Human Foods That Dogs Can Enjoy

Feeding your dog is a part of your daily routine, and it’s easy to grab a couple of cups of the same dry pet food and pour it into your dog’s bowl. For the most part, your pet’s dry food is a nutritionally balanced meal that is tasty and healthy for them. However, these same flavors and textures can become boring for your dog.

By offering your dog human food once in a while, you will give them the variety they crave. For your dog, this extra-special meal will feel like a reward—aiding with training—and you will feel good about enhancing your pet’s diet. Even so, it’s important that you stick to human food that is safe for dogs.

Here are some human foods that you can safely offer to your dog.


Cooked boneless chicken breast

Chicken is a lean meat that provides dogs with many nutritional benefits, such as added protein. Most dogs enjoy the flavor of chicken, and it can be used to make any dry meal more appealing to your pet. Chicken can be paired with brown rice if your dog is experiencing digestive issues but may still need a nutritious and wholesome meal.

Note: Chicken should be boneless and fully cooked before serving to your dog. Boneless chicken breasts are ideal for dogs because they minimize the risk of inadvertently giving your dog bones that could become a choking hazard.

Raw Carrots

Raw carrots can provide your dog with additional beta carotene as well as vitamin A. Also, raw carrots are low in calories, which makes them an ideal snack between meals for your pet. Not only do carrots offer a boost of essential vitamins and nutrients, they also help to naturally clean and strengthen your dog’s teeth. Consider offering your dog raw baby carrots, as the size is perfect for snacking.

Sliced Apples

Apples are packed with vitamins that are beneficial for your dog. Vitamins A and C are plentiful in apples, making this low-calorie fruit a great snack option for your pooch. It’s OK for your dog to eat the skin of the apple, but you should avoid serving a full apple — for fear your pet might eat the stem and seeds. Note: Seeds can contain trace amounts of cyanide, which would be dangerous. Consider slicing apples and rewarding your dog with this treat for good behavior.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is likely to be one of your dog’s favorite human foods. This sweet, creamy concoction is a great choice because it is filled with valuable protein as well as powerful vitamins, including vitamins E and B. When you stuff your dog’s favorite chew toy with peanut butter, you’ll provide a healthy reward and a long-lasting treat. Not to mention, you might also enjoy a few extra minutes to yourself while your dog devours the tasty snack (be sure to grab natural peanut butter- most regular peanut butter jars contain artificial sweeteners which can be dangerous to your dog’s health).

Pureed Pumpkin

This fall gourd is often considered to be more of a decoration than a nutritious vegetable, but it’s one of the best human foods you can give your dog. Filled with fiber and vitamin A, pumpkin can help your dog when suffering from gastrointestinal issues. Be sure to serve canned pureed pumpkin, or even homemade pumpkin pie is an acceptable human treat for your pooch.

If you are interested in changing your pet’s diet or mixing in some of these human foods as supplements, be sure to first discuss it with your veterinarian. Your vet may have insight into the best human foods for your dog’s breed, age, or health history. After adding a new food to your dog’s diet, monitor for any signs of digestive distress or allergic reactions. Always contact your pet’s health care provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans. 

essential-oils-for-dogs

Find Out How Essential Oils Can Help Your Dog

Essential oils for your dog are a simple, safe, and healthy solution to many issues. And, they can help your dog live a longer, happier life.

Research has shown essential oils have the ability to relieve conditions ranging from itchy skin to digestion problems. From anxiety to depression. And, so much more.

But… there’s still some uncertainty here.

Essential oils for dogs (and humans) are a relatively new idea. As with any new idea, we (as humans) must do our own research to come to our own conclusions about how effective they are.

They kind of seem too good to be true… don’t they?

If these ‘solutions’ have the power to do everything they claim… why are we just now finding out about them?

Do they really work? And, what can they be used for? We’ll discuss this and more in today’s article.

How Do Dogs Use Essential Oils?

Before we dive in to what various oils may be used for, lets discuss how they can be applied safely to your dog.

When you scroll down to the oils, you’ll notice they may say ‘can be applied topically, ingested, or inhaled. You might also hear it phrased as ‘can be applied topically, aromatically, or internally.

Just as with anything else that’s new, the introduction of essential oils should be gradual and slow. Start with a small amount of an essential oil and watch your dog’s behavior. If the response is neutral but you aren’t seeing much an effect therapeutically, you can generally add more essential oil or increase the frequency of application. Be sure not to start out with a huge amount immediately, though. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Aromatic Application of Essential Oil

When talking about aromatic or ‘inhaled’ application, we’re talking about the use of a diffuser. That could be a nebulizing diffuser or water diffusion.

Nebulizing diffusers pull oil directly from the bottle and disperse the oil through the air. If you’re using a nebulizing diffuser in your home, make sure your dog has a place to escape the ‘air’ from the room if she wants to.

With water diffusion, you start with 1-5 drops of oil in a diffuser. If you have never used oils before, professionals recommend using the water diffusion method rather than the nebulizing diffusion.

Applying an Oil to Your Dog Topically

If we say an oil can be applied topically, that means the oil can be placed on your dog’s skin in certain places.

The most common area to place oil is along the spine of your dog. It’s the area the oil is usually best tolerated.

Some professionals recommend applying oil to the tips of a dog’s ears. Some dogs are okay with this, but most don’t prefer this method. You should avoid using this method if your dog has long ears. Dogs with long ears can shake their head and get the oil in their eyes accidentally.

The skin along the paw pads can sometimes tolerate essential oils… but make sure the oil is diluted if you’re placing it here. This area can easily become irritated.

Finally, certain oils can be placed in your dog’s shampoo. Dogs who have itchy skin usually benefit from this application.

Internal Application for Dogs?

And… internally. Be sure before you provide your dog with any essential oil internally, you fully understand the oil is designed for this (and find out whether the oil should be diluted and how).

Some essential oils can be placed in food and/or in drinking water. A general recommendation is 1 drop per 2 cups of drinking water for dogs.

Calming Oils: Oils to Reduce Anxiety and/or Irritability

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis): This oil helps to provide a calming ‘mood’ for dogs who are feeling anxious or nervous. Roman chamomile can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically to your dog.

Hops (Humulus lupulus): Hops can help calm a dog who is anxious, nervous, or irritable. This oil can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically on your dog.

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis): Valerian root is a relaxant and mild sedative. It offers calming and soothing support for your dog when she is experiencing anxiety, panic or some sort of tension.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans): Nutmeg can help a dog who is anxious or hyperactive with scattered energy. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This oil has many uses, but most commonly, lavender can be used to soothe and comfort a dog who is experiencing distress and/or anxiety. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog. (P.S.- This oil can also be used for allergies, burns, ulcers, and insomnia).

Oils for Fearful Dogs: Dogs Who are Feeling Stressed Out

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): On its own, or with the support of other essential oils that help reduce a dog’s fearful emotions, Frankincense can help reduce extreme stress. This oil is used in severe cases of fear to help a dog ‘come back to the ground.’ This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Violet Leaf (Viola odorata): If a dog is shocked or hesitant toward a situation, violet leaf can be used to reduce feelings of nervousness by providing a feeling of comfort and safety. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Linden Blossom (Tilia cordata). Linden blossom can assist in providing a sense of safety and trust. This oil is commonly recommened for dogs who have a history of abuse. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Sandalwood (Santalum austrocaledonicum): Sandalwood provides support on a physical and emotional level. Dogs who have emotional imbalances, worry, or uncertainly of situations are among those who can benefit from this oil. It can be very effective on its own, or in combination with other essential oils. And, can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Oils for Aggression: Let’s Provide Some Comfort

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia): Vanilla has comforting and nurturing qualities for dogs who experience nervous tension, irritability, and/or anger. Dogs who have been known to bite are among those who this oil is recommended to. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea): This oil is generally recommended for female dogs but can also be used for male dogs who are experiencing feelings of anger, frustration, and/or mood swings. This oil has been found to have soothing effects. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow has not only shown the ability to heal physical imbalances, but emotional imbalances as well. This could be a dog who has experienced trauma, neglect, and/or abuse… or a dog who is over-sensitive. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Rose Otto (Rosa damascena). Rose Otto is recommended for dogs who have a history of neglect, abuse, or suffering of some kind. This oil is also recommended for dogs who are displaying any sort of aggression. It’s important to note that alternative veterinarians have a disclaimer with this oil… a dog may continue to display aggressive behavior in the beginning of the use of Rose Otto but you may see positive results once your dog has been exposed. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides): Vetiver provides comfort and reassurance for an anxious dog showing aggression. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically.

Oils for Sadness: Relieving the Depression

Neroli (Citrus aurantium): There are many dogs who do not particularly care for this oil. But, if your dog will accept this oil, it can be used to support a dog who is experiencing depression, grief, or loneliness. This oil can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog (only if your dog selects its use).

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Peppermint has been known to have a calming effect on dogs (and humans!). And, can be inhaled, ingested or applied topically on your dog.

Oils for Flea and Tick Prevention: Make Your Own

Essential oils can be used to prevent fleas and ticks from living on your dog’s body without exposing your dog or your family to those dangerous chemicals from traditional flea medications.

Lemongrass Oil: Insecticidal

Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil doesn’t kill fleas and ticks, but it does work as an effective repellant to fleas and ticks.

Citronella Oil: Citronella isn’t a surprising candidate on this list. After all, we do use this to protect ourselves against mosquitoes. But, it is also highly effective in repelling fleas and ticks.

Cedarwood Oil: Insect repellent

If you don’t want to make an essential oil ‘flea and tick killer’ yourself, you can investigate Richard’s Organics Naturally Gentle & Safe Flea & Tick Spray which contains a mix of peppermint, cedar, clove, and rosemary essential oils to kill fleas and ticks… and repel mosquitos for up to 4 weeks following application.

Approach with Caution: Follow Some Rules

While oils can be extremely helpful, just as with anything else, we must be cautious. Essential oils are powerful and can produce adverse effects.

‘Principles of Safe Use’ must be in place.

If your dog doesn’t like an oil, don’t force her to use it.

In cases where an oil must be dilated, one drop of essential oil per 50 drops of ‘carrier oil’ (Like grape seed oil) is generally enough.

It’s also possible to overuse oils. Make sure you’re not one of those people who starts using essential oils, and then unintentionally overdoses yourself or your dog.

Be sure not to get essential oil around or near the eyes. And, wash your hands after using any type of oil.

To reduce the chances of your dog (or you) becoming sensitive to an oil or unintentionally overdosing on an oil, a general recommendation is using an oil for no longer than two weeks and then take a rest period. Come back to using that oil later on.

There’s More to Learn… Start Studying Today

This article just brushes the surface of essential oils.

It’s not meant to be a ‘you’re ready to do this’ type of article. You must do your own research before using any essential oil on your dog.

Print this out for reference- and ask a holistic or alternative veterinarian if your individual dog would benefit. Remember, every dog is different. And, depending on the health of your dog, some may be acceptable whereas other aren’t recommended.

And, not all oils should be treated equal… make sure the oil you are purchasing is of high-quality.

There are hundreds of ‘fake oils’ out there. You want your first impression to be as good as it can be. If you try out a ‘bad’ essential oil first, you won’t know if it’s really helpful for your dog (or for you).

You should never place an essential oil on your dog’s skin (or let them inhale/ ingest) without first fully understanding the oil you’re using.

Bottom line… be sure to do further research before implementing essential oils into your dog’s routine.

How Dogs Help You Cope With Mental Illness

Animals have long been used to help provide support for those dealing with medical issues. They can help a person with a vision deficit find their way through a busy store, and they can help calm the nerves of someone suffering from anxiety. Many people wouldn’t be able to get out and mingle socially if they didn’t have their dog with them. If you are considering a furry friend to help you, then here are some health benefits to owning a pooch.

Pets Help to Lower Blood Pressure

You’ve probably heard that owning a hound can help to reduce your blood pressure. Well, there is a scientific fact to back that statement. It’s called the “Pet Effect.” Using 60 people, a study was conducted by the University of Maryland Hospital. They found that when petting a dog for 15-30 minutes, the average person’s blood pressure drops over ten percent.

They Increase Social Connection

Dogs are great icebreakers. Most people love pups, and it can be a great conversation starter. Plus, being in a social situation when you have PTSD or social anxiety can be difficult. Thankfully, having a dog can allow these people to be in public and feel secure. A dog’s senses are far beyond the capability of a human. They can see and hear things that we cannot. So to the person with PTSD, having someone on guard and looking out for them means everything.

They Provide Companionship

Canine friends are used in nursing homes and convalescent centers around the country. The companionship that they provide to the lonely is unparalleled. Dogs love unconditionally. They are great for people who don’t have family and friends to occupy their time. They are a living, breathing being that stays close by your side.

Dogs Give A Sense of Purpose

Many people who suffer from depression, PTSD, and other anxiety conditions may feel that their life lacks purpose. Even those with empty nest syndrome after their children grow up and move away have found that a pooch can help fill the void. A dog can replace that sense of purpose. Parents often feel like they need to nurture and take care of someone since they have done it for more than 18 years. A canine can provide a reason to get up in the morning.

When considering adding a pup to your family, you should know that they can help with loneliness, depression, stress-related disorders, and companionship. Dogs can lower blood pressure and make you feel calmer. A canine companion might be just what the doctor ordered.

Sources:

5 Ways Owning a Dog Improves Your Mental Health

It is well known that dogs are the ultimate companions. They offer friendship and comfort to children and adults alike. But dogs can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Particularly for those with PTSD, dogs can provide emotional support and reduce loneliness. Here are five ways that owning a dog can improve your mental health:

Dogs Can Decrease Stress and Anxiety

When feeling anxious or overwhelmed, petting your dog can relax you. The repetitive motion of stroking the dog’s fur and focusing on the rhythm can recenter your thinking and provide a calming influence. Oxytocin is also released when you connect with your pet, which reduces cortisol levels and reduces anxiety and stress.

Dogs Get You Out of the House

It is common for those struggling with depression, anxiety or PTSD to isolate themselves and to avoid leaving the house. However, a dog needs its owner to take him out for walks or for play. This exercise releases endorphins, which increases positive feelings and reduce sensations of pain. Even the exposure to sunshine and fresh air can improve stress levels and depression symptoms.

Dogs Will Listen to You

It can be embarrassing or overwhelming to discuss feelings of depression or anxiety with friends or family for fear of judgment. Dogs, however, offer a sympathetic and unbiased ear, and provide love and comfort regardless of what their owner has to say. Talking through problems or concerns with your dog can have therapeutic effects that positively impact mental health symptoms.

Dogs Provide You With Purpose

When bombarded with anxious and negative thoughts, it can be hard to find value in everyday life. The act of caring for a dog provides an owner with purpose and responsibility, which has been shown to improve mental health. Feeding the dog, taking him outside and playing with him allows for a positive focus on your mental and emotional energy.

Dogs Bring You Joy

Dogs are playful and eager by nature, which can be contagious. Whether playing throw and catch or snuggling on the couch, happy moments with your dog can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, improve your sense of wellbeing, and keep depression at bay.

Training might seem a bit daunting at first, but there are plenty of resources available to help you out! While owning a dog will not cure mental illness, caring for and spending time with your dog can make a positive impact. The everyday routines of walking, playing with, and engaging with your dog can increase neurotransmitters that boost your mood and improve your mental health.

References:

How Dogs Can Help Combat Vets with PTSD | Low VA Rates

What Dogs Teach Us about Peace, Joy, and Living in the Now | Tiny Buddha

Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog. | The New York Times

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home

The first few days in your home are a special, yet anxious, time for you and your new dog. Your new dog will likely be confused about where he is. He won’t immediately connect your home with his home. It’s a completely different environment than what she knows (whether she came from a shelter or a family- it’s still different). It’s up to you to ensure she has the smoothest transition possible.

Before Your Bring Her Home

Before you bring your new dog home, you should determine which area of your home your dog will spend the most time. Then, dog-proof that area and place the crate somewhere comfortable (if you’re crate training). Usually, the kitchen works best. It’s easy to clean up in case of any accidents. Their knowledge of house-training may be lost during a time of great stress like this.

If you plan to crate-train your dog, the crate should be set up before you bring your dog home. Don’t forget to place a mattress of some kind in the crate with them. The type of mattress you should have varies based on the breed of dog you are bringing home, and the age of the dog. Be certain to do proper research on this before bringing your new dog home.

Now, dog-proofing. Dog-proofing your home is critical to keep your dog safe. Tape off any loose wires. Place household cleaners, medications, and other chemicals up high. If you have plants on the floor, do some research and see which plants dogs can and can’t be near.

Finally, have their collar and leash ready to go. On the collar, there should be identification tags already attached. If your dog doesn’t already have a microchip, this may also be something to consider. The microchip isn’t a GPS device, but if your dog were to ever get lost, the microchip would be scanned and an identification code unique to your dog containing all your details would be available.

On the First Day

The first day home could be extremely stressful or overwhelmingly exciting for your dog. Either way, give your dog time to acclimate to your home before you allow any ‘strangers’ to come over. Even if you think your dog is doing wonderful with the transition- one new event could spark stress in the first week. If you have children, show your children the appropriate way to approach a dog.

When you pick up your new dog, don’t forget to ask what she ate that day (and the type of food). If you feed your new dog a completely different food, this could lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. We don’t want that. An upset stomach could make the transition even more stressful for both him and us.

If you would like to feed a different brand/type of food, do so over a one-week period adding in the new food to their old food slowly. Watch for any signs of stomach upset or loose stools. If you do notice any symptoms, lessen the amount of new food and extend the transition time.

When you arrive home, immediately show your dog where the potty area is and softly say “potty-potty” or similar. Be patient during this time. Even if your dog is fully potty-trained, don’t forget there could be accidents. Your dog may not act like he has to use to the bathroom while he’s outside, then come in and immediately have an accident. Don’t panic, this is a completely normal behavior when being introduced to a new home.

A routine should be put in place immediately. Structure is extremely helpful to a dog adjusting to a new home, and your resident dogs as well if they don’t already have a routine. Feeding, potty-time, and play/exercise, should have an approximate time each day. If the time changes by a half hour occasionally, that’s okay.

For the first few days of your dog being home, try to be as calm and quiet as possible. Limiting excitement during this time will help her adjust. And, it will give you time to get to know your dog better. Take this time to build a foundation for the bond you will share.

Training should also begin immediately. But, after the first week, you can increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation your dog is receiving. Training also helps a dog settle in further and strengthens the bond you are building.

Introducing Your New Dog to Another Dog

If you have a resident dog, introduce your new dog to your resident dog outside in a neutral area. If you have more than one resident dog, introduce one at a time. Don’t rush the introduction. Each dog should be on a leash, and each leash should be loose to allow the dogs to get to know one another.

After the outside introduction, you can bring your new dog inside and do the in-home introduction (if all goes well outside). If you bring your new dog inside immediately without the outside introduction, this could spark a huge list of problems. Keep each interaction between your new dog and your resident dog(s) short and as pleasant as possible. If you see any sign of tension, immediately separate the dogs and try again an hour or so later.

Don’t leave all the dogs alone together until you know it’s safe to do so. Watching your dogs’ body language can help you understand when it’s safe.

The Bottom Line

The most important take-a-way here involves patience. Be patient with your new dog’s behaviors, training levels, and the bond you are establishing. Some dogs adjust quickly and form a bond immediately. Others take more time. Commit as much time as possible to getting to know your new dog while spending time with your resident dogs. Watch your new dog’s body language to understand what she is communicating to you and others.

beef-stew-for-dogs

Say Goodbye to Kibble with These Home Recipes

Through my previous articles, you have learned about the damage our commercial dog food can do to our dog’s body. But, a home-based diet (homemade dog food) requires adding many ingredients to your dog’s routine. Clearly, it’s easier to buy dog food in a bag from the store, but I have compiled a few simple recipes for you to replace that old, smelly commercial diet. To ensure your dog is receiving all of the necessary nutrients, a multivitamin like EverPup can help.

How Can a Homemade Diet Help my Dog?

Homemade dog food can help your furry best friend significantly — especially a dog who suffers from allergies, gastrointestinal issues and/ or skin problems.

In addition to reducing health problems, you can feel at ease knowing you have complete control over what your dog is eating. You know what ingredients are in there. When you buy food in a bag, you really don’t know what’s in that bag. You just hope the manufacturer is making the right decisions. But, as you can see, the recall list continues to skyrocket.

If you cook food in large quantities, you can also save money by feeding homemade dog food. Most people are ‘turned off’ to the idea of making their dog’s diet themselves because they’re afraid of how much it will cost. They aren’t worried about the time- they just aren’t sure if they can afford it. But, the good part is, most of the ingredients you would cook for your dog you probably already have in your home. After all, they are omnivorous (eat plants and animals) just like us.

But unlike when we cook for ourselves, we can’t add spices to our dog’s food… and there are some ingredients that can’t be added at all that we will talk about in a few minutes.

Be Sure to Consult with Your Vet

Before implementing a homemade diet, consult with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree with your dog’s nutritional needs.

Each dog has their own requirements, but there are some general balance guidelines you can keep in mind. Serving sizes depend on your pup’s weight, size and activity level.

Essentially, their diet should consist of the following:

40% Protein – animal meat, seafood, eggs or dairy
10% Carbohydrates – grains and beans
50% Vegetables
Fat – from oil or meat
Calcium – crushed or powdered egg shells; a supplement
Fatty acids – cooked egg yolks, oatmeal, plant oils and other foods

Low Calorie Dog Food Recipes

Homemade dog food is generally better for dogs than their kibble or canned dog food from the store. Because there aren’t any preservatives or additives, homemade dog food is also lower in calories. As with everything though, food should be given in moderation (and never any more than 10% scraps/treats).

Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes

We’ve written up some of our favorite dog food recipes to share with you. We hope you like them! Here you go!

Doggie Beef Stew: The Alternative to Canned Dog Food

Beef stew is a great dinner to feed our dogs… why? Because it naturally contains both meat and veggies. And, our dogs will happily eat the veggies found in the stew.

Ingredients

1 pound of beef stew meat
1 small sweet potato
1/2 cup of carrots, diced
1/2 cup of green beans, diced
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of water or organic vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying
Total: Makes approx 4 cups (or 32 fluid ounces)

Directions

Cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm but tender. Set aside.
Slice the stew pieces into smaller chunks, about the size of a nickel.
Cook the stew pieces in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until well-done.
Remove the beef chunks from the pan, reserving the drippings.
Dice the sweet potato.
Heat the drippings over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour and water into the dripping while whisking to create a thick gravy.
Add the meat, sweet potato, carrots and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat.
Cook until the carrots are tender – about 10 minutes.
Serve cool.
Store remaining stew in the fridge for up to five days.

Easy Crockpot Beef & Rice Meal

This is a great recipe to cook if we don’t have a large amount of time during the day. If you’re thinking, ‘oh my goodness, I have such a long day,’ and are wondering when you’ll have time to cook food for your family and your furry family, this is a great recipe for the day.

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds ground beef
1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
1 ½ cups chopped carrots
½ cup frozen peas
4 cups of water
Total: Makes approx 11 cups (or 88 fluid ounces)

Directions

Stir in all ingredients with 4 cups of water in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or high heat for 2 to 3 hours.
Stir as needed and cool to room temperature.

The Pumpkin Dough Treats: For When Your Dog Has an Upset Tummy

Pumpkin is extremely beneficial to our dog’s body… and can help keep her healthy!

Ingredients

1/3 cup extremely cold water
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or home-made)
2 cups whole grain brown rice flour
1 large egg (you can omit this if your dog is allergic to eggs)
2 1/2 tablespoonful flax-seed oil or olive oil
Total: Makes approx 24 1 oz balls (or 24 fluid ounces)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 320 – 350 degrees.
Use two baking sheets and baking paper to avoid sticking.
Mix lightly beaten egg and pumpkin in a separate container until smooth. If you don’t want to use egg then just smooth the pumpkin puree separately and proceed to the next step.
In a larger bowl, combine flax-seed oil and brown rice flour.
With constant stirring, add the pumpkin mixture to the rice mixture and slowly add water. Be sure to leave some of the rice to be used as some sort of toppings for the cookies.
Hand mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Using two pieces of baking or waxed paper, roll dough out to desired thickness.
Remove the top baking paper.
Evenly pour rice flour onto the top of the dough and lightly press it to the waxed baking paper.
Remove the paper and cut to desired sizes.
Place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is completely dry.
Cool and store in a dry plastic or glass container until ready to be served.

Homemade Chicken Jerky Strips

You should never trust store-bought raw hides, many contain a ridiculous amount of additives and preservatives. Plus, we have a recipe that tastes even better-homemade chicken jerky strips are a perfect replacement for rawhide. And, they’re easy to make. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (if they last that long!).

Ingredients

2 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Total: Makes approx 10-20 strips

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Trim all excess fat off the chicken breasts
Cut into 1/8 inch thick strips using a paring knife
Bake for 2 hours on a baking sheet until strips are dry and hard
Cool completely before presenting to your pooch.

Frozen Banana Treats

These treats are perfect for those hot days. You know, the days where your dog is reluctant to even go outside? Or, is excessively panting because they’re so hot. And, it’s oh so simple. All you need is yogurt, bananas, and peanut butter.

Ingredients

4 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons peanut butter
3 bananas, ripe, peeled & mashed
Total: Makes approx 8 1 oz treats

Directions

Blend all ingredients together into a puree.
Pour into 4-ounce plastic cups (ice trays or toddler popsicle trays work well).
Freeze until firm.
Can be kept in freezer for up to two weeks.

Tips on How to Make Dog Food

It’s important not to feed your dog the same dinner you’re eating. Dogs have different nutritional needs than we do. And, our food is considered “table scraps” when we’re discussing it from our dog’s standpoint. Your dog’s diet should never be over 10% table scraps or treats.

What Foods Should Your Dog Never Eat?

As a dog lover, you’ve probably seen these foods on the ‘no-no’ list before, but it’s always good to have a reminder when you’re cooking homemade dog food. The most toxic foods to our dogs are the following:

Chocolate
Onions and garlic
Avocados
Grapes and raisins
Macadamia nuts
Raw bread dough
Alcohol

To see what else they’re not allowed to eat, click here.

Learn About the Dangers of Commercial Dog Food

Click the video below to learn why dog food is so dangerous to our dog’s health. You’ll be shocked, I know I was.

Get to Cookin’

Now that you have some recipes on hand, it’s time to get to cookin’. Have fun, and keep a watch on the Dog Behavior Blog for more recipes!

Why Dog Owners are Happier

Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. They say that dog owners live happier, longer lives. One big reason? Dogs can help you get out more often, stick to your workouts, and stay upbeat while you’re at it. How can your pet […]

via Dogs Help You Exercise — simple Ula

Top 3 Calming Exercises for Anxious Dogs

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Many dogs are sent to shelter home due to their anxiety problems that develop due to hyperactivity. On the other hand, dogs that are brought home from animal shelters have behavior issues like barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc. The problem, in both cases, is not with dogs but with the owners who fail to provide enough opportunities to their Fido to invest their pent-up energies positively.

Did you ever think of trying out some calming exercises for your pooch? Here are three ways to tone down the excessive energy of dogs:

  1. Doga:

Doga has calming effects on both the dog owner and the pooch. Although dogs are not able to imitate the stretches and poses of their yogi owners, still they feel calm at the end of a yoga session. The bonding between the owner and the dog gets stronger. The owners are able to better understand their Fido’s body language. They will be able to train the pooch in a more calm and controlled manner.

Doga helps dogs invest their energies in calming exercises. Your pooch will feel relaxed after doga class. Try it out for your anxious and hyperactive dog.

  1. Routine and Familiarity:

Unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as haphazard routines, are known to create confusions in the pooch’s mind. It may create anxiety that will lead to destructive chewing and excessive barking, etc.

Dogs enjoy following routines. They feel uncomfortable when their set schedule is not followed. Routines help a dog wait for the play, walk or exercise time patiently. Consistency in daily routine activities will keep the pooch relaxed. Are you following the routine of your dog?

Sometimes dog owners do not maintain routine of giving food to the pooch. Whether you serve raw dog food or dry kibble, maintain a fixed time. One day giving food via treat dispensing toys and the other day in food bowls can also upset the little pooch. Dogs need surety about everything. Or else, they stay anxious whether they will have it or not!

If you are an adventure lover, your dog can feel anxious in unfamiliar places. To maintain the familiarity, take the Fido’s favorite chewing cloth that has your scent and of home. Give him a chew toy, familiar bowl, familiar bed, and blanket to stay calm and comfortable at unknown places or new home.

  1. Music or Smart Toys:

Some dogs are not hyperactive but are rather intelligent dog breeds. They need something for their mental stimulation. Find out some puzzles, buster cubes, interactive toys, Kongs to keep the pooch busy during your absence. Stuff them with their favorite treat so they may stay motivated to solve the puzzle.

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or fireworks that makes your pooch anxious and restless, it will not worry your Fido anymore. Simply, turn on some soft music in the room. A study conducted by Physiology and Behavior says that dogs feel relaxed and calm when the sound of soft rock or reggae fills the room. During unfamiliar situations or stressful ones, playing the soothing soft rock music will definitely improve your dog’s behavior.

Before you decide to leave your cute cuddle ball in an animal shelter, consider trying these tricks to calm his nerves. Sometimes, medications work for toning down dog’s anxiety.

Would you like being left alone for your bad behaviors that developed due to certain circumstances other had created for you?

5 Ways to Prepare Your Dog for Natural Disasters

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This may seem like it’s a bit early to write about… but the National Weather Service is calling for widespread tornadoes in the month of May. And, regardless of the time of year, it’s always good to be prepared for natural disasters. Understanding how to prepare for natural disasters for your family, and for your beloved dog, is extremely important.

During times of natural disaster, many dogs are lost. In a tornado situation, for example, we rush our family to the basement. Then, we’ll come back up as fast as possible to call for our dog if he hasn’t already followed us. But, remember, sometimes there isn’t much time to take shelter. If your dog hasn’t followed yourself and your family down into the shelter, he or she could easily become lost.

For those of you reading in my hometown of Western New York, tornadoes are less frequent, but remember they can still happen. It wasn’t long ago when a tornado swept through Randolph, New York, hitting many homes. And, we do actually have frequent tornado warnings throughout the summer time.

Way #1: Ensure Your Dog has Identification

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You should make sure your dog has identification on his or her collar. The identification tag should have your name, phone number, and address engraved into it. If your dog gets separated from you, this could be extremely helpful in helping someone find her way back.

Way #2: Microchipping Your Dog

One of my newest clients, PetKey, has emphasized the importance of microchipping your dog. And yes, my dog, Molly has a microchip. I’ll admit that I didn’t use to think microchipping your dog was “that” important. Because, all of my dogs have always had their identification on their collar. But, what happens if that collar gets lost during a natural disaster? There’s a high chance your dog will lose her collar during all of the chaos of trying to locate her family following the natural disaster. Then what?

The microchip contains a unique identifier connecting her to you. When a lost dog enters a humane society, or a veterinarian’s office, one of the first actions they take is scanning for a microchip. If the dog does have a microchip, they jot down that unique identification number and enter it into a universal system. Then, they’re able to see all of the details in your file (the dog’s name, the dog’s age, any medical conditions the dog has, and your name and address).

Way #3: Ensure You Have Your Supplies Ready

Having a ‘to-go’ back for your dog ready is an excellent idea. Do this before the natural disaster occurs so you’re not scattering packing up for your dog as well as the rest of your family. You can even keep one ‘ready’ bag in your shelter, as well as in your car.

The ready bag should contain a minimum of 5 days of food and water. Your dog’s ready bag should also contain photographs of your dog(s)… and cats if you have cats with you as well. In addition to a paper full of their medical issues (if any), you should also have a paper containing their behavioral issues (if any). And, don’t forget to pack extra collars and leashes (litter box and litter if you have cats as well).

Way #4: Bring Crates for Your Dog(s) and Vaccination Records

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If you need to evacuate your home, be sure to bring your dog’s crate. If you have to go to an evacuation shelter, most of them do accept pets, but often require dogs are in their crates.

Many shelters also want you to have copies of your dog’s veterinary records. They want to make sure your dog has all of their shots, and know if your dog has any type of medical condition they may need help for.

Way #5: Look for Dog-Friendly Hotels

Another way to make sure your dog(s) is able to stay with you… is to search for dog-friendly hotels. When there’s a hurricane coming, you often have several days of warning which allows you to evacuate and get as far away from the hurricane as possible.

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer hotels are allowing dogs. And, if you travel with your dog, i’m sure you already know this. An excellent site you can use to find pet-friendly hotels is a website called Bring Fido. You can take a look at Bring Fido by clicking here.

In addition to helping your find dog-friendly hotels, Bring Fido can also let you know if there are any local restaurants you’re able to bring your dog to. Because, we know, in these types of situations, the stress is high and we want our dog (of course, he’s part of our family) to go everywhere we go.

A Video Sum it Up

Most people are particularly fond of videos to learn information… so here’s a video to sum up some of what we just talked about.

Share Your Stories

If you have ever been involved in a natural disaster, and have additional tips, we want to hear from you! In the comments below, please let us know how you prepared.