Pet Sitter’s Diary: Unusual Dog Food and Treats

Foods your dogs love.

Pet Sitter’s Diary: Unusual Dog Food and Treats

We pet sit and board some very lucky and beloved dogs around South Miami. Why are they so lucky? Our clients are investing in and serving really interesting dog food choices lately. They’re taking their pets’ health as seriously as their own, either going raw or supplementing their dogs’ diets with fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, and other goodies. First up, raw diets:

This is what raw tripe looks like. It smells just how it looks!

The Raw Diet:

Human-grade raw food for dogs seems to be growing in popularity, according to the New York Times and PetFoodIndustry.com. We currently board two dogs that eat raw diets exclusively. One is Skylar, Labrador puppy who dines on yummy raw tripe and chicken regularly- complete with bones, cartilage, and other yummy enzymes and important minerals. Her mother drives from Miami to West Palm Beach to pick up this specialty food, and buys raw bones for her baby from her local Publix or Whole Foods. Her monthly food cost? A mere $30 a month, plus an initial investment of $140 for a dedicated freezer for the food. Vicky, owner of My Dog grooming services in Pinecrest, feeds her four-member pack raw food for about $120 a month. Compare with our four-member pack: we spend an average of around $210 a month on Acana Pacifica (an excellent, if pricey, brand), and our dogs’ teeth need a little work. The dogs that live on raw food typically have pearly whites, and their stool is very different.

Watch out for: A surprising risk associated with raw diets is not simply bacteria, although it goes without saying that one must be incredibly careful with handling raw food, and one should buy from a reputable source. The greater risk is a lack of nutritional balance when pet parents feed dogs only muscle meat. According to Dr. Karen Becker, carnivores in the wild eat the whole animal, which provides valuable, balanced nutrients. “To mimic the gut contents of prey animals, I recommend adding a mixture of pureed vegetables and probiotics to your dog’s or cat’s meals. This mixture provides highly beneficial antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and phytonutrients not found in muscle meats,” says Dr. Becker. Of course, speaking with your veterinarian is important whenever you switch over to a new food.

“People” Food for Dogs:

Image: ‘Peeled and Cored’

Apples.

Apples are wonderful treats for your dogs. They love the crunch and their bodies benefit from the phytonutrients in the skin; antioxidants like vitamin A and C. Vitamin C is excellent for dog joint pain. Our friends Winston and Dylan regularly eat apples with their meals.

Watch out for: Apple seeds and core. Apple seeds contain cyanide, which are poisonous. A couple won’t hurt, but the poison accumulates over time if dogs are fed apples regularly. It’s important to just cut the core out. Just as important is buying organic, pesticide-free apples, unless you’re peeling them.

Green Beans.

Our friend Cane (yes, named after the University of Miami’s Hurricanes!) loves his green beans. This cutey-pie is on a diet, and his parents use canned green beans as a low-calorie way to keep him full and trim. The green beans are a great source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese.

Watch out for: If you buy canned green beans, buy without sodium, which is terrible for dogs. Salt can cause excessive thirst, excessive urination, and lead to sodium ion poisoning.

Watermelon:

Dylan and Winston, our Golden Retrievers pals with a penchant for apples, also get watermelon treats. They’re a low-calorie treat, great for delivering fluids, and wonderful in the summer if served cold!

Watch out for: Seeds, stems, and leaves can cause your dogs serious problems. Make sure you buy seedless watermelons, and avoid melon rinds in general.

Sources:

HealthyPets.com

Modern Dog Magazine

Pet WebMD

Image Sources:

Peeled and Cored
 

7 Natural Ways to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Poop

We talked about the potential causes for unsavory behavior like stool eating in our last post. We have oodles of experience with curbing poop- consumption at this point in our doggy-filled pet sitting lives. Of course, we favor natural, home remedies and prevention for most of our dogs’ worries and needs, and so we’re sharing what we’ve done for our pet sitting clients below.

How to prevent your dog from eating stool

Little Boots the Shih Tzu loves to eat his Acana Pacifica

1. Feed Your Dog a High Quality Food

Most important in changing his habit is choosing the right food. A high quality diet, as we see it, is essential for dozens of reasons. In this case, dogs with a poor quality diet won’t get enough of the good nutrition they need and will look for “supplements” in unsanitary places.

2. Prevention is Key

A no brainer! Pick up your dog’s droppings right after she’s done, and keep her well-supervised when on walks.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Adult stool eaters may have a deficiency in hydrochloric acid. One possible solution is introducing apple cider vinegar to their food. You may add about one teaspoon of vinegar directly into food per 25 pounds of body weight. Another digestive aid: meat tenderizer and raw zucchini. We’d go with the raw zucchini first.

4. Digestive Enzyme Supplements

If your older dog is indulging, it could be a sign of some other deficiency, such as a digestive enzyme deficiency. To solve that problem, offer your pooch a digestive enzyme supplement like Prozyme. This will help break down the food so your pup can obtain more nutrients. Remember, an animal with poor digestion can’t assimilate food well and will supplement from other sources.

5. Mineral Supplements

Stool consumption can also be a sign of trace mineral deficiencies. We use kelp for our dogs, but bentonite can also provide minerals.

6. Pass the Pineapple

JJ Diaz of Animal Crackers also has a tip up his sleeve to help the dog that eats everyone elses’ stool and his own. If everything else is in tip-top shape, “the way you break that habit is to feed him pineapple snacks. It messes up the flavor with acidity and your dog stops eating it 90% of time.”

7. Pumpkin

Canned, unspiced pumpkin is a healthy supplement with a variety of uses. Add it to your pet’s diet to keep his tummy full. Added bonus? It helps with both constipation and diarrhea, and may even promote urinary tract health.

Remember, while vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are essential to your pet’s well-being, some of them in excess can be harmful. Always involve your veterinarian or dog care professional when adjusting your pup’s diet or seeking solutions to any problem! Make sure you know whether your pup has allergies to these foods or not before you use any of them. These natural remedies have worked for many of our pet sitting clients. Please let us know if they help you in the comments section below!

Why Your Dog Eats Poop

So your dog eats poop…

As your pet sitters, we pledge to keep your dogs from doing this.

 

As pet sitters, we meet dogs with a variety of tastes. Today we’re writing for a particular kind of parent. Yes, your dog loves to eat everything you put in front of him, and, unfortunately, many things you don’t. You know what we’re talking about- poop! God love him, your dog is a connoisseur. You can stop being embarrassed and worrying now; your favorite pet sitters have compiled a list of many of the causes for stool eating. We hope this helps!
 

 Why your dog is eating stool

 

1. Puppies love to explore

Every dog will ingest another animal’s stool at some point in his or her charmed life. Your young pup may eat stool as part of her “getting to know the world” explorations. Don’t panic. This is usually temporary and shouldn’t present a problem for your dog unless the stool is riddled with parasitic eggs. Left uncontrolled, internal parasites will rob your dog’s nutrients or prevent your dog’s body from absorbing those nutrients, at which point you need to take your dog to the vet.
 

2. Adult dogs shouldn’t eat stool

On the other hand, an adult dog eating stool is generally considered a red flag. Copraphagia, as it’s also called, can mean that there are dietary issues such as nutritional deficiencies or the presence of parasites in your older dog. Parasites can rob you dog’s body of nutrients, causing him to try to supplement his meals on his own. A visit to your vet will confirm the presence of those pesky, potentially life-threatening critters.
 

3. Are you encouraging stool eating unwittingly?

Consider that dogs may eat stool out of boredom. These are social animals who crave companionship. Chances are, your dog receives quite a bit of attention when he eats a “chocolate” treat. Break his habit by giving him more attention before he does that; take him out for longer walks (or hire a dog walker or runner to help you with this!), and feed him twice a day to give him something to look forward to. Portion out his toys so there is something new to look forward to, as well!
 

4. Nutritional deficiencies are linked to stool eating

Causes related to nutritional deficiencies include a lack digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid, genetic issues or flaws, and poor diet. While you can’t change your dog’s genes, you can employ several simple remedies that do often work. We’ll share those in our next blog post, so check in on Facebook next week or add us to your feeds!