Monthly Archives: June 2014

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Let Your Dog Be the Biggest Loser

fat_dogIn 2013, almost 70% of Canadian pets were overweight. Although this includes cats, there are likely more overweight dogs than cats. Putting your pooch on a doggie diet is a plan that may be difficult to stick with, but it will be of great benefit to your dog.

Spoiled Dogs

Small and large breeds of dogs alike become obese when spoiled by their owners. You probablyenjoy sharing your food with him, or perhaps you are accustomed to leaving food out so that your dog can eat whenever he is hungry. However, table scraps are not healthy for dogs, and your canine companion should not wolf down a whole bowl of food every time you fill it.

You are trying to keep your dog happy, but extra treats do not show love. Overweight dogs are not as healthy or happy as dogs that are at the correct weight for their size. Obese dogs are more prone to illnesses that include fatigue, canine diabetes, cancer and heart disease. So, it makes good sense to bring your dog back down to an acceptable weight.

What Are the Signs of Obesity in Dogs?

To tell if your dog is obese, run your hands down his side. Feel for his ribs. If you cannot find them without trying hard, your dog needs to lose some weight. Normal weight dogs will show a noticeable waistline. Plump dogs have stomachs that sag and their backs appear flat and broad.

Helping Your Dog to Lose Weight

Weighing your dog is the easiest way to track his weight as you introduce him to a healthy diet. Weigh yourself, and then do the same with your dog in your arms. Subtract your weight from the total, and you have his.

Take your dog to his veterinarian, and discuss his diet options and the ways by which you can reset his metabolism. This will give you a good idea of how many pounds your dog needs to lose. If you have a large breed dog, taking him to the vet may be the only way to get an accurate weight for him.

Speak to your veterinarian about the proper weight loss program for your dog. You will be reducing his calories, while you steadily increase his exercise. Your dog may react more favorably to the change in calories if you feed him smaller meals throughout the day.

 Monitor Diet Changes

Keep a record of the amount you are feeding on a daily basis. Create a chart to track your progress. Use only a measuring cup to feed your dog.

Remove nearly all treats from the diet of your canine companion. Eliminate table scrap feeding, and feed healthy treats like apples, lean cheese or mangoes. Besure not to overfeed treats.

Exercise Is Important

Plan an exercise program for you and your dog, and stick to it. Exercise will help you and your canine companion at the same time. If you have children, they can take turns walking your dog. Don’t overwhelm him, though. Start up gradually until he can comfortably handle exercise. This will help in keeping his weight down and will help his overall health, as well.

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Berry Very Dangerous for Your Dog!

SONY DSCMost people who share their lives with dogs want to give their companions a healthy diet. However, you may not be sure which foods are healthy and which are not.

Berries

There are some types of berries that are safe for dogs, and even healthy for them. Among those that are safe, there are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries.

Cranberries

Cranberries are valuable since they prevent and fight off urinary tract infections in dogs. They do the same thing for humans, of course. In addition, cranberries lower the natural pH level of your canine’s urine, making it more acidic. These berries have plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, for a truly healthy snack.

Blueberries

Blueberries contain helpful antioxidants, so they are a wonderful choice for a fruity snack. They are among the richest berries as far as the amount of antioxidants they contain. You can feed your dog frozen blueberries in smaller portions than fresh berries, and they help to reduce the tearstains of some smaller dog breeds.

Other types of fruits are also good for your dog.

Pumpkin

Some dogs truly love pumpkin. It is helpful if your dog has stomach issues, since it contains fiber that will absorb water, easing upset stomachs. Pumpkin has plenty of antioxidants, along with vitamin A. Pumpkin is especially helpful for dogs that are overweight, since it regulates their blood sugar levels and works to boost their cardiovascular health.

Apples

Apple slices are an easy treat that is healthy for your dog. They aid in the cleaning of his teeth and the freshening of his breath. Apples are also good sources of healthy vitamins and dietary fiber. It is important to remove the core and any seeds before you give the apple slices to your dog. Otherwise, these can be a choking hazard.

Bananas

Bananas provide your canine companion with ready energy. Their natural sugars are easy for your dog’s body to metabolize and then convert into energy. Many dogs enjoy the taste of bananas, too. Bananas have many beneficial minerals, electrolytes, vitamins and amino acids.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is juicy and tasty and dogs love it. It gives them important vitamins A, B6 and C. Cantaloupe promotes good vision, as well, and it contains healthy antioxidants. This fruit helps dogs with sensitive stomachs, and rehydrates a dog that is low on fluids and electrolytes. Make sure to cut off the skin before you give your dog cantaloupe.

Poisonous Berries

There are some types of berries to omit when you are looking for healthy dog snacks. Cherries contain pits, and they are a choking hazard. Pits may contain harmful chemicals, as well. In addition, you should not feed your dog mistletoe berries, pokeberries, baneberries, juniper berries or holly berries.

Health Benefits of “Good” Berries

Blueberries and other berries that are safe for dogs provide health benefits for him, just as they do for you. Berries have antioxidants, which help in protecting your dog’s cells from free radicals, which could otherwise damage his cells. Feeding your dog acceptable types of berries in reasonable quantities can protect them from heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Large Dogs and Berries

Large dog breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers can consume more berries than smaller dogs, since the berries will be a lower percentage of their overall diet.

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Keeping Fruit Safe for Dogs

Eat-Dog-AppleIt is natural to want to share your healthy fruits with your dog, and in some cases, you can. There are fruits that are safe to use as treats for your dog, and there are some fruits not suitable for canines. It is important to give your dog healthy snacks, but just as important to know what not to give him.

When you feed dog-safe fruits, give your pet a small portion first, to see if he is interested in that choice.

Bananas

Bananas are a good fruit snack choice if your dog would benefit from ready energy. They have sugars that are natural, and your dog can easily metabolize them and convert them into energy. Many dogs love bananas, and they have minerals, vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes.

Pomegranate

The fruit of the pomegranate is good for your dog. It does not contain many calories, and it has no saturated fats or cholesterol. Pomegranates have some helpful compounds in them. The tannins may be effective in reducing your dog’s risk of heart disease, since they scavenge free radicals, which could otherwise harm the body. Be sure to remove the seeds from pomegranates before you give them to your dog. Crush them in a bowl, or mix them with food.

Persimmons

Persimmons are rich in dietary fiber and low in calories for your dog. Fresh persimmons contain rich antioxidants like vitamin A, lycopene and beta-carotene. These compounds protect your pet from ravaging free radicals.

Cantaloupe

This has long been a staple for human fruit salads, and it is healthy for dogs, too. Its vitamins help your dog’s eyesight, and it contains vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are helpful in preventing cell damage and in reducing your pet’s risk of developing cancer. Cantaloupe is a good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, along with potassium, niacin, folate and fiber.

Apples

Apples are easy to find any time of year, especially if you use different varieties. Apples do not have many calories and they are free of cholesterol and saturated fats. Apples have plenty of fiber, preventing absorption of bad cholesterol in your dog’s digestive system.

Do not be afraid to be a bit adventurous in sharing fun snacks with your dog, a long as you have checked with a veterinarian to make sure that your snacks are safe.

Toxic Foods – Do Not Feed These to Your Dog

Certain foods should never be fed to dogs. The list includes currants, raisins, grapes and their juice. These can affect your dog’s kidneys. Avoid dried fruits, too, unless they do not have added preservatives or sugars.

Raisins and Grapes

Grapes and raisins may cause kidney failure for your dog. Some dogs do not experience ill effects, but it is not worth the chance.

Avocados

The bark, seeds, fruit and leaves of avocados may be toxic to your dog. Those grown in Guatemala seem to be the most toxic, but avocadoes grown elsewhere also have varying degrees of toxicity.

Bread Dough

Raw bread dough that includes live yeast may be hazardous to your dog. The yeast multiply in his stomach and can kill stomach tissue. If the stomach expands, it can press on your dog’s diaphragm, which makes it difficult to breathe.

Chocolate

Chocolate is not good for dogs, whether it is found in baking goods, brownies, cookies or candy. Chocolate causes toxicosis, and the darker the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is for your pet.

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Dogs: Mind Readers

petportraitsDogs have been the constant companion of humans for thousands of years, starting with the domestication of the European Wolf, or canis lupus. Literally every dog on the planet is a descendant of these early wolves (although they have little in common now) who were able to learn that if they hung around a human campsite there would be scraps of food available for them. These domesticated wolves would eventually become beasts of burden, helping to pull or carry supplies, and in times of need could provide fur for clothing and an additional source of food.

Because of the fact that humans and dogs have evolved together, canines today are much more likely to understand not just verbal commands from their humans, but silent signals and cues as well. Researchers have determined that the average family dog has the intelligence of a two year old toddler and can understand up to 250 words.Humans depend upon dogs today for companionship, safety, and for service. Dogs depend on humans for food, companionship and care; it has become a somewhat symbiotic relationship.

If an individual would like to strengthen the bond with their canine companion attending obedience or training classes is a good start. Basic obedience is a must for every dog owner as you want your dog to pay attention when they are called or are in the company of others. No one enjoys being around an ill-behaved dog, and basic obedience training can teach a dog to be social with other dogs and with a variety of people. There are also training classes for dog games such as Earth Dog for small terrier type dogs, fly ball, and agility sports.Dogs enjoy these training sessions immensely and it helps to keep them active and healthy, as well as providing health benefits to their human companions.

Some may think that they have a special relationship with their animal to the point of believing it can telepathically read their mind. It’s easy to assume something like that, when the dog grabs his leash after you just had a thought about a walk, or suddenly appears at your side when you think about making something to eat. This goes back to a dog understanding cues and non-verbal signals. A dog will become aware that when their human companion says the word walk, it means grab the leash. A dog will also come to understand that when a particular pair of shorts appear, or a particular par of running shoes, it means that a run is coming up and of course they’ll want to participate in that!

The bottom line is that no, unfortunately a dog cannot read your mind but it can read your signals, and it can also understand often repeated words (just like a two year old child). Dogs and humans have evolved to the point that humans can often understand what a dog needs with just a glance or wag of the tail, and dogs can understand what humans need by a word or a gesture with the hand.

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Well-Paying Jobs That Animal Lovers Love

vet_assistantIf you enjoy being around animals and love taking care of these furry creatures, you may want to consider the job of a veterinary assistant. This will allow you to spend time with animals of all types and do the things you truly enjoy.

By taking the time to speak to college professionals about what is involved in the coursework and how many years you are required to train for a job working with animals. There are also a number of classes that can be taken online to prepare you for working in this specific field.

Working with Animal Care Training Services (ACTS)

One way to assist with the care of animals is by getting involved with ACTS. This organization is designed to help people the highest level of care when helping animals. By the use of medical research and ways that will work to prevent and treat animals for a higher quality of life.

If you wish to assist animals in having better health and working to reduce health conditions that are possible to occur, ACTS could the program for you.

Being a Vet Assistant

By enrolling in a two year degree program you will be able to learn how to work in a vet office and provide the needed assistance.

Listed below are some things the vet can do:

  1. Prepare the animal to see the vet.
  2. Assist in getting the animal ready for surgical procedures.
  3. Weighing the animals and working to prepare him or her to see the vet.
  4. Assisting the vet with shots for the animal.

There are many tasks the vet assistant can do to help in the vet office and the average amount of pay is around $28,000.00 per year.

Finally, it is ideal to find a job you will enjoy and if you love animals, working in a vet office is certainly to be appealing to you. Additionally, you can make a good living and do something you truly enjoy doing each and every day.