5 Warnings About Pet Halloween Costumes
Cute Outfits Can Be Dangerous
Dressing up your cat and dog on Halloween may be a fun tradition in your family. Some Halloween pet costumes, however, can be potentially dangerous to our pets.
Make sure your pet is having fun, too; take caution when choosing an outfit for Fido or Fluffy this year and never leave your pet alone while in costume. Here are a few tips to consider.
It’s possible that your pet could have an adverse allergic reaction to a Halloween costume, due in part to either the type of fabric or the brand of detergent or fabric softener used to clean the costume.
If you notice your pet itching while wearing the costume, remove it. An allergic reaction could cause a red, itchy rash which would then require veterinary treatment.
2. Dangling Objects
Dangling objects on a pet Halloween costume, such as bells, ornaments, fabric, string and bows, can be chewed off and swallowed, leading to a life-threatening condition called linear foreign body ingestion.
The item ingested can tear your pet’s intestines and require emergency surgery.
3. Constricting Fit
Make sure your pet’s Halloween costume isn’t a tight fit. Tightness around your pet’s neck, paws, legs and torso can cause your pet to panic and lead to a potential injury.
Tight elastics can pinch your pet’s body and cause swelling, thereby creating great discomfort.
4. Constant Supervision
Never leave your pet alone while dressed in a Halloween costume. Panic, boredom, anxiety or curiosity can lead your pet to chew on the costume and ingest pieces of it.
Intestinal obstruction is a serious condition that may require emergency surgery. There is also the risk that the costume could strangle your pet should he or she try hiding under furniture or in a favorite hiding spot that won’t accommodate the costume itself.
5. Keep the Outdoors Off Limits
Don’t leave your pet outside by him- or herself. With Halloween comes a lot of unusual noises — trick or treaters, loud music or sound effects at the neighbor’s house, the doorbell constantly ringing — your pet could be feeling a great deal of anxiety. Escape may be an option for Fido or Fluffy. If your pet is wearing a costume and tries to flee, he or she could become entangled in the fence, a gate, a tree or even a bush, leading to injury or even strangulation.
Always keep your outfitted companion by your side during Halloween. Supervise your pet’s costume and behavior as well. Halloween can be a very stressful occasion for some pets. Be mindful of your pet gaining access to Halloween candy, which can be toxic. For more information, check out this printable Halloween infographic and read 5 Ways to Keep Pets Safe on Halloween.
from Dr Karen Becker - Healthy Pets
THE MOST DANGEROUS PET CHEW EVER: RAWHIDE!
How can one of the most popular chew sticks on the planet be so dangerous for your pets, you ask? I mean, most dogs chew on rawhide for hours on end, and not only does it keep them busy, but they seem to last forever.
Well if you understood what it took to make this toxic “raw” leather stick, you would quickly understand what the problem is.
Aside from the horror stories circulating all over social media these days, of pets needing emergency surgery after consuming rawhide, the majority of pet parents today, especially the newbies, believe that this chew is some sort of dried up meat stick. Let me debunk that myth right away!
A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “Leather Industry”, so theoretically it is a leather chew. Sounds awesome, right?
“Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top grain is generally tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to the dogs.” TheBark.com
So, how does this leather, which is conveniently rolled up into pretty shapes, actually get made into those rawhide chews?
Follow along my friends and I will enlighten you on how this hide travels through a leathery process where it transforms from hide to a not-so beautiful, colorful, chew stick. Here is a paraphrased tutorial that was explained by the whole dog journal several years back:
STEP 1: Normally, cattle hides are shipped from slaughterhouses to tanneries for processing. These hides are then treated with a chemical bath to help “preserve” the product during transport to help prevent spoilage.
(No one wants to purchase a black, spoiled rawhide stick!)
Once at the tannery: the hides are soaked and treated with either an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming. This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves.
(No, no one wants to see a hairy hide…)
Next on this glorious journey, these hides are then treated with chemicals that help “puff” the hide, making it easier to split into layers.
The outer layer of the hide is used for goods like car seats, clothing, shoes, purses, etc. But, it’s the inner layer that is needed to make the rawhide. (Oh and other things like gelatin, cosmetics, and glue as well!)
STEP 2: Now that we have the inner layer of the hide, it’s time to go to the post-tannery stage! Hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach; this will also help remove the smell of the rotten or putrid leather. Bonus!
(Research also shows that other chemicals maybe used here to help the whitening process if the bleach isn’t strong enough.)
STEP 3: Now it’s time to make these whitened sheets of this “leathery by-product” look delicious! So, here is where the artistic painting process comes in.
“Basted, smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors. They can even be painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves.” - whole-dog-journal.com
“…the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning.”– thebark.com
Ok, now that these hides have been painted, it’s time for the final process.
STEP 4: Getting it to last forever!
Because the FDA does not consider these chews to be food, really it’s a free for all when it comes to the manufacturers of these leather strips, and the products they may want to add to these chews, to get them to last forever. Any sort of glue can be added here to get these bad boys to never come apart.
When tested: Lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals have been detected in raw hides. So it’s safe to say that any sort of glues can be used as well!
Finally, it’s time to package and attach all the glorious marketing labels to the product.
Check out the fine print warning that’s attached with some of these rawhides:
“Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.“
(Oh, how lovely…)
And there it is! It’s now ready to be shipped to store shelves where it can be purchased for our loving animal companions.
How do proactive veterinarians feel about these chews?
Here is world-renowned veterinarian Doctor Karen Becker's take on the matter:
“The name ‘rawhide’ is technically incorrect. A more accurate name would be processed-hide, because the skin isn’t raw at all. But the term “rawhide” has stuck.
Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog works the chew it becomes softer, and eventually he can unknot the knots on each end and the chew takes on the consistency of a slimy piece of taffy or bubble gum. And by that time your dog cannot stop working it -- it becomes almost addictive.
At this point, there’s no longer any dental benefit to the chew because it has turned soft and gooey, and, in fact, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.“
P.S. Ready for the jaw dropper?
An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” –dogingtonpost.com
Rodney Habib - Pet Nutrition Blogger
"An educated, informed and well-researched community of pet owners can only put more pressure on the pet food industry to be better! When pet owners know better, they will only do better!"
Did your dog or cat just eat something poisonous? Call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 for help immediately! The sooner a dog poisoning or cat poisoning is diagnosed, the easier, less expensive, and safer it is for your pet to get treated!
What to do if your dog or cat is poisoned:
The Top 5 Reasons for Puppy Diarrhea…
(Dr Becker - Healthy Pets - July 27, 2010)
Diarrhea is a common problem in puppies, and can range from a single mild episode to a severe symptom of a serious underlying condition.
There are a number of causes of diarrhea in very young dogs including:
Dr. Becker's Comments:
Most pet owners who've had experience with a puppy have also had at least one go-round with puppy diarrhea.
If your puppy is having diarrhea, there's no reason to panic unless the problem is very severe.
However, you should watch your pup carefully and if the problem doesn't resolve within one or two potty sessions, you should make an appointment with your pet's veterinarian or visit an animal emergency clinic. Young puppies can become dangerously dehydrated in 24 hours or less.
#1: Stress-Induced Diarrhea
Both people and animals can get diarrhea as a result of stress.
Think about it. A puppy new to your family has undergone tremendous changes in a short period of time.
She's been removed from her mother and littermates. She has been physically relocated from the only environment she's known to a new, unfamiliar one. There was probably some travel involved, if only a short drive in the car.
The sights, sounds, smells and temptations in her world have changed overnight.
She's no longer one of several, but the only puppy in the household. If your family is like most, your new little girl is overwhelmed with attention – she's being handled, talked to and played with more than ever before.
Any change can be stressful, even a change for the better. When you consider the inexperience of your puppy and the major adjustments she must make during her first few months of life, it's really not surprising if her GI tract reacts to the stress.
If your puppy's diarrhea is stress related, it should resolve within a few days. Make sure to keep clean, fresh water available for her at all times, and if necessary, take her to the bowl and encourage her to drink. Your integrative vet can also offer many suggestions on simple, natural remedies that can help your pet through this initial adjustment period, if needed.
Also make sure she has lots of opportunity to nap and plenty of quiet time.
#2: Diarrhea Caused by a Change in Diet
Depending on where your puppy came from, you may or may not have received information on his diet before you brought him home.
Many new puppy owners either don't know what food their pet is used to, or decide to make a change for some reason (hopefully to upgrade to species-appropriate nutrition).
An abrupt change in your puppy's diet can bring on a bout of diarrhea. In fact, this is true for older dogs as well, if dietary diversity has not been practiced.
Even if your pup was being fed a low quality commercial puppy chow, a sudden change to a high quality diet can temporarily upset his digestive system and cause loose stools.
Changes to your dog's diet, no matter his age, should be gradual – preferably over a seven to ten day period, and sometimes longer, depending on each pup.
It's always a good idea to learn what your puppy has been fed up to the time you bring him home. That way you can blend a bit of the food he's used to with the food you want to transition him to, gradually decreasing and ultimately eliminating the old food over the course of one to two weeks.
I recommend you continue to rotate your puppy's food intermittently throughout her life, as there is no one perfect protein source that should be fed exclusively for a lifetime. Gradually tapering off of one brand and onto another will reduce episodes of diarrhea in the future.
#3: Ingestion of a Foreign Object
Puppies are incredibly curious about everything they encounter in their environment, and the way they explore new things is usually with their mouths.
You might think all your pup is doing is chewing something he shouldn't – which is problem enough – but whatever he's chewing will get swallowed if it isn't removed from his mouth.
Foreign objects, including several people foods, plants, and flowers, can do more than cause a case of diarrhea.
Your little guy can also be poisoned or suffer a complete blockage in his GI tract if he swallows the wrong thing.
For a number of reasons, including the potential for ingesting a non-food, toxic or other foreign object, your puppy should never be left roaming unattended in your home or yard – not even for a minute.
If you suspect your pup has swallowed something he shouldn't, call his veterinarian or an animal emergency clinic immediately. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 for guidance.
#4: Diarrhea Caused by Worms or Other Parasites
Your puppy can be born with intestinal worms or acquire them from her mother's milk.
Some of the most common organisms causing diarrhea in puppies are hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms.
Fortunately, worm infestations are easily cured medically, so get your puppy to her veterinarian if you suspect her diarrhea is caused by worms.
In the meantime, make sure to keep her hydrated, as dehydration is the most immediate concern for any puppy with diarrhea.
Once your puppy has been medically dewormed, discuss with her holistic veterinarian safe, natural options for keeping future intestinal invaders in check.
Other types of pests that can cause diarrhea in your pup are protozoan parasites. These are single celled organisms, the most common of which are coccidia and Giardia.
If your puppy is carrying a protozoan parasite in her intestinal tract, her diarrhea will typically be watery and very smelly. You might see blood or mucus in the stool, and your pup will generally have other symptoms like vomiting, loss of appetite or fatigue.
It's important to get your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you think parasites are causing her diarrhea, as medical management may be necessary to get rid of the problem.
Unfortunately, the drugs used to treat these types of parasites have side effects and aren't always entirely effective.
I recommend you take your pup to a holistic or integrative vet who can work with you to solve the problem with natural alternative remedies. Again – don't delay treatment, and make sure to keep your puppy hydrated in the meantime.
Be aware that Giardia and coccidia are easily transmitted to other pets and human family members as well. Eliminating the parasites from your environment and good personal hygiene are musts in order to avoid spreading the problem around.
#5: Viral Infection
Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of several canine viral infections, the most serious of which is parvovirus, also referred to as CPV or simply parvo.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and is passed through exposure to the feces of an infected dog. The virus invades the lining of the small intestine and causes foul-smelling, bloody diarrhea, as well as vomiting, lethargy, depression and severe dehydration.
Older dogs usually recover from parvo, but the virus is often fatal in infected puppies.
If your pup is showing signs of a viral infection, time is of the essence. If you can't get in to see your veterinarian right away, I recommend you take your pet to an animal emergency clinic.
How to Know If Your Puppy's Diarrhea is Life Threatening
Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast rule for determining whether your puppy's diarrhea is mild and will resolve quickly or is a symptom of a serious threat to his health.
Generally speaking, if your puppy suddenly develops watery stools – especially if they're streaked with blood – and has any other symptoms like vomiting, I recommend you seek immediate veterinary care. Very young puppies can become desperately ill in a matter of hours and it's better to be safe than sorry.
The key is to stay alert with any new, young four-legged member of the family. Keep a close eye on your puppy and be disciplined about securing him in his crate or a puppy-proof area of your home when you can't watch him – even for a minute. This will reduce or eliminate the potential for your pup to swallow something he shouldn't.
Likewise, changing his diet gradually should help to avoid GI upsets.
Insuring he's not over-stimulated and gets plenty of rest and quiet time should curb his stress reaction to a new environment.
Until your pup has received two well-timed puppy vaccinations or homeopathic nosodes, it's not a good idea to take him to dog parks or other places where dogs you don't know congregate. Take care not to give him access to any area where other dogs do their business.
Do, however, start socializing your pup on his first day home. Keeping him safe from disease before he's immunized (which means his immune system has developed the correct antibodies to fight of life-threatening infection) doesn't require that you quarantine or entirely isolate the little guy.
Taking sensible precautions with your new puppy can reduce or eliminate the potential for tummy upsets and diarrhea, and put you in a better position to know immediately if you should seek veterinary care.
The more you know about possible causes of your puppy's loose stools, the better prepared you'll be to react to a true emergency.
Home Care for Mild Diarrhea
If your puppy is having some mild diarrhea but is otherwise playful, energetic and weighs more than 5 pounds, fast her for 12 hours, preferably overnight. The G.I. tract can only rest, repair and restore itself when it's not working.
If she's better in the morning, give her some chicken or vegetable broth (no onion) and cooked sweet potato or pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!). If the stool improves, but isn't 100%, feed a second and third meal of cooked ground turkey meat (no bones) and sweet potato or pumpkin. Once she continues to improve, you can go back to regular feedings.
If the diarrhea continues another day or two, even if she seems fine, it's time to take her to the vet, and bring a small stool sample with you.
An effective herbal remedy for mild diarrhea in very young puppies:
How do dogs communicate with one another?
If you are a pet lover, you will surely know how to interpret signals, behavior and sounds made by your dog to send a message to you. These precious creatures may not be blessed with a speaking tongue and a face that can show a thousand emotions, but they certainly found a way how to make humans feel acknowledged. It doesn’t take an expert to be able to understand dogs, as science has already proven that the years of constant exposure to one another, dogs and humans have already formed a bond unlike any other. But what about the dog to dog communication? Is there a way for us, owners to understand whether our furry buddies are already engaging a war? Or are we able to know whether they are just merely playing? Here are some tips.
Dogs rarely show facial expressions when they communicate with one another. This type of behavior is only reserved for humans – as this is also our main way of communication, seen by our pets. When dogs try to tell each other something, they use their whole body and movements. They roll, jump, run and turn around and around. One of the most common behaviors is the “Play bow” where dogs literally bow on their two front legs and they move their head towards the floor. In the doggy world, this is a sign of apology when play becomes too rough, and at the same time, encouraging the other dog to continue play. Another is the “Paw slap” where a dog places its paw on the body (usually on the back) of another. This only means one thing – “I trust you, buddy”. When dogs rear on their hind legs when they play, they are sending affectionate signals to one another. It is as if saying “I like you, let’s continue playing” or “I think we can be members of the same pack, let’s play!”. Last and most probably the most confusing canine behavior to humans is biting. Sometimes, humans panic when they see their dogs try to munch on each other’s ears, back and tail. This is normal and this is just how they play. Unless you hear growling and straightening of the tail and hair, you have nothing to worry about. They know how to avoid the sensitive areas of the bodies of their playmates and not cause trouble. They are pack animals, they are trained to protect each other.
What Is AAFCO?
(Lucy Postins - Dogs Naturally)
What Is AAFCO and what do they do for your dog?
One aspect of pet food that many dog owners find mystifying is regulation. Some pet owners and stores believe that AAFCO, The Association of American Feed Control Officials, is responsible for approving pet foods but in fact this isn’t the case. Here are a few facts to help you understand what AAFCO does and does not do to protect you and your dog.
AAFCO does not regulate feeds or pet products
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for regulating pet foods. The FDA monitors food branding to make certain that labels are not misleading and that the manufacturer is recorded on the label. Pet food processing plants may also be inspected by the FDA although many manufacturers will voluntarily recall their products before FDA involvement to limit the bad press that might accompany any deaths or illness from tainted products.
AAFCO is a private corporation, not a government regulatory agency
AAFCO is a voluntary organization, which is comprised largely of regulatory officials who have responsibility for enforcing their state’s laws and regulations concerning the safety of animal feeds. This should fall under the auspices of the FDA but according to the FDA “AAFCO is vital to the continued regulation of pet food products because FDA has limited enforcement resources that are focused on human food safety issues.”
AAFCO advisors and committee members include representatives from major feed manufacturers and ingredient suppliers such as Nestle Purina, Hills Pet Nutrition, Nutro Products and Cargill Animal Nutrition. Despite this, AAFCO claims that its function is to protect the consumer. Despite its regulations, AAFCO has no means of enforcement, nor do they perform any analytical testing of foods. Regardless, AAFCO’s regulations are adopted by most states and are the standard to which pet and livestock feed manufacturers must adhere.
AAFCO devises pet food and feed labeling guidelines
AAFCO endeavors to protect the consumer through labeling requirements, ingredient requirements and nutritional requirements. Any dog food manufacturer that wants to make the claim that their food is ‘nutritionally complete’ must meet AAFCO’s nutritional requirements, feeding trial requirements, or produce a food similar to one which has met these requirements.
The nutrient profiles set forth by AAFCO list minimum and maximum levels of intake for protein, fat, vitamin and mineral content of foods. The level of nutrients is expressed on a ‘dry matter’ basis. The levels of nutrients listed in the guaranteed analysis on the pet food label are expressed on an ‘as fed’ basis. To convert ‘as fed’ to ‘dry matter’ the consumer must do some calculations. If a dry food has 10% moisture it will have 90% dry matter. If protein matter is list- ed as 20% on the pet food label, you must divide the 20% protein by the 90% dry matter to calculate the amount of protein on a dry matter basis.
The nutrient profiles were originally based on minimum nutrient requirements established by the National Research Council Committee on Animal Nutrition (NRC) in 1991. In 1995, AAFCO changed these standards to incorporate ‘new scientific information’ completed by the pet food manufacturers. One such change was to lower the minimum protein content from 22% to 18% which is noteworthy as protein is the most expensive ingredient on the dog food label.
The source of food nutrients is not regulated by AAFCO. Protein can be derived from meat or from shoes, from hu- man-grade chickens, or road kill. As long as it is protein, it meets AAFCO nutritional standards. Bioavailability and digestibility of nutrients are not a consideration for AAFCO.
Find out how you can start feeding your dog raw and fresh foods today: Click Here!
AAFCO establishes feed ingredient definitions
AAFCO regulations state that a pet food manufacturer must provide not only a guaranteed analysis on the food label, but a list of ingredients presented in descending order with the ingredient with the most weight listed first. This nutrient listing is a common source of confusion to the consumer as protein is further divided into meat meal, meat digest, fat meal, bone meal and animal by-product meal (instead of beef muscle meat, chicken beaks, pig ligaments, blood, intestines, and the infamous 4-D meats – dead, dying, dis- eased and disabled). Manufacturers can further confuse the consumer by ‘splitting’ less nutritional ingredients such as corn or wheat to move the ingredient down the list. For example, by dividing corn into corn, corn bran, corn germ meal, corn gluten, corn gluten meal and corn syrup, a manufacturer can produce a food that is perhaps 50% corn and 10% chicken and make it appear to have chicken as the main ingredient by splitting the corn into the above ingredients, effectively moving it down the list of ingredients.
Check out more on deceptive labeling here!
AAFCO establishes guidelines for feeding trials
In addition to establishing pet food labeling regulations and ingredient definitions, AAFCO formulates protocols for feeding trials. AAFCO states that a minimum of eight healthy dogs are required for one trial and that the trial must last a minimum of 26 weeks where only one formulation of food is tested and is the sole source of nutrition (except for water). A quarter of the dogs may be removed from the study for ‘non-nutritional reasons’ and data from the dogs removed from the trial does not need to be provided in the results (although dogs who die during the test do require a necropsy and the findings are to be recorded).
An AAFCO feeding trial takes place in a testing facility/test kennel. Food consumption may be measured and recorded. Test subjects’ body weights, as well as hemoglobin, packed cell volume, serum alkaline phosphatase and serum albumin are measured. If these are all within normal ranges (although the dog may lose 15% of his body weight during the study), and six dogs have survived for six months on the food, the formulation will be determined as nutritionally complete.
Feeding trials are not commonly performed due to expense, so AAFCO allows pet food manufacturers to claim their food as nutritionally complete if one of the following requirements is met:
• The food meets the nutrient requirements of the nutrient profile
• The food is similar to another product that does meet nutrient requirements
Many holistic vets, pet owners and smaller manufacturers do not place great priority on AAFCO standards because their nutritional profiles are different from those established by the NRC (National Research Council) and do not reflect the newest research on the nutritional needs of pets. Many pet owners and smaller pet product companies are dubious of AAFCO because it is partly made up of major manufacturers within the industry who have an incredibly large influence on how the regulations for their own industry are established, and in determining the feed ingredient definitions that allow by-products, 4-D meats (dead, dis- eased, decaying and disabled) and other non edible ingredients to be used in pet food.
Most consumers want to feed their dog a product that is not only nutritionally balanced and complete, but does not con- tain substances which are potentially harmful for their dogs. The labels on dog food with their complicated, scientific jar- gon and seemingly sound nutritional claims can fool even the most intelligent people into believing that the product behind the label is conscientiously prepared and rigorously regulated through governmental control. The reality is, the fox is watching the henhouse: a $12 billion henhouse. Consumers spend $12 billion on commercial pet foods each and every year and they have to ask themselves just what are they getting in return?
November/December 2010 Issue
Teaching Your Dogs and Kids to Get Along
Want your dog and kids to coexist peacefully? Here’s what you need to do.
(Nicole Sipe - Dog Channel)
Dogs and children: They go together like peanut butter and jelly ... well, most of the time. When dogs and kids interact with each other under ideal circumstances, there’s opportunities for bonding, playing, learning and loving. But most dogs and kids don’t automatically know how to get along, so it’s up to the responsible dog owner to help ensure smooth sailing.
What You Can Do as a Responsible Dog Owner
1. Supervise, supervise, supervise! The most important thing you can do to ensure harmony between children and dogs is to supervise their interactions. A responsible adult can help make sure playtime doesn’t get out of hand (which can happen very quickly with kids and pets), or that someone (human or canine) doesn’t get hurt.
2. Spay or neuter your dog. Not only does spaying or neutering prevent unwanted dogs from ending up homeless, in animal shelters or euthanized, it might also improve your dog’s behavior. According to the American Humane Association, when a dog is spayed or neutered, it puts a stop to the distracting, instinctual need to find a mate, helps your pet stop roaming, and decreases aggressive tendencies.
What to Teach Your Children
1. Most dogs don’t like to hug and kiss. Children are naturally drawn to love on dogs the way they do with their stuffed animals and baby dolls. But most dogs find this kind of unwanted behavior intimidating, and it can result in a warning growl -- or worse -- a bite. Also, teach kids not to put their face up to any dog, and to not stare into a dog’s eyes.
2. Do not disturb. If a dog is eating, sleeping, chewing on a toy or is a mama dog caring for her puppies, kids need to know that the dog is off limits at this time.
3. Read doggie body language. How can a child know when a dog wants to interact, and when he doesn’t? Look at the body language. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the following signals mean that the dog is uncomfortable and might feel the need to bite: tense body, stiff tail, pulled back head and/or ears, furrowed brow, eyes rolled so the whites are visible, yawning, flicking tongue, intense stare, backing away. Teach kids to stay away from dogs who show these signals.
(Dog Body Language - What your dog is desperately trying to tell you! www.thefamilydog.com
4. Please don’t tease. Just as people don’t like to be teased, neither do dogs! Avoid playing games that might be misconstrued as teasing, such as "bite my finger” with puppies, or tug-of-war, because they encourage aggressive behavior and can quickly get out of hand.
What to Teach Your Dog
1. Children are our friends. Give your dog lots of opportunities to interact with friendly, well-behaved children on a regular basis. If your dog doesn’t already live in a household with children, then parks, dog-friendly community events and walks around the neighborhood will give you lots of possibilities to introduce your dog to nice kids.
2. Get some class. Obedience class, that is. Attending an obedience class will help you and your dog learn basic cues -- such as sit, stay, lie down and come -- which you can use when your dog and children are together. In fact, you can make it a family affair by inviting your children to learn the cues with you. Get everyone in on the obedience action!
3. Good behavior is rewarding. When you catch your dog acting calm when kids are around, reward him with a treat, or a pat on the head if your dog isn’t food motivated. You want your dog to remember this equation whenever children are around: kids + calm dog = yummy treat/nice things happen.
4. There’s always an escape route. For some dogs (especially older dogs), being around kids and their shrieking, screaming, squealing and running is exhausting after a while. Make sure your dog has a place of his own to retreat to when he wants to, whether it’s his bed off in a quieter part of the house, or a comfy crate with a toy or two inside. Let everyone know that when your dog is in his "quiet place,” that means to leave him alone.
Should You Let Your Dog Eat Grass?
(Dr Becker - Healthy Pets)
There are two primary reasons why dogs eat grass. Number one is to use as a purgative, and number two is simply because they want to! (More on that in a minute … )
Dogs Eat Grass to Purge Their System
Most of you are well aware that dogs will, on occasion, eat large amounts of grass in an attempt to make themselves throw up. In fact, if your dog consumes a large amount of grass, it could be because she has:
After they consume a large amount of grass, they’ll often times lick their lips because they’re nauseous, and then of course, they’ll vomit.
It’s completely normal for your dog to vomit occasionally (like people do when they are ill), meaning one or two times a year. Most often it’s nothing to worry about and, surprising as this may sound, your dog knows what’s best in terms of intentionally voiding their system of something that could be toxic, or making them unwell.
What to do if Your Dog Eats Grass Often
As I said earlier, many dogs will eat grass to make themselves vomit, but if your dog is doing this on a frequent basis it’s a sign that her system may be off kilter.
In this case, you absolutely need to reevaluate their diet, as frequent gastrointestinal upset is a sign that something is wrong with the food that you’re feeding.
It may be a great quality food, one your dog has been eating for years with no trouble. But if your dog begins vomiting up grass and food several times a week or even weekly, I can tell you that this is not normal.
I would recommend switching brands of food, switching flavors and switching protein sources. Above all, if you’re capable of going from an entirely dead diet (kibble or canned) to an entirely living diet (raw), that would be wonderful!
You may want to seek the help of a holistic veterinarian who can help you to switch your dog to a new diet. Most importantly, if your dog has been eating the same diet for most of his life, you will need to make the transition gradually.
The other items that you should consider adding to your dog’s food are probiotics and digestive enzymes. Probiotics help reseed and fortify the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut, while the digestive enzymes provide what the entrails or the guts of their prey species would have. These enzymes provide a rich source of amylase, lipase and protease, which can help your pets process food much more successfully.
So, that’s one scenario -- the obsessive consumption of a large amount of grass in order to produce an episode of purging or vomiting. The next reason is entirely different …
Dogs May Feed on Grass Simply Because They Want To
Contrast the first scenario -- your dog rushing out and eating any and all grass in sight -- with this second scenario: you let your dog out the back door. It looks like he’s having a great time running around when all of a sudden you see him on a mission. He is sniffing and specifically seeking out tall, broad grasses -- the tall grasses that typically grow along a fence line or up from sidewalk cracks.
Your dog is very selectively picking out certain grasses. He identifies them and uses his front teeth to nibble and eat them. He’s not frantic, he is doing it almost with intention and you see him select a few grasses and go about his way.
That’s an entirely different scenario and that’s scenario number two, which means your dog is eating grass because he wants to.
Eating Grass is a Normal Dog Behavior
Dogs know what they need to consume. And in fact, biologists have told us that all canids -- dogs and wild dogs (wolves, coyotes, dingoes, etc.) -- consume grass and it’s a completely normal behavior.
So it’s important to recognize that you don’t have to prevent your dogs from eating grass unless you have treated grass or your grass has pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals on it.
It’s obviously important that you don’t allow your dogs to consume toxins when they’re consuming those grasses, but if the grass is free from contaminants, you can let your dog eat away.
Grass Has Nutrients Your Dog May Need
The grasses your dog is seeking out probably contains some nutritional value that your dog is seeking. We know that grass contains an abundant source of fiber or roughage, for instance, and we know that since grass is a living green food it contains phytonutrients and is high in potassium and also chlorophyll. Grasses are also a pretty good source of digestive enzymes.
So your dog could be seeking out selective grasses to make up for one of these nutritional components that they’re currently not getting in their diet.
Some dogs may also eat grass because they are under-fed, don’t have access to adequate food or are just plain bored. But, in the vast majority of cases, even if your dog is well fed and well cared for, he will still selectively pick out certain grasses just for their nutritional health benefits.
And again, there’s nothing wrong with letting dogs do that. So, that’s my official response. If you’re interested in participating in this hotly discussed topic, join us in the MercolaHealthyPets.com forum. I hope to see you there!
Hi, my name is Terry. I manage this website for my furbaby, Daisy. When I first became interested in the Shichons, I found it was difficult to get information on them. A few sites, I am using for information are excellent sources. Then, I moved on to compile and share more information on choosing a good breeder, grooming, health, behavior, training and much more. I hope you enjoy this site and find it helpful. I am NOT promoting any information, just sharing. You and your vet know what is best for your baby.