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Do Dogs Need Clothes in Winter? Myths and Facts

Guest Post by Rachel Burns

Do dogs really need clothes in winter? We did some digging on this, taking note of all the myths and as well as the facts. Read on to find out why you should get some coats for small dogs such as Chihuahuas during cold seasons, and much more!

Duffy-brook-471893-unsplashIt's that time of the year again when the weather is cold and even dogs will need some warm clothes. It is not uncommon to visit a store during winter and see greyhounds in big dog sweatshirts and puppies in cute little coats trudging behind their owners. And that got us wondering, do dogs really need clothes in winter? We did some digging on this, taking note of all the myths and misconceptions as well as the facts.

Different Dogs, Different Needs

When we asked a couple of our vet friends and several pet parents whether they recommend dressing up our furry friends during winter, the answers we got were mixed. One vet suggested that dogs have innate protection from the cold in the form of their fur coats. As a matter of fact, we found out that dogs are actually better suited to cold weather than the summer heat.

But then again, just like humans, different dogs process cold in different ways. Generally, dogs with thicker fur coats, such as Terriers, Maltese, Afghan Hound, and Huskies, don't need clothes in winter. However, it makes sense to provide coats for small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Poodles, during the winter months or else they will fall ill. Also, some bigger dog breeds, including some Pit Bulls and Greyhounds, have relatively thin coats and hence would appreciate the extra protection from clothes. Other types of dogs, such as Labradors and German Shepherds, don't necessarily need to be covered up, but it won't hurt if you do.

Not Every Dog is Comfortable with Clothes

There is a misconception, especially among first-time pet parents, that all they have to do is throw on some warm coat with fur hood and their pet will be alright. Well, that's not exactly a myth, but it is somewhat untrue. Dogs are highly curious animals (puppies especially) and are just as naturally reluctant to accept change as human beings. The first time you put a piece of clothing on your dog's back, chances are he won't be responsive, and he will most likely "freeze" in place. As such, it may makes sense to gradually introduce your dog to clothes by making him wear something for a minute or so every day.

Type Does Matter

Another misconception about winter dog wear is that all types of clothes will work fine in keeping your pet warm. But really, a knitted dog sweater with buttons can't protect your dog from the dew on the grass at the park. For the wet season, invest in waterproof attire, preferably with fur or fleece internal lining to not only keep your pet dry but also maintain a level of comfort.

Buying Coats for Small Dogs

When it comes to buying winter clothes for dogs, it is important to buy those that perfectly fit your dog's size. Buy clothes that are too loose, and they won't guarantee warmth and comfort, or worse still, they could get torn as he plays.

Best Winter Jacket Brands

Your pet is your best friend, and you should aspire to dress him up nicely, not just to keep warm, but to also look great. As far as warmth, comfort and class go, the best winter jacket brands for dogs are:    

  • Ruffwear        
  • Alpine 
  • EzyDog, and
  • Hurrta.

All of these brands are available in major pet shops as well as Amazon.

One of the guys in the office wore a brown dog costume for Halloween and ironically, his dog had on a plaid jacket, usually the type worn by humans. It was a funny scene, but in hindsight, a clear depiction of the historically great relationship between man and dog. Hopefully, you have better fashion plans for your dogs this winter!

Thanks for reading. We’d love to know what you think about winter clothes for dogs, so feel free to comment on this post.

Rachel Burns is a creative writer of https://allpetsexpert.com/. She knows that there are millions of pet owners looking for the right kind of information online. And here is her expertise lies. Rachel writes about pet care health.  

Photo by Duffy Brook on Unsplash


Natural Nutritional Supplements for Your Dog

Guest Post by Jeffrey Lewis

Golden-retriever-puppy-2706672_1920Healthy eating is not just limited to humans. Your dogs also need a well-balanced diet to ensure their good health and longevity. A nutritious diet steers the way for their overall well-being.

Just imagine how much joy your dog brings to you. In return, you should give him all the care that he deserves.

In order to make sure that your dogs are healthy in every way, you need to give them a diet that is full of essential nutrients that are much needed for their overall growth and development.

Commercially available pet foods claim to contain all the nutrients required by your dog. But in reality, such dog food lacks nutrients that are necessary to improve your dog’s health. In order to make up for this, you need to give them extra supplementation. There are so many natural supplements available that improve your dog's body functions and are helpful in maintaining their overall health.

Here are some of the most important natural supplements for your dog's growth and development.

  • Good Fatty Acids

In order to make sure that your dog’s skin is healthy enough, you need to add beneficial fatty acids in their diet. The most important fatty acids include Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids are good for the nourishment for a dog’s skin and coat and can be really useful to relieve inflammation and itching. You just need to give these fatty acid supplements to your dogs for a few months and you’ll see good results. Apart from that, these fatty acids also help in reliving arthritis and seasonal allergies.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many benefits for dogs. It is commonly available. Give it orally to your dog or topically apply it on the skin for better results. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties so it is very effective in curing and preventing bacterial and fungal infections in your dog. It is also very good for the immune system.

  • Mineral Salt

Salt is an essential ingredient in our diet. But did you know that it is also required by your dogs in a very small quantity, due to all the minerals it provides. The best salt for this purpose is Himalayan pink salt which is one of the purest salts available. It is free from contamination and other additives and chemicals. It has about 84 minerals and trace elements that are essential to fulfill the mineral requirement in your dog.

This salt has many benefits for your dog such as maintaining blood pressure, improving digestion, balancing pH and reducing water retention in body. Put it into the food or use in the form of salt licks for your dog’s health. These salt lick are a fun and convenient way to get most of the benefits of this salt.

  • Vitamins

As in humans, vitamins are very important for the dogs as well. Many dog foods contain vitamins in trace quantity. Some of the most important vitamins are vitamin A, B complex, C, D, E, and K. Dogs of different ages require them in different amounts. Some vitamins act as antioxidants and some help in digestion, and promoting healthy skin and hair.

  • Coconut Oil

You can give this oil orally as a supplement to your dog or can apply it topically on the skin. It is effective in both ways. It is an amazing moisturizer and provides relief from many skin conditions such as itchiness, ringworm, dandruff, and dryness. It is also very helpful in improving cognitive functions and gut health.

  • Glucosamine

Glucosamine naturally occurs in the joints and maintain the flexibility and mobility in dogs. With age, its production decreases due to which older dogs suffer from joint pain and difficult mobility. Giving a glucosamine supplement to your dog will maintain the healthy joints and regenerate cartilage to prevent joint problems.

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_lick

Jeffrey Lewis is a blogger at Ittefaq Salt. His aim is to create a beautiful, thriving life and help others to do the same. He is a crazy animal lover who enjoys writing about pets, animals, health and nutrition-related topics.

Editor's note: Dog owners should always consult their veterinarian about the nutritional supplements recommended for their particular dog.


Do You Have a Pet Emergency Plan?

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After Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina in September, dozens of people had died, hundreds of homes had been flooded, and countless of properties had been destroyed. The tragedy had been compounded by the fact that many animals were trapped in their flooded homes. Some pet owners had decided to save themselves, leaving their precious companions behind. As a result, there had been over a hundred pets rescued by volunteers in North Carolina alone days after the hurricane.

Pets trapped and left behind is a truly heartbreaking and distressing scene. But in case of powerful natural disasters, humans are often forced to choose between saving themselves and taking everything—including their pets—with them.

We hope we never, ever have to make that choice. We can’t prevent natural disasters, but we can prepare so that our beloved pets are taken care of always, even if we can’t be with them during an emergency.

That's why every pet owner should have a pet emergency plan, no matter how unlikely they think their pets could encounter natural disasters. We can’t physically be there with them all the time, but we can ensure that no harm would come to them.

Check out this great infographic that explains step-by-step how to create your own pet emergency plan:
https://www.mikesgearreviews.com/pet-emergency-plan-disaster-preparedness-pets/


Halloween and Your Dog

Dog-714861_1920Halloween may be a fun holiday for humans, but it can be pretty scary, and sometimes dangerous, for dogs. Here are some valuable Halloween safety tips from the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center:

Lock Candy Away
Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, but a dog’s keen sense of smell will lead him to even the most cleverly hidden treasure. Contact a veterinary professional right away if your pet does get into Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol.

Ditto the Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are used to help keep kids safe while they are out in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find these glow sticks to be a lot of fun and often puncture them. While most of the sticks are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste and pets who bite into them may begin drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste reaction.

Have Pets Identified and Visible
There are a lot of extra people on the streets at Halloween, and that combined with strange costumes can spook pets and cause them to bolt. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he or she wears a reflective collar and is securely leashed. And make sure your pet has proper identification on the collar.

Keep Pets Calm
Even pets who are kept indoors may experience intense anxiety over the large number of strangely dressed visitors. Keeping your pet away from trick-or-treaters may do the trick, but if you think more will be needed be sure and speak with your vet well in advance about options to help calm your pet.

Check Those Costumes
Costumes can be fun for the whole family. However, if you are planning on dressing up your best bud, ensure that the costume fits well and isn’t going to slip and tangle the pet or cause a choking hazard if chewed on. And never leave a costumed pet unattended.

 


Apartment Living with Your Dog

Dog-house-3183373_1920The lack of affordable housing in some areas can be a problem for pet owners, whose only alternative is renting an apartment. Apartment living with a cat is one thing, but it can be challenging with a dog.

ApartmentList.com has put together a handy resource called "The Ultimate Guide to Apartment Living with a Pet." It includes:

  • a comprehensive list that covers everything from policies to common pet fees to the difference between service and emotional support animals.
  • a checklist of 9 tips for moving with your pet that will guide you through everything you need to know to keep your travel smooth, your pet happy, and yourself sane.
  • good suggestions for ways to convince a landlord that having your pet live with you won’t be a problem.
  • a list of the top 10 apartment-friendly dog breeds.
  • and more.

Check out this helpful resource here: https://www.apartmentlist.com/rentonomics/the-ultimate-guide-to-apartment-living-with-a-pet/


How to Make Your Office Pet-Friendly

Dog-2871914_1920About 20 percent of U.S. companies are pet-friendly, not including co-working spaces that may allow pets. Before dogs are welcome into an office environment, though, a pet-friendly office policy has to be in place. Squarefoot.com has put together a very informative guide to creating a pet-friendly office policy that covers:

  • the difference between "pet-friendly" and support/therapy animals
  • six advantages of a pet-friendly office, including happiness, creativity and productivity and employee retention
  • five key considerations before establishing pet-friendly office policies
  • finding pet-friendly office space
  • how to implement a pet-friendly policy.

This is great information for business owners, as well as for employees who would like to convince their employers to make their offices pet-friendly.

Check it out here: https://www.squarefoot.com/blog/office-pets/ 


The Challenge of Renting with Pets

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In the Asheville area, renting a house or apartment with a pet is a challenge. In general, renting with a pet, especially a larger dog, can be challenging, wherever you live. Some rental properties even place restrictions on certain dog breeds. It can be such a tough problem that some renters will even surrender their pets if they can't find pet-friendly rentals. That's why, several months ago, Carolina Mountain Dog published a listing of some local resources for pet-friendly housing.

An infographic from Tails Pet Magazine might also be helpful. "Renting with Pets: The Good, the Bad, and the Frustrating" covers pets and the rental market, pet rental fees, and has suggestions for "finding your perfect pet-friendly rental."

Check out the infographic here: http://www.tailsinc.com/2018/08/renting-with-pets-good-bad-frustrating/ 


How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need?

Guest post by Brian Morgan

Dog-848390_1280It is no secret that dogs love sleeping. In fact, they spend most of the day laying on the sofa and snoozing. Therefore, we often blame them of being lazy. However, this statement cannot be further from the truth. Because of their biological clocks and sleeping patterns, dogs have higher sleeping requirements.

Generally speaking dogs spend about 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Since dogs tend to adjust their sleeping patterns according to the owners’ patterns, their sleeps are not continuous nor equally divided. Usually dogs sleep 8 hours during the night and the remaining 4 to 6 hours occur during the day in the form of naps.

How dogs spend their days

Humans follow a binary sleeping pattern that consists of 12 hours awake during the day and about 8 hours of sleep during the night. Dogs do not have strict and preconceived sleeping patterns.

On average, most adult dogs spend around 50 percent of the day sleeping, around 30 percent of the day resting, and around 20 percent of the day being physically active.

The sleeping portion includes the long night sleep and the short naps during the day. While resting, dogs are awake but physically inactive. The physically active portion of the day includes all physical activities from walking and running to playing fetch and tug-of-wars.  

The dog’s sleeping pattern

The dog’s sleeping pattern is similar to ours. The first phase of sleeping is the slow one and it manifests with slower breathing, blood pressure dropping and heart rate decrease. This phase lasts for 10 minutes. After that, dogs enter the second, rapid eye movement (REM) phase. As the name suggests this phase manifests with fast rolling of the eyes under the closed eyelids.          

The only difference between the human and the canine sleeping pattern is the time spent in REM phase. REM is also the phase in which active dreaming occurs. While humans spend up to 25 percent of sleep in REM, due to their inconsistent sleeping schedules, dogs are in the REM phase for only 10 percent of the total sleep time. Because of the shorter REM phase, dogs need more total sleep make up for the shorter REM.

Simply put, although dogs sleep longer than we do, they do not sleep as soundly and they need to compensate for the lost REM’s.

Factors influencing the dog’s sleeping pattern

Adult dogs spend around 12-14 hours per day on sleeping, while young puppies tend to sleep for more than 18 hours per day. However, the exact time a dog spends on sleeping depends on several factors such as:

  • Breed – large dog breeds sleep longer than small dog breeds. Additionally, how much the dog will sleep depends on what it is bred for. For example, working dogs have lower sleeping needs than dogs bred to be companions.
  • Age – young puppies and senior dogs have higher sleeping requirements
  • Exercise regimen – as contradictory as it may sound, active dogs need less sleep than dogs with sedentary lifestyles
  • Environment – dogs that live in environments with extensive mental stimulations tend to sleep longer.

Changes in the sleeping habits

Sudden changes in the dog’s sleeping schedule may be a cause for alarm and can signalize certain health issues. The most common reasons why your dog’s sleeping pattern can be altered include:

  • Low-quality diet – bad diets make dogs sleep longer because they either do not provide enough nutrients or are hard to digest and require more energy for proper digestion
  • Poor health – cardiovascular conditions, inactive thyroid glands, diabetes and canine depression are all linked to altered sleeping patterns and can significantly influence the dog’s sleeping needs.

Changes in the sleeping habits are normal in older, senior dogs. Senior dogs tend to sleep longer during the day and they also tend to get up more frequently during the night simply because life becomes harder with age. This may seem weird at first, but it is a natural part of the ageing process.  

Doggy sleep disorders

The most common doggy sleep disorders include:

  • Narcolepsy – indicates excessive daytime napping manifested with sudden falling in deep sleep and it usually involves partial or complete muscle paralysis.
  • Insomnia – sleeplessness is quite rare in dogs and it is almost always due to health issues.
  • Sleep apnea – loud snoring caused to heavy and temporarily stopped breathing that causes the dog to wake up. If it occurs frequently it can lead to tiredness during the day.

All dog parents are well aware of how much their canine babies enjoy sleeping. To be honest, when it comes to dogs, extensive sleep is physiologically required. To properly function and stay well-rested, dogs need a good night's sleep and frequent day naps. 

Dogs are flexible sleepers capable of falling asleep out of boredom. They are also capable of waking up easily and becoming alert immediately after the waking. Because of this inconsistent and irregular sleeping pattern dogs need a lot of sleep. Additionally dogs do not sleep deeply and tend to wake up a lot.

If your dog does not follow its usual sleeping pattern, do not hesitate to contact the vet.

Brian Morgan is the editor for DogBedZone a website providing tips, guides, and resources for dog owners.

Image: Mathey, Pixabay.com


Just How Dog-Friendly is Asheville?

Madrid-2061937_1280Asheville has been lauded as one of the dog-friendliest small cities in the United States. So... just how dog-friendly is Asheville?

Thanks to pups-on-the-street research, AVL Today has put together a list of 30-plus dog-friendly places in downtown Asheville where you can eat, drink, and shop with your pooch. The list includes breweries, patios, and shops where dogs are welcome.

The summer is a great time to enjoy WNC's dog-friendliest city. Check it out here: 
https://avltoday.6amcity.com/downtown-dog-friendly/

Image: Kiranda70, Pixabay.com


Hiking with Your Dog 101

Guest Post by Houda of DiamondPup.com

Jorge-flores-98842-unsplashIf you are an outdoors and adventure enthusiast, then you know that there is nothing better than leaving “real life” behind and going on a hike, taking in the fresh air and enjoying beautiful landscapes. If you have a dog, you might have been thinking about taking your best friend with you on a hike, but, maybe you don’t know where to start your prepping.

Don’t worry, hiking with a dog is actually not that difficult if you follow the few tips in this article, provided that you are already a hardened hiker. If this is your first time hiking, then my advice would be to leave your dog home until you become more experienced.

First of all, have a pre-hike trip to the vet

After all, even if you are only hiking for a day, many (bad) things could happen in just one day. So, just to be on the safe side of things, go to the veterinarian first, and make sure your dog is actually able to hike. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, and that his veterinarian does a full check-up before giving you the OK. In the end, nothing matters more than your dog’s health, and you don’t want him to get hurt when all you wanted was to have some fun and do some exercise.

Make sure your dog is properly trained

Most importantly, you have to be sure that your dog is under voice command, especially if you want to take him off his leash when it’s possible. If your dog goes running away as soon as you take him off it though, then don’t do it. It is better to keep him leashed than to be looking for him in a mountain environment where he could hurt sensitive wildlife or run into a wild animal.

Another thing to make sure of is that your dog is well socialized, since you will probably be meeting other people (and maybe theirs pets as well) on the hiking trail. This is especially important if your dog is from a breed that is difficult around crowds (such as the Blue Heeler for example).

Make sure the trail you choose is dog-friendly

Just like camping parks, some national parks do not allow dogs, even when they’re leashed. So, instead of going all the way for a hike and then coming back home with your tail between your legs (pun intended) because your dog wasn’t allowed, it would be better to just check online, and see which trails around you are dog-friendly and which ones aren’t. This website does a good job of gathering most dog-friendly hiking trails around the world, so don’t hesitate to take a quick virtual tour on it.

Pack lightly but smartly

If you are only going for a day, packing too much will just slow you down and put pressure on you and your best friend. Make sure your dog’s harness isn’t too tight nor too loose, and load the bags with everything necessary, such as light collapsible bowls, quality dog food (such as Merrick) that will give your pooch enough energy to keep on hiking, treats, and water. And, make sure the total weight doesn’t exceed one-third of your dog’s weight.

Pack your dog’s first aid kit

Not a lot of people think of it, but your pet’s first aid kit is just as important as yours. You can either buy one from a pet shop or make your own. If you want to make your own, be sure to have all of these components in it:

  • Gauze
  • Special pet bandages
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Surgical gloves
  • Tweezers (preferably ones that can remove ticks)
  • Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Ointments
  • Aspirin
  • Your dog’s medical paperwork (medications, vaccinations etc…)
  • Phone number of your veterinarian, poison control, and your personal information as well

Finally, remember to be safe

Stay hydrated, give your dog all the water he needs, have fun, and don’t think too much. Practice trail etiquette, only take your best friend off his leash in areas where it’s not prohibited, and don’t forget to always stay on trail, not only for your own safety, but also to preserve the forest and mountain’s flora and fauna.

About Houda of DiamondPup.com: I'm Houda, a full-time writer, traveller, and self-proclaimed dog person. I also make lame jokes, write poetry, and love eating weird food in faraway countries. Did I mention that I was a dog person?
Yeah, give me all the puppies, please.

Image: Photo by Jorge Flores on Unsplash


Tracking Your Dog with GPS

ID-10014990When it comes to getting directions, GPS on your smartphone is a given. What you may not know is that GPS is now becoming common for tracking dogs. There are numerous GPS dog trackers available on the market today; in fact, the choices can be bewildering. Here is some basic information about why tracking your dog with GPS makes sense, courtesy of TeletracNavman (and thanks to blog reader Natalie for pointing us to this resource):

  • 40 percent of dogs are startled by loud or unexpected noise. This "noise anxiety" can cause dogs to become frightened and bolt. A GPS tracker can help you find a frightened pet quickly.
  • When a dog goes missing and you aren't home, it could be hours before you take action. Some GPS trackers can notify you as soon as it happens.
  • A GPS tracker is your best friend when you are traveling with your dog. When you or your dog are unfamiliar with an area, it can lead to trouble.
  • If your dog likes to chase animals, cars or moving objects, a GPS tracker can help you track him down.  

TeletracNavman offers several other reasons for GPS tracking, plus a comprehensive list of helpful articles about losing a pet. You can find this resource here: https://www.teletracnavman.com/gps-fleet-tracking-education/tracking-your-dog-with-gps

Image: Simon Howden, Freedigitalphotos.net


Can You Bring Your Dog to Work?

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If you work at home, your dog can go to work with you -- but can you bring your dog with you if you work at a traditional job? Even though it's estimated that less than 10 percent of pet owners in the U.S. are currently allowed to bring their dogs to work, there is growing evidence that dogs in the workplace actually decrease stress and improve employee morale and productivity.

Quill.com has created a handy infographic, "Wagging in the Workplace," that explores the benefits of pets at work. It includes information about specific benefits of pet-friendly workplaces, provides examples of companies that are pet-friendly, and has suggestions for how a company can create and manage a successful pet-friendly policy.

You can access the infographic here: https://www.quill.com/blog/workplace-culture/wagging-in-the-workplace-benefits-of-pets-at-work.html

Image: Quill.com


Resources to Find Pet-Friendly Housing in the Asheville Area

ID-100388315We hear quite frequently from local folks that it is not easy to find pet-friendly rentals in the Asheville area, so we thought we'd make you aware of resources available if you're searching for housing that accommodates your dog.

-A local real estate company, Alpha Real Estate, specializes in pet-friendly housing rentals.

-Apartment List has several listings for pet-friendly Asheville apartments: https://www.apartmentlist.com/nc/asheville/c/pet-friendly-apartments-for-rent

- RENTCafe lists pet-friendly Asheville apartments: https://www.rentcafe.com/pet-friendly-apartments-for-rent/us/nc/asheville/

-A website service, Zumper.com, lists pet-friendly rentals by town. Here are links to a few of their listings: 

Asheville

Hendersonville

Weaverville

-Asheville Humane Society has an information page about pet-friendly housing, including tips for renters, online resources, local real estate agents, and a list of numerous pet-friendly apartment homes.

Image: Alex_Ugalek, Freedigitalphotos.net


Asheville Restaurants with Menus for Dogs

ID-100236412Western North Carolina residents and visitors alike know that Asheville is a very dog-friendly city. In addition to lots of stores for dogs, including a dog bakery, most any Asheville restaurant with outdoor seating allows dogs to accompany diners. Now some restaurants have taken it a step further -- they even offer special menus for dogs.

According to this recent story in the Asheville Citizen-Times, several Asheville restaurants feature canine cuisine, including:

  • Twisted Laurel (entrees and treats) - outdoor seating
  • Posana (entrees and treats) - outdoor seating
  • Avenue M (treats) - outdoor patio
  • Battery Park Champagne Bar (treats) - outdoor seating
  • The Hop (doggie ice cream) - doggie socials
  • Ultimate Ice Cream (doggie ice cream)
  • Purple People Feeder (food truck; special dog bowl)

Of course, that doesn't even include all the places where you can take out a meal and enjoy it with your pup at Pack Square Park, Pritchard Park, or Carrier Park.

So next time you eat out, you can pick a place where you can feed Fido too!

Image: Khunaspix, Freedigitalphotos.net

 


April 8 is National Dogfighting Awareness Day

ID-100271616It is difficult for dog lovers in the Carolina mountains to believe, but dogfighting is going on right here in North Carolina. That's why the ASPCA has declared April 8 "National Dogfighting Awareness Day." According to the ASPCA:

"Dogfighting is one of the most monstrous forms of animal cruelty. Forcing animals to maul each other for entertainment or profit has no place in our society.

"We’re constantly working to pass stronger laws to deter and address this abuse—dogfighting is a felony nationwide, but stiff penalties are only one piece of the puzzle. We also need to ensure that dogs rescued from fighting can be rehabilitated and rehomed quickly. Passage of the HEART (Help Extract Animals from Red TapeAct will reduce unnecessary delays in the rehoming of victims rescued in federal cases."

The ASPCA is asking all dog lovers to sign a petition to the U.S. Department of Justice to support passage of HEART. You can sign it here: https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/tell-the-department-of-justice-have-a-heart-on-animal-fighting

For additional information about dogfighting and what you can do to stop it, visit: 
https://www.aspca.org/news/what-dog-fighting-and-what-can-you-do-stop-it

Image: Patrisyu, freedigitalphotos.net


Be Aware of Household Poisons

ID-100395000According to the ASPCA, "Toxic chemicals, dangerous plants, as well as products and substances found in our everyday surroundings can be poisonous or even fatal to animals. Unfortunately, a pet can ingest a household chemical, lap up a liquid, or chew on a seemingly harmless plant -- and become sick and even die."

The ASPCA's Poison Control Center has put together a helpful brochure that lists in detail common household hazards, has poison prevention tips, and discusses how to put together a poison safety kit for your dog or cat. The Poison Control Center also provides a hotline staffed by veterinarians who can advise you in case of emergency. You can reach them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 888-426-4435.

Download a free copy of the ASPCA Poison Control Center brochure at the link below (PDF).

Download Aspca household hazards

Image: Alex Ugalek, freedigitalphotos.net


The Benefits of Grain-Free Dog Food

Guest Post by Olivia Williams

ID-10049938Dog-lovers everywhere simply want the best for their pooches. And when it comes to providing our four-legged, furry friends optimum nutrition, many of us would rather choose grain-free dog food for a variety of reasons, many of which are tied to the benefits of grain-free dog food. Here are some of them:

  • More nutrients per gram of dog food

 Ancestral dogs always preferred meats over any other type of food. However, today’s dogs aren’t necessarily carnivores; in fact, they are omnivores like you and me.

Sadly, with the commercialization of dog food, companies sometimes minimize production costs. Instead of putting high-quality ingredients in sufficient amounts into dog food, some companies use ‘fillers’ in the form of wheat, corn, and other cereal grains for the simple fact that these are generally ‘cheaper’ than protein like beef or chicken. That is why low-quality dog foods will have a greater proportion of these so-called ‘fillers’ that do not necessarily contain all the right amounts of nutrients needed by your pooch.

But when you give your dog grain-free food, you are almost certain that the ‘fillers’ have been significantly replaced with more nutritious ingredients such as wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruits as well as more protein like chicken, beef, turkey, and others. This simply means you are giving your dog more nutrients for exactly the same amount of dog food.

  • Less incidence of food allergies

 Wheat, corn, and soy, as well as other cereal grains, are considered allergenic. Chicken, pork, and beef as well as any other food that has protein in it can also be allergenic. The good news is that the digestive system of a dog is naturally designed to digest proteins from animal sources a lot more efficiently than they do proteins coming from cereal grains. This leads to fewer incidences of food allergies and other forms of allergies in dogs. The reason is simple. Because an allergic reaction is triggered by the exposure of a protein molecule to immune system cells, digesting large proteins into peptides and amino acids eliminates this antigen-recognition capability of immune system cells.

 Since dogs are able to digest animal proteins into amino acids, they experience less stomach upsets and other symptoms of food allergies. On the other hand, since they cannot process cereal grain proteins into amino acids that efficiently, some of the undigested proteins are ‘sensed’ by the immune system of the dog, triggering an allergic response.

  • More energy to support your dog’s lifestyle

 It is important to distinguish the difference between a grain-free and carb-free dog diet. Dogs, like us, rely on carbohydrates for energy. This is especially true if you’re the type of dog-owner who goes on a trek with your pooch on the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains or even the Great Smoky Mountains. They will need energy for the adventure. While cereal grains are a good source of carbohydrates, these are not the only sources. For instance, sweet potatoes and rice, often found in grain-free food, are excellent sources of carbohydrates for your pooch. They’re generally friendly to the tummy, too. This can help support your dog’s active lifestyle.

  • Healthier skin and coat

 Trekking in the Blue Ridge Mountains means exposing your dogs to the elements, not to mention objects and particles that can irritate its skin and make its coat frizzled. Since a grain-free dog diet has more nutrients that come from healthier grains, fruits, and vegetables, you can feel more confident about promoting healthier coat and skin for your pet. This is the function of antioxidants that are mostly found in many fruits and vegetables. As such, dog foods that are rich with these kinds of nutrients can help improve the condition of your pet’s skin and coat.

  • Less shedding

 Because your dog’s coat is naturally healthier brought about by the various nutrients that are supplied to every hair root, your pooch will have lesser incidence of shedding. Your dog will still shed its fur, but this will be significantly less than if your pet were on a dog food that contains cereal grains. This can also translate to easier cleaning of your upholstery and carpet at home.

There are many other reasons why pet parents today would want grain-free dog food for their beloved pets. You only want to give your dog the best nutrition possible, just like any responsible parent would give to her kids.

Olivia Williams is mum of 2 and a true animal lover with 3 dogs, 2 cats and a parrot called Charlie. Heading up the content for MyPetNeedsThat.com amongst a busy family schedule, her goal is to try help people all around the world become better pet owners.

Image: Aopsan, Freedigitalphotos.net


Do You Sleep with Your Dog?

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 4.35.23 PMAbout half of U.S. pet owners sleep with their pets, and about 45 percent of dog owners sleep with their dogs.

Do you sleep with your dog? If so, you are definitely not alone! But there are some things that you should know about sleeping with your dog. There are health benefits and health risks, for example, and there are tips to make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.

The folks at Tuck.com, whose aim is to to improve sleep hygiene, health, and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free resources, have put together "Sleeping with Pets." This informative guide answers a lot of questions about sleeping with your dog, including one all dog owners wonder about: "Is snoring normal for dogs?"

You'll find this free guide here:  https://www.tuck.com/sleeping-with-pets/

Image: Tuck.com


How to Perform CPR on Your Dog

ID-100238757It's a scary scenario: Your dog chokes, stops breathing, or is unconscious. You know you need to get your dog to the vet or emergency animal hospital, but you can take some simple steps first that may save your dog's life.

In an article that originally appeared on DogHeirs.com and was republished with permission by Reshareworthy.com, you'll find detailed instructions for performing CPR on your dog. Three specific actions are recommended:

  1. Perform 100-120 chest compressions per minute
  2. Perform a compression to mouth-to-snout ventilation ratio of 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths
  3. Perform cardiac massage / chest compressions according to the different chest types and sizes of dogs.

The article includes illustrations as well as a video that will be very helpful in applying these techniques properly. Performing CPR on your dog is not unlike performing it on humans -- and it could make the difference between life and death.

Find the article here: http://www.reshareworthy.com/cpr-for-dogs-and-cats/

Image: Photokanok, Freedigitalphotos.net