Thursday, November 8, 2018

Top Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Can Eat

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I get hungry thinking about the turkey in the oven, the stuffing, and those mashed potatoes being whipped into shape.

I know I’m not the only one who loves Thanksgiving. I can tell my dog Henry is feeling pretty grateful when he’s right under foot in the kitchen, smelling those good smells from the oven, and watching every little movement to see if a piece of turkey might drop from the counter.

I’m very grateful for my dog Henry, and with any holiday, it’s fun to let your dog share in the celebration. Here are some different ideas for celebrating the food bounty of Thanksgiving with your dog.

First Things to Consider

Be careful with portion sizes. Holidays are a great time to celebrate with your dog, but they can also be a potentially dangerous time if food portions and treats are out of control. Try to keep their food portions consistent with what you normally provide, with a few Thanksgiving treats sprinkled throughout. You can rest assured they will love the holidays as much as you do, without a scary trip to the vet later.

Check with your vet. If your dog has had health issues in the past (allergies or gastro-intestinal problems, for instance), speak with your vet about any Thanksgiving foods or treats you’re unsure about beforehand.

Foods OK to Give

Boneless, skinless, unseasoned, 100% cooked turkey. It’s a hefty-looking list, but your dog should be completely safe to eat turkey if you follow the above requirements (and of course they’ll love you for it). Avoid the skin and bones, since the fat from the turkey skin can cause pancreatitis, and the bones can cause a choking hazard and potential rectal bleeding.

Orange Sweet Potatoes. My family loves to bake sweet potato casserole, but plain, cooked orange sweet potatoes are a tasty treat to give your dog on Turkey Day. Filled with Vitamin A, orange sweet potatoes are fantastic for your dog’s skin, coat, eyes, nerves and muscles, and they may even provide protection against heart disease. Naturally low in fat and gluten-free, they’re a simple way to incorporate loads of fiber and minerals into your dog’s diet. To pack the biggest nutritional punch, consider steaming or boiling the sweet potatoes, or buy plain, dehydrated sweet potato treats.

Raw green beans. Green beans are a great treat to give on Thanksgiving Day, as they’re low in calories, full of fiber, and offer lots of nutritional value with an array of vitamins. When your dog is looking up at you with those big needy eyes, you can be generous with green beans without feeling guilty. Raw green beans are the best option, but canned or steamed green beans are fine if the sodium count is low.

Carrots. If you have a new puppy going through the teething stage, raw, cold carrots can help relieve discomfort, and will provide a satisfying crunch. Like orange sweet potatoes, carrots are packed with fiber and Vitamin A, which is great for your dog’s immune and digestive system. If you decide to cook your carrots, make sure they are unseasoned, as spices such as garlic, onions, and salt can cause anemia and gastrointestinal irritation.

Sliced apples. Whether it’s warm baked apples or a homemade apple pie, your dog may be wondering if they too will get a piece on Thanksgiving. And while sugary glazed apples are a no-no, plain, sliced apples are another great Thanksgiving dog treat. Fresh apples can keep a dog’s teeth clean and fresh, while the healthy dose of fiber and vitamins helps regulate bowel movements. Be sure to remove the apple’s core and seeds, as they create a hazard for dogs. With any food, moderation is key.

Thanksgiving Food Alternatives to Try

If you’d like your dog to try special holiday treats, there are many healthy options to try. Below are some additional food ideas to serve your dog on Thanksgiving.

Adding a Treat to a Food Puzzle Toy. If your dog loves toys, adding a little bit of orange sweet potato, cooked pumpkin, or another treat of your choice into a puzzle dog toy is a fun Thanksgiving treat to give to your furry companion.

Flavored Wet Dog Food. If your dog normally has dry dog food, canned food can feel like a special treat. Many canned dog foods offer real, deboned turkey combined with other wholesome ingredients.

Flavored Dog Treats. There are many natural and healthy Thanksgiving treats to try, including dehydrated sweet potato, pumpkin, or apple treats, as well as freezer-dried turkey pieces.

Whether it’s a piece of cooked turkey or a new sweet potato treat, your dog is sure to love the Thanksgiving holiday, especially because they get to enjoy with you. Just like us, our pets should practice eating in moderation at Thanksgiving.

What kinds of treats do your dogs like on Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments below.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

3 Fun Ways to Help Your Local Dog Shelters

Smiling Bulldog Standing on Grass

It’s that time of year again, and we’re not talking about pumpkin spice lattes or Paranormal Witness. It’s better…because October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! Sponsored by the ASPCA to promote adoption awareness, many local shelters and organizations are revving up their efforts with special deals and activities this month to let every Fido find their new, forever home. 

Of course, one of the best ways to help promote Adopt a Shelter Dog month is if you, a fellow dog lover, get involved yourself. There are several interesting ways to help your local shelters, depending on your resources, level of interest, and available time commitment. I’ve outlined below three fun ways to help your local shelters and promote Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

1. Adoption

Okay, I know this is the most obvious (and most written about) option. BUT! It would feel silly not to include such a choice. Besides, if you’re able and willing to adopt a new companion, it may be by far the most rewarding and fulfilling way to help your local shelter. While this is a popular option, there are many unique ways to go about adopting, especially throughout October.

Find local deals and promotions

Many local shelters are offering special sales to promote Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. For example, the Santa Barbara Humane Society in California is offering a 50% off sale for adoption fees throughout the entire month of October. Dogs who have been in the shelter for more than a year will have their fees waived entirely. 

While many shelters may be offering sales related to Adopt a Shelter Dog month, some may also be offering sales related to other national days and events. The Van Wert County Humane Society in Ohio, for instance, is celebrating National Black Dog day by offering a $50 off deal for all black dogs

If you’re interested in adoption, it’s important to find a breed that will work best for you and your situation, but contact your local shelter and see what unique deals they may offer.

Swipe right with Bumble

If you’re a super hip, tech-savvy person who happens to live in Los Angeles, Austin, New York City, Atlanta, or Chicago, consider using the popular Bumble app to “swipe right” and adopt a dog. Throughout this month, Bumble is teaming up with the ASPCA in these select cities to feature shelter dogs on their app for adoption. The opportunity is sweetened by the fact that with every adoption through Bumble made, a cent is donated to the ASPCA. It’s a match made in heaven.

Man hugging smiling dog

2. Use Social Media

It’s totally OK if you’re unable to adopt. Other methods, such as utilizing social media, is great because it’s free, it’s fast, and most importantly, it’s a huge help in spreading awareness about local shelters and the work they do. Below are some quick ways to get started:

Share a simple post or tweet

You don’t need to get fancy here. A simple “October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month” is a great start, and adding a few tags are even better. Consider using #AdoptADogMonth, #FindYourFido, and #YourLocalShelter (plus any other tags you think are best) to build a greater audience and an opportunity for sharing. Ask others to share the post or retweet. When it comes to dogs, many people are excited to share the news.

Add Facebook pages or groups

Many local shelters create Facebook pages or groups to keep users up-to-date with events and fundraisers. If you think adoption could be in your future, consider joining some groups or pages to get the latest updates. A simple search on Google or Facebook will help you find the pages you’d be interested in, and your local shelter will appreciate the like.

Share adoption stories

If you’ve happened to adopt in the past, or you know someone who has, consider posting a sweet story on whatever social media platform you’d like. People love a great adoption story (especially with pictures), and it’s a great way to reinforce a shelter’s mission. If you happen to tag people who work in the shelter, they’ll love seeing how your dog is doing, and they’ll appreciate the shout-out. It’s a win-win!

French bulldog holding tennis ball

3. Donate

Donating money directly to a dog shelter of your choice will always be helpful and much appreciated. However, there are other discreet and easy ways to donate money and material items.

Donate to your shelter through

Many people love Amazon for its Prime 2-Day Shipping and wide variety of shopping choices. However, it’s easy to forget they offer a great way to donate 0.5% of your shopping proceeds to an organization of your choice. Consider adding the Humane Society, ASPCA, or a local shelter to your list. That way every time you buy your favorite shoes, you can rest assured you’re helping dogs and shelters. Be sure to make your default page every time you shop on Amazon.

Set up birthday or wedding registry donations

If you have a birthday or a wedding coming up, consider creating a registry for donations to your favorite shelter. It’s a great, feel-good way to celebrate your life, and your friends and family will feel happy about it as well. You may even start a trend!   

Donate gently used household items

We’ve all been there. You bought one too many hand sanitizers from Costco. Your dog hates his new dog bed and wants to spite you by sleeping next to it. Don’t worry, you can still make light of these situations, and it can be through donating these much needed items to your local shelter. Below are a list of items many shelters love to get their hands on:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Old towels
  • Wash cloths
  • Blankets
  • Bed sheets
  • Dog beds
  • Dog collars
  • Dog leashes

If you’re interested in donating some of your household items, contact your local shelter to see the specific items they’re looking for, and whether they’d like the items you have.

Whether it’s adoption, spreading awareness, or utilizing different donation options, there are many ways to help your local shelter, especially during this month’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

How would you like to help shelters this month? Feel free to let us know by posting a comment in the comment section below.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

You Get What You Pay For!

You get what you pay for. And you may be hoping to pay your way out of a full time second job of caring for a new dog.

We never want to believe it, we always think we’re finding the better deal. We are always let down when we cut corners to save a few pennies.

Take your dog. Do you buy your dog the cheapest food money can buy? Did you shop for the least expensive vet? How long do the cheaper dog toys hold up? If you’re like most Americans, the answers are no, no, and not long.  Why would you choose the least expensive option for your dog’s care needs?

As an owner of a doggie daycare, I am biased toward our business model. But before I was an owner, I was a customer.  I was a customer of a doggie daycare and I was a customer of a dog walker.  I have found that while you may save a little bit of money, your dog is the one that misses out. 

What is doggie daycare?  At Camp Run-A-Mutt it is several thousand feet outdoor and indoor play space. Our entire operation, except for feeding, is cage free. From the time that your dog enters our space, they are running, playing, lounging, finding their favorite spot in the sun or jumping in the pool. There are myriad breeds of dogs.  Large and small, young and old, barky or quiet, rambunctious or chill, we have them all on any given day.

Doggie daycare allows your dog to interact with all shapes and sizes of dogs as well as different types of humans giving them an opportunity to develop their social skills without their parent. They learn how to share space and human attention with other dogs. In essence, they become a more independent dog. This helps with separation anxiety, leash aggression, and resource guarding.

Camp Run-A-Mutt
Dog Walker
Hours upon hours of play
Up to 30 minutes of walking on a leash
Socialization with other dogs
May share their walk with other dogs
Cage Free
Home or leash bound
Yard and facility designed for play
Not so much
All dogs are temperament tested/vaccinated/spayed or neutered
Never know about other dogs on walks / parks
Consistent / Dependable Staff
Inconsistent Staff
Play until tired
Limited time for energy exertion
Ability to watch on Muttcams
Not able to watch
Call for updates any time of day
Only one update per day
Mental stimulation for anxious dogs
Dogs get anxious when visitors come and go
Trained Staff – CPR First Aid, dog behavior
High turnover inconsistent staff
Constant Supervision for Positive Reinforcement (recall, basic commands)
Limited interaction for reinforcement. Limited recall training on a leash
No strangers in your home for you and your dog to meet and give access to your home.
Stranger danger
$39 for a full day of play
$27 for a ½ day
$15 for 30 minutes to do the essentials
No upcharge for feeding or medication
May charge extra
Guaranteed hours of operation 24/7 for boarding
Sporadic availability

Now, while these are all great reasons to use doggie daycare over a dog walking service, it is not for every dog. Should your dog be injured or need surgery, they cannot attend daycare while they have stitches. You may need to use a dog walker during that time because your dog may not be permitted to run, jump, or go up stairs. Cage free doggie daycare is not an option. Another example could be a senior dog. If you have a dog that is older and doesn’t really have a lot of energy to begin with, then taking them to a highly stimulating place such as ours might not be what your dog needs. Again, you will get what you pay for which usually maxes out at 30 minutes of activity. Maybe that’s all your dog needs, but that is seldom the case. It’s best to let your dog tell you.

In the end, you may find that a combination of the two services works for you. The best advice that I can give is to listen to your pup. If they are tearing up your home, driving your neighbors crazy with barking, or you cannot seem to find a way to burn all of that energy, you probably would see a greater benefit having them go to doggie daycare than having just a walk. I am sure that there are great dog walkers, but even the best of them can only offer your dog so much in a limited amount of time.

Like I said, you get what you pay for.