A tablespoon of peanut butter can contain as many calories as 1/4 of a 13 oz can or 1/4 cup of dry pet food. In other words, it is highly caloric. If you typically use peanut butter to administer pills, try putting them in a small amount of canned food or pumpkin instead. These options are tasty, but contain fewer calories.
All healthy dogs benefit from a diet that provides at least a moderate amount of protein (>22%).
Not sure how much protein your dog needs? Here are some general guidelines… High Protein (34% & Up): Active, working, or competition adult dogs, or small dogs with a high metabolism. Pregnant or lactating dogs also benefit from high protein. Moderate Protein (23-33%): All healthy dogs benefit from at least moderate protein levels, including seniors. We recommend the high end of moderate for all puppies. Low Protein (22% & Under): Dogs experiencing kidney disease, renal failure, or specific food allergies.
Consider mixing in canned pumpkin and/or plain yogurt when transitioning your dog to a new food.
We recommend rotating your dog’s food every 3 months. While some dogs make the transition from one food to another fairly easily, others may need a little help. Adding canned pumpkin during the transitioning period can help soothe your dog’s sensitive stomach. The combination of soluble and insoluble fibers assists in regulating the G.I. tract – whether things are moving too slowly or too fast. Plain yogurt offers probiotics that support your dog’s immune system and enzymes that help them absorb nutrients. Visit the Transitioning & Rotation page in our online Education section for more info and tips on effectively switching your dog’s food.
Slowly transition your dog’s diet when switching to a new food to avoid stomach-upset.
Effectively switching your pet to and among all-natural foods requires careful planning. The process depends partly on how big of a nutritional leap you’re making. It generally takes more time to transition from a “grocery store brand” to a more nutrient-dense formula because the ingredient lists can be quite different. Conversely, the process of transitioning among all-natural brands can be less cumbersome. For the best results, mix in the new food with the old in ascending 25% intervals (old:new – 75:25, 50:50, 25:75, 0:100) until the transition is complete. Pick up a Transitioning & Rotation brochure in our lobby for detailed transitioning plans, instructions, and tips.
Focus more on portion control and less on a food’s fat content to manage your dog’s weight.
Fat has more than twice the calories per gram of protein or carbs, so the amount you feed should be limited. Fat, however, is also what best satisfies the appetite. A diet that is too low in fat will leave your dog feeling hungry all the time, making it harder to stick to a diet plan and potentially leading to food-stealing or even poop-eating. It’s better to feed a diet with a moderate fat content and reduce the portion size as needed rather than feeding a low-fat diet.
Avoid pet foods that contain artificial, chemical preservatives like Ethoxyquin, BHA, & BHT.
Artificial preservatives are added to many lower-quality pet foods because they’re a cheaper alternative to more natural options like Vitamins C & E. But artificial additives aren’t just cheaper; many pet parents and veterinarians believe they can be dangerous, especially when fed over the life of your pet. Ethoxyquin is regulated by the FDA as a pesticide, while BHA & BHT have been linked to cancer in laboratory animals.
Baked pet foods are cooked at lower temperatures than other foods to help preserve the nutritional integrity if the ingredients.
Baked foods are a more dense kibble with less air which allows pets to consume more nutrients while eating less. Slow baking allows the flavors and aromas of meats and fats to penetrate the whole grains in kibble which makes it naturally more palatable. There is less need for sprayed-on fats or nutrients with baked foods compared to the extruded varieties.
Grain-free foods contain little to no grains, are high in protein, and are recommended for active, healthy pets.
The philosophy behind most grain-free formulas is that dogs (and cats) primarily ate meat in the wild. Therefore, grain-free foods consist primarily of meat (protein), with lesser amounts of fruits and vegetables for vitamins and antioxidants. Grain-free foods are also nutrient-dense which means you feed less and your dog poops less.
Limited ingredient foods make use of the fewest ingredients possible to create a balanced diet – great for food-sensitive pets.
Many of the allergies from which our pets suffer can be linked to ingredients in their food (i.e., grains or certain proteins). Limited ingredient formulas typically make use of a handful of nutrient-dense ingredients, including a single-source protein, to create a complete and balanced diet. This approach limits the number of ingredients to which your pet could be allergic.
Examine the first 5 ingredients to begin evaluating your pet’s food.
Pet food ingredients are listed in order by weight, so ideally you want the first few ingredients to be a whole, recognizable protein source, followed by whole grains (unless it’s a grain-free formula). Study the first 5 ingredients in your pet’s food and at least scan the remainder to weed out artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
Periodically rotate the protein source in your pet’s food for variety and balanced nutrition.
There is no one perfectly balanced food for your pet. Each protein source has a different makeup of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. We recommend varying the protein in your pet’s food every 3 months to keep them excited about eating and allow for complete nutrient intake.
All-natural pet foods, especially grain-free formulas, often result in smaller, firmer poop.
All-natural pet foods don’t use unnecessary fillers such as corn or wheat. Instead they typically contain higher amounts of protein. Therefore, it takes less all-natural food to meet your pet’s nutritional needs. Less food equals smaller, firmer poop.
Humans possess the cognitive ability to process the reasons for change and to adapt. Dogs on the other hand, rely on a consistent routine to be happy and healthy. Focus on these key concepts when your family’s routine changes to keep your pet stress-free. Slow transition: Avoid abrupt changes and introduce a new schedule in increments. Consistency: Set clear expectations and stick with them. Reward appropriately: Avoid coddling your pet if they’re nervous about change. Instead, practice and reward positive, healthy behavior.
Apply a mixture of shampoo and water before wetting your dog to kill fleas.
Any shampoo will suffocate fleas, though a flea shampoo is generally most effective. The key to killing fleas during a bath is not wetting your dog or cat first. Instead, pour a mixture of natural shampoo and water directly where fleas like to run and hide (feet, face, rear, etc.). Then thoroughly lather the rest of the coat with this mixture before rinsing. Also consider using an alcohol-based ear cleaner. Alcohol dries quickly and can help keep fleas from running into the ears.
Apply apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food, water, and/or skin & coat.
When ingested in food or water, apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help regulate your dog’s pH levels. This can cut down on tear stains, urine burns in your grass, and can even soothe the effects of arthritis and sore muscles. When applied topically, ACV can reduce dander, repel fleas & ticks, and more!
Take your dog for a walk after applying topical flea treatment
Topical flea treatments need to soak into your dog’s coat to begin to spread and effectively protect your pet. Take your dog for a walk after applying treatment to distract them from rolling around, licking, or rubbing against items in your house.
Consider crate training your dog to give them a quiet, secure den of their own.
Dogs are naturally social and love to be around their human or canine pack. But they also evolved as den animals, using their den as a place to sleep, hide from danger, and raise a family. Dogs that are crate trained at an early age feel comfortable and secure in a more cozy space. Often, they will travel with less stress and are not tempted to destroy your belongings while you’re away. Place the crate in a high-traffic area in your home and use treats to introduce your dog to their new space. Then begin feeding their meals in the crate. Be patient, yet persistent until your dog is comfortable in their new, private sanctuary.
Keep pet grooming wipes by the door to reduce the number of allergens in your home.
Springtime allergies can be tough on dogs and humans alike. To reduce the number of allergens in your home and to help relieve your and your pet’s Springtime allergy symptoms, keep a box of pet grooming wipes by the door. Use them to wipe your pet’s feet, face, and coat when they come in from outdoors. This should help to reduce irritation and minimize the amount of pollen in your home. Dog and cat grooming wipes are available at The Whole Dog Market!
Use a flea preventative year-round to protect your pets and your home.
Our relatively warm, wet climate here in the South means that fleas can live year-round. Furthermore, adult fleas (the ones we can see on our pets) only represent about 5% of the total flea population. Protect your pets and your home from flea infestation by using a flea preventative year-round. Be sure to choose a product that kills adult fleas and flea eggs to break the life cycle. (Thanks to PetWell Veterinary Healthcare for contributing)
Develop an oral care routine with your pet: weekly teeth brushing and regular check-ups.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs show signs of gum disease by age three. In fact, periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. Keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy by: 1) visiting their veterinarian for regular check-ups, 2) brushing your pet’s teeth at least once a week, 3) feeding an all-natural food that’s free of artificial preservatives and additives.
Consider adopting your next pet from an animal shelter or rescue organization.
Pet overpopulation is a big problem in the U.S., especially in the South. When you’re ready to add to your furry family, consider adopting from a local animal shelter or rescue group. There are thousands of amazing pets out there (even pure-breeds!) that are just waiting for a second chance. Furthermore, most dogs from pet stores or online animal dealers come from puppy mills. In many cases, puppy mill dogs are kept in inhumane conditions and will never have a shot at a normal, healthy life. So help control the pet population and discourage puppy mills by adopting your next pet!
Schedule some cuddle or play time with your dog once a day to improve your mood.
Petting your dog not only makes them happy, but it could lift your spirits as well. Researchers at the University of Missouri – Columbia discovered that playing with pets, especially dogs, increases our levels of serotonin (a mood-boosting hormone that can help battle depression). So as the days get shorter or if you’re just having a bad day, make some time to cuddle with your canine!
Successfully introduce your dog to other dogs: exercise beforehand, group leash walk, & no eye contact.
Help your dog successfully greet and interact with other dogs at home or in public by following 3 easy steps: 1) Exercise your dog before they meet new friends. Exercise can help your dog reach a calm, relaxed state that is most appropriate for meeting new dogs. 2) Leash walk your dog with a new dog, keeping them a few feet apart to avoid the tension of a one-on-one greeting. Engaging in an activity like walking together allows dogs to socially acclimate to each other before directly interacting. 3) Make sure your dog avoids direct eye contact initially with a new dog. Allow them to sniff rear-ends and relax completely before meeting face-to-face.
Swimming is excellent exercise for dogs, especially for those with join or hip ailments.
Swimming and moving in water is one of the best forms of exercise for your dog. The increased resistance to movement, for example, means that a 5-minute swim is equivalent to about a 5-mile run. The buoyancy of water also supports and lessens stress on the joints, encourages freer movement, and provides a safe environment for exercise. Hydrotherapy has even proven to be an effective treatment for dogs with arthritis, dysplasia, and other mobility issues.
Key biological differences between dogs and humans specify the need for totally separate shampoo. Here are a few reasons you should use a shampoo that is formulated for pets on your dirty dog: 1) Sulfates (soap/detergents) – Dogs do not eliminate toxins through their skin, and therefore, do not benefit from sulfates found in human shampoo. 2) Ph Balance – A dog’s skin has a Ph of about 7.5 (human skin: ~5.5). Dog shampoo is formulated to match their skin Ph – it’s more alkaline and less likely to cause irritation. 3) Sensitive Skin – A dog’s skin is only 3-5 cell layers thick (human skin: 10-15 layers). As such, harsh chemicals in human shampoo that are easier for us to tolerate can irritate your dog’s skin.
Protect your pets during winter: Provide indoor shelter and minimize exposure to cold weather toxins.
Cold weather can be just as dangerous for pets as it is for humans. Here are a few tips to help keep your pets safe when the mercury drops: 1) Provide a warm, indoor place to sleep that is off the ground, away from drafts, and includes a cozy bed or warm blanket. 2) Thoroughly wipe your pet’s legs, paws, and stomach when coming inside from ice or snow to avoid ingestion of salt or antifreeze. 3) Use a pet-friendly antifreeze that contains propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol and clean any spills immediately. 4) Never shave your pet during the winter months – they’re fur provides critical warmth and insulation. Consider jackets or sweaters for short-haired breeds. 5) Never let your dog off leash in snow or ice – especially during a snowstorm. They can lose their scent and easily become lost. 6) Puppies and older dogs may not tolerate cold weather well. Consider taking them outdoors only for potty breaks.
“People food” that’s safe for your pet: Lean meats, some fruits & veggies, and plain rice or pasta.
Some of us just can’t resist sliding scraps under the table to our four-legged friends. If you find yourself giving in to that pitiful look on your dog’s face, it’s important to know which foods are least likely to harm your pet. If you’re enjoying one or more of the following items, feel free to share. Lean meats (avoid high fat meats and chicken skin), vegetables (carrot sticks, green beans, cucumber or zucchini slices), fruit (apple slices, orange slices, bananas – remove any seeds first), baked potatoes (plain, baked), bread (plain, cooked bread with no seeds or raisins), and rice or pasta (plain, cooked pasta or white rice).
Certain “people foods” can be toxic to your pet, including chocolate, grapes/raisins, & garlic.
Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines which are toxic to pets. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, and excessive thirst. Baking and dark chocolate are most toxic, while ingesting lighter chocolates usually results in somewhat milder symptoms. Other foods that can be toxic to pets include grapes/raisins, garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, and avocado. Poisoning cases typically spike around the holidays, so remember to keep a close eye on your pets around Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Click here for a more great information on what dog’s can and cannot eat!
Socialize your dog early and often to achieve balance and stability.
Our Pack knows from experience that healthy socialization among dogs is a skill that can deteriorate without practice. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, “The primary and most important time for [puppy] socialization is the first 3 months of life.. Every effort should be made to expose them to as many different people, well-socialized animals, situations, places, etc as possible.” Puppy parents, join DOGUROO every Saturday, 10:30-11:30am for our FREE Puppy Hour series. If you have an adult dog, we strongly recommend Daycare at least once every few weeks to sharpen their social skills. It’s never too late to challenge your dog for the sake of mental and social growth.
Limit your dog’s activity 1 hour before and after meals to help prevent bloat.
Bloat is a life-threatening condition that occurs as a result of an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, or foam in the stomach. As the stomach swells, it can rotate 90-360 degrees obstructing veins in the abdomen and trapping air, water, and food in the stomach. Larger and/or deep-chested breeds are most at risk. To prevent bloat, feed your dog 2-3 times a day and limit their activity 1 hour before and after meals. Also consider moderating your dog’s rate of consumption and avoiding stressful situations (especially around mealtimes).
Signs of heat stroke in dogs include rapid panting, a bright red tongue, lethargy, and vomiting.
Dogs do not have an efficient cooling system (like humans who sweat), and can become overheated easily. Signs that your dog could be suffering from heat stroke include rapid panting, a bright red tongue, thick, sticky saliva, lethargy, dizziness, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Moderate heat stroke occurs when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees. To treat heat stroke, try to lower the body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water to your dog’s face & feet, and increasing air circulation around them with a fan. Then promptly take them to your veterinarian.
Try placing a tennis ball in your dog’s food bowl to moderate their rate of consumption.
Most dogs live for mealtime. But devouring their food too quickly can put your dog at risk for indigestion or worse, bloat. If your dog doesn’t savor every bite, try placing a tennis ball in their food bowl to slow them down. You can also use treat-release toys during mealtimes – available at Doguroo!
The many benefits of dog daycare include exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation.
Daycare is more than just a place for your dog to go while you’re at work. Socialization simulates the pack environment that dogs naturally crave, while exercise encourages a healthy metabolism and helps circulate blood to the muscles, organs, and brain. Mental stimulation keeps your dog sharp, alert, and increases training retention.
Spaying or neutering helps control pet overpopulation and can have lasting health benefits.
There are many benefits to spaying or neutering you pet, including less desire to roam, a reduced risk of certain types of health issues (testicular & prostatic in males, mammary in females), a decreased tendency for aggressive behavior, and a reduction in the number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies.
Dry your dog thoroughly after swimming or bathing to help prevent hot spots.
Hot spots are surface skin infections that occur most commonly during the Summer months. Though any dog can develop a hot spot, medium and long-haired breeds are most susceptible. Here are a few ways you can help your dog to avoid the irritation and discomfort of hot spots: 1) Dry your dog thoroughly after swimming or bathing. Wet hair against the skin prevents proper air circulation and can quickly lead to a hot spot. 2) Use a flea preventative or repellent product. It’s no coincidence that both fleas and hot spots are most common in the Summer. Persistent scratching is one of the most common causes of hot spots. 3) Comb your dog regularly and have them professionally groomed every 4-6 weeks. A healthy coat with no matts or tangles is much less likely to harbor excess bacteria.
Have your dog’s undercoat removed instead of shaving to keep them cool in the Summer.
Guard hairs in your dog’s top coat protect them from the sun’s harmful rays, while the fluffy undercoat helps insulate them from the cold. We recommend the Shed-Less Treatment during the Summer months to remove your dog’s undercoat instead of a full body shave. The Shed-Less Treatment involves using a specially-formulated blend of shampoo and conditioner to loosen the dead undercoat hair. Then the Grooming staff gently brushes away this extra insulation leaving those important guard hairs in place.
Grinding vs. cutting can leave your dog’s nails shorter, smoother, and less likely to leave scratch marks.
Grinding your dog’s nails is a great alternative to cutting them with nail clippers. Grinding, or “dremeling,” usually shortens the quick over time and leaves the tip of the nail smooth and rounded. If you’re apprehensive about grinding or cutting your dog’s nails, our Pack of bathers and groomers will be happy to do it for you!
Place cotton balls in your dog’s ears during a bath to prevent ear infections.
Water in your dog’s ears can cause irritation or infection and can become a serious medical issue. Use cotton balls to absorb any water that gets past your dog’s outer ear openings at bath time. This method can be especially useful for dogs with cropped ears.
You can bathe your dog as often twice a week using natural, mild shampoos.
A dog’s skin is more sensitive than that of a human, but they can be bathed often with the right shampoos. Select all-natural or organic shampoos that don’t contain harsh chemicals and wash away! Bathing your dog more often can also reduce the number of allergens in your home.
Most dogs in the South shed year-round. Shedless Treatment anyone?
Because of the mild temperatures in the South, some dogs will shed year-round. And because most of our dogs live indoors, they no longer have a cue from Mother Nature to grow and shed their undercoat seasonally. The Shedless Treatment at Doguroo helps remove your dog’s undercoat all at once and can reduce shedding significantly.
Cats prefer to eat from a plate or a gradually sloped bowl with no vertical sides.
Why? Those wonderful whiskers! More than twice as thick as ordinary hairs, a cat’s whiskers are packed with nerve endings that provide extraordinarily detailed information about their surroundings. Your cat uses it’s whiskers to gauge air movements & pressure as well as the size & shape of any object close by. But whiskers can also be a bother to your cat, especially if they try to eat from a bowl. Whiskers touching the sides of a bowl transfer irritating sensations to the brain, making it difficult to continue eating. To avoid irritation at mealtime, try feeding your cat from a flat plate or an elevated, gradually sloped bowl with no vertical sides. Ask our Pack about the options available at DOGUROO!
Cats require a high fluid intake – we recommend feeding canned foods.
Cats are more susceptible to kidney crystals and urinary tract blockages, and therefore, require a higher fluid intake than dogs. They are also true carnivores, which means the prey they evolved eating in the wild consisted primarily of water, protein, and fat. The high moisture content in canned food most closely mimics their diet in the wild and is a great option for cats. We also recommend using a cat water fountain, which uses a small pump to keep the water moving constantly. Most cats will drink more water if it is moving and holds their interest.
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