Friday, May 26, 2017

What Type of Water Alternatives Can Dogs Have?

Are any of the water alternatives we enjoy safe to share with our dogs? Water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, makes up 60 percent of the adult human, and is fundamentally important to sustaining life and health. When it comes to our favorite beverages, though, we are never satisfied with what’s right in front of us. Humans crave variety and new taste sensations. From alchemists fruitlessly seeking the elixir vitae to caffeinated drinks, juice cleanses, and craft beer, we have always wanted more from the liquids we consume.

What can dogs drink? Dogs are curious, easily bored creatures, whose experience of the world depends in great measure on their mouths and tongues. They are also opportunistic omnivores, meaning they’ll happily ingest — eat or drink — anything we put in front of them or leave within their reach. Dogs can drink anything, but should they? Let’s examine some of the most frequently asked questions about dogs and fluids!

  • Can dogs drink milk?
  • Can dogs drink alcohol?
  • Can dogs drink coffee or tea?
  • Can dogs drink fruit juice?
  • How long can a dog go without water?
what type of water alternatives can dogs have

There’s no substitute for a dog drinking water. (Photo via Pixabay)

Can dogs drink milk?

During the first five or six weeks of life, you can reliably find a baby puppy locked onto one of mother’s teats. Dog milk provides not only essential nutrition to puppies, but also passes along useful antibodies. Once a puppy is weaned, though, and ready to move on solid food, his need for milk and ability to process it diminishes accordingly. Dogs can and will drink milk if it’s available, but once they reach maturity, adult dogs are largely lactose intolerant. The calcium and protein that dogs derive from milk is capably provided by a quality dog food.

Does lactose intolerance mean that dogs cannot drink milk at all? No. For dogs, just as for humans, being lactose intolerant involves not producing sufficient lactase to break down dairy products in large quantities. All milk is not the same, so a dog’s reaction to cow’s milk will differ from that of his mother. The worst that the typical dog can expect from drinking more milk than his digestive system can process is temporary digestive upset. A bit of milk on occasion can be a nice treat, but shouldn’t be depended on as any kind of alternative to water.

Can dogs drink alcohol?

Can dogs drink wine, beer, or any other kind of alcoholic beverage? These kinds of questions are asked especially around festive occasions, such as holidays and major sporting events, when dog owners tend to enjoy a tipple. In the vast majority of situations, they are asked out of a kind of heedless curiosity. Some people might find it amusing to see their dog act drunkenly, but there is nothing funny about testing a dog’s tolerance or subjecting them to alcohol poisoning.

Dogs can get drunk, and suffer much more debilitating effects from a fraction of the alcohol consumption than the average adult human. Ethanol toxicosis can cause not only motor function impairment, but also lead to problems with heart and lung function. Some of the primary ingredients in wine and beer — grapes and hops — are each potentially toxic to dogs in their own right. Alcohol of any variety, whether in the form of wine, beer, or distilled spirits, offers our dogs nothing but deadly danger.

Can dogs drink coffee or tea?

As much as I may enjoy a beer after work, when I’m at work, a mug of coffee is never far from my lips. Are caffeinated beverages, like coffee or tea, safe to share with dogs? The simple answer is no. Caffeine poisoning poses health risks just as great to dogs as alcohol. Because dogs typically have much less body weight than humans, it takes far less caffeine to negatively impact a dog’s body, much like with alcohol.

what type of water alternatives can dogs have

Should dogs drink milk? No. (Photo by Taro the Shiba Inu on Flickr)

Found in everything from coffee, tea, and soda to energy drinks, chocolate candy, and nutritional supplements, caffeine is also more readily available and more likely to be accidentally ingested than alcohol. If your dog likes to root around in the same garbage can where you toss your coffee grounds, even these can threaten her health. Where fermented drinks depress a dog’s vital systems, caffeinated foods and beverages accelerate them beyond acceptable levels. High blood pressure, increased heart rate, and hyperactivity are only a few consequences of caffeine toxicity in dogs.

Can dogs drink juice?

It’s understandable that a dog’s digestive system is not physically capable of processing lactose, alcohol, and caffeine in the same ways as a human’s. What about nominally healthier drinks? Surely fruit juices must be safe for dogs to drink? Not so fast! In limited quantities or as an occasional treat, de-seeded apples and oranges are neither toxic or unhealthy for dogs. Store-bought juices or fruit juices from concentrate are another matter.

If you are making the juice yourself from fresh fruits, a small bit of these juices should not contain enough natural sugars to upset your dog’s stomach. The sugars, preservatives, and other chemical additives in even the healthiest fruit juices at the grocery store may put a strain on your dog’s digestion. If you’re inclined to offer your dog apple or orange juice, start with a small amount to gauge your dog’s reaction.

what type of water alternatives can dogs have

Dogs should not drink coffee, tea, or soda. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Dehydration in dogs can be a serious problem

The truth is, once weaned from mother’s milk, the only beverage a strong and healthy dog needs to stay that way is a steady supply of clean, fresh water. While humans derive health, energy, or joy from a variety of fluids, food should provide all the nutrients and energy a dog needs. Dogs don’t get or require the same kinds of carnal pleasures that we do from milk, coffee, soda, or fruit juices. There is no substitute or alternative drink that does as much for the average dog as water.

Dehydration can cause just as many problems for dogs as drinking the wrong kinds of beverages. Water contributes substantively to every part of a dog’s physical life. From the circulatory system to joint mobility and flexibility, and from temperature regulation to energy level, water is essential to your dog’s health. Keeping your dog properly hydrated means providing them water and keeping their water dishes clean.

Fresh water is even more important during periods of extreme weather. Be particularly vigilant about your dog’s water supply during the summer and winter. Since dogs have limited ability to sweat and panting uses up a great deal of internal moisture, they should have constant access to water to help them regulate their body heat. In the dead of winter, it’s just as important to make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t freezing over.

About the author: Melvin Peña trained as a scholar and teacher of 18th-century British literature before turning his research and writing skills to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making art, hiking, and concert-going, as well as dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a two-year-old female Bluetick Coonhound mix named Baby, and his online life is conveniently encapsulated here.

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Are You Feeding Your Dog Sardines? You Should Be!

Everyone in my animal house adores canned sardines. In fact, I’m not sure who loves them more — the dogs, the cats, or me!

I appreciate the fact that you can buy sardines practically anywhere, at any time of the day or night. This is why I recommend stockpiling cans of this healthy, handy fish in the event that a natural disaster strikes.

It’s rare when a treat this tasty and convenient is also packed with beneficial nutrients.

“Sardines may be small, but they’re mighty when it comes to pet nutrition,” says nutrition counselor Celia Kutcher, aka the Food Healer. Actually, this fish’s petite size is a big plus. “Since sardines are small, they tend to have far less mercury than larger fish, which makes them an ideal choice for people, too.”

Here’s why they’re good for us: “Sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10),” Kutcher says. “The fatty acids have many health benefits, like cancer prevention, reducing inflammation, and keeping the immune system strong. CoQ10 supports a healthy heart and circulation. The fatty acids also help brain development, which makes them good for puppies and kittens.”

CoQ10, aka Ubiquinol, is also excellent for preventing dental disease in canines, felines, and humans.

Just one caveat: Skip sardines slathered in sauce — such as oil, mustard, or ketchup — and check the ingredient panel for the lowest-sodium specimens available.

“When buying sardines, make sure to always buy wild caught, packed in water,” Kutcher cautions. “There’s no need for more oil, salt, or any other ingredients — some of them could be harmful. Also, sardines should not be fed daily, as too much fish can form crystals in cats.”

One small sardine contains about 25 calories and 175 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, a good dose for a dog who weighs 20 pounds or less. “If you have a larger pet, give them more proportionally,” she advises. “A cat can go with half a sardine. No worries about the bones, for dogs or cats — they’re safe, and will supply some calcium as well.”

The water the sardines are packed in also makes an excellent, flavorful gravy for dog or cat food. No less a health authority than integrative medicine guru Dr. Andrew Weil pours sardine juice over his dogs’ kibble. My dogs love it when I soup up their kibble with sardine juice, plus a dash or two of turmeric, which has its own lovely health benefits.

Sardine juice is also great for masking the unpalatable smell of hard-to-swallow medications, Kutcher adds: “If you need to pill your pet, you can crush up the tablets and mix it with the liquid. That usually works.”

When you start giving your pets and new foods (like sardines), start slowly and with a small amount. They should not cause stomach upset, but it’s better to be safe than have a sick pet.

“If you feed your pet too many sardines, they may develop a fishy smell,” says Kutcher. “If that’s the case, reduce the amount and frequency of feeding sardines.” You could also feed a loving spoonful of coconut oil as a chaser, to counteract that pungent, oceanic odor.

Have you tried feeding sardines to your dog? What was his reaction? Please share in the comments!

Read about these other pet-friendly pantry staples that are good for dogs’ health:

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Why Do Dogs Groan When They Lie Down?

Until we have the technology to accurately and intelligibly translate dog language, we can only depend on knowledge and experience of our own dogs, complemented with whatever research can tell us. Unless a normally quiet dog begins vocalizing out of nowhere, there’s likely little reason to panic. Both situation and context matter.

Is the groaning beast in question a puppy, a healthy dog in his prime, or an aging senior? Does the dog groan when he lies down to rest? When he gets up from sleep? Do you have a dog who moans while asleep? Let’s look into some of the medical reasons that might compel a dog to groan in the process of lying down, including:

  • Panosteitis, or growing pains
  • Osteoarthritis in the joints
  • Ascites, or fluid in the abdomen
why do dogs groan when they lay down

Is your dog groaning before bed? (Photo via Pixabay)

Panosteitis, or puppy growing pains

I attribute most of my groans and sighs to any number of things, among them the after-effects of knee surgery, a sedentary work-life, and the simple effects of aging. How quickly I forget the aches and pains of youth! Growing pains affect puppies as well as human children. This is particularly true of certain medium, large, or giant dog breeds whose bones tend to grow much more rapidly than others. Panosteitis, also known as pano in dogs, is an awkward and painful condition that occurs when a puppy’s bone growth comes more quickly than they can physically adjust to.

Pano can be diagnosed in any young dog under the age of 2 years, but is most frequently associated with German Shepherd puppies. Groaning when lying down or rising will be the least alarming symptoms of panosteitis. Dog owners are more likely to notice limping, lameness, or hesitant usage of one or the other foreleg, along with a defensive yelp when you touch the affected leg. Pained vocalizations may accompany the physical discomfort of fast-growing dogs, but with puppies as with human kids, growing pains are inconvenient, but time-limited.

This condition comes and goes, can appear and disappear for weeks at a time, and even switch from leg to leg as it flares up during a puppy’s first 18 to 24 months. Pay special attention to tenderness in the upper forelegs, not only in German Shepherds, but also Basset Hounds, Doberman Pinschers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, and Rottweilers. Overexercise in puppies can cause later-life health issues such as hip dysplasia — and in many of these same breeds — and this is one reason trainers recommend that dogs not run for long periods of time or over extended distances until around 18 months.

Arthritis in dogs

Moans and groans when lying down may be more worrying for owners of senior dogs. Just mentioned above, hip dysplasia, or an inconvenient fit between the ball-and-socket joints in the rear legs, can make getting up or lying down more awkward for dogs of any age. In older dogs, troubles with motion and movement generally may be signs of developing osteoarthritis, a degenerative issue in which the cartilage that cushions the major joints begins to wear out.

why do dogs groan when they lay down

Grunts, sighs, and moans are all typical of dog language. (Photo by Jonathan Willer on Flickr)

Groaning when he settles into bed is only one symptom of an aging dog suffering joint pain. As with the youthful dog growing pains, there will be far more severe and noticeable warning signs than sighs and groans. You’re much more likely to see a dog limp when she gets up from rest and hesitates or refuses to do once-normal things like going up or down stairs — or when you witness excessive biting, licking, or chewing at affected joints — than you are to hear her groan. An arthritic dog may have been active and eager to play her whole life before showing any of these symptoms.

As with panosteitis and hip dysplasia, naturally large or giant dog breeds are commonly affected. Osteoarthritis in dogs can develop on its own over time, whether the dog is overcompensating for ligament damage or as a result of dealing with long-term obesity. Carrying around excess weight can affect any breed of dog, so maintaining regular, healthy habits of feeding and exercise are of critical importance.

Ascites in dogs

Among common dog health problems, ascites, or the buildup of excess fluid in the abdomen, is the most likely medical reason why dogs groan their way into a resting position. Once again, the noises a dog makes when nestling herself into bed will be the least alarming change in her behavior. Canine ascites is associated with a number of intense physical and behavioral alterations in dogs as they age. Many dogs enjoy a good belly rub, and if this activity that once gave pleasure is starting to draw out wincing or uncomfortable reactions, ascites could be a culprit.

If you have a heavier dog whose stomach is typically large, other signs to look out for include vomiting and difficulty breathing. The pressure that fluid buildup places on a dog’s other internal organs, including the lungs, is one specific reason for odd or abnormal moaning and groaning as the dog struggles to find relief. A tender stomach, sensitive to the touch, does not have a single cause, and usually signals a more complex internal issue or dysfunction requiring veterinary attention and care.

why do dogs groan when they lay down

Dog groaning more than usual? Consult a vet. (Photo via Shutterstock)

The condition can arise in dogs of any age; in younger dogs, it could be the result of sudden physical trauma, like running or bumping into piece of furniture during play. In older or senior dogs, it could be a more troubling development, such as internal bleeding caused by kidney or liver damage, cancerous growths, or congestive heart failure. If a dog’s stomach appears distended or unusually tight and he is manifesting sudden discomfort, seek veterinary attention to determine the cause and a course of action. 

Interpreting dog language is imprecise at best

If your dog groans when lying down as a matter of course — if he’s always done it — there is probably nothing to worry about. Just like any of us, finding a perfect position for rest often elicits a sigh, grunt, or moan of satisfaction. The same can be said of rising after being in a particular stance for longer than normal. Some dogs groan or vocalize during rest periods, which is typically described as somniloquy: talking in one’s sleep or while dreaming.

Groans, moans, sighs, and grunts are standard dog expressions. Should dog groaning arise suddenly, reappear only periodically, or genuinely disturb you, what can dog owners do to seek relief for their pets? The best thing is to be observant; know what your dog is like normally so that you can make careful notes for your vet to detail any and all unusual behaviors, reactions, and symptoms your dog is experiencing.

One thing you should not do if dog groans and sighs become a source of concern is offer human pain medications to dogs. I mitigate the pains associated with aging and movement by popping a couple of ibuprofen or aspirin before starting vigorous activity or when those pains intensify. In dogs, human pain pills can actually cause more suffering than they’ll ever relieve.

About the author: Melvin Peña trained as a scholar and teacher of 18th-century British literature before turning his research and writing skills to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making art, hiking, and concert-going, as well as dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a two-year-old female Bluetick Coonhound mix named Baby, and his online life is conveniently encapsulated here.

The post Why Do Dogs Groan When They Lie Down? appeared first on Dogster.

We Salute 5 Dog Breeds That Are Proven Military Heroes

When we think about military dogs, we probably picture the Belgian Malinois working with U.S. Navy SEALs, or the Labrador Retriever detecting explosives. Below, we will hear from one such celebrated breed (my own Shepherd, Zoey, insisted I include the German Shepherd Dog on this list). But we’ll also hear from some lesser-known breeds that have served our country. Let’s start exactly with whom you’d expect: a small Terrier breed.

1. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier courtesy Zoey porter and Mary Ingersoll-Ackerman

Yorkshire Terrier courtesy Zoey Porter and Mary Ingersoll-Ackerman.

I’m thrilled to headline this list! I’m a tiny terrier with a mouse-chasing history, but my forefather Smoky was a renowned hero in WWII, attributed with many feats of bravery. For example, he bravely pulled critical wire through narrow pipes, sparing the soldiers a dangerous three-day digging task. Smoky’s companionship was valued as well. History teaches us that dogs are treasured mascots in war. When President Franklin Roosevelt brought his dogs (an Irish Setter and a Scottish Terrier) everywhere he traveled, soldiers took this as an okay to adopt their own mascot dogs during WWII. And at 4 pounds, my cousin Smoky made an easily transportable mascot.

2. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher courtesy Rich Knecht photography

Doberman Pinscher courtesy Rich Knecht photography.

We’re named after Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a late 19th century German tax collector who was harassed by thieves and perhaps some indignant tax-payers. Dobermann wanted to develop a well-rounded dog breed for both protection and companionship. Those traits were highly valued by the military. My forefathers worked in WWII as messengers and sentries for the U.S Marine Corps in the Pacific. A memorial statute in Guam, Always Faithful, honors my ancestors who died in service. Kurt, depicted on the statute, was the first canine casualty in Guam.

3. Bully Breeds

Staffordshire Bull Terrier courtesy Shutterstock

Staffordshire Bull Terrier by Shutterstock.

We bully breeds, including me, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, generally show both a natural affinity for humans and great physical strength. I myself was bred in England partly for some (wretched) fighting sports, but also for companionship. Let me introduce you to Stubby, a bully breed mix, who warned his WWI unit of poisonous gas, assisted in capturing an enemy spy, alerted his unit to incoming artillery shells, and found injured soldiers,. We bully breeds cherish the war posters depicting us as symbols of dedication and valor.

4. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog courtesy Connie Cabanela

German Shepherd Dog courtesy Connie Cabanela.

We have quite the story to tell. After WWI, American soldiers returned from Germany with stories about our remarkable trainability. Americans fell in love with our loyalty and work ethic. Rin Tin Tin also gave us some great PR. In WWII, we were used for guarding, sentry work, and delivering messages. In the Vietnam war, Nemo, one of my heroic cousins, served as a sentry, fighting off guerrillas. Even though Nemo was seriously injured, he guarded his wounded handler until medics arrived. And our service continues. Today I have relatives at the 341st Training Squadron, at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, being trained for the Department of Defense. We also work in service roles assisting veterans, such as in the Rebuilding Warriors program. I have a cousin Dreamy, who watches over her Gulf War Army Veteran, Gary Orvis, in California. My Uncle Koda takes care of USMC Iraqi Veteran, Troy Burmesh, on a Montana ranch.

5. Boxer

Boxer courtesy Tracy L Hendrickson

Boxer courtesy Tracy L Hendrickson.

In the world wars, we worked as guards, messengers, and pack-carriers. In WWII’s Berlin airlift, my cousin Vittles, equipped with his own harness and parachute, boosted morale for sure! My breed’s bravery I attribute to our early ancestors, developed to hunt and hold prey such as bear. No small feat! And now I have the honor of concluding this article by giving a shout out to the many other champion breeds, including the Rottweiler, Airedale, and Giant Schnauzer, that have served in wartime. And let’s not neglect our mixed breed cousins. After all, the most decorated WWII war dog was a mixed breed (German Shepherd-CollieSiberian Husky) named Chips, assigned to the 3rd Military Police Platoon. During the invasion of Sicily, Chips and his handler were held on the beach by an Italian machine-gun team. Chips attacked the gunners, who surrendered to American troops. He eventually served in some eight campaigns across Europe. Now that’s impressive indeed.

Interested in reading more? Check out the U.S. War Dogs Association, Inc.

The post We Salute 5 Dog Breeds That Are Proven Military Heroes appeared first on Dogster.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Geometric Dog Necklaces from By Yaeli

Geometric Dog Necklaces from By Yaeli

I like to display my love for dogs in subtle and tasteful ways when I can — in other words, in ways that fit a chill, modern aesthetic rather than screaming CRAZY DOG LADY. (I used to have a cute miniature Kong on my key ring, and it never failed to draw admiring comments.) I think these cool geometric dog-head necklaces from By Yaeli are a cool way to say, “Yo, I’m into dogs” without screaming “YO, CRAZY DOG LADY OVER HERE.” They’re made to order by Israeli designer Yael Donenfeld and come in both gold- and silver-plated styles with customizable chain lengths. Check them out over at By Yaeli.

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by Katherine in For Humans | Permalink | No comments

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Minimalist Raised Pet Feeder from HELLO PETS

Minimalist Raised Pet Feeder from HELLO PETS

Polish brand HELLO PETS is at it again, bringing minimalist design to your dog’s daily routine with their new Lunch Feeder! This raised double feeder seamlessly blends style and functionality, offering your pup a comfortable height to eat or drink from. HELLO PETS offers international shipping, so check out the Lunch Feeder in their shop!

Minimalist Raised Pet Feeder from HELLO PETS

Minimalist Raised Pet Feeder from HELLO PETS

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Dining | Permalink | No comments