Tag Archives: Pet Foods

Reasons Rawhide is Dangerous For Your Dog To Chew

First, I must say I did not write this.  This is a blog written by  Rodney Habib. Here is his blog address:  www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com. This blog caught my attention because I have been guilty of giving rawhide, flat or bone shaped, to my dogs. This blog presents excellent information on why we, pet owners, need to stop feeding this to our dogs. There are also excellent advice from , Dr. Becker and Dogington Post. PLEASE ENJOY!

  
How can one of the most popular chew sticks on the planet be so dangerous for your pets, you ask?
I mean, most dogs chew on rawhide for hours on end, and not only does it keep them busy, but they seem to last forever.
Well if you understood what it took to make this toxic “raw” leather stick, you would quickly understand what the problem is.
Aside from the horror stories circulating all over social media these days, of pets needing emergency surgery after consuming rawhide, the majority of pet parents today, especially the newbies, believe that this chew is some sort of dried up meat stick.

Let me debunk that myth right away!



A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “Leather Industry”, so theoretically it is a leather chew.

Sounds awesome, right?
  
How It’s Made

“Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top grain is generally tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to the dogs.” TheBark.com
So, how does this leather, which is conveniently rolled up into pretty shapes, actually get made into those rawhide chews?
Follow along my friends and I will enlighten you on how this hide travels through a leathery process where it transforms from hide to a not-so beautiful, colorful, chew stick. Here is a paraphrased tutorial that was explained by the whole dog journal several years back:

STEP 1: To The Tannery

Normally, cattle hides are shipped from slaughterhouses to tanneries for processing. These hides are then treated with a chemical bath to help “preserve” the product during transport to help prevent spoilage.
(No one wants to purchase a black, spoiled rawhide stick!)
Once at the tannery: the hides are soaked and treated with either an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming. This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves.

No, no one wants to see a hairy hide…)
Next on this glorious journey, these hides are then treated with chemicals that help “puff” the hide, making it easier to split into layers.
The outer layer of the hide is used for goods like car seats, clothing, shoes, purses, etc. But, it’s the inner layer that is needed to make the rawhide. (Oh and other things like gelatin, cosmetics, and glue as well!)

STEP 2: Cleansed In Chemicals

Now that we have the inner layer of the hide, it’s time to go to the post-tannery stage! Hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach; this will also help remove the smell of the rotten or putrid leather.
Bonus!
(Research also shows that other chemicals maybe used here to help the whitening process if the bleach isn’t strong enough.)

STEP 3: Make It Look Pretty

Now it’s time to make these whitened sheets of this “leathery by-product” look delicious! So, here is where the artistic painting process comes in.
“Basted, smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors. They can even be painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves.” – whole-dog-journal.com
“…the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning.”– thebark.com
Ok, now that these hides have been painted, it’s time for the final process.


STEP 4: Getting It To Last Forever!

When tested: Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Chromium salts, Formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals have been detected in raw hides.

So it’s safe to say that any sort of glues can be used as well!
Finally, it’s time to package and attach all the glorious marketing labels to the product.
Check out the fine print warning that’s attached with some of these rawhides:

[box type=”alert”]“Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.”[/box]

(Oh, how lovely…)
And there it is! It’s now ready to be shipped to store shelves where it can be purchased for our loving animal companions.

How do proactive veterinarians feel about these chews?

    Here is world-renowned veterinarian Doctor Karen Becker’s take on the matter:

“The name ‘rawhide’ is technically incorrect. A more accurate name would be processed-hide, because the skin isn’t raw at all. But the term “rawhide” has stuck.
Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog works the chew it becomes softer, and eventually he can unknot the knots on each end and the chew takes on the consistency of a slimy piece of taffy or bubble gum. And by that time your dog cannot stop working it — it becomes almost addictive.
At this point, there’s no longer any dental benefit to the chew because it has turned soft and gooey, and, in fact, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.”

Ready for the jaw dropper?

An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” – dogingtonpost.com

Is My Dog Truly A Carnivorous Mammal?

I’ve been blogging a lot about dogs and eating habits. My three Shih tzus are truly the most challenging pets I’ve ever had when it comes to their diet.  I usually keep up to date about the brands of foods , prescription foods and homemade foods that are healthy for pets. If any of my pets died because of something I may have neglected, it would be a guilt I would never get over. I’ve always known some of my purposes in life belong to caring for animals. I want to always make sure I go above and beyond.

I cook for my dogs to give them variety of what they are eating.   I mean who wants to eat a hamburger everyday? Scratch that! Some people may love it. My dogs , however , like spice and variety in their life. I read and research a lot on the debate of whether dogs are true carnivores or not. I want to share the information I’ve learned to help you make better informed decisions about your dog’s diet.

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Carnivore, herbivore or omnivore? Well, since you’re this post, I assume you’re a human, therefore ,an omnivore. Now, you may prefer a rack of ribs over lets says just plain broccoli, but that doesn’t mean you’re only a carnivore. We human beings are omnivores and are well equipped to eat a wide variety of foods. But what about our dogs? Are they carnivores or omnivores? We already know they’re not herbivores, as there’s not a dog in existence who would turn down a nice piece of meat and only eat vegetables all the time. But there’s been a huge debate as to whether our dogs are true carnivores or omnivores. Let’s take a look at some of the facts to help us make the distinction.

In this post, we sourced some useful information from Dog Food Advisor that provides you with the answer to the question “are dogs true carnivores?”

Are Dogs True Carnivores?

From DNA studies, we know dogs evolved directly from the timber wolf somewhere around 15,000 years ago. And, of course, it should come as no surprise. Wolves are clearly carnivores.
So, by their very genetic pedigree, dogs also demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits. Their teeth, their digestive systems and their behavior clearly confirm this fact. Yet dogs must also be recognized for their significant omnivorous ability. Their proven ability to digest carbohydrate-based foods has been known for many years.
After all, modern genetic research has proof that ten canine genes play key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism. However, a dog still shows unmistakable evidence that its body is optimized for eating meat.

Dogs Don’t Grind — They Chop

For comparison, think about a typical herbivore. A dairy cow. Now, picture the way they “chew their cud”. Cows chew widely from side-to-side. And they have broad, flat back teeth. And flat teeth are ideal for grinding grains and plant material into finer particles.

True omnivores (like humans) share this same combination of boxy back teeth and sideways grinding motion common to herbivores. Think of your own mouth and how you chew.

Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have flat teeth. Like all carnivores, they have narrow pointy back teeth. Plus dogs can’t chew from side-to-side. Their jaws can only move in an up-and-down, chop-chop motion. It’s the perfect combination for cutting meat into smaller chunks.

No Salivary Amylase

Herbivores and omnivores have one powerful digestive weapon carnivores typically lack. Carnivores do not produce amylase in their salivary glands. Amylase is a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. It helps begin the breakdown of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugars — before they enter the stomach.

Although dogs do produce amylase. the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract — in the small intestine. So, without salivary amylase, a dog’s carbohydrate digestion can be decidedly more difficult.

Digestive Anatomy Reveals the Truth

Since they consume fewer but larger meals, carnivores have bigger stomachs than their grazing, plant-eating counterparts. What’s more, meat-eating animals exhibit a higher concentration of stomach acid. This allows faster digestion of animal protein. And the stronger acid kills the disease-causing bacteria abundant in decaying meat.
What’s more, herbivores have an unusually long gastrointestinal tract — exceeding ten times the animal’s body length. Longer systems like this are needed for consuming a plant-based diet.

Today’s Confusing Dog Food Marketplace

Yet in spite of this natural carnivorous design, dogs have still managed to evolve over thousands of years — even surviving on the meat and non-meat scraps and leftovers of human existence. So, over time, dogs have proven to be fully capable of thriving on a variety of foods.  Are you confused? Let’s say 80% carnivore and 20% omnivore.

Today, the dog food marketplace has become a living, breathing witness to the animal’s adaptive ability — and is abounding with an astonishing array of product designs. Some favor meat. Some feature vegetables. And others are made almost entirely of cereal grains and beans.
Source: Dog Food Advisor

While experts are still weighing in on either side of the debate, I think we can all safely say that our dogs are either carnivores with omnivore capabilities or omnivores with strong carnivore leanings. Regardless of how you cut it, it’s a sure thing that our dogs have the telltale signs of being carnivores, but have some physical features that allow them to eat an omnivore-like diet.  Are you confused? Let’s say, 80% carnivore and 20% omnivore.

When we feed our shih tzus , we feed a mix of meat with cooked veggies. What should you feed your diet challenging pet? I suggest that you stick to the basics when it comes to feeding your dog. More than 80 percent of what your dog eats should be meat-based. Enough meat in your dog’s diet will ensure that he/she is getting plenty of protein and enough of the essential fatty acids. Are you questioning if your dog can eat some vegetables ? Of course they can! They can eat it along with fruit. If you have picky eaters in your bunch, I’m sure by now you know they won’t be inclined to consistently eat the veggies and fruits. Carnivore or Omnivore, be sure to research the safest foods, and consider what the right balance of nutrients are needed to ensure a great diet that lends itself to a great quality of life.

til Next Time….

Guess What’s Happening For The Smart Pet Owner?

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Hello HWHD Clients & Followers!

There is really exciting news for pet parents that are determined their furry babies have a happy and long life!

There is a new innovative conference for ALL pet parents to get all of their questions answered from the best of the best. More importantly , it’s free!!

I know many out there , that are like myself that constantly worry about their furry babies the minute one tiny thing happens. We can’t help it, they are our children. We want to make sure we are doing the best we can so they may have a fulfilling , happy healthy life.

For those that have come to me and have asked questions from grooming to training to dental health and serious health issues, look no further!

On January 17th, the best of the best in veterinary care are coming together to answer EVERY concern, you as a pet parent have. You can participate out the comforts of your own home and the best part, it’s FREE!!

So if you have concerns about training, ASK!
If you’re worried about immune illness such as heart issues, ASK!
Maybe you’re concerned about peculiar behaviors with a pet , ASK!
Ever wondered why your cat constantly love bumping you with their head? ASK!
What is the deal with so many Pet Food Recalls? Ask!
If you have any questions as a concerned parent then this is the Event For You!!

It’s a Pet Conference offered in the form of a webinar…To Register: Click Here Now

To learn about the Veterinarians that are participating , CLICK HERE.

Don’t let this Fabulous opportunity pass You !

Register NOW For Free

Have You Considered Putting Your Pet on A Dental Diet?

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How to deal with doggy (and kitty) breath

We all have busy schedules and it can be a struggle to make the time to brush our pets’ teeth on a daily basis. Or, maybe you have a pet that is a sweetheart all the time except for when it comes time to sit still for a tooth brushing. If you fit either of these scenarios, or if your pet has specific problems with tartar buildup and bad breath that cannot be handled by brushing alone, your veterinarian may suggest a special dental diet.

Plaque is a natural component of the mouth’s bacterial balance. It is soft, colorless, and easily removable with a firm brush. But while plaque is a normal part of the mouth’s bacterial system, it can harden on the teeth if it is not removed on a regular basis, eventually becoming tartar.

Tartar attaches firmly to the tooth’s surface, causing irritation to the gingiva, or gums, and further leading to tissue loss in the inflamed gingiva. Once plaque has formed into tartar it can only be removed by dental instruments. Dental diets are formulated especially for reducing the amount of plaque and tartar that accumulates on the teeth, and in some cases may even prevent serious oral diseases from occurring.

What Kind of Products Should You Look For?

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has reviewed many of the foods and treats that are made for reducing plaque on the tooth’s surface, giving their seal of approval only to those products that meet the required standards that have been shown to control tartar and plaque in the mouths of cats and dogs. Look for foods with the VOHC seal (pictured to the right) on the package.

These foods are required to be balanced, with the same nutrient content as regular foods, but with the additional formulations that make them capable of cleaning teeth. Most hard kibble and treat products that are made for dental diets are larger in size, with an airy, fibrous texture that breaks up easily so that the edges of the kibble, in effect, scrub at the surfaces of the teeth as the animal chews. Some foods also have an added coating to reduce dental plaque.

Dental diet foods and treats are available online, from your veterinarian’s office, and at local pet stores where prescription diets are sold.

Is a Dental Diet Right for YOUR Pet?

Because dental diets are nutritionally balanced, most pets can eat them as part of a normal daily diet. It is important to note, however, that not all animals’ needs can be met with this diet plan. Dental diets should not be a main nutritional source for puppies or dogs that have special nutritional or medical needs, but should instead be used to supplement an established diet that is already meeting their specific nutritional requirements.

Additionally, some animals may not be able to tolerate a dental diet formula on a daily basis. In these cases, the dental food can be given as a treat instead.

Before Switching to a Dental Diet …

You should decide whether a dental diet is appropriate for your pet by discussing it with your veterinarian first. It is not always appropriate to use a dental diet instead of a brush, and not all animals are suited to this type of diet. This may be due to underlying health issues, the current health status of the teeth and gums, or the age of your pet. Before initiating a dental diet, your veterinary dentist may even suggest a professional teeth cleaning, among or other procedures.

If you are planning to switch to a dental diet you will also need to keep in mind that in order to make it work you will need to abstain from sharing table scraps or extra treats with your pet, as this will defeat the purpose of the dental diet. It may be difficult to get used to not sharing with your furry friend, but keep in mind that if she loses her teeth or suffers from gum irritation due to tartar buildup, she won’t be able to eat anything but mushy foods.

In the long run, you will be glad that you and your pet endured the short-term suffering of unhealthy treat withdrawal in favor of the long-term benefits that come from having healthy teeth.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Pet [ Oh, and For You Too :- ) ]

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Goals Aren’t Just for People

The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for pets needing a change in their routine. For example, with over 50 percent of pets in the U.S. classified as overweight, there’s no better time for owners to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for their pets. Need more ideas? Here are ten resolutions to make this year your pet’s healthiest year yet!

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#10 Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use an 8-ounce measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t taking in more calories than they need. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag are good place to start to figure out how much food Fido (or Kitty) really needs. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

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#9 Choose an Age-Appropriate Diet

Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. For example, some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, but have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with the appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.

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#8 Try a New Activity with Your Pet

From doga to hiking, skijoring to kayaking, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Meet-up groups are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

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#7 Incorporate (More) Playtime into Your Routine

Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Experiment to see what really gets your cat going — in addition to lasers, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat trees are perennial feline favorites. Even a cardboard box can become a cat cave that satisfies a cat’s desire for a hiding place.

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#6 Make a Date with Your Vet

Yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.

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#5 Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.

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#4 Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits with Your Pet

Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay — just be sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be a helpful tool in keeping teeth clean. And even with all of these tricks, regular cleanings by a licensed veterinarian are the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip top shape long into your pet’s senior years.

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#3 Teach an Old Dog a New Trick

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.

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#2 Update Pet ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2012, don’t wait — update their tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home.

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#1 Consider Fostering

You think you want a new pet, but you’re not 100 percent sure it’s right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they wait for their forever home. Who knows? That home just might end up being yours.

Your Canine Baby A Picky Eater? Stop the Cycle and Get Him To Love Healthy Dog Food

 

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How many of us are guilty of feeding our canine babies human food? Any of us that says no, stop fibbing :)). We are all guilty of doing it from time to time . Therefore let’s take responsibility of turning our fur baby into a picky eater who has forgotten they are still a dog.

I’m a Professional Pet Sitter and have rules for all my fur babies . I love my fur babies and I love spoiling them. So yes I’m guilty of feeding them people food. I also recognize that can be harmful. And if I want my babies to be healthy a long time , I need to make sure they are eating healthy dog food. I want to help other pet owners continue to keep their pets healthy and turn that that picky dog eater into a lover of dog food.

Dogs and Dog Food

There are two kinds of dogs. The first kind lives to eat. They will devour anything you put in front of them. The second kind eats to live. They pick and choose, take longer to finish meals, and sometimes won’t finish them at all.

A dog’s size, breed, and age often dictate whether he adores food or could care less. Every Labrador who ever lived is food motivated and smaller canines, such as Maltese and Yorkies, tend to be more discriminating.

When Does Picky Eating Become a Problem?

If you’re having trouble getting your pet to eat on a regular basis, and he won’t consume his food at least once a day, your dog is a picky eater.
If your dog has always been a picky eater, there is likely no need for concern.

A picky dog that maintains a healthy weight, is alert and perky, and has a shiny coat, is much less worrisome than one who has dropped a few pounds and has a less lustrous coat. If you have a dog who is a regular eater that suddenly stops, that can be a sign something is wrong. Picky eating is one symptom.

What should be the most concern is change. Many illnesses could be why your dog refuses to eat. Even problems associated with old age, such as joint pain while walking to and from the bowl, could be the cause.
The only way to get to the root of the problem is to visit the vet.

If your dog has always been a voracious eater, and is becoming more selective, go to the vet after about 48 hours. For puppies, who have less reserves, don’t wait more than 24 hours.

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Tips for Encouraging Your Picky Eater Dog to Develop Healthier Eating Habits

Tip 1: Start early. Before you bring a dog home, come up with a feeding plan. You and your family need to sit down and decide what the rules will be. And you must all be on the same page. If mom gives food off the plate, but dad plays by the rules, it won’t work. If one family member is adamant about people food, then agree to mix in some healthy options, such as low-fat vegetables, with the kibble.

Tip 2: Don’t feed from the table. Doling out table scraps will cause your dog to eschew dry or canned food and hold out for more salivating options. It can also cause health problems, such as pancreatitis. In addition, variety or changes to the diet may cause diarrhea, as well as reinforce the inappropriate behavior of begging.

Tip 3: Keep dog food and people food separate. Never let a dog associate your food with their food. You have to keep it very separate. Otherwise they’ll start to think they can eat their food and their owner’s, too. Your dog should only eat food out of his bowl, and should never see food as coming from your plate or from something you’re preparing for yourself.

Tip 4: Stick to a schedule. Feed your puppy two to three times each day, as recommended by your vet. Gradually increase the volume of food as you decrease the frequency of feedings as your puppy matures. Your adult dog should be fed once or twice daily without leaving the food out more than a short period of time. To ensure equal portions for each serving, use a measuring cup. If you do choose to incorporate healthy people food, mix it into the kibble. Variety may be the spice of life for humans, but consistency is key for your canine.

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What If Your Start Your Dog On The Wrong Foot?

It’s never too late to start over, but if you want to transition your pup off the filet mignon and sweets, and on to strictly canine fare, it’s best to take it one step at a time.

It’s going to be tough and require 100% compliance from the entire family. Start by lessening people food and increasing dog food bit by bit every day until your pup is off human food entirely. While you are mixing foods, it’s best to use canned dog food as opposed to dry food. That way, your pet can’t separate out and just eat the people food.

If your dog refuses to eat, he is likely holding out for people food, but it’s important to hold firm. Just because he skips a few meals, don’t give in and give him what he wants. Leave the bowl out for 15 minutes, and if he’s not finished, take it away. He’ll eventually choose dog food over no food at all.

Make Sure You’re Giving Your Dog a Healthy Diet

Occasionally the problem with a picky eater may be that he doesn’t like the brand of food you’re giving him. Or it may be that he prefers canned food over dry or vice versa. A high-quality commercial brand is important for a healthy diet.
Check the ingredients, and make sure corn doesn’t top the list. Corn isn’t an ideal diet for a carnivore.
If you’ve tried three brands and both canned and dry food, it’s time to look for another reason your dog refuses to eat. Most likely, he’s holding out for table scraps.

Reserve treats for times when praise is necessary, such as in training. But remember, not all rewards have to be edible. If your dog loves attention, a scratch behind the ears is a treat.

If you find that food treats get the best results, create some boundaries.
For instance, only give a treat after a trick, and always do it in the backyard.

Also, limit treats to three a week, and put them in a separate container so that the entire family knows how many have been given.

It’s one thing if your dog knows he only gets certain things while he’s training, But it’s another if you’re sitting in the kitchen reading a magazine and give your dog a treat because he looks cute.

I hope these tips help in turning that picky canine eater into a healthy canine eater.

Til Next Time…..

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8 Drool Worthy Holiday Dog Cookie Recipes

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Dog Friendly Candy Canes

Not only do these tasty candy cane treats from Ali’s Pet Kitchen taste good, the peppermint oil helps reduce bad breath odor. Cute and odor reducing? Yes please!

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Doggy Egg Nog

What is a more festive treat than eggnog? Have a frothy glass next to Fido during your next holiday movie night. Check out this recipe from Lola the Pitty.

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Frozen Pup-Cakes

To go along with the frozen weather we’ve been experiencing outside, Lola the Pitty has created a delicious recipe for frozen pupcakes. It’s easy, too! Simply throw peanut butter, plain yogurt, a banana, and a splash of water in a blender, and freeze the mixture in cupcake tins overnight.

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Mutt Mints Christmas Dog Treats

The more treats to aid dog breath odor, the better! We love these cute Christmas tree mint cookies for your pup, from Gourmet Dog Treat Recipes. Swap out the Christmas tree cookie cutter to make these tasty treats year ‘round!

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Healthy Dog Bones

With all of the hearty table scraps Fido is likely getting this holiday season, we know it’s important to think about his health. Back to Her Roots has got you covered. From ground flaxseed to help with his coat and skin, to pumpkin puree to help his digestive system, these dog biscuits taste so good that Fido won’t even realize just how healthy he is!

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Nutty Bacon Dog Treats

What dog doesn’t love bacon, and what dog doesn’t love peanut butter? Combine these two ingredients in this recipe from Dog Hill Kitchen, and you have the ultimate dog treat. After Fido gets his first taste of these, you won’t be able to keep his paws out of the cookie jar!

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Sweet Potato Dog Treats

As a holiday meal staple, you likely have sweet potatoes lying around the kitchen. Not only do sweet potatoes make delicious holiday casseroles, but they also combine to make tasty dog biscuits. Caution: according to Kaylee from Lemons and Basil, the combination of cinnamon, peanut butter and sweet potatoes may smell so good, you’ll want to taste it yourself!

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Peppermint Holidog Christmas Dog Treats

One final peppermint treat to get your pooch in the holiday spirit. This recipe from PetGuide combines molasses with peppermint extract to make a sweet, minty combination that will leave your four-legged friend at your feet the entire time you’re baking.

 

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Your furry best friends spend all year giving you nothing but love; so this holiday season, why not take time to make your very own dog treats for Fido? Not only will he love the thought that went into each treat, he’ll love that you can wrap them up and share them with his friends for the holidays.

 

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Pet Treats to Avoid

By: Brandy Arnold of The Dogington Post

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If you were making your own dog treats, using the freshest and most wholesome, healthy ingredients, would you ever consider dumping sugar into the mix?

Of course not. So why, then, do a number of the most popular dog treats on the market contain high amounts of sugar? Because dogs love it.

According to a press release from Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) and author of “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives” (2010 HCI),

…the problem is linked to money – lots of it. With US pet treat sales estimated to be nearly $2 billion in 2010, the treat bowl has turned golden. “Sugar is incredibly attractive to dogs. If a dog gobbles a treat quickly, an owner is more likely to give another – and another. This adds up to more sales – and profits. In the race for pet treat profits, our pets’ health is being bankrupted.”

With 45% of American dogs and 58% of cats considered overweight, an estimated 89 million pets are at high risk for developing conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.

In addition to obesity, sugary treats lead to behavioral problems as well.

“Numerous studies in rats demonstrate that overfeeding sugar can create symptoms similar to drug addiction. A dog’s daily sweet treat may be contributing to overeating and other undesirable behaviors. This is why I call today’s high-sugar treats ‘kibble crack.’”

Still, pet treat manufacturers blame pet owners. They are, after all, the ones that purchase and feed the sugary treats.

So, Dr. Ward listed what he calls “The Dirty Dozen,” the 12 most popular sugary dog treats that should be avoided. Pet parents should be aware of what they’re feeding their pets, understand ingredient labels, and to avoid treats that masquerade as healthy and nutritious while silently contributing to the obesity epidemic.

His goal is to help pet parents to be more aware of what they’re feeding their pets. “Pet owners definitely have a feeding disorder when it comes to their pets. Ultimately it’s up to each owner to control how much they feed their pets. What I want to bring attention to is what ingredients are in pet treats – and why. Pet owners must begin to question why there is sugar in a treat that claims to help teeth,” he said.

Dr. Ward’s Dirty Dozen – Popular Sugary Pet Treats

Pet Treat Added Sugar
Canine CarryOuts Chew-lotta Dextrose first ingredient
Snausages SnawSomes! Beef and Chicken Flavor Sugars 3 of first 4 ingredients
Pedigree Jumbone Mini Snack Food for Small Dogs Sugars 2 of 3 first ingredient
Petrodex Dental Treats for Cats Dextrose second ingredient
Pedigree Jumbone Sugar third ingredient
Milk Bone Essentials Plus Oral Care Sugar third ingredient
Pup-Peroni Lean Beef Recipe Sugar third ingredient
Science Diet Simple Essentials Treats Training Adult Treats with Real Beef Sugar third ingredient
Cesar Softies Dog Treats Sugar third ingredient
Milk-Bone Chewy Chicken Drumsticks Sugar third ingredient
Meow Mix Moist Cat Treats Corn syrup fourth ingredient
Pedigree Marrobone Sugar third ingredient
Other common sugar-containing treats according to Dr. Ernie Ward:

Pedigree Jumbone – Sugar third ingredient
Beneful Snackin’ Slices – Sugar fourth ingredient
Pit’r Pat Fresh Breath Mint Flavored Cat Treats – Maltodextrin first ingredient
Three Dog Bakery Lick ‘n Crunch – Dextrose third ingredient
Beneful Snackin Slices – Sugar fourth ingredient
Busy Chewnola – Maltodextrin second ingredient
Exclusively Dog Vanilla Flavor Sandwich Creme Dog Cookies – Sugars first two ingredients
Canine Carryouts Dog Treats – Corn syrup second ingredient
For more information, visit http://www.PetObesityPrevention.com or http://www.DrErnieWard.com .

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A Message From Our President at Flint River Ranch Natural Pet Foods

As a distributor of Flint River Ranch Natural Pet Foods, Happy Walk Happy Dog brings this message from our President, Jay P. Margedent.

We’ve had a lot of calls & emails of concern about the recall by Natura ™ (bought by Proctor & Gamble the other year) products and what’s happening in this industry. Obviously, there is still a lot of fear in the pet community about origin of ingredients, bacteria and salmonella, in particular. For those who don’t know, Natura ™ has issued a recall last week on their product line(s) due to salmonella contamination. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm345971.htm This recall affects all of their product lines (EVO, Innova, Karma, Healthwise and California Natural) with an up expiration date going up to March 24th, 2014. They want it all discarded. I don’t know if Natura’s issue is just with chicken-based products. I believe that they are pulling a lot of products so that they get every product that could present a contamination issue. Their goal is to insure pets don’t get sick, and the purchasers of their products don’t either. Bacteria; in slight amounts, can actually be handled by a healthy pet fairly well as pets hold food in an acidic gut for a good period of time before it gets passed into the rest of the digestive tract. Bacteria will be destroyed by digestive acids in the stomach and not cause a specified risk to a healthy pet. Humans on the other hand digest food quicker than pets, constantly put our fingers to our faces & mouth and we’ll get sicker from the residual salmonella that is still viable when it gets into our digestive tract.

Now, I’m not saying that this recall isn’t necessary, or that we should be content with salmonella in our pets’ products and not be reactive. Quite the contrary, we should all be vigilant about bacteria around our food preparation area and the proper handling of all pet food products and treats. Flint River Ranch has been active in insuring that all of our products are provided from certified sources and we test ingredients and monitor all aspects of our production and maintain its cleanliness. To date, Flint River Ranch has not been part of any recall and we continue to try our best to make sure that we don’t ever have an issue like this happen (we don’t wish this issue on any manufacture, much less their customers). I guess it’s the nice part of being one of the “little guys”; we’re not trying to jam a million pounds of products out into the market. We focus on small batches of established, holistic formulas. We’re not trying to be all things to every possible customers. We focus on the quality of our ingredients and foods, not on how much we could produce.

In all, manufactures do not want you to get sick from handling their products, which is the main reason for these recalls; to prevent human illness from handling these products. No illnesses have been reported; either human or animal, with this current Natura™ recall, yet the public frustrations at continued recalls is apparent. I am posting an article for proper food handling on our company Facebook page (click on the link above). Please review it just to insure that you’ve got all your practices handled when it comes to feeding and dealing with your pet on a daily basis. Maybe something in that article will prompt a different method of handling your pets food and help keep your pets and family free from illness.

Thank you for being involved and your support of our little company!

Jay P. Margedant, President
Flint River Ranch
http://www.frrco.com

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Why So Many Pet Foods Are Being Recalled

A supermarket's pet food aisle in Brooklyn, Ne...

A supermarket’s pet food aisle in Brooklyn, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I turn on the computer or get a notification from my smartphone, there is another recall on pet foods and treats. I’m sure many pet parents like me are concerned about the food they are giving their furry baby. What is going on? Is there a brand of pet food we can trust?

Katie Burns wrote an article in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association on February 15, 2013 . She states that pet food recalls are virtually unchanged. She states what has changed is the media attention on this issue.

Well lets look at the pet foods that have been recalled lately.

Pet Foods Recalled

Solid Gold has issued a recall for two of their dog foods with specific batch codes as a precautionary measure. To date according to Solid Gold, no cases of salmonella have been linked to these foods.

Apex Dog Food has issued a voluntary recall for all of their dry dog foods manufactured on January 24, 2012. The recalled foods were distributed only in South Carolina. To date, Apex Dog Food claims there have been no cases of salmonella linked to these foods.

Canidae has issued a voluntary recall of four of their dog foods, at this time the recall covers only dry dog foods with production codes with both a number “3” in the 9th digit and an “X” in the 10th or 11th digit – and a best before dates of December 9, 2012, through January 31, 2013. These products were distributed in the following states: Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Wellness Dog Food has issued a voluntary recall on one of their dog foods with specific best by dates. According to Wellness, they no longer conduct business with Diamond Pet Foods and none of their other dog foods were affected by the salmonella outbreak.

Natural Balance has issued a voluntary recall on some of their dry dog food options. To date, Natural Balance claims that no cases of canine salmonella poisoning have been linked with their foods and none of the recalled foods have tested positive for contamination.

Kirkland Dog Food has issued a voluntary dog food recall on a number of their dry dog food products.

Nature’s Variety has announced a voluntary recall of one batch of Instinct® Raw Organic Chicken Formula with a “Best if Used By” date of 10/04/13.

Kasel Associated Industries is recalling all products manufactured at its Denver, Colorado, facility from April 20, 2012, thru September 19, 2012.
The products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Honest Kitchen had voluntarily recalled five lots of its Verve, Zeal and Thrive dog foods because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

The following brands are also affected by the recall. No specifics have been provided as to the recall.

4Health.
Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul.
Country Value.
Diamond.
Diamond Naturals.
Premium Edge.
Professional.
Taste of the Wild.

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Why Are These Pet Foods Recalled

The Diamond Dog Food plant located in Gaston, South Carolina tested positive for the presence of salmonella. As a result of this, all pet food companies that conducted business with this plant within a specific time period are recalling their pet food products.

These recalls have just as much to do with human safety as pet safety. Dan McChesney PhD, Director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine says the pet food recall involves Salmonella contamination. He believes pet foods are safe.

Salmonella poses a much higher risk for pet owners than to the pets themselves. There have been no confirmed cases of Salmonellosis in pets from pet food recalls, though human illnesses have been reported. In most cases Salmonellosis in pets is associated with raw home made diets.
Dr. Kate KuKanich Assistant Professor of small animal internal medicine at Kansas State University came to this conclusion in her research.

Matter of fact the ratings of the pet food industry are still very high when it comes to safety. And efforts are continuously made to place stronger emphasis on pet food safety. So yes the awareness of pet food recalls continued to rise. But pet parents , what that means is that pet food safety, which is already good will get better. So Relax.

What To Do If Your Pet Food is Recalled

If you have a bag of dog food that is covered under the recall at this time

1) Stop feeding the product even if your dog shows no signs of salmonella poisoning .
2) It is also important that any time you handle this food; you wash your hands thoroughly to avoid contracting salmonella poisoning.
3) Check your pet food’s company website to find out the procedure of compensation for the return.

Signs of Poisoning in Dogs

While most dogs are hardy and can bounce back from a salmonella infection once the offending source has been removed, this is not always true. In some dogs such as those taking antibiotics, the elderly, the newborn and those with pre-existing medical conditions, salmonella can have a devastating effect. Some of the common signs of salmonella poisoning in a dog include the following:

Fever
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Dehydration
Mucus in Stool
Anorexia
Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion
Weight loss
Rapid heart rate
Blood in the stool
Low white blood cell count
Low platelet levels
Low albumin
Non-regenerative anemia
Electrolyte imbalances

If your dog displays any of these symptoms it is important to take them to your veterinarian immediately in order to prevent more serious symptoms. One of the most commonly seen symptoms to develop in cases of salmonella is dehydration resulting from chronic diarrhea. Dehydration can be prevented by your vet by the administration of IV fluids. Your vet may also recommend performing a number of tests to ensure that your dog is suffering from salmonella poisoning. In a case where a dog is suffering from a severe case of salmonella poisoning the vet may recommend an antimicrobial. It is also advised to put a dog on a 48 hour food restricted diet if possible in order to help to eliminate the cause of the infection.

Switching Your Dog To A New Food

Switching your dog to a new food is always recommended after a recall. Most dogs, when undergoing a sudden diet change may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort. Happy Walk Happy Dog is a distributor of Flint River Ranch. Flint River Ranch dog food formula is oven-baked and comes in an easy-to-eat size kibble. It’s ingredients contain Rice and Wheat which is easily digestible for dogs. There is no corn or by products of meat. It has 23% protein and is concentrated so your dog becomes full on less food. That helps in controlling your dog’s weight. Please contact me or visit my website for more info and to order at Flint River Ranch