Thursday, May 4, 2017

Signs of Arthritic Pain and Mobility Issues in Dogs

Signs of Arthritis Dogs

The most common mobility issue in dogs is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease (DJD). And while arthritis is primarily related to aging and is more prevalent in large and giant breeds, it can affect dogs of all ages and sizes, male and female.

Unlike people, dogs can't tell us where or how much they hurt, nor can they seek relief for their pain. That's why it's up to us to stay alert for signs of discomfort, as well as subtle changes in a pet's habits and behavior that might also signal a problem.

Most people are aware that a dog with arthritis may limp, is likely to move more slowly or stiffly and can have difficulty standing up after lying down. But there are other, less noticeable signs that dog parents should also watch out for.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day Easy DIY Dog Treats

Valentine's Dog Treats

In honor of Valentine's Day, which is usually a day for chocolate, we decided to post a recipe for a treat that your chocolate-intolerant pets can enjoy! These also make great protein-packed treats for humans!

For this easy DIY recipe you'll need:

  • Heart shaped ice tray (or any ice tray)
  • Peanut Butter (make sure it does not contain the sweetener Xylitol!)
  • Plain organic Greek yogurt

Valentine's Dog TreatsThese dog treats are frozen - so you can make large batches to store for a long time! Frozen treats also tend to take pups longer to consume, which means they distract them for a longer time!

1. Spoon a small amount of peanut butter into the base of the ice tray. To make this a bit easier, you can heat it up a little to soften it. The more you add, the thicker the top layer on the treats will appear. You can play around with different amounts to get different results.

2. Next up, dollop heaping spoonfuls of the yogurt to cover the peanut butter in each mold.

3. Press yogurt down into the molds using the back of your spoon to make sure they're packed. This will help seal the peanut butter and yogurt together in the final treat. You can even gently "drop" the tray a few times in order to encourage further settling. If you have excess yogurt in any of the molds, gently scoop away until level with mold.

4. Put trays into the freezer for at least 4 hours.

5. Once frozen, remove tray and pop out individual frozen treats — voila! Enjoy!

You could easily change things up by layering in more of your pup's favorite ingredients, like the crushed up dog treats or even oatmeal.

Source: 17 Apart

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter Paw Safety

Winter Paw Protection

We are all happy to see the "thaw" after a spell of extreme cold or snow, especially since it makes walking our dogs easier. However, the dangers that were once hidden by the snow are still there, especially salt and antifreeze chemicals.

Salt not only is harsh on your dog's paws due to the corrosive nature of the industrial salt that gets dumped on streets by cities, but also because dogs also often lick their paws after being outside. Licking this salt means they are ingesting the ice melt chemicals, which can be toxic.

3 Steps To Protection:

1. Protect from the get-go. You can also train your dog to wear booties that will protect his paws from other dangers like ice or sharp rocks. If your dog will absolutely not tolerate booties, using a product like Musher's Secret to protect your dog's sensitive paws can keep them protected during walks. This prevents ice and salt buildup and keeps your dog more comfortable. You can also make your own paw balm. Click here for a recipe.

2. Wipe paws after walks. Some dogs don't like tolerating this, but distract them with a favorite treat or toy and do your best to remove the salt, antifreeze, and ice buildup with a warm wet towel. 

3. Soothe tender feet. If your dog is already feeling the effects of a walk on salty roads, petroleum jelly has been known to be a good non-toxic salve to soothe pain. If there are open cuts or sores, a trip to your vet is required.

Click here for other tips to consider while walking your dog in the winter!

Sources: The Dodo, AKC

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Is it Too Cold Out for my Dog?

Too Cold For Dog

When the weather gets as cold as it has recently here in Minnesota, we thick-skinned Northerners just put on our heavier coats and a fur lined cap to protect ourselves. But as we take our dogs out for their daily walk, we start to wonder if it might be too cold for our pooch, who doesn't have the benefit of heavy boots and thermal underwear. 

On one hand, we know that dogs need exercise and stimulation to keep them from tearing the house apart. And in some cases, we know that walks are typically our furbaby's favorite part of the day. On the other hand, however, we see them lift tender paws out of the snow and whine nervously at icy steps.  So how can we know if it's too cold out for our dog, and what should we do if it is?

First things first: All dogs and breeds are different

Coats and coat color: Perhaps the most obvious, coat type plays a big role in the weather a dog can tolerate. A thick-coated Samoyed will be more tolerant than a thin coated Italian Greyhound. Dogs that are darker (black, brown) can absorb more sunlight on a sunny day, keeping them marginally warmer.

Size and Weight: Small and thin dogs have a smaller surface area of skin in proportion to their organs. In other words, there's less keeping them warm. Also, body fat is a good insulator. That said, fattening up your dog to keep them warm during the colder months is not recommended - the health risks of obesity outweigh short-term benefits.

Age and Health: Puppies and senior dogs are not able to regulate their body temperatures as well compared to adult dogs. Sickly dogs that already have compromised health are at greater risk outdoors as well.

The Weather:

As we in Minnesota know, the same temperature can feel different depending on things like wind chill, humidity, and cloud cover. A high wind can cut through a dog's thick coat, making it harder to regulate its temperature. If the air is damp, a dog's coat can get wet, which combined with a cold temperature can chill them very quickly.

General Guidelines:

45 degrees: Cold-adverse dogs might start feeling discomfort. It's their "sweater weather"
32 degrees and under: It's time to really pay attention to small, thin-coated, very young/old, or sickly dogs. Time to put on their jackets!
20 degrees and under: ALL owners need to be aware of the time they spend outdoors with their dog. Dogs at this point can develop cold-related health issues like frostbite and hypothermia.

Monitor your dog:

If you see them shivering, whining, slowing down, or holding up paws, it's time to head inside. Despite the cold, your dog needs to go out sometimes to do their "business". To make it easier on them:

Paws: Booties can help your pup's feet in the cold and ice. You can also rub products like Musher's Secret between their toes to prevent ice buildup on their paws. Click here for more Winter Pet Safety Tips

Torso: Dressing up isn't just for photo ops! Train your dog to tolerate a jacket/rain slicker. If they could speak, they would thank you when it gets cold and wet out! Click here for tips on dressing your dog

Indoor Exercises:

If your dog is starting to go stir crazy, click here for some indoor activity ideas!

Sources: PetMD

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Easy DIY Halloween Dog and Cat Treats!

DIY pet treats Halloween

You might see some four-legged trick-or-treaters this year, or maybe you just want to spoil your pooch or kitty! Either way, it's time to roll up your sleeves and make some of these easy pet treats!

Makes 14 treats


  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup canned applesauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup oats

- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a bowl, mix water, applesauce, vanilla and egg thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, nuts, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stirring well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
- Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling each cup completely and bake for about 1 1/4 hours. Cool completely and store in a sealed container.

Makes 18 treats


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 5 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons soft margarine
  • 1 tablespoon cod liver oil
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup soy flour 

- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine water, cheese, margarine and oil.
- Add flour and form a dough.
- Roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutter.
- Bake at 300 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.

Source: Pet Place

Friday, October 14, 2016

5 Ways to Control Chewing

Dog Chewing Tips

We’ve all experienced it- you run to the store and come home to find your favorite pair of shoes missing from the closet. A guilty-looking dog meets you at the door... Destructive chewing can be a big headache for everyone if you don't correct the behavior.

Fortunately, there are several easy ways to prevent destructive chewing. Here are 5 of our favorites:

1. Crating
If your dogs can’t reach an object, they are far less likely to chew on it. Crating can be a great way to train your pets. It’s also a great way to offer your pets needed safety and security while you’re away from home. Dogs can be crated for a few hours at a time, but should have a safe crate available to them at all times. However, you can not stick an non-crate-trained dog in a crate and expect it to adapt immediately. For more detail and instruction on properly crate training your dog, check out this guide, Crate Training 101. Safety gates are also valuable additions to a home and an alternative to crate training. They operate by keeping the dog safely contained in an area of the house that is “puppy proofed.”

2. Teach Dogs to Ignore Non-Toys
dog shoeIn many cases, dogs chew on non-toy items simply because they haven’t been taught what’s appropriate and what’s not. Here’s how to make your non-toys less appealing: Place several objects of varying levels of interest on the floor. These should consist of toys (balls, chews, squeaky and non-squeaky toys) as well as “non” toys (shoes, keys, etc.). Allow your dog to peruse the items and reward them with a click (or verbal reward, like "good boy!") and a treat when they pick up an allowed “toy”. When they pick up a non-toy, take the item away and do not offer a treat. It won’t take long for your dog to learn which items are appropriate and which are not.

3. Offer Chew Alternatives
Providing your dog with plenty of safe things they can chew will go a long way towards stopping the chewing of things they shouldn’t eat. Remember, chewing is a natural, normal behavior for dogs. Make sure your dog - and especially your teething puppy, has access to plenty of chewable items like long-lasting chew treats, bully sticks, antlers, a stuffed Kong toy, and the like. Keep in mind, your dogs should always be under supervision while they chew to avoid a choking hazard.

4. Smart Toys
Many dogs chew because they are bored. Selecting a smart toy can go a long ways towards stopping unwanted chewing. Favorites include puzzle feeders, chew toys or exercise toys. Toys that force your dog to use problem solving skills are an excellent way to both alleviate boredom and to provide important mental and physical exercise.

5. Anti-chewing Aids
If your dog simply isn’t getting it, try one of the many anti-chewing aids on the market. Bitter Apple spray is one of our favorites. A quick spritz of the spray on an object will often be enough to deter unwanted chewing. These anti-chewing aids are designed to make the object much less appealing to your pets. There are many anti-chewing aids that you can try but do your best to avoid anything with hot pepper spray or other negative reinforcement tools (such as a shock collar). There is no object more valuable than your dog’s health and happiness.

When destructive chewing is a result of separation anxiety, or when none of the methods above help, consult a professional trainer for additional advice. Besides ruining your possessions, destructive chewing can be dangerous for your furriest family members.

Do you have a favorite “stop chewing” method not mentioned above? Please, share your experiences in a comment below!

Source: The Dogington Post