Nutrition

Here's why you need to wash your dog's food and water bowls

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I know it's easy to think dogs don't need to have their food bowls cleaned when they do gross things like drink from the toilet, or eat dead animals without hesitation. I was guilty of cleaning my boys' bowls maybe once every couple weeks. I never considered doing it more often since the bowls never *technically* looked dirty, so I thought what was the harm? Until one day, I happened to touch the bottom of a water bowl that was empty and found that it was covered in a slick, clear film. I genuinely thought it looked clean! Yuck! So, here's why you need to wash those bowls.

 

The film at the bottom of the bowl

That film is actually a layer of bacteria that comes from many different things; like your dog's saliva, whatever particles are floating around in your home, or whatever is in your dog's mouth at the time they take a drink or eat from the bowl. Your dog's bowl is almost like a petri dish (gross), and sometimes what grows inside can be harmful and cause health problems, like digestive issues. It's been studied that even bacteria like, Staph and Salmonella, can be found in your pet's bowls! If you have children in your home, that can be very harmful if they love to get into the dog's things. 

 

What to do

It's very easy to avoid dirty bowls, just be mindful and wash your dog's bowls at least twice per week with hot water and regular dish soap. Easy as that!

You can also put them into the dishwasher if that makes your life even easier, but I would scrub them down first to get that film removed. I've also heard you should use stainless steel or glass bowls only. Plastic is porous on a microscopic level and that bacteria can sit there even after being thoroughly washed. If bowls are worn down, peeling, or chipped, make sure you replace them so chemicals don't leak out of the materials into your dog's food or water.

What is xylitol? And why you must keep it away from your dog

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Most foods or ingredients that are toxic to dogs have to be eaten in a certain amount relative to the dog's weight to be seriously harmful or deadly. Unfortunately, even a small amount of an ingredient called xylitol can do serious damage to a dog of any size. 

WHat it is

Xylitol (pronouced zye-leh-tall) is an artificial sweetener that works as a substitute for sugar, its use in everyday products is increasing quickly. It's most commonly used as an ingredient in foods that are labeled "sugar-free" or oral care products, such as toothpaste. Xylitol causes no harm to humans, but can be detrimental to dogs. As a pet owner, pay attention to all of the human food products you give to your pups. A big one to keep in mind is peanut butter - sometimes they contain artificial sweeteners and it would be fatal if, for example, you gave your dog a couple spoonfuls in their Kong toy.

 

What it does

When dogs eat xylitol, it causes a rapid decrease of their blood glucose levels. This causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can lead to liver toxicity and damage. 

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur within 30 to 60 minutes of xylitol ingestion with levels as low as 0.1g xylitol/kg body weight. - Dr. Dana Brooks

That is scary to think about because that is a fairly small amount... and if a dog is getting into something they're not supposed to, they're obviously not going to limit themselves... Most dogs will probably eat as much as possible before they get caught, and that can get them into some serious trouble. 

 

What to do

Obviously, keep these products out of reach from your pets. After you read this article, do me a huge favor and proof your home of anything with xylitol in it!

If your dog does ingest some they will become lethargic and seem very weak, they may even collapse and have trouble walking. As soon as you see any of these signs, take them to the vet immediately. Don't waste time trying to google info about how much they have to eat or what symptoms to look for, etc. I'm telling you now - just put them in the car and start driving. The longer they have it in their system the more fatal and irreversible the damage is! If you're able to, bring the packaging of whatever your dog ate to the veterinarian so that they are able to see a complete list of the ingredients. The sooner you take your dog to the vet, the better their chances are after ingesting xylitol! 

 

These foods must be kept away from your dog

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It's always scary when your dog eats something they aren't supposed to, but the good new is most toxic foods have to be ingested relative to the dog's weight to be deadly. A handful of Hershey Kisses might not be as big of a concern to a giant Great Dane than to a little Pug. However, there are some foods where even the smallest amount can really harm or kill a dog so it's important to know these as an owner.

 

Xylitol 

This is the artificial sweetener found in products like gum, toothpaste, and soda. An amount as small as .1 grams can cause serious issues in a large dog. If you haven't already, quickly check that your dog does not have easy access to anything with xylitol in it, or any sugar alcohols for that matter.

 

Bones

Never, ever, ever, give your dog your leftover steak bone! Choking is always a concern with this. Cooked bones break and splinter differently than raw bones. They can internally scratch or pierce the digestive system as they make their way through the body. Some raw bones are okay, but they shouldn't be machine cut (since they can be sharp), or weight-bearing bones (since these are too hard and can break teeth).

 

Grapes and raisins

The general rule is that dogs usually have to eat a specific ratio relative to their weight when it comes to grapes and raisins. But, the toxic components in grapes is still somewhat unknown, so there have been reported cases of dogs dying from eating even a small handful of raisins. For this reason, grapes and raisins should be completely avoided since we don't know what triggers death in some dogs. 

 

Chocolate

The exact ingredient that causes toxicity to dogs in chocolate is theobromine. Baking and dark chocolate have the most concentrated amounts of theobromine so do not let your dog near these. Milk chocolate has less levels of the toxic ingredient so it's not as big of a concern as dark or baking chocolate. White chocolate has almost none, so it is somewhat safe for dogs to eat.

 

CaffeinE and Alcohol

I put these two in the same category because it's (hopefully) common sense not to let dogs ingest either of these substances. These are not even that great for humans, so they are definitely not good for dogs (again, common sense). Caffeine is bad for the central nervous system, and alcohol causes breathing and the heart rate to slow down. 

 

Onions and garlic

Always check foods like chicken broth since these are usually prescribed for ill or picky dogs. Many broths contain onion or garlic ingredients in some form. These are both toxic raw or cooked, so make sure you don't give any human food leftovers that contain onions or garlic.

 

If your dogs eats any of these foods, it's always a safe bet to call your veterinarian. Watch your dog very closely, if they have any changes in behavior or start to vomit or have diarrhea, take them in to a vet ASAP! 

Do these things to make sure your dog is drinking enough water

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Water is just as important to dogs as it is to us. It's hard to pay attention each time your dog takes a drink, so you may never know what their daily intake truly is. 

 

These are some quick and easy ways to make sure they're getting plenty of water throughout the day and staying hydrated!

 

1. Always keep water bowls full. This will encourage them to drink more.

2. Refill the water bowls at least three times a day. Dogs do not like to drink water if it is not fresh.

3. Have at least two water bowls in your home. Especially if you have a house with multiple levels. Keep one bowl on each level. 

4. Bring a portable water bowl (and water!) on outings. Even if you only go out for a couple of hours, stress/excitement is dehydrating.

5. Add water to their kibble. This is a really easy way to control their water intake.

Dog Treats Giveaway

I have a little giveaway for you lovely people (or for your pups I should say). My boys got to try out some products from Nature's Logic and Caru, and I chose the best treats to share with you guys!

Giveaway ends 05/27 at midnight, I will privately message the winner.

Here is what is included in the giveaway and how to enter it at the bottom of the page:

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1. Caru Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth - this comes from an amazing and very high-quality company that LOVES pets. Bone broth provides a lot of nutrients for your pup and is great to add to their dry kibble or water bowls. I give my boys some broth in their dry kibble to provide them with extra liquids throughout the day so that I can make sure they keep hydrated. In the documentary "Pet Fooled", it explains how dogs who only eat dry kibble are technically in a constant state of dehydration. So adding broth tp the diet is one way to prevent this, just make sure their dog food doesn't have citric acid or the reaction can cause stomach upset or even bloat. You could also try making popsicles or ice cubes as a summer treat!

Check out their broth and other products here!

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2. Caru Baked Bites in Venison Flavor - these are the best to use as high value training treats and come in really fun exotic recipes. We even tried an ALLIGATOR formula! My pups went crazy for these because they're very fragrant, which I assume means flavorful (not that I'd ever eat one).

For pups who are allergic to poultry, they have all sorts of recipe flavors like Alligator, Wild Boar, Salmon, Duck, and several others here.

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3. Nature's Logic Beef Tendon Chews - to be honest, I thought my dogs would eat these in two seconds... but they lasted about 20 minutes with Boomer and an extra 15 minutes with Ruger! These are made in the States and have nothing added to them, which I appreciate as a dog owner. I really love these and will be buying more, this bag is a pound and has about 13 chews in it!

Look through the Nature's Logic website for more product info here.

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Enter our giveaway by commenting on this blog post with your pup's name in the box below! 

xoxo

5 Tips on Finding the Best Dog Food

The least you can do for your pup is to feed him well. We've forced dogs to be our pets and they depend on us for most of their needs, so give your dog some good quality food since he can't choose for himself!

Here are some tips on finding the best dog food below.

 Dogs will eat anything if we let them, so as owners we should be providing them with a good diet.   Photo Submission: Janet Harbottle

Dogs will eat anything if we let them, so as owners we should be providing them with a good diet.

Photo Submission: Janet Harbottle

Ideally, a raw diet would be best since it offers high-quality protein, the right amount of calories, variety, and many other benefits. But it's not always doable for financial and other reasons. Finding a good-quality kibble works, too.

Learn about ingredients

First, let's talk about why you shouldn't buy any dog food that is sold at a grocery store. These brands are the cheapest, lowest-quality food you can possibly find. Foods like Beneful, Kibbles 'N Bits, Pedigree, and Ol' Roy are terrible for your dog - they are full of fillers which are useless ingredients like rice bran or corn bran. These fillers provide zero nutritional value to your dog and add pointless calories. Their are also harmful ingredients used in these types of brands like corn syrup, food dyes, and artificial preservatives. The first ingredients in dog food should be actual meat, not meat by-products (which are the eyes, beaks, feet, etc of the animal), or starch.

Know your dog's needs

Always feed according to your dog's stage in life - only feed a puppy a food that is specifically made for puppies. Dogs over 7 years of age should be eating kibble formulated for seniors, and so on. Puppies, adults, giant breeds, and senior dogs have fairly different needs and require more or less protein and calories depending on their age and breed. The development and health of your dog can be negatively affected if you don't provide the correct nutritional values they should be getting.

Know what to look for

Research different dog foods using dogfoodadvisor.com (they are reputable and you can sign up for email alerts on recalls), and consider the quality of what you are feeding now. Try to give a food that is at least 3.5, or preferably, 4 - 4.5 stars on their rating system. In my opinion, 5 star dog foods are extremely pricey and at that price point you might as well feed raw, if you prefer. 

 A high-quality dog food will give your dog a gorgeous coat, among a million other benefits!   Photo Submission: Sean Mcgirr

A high-quality dog food will give your dog a gorgeous coat, among a million other benefits!

Photo Submission: Sean Mcgirr

Compare foods and pick the best one

Look through local pet stores or online stores like Chewy.com or Amazon to find several dog foods within your price range. Then compare them on Dog Food Advisor and pick the highest-quality food you can afford. Pay attention to each formula's rating within a brand - the same type of food might be higher quality if it is the chicken formula vs. the lamb formula, for example.

Introduce your new food slowly

Once you choose a new food don't forget to slowly transition your pup to it. If you carelessly switch their diet cold-turkey you can cause some serious gastrointestinal issues, and those are not fun to deal with as a dog parent!

If you want to do some more research, feel free to read this insightful article on the best dog foods by Reviews.com here

 
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