Category: “Pet Safety”

9 Surprisingly Dangerous Snacks for Dogs

9 Surprisingly Dangerous Snacks for Dogs

Originally Posted on Daily Treat by Elisabeth Geier

I’m not gonna lie: sometimes, I feed my dogs people food. A cheesy cracker here, a piece of popcorn there. Certain days, I even let them lick the yogurt cup or peanut butter jar clean. For the most part, if your dog doesn’t suffer from allergies, these occasional bites are harmless. It turns out, however, that certain human snacks are dangerous for dogs.

We all know not to slip our dog a chicken wing (seriously, never slip your dog a chicken wing), but you may be surprised to learn which other popular people-snacks can pose a health hazard to your beloved pet.

Guacamole: Avocados may be a delicious miracle food for humans, but unfortunately, they can be problematic for dogs. That’s mostly due to the potential presence of a toxin called persin, which can cause stomach upset. It’s worse with certain varieties, and most present in the peel. Still, better to be safe than sorry.

Guacamole also contains garlic and onions, which can cause anemia and gastrointestinal distress. If you must give your dog a treat from the fiesta table, stick to one or two plain tortilla chips (but not more than that—too much salt is another no-no).

Mixed nuts: Almonds are too rough to be digested properly and can damage your dog’s esophagus and stomach; pecans left out too long may mold and develop a dangerous toxin; and macadamia nuts are downright poisonous. Mixed nuts are a nice snack to keep around the house, but keep them away from your dog.

Raisins: Raisins are a sweet addition to your bowl of cereal, but they’re toxic to your best friend. Grapes and grape products are among the most dangerous foods for dogs, and consumption can lead to kidney failure and even death. Keep raisins, grapes, grape juice, and anything containing them far away from your pet.

Ice cream: It’s tempting to give your dog a lick of your cone on a hot day, and chances are, a little won’t hurt. But ice cream in large quantities is a no-no for dogs. The dairy content can cause gastrointestinal trouble (i.e., diarrhea), and the sugar content is way too high for them. Also, commercially-produced ice cream can contain nut traces, chocolate, and other substances that are dangerous for your dog. Thankfully, there are plenty of dog-friendly frozen treats available!

Beer and other alcohol: This one should be a no-brainer, but some people think it’s funny to offer their dog a sip of beer. Alcohol in any quantity can be dangerous for animals; it has the same effect on their brain and liver as it does on humans, but it takes a lot less to do a lot more damage in dogs. According to WebMD, even a small amount of alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, coordination issues, difficulty breathing, and worse. Keep your dog out of the cooler at your next tailgate.

Snack mix: Cereal snack mix is one of my favorite treats, and I know how tempting it is to throw a handful to the dog. But commercial snack treats often contain onion and garlic powder, both of which can cause tummy troubles. Snack mix is also high in sodium, and too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination.

Leftover ribs (and other meat scraps and bones): Dogs and bones go together like peanut butter and jelly, but only some bones are safe for your pooch. Cooked bones leftover from your barbecue may splinter and cause an obstruction or injury to your dog’s digestive system, and fatty meat scraps can lead to pancreatitis. Dispose of bones and meat scraps in an area your dog can’t reach, and if you must give them a bone, offer a whole raw bone (with supervised chew-time) or a safe chewable instead.

French fries: Confession: French fries are my favorite food, and I love to share them with my dog. But fries are high in fat and sodium, and overindulgence can lead to dehydration and an upset tummy for us both. Salty snacks in general are a bad idea for dogs; too much salt can even lead to ion poisoning. So it’s safe to toss your dog one or two fries at the drive-through, but don’t super-size their serving.

Candy and gum: Chances are you’re not letting your dog go wild in the candy aisle, but accidental ingestion of candy or gum can cause serious damage. Aside from the choking hazard posed by small, sticky treats, many sugar-free gums and candies contain xylitol, a popular sugar substitute that can be lethal to dogs. Stick to candy-shaped toys, and keep the real deal out of reach!

Table foods dogs can eat: In case you’re worried you can never safely sneak your dog a treat from your own bowl of snacks, here are a few human foods that are okay in small amounts:

  • Unsalted, raw or roasted peanuts removed from their shell
  • Unsalted pretzels
  • Plain, cooked chicken
  • White rice and pasta
  • Low-fat cheese, as long as you know your dog doesn’t have a lactose intolerance
  • Raw, unsalted peanut butter (check the label and avoid brands sweetened with xylitol)
  • Small amounts of plain bread

It’s only natural to want to treat your dog, and if she doesn’t have allergies or a particularly sensitive stomach, a morsel of human food here or there won’t hurt. But avoid the dangerous foods listed above, and remember: moderation is key. Most of your dog’s food should be, well, dog food. Happy snacking to you and your pooch!

Hot Pavement Can Hurt Your Dog’s Paws in Minutes. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Hot Pavement Can Hurt Your Dog’s Paws in Minutes. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Originally posted by

It’s hot out there! Did you know that even with a thick coat of fur, your dog can get burned? We’re not talking about sunburns—though some dogs do need doggy sunscreen. Instead, we’re talking about a lesser-known, scary condition called pad burn. You’ll want to understand how to spot the symptoms, plus easy techniques for avoiding the problem in the first place.

Pad burn in dogs

Pad burns occur on dogs’ paws after they walk on hot pavement or asphalt. Often extremely painful for your dog, they can require immediate medical attention.

To prevent pad burns, try walking your dog on dirt or grass paths. Avoid black asphalt, as it is very, very hot and can burn the pads instantly. Test the pavement and asphalt before you let your dog walk on it; if it’s too hot to keep your hand or foot on it for 30 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pup.

Tip: A good test—walk barefoot on the surface yourself! If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.

Your dog may show you that his feet hurt, too. Look for behaviors like veering off to the grass or pulling back on the leash to stop moving.

Symptoms of pad burns

  • Refusing to walk or limping
  • Darker than usual or discolored pads
  • Excessive licking or biting of feet
  • Visible blisters or extreme redness
  • Missing parts of the pads

If you notice these symptoms, seek immediate vet assistance. If this isn’t an option, keep your dog in a cool grassy area to minimize the pain. Also keep a firm eye on the conditions of their pads, as they can easily become infected. Flush their feet with cool water and try to prevent your dog from licking them to minimize infection.

Delicate paw pads

Paw pads aren’t shoes. Not only do hot surfaces hurt dog’s paws, but rough ones can too. Rugged terrain may tear up your dog’s feet.

Dog booties to the rescue

In addition to avoiding trouble spots, you can also use puppy boots to keep your dog’s feet protected. This article has everything you need to know about dog boot options and finding the right fit. Keep in mind that boots take some getting used to for most dogs. Be patient and put them on for short intervals. They’ll adjust in no time.

Why Do Dogs Have Bad Breath?

Why Do Dogs Have Bad Breath?

By: Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

Living with dogs is fun! Their presence usually makes us feel happy and alive. In fact, dogs are considered one of the most potent cures for feeling blue and depression.

However, living with dogs has some drawbacks and one of them can be bad breath. Over the years, I have witnessed many dogs with breath so strong that it would keel over a logger. I can still remember the pungent smell of rotten teeth and gums of many unfortunate dogs because their loving, but unaware, people let their oral hygiene go too far.

Most people assume that bad breath is mainly connected to tartar build-up and gum disease, but that is not exactly the whole picture. It is true that dental issues are frequently the cause of bad breath or halitosis, but your dog’s less than fresh breath may also be a sign of metabolic imbalance, toxicity, poor digestion, an oral tumour or general disease.

The purpose of this article is to give you effective and practical points to make your dog’s breath fresh again and prevent some serious problems that can reduce your dog’s quality of life and life expectancy.

1. Oral health is the key

The main cause of dental disease is kibble. Carbohydrates, starches and even just the finely processed food itself adheres easily to the surface of teeth, feeding harmful bacteria that creates a thick layer of tartar. Gums initially become inflamed and infected and eventually recede, exposing and further eroding and damaging the bone and ligaments that hold your dog’s teeth in place.

A conventional veterinary practitioner normally recommends a yearly dental cleaning under anesthesia, but I find such a regular intervention unnecessary if you follow these steps:

-Feed your dog a non-processed raw or cooked diet free of grain and starches

-Add the right RAW bones to your dog’s diet, which I call the “nature’s dental hygienist”. For more info on what bones to feed, click here.

-Ask your veterinarian to hand scale your dog’s teeth or find a skilled dental hygienist that can do the same.

Some of my colleagues argue that this approach to dental care is not sufficient, but I have seen dogs in perfect dental health on this protocol. Plus, your dog does not need to go under anesthesia on a yearly basis.

2. Diet recommendations

I am sure you have been in situations where someone starts talking to you and you immediately hope that the conversation will not last long. Bad breath, in cases where dogs or people have no dental problems, is usually a sign of toxicity and digestive metabolic disturbances and diet has a lot to do with it.

Processed and chemically preserved food, once again, is the leading cause of such problems, but an inappropriate natural diet may also play a role. Chemicals, preservatives and poor quality ingredients produced on polluted and depleted soils with heavy pesticide use are complex, making it difficult for us to be able to completely decipher the impact. There are simply too many factors playing a role and the only way to deal with food is to do our best

Based on my observations in practice, the safest and quickest ways to solve your dog’s bad breath is to apply to follow these 4 steps.

1. Once again, feeding non-processed food is the key.

2. Whenever you can, support non-medicated and organic agriculture. It is good for you, your dog and also our planet.

3. Feed a raw or cooked diet, whichever you feel more comfortable with. If you are not familiar with wholesome non-processed diet feeding, you can register to receive information on an upcoming course here.

4. Feed a combination of meat, veggies and raw bones. Dogs that do have green leafy vegetables in their diet appear to have better breath, mainly because leafy greens have a cleansing and digestion balancing effect.

3. Toxicity

I mentioned in the section above that toxins such as preservatives, antibiotics and chemical pollutants play an important role in your dog’s health and bad breath occurrence. Once again, I need to emphasize that due to the degree of toxin levels in the environment, our goal should be to minimize the use and consumption of chemicals. The simple rule you can apply is, ‘if you don’t know it, don’t feed it.”

Here are some other foods you should avoid for toxicity reasons:

1. Rice due to the high presence of arsenic. More info here.

2. Large fish due to the presence of mercury. More info here.

3. Small fish, such as herring, sardines and similar fish due to the higher presence of strontium. More info here.

4. Beware of foods originating from countries with a reputation for poor quality control such as China. Remember some foods may be produced, but not made and packaged in China, and labeled for example as “Made in USA or Canada.”

5. Learn how to choose safe treats. More info here.

6. Use only dog toys that are made of child safe materials and never buy Chinese dog toys.

To summarize, you goal should be to minimize toxins, and not try to reach the impossible task of eliminating all toxins. If you are interested in finding out what levels of toxicity your dog has, you can use inexpensive and highly accurate HairQ test. More info here.

4. Nutritional deficiencies

There are not many people who would expect a carpenter to build a home without bricks, lumber other essential building blocks. There are not many drivers who would expect a car maker to build a car without brakes, doors, blinkers or even wheels.

However, there are still many people who don’t fully understand that good health can’t be built without the essential building blocks that the body needs. I have written much about soil depletion and deficiencies. I have seen this area of healthcare being mostly forgotten, despite that it causes premature aging and losses.

My general sense is that most people understand that vitamins, probiotics and omega oils are needed, but they often forget about the most important part of nutrients and that is minerals and essential amino-acids. These are the “bricks” of the body and unfortunately, the body can’t make them on its own.

Intensive agriculture has depleted the presence of minerals in soils to a large degree. Based on the dramatic changes that many people see after supplementing minerals and essential amino-acids, their deficit may be one of the most common causes of disease.

5. Stomach dysfunctions

This cause of halitosis may often be forgotten, but is also important. The canine stomach closely relates to the spinal segment of the last thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae. When your dog gets injured in this region or is naturally weak, the muscle spasm leads to decreased blood, nerve and energy flow to the stomach, which can lead to digestive disturbances.

I have seen this repeatedly and such “energy stagnation” can be detected by simply pressing on both sides of the spine. If your dog reacts by moving, looking at your in discomfort or skin twitching, it may be that the stomach is also compromised.

Some dogs arealso genetically predisposed to a lack of stomach acid production, which can also cause bad breath.

Stomach function can be also seriously altered by the use of NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which in some cases, leads to stomach ulceration. For more informationclick here.

As you can see, dental problems are not the only cause of bad breath. I purposely didn’t mention one canine habit that has been encoded in dogs’ DNA for thousands of years. Dogs are scavengers and love to eat rotten and very smelly food. If your dog eats feces of other dogs or other species, it may be a habit, but it also may be a sign of digestive imbalances and deficiencies.

To summarize, bad breath in dogs needs to be taken seriously. Dental disease can damage your dog’s teeth and cause bacterial spread to the heart and kidneys, which can be very serious.

All cases of bad breath need to be seen as a systemic problem and addressed that way.

5 steps to healthy breath and a longer life for your dog

-Look after your dog’s teeth

Detox your dog

-Feed a raw or cooked diet, including raw bones

Provide the essential nutrients

-Ensure that your dog’s back is checked by an experienced chiropractor, physiotherapist or acupuncturist with good knowledge of the connections described above.

8 Essential Things To Do When You See A Dog Left In A Hot Car

8 Essential Things To Do When You See A Dog Left In A Hot Car

Originally Posted on: by Rachel Crocetti

Summer is here and for most people (and dogs) that means so is the unbearable heat. Summer for humans means wearing less clothing and taking a dip in the pool or ocean, but summer for dogs can be harsh. Imagine not being able to take off your winter sweater, even when it’s 95 degrees out. It’s painful to even think about! For dogs, that is their reality.

By now we all know the rule: do not, by any means, leave your dog in your car in the summer (or ever, for that matter). According to the Humane Society of the United States, when it is 80 degrees fahrenheit outside, the inside of a car can rise up to 99 degrees fahrenheit within only 10 minutes! So that means your ten minutes in the cool grocery store to grab your milk means a painful, sweltering, and possibly deadly situation for a dog left in a car.

Now that we’ve had a refresher on the rules, the question remains – what do you do when you see someone else’s dog in a hot car? Here are a few tips from the experts:

1. Get informed.

According to the Humane Society, the first thing that you can do to help a dog in a dangerous situation is to learn the facts yourself. Check out your town or state’s laws on leaving an animal in a car. Gather the phone number of the police department’s non-emergency line and also the animal control department in your town. Be prepared so that you aren’t left trying to solve the problem at the last minute, and wasting what could be precious and critical moments for the overheated dog.

2. Take down the car’s information.

The Humane Society says that when you see a dog left in a car, immediately take down the vehicle’s model, make, color, and license plate number. These can be used to report the owner for neglect or irresponsible behavior, and also to identify who the owner is.

3. Have the owner paged.

Go into the local businesses or buildings nearby and notify a manager or security guard. Insist that they make an announcement over the intercom with the license plate number to inform the owner of the dire situation.

4. If you can’t find the owner, call the authorities.

This is when having emergency numbers saved in your phone comes in handy. Call the humane authorities or the police to come and assess the situation.

5. Do not, by any means, leave the scene.

This is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind. If you have to, have someone else watch the car and the animal while you run inside the building. According to PetMD, signs of heatstroke include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, and lack of coordination. Keep a close eye on the dog for these symptoms, as it could mean that the situation needs to be acted upon very quickly.

6. If the authorities take too long, take action.

If you very honestly believe that this dog is in bad condition and showing symptoms of heatstroke, assess the situation and get a witness to back you up. Remove the dog from the heat immediately and wait for the authorities to arrive.

7. Take proper steps to care for the animal.

When the dog is removed from the hot car, the situation isn’t necessarily over yet. Get the animal into air conditioning as soon as possible and give him cool water to drink.

8. Spread awareness.

While it may seem like an easy thing to remember, some people don’t realize the dangers that heat can have on animals. Kindly remind friends and family to leave their pets at home when they run errands. The Humane Society suggests asking local businesses to hang up signs during the hotter months reminding people not to leave their dogs in their vehicles. Most importantly, if your town doesn’t have a law regarding leaving dogs in cars, attend a town meeting and start lobbying for one.

While we hope that you’ll never have to use these tips, it’s important to have them handy just in case. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion every year. With these tips, you may be able to lower that number.

Remember – a cool dog is a happy dog! Hot dogs are only good at barbecues!

Sources: Humane Society, PetMD, AVMA

How to keep your dog safe and at ease when the fireworks start

How to keep your dog safe and at ease when the fireworks start

Originally posted by Cesar Milan

Some dogs have no problem with the sight and sound of fireworks if they’ve been desensitized — hunting dogs, for example, grow used to the sounds and smells of hunting rifles and gun powder. Most dogs, however, are not used to these things, so the Fourth of July can be a particularly stressful holiday for dogs and their humans alike.

More pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day, so you should take extra steps to ensure their safety. Keep a keen eye on your dog during the commotion, and make sure your pet is wearing proper identification.

It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous systems, and they can become anxious or afraid. Running away from the noise is a survival instinct.

Remember, to your dog, the experience of fireworks is different than other natural loud noises, like thunder. Fireworks are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden booms, flashes and burning smells. Dogs experience the world through their senses — nose, eyes, ears. The typical Fourth of July celebration can be overwhelming to them.

Here are some tips to help keep your dog calm, making for an easier holiday for both of you.

1. Preparation

Arrange to have your dog in a place where there won’t be loud fireworks displays — a friend’s or relative’s home or a doggie day care with which your dog is familiar. If it’s an unfamiliar place for your dog, take him over there a few times in the days before the holiday so that it won’t be a surprise when you take him there on the Fourth.

2. Accommodation

If you cannot take your dog to a place away from fireworks, then have a travel kennel at home for her to feel safe in. if you’re not going to be home, have a friend or sitter there to keep your dog company and take her out to relieve herself every four hours.

3. Acclimation

The best way to prepare your dog for fireworks is to make sure he’s comfortable with the sound in advance. While this is a simple process, it can take time — possibly three or four months of playing the recorded sound of fireworks for your dog at an increasingly louder volume before he eats, before a walk, and before affection and play.

This will condition him by association to hear the sound and interpret it as something good. While you can try this method over only a week or two, in such a short time span it should only be used in conjunction with one or more of the other tips. In any case, play the firework sounds.

4. Sedation

If you do find it necessary to use medication or a thundershirt to calm your dog during the fireworks, remember that you must introduce any such tool at the right time, conditioning your dog to understand that the medication or thundershirt is there to bring them to a calm state.

This means that you must bring your dog to that calm state first, then introduce the tool — before the fireworks and the anxiety begin. If she is already at an anxiety level of 8 or 9, then her mental state will overrule the medication. If she is already breathing heavily, then the thundershirt, which is designed to slow her breathing, won’t work. A tool is an intellectual thing we use with a dog’s instincts. The challenge is knowing how and when to connect the two.

5. Communication

If you are going to be with your dog during the fireworks, sending the calming message that they are nothing to worry about will also help him to relax. Remember, though, while humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with energy, and will look to their pack leader for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, then he will learn to be less concerned as well.

In all cases above, expend your dog’s excess energy first, before the fireworks start, by taking her on a very long walk to tire her out and put her in a calm state.

Most importantly, don’t think of this in terms of your dog as your child who is missing out on a great, fun time. That’s human guilt. Your dog won’t know what she’s missing. You’re being a good pack leader by not exposing her to a situation that will trigger her flight instinct in a negative way. When the booms and bangs of Independence Day are over, your dog will be grateful to you for having made it a less stressful experience!