We had a lot of fun in drawing up this next article. In our last article we made mention of the fact that through your ongoing reading practices you’ll always be discovering something new about yourself, your domestic surroundings and, most importantly of all, the welfare of your dog. Those ‘wow’ moments are with us too. Elsewhere, we were tasked with doing some extensive reading and research on natural dog food, and boy, did we make some surprisingly new discoveries of our own.
So, this is it then. We are going to share as much as we can on this essential topic of feeding your dog the right, health-oriented food. It goes without saying, and it’s not even an acknowledgement or admittance on our part, that there’s just so much information available on the net on this new, thought-provoking topic that we were never going to be able to include all of it in our modest little contribution. But there’s much you can add by way of your own further reading. Use the above heading’s opening keywords to jump-start your own further research.
For the time being, the next couple of bullets briefly reflect what we’ve found to be of interest in regard to the necessary focus on feeding dogs natural food only, or as far as possible. There is no argument that natural foodstuffs for dogs are streets ahead than the so-called supermarket sourced super-foods irresponsibly deemed good for dogs.
- Raw and frozen dog foods – Raw and frozen dog foods get this much right for your favorite household creature. It is able to preserve fresh, natural food for longer. But you need to be careful here. Make sure that you have used your frozen dog food well within the prescribed date on the frozen food package. All in all, the advantage of using frozen food is that there’s a better chance that you’ll be sourcing not just essential but better quality ingredients for your dog.
- Avoid BHA and BHT – These two ingredients are artificial preservatives. They serve absolutely no beneficial purpose towards enhancing the nutritional value of your dog food and, for that matter, ensuring that your dog is enjoying a healthy, balanced series of meals every day. Instead of these, go for natural ingredients which will include essential vitamins for your dog’s health. These vitamins include vitamins C and E.
- Include two to three proteins in your dog food – It is now strongly advised, now, more than ever before, to focus your protein sourcing on animal proteins, bearing in mind that your dog is still essentially a meat eater. While you may choose to go vegan some day, plant proteins will simply not be enough for your canine pet. But they can be added for its additional nutritional value to the dog’s daily diet. Animal proteins contain the dog’s essential amino acid. While there is a strong focus on meat for dogs, you can also include protein sources derived from fish and eggs, and other animal-based proteins.
Finally, no matter the size of your dog, make sure that its portions are measured carefully, ensuring that it doesn’t overeat. This can cause its stomach to bloat or distend. And stick to the three meals a day recommendation.
Wow, that last article was quite a mouthful, wasn’t it. For that matter, so too our introductory article. In fact, we’ve just about had it where cruelty against dogs is concerned. The old saying that it’s ‘a dog’s life’ isn’t even funny anymore. Something must be done, and so say all of us. That is to say, if you are equally concerned about the plight of all the threatened dogs, domestic, stray in the streets, and in the wild.
We like to believe that our earlier contributions are indicative of a job well done, admirably so, one would like to think, in regard to making a concerted effort to safeguard the canine species. It really is in the best interests of your beloved canine pet. Most of you reading this next note of ours may already be fully on board where proper dog health and care is concerned. So far so good, but as you’ll all agree, there’s always going to be something new that you can learn during your regular online reading. There’s always going to be more work ahead of you. That is to say if you care as much about dogs as we do.
We do hope, however, that our modest little contribution will still be making a difference where new discoveries are concerned. We do hope that this focus on basic canine care essentials does cause you to have one of those rare aha moments. We’d also like to remind you that, while you’ll be taking good care of your dog in any case, responsibility lies with you to share with others what you’ve discovered or been reminded of. It’s fair to say that that point was made clearly in our last article. In fact, it was made loudly enough in both of our previous articles.
Now, we’d like to touch up on a previous article we published for you. In that article we suggested that you adopt a pet instead of spending an absolute fortune on acquiring a pedigreed species. We’d like to point out that this sterling variety of a dog is no guarantee that you’ll have a wonderful relationship ahead of you. We are now arguing that you have a better chance of succeeding with your adopted mixed-breed option.
But there is irony. If you’ve taken on a pedigreed puppy, as opposed to an adult and as recommended, you are still going to have to train it and discipline it, right. It becomes even more challenging when you’ve decided to take on the lovable animal from the welfare center. Chances are good that you’ll only be afforded with an adult dog and never a puppy, unless, of course, there have been cases of dogs producing litters. But then again, no.
Health authority requirements, in many cases, and it is a pity, require that such welfare organizations make concerted efforts to artificially prevent dogs from having any further ability to procreate. But now we went and nearly lost the point we were about to make. The point is this, it will be, or could be, more of a challenge training and disciplining an adopted pet from the welfare center. Further irony abounds if you decide to take on the added expense of enrolling both you and your new dog in an accredited dog grooming and training facility.
But no matter where you find your new pet, the expense is really worth it. It is in your best interest. And, more so, it is in the best interest of your beloved canine pet to be well-groomed and well-trained at all times.
This short blog article is more emotive than anything else. As promised in this blog’s introduction, alarm bells are going to be raised in regard to the plight of dogs in all environments; residential, urban, rural, and out in the wild. This article’s title – dog health issues today – has been deliberately imposed. If you are one of those who already have an acutely sensitive regard to the canine species, you may already have started an online reading program of your own. You may also have noticed, that is to say, if you are a close reader, that this article’s title is not exactly an original one.
Well, my friends, so far so good then. It has drawn in your attention. New readers should carry out this simply exercise to see just how dire things are for dogs today. Simply re-type this article’s heading in your search engine field designated for this, and see how many titles of the same (or similar) name pop up. Frightful, isn’t it. Even if you don’t have a canine pet of your own at this time, there is still much that you can do to help preserve the species. There are, indeed, complex campaigns on the go, but at ground level, there are also a few basic, good neighborly things you could be doing today.
- Walking the dog, not walking the plank – Do not become overly-vigilant in rounding up all those stray dogs in your neighborhood, but do make a conscious effort on your part to find dog-friendly homes for these poor lost dogs. And if you are young at heart, or truly young, you could earn a little pocket money by offering to take the abandoned dog out for a walk every day. That, of course, depends on whether you can successfully locate its owner, and, of course, there are ways and means that you can achieve this objective. Just check with your local authorities on how to get this search and rescue operation for dogs
- Natural dog food imperatives – This is a two-tiered approach and invites you to take active control of your own nutritional health and not just that of the dogs. This is because the approaches you will adopt work equally well, with a few subtle differences here and there, of course, for the canine species. All you need to do is start applying the same, or similar, principles to your healthy dietary requirements, if you’ve already done this, to that of the dogs. Experts on dogs are all quite unanimous about this today. Organic and free range sources of meat-based protein, even if in compounded biscuit form, is much preferred in regard to providing dogs with much healthier and all-round meals.
- Canine non-governmental interactions – Join up and sign up, that’s putting it as simply but as assertively as possible. You can just be a layman dog owner or a kind observer, and there’s still that bit that you can do that can help to preserve the endangered wild dog species, for instance. Just a little bit of your pocket change to a needy NGO looking after endangered canine species will already help. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more you can still do.
- Report and advise – Sad to say this, but the preponderance of ignorance among the most kindly dog lovers can be quite tragic. So, if you see a poor little dog with a distended stomach, you may already have learned that the poor dog has not been fed properly. It’s complicated, as they say, but you could do both dog and its owner a kind service by discreetly popping some printed material on how to feed dogs correctly into your neighbor’s letter box. He or she may be none the wiser, but maybe, just maybe, that kind old gentleman or lady may take note and be startled into action.
Well, at this early stage, I think we’ve given you more than enough to chew on for now. It’s safe to say that no lines were blurred in encouraging you all to take decisive but not at all difficult action in trying to safeguard the lives of dogs.
As this canine-centered blog’s title simply suggests, there is going to be a lot more focus on dog health than anything else. In one of the forthcoming posts, a sense of urgency is being created. That is a response to the precarious plight of dogs, especially the wild dog species, in some parts of the world. In your neighborhood, you may not yet see that the writing is on the wall where domestic pets are concerned, but have you ever wondered why, in your urban and ordered environment, so many rules have been imposed in regard to the manner in which dogs should be handled and controlled by its owners or care-givers.
We’d like to expand on this probing sentiment, if we may. Stray dogs roaming the streets during both day and night have often been regarded as pests, much like the rat infestations in some areas. But ask yourself this question; are these poor dogs really that much of a pest. Yes, some of them can be quite dangerous and could bite, if threatened or feeling threatened, also threatening its victims with diseases such as rabies.
But really, folks is this really the fault of the dog. Is it any wonder that it is rummaging through your trash cans? From where we are sitting, it looks pretty hungry; we can even see its ribs showing. Isn’t it fair to say that this poor stray dog is in the predicament it’s in purely because its uncaring owner just couldn’t have given a damn? So, call us soft-hearted then, why must poor dogs get it in the neck. Why must they be persecuted so cruelly and be ‘put to sleep’.
Being ‘put to sleep’ is just one more of those desensitizing phrases for killing or murdering an animal. Let’s assume that your really do care this much about abandoned dogs. Before you become all trigger happy in an effort to help out these poor creatures, take this next piece of important advice. Do not, we repeat, do not alert the authorities. There’s a good reason why we’re saying this, surely you’ve been given a strong enough clue already.
Allegedly overburdened with too many stray dogs and cats on their hands, the authorities will ultimately kill these animals and process them through the incinerator. Rather than alert the authorities, do your utmost best to find a welfare organization for dogs that has a good reputation for placing these poor animals in caring foster environments. These reputable groups do everything in their power to preserve the lives of these animals.
They are quite adamant about not killing the animals. Perhaps you are one of those looking for a new canine pet at this time. Rather than spend a fortune on acquiring a pedigreed dog, why not adopt an abandoned pet instead. The only expense on your part will be a small donation, or as much as you can willingly afford to give. And, yes, that’s just it, do it willingly. You will also find that the welfare group’s care givers will scrutinize you quite thoroughly because they really want to make sure that your selected dog is going to a home where it will well and truly be cared for.
It won’t be plain sailing in the beginning, but at least you’ll know that that dog loves you.
As a dog parent you pretty much have control over what kind of exercise your dog gets. Exercise is vital to the overall good health of your dog because not only will it make for a happy dog but it can prevent all kinds of illnesses.
There are a lot of different interesting ways to give your dog exercise other than just playing fetch or taking him for a walk or to a dog park. There is also a bonus to some of the more creative exercises and that is they even help to train your dog to have a higher level of obedience and respect for you.
Most of these exercise ideas will require some sort of exercise equipment and some of them you can just make yourself. Others may require more of an outlay and often groups of people can pool their resources together and share the use of the equipment, even getting together creating their own competitions for their dogs.
Backyard and/or Indoor Dog Exercise
The Spring Pole
This is an easy piece of equipment you can make for your dog and it’s one they will really learn to love to play with. The concept of this piece of equipment is to have a mechanism with a spring on it where a toy is attached so the dog can grab hold of the toy and tug at the same time and the spring will give them the resistance they need for lots of tug of war fun by themselves.
Putting it together. You just need a strong spring and attach strong chain to one end of the spring and then you can attach that around a strong tree branch. At the other end you just need a strong metal clip of some sort that you can use to attach the toy to. And that’s all there is to it.
If you have a treadmill then dust it off and let your dog use it. If they are afraid of it at first it’s always a good idea to put it on the lowest speed and walk with them on it until they get use to it. Once they are use to it, more often than not they will be more than willing to do it alone. This is a great way for them to get their walking exercise done when the weather is bad.
This can be used indoors and outdoors and is easy to make. It’s wonderful toy for exercise and it’s a lot of fun on top of great exercise.
You need 4-6 fee of 1.5 to 2.3 m of cord or .25-.75 inches thick, an old broomstick handle or something like it. Next you need to drill a hole that is either 3/8” or 1/2” at the end of the broomstick. Make a large loop in the cord at one end that you can put your hand through and then make a small loop at the other end that is about three fingers wide. Take the large loop and push it through the hole you made in your stick, put the cord through and then pull it tight. It will look like a crude fishing pole. Here are attachment ideas your Whipwhir:
- Make a mop top by cutting strips of material from an old sweatshirt or T-shirt. The strips should be about two inches wide and about a foot long. Tie the strips in the middle and then tie it to the end loop of your Whipwhir.
- Put a sock ball at the end by putting a ball in the end of an old sock, tie the sock off and then add the sock ball to the end of the Whipwhir.
- Add a squeaky toy by cutting a strip of rag about three inches wide and about 18 inches in length. Tie one end of the rag strip to the Whipwhir and then tie a squeaky toy to the other end of the rag strip.
Tips for Using the Whipwhir Safely
All toys have the potential to cause injury so make sure you follow the safety tips provided here:
- Make sure your dog is fully warmed up before you allow them to play with the Whipwhir since it can require wild jumping and twisting motions.
- Have your dog play fetch for a while before playing with this toy.
- Another thing is to start having him play with the Whipwhir along the ground so that they get warmed up by chasing it at a lower level.
Instead of going for the usual walk, consider taking your dog on a hike. Hiking on trails are not just fun and good exercise for humans, it’s a wonderful way for your dog to have a great time exploring with you and getting a good amount of exercise at the same time. Just remember to keep your dog’s comfort in mind when you take them hiking with you.
Hiking not only allows you to bond with your dog it also gives them the ability to develop his own independent thinking skills by learning what to avoid on trails that you take your dog on. You will be surprised just how quickly your dog will figure out on his own what is good and not good when you go out hiking.
Just make sure that the first few times that you take your dog hiking that you start off with simple trails, no different than you would do for yourself. Then gradually over time you can increase the difficulty of your hikes.
Make sure to take plenty of water for both of you and also plenty of high energy snacks because you never know just how long any hike is going to take.
The most important thing is; have fun with your dog and be safe.
Products like dog food, flea and tick medication and even dog treats have been put under a lot of scrutiny as of late and for good reason. Over the years we’ve learned that there are some ingredients in these items that can cause our dogs to get sick or sometimes even worse. So over the years things have changed for these items and they’ve become safer to give to our dogs and safer to use on them.
With that being said, have we ever stopped to see what things are put in our dog’s shampoo? Not all the dog shampoos on the market are what we think they might be and some of them could even be harmful to your dog.
Some Shampoos Can Cause Extremely Bad Reactions
There is one ingredient in some shampoos called D-Limonine that can actually cause some dogs to have extremely severe reactions. Even though it is a botanical oil extract for some dogs it has caused edema and blood in the lungs of some dogs and this can cause death if not treated immediately. Some essential oils, as much as we might think they are good for us, can be extremely harmful for your dog.
So, what’s that mean if you want to use a shampoo to treat for fleas and ticks? Vets recommend that you find a gentle shampoo that has a citrus base like orange or lemon because these both act like a flea deterrent. You can also safely use peppermint oil, when it’s diluted in water to use as a spray for areas in your home where pests might enter such as doors and windows.
What to Look for and What to Avoid in Dog Shampoos
To make things simple, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient that’s on the label then you more than likely shouldn’t be lathering up your dog with it. Same goes for ingredients in food and treats. If you can’t pronounce don’t let your dog eat it.
Shampoos that say they are biodegradable just mean they won’t harm the water or your dog’s coat. Shampoos that are well pH balanced are ones that are best suited to go with the natural balance of the acid in your dog’s skin. It’s always wise to talk to your vet when it comes to items that will come into contact with your dog’s body. Often they will have a few suggestions for good shampoos that have a well balance of hypoallergenic ingredients that are mild and solely designed for dogs.
Do your best to avoid shampoos that have synthetic ingredients in them, these tend to irritate and aggravate your dog’s skin, especially dogs with allergies. No matter what shampoo you get, always make sure that your dog is rinsed over and over again because any kind of residue left behind on the skin can cause your dog to itch, even when using the safest of shampoos.
Just like us, dogs have different skin types: normal, dry and oily. If your dog’s skin is flaky this often indicates very dry skin and oily skin often leaves a oily feel on their coat when your run your fingers through your dog’s fur. If neither of theses conditions exist then your dog has normal skin.
Conditioners, rinses and detanglers are no different than shampoos, always make sure there are no synthetic ingredients in them because these can cause the same problems as the shampoos with them.
If you really are not sure of what kind of shampoo to get for your dog, you can always make your own shampoo. When you do this, you are in control of the ingredients that will be touching your dogs skin.
Making your own dog shampoo is pretty easy and can be made with some pretty common ingredients you more than likely already have around the house. Such things as simple as vinegar and baking soda can be used to make homemade shampoo. Other items can be bought at a store or drug store like castile soap (an olive oil, glycerine, sugar based alcohol mixture). Baby shampoo can also be used in making a dog shampoo.
Here are a few recipes you might want to try for your dog if you want to find an alternative to the shampoos on the market.
- 1 qt water
- 1 C white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 C baby shampoo or non-toxic dish soap like Dawn
Combine these three ingredients together and then put in a spray bottle. When it’s time to shampoo your dog just spray the shampoo onto your dog’s fur and work it into his fur gently. Make sure to get the hard to reach areas by the spine, the base of his tail, his chest and under his forearms. Let the shampoo sit for about five minutes before you rinse. While the shampoo is sitting comb your dog to remove dead fleas.
Homemade Dry Shampoo
If you don’t want to give your dog a bath more than once a month but he still gets dirty a good solution for this is to shampoo your dog with dry shampoo. Here’s an easy recipe for that.
- 1 C baking soda
- 1 C corn starch
- A few drops of either lemon or lavender oil
Mix together and then when you want to use it just sprinkle some of the dry shampoo on your dog and then massage it into his skin with your hands or a brush. Your dog won’t even know he’s getting a dry shampoo bath, he’ll just enjoy the massage he’s getting.
Shampoo for Sensitive Skin
Finally, here’s one just for dogs with sensitive skin.
- 1 qt water
- 1 C baby shampoo or Dawn
- 1 C white or apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 C glycerine
- 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
The aloe vera provides a soothing effect for dogs with sensitive skin.