September 9, 2010
You’ve seen the face. You know, the one that only appears when you’re standing at the kitchen counter preparing a meal, or eating at the dinner table, or just having a snack on the couch. The look says, “Can I have some? Please? I’ve been good today. Just a little piece, please?”
Pet owners have strong opinions about people food for dogs. Some forbid it, while others treat it as the dog’s regular, hard-earned dessert. A third group keeps treats out of the kitchen and dining area to discourage begging, but occasionally uses people food for treats and training.
No matter what group you fall into, it is important to know what foods are harmful for dogs, and which foods are healthy additions to their diet. (In moderation, of course.) DogTails’ new food series, Dog Treats, tackles this issue today. Check out our list, and keep an eye out at home, as food-loving dogs often find both equally appetizing.
Yogurt is a cool, tasty treat most dogs love. Stick to plain, unsweetened yogurt, as the flavored varieties often include too much sugar or artificial sweeteners – both of which are not good for dogs. Some experts even cite plain yogurt as a source of healthy bacteria that helps dogs regulate their digestive systems. Like humans, certain dogs will have a negative reaction to dairy, so keep the serving size small, especially when it is first introduced.
Sweet Potatoes are healthy vegetables that are often used as ingredients in pet foods. You can serve them cooked or slice and dehydrate them to make yummy chewy treats. Modern Dog magazine highlights this food as a great source of fiber and select vitamins. Similarly, squash and pumpkin are also healthy veggie treats for dogs.
On the carnivore’s side, Lean Meats are a great source of protein for dogs. When feeding dogs fresh lean meats like chicken, beef and pork, you will want to make sure that: 1) the meat is well-cooked, 2) the fat has been trimmed, and 3) there are no seasonings. Certain herbs and spices (see below) are hazardous to your dog’s health and should be avoided.
Chicken Broth can help make your dog’s dry food more palatable. If you’re going with the store-bought variety, make sure you pick up the low-sodium option. Regular canned broth contains too much salt for dogs, and could cause excessive thirst or an even more serious reaction.
We recommend giving people food to dogs only in moderation, and always paying careful attention to the dog’s behavior and health when introducing a new treat. If you have any questions at all regarding appropriate food choices, contact your veterinarian.
On the flip side, we have foods that dogs should avoid eating. Grapes can harm a dog’s kidneys, and should be avoided, along with raisins and wine.
Chocolate is a well-known toxin for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can negatively affect a dog’s heart and nervous system. Baking chocolate contains the highest level of these compounds, and as a result it is the most dangerous to dogs if consumed.
Alcohol is also extremely dangerous for dogs. It can cause symptoms ranging from nausea to difficulty breathing to coma.
As mentioned above, certain herbs and spices should also be avoided. These include garlic, chives, onions and mustard seeds.
Finally, candy is also off-limits. These products often contain excess sugar and in some cases, harmful artificial sweeteners like Xylitol. So remember, with Halloween just around the corner, steer your dog away from the candy baskets!
We invite you to share your dog-friendly recipes here, or on our Facebook page.
Photo by Andrew Vargas via Flickr. Photo is cropped.
August 26, 2010
Being a dog owner is not easy. To raise a dog properly, you need to devote time, money and passion to the job. Moments of frustration are bound to occur, and at regularly intervals. Successes are often followed by small failures and false starts. You may even lose your favorite pair of shoes to your puppy’s teeth.
As any dog owner can tell you, however, all of that effort is worth it. Bringing a dog into your home will change your life. Your dog’s unconditional love, unsinkable spirit and unabashed smiles can improve your health and well-being in many ways.
To prove our point, Dog Tails has compiled a list of the top 5 ways that dogs can change your life for the better. Read on, and learn more about how these amazing creatures make our lives better every day.
July 1, 2010
You have been waiting for months, and it’s finally time to dive in! Beach and pool season is upon us, and chances are you’ll be enjoying one of these cooling-off options this summer.
But remember, there’s no need to leave the dog at home! DogWatch Hidden Fences has compiled another batch of summer tips, this time focusing on water safety for dogs. While the issue of water safety for dogs is very serious, we know that with careful planning, training and attention, you and your dog can stay cool and have a blast this summer. Let’s start with the basics…
All dogs can swim, right? Not exactly. Some dogs, like Portuguese water dogs and retrievers, are terrific natural swimmers, while others, especially short and/or stout dogs like bulldogs, basset hounds, corgis and pugs, have a much harder time than others. Regardless of breed, all dogs should be gradually introduced to water rather than simply being tossed in unattended.
According to the ASPCA, swim lessons should start as early as possible, preferably when the dog is a still a puppy. Even if this is not possible, proper training is still key to ensuring that your dog is safe and reacts positively to water.
This video of Ruby the Dogue de Bordeaux learning to swim provides a great lesson plan for dogs. Dog trainers suggest that you get in the water first, and slowly encourage your dog to follow you in, one step at a time. Take your time and give the dog lots of praise and encouragement. Having a dog friend around can also help: your dog may follow her friend into the water if she sees her go in safely.
June 16, 2010
Summer may not officially start until Monday, but the weather isn’t waiting. The hot days are already here, and no doubt you’ve already made steps to beat the heat. As you pull down your summer clothes, turn on the AC and stock up on water, don’t forget to take care of your dog during these dog days.
DogWatch Hidden Fences has compiled a checklist to help keep your dog healthy in the summer heat.
1) Keep your home cool
We know that keeping the AC on at home while you are at work can be expensive. At the same time, it is important to maintain a healthy temperature if you leave your dogs in the house on really hot days. If you have an air conditioner, setting it to a higher temperature, such as 80 or even 85 degrees, will be a little easier on your wallet while helping to keep the house from getting too hot when the outside temperature reaches 90 or above.
Hydration is also important. Make sure your dogs have plenty of water during the summer. Plan to bring along water during long walks and any trips out of the house.
For dogs that stay outdoors during the day, make sure that they have plenty of readily accessible shade and water. DogWatch Hidden Fence users will want to make sure that there is enough shade in the fence area for their dogs, and that they leave plenty of water for their dog within that area.