Ever since the nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard giving her dog a bone, we'veall associated dog treats with a traditional bone-shaped biscuit. It's no wonderone manufacturer decided to nametheir company after this story. These days, dog biscuits are only a small portionof the treats available for dogs.Dog owners can use treats to reward good behavior,for training treats used as incentive, or simply as a snack between meals. Sometreats include ingredients to help remove tartar and freshen breath, while othershave special joint-support nutrients added. Bone-Shaped BiscuitsFor the most part, hard, crunchy biscuits of any measurable size willcontain wheat. The wheat flour allows the dough to be formed into shapes that holdup to packaging and shipment from the manufacturer. to the store.to your dog's treatbin. Manufacturers now offer wheat-free treats but, made with other grain flourslike rice or oats, these treats tend crumble more easily. Rice or oat-based biscuitsgenerally to come in plain squares or thinner bone shapes. Oral-Care TreatsTreats designed to help clean teeth and freshen breath may feature a texture thathelps to scrape the tooth surface. Greenies freshen dogs' breath and helpclean the tooth surface. Some treats use ingredientslike eucalyptus oil and parsley to naturally freshen dog's breath. While feedingoral-care treats does not replace veterinary cleanings or tooth brushing, it mayhelp to minimize the tartar build-up if fed regularly. Joint Support TreatsSome treats have added ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to helpreduce hip and joint stiffness and pain. Dogs benefiting from these elements mayprefer a tasty treat rather than a pill or tablet. Weight Control TreatsWeight control treats still contain calories but the calorie and fat levels arelower than traditional treats. If your dog is older or overweight, a weight controltreat allows you to offer your dog treats while keeping the caloric intake low.Even with the reduced levels of calories, remember to reduce the amount of foodyour dog gets at mealtime to compensate for the amount of treats you feed. Food Allergy TreatsMany dogs suffer from food allergies, limiting the types of ingredients they cansafely ingest. Luckily, many manufacturers are now making treats featuring the samenovel proteins and starches, which allow allergic dogs to still indulge in treattime. Some treats are made to be hypoallergenic however youshould check with your veterinarian to be sure the ingredients used in these treatsare OK for your dog's particular allergy. Dogs with Special Medical ConditionsSome dogs like Daisy, have medical conditions such as pancreatitis, which requirethey be fed a special prescription diet. Many of the over-the-counter treats don'tfit the criteria needed for these special conditions. What treats can you give adog on a prescription diet? Why not simply offer a handful of the special kibblein place of a biscuit or treat? Crunching is crunching as far as a dog is concerned.If you would normally offer a few small biscuits, feed the same volume of the specialdiet instead. Remember to reduce the meal portions if you're also offering the foodas a treat. Training TreatsTraining treats should be small, tasty and easy to eat. Many manufacturers offertiny training treats but you can also break up larger treats if necessary. If you'reusing treats for clicker training or other motivational training, you want the dogto eat the treat quickly before losing focus on the training at hand. You may wantto try different treats to see which ones your dog finds irresistible.With all treats, keep in mind that the bulk of your dog's nutrition should comefrom mealtime so limit the number of treats offered throughout the day.
Dog Gas and Cat Gas: How to Clear the Air!Does your dog or cat have gas that's stinky enough to clear a room? Don't blameyour pet for pungent gas, it's not their fault. Some gas production is part of normaldigestion for all mammals. Excessive or foul smelling gas may be due to a problemwith digestion. Causes of Excess Gas in Dogs and Cats
- - Gastrointestinal Disease including inflammatory bowel disease,gastrointestinal neoplasia (cancer), exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, small intestinalbacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, and bacterial or viral enteritiscan all result in unabsorbed foods which will ferment and produce gas.
- - Poorly digested foods cause intestinal bacterial fermentation, which results inexcess gas. Some proteins and carbohydrates may be too difficult for your pet todigest. Low-quality protein, corn, wheat, soy, beans, and dairy products may resultin excess fermentation and gas.
- - Intestinal parasites canalso cause excess gas and flatulence in dogs and cats.
- - Gastrointestinal obstruction due to hairballs in cats can be a cause ofgas.
- - Rapid swallowing of air from food gulping can cause gas in dogs and cats,too. Multiple pets fed in close proximity may eat too quickly due to competitionresulting in swallowing too much air. Gulping of water after strenuous exercisecan also result in gas.
- - Food intolerance or allergic reactions to food ingredientsmay cause excess fermentation and gassiness in pets.
- - Changing foods too quickly may resultin gas, flatulence, and loose stools. Also food indiscretion such as garbage pickingor eating spoiled food may cause gastrointestinal upset and gas.
How to Prevent Excess Gas in Your Dog or Cat1. Have your dog or cat seen by a veterinarianto rule out any health problems or internal parasiteswhich could be causing the excess gas. 2.Change your pet's food to onethat does not contain difficult-to-digest ingredients like corn, wheat, soy or dairy.Be sure to take at least one full week to gradually transition from the old foodto a new food. 3. If the food you are presently feeding doesnot contain the above mentioned ingredients, try switching to a food that uses adifferent protein source, e.g. if you're feeding food using chicken as the mainingredient, try changing to one with lamb as the first ingredient. 4. Slow down your pet's food consumption. Thereare specially designed bowls for dogs that prevent the dog from gulping foodand air. For cats, you can try placing lightweight balls or Ping-Pongballs in the cat's food bowl so he or she must move the balls to get to the food. 5. Try using a treat dispensing toy to serveyour pet's food rather than a bowl. These toys randomly drop pieces of kibble asthe pet moves the toy around, reducing food and air gulping. 6. Feed multiple pets in separate locations toprevent rushed eating due to competition. 7. Avoid feeding immediately after strenuousexercise. Wait about an hour before feeding a full meal. 8. Feed multiple small meals throughout the day.Not only will this aid in digestion of each meal, but it helps the body's metabolismburn calories more efficiently and will minimize weight gain. 9. Try replacing rawhide chews with a more digestibletreat. For some dogs, the protein in rawhide is poorly digested and can cause fermentationand gas. Dogs also swallow a great deal of air while chewing rawhides. Edible chewslike Greenies, Booda Bones or Bright Bites may be better toleratedby some dogs. 10. Increase light exercise after a meal to aid in digestionand help pass gas through the digestive tract. A gentle walk or play session aftera meal can facilitate intestinal movement.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help to reduce your cat or dog's excessive gasso you can enjoy being close all the time.
Allergies are a common problem in dogs and cats. Symptoms can include excessivelicking, hair loss, scratching, recurrent ear infections, and even gastrointestinalsigns such as vomiting and diarrhea in some cases. There are several causes for allergiesin pets including environmental allergies, flea allergies, contact allergies, andfood allergies. Different treatments including antihistamines, steroids, allergy vaccines, anda change in foods may be the key to relief depending on what type of allergy yourpet suffers from and how severe the problem. In recent years, many commercial foods have becomeavailable to help combat allergies - especially food allergies. In thisvideo clip and blog post, Dr. Wendy discusses and demonstrates the different foodsavailable to help with your pet's allergies.There are two basic types of hypoallergenic foods on the market today. They are: Novel Protein Diets - The novel-protein diets are called such becausethe protein source is something unlikely to be in any other commercial diet: Examplesare duck, venison, rabbit, and evenkangaroo. The carbohydrate is also something unusual: often potatoes or peas. Manyof these foods also contain fatty acids that can also help promote skin health and can help withthe inflammation associated with allergies. If you feed one of these foods, it ismore likely that you will find a food that your dog or cat accepts and that helpswith his/her allergy symptoms. Most of these types of food are specially formulatedand therefore usually require a prescription from your veterinarian.There are, however, some comparable foods that have become available more recentlythat are available without a prescription too. Which food is right for yourallergic animal will depend on your pet's individual problem and personal preference.It is also very important to consult with your veterinarian regarding advice onchoosing the right novel protein diet for your pet. Hydrolyzed Protein Diets- Hydrolyzed protein diets involve taking the protein and breaking it down so smallthe body doesn't recognize it as an antigen (foreign substance that causes the immuneresponse that triggers an allergic reaction). Most if not all of this type of dietis only available by prescription from your veterinarian.You should again rely on your veterinarian when making the decision on whether totry a novel protein or hydrolyzed protein diet. It is often times necessary to trya few different types of foods before finding the right one for your pet. A successfulfood allergy trial takes a lot of time and patience. You will need to graduallywean your dog or cat onto their new food and keep them on this for no less than8 weeks and sometimes up to 12 weeks to see if it is helping the allergy problemor not. During this trial period, no extra table scraps or treats can be offered.Some heartworm medications even contain protein sources such as beef so you mayneed to change this around in order to give the food trial a real chance.Once the food allergy has been identified and controlled, you can keep your dogor cat on the special diet that is helping. A lot of companies will make treats that contain the same ingredientsas food so you have something extra that is still safe to offer (Featured example:Natural Balance Sweet Potato/Fish Formula Dog Treats). Many commerciallyavailable hypoallergenic or low allergen diets are well balanced so they can beused long term.One other option after the allergy is controlled is to do a "food challenge." Everyweek, you can pick one new thing to reintroduce such as chicken, corn, wheat, etc.to see what happens. Some pets will be OK with some old protein and carbohydratesources once the allergy has been controlled. Again, staying in close contact withyour veterinarian to make sure you are feeding the right food will give you thebest chance of keeping your pet's allergies controlled. Allergies, especially foodallergies, can certainly be a frustrating problem for all involved. Having a betterunderstanding to select the best food for your pet's needs can help solve your pet'sallergy problem and keep him/her healthier and more comfortable.
Long-haired dogs require special attention to keep their coats free from tanglesand knots. Some owners may prefer to have the long coat clipped so that groomingis less of a chore. It is possible to keep your dog's coat long if you're able totend to the coat daily. If you have a long-haired dog, there are certain groomingtools available that make the job easier for both you and your dogs. Mats, Knots and Tangles.oh my!If your dog's coat has formed mats or tangles, these can be removed with care andpatience. The Four Paws Instant Mat and TangleRemover has long tines that help to loosen the knot. Carefully slip thetines under the mat and try to hold the fur next to the skin before tugging. Youcan also use a metal comb to gently pull hairs from themat as you work it loose. Start to loosen the mat from one edge and slowly workyour way across. If you are planning to bathe the dog, be sure to remove all matsand tangles before wetting the coat. Those tangles and knots, will only get tighterafter the bath.You can try using a detangle spray to aid in loosening the mats. Spraya light coat on the fur and the detangle spray will allow the comb to slide throughthe fur more easily.For mats that cannot be removed using the comb or tangle remover tool, you may havebetter luck using a dematting tool with blades. Instead of teeth, demattingtools have actual razor blades that cut the fur. You slide these blades under themat to cut the tangle out of the coat.When you're removing large mats and knots, you may end up with a few bald patchesthat will need time to grow back in, so it's best not to let these severe mats formin the first place. Regular brushing with a slicker brush can break up tiny matsand tangles before they are able to form into large mats. Use the slicker brushfor daily upkeep on long coats. Cleansing without the bath!Bathing your dog can be a lengthy endeavor and bathing should be limited no morethan once a month to prevent the skin and coat from becoming too dry. Unless thedog has rolled in something foul smelling, you can spot clean the coat using a waterless shampoo or cleansing wipes. To use a waterless shampoo,simply spray it on the fur, massage in, and then brush through to evenly distributethrough the coat. There's no need to rinse, so this type of cleaning is perfectfor dogs that are afraid of water.Cleansing wipes can be used for all-over cleaning of the coat, paws and face. Somepet wipes are made to be gentler for cleaning the eye area. Because most doggie odors generateinside the ears, don't forget to wipe and clean your dog's earsregularly. Practice and be patient!Get your dog used to being groomed at an early age and try to keep grooming sessionsunder 30 minutes. When you're just beginning to groom your dog, you may need totry working on the dog for only five to ten minutes before taking a break.Keep your mood upbeat while you're grooming your dog. If you are tense or angry,that tension can pass to the dog, making him or her feel frightened. End each groomingsession with treats, praise and play.
You can save money by learning to groom your long-haired dog yourself. The timespent together with your dog can be a relaxing;bonding time for both of you andthe results will show in your beautiful, long-haired dog's radiant coat!