than five at a time. This helps reduce the stress buildup from reaching the point where your cat will want to run away.
  • If your cat really really can’t stand it, you can gently wrap them in a towel and trim one foot at a time. Even with this method it’s best not to go for all four paws at once. If they’re angry or stressed that will build up their negative association with trimmers and make every attempt difficult and unpleasant. However if used gently, the towel method can be a helpful training tool in the beginning for particularly skittish kitties.
  • Make sure you’re not trimming their nails too far! You only want to clip off the sharp clear end, avoiding the pink quick inside which is sensitive. This is why it’s helpful to have an assistant, your cat comfortable so they’re not pulling away, and especially to have trimers that are sharp and easy for you to handle and see the nail while using.

Here’s a handy video to give you a visual overview of the process of trimming your cat’s nails,

We wish you luck with helping your cat become comfortable getting their nails trimmed! If you have any other tips or tricks, feel free to let us know! And if you’re on the lookout for a new feline best friend, check out some of our favorite cat rescues on our Community Partners page.

Further reading: http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/trim-your-cats-nails-without-the-stress

With a New Year comes lots of fireworks, and lots of fireworks means some possible serious anxiety for your pets. Here are a few friendly reminders on how to keep your pets calm when the clock strikes twelve:

  1. Definitely keep your pets indoors before the fireworks are set to begin.
  2. If possible, keep your pets with you. They will feel the most at ease in your presence.
  3. If you plan on being away from home, avoid leaving your pet alone. Having someone around with whom your pets are familiar with is a great alternative. If you plan on leaving them at a boarding facility, it’s better to be sure they have been there before. It may give them extra anxiety if it’s a new experience combined with the loud noises.
  4. If your home is an area where you expect to hear a lot of fireworks go off, it’s not a bad idea to start preparing your pet by acclimating them to the sound of fireworks. Playing firework recordings or videos will help prep your pets a bit more experience with the noise instead of completely catching them off guard the night of the celebrations.
  5. Drown out the loud booms by having some music playing inside the house or having the TV on at a decently loud volume. Make sure you have blinds and curtains closed in the house.
  6. Keep in mind that many pets love to crawl into confined spaces when they are scared. Dogs in particular may want access to their kennel or to hide under the bed. Allow them access to these spaces to seek out extra comfort.
  7. For pets who already have major anxiety, you may want to ask your vet about some medication options for sedation and/or look into purchasing a ThunderShirt.
  8. Provide your pets with lots of extra exercise that day to help wear them out.
  9. Give your pets something fun to play and occupy their attention such as a Kong toy filled with treats or xylitol-free dog-safe peanut butter for your dogs or new catnip toys for your cats.

Remember, all pets should have their collar on with identification tags in case they do escape and get scared away. Even better would be to have your pets microchipped too with up to date information. New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July are the two biggest days of the year for pets on the loose. By taking some precautions to comfort them we can help ensure that our furry friends won’t be lost and scared at the beginning of the New Year!

Sources: positively.com, cesarsway.com

There’s something inherently beautiful about stepping on untouched snow, snow that no one else has walked on. However, before your dog steps out on the snow and makes little paw prints in the white fluff, be sure that he is protected by the dangers that may lurk within.

One of these dangers during the winter months is rock salt that people use to avoid slipping and falling on ice. These salts are extremely hazardous to dogs and can cause burning, irritation, and seizures. Before you and Fido walk out the wintery wonderland, check out these tips to avoid rock salts and keep your dog safe in the snow.

Protect Fido’s Paws

There are a couple of things you can do to protect your dog’s paws from rock salts. The easiest and most effective way is to buy him some booties. These are slip-on shoes that are great for keeping his paws warm and to prevent him from the dangers of salt, ice, and snow. He will probably have to get used to the booties though, so let him walk around inside for a while to break them in. If your dog doesn’t react well to the booties, you can also coat his paws with a thin layer of balm or petroleum jelly. You can even find moisturizers in pet stores that are designed specifically for dogs.

Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Although it is always important to clip your dog’s nails, it is especially critical during the winter months. If your dog’s nails grow too long, they force the toes to separate and allow for the salt and other chemicals to become lodged in their paw. This can damage the paw and cause further discomfort and irritation.

Wash Off as Soon as You Come Inside

If your dog comes inside with salt on his paws, his natural instinct will be to lick it off. This will cause serious stomach problems, so you should help reduce the urge to lick by washing his paws as soon as you walk inside. You can use warm water and a soft towel, or special doggie footbaths that you can purchase from your local pet store.

While on your adventure in the winter wonderland, you may even want to keep a towel with you so that you can constantly wipe off Fido’s paws as soon as it’s necessary.

Use Alternatives to Rock Salts

The salt and chlorine in many deicers can irritate your dog’s paw and even burn him. If ingested, salt can cause vomiting, injury to the kidneys, tremors, seizures, comas, and even death.If you absolutely need to cover your sidewalks or driveway with salt, opt for ice-melting products that are safe for your four-legged friend. There are non-toxic brands of de-icing products such as Safe Paws Ice Melter or Morton Safe-T-Pet, that do not contain salt or chloride. Be sure to read the label when you buy a product and ensure that it is safe for your best friend.

Dogs love to play in the snow just as much as we do. However, we need to be a friend to our four-legged pals and make sure we take the necessary steps to avoid the dangers of rock salts.

Its no secret that our dog pals love to eat. Not only do they want a piece of their food, but they typically want a piece of our food as well! With those adorable faces staring right at you, it can be hard to say no. But it is so important to know if the scraps you feed your furry friend are actually safe for them.

Most of us know the basics; no corn cobs, chocolate or grapes. But after doing a little more digging, there were some foods I found to be a surprise on the do-not-feed list. Some of them may seem obvious, some less so. It’s never a bad idea to brush up on these DONT’S. It can be all too easy to slip our mind and give our pets a piece of our left overs.

  • Bacon- I’m sure we have many guilty dog parents who wanted to give their pal their first piece of bacon. I’ve found from multiple sources that bacon can lead to serious digestive issues or if given too much can cause pancreatitis, which can be very dangerous for our four legged friends!
  • Peanut Butter- Not that this is a complete no no. However, I wanted to shine a light on the fact to make sure the peanut butter does not contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is an ingredient deadly to dogs. Added salt content is also bad for their cardiovascular health. Peanut Butter is a lifesaver when it comes to getting stubborn doggos to take their medication, so just make sure it’s free from salt and especially xylitol. Adam’s 100% Natural Peanut Butter is a delicious and easily available brand that carries a plain Peanut Butter safe for dogs.
  • Raw Eggs- I’m sure there are plenty of people who like to crack open an egg and pour it over dog food to make it more appealing, however this cause a high risk of catching salmonella and e. coli infections, and a dogs system can have a hard time battling that off.
  • Raw Potatoes- Green Potato Poisoning happens when dogs eat too much solanine, a compound found in raw potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. The symptoms include heart problems, breathing difficulty, and digestive issues.
  • Dairy- Pouring some milk in the dog bowl or sharing your ice cream cone may sound like a good idea, but dogs stomachs can not process diary the same way we do, so it can end up leading to a lot of uncomfortable stomach issues if consumed too often. Watch the yogurt servings too, some dogs can be sensitive to it!
  • Honorable mentions: Cherry pits, mushrooms, garlic/onions, apricot pit, avocado pits.

Now let’s focus on some of the healthy human foods we CAN feed our four legged friends!

  • Apples- Is a great source of vitamin A & C as well as an excellent fiber source. Just make sure to remove the seeds, which can be not so great for dogs to digest!
  • Blueberries- Are an excellent source of antioxidants for dogs, and make good treats for tossing in the air for them to catch.
  • Brussels Sprouts- Are loaded with great nutrients for dogs, just don’t give them too much or they may get gassy.
  • Carrots- Are a great low calorie snack, and great for strong healthy teeth.
  • Celery- Is a great healthy snack loaded with vitamins.
  • Cucumber- Is a great treat for overweight dogs , and can even help boost energy levels.
  • Honorable mentions in moderation: Pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, spinach, watermelon, bananas, and broccoli

I hope this list shines a light on some of the delicious human foods you keep in your kitchen, and just remember; our stomach and their stomach don’t process foods the same way. A lot of these can vary on the breed, size, and age of your dog, and you could be doing a lot more harm then good for their digestive system.

Sources- akc.org, iheartdogs.com, webmd.com, dogtime.com, foodbeast.com, aspca.org, petpoisonhelpline.com

Chewing is always a difficult problem with puppies, and it’s one that needs to be resolved for your pet to be a part of your household as well as to protect your new family member. The good news is that most dogs do grow out of their chewing behavior. The bad news is that they can do quite a lot of damage before they outgrow the habit, and often dogs with anxiety issues will continue having chewing problems into adulthood. Here are some ways to train your puppy (and protect your home!) as well as help your puppies grow into calm adult dogs:

Reward conditioning: Essentially, treat your new puppy like a toddler. When you are around, watch them like a hawk. When you see them grab onto your leather loafers or a chair leg, distract them with some other, more attractive option. When they take the rawhide chew or nylon bone or whatever “good” toy you want them to chew, give them lots of praise, petting, and treats. Absolutely do not try to chase your puppy to get the shoe or bra out of their mouth. That will tell them that it’s all just a big game to you and will encourage them to continue stealing things they know you’ll want to chase them to get back. Even though it is a lot of fun, you must resist! Play chase with good toys instead!

Chew toys: Figure out what kind of chew toys your dog likes and don’t forget to switch them up frequently. Some dogs love cow bones, some antlers, some prefer balls, some prefer stuffed animals, and some prefer ropes! Oftentimes even if the toy is the exact same your puppy will be excited about getting a second, new version of it. And pay attention to how strong of a chewer your puppy or new dog is. You don’t want to buy them toys that they’ll rip to shreds in less than an hour both because it’s a waste of money and not good for them to be eating so much plastic!

Chew toys such as hooves are great for dogs, but if they chew them too much then they can get diarrhea (not to mention the smell is horrendous…). Strong chewers can also tend to whittle away hooves and bones down to such a point that they’re very small and can be easily swallowed. These small fragments aren’t usually digestible and will either lead to vomiting or diarrhea or worse. So make sure to throw them out before they get to that point! Don’t give in, no matter how sad Buster’s puppy eyes are!

West Paw Design makes EXTREMELY durable dog toys. So durable in fact, that if your dog does manage to destroy them they will replace them for you for free! Besides the Zogoflex line by WPD the only other toys my dog Merry has never managed to destroy are the Chuckit! balls and Kong toys.

Crate training: Crate training is the most feasible option for many people, and it can keep your puppy feeling safe and secure when you’re away. This is one of the easiest ways to train a dog to be calm during separation. It takes a lot of practice when you’re home at first, but beyond the reward of an intact couch your dog will also be much happier and calmer when you are away. Working on training with a puppy or any new dog also increases the bond between you two, no matter what you work on. Plus if you ever move crate training is a fantastic way to make your dog comfortable with such a major transition.

Preventing chewing: If your puppy tends to chew on a surface that is color safe and won’t be damaged (like your fingers), you can coat the surface in white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. The smell and taste will make the object much less tempting. There are also better smelling alternatives such as Bitter Apple spray.

But more than using sprays to discourage chewing you could also use this as an opportunity to puppy-proof your house by being as diligent as possible about cleaning up. Even for adult dogs open trash can be a danger. Make sure trash is kept securely away and it would be best if electric wires such as chargers were also hidden away too. Even if they’re not plugged in they contain metals which may pose a danger to a puppy if they eat them. Cleaning up or using preventative sprays won’t change your puppy’s underlying behavior or your adult dog’s anxiety issues, but it’s a good way to help keep them (and your stuff) safe while you work on training them to chew safer toys or have less separation anxiety.

Don’t give up on your puppy: It can be hard to retrain an instinctive behavior like chewing, but it’s well worth it to have a happy, well-adjusted dog, who lives a long life as your best companion!