Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Apple Cider Vinegar for Canines

I've been drinking apple cider vinegar (ACV) for a while now to help relieve symptoms of arthritis. Every day, I mix about 1 Tablespoon of ACV in a mug with a heaping spoon of raw honey and fill it to the brim with hot water. Aside from noticing that my joints ache less, I have been noticing my nails are growing like wild fire and my hair is soft and shiny. It got me wondering if I could give this remedy to my furry family members and if they would reap the same benefits. Sure enough, the answer is "yes" (of course it would be, otherwise I would not be writing about it in this blog). I've decided to compile a list of the benefits that have been toted on the internet about ACV along with a dosage suggestion and how to mix it for spray on application. Without further ado, here ya go: 

It should be noted that it is recommended you use raw, organic ACV that has the "mother" inside the bottle. I like to use this brand ---> Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. But, this is mostly because it is what is available at my grocery store. The dosage recommendation for a dog is to work up to 1 tsp a 1 TBSP twice daily for a 50# dog. BUT, you should also make sure that your dog's natural body chemistry is in need of adding an acidic supplement by testing the pH balance of your dog's morning urine with a pH strip. ACV improves digestion by acidifying the gastrointestinal tract. This in turn, helps the digestion of proteins. Like humans, canine body chemistry can vary according to what is being eaten, stress, age, ect... A dog's pH balance should be anywhere between 6.2- 6.5. If it is in this range, your dog may not benefit from ACV and you may make your dog's chemistry to acidic by adding ACV to the diet thus making them sick. If your dog's pH is 7.5 or above, their body chemistry has too much alkaline. Apple Cider Vinegar may be beneficial in this situation. But, as always, you should work with your veterinarian when it comes to supplementing your furry friends.

Aside from adding ACV to the diet, it can also be used topically by mixing 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water. This mixture can either be sprayed or sponged directly onto the skin. The benefits of skin application are:
  • To remove excess soap after bathing
  • Kill bacteria that causes flaking
  • Repel fleas and ticks
  • To "cool" hot spots, burns and rashes 
Other added bonus' to ACV:
  • It acts as a natural preservative. This is super news for those of us who make our pet's food. Adding a little bit of ACV will extend the fridge life of our pets food. 
  • Some dog's are finicky about water and will only drink the water that they usually drink. This can become bothersome if you are traveling with a dog, because they won't drink unfamiliar water! If you get into the habit of adding ACV into their water daily, they may be more likely to drink that unfamiliar water when ACV is added (it makes it familiar!) 
Lastly, I will leave you with a couple of links for your own reading a research: 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Recipes for Dogs

This coming Sunday will be Easter. In some homes, that means a big Easter ham with all the fixin's and baskets full of candy and CHOCOLATE for our two-legged family members (aka.. humans). But, we must be extra careful during holidays to make sure our four-legged family members do not get into the candy or the dinner. Some ingredients (like chocolate) are poisonous to dogs. Here is a handy list I made last Thanksgiving as a quick "go-to" list on what dogs can and cannot have from the table. Though, now that I am looking back on this list--- I forgot chocolate on the bad side!

As an alternative to fretting over what our dogs can and cannot have, I have gathered a list of 5 dog treat recipes that you can make for your dog to eat while you are eating the people's food. Here 'ya go:

Just click on the link provided at the bottom of each image to bring you to the actual recipe.

Honey and Ham dog treats from Doggy Dessert Chef

Easter Brunch Scramble form Beagles and Bargains

Bunny Bacon and Carrot Muffins from Bunny Roo Beagle

No Bake Dog Treats from Jo and Sue

Dog Biscuits with Cream Cheese Frosting by HGTV

Also, if you need something that lasts a bit longer and keeps your dog's nose off the table, you can try these frozen Kong recipes---> Click here. Spring is right around the corner!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Puppy Proofing Your Home

Bringing a puppy home is kind of like having a rampant toddler running around your house. Puppies are curious, curious creatures with WAY too much energy. But, boy are they fun (and tiring)! Below, I have composed a couple of lists on how to "puppy proof" before you bring home your little fur ball of energy. I have divided the lists into indoor (orange) and outdoor (green) safety:

It seems like A LOT, right? But, there is more.... on to the outdoor safety...

In addition, make sure you do a thorough "walk around" your yard to make sure there are no hazards like broken glass, exposed nails and sharp objects to injure your puppy. Once these lists are completed, you can safely enjoy your puppy!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Understanding a Dog's Senses

Humans and dogs have the same senses: hearing, touch, sight and smell. But, it pretty much ends there in regards to equality. A human generally uses their senses in this order: hearing--> seeing--> smelling--> touch. Whereas a dog uses them in this order: smelling--> seeing--> hearing--> touch. In this post, I am going to break down each sense and describe the variations between a human and a dog.

The Nose:
 A dog's brain is about 1/10 the size of a human brain, BUT the part of the brain that controls smell is about 40 times larger in a dog than human. Pretty impressive, right? Depending upon the breed, A dog's sense of smell is 1,000- 10,000,000 times stronger than a human's. Dogs have about 125-300 million scent glands compared to a humans measly 5 million. Dogs can smell things that humans can't even fathom.... like emotions. We humans usually rely on our sight to tell us the subtle clues of how a person is feeling. Though, we can easily be tricked by a feigned smile or a "I'm fine". Dogs, on the other hand will smell right through that masquerade right to the emotional pheromones emitted by your body. Which is why, if your dog has been acting depressed or anxious, you should examine your own emotions and lifestyle. It could be that your dog is worried, because you are worried. Or, if your dog has suddenly started obsessively smelling a specific part of your body, you might want to go get a physical check-up from your doctor. A dog's smell is so great, it can smell subtle changes in your body chemistry that could be an illness.

Other smelling facts: A dog's wet nose is mucous that helps trap scent particles onto the nose, thus allowing a greater examination of "the smell". AND a dog is able to move both nostrils independently. This allows them to figure out the direction of "the smell". 

Most humans can see in color. Dogs, on the other hand, see in various shades of blue and yellow. Let's examine some colors and compare it to what a dog actually sees:
  • Purple and Blue = Blue 
  • Greenish blue = gray
  • Red = black or dark gray
  • Orange, yellow and green = yellow
Let's say you throw an orange ball upon some green grass, your dog will probably use more of his/her sense of smell to find the object than sight. To the dog, both the ball and grass are the same color---yellow. Dogs also see best at dusk or dawn and see moving objects better than humans. If your dog is staring at a television, it not only sees the picture we humans see, but it also sees the tiny flickering lights that human eyes don't detect. This does not mean that a dog's sight is superior to a humans, though. On the contrary. A normal human's eyesight is 20/20 whereas a dog's is about 20/75. Further more, a human can see close up and far away better than a dog.

When a dog is born, it cannot hear until it is about 21 days old. But once a dog's hearing is fully developed, they can hear 4 times the distance of a human. Dog's can also hear higher pitches. Depending upon the breed, a dog's hearing range is about 40- 60,000 Hz. Whereas a human is at about 20-20,000 Hz. This is why a dog may get upset by loud noises or the vacuum cleaner. A loud noise is REALLY LOUD to a dog and the vacuum cleaner may be giving off a super annoying high pitch noise that we humans can't detect. A dog also has about 18 muscles in their ears. This allows them to move their ears in all directions in order to detect the direction of a sound. A human has about 6 muscles, which is why we can maybe wiggle our ears at best.

A dog's paw pads are made up of fat, connective tissue and really thick skin. This allows them to have great cushioning and insulation from cold and hot temperatures. That doesn't mean that their feet are invincible. Humans still need to pay attention to really hot pavement and icy snow to prevent blisters and cuts on a dog's paws. A dog's paws are naturally pretty rough. But, if you notice a smoothing away of the pads, you may need to examine the surface your dog walks upon. Pavement can do this to the paw pads and may need to be swapped out to a softer terrain like grass.

As you can see, humans and dogs may have the same senses: sight, hearing, smell and touch. But, they are not made equal. Which is why it is extremely important when training and understanding your dog, that you think about how your four-legged family member is perceiving the world. Humans have a tendency towards anthropomorphism --- putting human traits and emotions upon non-human animals---which often leads to behavioral problems in our canine friends.