10 Durable, Eco-Friendly Dog Toys for The Toughest Chewers

dog playing with toySome dogs are master destroyers. No matter what toy you give them, no matter how much you spend, it seems they tear it to shreds within minutes. Not only can this get to be expensive, it can also be dangerous for your dog. Even the smallest pieces can cause obstructions in the dog’s gut, and any toy that can be easily destroyed is probably not a good fit for your pooch.

For many dog owners, it seems like there are no toys on the market made for their destructive and powerful dog. And let’s face it… We all want our dogs to have fun and to play with us. Whether it’s fetch or tug-of-war, it’s just nice being able to play with your best friend.

Thankfully, meaning not only are you helping out your dog, but you’re helping protect the environment as well. Win-Win!

Here’s our list of eco-friendly dog toys that were built for the toughest chewers out there.

1. Hurley Dog Bone by West Paw Design – This toy is a stick, a ball and a bone, all rolled into one. Not only is this toy guaranteed to last, it’s also recyclable and certified safe. It’s part of the Zogoflex line of dog toys, and it’s not the only one of their toys that have made our list. It comes in four colors and three sizes, and the price starts at $10.95. Not bad at all for a toy that’s guaranteed to last. And yes, it’s dishwasher safe too, so it’s easy to clean.

2. Jive Dog Ball by West Paw Design – Like the dog toy above, this ball is part of the ZogoFlex line of toys, and it’s the most durable ball from West Paw Design. Not only is it guaranteed to last, it’s also buoyant, making it the ideal ball to take to the beach or to play with in the pool. Perfect size for a ball thrower in case you don’t want to get slobber all over your hards. As above, this toy is recyclable and can be thrown in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

3. Tux Treat Toy by West Paw Design – If you haven’t discovered the joys of a treat toy, you’re truly missing out. The thing with treat toys is that it goes above and beyond the call of duty. Yes, it provides your dog with something to chew on, but it also provides your dog with treats as they chew on it, making them less likely to turn that powerful jaw on your shoes or furniture. Not only that, but West Paw Design considers this one of their toughest dog toys.

4. The Launcher with Orbee Ball – Does your dog like to play fetch, but you simply can’t throw the ball far enough to make them happy? Well that’s where The Launcher comes in handy. It allows you to pick up the ball and send the ball flying into the air. But not only is it great for fetch, it’s also durable and designed to stand up to hardcore chewing. And because we’re all about eco-friendly toys, yes, this toy is made from quality reclaimed materials.

5. Plaid Scottie Toy by Harry Barker – Perhaps you’re all stocked up on balls and bones, but would like something both cuddly and durable. Sound like an oxymoron? Well, it doesn’t have to be. This adorable stuffed toy is designed to look like a Scottie. But not only is it cute, it’s durable, and can withstand hours of playing. And it’s stuffed from eco-friendly fiberfill made from recycled plastic bottles, so you know it’s environmentally friendly too!

6. Cotton Rope Alligator Toys by Harry Barker – Okay, so maybe the plaid Scottie isn’t your style. If that’s the case, and you’re still wanting something cute to add to your dog’s collection, these adorable rope alligator toys by Harry Barker fit the bill. Not only are they durable and made for tough chewers, they’re made from a machine-washable cotton can help clean your dog’s teeth while they chew.

7. Cotton Rope Bone by Harry Barker – Teething puppies can do a lot of damage, but these toys are made just for them. An added trick is tossing them into the freezer a few hours before giving them to your pet, and then let them chew away. Durable, cute, and the recycled cotton yarn cleans their teeth too! And don’t worry, these toys are machine-washable, making them easy to clean.

8. Wreath Rubber Dog Toy by Harry Barker – See a trend here, huh? Harry Barker offers so many great durable, yet eco-friendly dog toys, but this is possibly one of the toughest toys they have. This wreath toy is 100% recyclable and meant to hold up to the toughest chewers. Also makes for a great game of tug of war!

9. Eco Rattler with Squeaker by Honest Pet Products – Dogs love squeak toys. Problem is, powerful chewers often find a way to remove the squeaker within a few seconds, destroying the toy in the process. This isn’t the case with this Eco Rattler toy, which is designed to be durable. This toy is made from durable HEMP canvas, making the outer layer 100% natural. Also, as an added bonus, it’s natural anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, easily cleaned and the company employs disabled people to help make the toys. Just an all around good product.

10. Diamond Plate Ball by Planet dog – With a name like Diamond Plate, this toy better be tough. It’s ranked as one of Planet Dog’s most durable toys. And if you already have too many balls, there’s also the Double Tuff made from the same Diamond Plate material. And yes, both are recyclable. Need you even ask?

Every single one of these toys can either be thrown in the dishwasher or tossed in the washing machine. But what’s the point in spending money on eco-friendly, non-toxic toys if you’re just going to clean them with chemicals? Go the extra mile in keeping your dog (and the planet) safe by washing your dog’s toys in an all-natural product.

For toys that are dishwasher safe, Grab Green Dishwasher Detergent will do the trick, and it’s non-toxic and safe, so you don’t have to worry about any chemical residue making your pooch sick. It’s naturally-derived and safe for the environment too, which is perfect for the person interested in eco-friendly, durable toys. If you still prefer to wash everything by hand, that’s fine. Just use Grab Green Dish Soap instead. It’s still made with naturally derived, non-toxic ingredients, so you know you’re doing right by your pet when using it.

And for the Harry Barker cotton toys or any stuffed toy that’s washing machine safe, Grab Green Laundry Detergent is a superior, yet safe, cleaner.  Made of naturally derived, plant and mineral based ingredients, you can rest assured that your dog’s toys will come out of the wash clean and ready for play again in no time!

Overcoming Separation Anxiety Once and For All

separation anxiety

We know it’s hard to leave your dog and go to work everyday. Many of us would rather stay home with our best friend all day if we could, wouldn’t we? But it’s an unfortunate fact that many of us simply can’t afford to do that. And we know it’s not just hard on you, but it can be hard on your best friend too. Especially if there’s a change in routine or you have a new dog in your life who’s not yet comfortable without you nearby.

When I first got Annabelle, my Great Dane, she was 8 weeks old. I had just completed graduate school and was trying to find work, so I was able to stay home with her all day, every day. Since it was during the recession, it meant this went on for a very long time. Annabelle got used to me being there with her. And honestly, I got used to it too.

When I took my first post-grad school job, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. She was already crate trained, but I didn’t want to crate her for eight hours a day, so we blocked off the kitchen and dining area for her instead. She had access to toys, her bed, everything she needed to be comfortable and secure. But even though she had everything she could possibly need, she was still missing one thing – me.

Because we didn’t transition her properly to ease her anxiety, she wound up tearing up the kitchen. Being that she’s a giant dog, she has a giant mouth and her ability to devour furniture knows no bounds. She ate my kitchen table, my chairs, even the railing to the stairs leading to the back door. She pulled up the flooring at the door and managed to open all of the cabinets and eat everything she found in there as well.

All of this in one eight hour day. Back then, I knew less about dogs than I do know, and it was extremely stressful. I didn’t know that Annabelle was stressed out and missing me. She was going through something very normal for a dog when their human leaves them alone for the first time. She was experiencing separation anxiety.

This is a very common problem for dogs. Like I mentioned above, it can stem from a change in routine or it could be a problem from the very first day you bring your canine friend home. Many dogs that are rescued might fear that when you leave, you’re never coming back. After all, they’ve likely been abandoned before and are fearful of it happening again.

The question is, how do you help your dog overcome separation anxiety once and for all?

The first step is to identify the type and cause of the anxiety and behavior. Some dogs are genuinely stressed out and act out, while others may do it because it’s a learned behavior that’s inadvertently reinforced through our own actions. Also, sometimes it’s not the stress of being alone that’s the problem, but boredom. Many dogs simply do not get enough exercise and fulfillment due to our busy schedules, and this can also lead them to being destructive when you’re away.

As much as we try to do what’s best for our dogs, sometimes it’s our own actions causing the anxiety.

Here are five ways we can increase anxiety in our dogs:

1) When we leave, we make a big deal out of saying goodbye. We make this seem like a sad time with hugs, kisses and encouraging words, hoping that this will soothe our dog before we leave.

2) When we return, we make a big deal out of coming home. Our dogs greet us with such exuberance, and it feels good! So we love on them and praise them over and over again.

3) We don’t give our dogs enough exercise prior to leaving them.

4) We don’t provide enough enrichment to keep them entertained while we’re away.

5) We don’t properly prepare them to be alone.

The first two are likely the most common issues. When you leave, you try to soothe your dog, but what you’re essentially doing is ramping up their anxiety. They now know you’re leaving, and because you’ve comforted them, they assume this is a big, scary time. They begin to associate you leaving with something that is sad or scary. And when you come home and they get super excited, and you in turn get super excited. By doing that, you’re telling them that you leaving is bad, and you coming home is good. Which leads to anxiety while you’re gone.

Also, many dogs act out because they’re bored. We often forget that many breeds were bred for specific purposes. Huskies may be beautiful to look at, but they are built to pull sleds through the snow. Sitting on a couch all day while you’re at work is the equivalent of you watching paint dry for several hours a day, every day, for the rest of your life.

No matter the reason, it boils down to your dog not being prepared for being left alone. So how can you work on separation anxiety and make sure your dog doesn’t eat your house when you leave for a few hours? How can you make sure your dog is comfortable, safe and secure while you’re at work?

Here are 8 tips that will hopefully help you and your pet work on these issues

1) Vet knows best. Especially if this is a new issue or you’re dealing with an older dog, it doesn’t hurt to check with your vet to make sure there aren’t underlying medical issues that are leading to the anxiety. Sometimes they can also prescribe medicine to help with the anxiety, but usually it’s best to work on training or other natural means before turning to medicinal cures. There are also essential oils that could help curb their anxiety, but again, check with your vet first.

2) Stop turning your departure into something bad. Yes, we like that our dogs miss us and don’t want us to leave, but that mentality isn’t good for your dog. The best way to fix this issue is to turn you leaving into a positive experience. Don’t make your goodbyes into an emotional affair, for one thing. Be calm and happy as you prepare to leave. But also give your dog something to look forward to when you leave. For instance, have specific toys that only come out when you leave. Or feed them when you leave. If you don’t want to give them an entire meal, you can give them special treats that are only given right before you head out the door. It’s best if these items last awhile, giving them something to do for awhile after you step out. Which leads us to our next solution…

3) Find news ways to keep them entertained while you’re away.
There are puzzle toys that dispense treats when your dog does certain tasks. Not only do they get a yummy treat, it keeps them busy. And for dogs that need mental stimulation and who are bored, it provides that as well. You can also fill up a Kong toy with DOGSBUTTER and freeze it, giving them a tasty treat they can savor for a while. Not only that, it keeps them busy, which in turn, keeps their mouths off of your shoes and electronics or whatever may be handy. It’s a win-win for everyone.

4) Take baby steps. If your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety, you may need to start slow. This means instead of leaving your dog for eight hours by themselves, you start out by leaving them for a few minutes as you walk down the street. Then gradually increase the time you’re away, letting them realize that nothing bad happens when you’re gone.

5) Hellos and goodbyes need to be calm. When you leave, don’t make a big deal out of it. Same when you return. It’s just another part of your day. The less you react to these events, the less emotion your dog will attach to them as well. You may pet your dog upon entering, but remain calm and don’t get overly excited. This way they don’t associate your absence with any strong emotions.

6) Do not punish your dog. I can’t state this enough, if you want your dog to be well-behaved and well-adjusted, you need to be careful in how you train them. Scolding, yelling or spanking, especially a dog that is already anxious, will only increase their anxiety. Sure, it’s frustrating when you come home and see your entire shoe collection torn to shreds, but at the end of the day, you should have made sure anything of value was put away until you know your dog can be trusted. If anyone deserves the scolding, it’s you. But even when you check and double check, accidents happen. And that’s fine. Just don’t take that frustration out on your dog because it doesn’t fix the situation. It only makes it worse.

separation anxiety27) Exercise your dog. Depending on the breed, this may mean going on a four mile run or simply tossing the ball in the backyard. This is why it’s important to consider the energy level of a breed before getting a dog and making sure you get a breed that’s right for you. If your dog is full of energy and you leave them confined to your house all day with no release, then you’re just asking for trouble. Exercise is key. Wear your dog out before work and they just might sleep the entire day away, oblivious to you being gone at all.

8) Crate train. Not every dog needs to be crate trained, but it can always come in handy. Annabelle was crate trained from the very beginning, and it was a breeze. To this day, she chooses to lie in her crate or other tight space (now that her crate isn’t up) when she’s nervous or wants to be left alone (because our cats like to pester her). Because she’s severely stressed when I leave, she put herself in harm’s way by chewing. I established her crate as her safe place, and to this day, it remains so.

We are just now working on leaving her out of the crate when we leave. She’s now showing progress. But she still prefers to lie in her crate, even if the door isn’t shut, because it helps her feel contained. And that’s fine. She’s very much a dog of routine. When she knows what to expect, she’s not stressed. And for her, going into the crate usually means tons of treats, something she looks forward to every day. It alleviates the stress of us leaving her.

We can’t stress enough about how great puzzle toys and Kongs filled with DOGSBUTTER can be though. It’s a great investment that can save you a lot on furniture and vet bills. Because let’s face it, dogs who eat the house are at a greater risk for obstructions and getting into toxic items. Give them something they can chew on instead. Something safe. Something healthy. And best of all, something yummy.

 

 

Coconut Oil is Good for Dogs, But What About Coconuts?

Dog Coconut

We’ve all know that coconut oil is good for dogs and humans, but what about regular, straight up coconut? Can dogs eat coconut? And if so, what are the benefits of eating coconut for our canine companions?

The answer to that first question is YES! The oil isn’t the only part of the coconut that’s beneficial and healthy for our canine friends. And I’ve discovered recently that my dog simply loves the taste of coconut oil, so why not branch out with other treats containing this superfood?

And to answer the second question, what are the benefits of dogs eating coconut? Here are just a few benefits to treating your pup to some good, old-fashioned coconut every now and then.

1.  Coconut is made up of Lauric acid. This substance helps fight against viruses, which in turn helps boost their immune systems.

2.  Coconut also contains albumin which helps in the formation of red blood cells.

3.  It can clear up skin conditions including flea allergies and itchy skin.

4. It can help with bad breath.

5.  It’s even believed to help speed the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots and more.

So yes, it’s safe. It’s yummy. And it could potentially help your dog in many different ways. The next question is, how should you give it to them?

Some owners apparently like to give their dog a whole coconut to chew on like a toy. That’s safe and could save your slippers, but don’t let them actually eat the shell or swallow any of the little hairs on the outside, as these can get lodged in your dog’s throat or digestive tract. After your best friend is done playing with the coconut, you can open it up and feed them the pulp from the inside.

If you’d prefer not to deal with the mess of a whole coconut, you can also mix in coconut chips with their dog food or give it to them as a treat. Or you can use coconut paste to make your dog a special treat, perhaps mixing it with some DOGSBUTTER and freezing it. And of course, you can always give your dog coconut oil, either by the spoonful or by dipping a treat in it.

Also, you may not have thought about coconut milk or coconut water, but both can be added to dog treats and food recipes.

One question that often comes up regarding coconuts and coconut oil is about the high level of saturated fat. Yes, it’s true that coconuts are high in saturated fat and typically, you do want to avoid saturated fat with your dog. But the fat in coconut is a bit different and is considered safe, in moderation, for your dog. Of course, you don’t want to give your dog too much. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and coconut is no different.

When it comes to the oil, a good rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight or 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds. But you don’t want to start with these amounts. It’s best to introduce coconut and coconut oil to your dog gradually as it can cause runny poop.

In case you’re wondering, dogs love coconut so it shouldn’t be any problem to get them to eat it. It’s just another yummy human food you can delightfully (and safely) share with your best friend. The options are pretty much limitless. So why not find a recipe for some coconut milk ice cream and share a cool treat with them today? And don’t forget to throw in some delicious DOGSBUTTER while you’re at it! They’ll absolutely love it!

Training Isn’t Enough: How to Bond With Your Dog

bonding2

People laugh at how my Great Dane, Annabelle, will sit on my lap at the vet’s office. Or how at the dog park, when she’s nervous, she leans on me and plays next to me. But these same people aren’t laughing when it’s time to leave the dog park, and Annabelle walks right along beside me, ready to go home without a fight. They’re also not laughing when my boyfriend and I were so absent-minded one day, we forgot to put on her leash and let her out the door. We made it all the way to the front gate of our apartment complex before we realized, she wasn’t leashed. Why? Because unlike many dogs who would use this as an opportunity to run free and wild, Annabelle stayed by our side, walking down the steps, as if she was on a leash the whole time.

You might say we have trained our dog well, and yes, we have. Annabelle is a very well-behaved dog. But she wasn’t always that way. When I got her as a puppy, she was defiant and somewhat troublesome. She was certainly a handful, to say the least. More so than most, it seemed. She would often slip out of her collar, forcing me to chase her around parking lots – in what was often a vain attempt – to catch her. My mom once told me that she was the most difficult dog she’d ever met, and most people told me I should consider rehoming her.

But I didn’t. And through the years, Annabelle and I bonded. I don’t formally train her as well as often as I should, but part of the reason for that is because I don’t have to. Annabelle trusts me. We can now go to the dog beach, which isn’t fenced in, and let her run free, knowing she isn’t going to run off. If she gets too far, I merely call out her name and she rebounds back to me without a moment’s hesitation. Though even that is rare, as she always keeps an eye on us and makes sure to stay close by. She has no desire to leave her humans and run off. She loves us.

But it’s more than just love. She also trusts me.

I say me and not us because while she adores my boyfriend, he wasn’t here from the beginning. He came into her life after she was a year old, and moved in with us when she was four. He’s had less time to bond with her. Where I was at home with her during her formative years, all day, every day. He wasn’t.

She gets super excited when he comes home from work, to the point that she’s almost unmanageable. She loves him so much. But when it comes time for a command, she always looks to her mama. Or when she’s scared, like when we had an earthquake about a year ago, she ran to me and sat on my lap.

And this is important for a number of reasons. When Annabelle got deathly ill and lost part of her foot to a freak flesh-eating bacterial infection, I had to soak her paw in medicine for half an hour, twice a day, and then wrap it. She let me. When it comes time to put medicine in her ears – something she hates with every fiber of her being – she lets me. Warily, sure, but she lets me. She knows mama knows best and would never do anything to harm her. It makes life so much easier to have my dog trust me unconditionally because she’s so bonded to me.

Many people know that training your dog is important as it makes everyone’s life a little easier. And there’s no doubt that we all love our canine companions and yes, they love us too.

But if you’re frequently frustrated with your dog or think they’re too “stupid” to learn basic commands, perhaps there’s another issue in play here – something that training nor love can fix. Perhaps you need to strengthen the human and dog bond.

I can hear it now! You love your dog so much! Of course you do, we aren’t questioning that. But people often mistake their love of their dog for a bond. It’s not exactly the same thing. Love is something that occurs naturally, it’s what makes your dog happy to see you when you come home, and what makes you happy to see them. You can love without bonding, though. Think about it. You might love a relative, say a distant aunt or an in-law, but it’s not the same feeling you have with your significant other or your best friend. And part of the reason is that you love them, but you’re not bonded with them.

And the same can go for your dog. Loving them makes them happy to see you, but bonding with them makes them stay by your side when the urge to run out the door is strong. It goes deeper than obedience training to make your dog come when called, it takes trust. It takes bonding.

The human dog bond doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s usually a natural process that occurs when you own a dog and go through all the steps in raising them. Initially, your puppy may not look to you for guidance, but as you build up that trust, you will find training gets easier and easier.

How can you tell if your dog is bonded with you? Look to your day to day life and activities.

* When you’re out walking, do they pull on the leash and walk ahead of you? Or do they match your pace? Do they look up at you from time to time as if they’re checking to see if you’re still there? A bonded dog will check in with their owners as they’re out and about on their walks.

* At the dog park, yes, your dog will likely run off to play with other dogs. As they should! But does you dog look for you from time to time, perhaps even coming back to you just to check in? If so, that’s a sign of a bonded dog who doesn’t want to lose sight of their owner.

* When they’re faced with something scary, say the vet or a thunderstorm, do they look at you? Maybe they’ll sit in your lap or hide under your feet? This is a sign that they trust you to protect them. Even if they do run and hide elsewhere, they will probably keep an eye on you, watching you for signs of danger because they know as long as their human is calm, everything will be okay. That’s a sign of a strong human-dog bond.

If this doesn’t sound like your dog, there’s no reason to fret. Different breeds bond differently, and some take more time than others. And this is one of those things you can continually work on. Bonding with your dog won’t happen overnight. It took about a year to get where I am with Annabelle, and now, everywhere we go, people comment on how well-behaved she is.

It’s because she trusts me. And you can work on this trust with your dog as well.

First and foremost, you need to look at the training you provide your dog. Research has proven time and time again that positive reinforcement works better than punishment and alpha dog training. A happy, trusting animal will listen better than one who’s scared of punishment. Sure, if you punish or use alpha dog training, you may get the dog to do what you want, but ultimately, they’re doing it from a place of fear, not trust. And in the long term, it’s less effective. And many dogs will merely act out when you’re not around to punish them, which defeats the whole purpose of this anyway.

Harsh punishments such as spanking, yelling or an alpha roll are not going to help your dog bond with you. Instead, offering direction, praise and treats will make them eager and happy to please you. Over time, as they see that you are looking out for their best interests, they will learn to trust you more. And the more they trust you, the more likely they will look to you for guidance.

How to bond with your dog:

* Playing with them. Have fun, let loose and let them be a dog. Toss a ball around the yard or play tug of war. Learn their favorite games, buy some of their favorite types of toys, and just play. Not only will it help strengthen your bond, it will relax you and allow you to truly enjoy what it means to have a dog in your life. It’s not all hard work and frustration after all!

* Training. Yes, a well-bonded dog will be easier to train, but it goes the other way as well. Training your dog will help you bond with them. Not only is a trained dog allowed more personal freedom, but they mere act of training them – in a positive fashion – will bring you closer together.

* Remain calm. Yes, owning a dog – especially a puppy – comes with frustrations and anxiousness. And sometimes it’s not even about your dog, but life in general. But yelling, screaming and throwing a temper tantrum will frighten most dogs, even if that anger isn’t directed at them personally. And if it is, then it’s even more damaging. Do your best to always speak to your dog in a calm voice, even when they just ate your favorite shoes. Yelling doesn’t do anything to fix the problem, it only causes lasting damage to the relationship you have with your dog.

* Pay attention to their body language. Learn about canine behavior and read up on body language specifically. This will help you understand what your dog likes, dislikes and what scares them. This will allow you to prevent problems before they start, and to remove your dog from situations that scare them or make them uncomfortable. Once they learn that you will keep them safe, the trust between you will grow. Also, this will allow you to prevent bad behavior before it happens, meaning less frustration and less punishment, both of which can hurt the bond with your dog.

The bottom line is this: Owning a dog should bring joy to your life. It should also provide the dog with what they need to be happy and content. By creating happy moments and by caring for your dog, there’s really no way you won’t bond over time. Yes, all dogs are different. Some show their feelings in a different way. Some don’t bond with everyone, while others bond easily. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to go the extra mile.

AnnabelleKristenKiss

I call Annabelle my Soul Mutt because we’re that close and sometimes, it seems like she just gets me, and I get her. We have the ideal dog-owner relationship, and for that, I’m lucky. But it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t always easy.

But I can speak from experience. It was absolutely worth it.

Three Veteran’s Rescue Dog Stories (And How You Can Support Them!)

This month DOG for DOG is supporting an amazing organization, Pets for Patriots. This group provides financial support for veterans who rescue at-risk shelter animals across the country. Why do we love this charity? Here are a few stories that highlight the heros they work with and support…

1. Shaun’s Story: Veteran who overcame personal odds adopts dog left to die in city street

“He gives me inspiration every day and I’m so happy that I have him in my life. He loves to be held and likes to sleep with his head right on my shoulder. He’ll even wake me sometimes to put my arms around him. “

 

2. Timothy’s Story: Instincts bond Purple Heart Vietnam veteran and once-abused dog

“A dog will help you, because people don’t know. You can sit there and tell the dog your problems when nobody else will listen or they don’t understand. They listen, but they don’t understand,” he says, noting the magic of pets: “They make you forget.”

 

3. Gary’s Story: Dog on heavenly mission a final faithful friend to Vietnam combat veteran

“Before I got Marley, I was really depressed,” Gary shared, “[but] he just seemed to lift me up. He’s just that kind of dog.”

Want to join us and support more veteran rescue missions? Here are three ways you can help:

1. When you purchase DOG for DOG on Amazon during the month of July, an equal amount of dog food will be donated to a retired or active duty military member and their rescues!

2. All stocked up? Another way to support our mission is to leave a short review of a DOG for DOG product on Amazon! The more reviews we have, the more likely we are to get found by new pet parents. Thank YOU for being part of our mission to feed dogs in need!

3. Share this post with friends & family!

How to Make the Switch to a New Dog Food

Transitioning to a new dog food can be taxing on your pup’s digestive system. How can u avoid diarrhea, gas, and an upset stomach? If you take the switch to a new food step by step, your pup will be happy (and you will, too!).

The following guide & 3 tips can help ensure your pup’s transition to a new dog food is a smooth one!

1. Pro(biotic) Tip! If you want to make this transition even smoother, add a bit of yogurt and pure pumpkin puree.

2. Pro(tein) Tip! If your dog is currently on a lamb based protein, switching to another lamb based food, like DOGSFOOD Lamb Meal & Brown Rice would be a great move.

3. It can take up to 12 weeks for a dog to fully adjust to a new food. If your pup has worsening belly issues, chat with your vet!

switching_dog_food_tips

If your dog’s stomach is a bit upset throughout this process, that’s pretty normal. You may want to stick to the stage you’re on  for an extra day or two.

Ready to order DOGSFOOD for your pup, and to also help a dog in need? Remember, when you buy a bag for your dog a bag is given to a dog in need.

GRAIN FREE OCEAN FISH & SALMON – 14LBS

GRAIN FREE OCEAN FISH & SALMON – 4.5 LBS

 

Stop Your Puppy From Chewing On Your Shoes (And Everything Else Too)

Puppies. They’re cute, adorable as heck, and as many people know, a lot of work. From the moment your new puppy comes home, they’re learning where they fit in. Considering that they’ve only been alive for a couple months, it’s understandable that they need to learn what they can – and can’t – do. There’s potty training, of course, but one of the biggest issues owners seem to face with a puppy is the dreaded chewing stage.

It’s a known fact that puppies chew up everything in sight. They’re not picky. They don’t care if it’s your $5 flip flops or your $100 pumps, they just like shoes. And cell phone chargers. And furniture. Well, pretty much anything they can get their mouths on. Not only is this an expensive problem because you’re losing a lot of stuff you’re probably attached to, it can also be an expensive trip to the vet’s office. Every time your dog chews something up, there’s a chance of a blockage or obstruction from whatever they’ve ingested. Their stomachs can handle a lot, sure, but shoelaces and socks can cause major problems, and in some cases, even death, for puppies.
puppiesSo needless to stay, it’s important to stop puppy chewing before it becomes a problem. But the question is, do you know how to stop your puppies from chewing things up?

Training a Puppy to Stop Chewing.

puppy chewing shoesBefore you can fix the problem, you need to understand the reasons behind it. Most of the time, puppies chew because they’re bored or teething. Separation anxiety may also come into play with both puppies and older dogs alike. Once you’ve determined the reason for their chewing, then you can take it from there.

If your dog is bored, give them something to do. This may mean more playtime or longer walks to wear them out. Or perhaps, another option might be to put your puppy in doggy daycare while you’re away at work. In addition to this, you may also want to purchase a puzzle toy that makes your dog work for their treats. You can find these toys at your local pet store. Brands such as Kong, Twist ‘n Treat, or a Buster Cube can be filled with delicious treats that keep them busy. It also keeps their mouths on the toy and not your new shoes or your laptop cable. It’s a win-win for both owner and dog. The dog has fun and enjoys a delicious treat, and the owner is less likely to come home to find their couch cushions torn to shreds.

You would just need to fill these toys with puppy or mini-dog treats such as these delicious mini peanut butter treats  Another interesting and useful tip is to take a Kong and fill it with DogsButter  before popping it in the freezer. The frozen DogsButter will take time for the dog to eat, keeping them busy for a long time, as well as providing them with a healthy and yummy treat.

puppy-training

Both of these options also work for teething puppies and those with separation anxiety as well. Teething puppies merely need something safe to chew on, and redirecting them away from the items they’re not supposed to eat, in favor of their toys, is the best way to break bad habits early on. Reward your puppy every time they chew on their toy by praising them and letting them know that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.

For separation anxiety, it can be a bit more challenging. If your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety, you may need to seek out a training professional to help them overcome their fears. However, if your pup is only mildy upset when you leave, you may be able to teach them that you leaving isn’t such a scary time – in fact, it can even be a fun time. By providing them with special toys (including the puzzle toys mentioned above filled with food) that they only get when you’re gone, you start giving them a reason to actually appreciate being only, rather than fear it.

While giving your dog bones and dental chews is a common practice, I urge you to be wary of all of those things. Many bones and dental chews specifically warn of dog’s ingesting the product and the possibility of an obstruction if they do. For this reason, if your dog or puppy is an intense chewer, it might be better to seek out a tough, high-quality toy that’s meant for the toughest of canine teeth. If you notice your dog is breaking off large pieces of the bone or chew and eating them, take it away immediately. And never give your dog bones not intended for chewing. Stay clear of any cooked bones as these can lodge themselves in their throat and gastrointestinal tract, sometimes leading to death.

But there is light at the end of the puppy tunnel! Most dogs outgrow the chewing phase, and puppies stop teething at around six months of age. Most likely, this is a temporary blip and a minor annoyance. While there are times you’ll wonder if the puppy stage will ever end, sadly, it will be over before you know it. And then, you’ll look back on that time and miss it.

So, stop focusing on the frustrating parts and take the time to bond with your new puppy while you have the chance. Because trust me, it’s over in a blink of an eye.

 

Acid Reflux in Dogs: Diet Dos and Don’ts

Did you know your dog can get acid reflux? Many people probably don’t even consider the fact that like humans, dogs can also have problems with acid indigestion. No, they don’t get it from eating Indian food or buffalo wings like we do, but food does play a large role in reflux for dogs.

acid-reflux-on-dogs

The first question you may ask is, what are the symptoms of acid reflux in dogs? The most common symptom is spitting up or regurgitation of their food. However, you my also witness your dog whining when they swallow, or they may even go as far as not eating. After all, if something hurts, you want to avoid doing it, right?

But the problem is, dogs can’t thrive without eating, and this may cause weight loss. When the problem gets too bad, you may notice severe salivation and perhaps, even a fever. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, especially frequent vomiting or weight loss, you should see a veterinarian right away for a definitive diagnosis.

acid-reflux-in-dogs

Once you have the diagnosis, however, you may wonder what you can do to help your dog’s condition. Many vets will undoubtedly suggest switching your dog’s food to something that’s easier to digest and less likely to cause problems for your canine friend. A good vet will suggest eliminating potential allergens from your dog’s diet, which means that you’ll want to look for a dog food that doesn’t have gluten, rice, soy, and GMOs. In addition, you’ll also want to stay clear of preservatives, colorings, additives, and emulsifiers, all of which are common in commercial dog foods.

While this sounds daunting, it really isn’t so bad. Finding a good, high-quality, grain-free food is important for your dog anyway, even if acid reflux isn’t an issue. But if you feed your dog food that contain any of the ingredients listed above, it can cause other gastrointestinal problems for your canine companions.

Think of it this way – all those unnatural colorings and flavors commonly found in dog food are similar to eating your favorite fast food meal. While it may be delicious in the moment, how do you feel when you eat a steady died of processed burgers and fries with artificial ingredients? Do you suffer from stomach upset and/or acid reflux sometimes? Well, the same goes for your dog.

grain-free-dog-food

We can’t stress it enough. You really need to know everything you can about the different dog food brands and what goes into your dog’s food in order to keep health problems at bay. Look into the different types of diets out there, including grain-free dog food, which many experts agree is key to a healthy dog’s diet. And you can find a great a grain-free formula that fits the above criteria here

In addition to grain-free food, you will want to look at the different meat sources available. For dogs with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts, lamb is a gentler protein source that’s easier to digest. For this reason, we also suggest checking out DogForDog Lamb and Brown Rice Formula.

switching-dog-food

When switching dog food, always make sure to gradually transition from the old food over to the new. This is especially important for dogs with acid reflux and other gastrointestinal issues. But even for healthy dogs, it’s always a good idea to take things slow. The entire process should take between 7-10 days, as you start out with 75% old food/25% new food. Do this for 2-3 days before doing a 50/50 mix, which you will then continue to do for 2-3 days more. After that, you move up to 75% new food, and after a few more days, transition your dog completely over to the new diet. And as long as you’re picking a good-quality food, transitioning slowly will keep the tummy issues to a minimum, making for both a happier human and a happier, healthier, more comfortable dog!

Coconut Oil: Is It An Effective Treatment Against Giardia?

None of us like it when our canine friends get sick. Yet, it’s inevitable that at some point in your pet’s life, they will catch something and get sick. And of all the things your dog can catch, intestinal parasites are one of the most common and easily spread infections. Giardia is a common one, especially in puppies.

But don’t freak out if your dog has a parasite. Often times, it comes with the territory of owning a pet, especially if your dog visits the park or other places where they can come into contact with infected dogs.

Itchy dog scratching

Giardia, or rather Giardiasis, is a parasitic infection caused by Giardia Lamblia. These little critters often contaminate water and can be spread that way, or through the soil, other animals, and even direct human contact. The parasite has a hard shell, which allows them to survive for long periods of time in water, soil, and yes, even in your dog’s intestine. Because of how tough these little guys are, it’s important to treat any dog suspected of having the infection.

Giardia treatment in dogs is usually done under the supervision of a vet, and if you suspect your dog is sick with anything at all, please don’t hesitate to visit your veterinarian. Giardia can often be mistaken for other types of parasites and infections if you’re just basing it on the symptoms you can see with your own two eyes. Usually, your vet will have to run tests to figure out the culprit before prescribing treatment. If left untreated, Giardia can cause severe diarrhea, weight loss, and even death, so it’s not something you will want to mess around with.

That being said, there may be a way to prevent a Giardia infection in your dog. Of course, the first step would be the make sure your dog doesn’t come into contact with feces and that they have access to clean drinking water. Prevention is key. But you can also up your dog’s defenses to the nasty bug with some simple items you may already have in your cupboard.

coconut oil on dogs

Savvy owners in the know are raving about using coconut oil on dogs these days. And yes, coconut oil has a lot of nifty uses, including moisturizing their skin and coat. But did you know that coconut oil contains Caprylic Acid, which is a short chain fatty acid that stops the growth of bacteria and parasites? Well now you do! Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which the parasites consume, and it literally causes them to explode and die. Bye-bye parasites!

So in addition to using coconut oil for your dog’s skin, now you can consider it a handy tool in preventing – and maybe even treating – Giardia and other parasites as well. Of course, if your dog is heavily infected already, it may take too long for the effects to help, and you may still need to consider conventional medicine. In severe cases of Giardia, as we mentioned above, severe weight loss and malnutrition can cause serious problems and would need to be treated as soon as possible. Additional medicine may also be needed to stop the diarrhea so your dog feels better while fighting off their parasitic hitchhikers.

How do dogs help people in Stress Reduction?

Chances are, if you’re here reading this, you’re a dog lover. And if you’ve ever had a canine (or feline) companion in your life, you don’t need us to tell you that pets are great at relieving stress. Most dog lovers can’t imagine their life without their best friend, and they say that dogs simply bring more joy to their lives.

dog-lovers--dogs-stress-relieversImagine this: You just had a stressful day at work. Your boss yelled at you for a simple mistake. Your co-workers are talking about how layoffs are coming. Maybe you were so busy, you rushed through lunch, barely having time to taste your tuna sandwich. Or maybe you were so busy, you missed lunch altogether. The phone was ringing off the hook. Nothing seems to be going right.

I’m sure everyone reading this has experienced a day like this at least once in their life. Some live it daily. And overall, humans are more stressed now than ever before. Not only can stress give you a headache, too much stress can also kill you. High blood pressure is a dangerous problem, far too many people face. Sure, some if it comes from poor diets, but too much stress can also be a culprit.

How can dogs be a natural stress reliever copyAnd it’s no wonder that so many people are looking into natural stress relievers. Yoga. Exercise. Herbal remedies. All of these have been touted as natural stress relievers, and have been credited with having some degree of success. But you can also add one more item to that list. Dogs.

Go back to the scenario above. Now picture yourself coming home, defeated, stressed, and utterly worn down. When you get home, you probably just want to crash on the couch, flip on the TV, and forget about life for a moment. But then, once your key hits the lock on the front door, you hear the scampering of paws or the sound of a familiar bark. And as the door opens, your best friend is there waiting for you, their tail wagging nonstop, and their tongue out, ready to cover you with kisses. Your dog is there to tell you they love you no matter what, and they’re so happy to see you!

How can you not feel at least a little better after that?

There are many health benefits associated with owning a pet, not the least which is a reduction of stress. And while many of us probably knew that owning a dog or cat could lead to a happier life, based solely on our own lives and experiences, we now have science backing this up.

A 2001 study found that patients with high blood pressure were able to keep their blood pressure down during periods of high stress simply by owning a pet. In fact, you don’t even have to own a pet to experience the natural relaxation an animal can bring.

The reason for this is when you interact favorably with an animal, the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin is released, while your body decreases production of the cortisol – what is often called the stress hormone.

And there’s more good news for pet owners. Another study showed that people who owned pets were more likely to survive at least a year after having a heart attack.

Natural Stress Reduction- with dogs copyAs far as how to reap the benefits of having a pet, all you really have to do is play with one or pet one. Or spend some quality time with them, sharing some yummy treats  or laughing when they get DogsButter  stuck to the roof of their mouths! This is, of course, good news for all of those folks who can’t have a pet right now. Volunteer at a shelter or hang out at the dog park for an hour or two, and you’ll reap the same benefits and feel much better physically and mentally.