Category Archives: safety

Peanut “Brittle” for Dogs

First, let’s be clear that did should not eat real, human, peanut brittle. There is far too much sugar, and the broken pieces are sharp and could cause internal injuries.

That doesn’t mean that our fuzzy friends can’t enjoy a peanut-y treat. Below are a few recipes for peanut brittle alternatives.

Two things to remember about dogs and peanuts are:

  1. Use unsalted peanuts and peanut butter.
  2. Read the peanut butter jar to ensure xylitol is not an ingredient as this is toxic to dogs.

Check out this list of foods safe for dogs, and read about dogs and spicy food.

Key Ingredient – Dog Peanut Brittle

Husky Haven – Doggie Peanut Brittle

The Lazy Pitbull – Peanut Butter & Apple Sauce Cookies for Dogs

Husky Haven also has a very extensive list of other dog safe recipes.

Happy #PeanutBrittleDay!

As always, if your dogs eats something you suspect to be poisonous, be sure to seek medical advise as soon as possible.

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours per day and 1-855-764-7661. 

For day to day peace of mind, consider having a Pet First Aid kit, such as this one by the AKC, available.

Are regular feeding times important for dogs?

Dogs, by nature, are creatures of habit. There are several reasons why establishing and maintaining regular feeding and toileting times is important for your dogs health.

The main reasons to keep your dog are:

  • Routine brings security for your dog
  • Preventing overeating
  • Allows you to monitor your dogs habits
  • Maintain regular digestive rhythm
  • Prevent attraction of pests and insects

As most dog parents/guardians/owners have experienced, most dogs will want to let out at the same time every morning, whether you are ready or not. Waking you from a comfortable sleep isn’t the only motivation they get, they also need the routine as a part of their daily structure. Predictability and stability reduce stress in your dog, and keep them from having nervousness, and fear which can manifest into chewing, urinating indoors or other disruptive behavior. Part of a regular routine includes feeding at the same time and in the same location, regular walks, and providing the dog with a place of their own – to escape to in times of anxiety.

This means that the home environment should be as stable as you can manage; with the same people around, similar times going outside, predictable bed and waking times, and regular meal times. Most adults have a regular waking time, so including letting the dogs out and feeding should be part of most routines. You can use a dog door to allow unmonitored entry and exit if you have a controlled environment outside, and use of an automatic feeder (that will dispense dry bulk food in measured portions at programmed times) can alleviate some of the demands of a morning routine.

The two schools of thought on feeding methods include: free feeding, where food is available to your dogs all day in unmeasured quantities, or some method of timed feedings. One practice in use is to present half of the dogs daily food portion for 15 – 20 minutes (longer if the dog is a slow eater), then removing the food until the second of the two feedings. This establishes a feeding routine. Two benefits to timed feedings are portion control and the ability to monitor consumption. Dogs that have a very large appetite may be prone to overeating. By leaving an uncontrolled portion of food available, they may continue to eat regardless of their nutritional needs.

Presenting food twice a day at regular times allows you to monitor consumption habits. A change in the speed, quantity, and intensity of consumption can indicate changes in health and the consultation of a veterinarian may need to be sought. For example, a dog who refuses food or only eats a small portion may need to change food or may need to be put on a feeding plan by a vet.

A common digestive problem with dogs is constipation. Having a regulated flow of food going through can help keep their digestive tract active and functioning. Should you notice a slow down in bowel movements, this could indicate the beginning of, or a forming blockage. The American Kennel Club gives an extensive list of common treatments for constipation on their site. It is a very comprehensive article.

As an aside, Mercola has a great article, with video, including graphics of dog poop and what the structure of each deposit can mean. They also give suggestions how you can correct your dogs diet based on their fecal outcome, and also when you should seek the advice of a professional.

Finally, leaving food unattended can attract pests and insects to the dogs dish. In urban areas, this attraction can neighbors animals, and rodents. Dry food is less prone to bacterial growth through the day, but the addition of wet food, sauces, toppings, or moistening dry food can cause a build up of bacteria that can be toxic to dogs. Ensuring food is consumed in a timely manner, so nothing remains in the bowl; and regular cleaning of food and water bowls, can eliminate unwanted attraction.

Using an automatic pet feeder, such as the PetSafe Healthy Pet Automatic Feeder can help alleviate the burden of keeping your dog on a regular schedule, help control portions provided, and -with the proper programming- only dispense the amount your dog will eat to keep their bowl empty during the day.

Check out this post for what you should be looking for in an automated feeder.

 

Sources:
Pets4Homes – Sticking To A Routine to Help Reduce Stress In Your Dog

Petfinder – How Often To Feed Your Dog

PetMD – Why Free-Feeding Is The Wrong Choice For Most Dogs

AKC – Dog ConstipationAKC – Dog Constipation

Mercola – Assessing Dog Poop

Image: Beagle On A Sofa by alex_ugalek

short hair spotted dog watching food off camera

What to look for in an automatic pet food feeder

In today’s hectic life, with people having more commitments than ever, giving the routine tasks to automation can free up valuable time. Buying an automatic pet food feeder can alleviate the daily routine of feeding your pets. No longer will you have to ask “did you feed the dog”, “will Fluffy be fed this afternoon if I am late from work?”

Listed below are key features to look for when you are shopping for an automated pet food self feeder. These will helped you make an informed decision when you compare the ever-expanding variety of these feeders.

One caution before you continue, is that these feeders can only feed dry bulk food; if you are looking to feed moist food (like you would find in cans, plastic containers, or pouches), these feeders would not provide a solution to that problem.

  • Capacity. Take a look at how much your dog or cat eats, and how many portions will be fed per day. Remember, that if you have multiple dogs or cats, you will need to adjust your calculation accordingly. You will want to ensure that the hopper or bin of the product is large enough to allow you to avoid refilling it frequently. For example, if you have a small dog who eats two cups of food per day, a machine with 24-cup capacity will give you 12 days between refills. If you have two dogs, each eating two cups of food per day, that brings you down to 6 days between fills.
  • Programming. All automated feeders will dispense food on a schedule that is either preset or user defined. Most feeders give the option to preset a schedule specific to their pets needs, and some allow up to 6 specific feeding times. Check the user manuals online to see how easy programming the machine is. Controls vary widely and can range from basic LCD displays with few buttons, to full-color displays with clearly labeled buttons. Some models are WiFi enabled allowing the user to program times using a smartphone or web interface.
  • Dispensing Quantity. Most machines have a standard size ‘portion’, for example 1/8 of a cup. You can dispense as many 1/8 cup portions as you need at each feeding time. Note, that if your pet requires less than the minimum portions size, you may end up accidentally overfeeding your pet.
  • Ease of Cleaning. Look for dishwasher safe parts, and easy disassembly. Especially in the summer or during warm months, you will want to ensure you follow the recommended cleaning schedule to prevent pests, and to keep the machine running smoothly.
  • Power Source. Does the unit you are considering come with a wall outlet, or does it require batteries? Most are designed to utilize battery power, but do not come with batteries in the box. Consider adding some to your purchase, or look into a wall outlet to avoid replacing them. The common battery life is six to eight months before they require replacement. Is there a wall outlet located close to where you will be installing the pet feeder?
  • Durability. The purpose of a timed release pet food feeder, is to ensure your pet only has access to the food at regular intervals. Food-motivated pets, larger dogs, strong cats, or smart pets of any kinds, may be able to defeat the food containment bin. When looking for a solution, think of the skill and strength level of your pet, and the construction of the feeder, to determine if you pet can obtain early access to the food.
  • Hopper size. With new sizes and formats of food pieces from all food manufacturers, can the unit you are considering dispense large pieces, food with mixed sizes, light freeze dried pieces, or all of the above
  • Connectivity. Newer options on the market can allow you to program your automated feeder from your smartphone or a web interface. Some allow you to record a voice message to your pet to alert them to feeding time. Several models have live voice and video allowing you to communicate with your pet in real time. Think of how the device will be used, and the amount of technology you are looking for.

All-in-all, there are several brands and models available to choose from, with new feeders coming to market all the time. Consider the points above to make the best decision for you and your pet.

Vacations, long weekends, late work hours, or even the stress of day-to-day life can cause pets to miss their feeding times. This can add stress to their lives, and may cause health issues, especially if your pet is on a veterinarian prescribed feeding schedule.

One of the units that meets several criteria is the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed 12-Meal Automatic Feeder. It has a large capacity with translucent walls to monitor usage, can dispense both large and small food pieces, has a default Dog and Cat setting (but allows you to program custom times), and features dishwasher safe components.



Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

two cute yorkie puppies laying down

Bring your pet’s prescription to this surprising place

According to the FTC’s Competition In The Pet Medications Industry 2013 report, consumers spent $7.6 billion on prescription and non-prescription medication for cats and dogs. That’s a huge amount of money that has traditionally stayed in the veterinarian’s office, however, there are now far more places to buy your pets medication, and at an increasingly lower cost.

The obvious choice is to find an online pharmacy that specializes in pet medications. You will need a valid prescription from your regular veterinarian for some of the products, but the website 1800petmeds.com claims they can save consumers up to 50% off vet office prices. Other online pharmacies include PetCareRx, and Doctors Foster and Smith.

But online pharmacies take time to validate prescriptions, you need to wait for medications to be shipped, and temperature-sensitive medications require bulky packaging.

The most surprising place that you can get your pet prescription filled is your local grocery store pharmacy!

The following grocery store chains offer pet medications in their pharmacies! Simply take your prescription to the counter (or drive-thru) and they will put together your order while you shop or run errands! They stock a good selection of medications and you get savings and immediate availability.

The following grocery stores offer pet medications in their pharmacies. This is not an exhaustive list. Be sure to ask at your local grocery store what pet medications they can compound or stock.

Hy-Vee

Wegmans

Albertsons

Kroger

Winn-Dixie

Food Lion

Meijer

Weis

Fred Meyer

Vons

Farm Fresh Supermarkets

D&W Fresh Market

A way to save even more is with a PetDrugCard. You can download it for free from www.petdrugcard.com. Simply enter your pets name to customize the card, download, text, or save the card, then present it the next time – and every time! – you buy prescription pet medications from any of 68,000 participating pharmacies. PetDrugCard has negotiated discounted pricing for many popular drugs. Check it out and take your savings even further!

Is it safe for dogs to drink milk?

In short, the answer is yes. It is not toxic but some dogs may be allergic, and even in dogs without an allergy, milk can cause digestion problems including vomiting and diarrhea when consumed in moderate to large quantities.

Most dogs can drink milk in moderation, however dog owners need to be aware of the symptoms of lactose intolerance if they plan on giving their dog milk. The most common symptoms are:

-AKC

Also, check out this AKC article about “Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

These Himalayan Yak Cheese Chews are made with three ingredients. Yak Milk, Lime Juice, and Salt. They are nice and hard to keep your buddy occupied for hours. They are lactose free and grain free!

Choosing the right food; when, how, and why

Recently I have run into the situation where my dogs have stopped eating their regular food. The old adage “variety is the spice of life” apparently applies to dogs as well as humans! It seems like they were looking to mix things up,

This got me to wondering, when and how often should I be switching up my dogs food?

Six signs that you should consider changing your dogs food include, Dull/Flaky Coat, Lethargy, Ageing, Hefty Midsection, GI Disturbances, and Itchy Coat.

So you notice one or more of those signs, but what should you look for in the next food you select?

The AKC goes into greater detail but highlights these topics:

  • A good dog food will contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits.
  • It is important to remember that not every dog has the same nutritional needs.
  • Merck Veterinary Manual lists the nutrition requirements for small animals
  • Like anything you read online, or on tv, check your sources to ensure you verify the information. Remember: your dogs health is on the line.
  • Whole grains are actually a source of wholesome nutrients. Unless you dog has an allergy to grains, you don’t need to automatically rule out a food with grain.
  • Look for the statement “complete and balanced.” This is more than just advertising – the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has strict requirements to make sure that a product is in fact complete and balanced.

How should you transition your dogs between types of food?

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has this handy seven day transition plan for changing foods. You can even check out their minute-long video on YouTube.

In the end, I opted for Nutro Adult Lamb and Rice Variety from Chewy.com. I liked the limited and natural ingredients, and the other nutritional elements including vitamins and minerals.

It comes with a handy zip enclosure built into the bag so I don’t have to seal it in my usual airtight container. Doing research on Nutro, I found they have a very high level of quality and pride in their products. They take extreme care with the products they deliver. They have a great video on their thorough Safety and Quality page. An interesting thing I learned was that they own their own manufacturing plants, and were the first to be certified in the pet food manufacturers nutrition and food safety program.

img_20170102_124724

National Pet Safety Day

January 2nd 2016 is National Pet Safety Day and there are a few interesting articles that o want to bring to your attention. First up is one from the Outward Hound blog. It lists the “Safest Cars For Your Pets” and includes the criteria for what makes a car safe for your furry friends.

Outward Bound makes this great PupStop vehicle barrier (link to the chewy.com product page with reviews). I have used this on several trips brining the pups on trips. It has several advantages including: very easily installation, does not impede visibility while driving, and is effective in keeping curious dogs where they belong.

wp-image-1141739468jpg.jpg

wp-image-1832821252jpg.jpg

wp-image-1182849101jpg.jpg

The barrier itself is 15″ wide and 17″ tall. It was installed in a Honda CR-V and fits the gap nicely. The straps are adjustable in length and are the correct length to fit around the top and bottom of the seat back.

As you can see from the picture, this one has seen some use.

Caesar Milan advocates on his blog for the safest way to travel with you buddy, and that is containment either in a carrier or a seat belt.

On trips with just our Shihtzu, who has a harness unlike our Sheltie, he gets buckled in. The Kong harness came with a loop to attach to a latched seatbelt. By extending the seatbelt to its full length, then allowing the belt to retract, the retractor prevents the belt from any slack when it fully retracts. This tension is what is used to keep the dog in place should a sudden breaking situation occur.

Dexter loves car rides and doesn’t mind the harness at all!

wp-image-600967414jpg.jpg