Exercise & Health Tips
- Never leave your dog in a parked car. The temperature in a parked car rises quickly, even with the windows open, and dogs can quickly overheat.
- Never feed your dog chocolate, raisins, grapes or macadamia nuts.
- Feed a high quality dog food. (We recommend Life's Abundance dog food, formulated by holistic veterinarian Dr. Jane Bicks. It is made from human-grade ingredients and is free of chemical preservatives, steroids, hormones, by-products and fillers. You can buy it online at naturalfoodfordogs.com.)
- Antifreeze is extremely poisonous to dogs, even in small amounts. Unfortunately, it has a sweet smell that can attract dogs. If you are changing your antifreeze, make sure your dog is indoors.
- Your dog must have access to shade and clean, cool water at all times.
- Never give your dog a chew toy that he can ingest. Even some of the so called “digestible” chew toys on the market have been known to cause intestinal problems. Chew toys are for chewing, not swallowing. The only thing your dog should eat is food!
- Hot asphalt in the summer, and ice melt in the winter, can both burn your dog’s feet.
- Talk to your vet about bloat (gastric torsion). Ask if your dog’s breed puts him at high risk for bloat, and if so, get a list of do’s and don’ts for feeding.
- Don’t over feed your dog. Obesity can cause health problems and shorten your dog’s life.
- Trash cans are full of tempting, dangerous things. Dogs can be seriously injured by eating corn cobs, chicken bones, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and other common throwaways. Make sure the lids of your trash cans (inside the home and outside) are dog-proof, or secure them behind closed doors.
- Be diligent in controlling fleas and ticks! Use a once-a-month topical preventative.
Dog Food Facts
Because of the recent problem with contaminated dog foods, many of our clients have asked us to recommend a safe, healthy food for their pets.
We don't recommend ANY of the dog foods you can buy in stores.
The commercial dog foods that are available in stores contain fillers, by-products and chemical preservatives. They need to be transported and stored over long periods of time. In some cases a shipment can spend months waiting in storage or on a truck before it ever gets to the store. And then it will spend even more time on the store shelves. So they all contain chemical preservatives.
Also, dog food companies use things like wheat and soy to increase the protein percentage that you read on the bag, but these fillers are not digestable. So you think you're getting a nourishing food because the bag indicates a high protein percentage, but they are not digestible proteins so it just becomes more for you to clean up in the yard.
And the "by-products" they are legally allowed to put in commercial dog food - "beef digest" (guts), "chicken by-products" (beaks, feet) -YECH!
That's why we do not recommend ANY of the dog foods you can buy in stores.
The only commercial dog food we recommend is Dr. Jane Bicks' "Life's Abundance" dog food, which is NOT available in stores. You can purchase it online at www.naturalfoodfordogs.com
They primary ingredient in this food is HUMAN-GRADE chicken meal. It also contains egg which is one of the most digestible forms of protein and is full of vitamins A, B, E, K, biotin and amino acids.
And it's got fish meal, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids - great for your dog's skin and coat.
This is an all natural, organic food, rich in antioxidants from whole food sources such as carrots, spinach, celery, garlic, alfalfa leaf and apples.
It also contains brown rice - one of the most digestible carbohydrates, needed to give your dog energy.
Life's Abundance is the only food we know of that uses probiotics and beet pulp for a healthy digestive tract, with lactobacillus acidophilus to help maintain a balance of friendly bacteria in your dog's intestines.
Feedback from our clients who have switched to Life's Abundance is extremely positive. Dogs that are "finicky" eaters will devour it. One of our own dogs had problems with frequent loose stools, and this has completely cleared up since we switched her to this food.
This is a high quality food that gives you a lot of the benefits of feeding a raw diet, without the high costs and hassle of a raw diet.
A cool feature at their website is that you can compare the ingredients in this food to the ingredients in the food you are using now. Just go to www.naturalfoodfordogs.com.
Dog Exercise, Dog Training
The "Magic Pill" that Cures Behavior Problems
Cheryl’s voice trembled with frustration as she described Luther’s latest antics, “We have to put him in the crate when people come over. He’s just out of control. Nipping for attention, jumping up on people. He runs around the house like – an animal!”
Luther is an 11 month old male German Shepherd. A big, friendly boy, his 80 pounds of boundless energy was beginning to overwhelm the entire family. We prescribed a program of obedience training using positive reinforcement, along with our magic pill for behavior problems, taken at least 3 times daily: exercise, exercise, exercise!
Most dogs don’t get enough exercise. But when your family dog is a young, large dog like Luther, lack of sufficient exercise, play and mental stimulation is a recipe for all kinds of behavior problems.
People come up with lots of interesting “reasons” to explain why their dogs are under exercised:
“I can’t take him for walks – he pulls on the leash.” A good obedience trainer can teach your dog to walk nicely on the leash in a very short period of time, without complicated, expensive equipment.
“I can’t take him to dog parks because he is dog-aggressive.” Dog parks are not appropriate for every dog. But luckily, the dog park is not the only way to exercise your dog. Fetch, jogging, long walks in the park or around town, swimming, taking your dog to work and playing games like tug-of-war are all great sources of exercise, play and mental stimulation.
There is some disagreement in the dog training community on the issue of whether tug-of-war is an appropriate game to play with a dog. We believe that tug-of-war is a great game to play with non-aggressive dogs, as long as you follow some basic rules: the owner should be the one to start and end the game; use only one object as the tug toy and put it away when you’re done; teach the dog to “drop-it” or “out” on command before attempting to play tug; if the dog’s teeth come in contact with you - even by accident - it’s “Oops, game over” and an immediate end to the session. One more recommendation: small children should not play tug of war with dogs.
“But we have a big back yard.” Dogs need to play with you. They should not be left alone to exercise themselves. Too much time alone in the yard will not solve behavior problems. In fact, it will often lead to more behavior problems like excessive barking, digging, chasing critters, fence fighting and eating foreign objects. It may actually increase, rather than decrease, a dog’s level of frustration. An active, involved owner with a small back yard is a lot more fun for a dog than a detached, aloof owner who banishes the dog to “go play” in a big back yard.
“We were thinking about getting another dog to keep him company.” Okay, so now you’ll have 2 bored dogs instead of one. Not a great plan. There is no substitute for human leadership, attention, love, guidance and companionship. Dogs are happiest when they are following a benevolent pack leader.
To learn more about the roles that pack leadership and communication play in behavior problems, click here.