My poor puppy has been sick this week and has inspired my post today. I love dogs, in case you didn’t already know. Every dog I have owned has been a rescue dog because I strongly believe in rescue programs over breeders. I have been extremely lucky with great well behaved dogs that have had relatively few heath issues. That being said, I am very conscious of how I treat my fur babies. Just like people you have to take care of their bodies to help give them a long healthy life. Today’s thinking out loud post is general things I’ve learned over the years of do’s and dont’s with dogs.
- Love your dog. I think this should be a given but I feel like it still needs to be said. Your dog loves you unconditionally, which is an amazing thing I wish I could do. Sometimes my dogs make me mad and do things they shouldn’t, but I still love them and wont imagine my world without them. Dogs are the perfect shoulder to cry on, snuggle buddy, therapist, whatever. Sometimes I find myself just needing to hug my dog and I instantly feel better. Oreo is great for that, he just sits letting me hug on him as long as I want and doesn’t struggle away. I’m sure he knows I need the hug. Dogs are pretty smart you know 🙂
2. Most everyone knows you cant give chocolate to dogs. More specifically dark chocolate is the most harmful as it has the highest content of caffeine which is the real danger to dogs. If you really want to give you dog chocolate there is a substitute called carob which is safe for dogs and cats. I found a cool recipe here using carob but I have yet to try it out. If your dog does ingest chocolate and exhibits the following signs calls your vet immediately:
- Vomiting (may include blood)
- Restlessness and hyperactivity
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension, incoordination
- Increased heart rate
3. Speaking of vets, make sure you have a local vet as well as a 24 hour emergency clinic. There are typically plenty of local vets but they tend to have banker hours. Anyone with kids or pets know emergencies rarely happen during business hours. Make sure you know the closest 24 hour vet clinic and have their number somewhere easily accessible. Nothing is worse than freaking out over your pet and not knowing how to get them help.
4. In the winter make sure and protect your dog from frost-bite and hypothermia. If you are able to dont leave your dog out in the snow or ice. Just because they have fur does not mean they are impervious to cold. Granted there are breeds that are specifically for sitting in the snow, but unless you own a wolf breed, bring the dog inside. If you cant bring your dog inside make sure they have a warm, dry place to sleep. When taking your dog for a walk pay special attention to the pads of their feet. Salt, chemicals, ice, sand can get lodged in between the pads and cause irritation. Booties are best but I know not all dogs have the patience to wear them.
5. During the summer heat stroke is a big danger for dogs. Don’t leave your dog in a hot car, just because the window is cracked doesn’t mean they are getting enough air flow. Bring your dog inside if you can and if not make sure they have a shaded area to sit in with plenty of water. Don’t give your dog ice to cool them down fast, this will actually shrink the blood vessels making it harder for them to cool down. Instead, use a hose and spray the dog down with cool water. Don’t submerge the dog this may cause them to cool down too fast and cause issues as well. If your dog exhibits the following signs call your vet immediately as they may be experiencing heat stroke:
- Excessive or loud panting
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent vomiting
- A bright red tongue and pale gums
- Skin around muzzle or neck doesn’t snap back when pinched
- Thick saliva
- Increased heart rate
- Increased difficulty breathing
- Gums that turn bright red, then blue or purple
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Collapse or coma
6. I already mentioned chocolate but you may be surprised to know a few other foods dogs cant eat:
- Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
- Coconut and Coconut Oil
- Grapes and Raisins
- Macadamia Nuts
- Milk and Dairy
- Onions, Garlic, Chives
- Raw/Uncooked Meat, Eggs, and Bones (from meat)
- Salt and Salty Snack Foods
- Yeast Dough
For reasons behind each check out this link for more info.
7. As I mentioned before I strongly believe people should rescue an abandoned dog before going to a breeder. There are tons of rescue groups out there, some breed specific some just doing the good work of helping homeless dogs. Whisp came from All Border Collie Rescue and Oreo came from Texas Collie Rescue. A neighbor of mine was very involved with Scout’s Honor Rescue group as well. If you are looking for a dog do a quick google search and I’m sure the results will be endless. For some reason Bob Barker just popped into my head, remember the line he did at the end of The Price is Right “Remember to spay and neuter your pets!”
8. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention running with your dog. One of my earlier posts was about running with your dog, you can check it out here. Always a good reminder. The biggest blurb I would highlight from that post is this…listen to your dog. They will tell you when they are thirsty, tired, hurting, whatever. Don’t push your dog like you would push yourself.
9. Just like people dogs need yearly check-ups to make sure everything is going ok in their little bodies. Since dogs cant talk (sorry Disney) its very important this is done otherwise you may not find out about serious issues. Its also extremely important to keep up with the heartworm and flea medication. A simple pill once a month can keep your dog from getting seriously ill. Oreo came to us with heartworms and to get it treated is pretty intense. He is happy and healthy now but if someone had just taken the time to give him one measly pill once a month he could have avoided months of treatment.
10. A quick note about dog food and treats. Put into your dog what is wholesome and will enrich their bodies. We use Nutro Ultra because its what our dogs enjoyed the most and keeps them healthy. We also use Nutro treats and on the occasion Merrick wet dog food. Would you feed your significant other / child / parent / self artificial food with no real ingredients? Probably not, so don’t do that to your dog either. I’m not saying the most expensive dog food out there is the best, I’m saying research your food and make sure its something that works for your dog.
11. There is back and forth on dogs eating rawhide. What I’ll say about this is that our dogs get serious indigestion from rawhide. Its something that dogs don’t easily digest and isn’t highly recommended for dogs to eat. Oreo would swallow a bone whole if he could and it would come out the exact same way. We have switched to Nylabones, which they like, not as much as rawhide but they chew on it occasionally. If your dog eats rawhide with zero problems great, that’s not the case for mine.
12. Wow this is the longest TOL post…ever!!! Anything you would add about owning dogs?