The Best Type of Pet Food For Your Dog or Cat

Disturbing Lab Results Prove Top Dog and (1)What we feed our dogs is arguably the most important decision we make for them. Imagine if you could only eat one meal, every day, 2-3 times per day with no variations? Would you want it to be a happy meal from a fast food restaurant, or would you want it to be a balanced nutritional meal that hits all of the categories on the food chart? Making sure your dog’s food is healthy is so important because you’ll be feeding her thousands of pounds of it throughout her life, so it better be rich in nutrients! 

As a rule of thumb, sustaining your pet’s good health starts with evaluating her diet. Food is the foundation for where good or poor health is built. Your dog’s diet has the potential to heal or harm your pet, and it’s completely dependent on the type and quality of the food you provide. 

The Hierarchy of Dog Food: What Type Is The Best?

Raw? Dry kibble? Canned? Cooked? There are many types of dog food categories, but which one is the best? Which one is the worst? 

People are always going to have varying opinions and beliefs. But one veterinarian, Dr Karen Becker, has shared her recommendations with us by ranking the types of dog foods from best to worst.

She also has a disclaimer saying that if the type of food you’re feeding your pet falls toward the bottom of the list, or the “worst” category, she doesn’t want you to beat yourself up about it. She says as a general rule, people that are feeding their dogs a lesser quality food are either doing so because they can’t afford a better food, or they haven’t learned about pet food nutrition. Both are completely understandable! 

Setting a goal to introduce a higher quality dog food for when you can afford it or after you learn the difference is a wonderful thing. 

Moisture: Dry Kibble Doesn’t Make The Cut 

Moisture in your pet’s food is vital for preventing organ dysfunction including kidney failure. Dogs and cats are meant to eat food that is roughly 70% moisture. 

If you feed your dog dry food only, she’s getting approximately 12% moisture, which is much lower than the ideal 70%. This is especially concerning for cats because they don’t supplement their moisture intake by drinking plenty of water like dogs do. 

Dr Karen Becker notes that pets who eat only dry food can live in a state of constant mild dehydration that can cause significant stress to their organs. 

Starch: Grain and Carbohydrates

Just say no to over-processed grains including corn, wheat, rice and soy. These starches are not biologically necessary for your pet’s health, yet these fillers are found in so many commercially processed pet foods.

Your pet’s ancestors in the wild were not harvesting grains, so it’s not a vital source of nutrition for her today either. As a rule of thumb, follow the laws of nature and feed your pet what her body needs while eliminating ingredients that aren’t necessary for nourishment. 

Grains are not bad for your pet, but you have to make sure that the grain content is not too high compared to the protein content. 

Nutrients

Finding a food that is balanced is incredibly difficult because of the lack of regulations on pet food manufacturers and the misleading claims on labels. Knowing that your pet’s food has all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that she needs is extremely important. This needs to be guaranteed through testing. Dogs and cats can develop life-threatening organ degeneration in as little as 1-3 years if they’re eating an unbalanced, nutrient-deficient diet. 

Types of Dog Food: Ranked Best to Worst

Again, this list was created by veterinarian Karen Becker, so if your veterinarian disagrees with the order of this list that is okay. I imagine that most veterinarians can agree to this list as a general order of best to worst, with the exception of a couple of types being switched. Some veterinarians are still skeptical about raw food diets, so I can understand if your vet disagrees with that aspect of the following list.

1. Balanced, Raw, Homemade Diet

Codys-Blend-Homemade-Dog-Food-RecipeDr Becker believes this is the best possible diet for your pet. She wrote a cookbook to ensure that your pet’s diet will be balanced if you’re preparing a raw diet at home called Real Food For Healthy Dogs and Cats. (I don’t endorse this book, and she has no idea I’m writing this blog post!). Knowing how to supplement your dog’s diet so that it completely balanced and nutritional is vital if you’re considering making your dog’s food at home. You can do more harm than good if you are uneducated about how to provide a completely balanced diet. 

Raw food is unadulterated and still contains all of the enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed during cooking and processing. 

2. Commercially Available Raw Diet 

b382ebc866c308727478e2f5f79201d8Making food at home can be too time consuming for some people’s lifestyle. Finding a reputable company that prepares a balanced raw diet is the next best thing. Make sure the brand you choose are balanced and nutritionally complete. Some raw food companies are not providing a food that is balanced in nutrition, and the label will say something like “for supplementation or intermittent feeding.” The statement you want your food to have on the label is something like: “This food has been proven to be nutritionally complete or adequate for all life stages.”

At this point in time, these raw diets are only found online to have shipped to your house, or in the freezer section of small/privately owned or upscale pet boutiques – not in the big box pet stores. I’ve always read that you should stay away from pet foods that are sold in the next aisle over from the bleach at the grocery stores and the big box pet stores like Pet Smart, because these types of stores do not carry the healthiest brands available. 

Find the best raw food brands here.

3. Cooked, Balanced, Home-Made Diet

Homemade-dog-foodThis would follow all of the guidelines as #1, except you’d be cooking it rather than serving it raw. Some verterinarians will agree that the cooking process diminishes some of the nutrients. 

4. Human-Grade Canned Food

THK015_PET-HEALTH_WEB-ASSETS_HUMAN-GRADE-CHART_577w_V3-01This type of food will say right on the label if the ingredients are human-grade quality ingredients. The price will also be an obvious indication of quality. 

If you have more money than time, this is the type of food for your pet. Without the time to provide a home-cooked diet, quality canned food is the next best thing. However, this is considered the most expensive option. If you have enough time, it’s more cost effective to make a balanced homemade diet. 

5. Human-Grade Dry Food

pedigree-wireLike we talked about earlier, dry food doesn’t have the moisture content that our pets need. 

You really want your pet’s dry food to contain high quality ingredients, because poor ingredients will only become less nutritional after processing. Dry dog food has been compared to “fast food” in our human world, because of how processed it is. 

6. Premium Canned Food 

93873346-wet-dog-food-calorie-count-632x475Quality ingredient canned food can usually be found at the big box stores and will have a higher price point.

7. Premium Dry Food 

140086050-dry-dog-food-calorie-count-632x475Quality ingredient dry food usually can be found at the big box stores and will have a higher price point.

8. Veterinarian Prescribed Canned Food

69771_PT1._AC_SL1500_V1448401320_These brands include Science Diet, Purina, Royal Canin, or Waltham. 

Zoey was prescribed the C/D Urinary Tract Health canned food and her health severely declined from eating that food. After doing some research, I found out that it was tested to be one of the worst dog foods on the market!

9. Veterinarian Prescribed Dry Food

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10. Grocery Store Brand Canned and Dry Food

Publix-Premium-Pet-Food

Again, it’s considered a rule of thumb to avoid any dog food that can be purchased an aisle over from bleach or laundry detergent.

11. Semi-Moist Pouched Food

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I was feeding Zoey a semi-moist pouched food, FreshPet, in the first year of her life. She was extremely sick all the time with UTI’s and we were in and out of the vet’s office regularly with all kinds of random issues. 

The reason the semi-moist dog food is so risky is because in order for the food to remain semi-moist without drying out, many of them contain an ingredient called propylene glycol. This is a scary preservative that is related to ethylene glycol, which is antifreeze. 

Its proven ability to cause a serious type of blood disease in some animals — Heinz body anemia — has ledthe FDA to ban propylene glycol for use in cat food. But unfortunately, it can still be used to make dog food.

Propylene glycol is approved for use in pet foods, but as you can imagine it is extremely unhealthy for dogs and cats! Any food that contains this additive should be avoided at all costs. 

12. The Worst: Unbalanced, Homemade Raw or Cooked Diet

There’s an increasing number of pet owners that don’t trust the pet food companies, and for good reason! I’m on of them. And taking matters into your own hands to make your pet’s food at home is a great goal, but doing so without the knowledge needed to provide a complete balanced diet will do more harm than the worst pet foods on the market. 

Giving your dog a chicken breast and veggies will not cut it, even though logic tells you that it seems like a great meal for you and your family. Unbalanced homemade meals lead to deficiencies in calcium, minerals, omega fatty acids, and abnormalities including skeletal issues, organ degeneration, and endocrine abnormalities. 

Feeding Your Dog An Unbalanced Homemade Diet?

It’s super easy to fix! You’re on the right track, you just need to add nutrients to balance the diet. There are plenty of pet nutrition books that provide the steps you need to take to give your pet a completely balanced meal. 

Your Dog’s Ears: Amazing Facts You Need To Know

 Amazing Facts About Your Dog's EarsDogs’ ears give them so much personality! Whether they’re long and floppy ones that plop in the water bowl like Jem’s, or they have tall, stiff, pointy ones that give them a permanent expression of surprise, all dogs’ ears are adorable! But do you really know anything about them? Dogs are known for their superior sense of smell, but what makes their ears exceptionally unique and amazing? These cool facts about your dog’s ears will have you tilting your head! 

Muscle Power

IMG_9039Did you know that at least 18 muscles are going to work to tilt, raise, and rotate your dog’s ears? Try moving your’s even slightly… not too easy, right? These muscles are amazing for capturing sounds from all different directions.

IMG_9021Ever notice your dog’s ability to hear the quietest crunch of a potato chip bag and perk up from a dead sleep to come running for a taste? Yet I can’t sleep through anything!

Listening? Dogs’ Ears Are A Dead Giveaway

IMG_9043Do you ever wonder if your dog is “listening” to you? Or have you ever been passionately telling your friend a story and you look over at your dog to see her intently zoned in and hanging on every word you say? It’s true that your dog’s ears and expression tell whether or not she’s listening to you. It’s pretty obvious when she’s trying to ignore your words as if to say, “can’t you tell I’m trying to ignore you?”

IMG_9022Erect ears facing forward indicate that your dog is engaged in what you have to say or the noises she hears around her.

IMG_9036Ears that are slightly pulled back indicate that she’s in a friendly, relaxed mood with her guard down. 

IMG_9018Ears laid tightly against back against the head show that your dog is fearful, timid, uncomfortable, or feeling aggressive. 

To “Ear” Their Own

IMG_9019Each ear moves independently of the other. I love when Jem and Zoey hear a noise and I can see them trying to figure out which direction the sound is coming from. One ear perks up towards the back of the house, the other jolting forward to the front door. I wish I could multitask so well! 

“What Was That?!”

We’ve all seen our dogs having a “what was that?!” moment. One minute they’re laying down relaxing, the next they perk up as if they heard a knock on the front door. Yet you swear the dog is crazy because you haven’t heard a peep. 

IMG_9030But did you know that the world is a much noisier place for dogs than for you? Dogs can hear the high-frequency pulse of the crystal resonator use in digital alarm clocks and the bodily vibrations of termites in the walls. 

IMG_9046It’s truly amazing when you put into perspective how keen their sense of hearing truly is. Imagine having such a strong sense that you could detect a termite invasion in the walls. Scientists estimate that dogs can hear approximately 4 times better than we do. 

Sensitive To The Elements

A well-oiled machine runs smoothly. Your dog’s ears are extremely sensitive and can easily contract yeast infections and parasites.

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A dog’s ear canal is L-shaped. It’s vertical toward the jaw and takes a 45 degree turn horizontally toward the ear drum. This makes it very hard to examine a dog’s ear which means that ear problems are common. 

Which Breeds Have The Best and Worst?

The best hearing? That one goes to dogs with big square heads and large ears, like St Bernards.

SaintBernard_heroThe worst hearing? Unfortunately dogs with floppy ears don’t have as keen hearing because the flaps can block the vibrations of sound. 

Afraid of Thunderstorms?

When your dog is shaking and hiding because there’s a crazy thunderstorm outside, you may not know exactly where her fear is coming from. 

You might not know that your dog could actually be in pain during a thunderstorm because they have sound frequencies that can hurt dog’s ears.

Your dog doesn’t want to go outside in the rain? It’s not necessarily because she doesn’t want to get her pretty fur wet. The sound of the rain drops on the roof, gutters, and other loud surfaces can be amplified for dogs hurts their ears. 

A Balancing Act

IMG_9017Your dog’s ears are essential for balance. Inner ear infections are a frequent cause for dogs losing their balance. If your dog seems wobbly and unable to balance, head to the vet to see if she has an ear infection. 

Are Dogs Better Than Cats?

After reading these facts, you must be thinking that dogs have the best hearing in the world! It sure seems like it when you compare it to ours. But cats have even BETTER hearing than dogs! Cats can hear a higher frequency than dogs can. 

What About Puppies?

Puppies are actually deaf when they’re born, but they can generally hear within a few weeks. 

Guinness Record For Biggest Ears?

alg-harbor2-jpgWe get comments on how long Jem’s ears are everywhere we go. People love them! But her 6.5 inch floppers are nothing compared to a coonhound named Harbor who hold the record for world’s largest ears. They measure in at 13.5″ for the right ear and 12.25″ for the right ear! 

Home Remedies To Treat Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

 Home Remedies To Treat Your Dog's Upset Stomach. treat dog's upset stomach at homeHome Remedies For Non Life-Threatening Stomach Aches

Remember last week when we learned how to tell if your dog’s upset stomach is life threatening or not? If you’ve spoken to your vet over the phone and determined that your dog’s upset stomach is nothing to rush to the vet over, there are many home remedies that can help your dog heal the natural way. Natural home remedies are great to know, and they work wonders when put to use. If symptoms worsen or your dog doesn’t show significant improvement, then it’s time to take her to the vet. 

Take Your Dog’s Temperature

home remedies to cure dog's stomach ache

A dog’s temperature should be between 101-102.5  degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is higher than 103, that is considered a fever for dogs. If your dog’s temperature is is lower than 99 degrees or higher than 103, it is time to go to the vet! When your dog’s temperature reaches 106 degrees or higher, life threatening complications can be expected.

It’s recommended that you use a rectal thermometer, because taking a dog’s temperature with an ear thermometer will not be nearly as accurate and you could risk a false reading or worse – a false alarm! Learn how to take your dog’s temperature here. 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomach

Let Your Dog Eat Grass!

Unless you use fertilizer or any other poisons in your yard, it’s perfectly healthy and instinctual for your dog to eat grass when she doesn’t feel good. It’s a natural way for her to induce vomiting if she feels that throwing up will help her feel better. If you notice your dog eating grass obsessively and vomiting profusely more than once or twice, call your vet to make sure the following at home remedies are appropriate for helping your dog’s condition. 

Rest Your Dog’s Stomach: Fasting

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachYou know how you don’t want to eat anything when you’re sick? Even the sight of food on a TV commercial makes your stomach turn upside down. Your dog feels the same way. 12-24 hours at the most of fasting helps clean your dog’s system out and heal the gut. Don’t feed your dog for the day so her stomach can calm down. You may think this sounds cruel, but it’s a great way to help your pup feel better when she doesn’t know how to help herself. You can feed her broth using the recipe that you will read below.

Staying Hydrated Is Most Important! 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachEncouraging your dog to drink plenty of fluids is the best thing you can do in place of food. Keeping your dog hydrated is crucial for helping her get better and preventing a more serious issue due to dehydration, especially if your dog is experiencing diarrhea.  A dog with diarrhea can easily become severely dehydrated within only a few hours of being sick. If your dog is uninterested in drinking water on a regular basis, a pet fountain can be a huge help! Jem and Zoey have both started drinking so much more water since getting ours! 

Em goes SO nuts for ice cubes that it's close to impossible to catch a picture of it!

Em goes SO nuts for ice cubes that it’s close to impossible to catch a picture of it!

If your dog doesn’t want to drink water, you can add some chicken broth for flavor. Dog love ice cubes like my Jem does? Ice chips are a great treat and the perfect method for getting your pup to hydrate.

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Some dogs will refuse to drink water, and they may need electrolytes. You can purchase a Children’s Pedialyte to give to your dog to prevent dehydration. This is a great product to go out and buy now while your dog is perfectly healthy so you will have it on hand if you should need it in the future. Give your sick dog at least 15ml per lb of body weight per day.  Zoey is 15 lbs so I would give her 225 ml for the entire day. It’s recommended to divide that dose and give it to your dog a minimum of 4 times per day, not all at once. That means I would give Zoey about 56 ml each time if I’m doing it 4 times per day. 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachUse a syringe to squirt the Pedialyte or water into your dog’s mouth As unpleasant as this experience can be sometimes, but it’s better than letting her condition deteriorate! Don’t squirt the Pedialyte down your dog’s throat. A sick dog may have trouble swallowing, and this could cause her to choke. Take it slow to make sure she’s actually ingesting it in a healthy way. 

Over  The Counter Medication: Pepcid AC

If you’ve never heard of this at-home remedy, you may be a little surprised or skeptical. My vet is the one who recommended I buy OTC Pepcid AC for Zoey when she has a belly ache. Consult your veterinarian over the phone for how many milligrams you should give to your dog, because it depends entirely on the weight of YOUR pup! 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachZoey weighs around 15 lbs, so my vet recommended that I give her 10 mg twice per day.

I have also heard of some people using Pepto Bismol for their pet. But again you’ll want to ask your vet over the phone before using that remedy too! Both Pepcid AC and Pepto Bismol are known for causing dogs’ poop to darken significantly. If you notice this color change don’t worry – it’s completely normal! 

Rice Water When Fasting

12593641_10205834713487172_3716700109630874481_oYou may want to feed rice water to your dog instead of solid food if you aren’t going to have your dog fasting. In order to make rice water, boil and stir 1 cup of rice in 1 quart of water for 20 minutes. 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachStrain the rice, and set it aside. Make sure you keep the water! Don’t accidentally strain it down the drain.

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachAllow the rice water to cool to room temperature so it’s not too hot, or cool it in the refrigerator. 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomach

Homemade “Chicken Noodle Soup”

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachWhen you’re finally ready to eat after a stomach bug, all you can imagine eating is something simple like soup, right? Your dog is the same way. You can make a “homemade chicken noodle soup” by boiling the rice you already cooked. Combine approximately 1/2 cup of rice in a pot of 1 quart of chicken broth (usually the size of 1 carton). Simmer at a low boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rice grains will become mushy and look like little stars. 

home remedies to treat dog's upset stomachFirst Real Meal: Make Sure It’s Bland

Boiled chicken and rice, possibly with a little bit of canned organic pureed pumpkin is the perfect bland meal for coating your dog’s inflamed stomach. You can also add a tiny bit of plain yogurt which has healthy pro-biotic bacteria to regulate your dog’s digestive system. Don’t feed your dog any other meats like ground beef because they are too greasy and will only make your dog’s belly ache worse. Plain, boiled chicken is extremely light and healthy on a sick stomach. I used my Ninja to grate the boiled chicken into fine pieces to make them easier to eat and mix with the rice. 

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Food Additives: Maintenance For The Dog With Chronic Stomach Upset 

12622382_10205834714887207_8636193677198749361_oIf your dog just can’t seem to get relief from upset stomach, like my dogs Jem and Zoey, then you can use food additives in her daily diet. Additives include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Banana
  • Oatmeal

These foods help regulate your dog’s digestive system to prevent stomach problems on a regular basis. I add a spoonful of organic canned pumpkin to Jem and Zoey’s food for every meal they get. It helps keep their bellies regulated and helps dogs with diarrhea or constipation. But the can you buy has to  have only 1 ingredient: pumpkin! Some brands will have ingredients like soy, sugar, and other additives that are bad for your dog. 

Most Importantly: Monitor Your Dog

Keep a poop journal if you think you will have a hard time remembering. Monitor your dog’s poop, vomiting, overall demeanor, and health condition. If you think her condition is declining even slightly, you should stop the home remedies and take her to the vet. As long as there is improvement in her condition with the home remedies, then you know it was just a simple stomach bug. 

IMG_4704 When Zoey or Jem are sick, I take them to work with me to keep a close eye on them. Well, let’s be honest I take them to work with my any chance I can! If you can’t take your pup to work, you should try to find a friend or family member who you trust that can monitor your dog for the day. If you don’t have anyone, you really should do a vet drop off so they can take care of her while you’re away at work. Imagine if you were sick with the flu and there was no one home to help take care of you? It’s even worse for a dog, because if she’s struggling with diarrhea and you aren’t home to let her outside, she had the added stress of having accidents in the house. 

What Do You Think?

Do you have any tried and true methods for managing your dog’s stomach issues at home? I’d love to hear them!

Dog’s Stomach Ache: How To Know When It’s Serious

 Dog's Upset Stomach- How to Know When It's Serious - RadioFence.com BlogJem and Zoey went through a rough week with belly aches recently, and it killed me to see them sick! The worst part about seeing your dog in pain or feeling ill is that she can’t tell you what’s wrong or what she needs from you. I just wish I could ask my girls what they need me to do to help them feel better, but all I have to go off of is the symptoms they show me. 

Is It Normal For My Dog To Get An Upset Stomach?

This belly ache requires a longggg snooze...

This belly ache requires a longggg snooze…

Yes. Dogs can get the occasional belly ache just like we do. But how do you know if the symptoms your dog is showing are an indication of a normal belly ache or something life threatening that you should rush her to the vet for? Knowing the difference is the most important part of saving your dog from a life threatening condition if there is one. 

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?

Zoey is pretty used to vet visits by now... keeping her cool on the table!

Zoey is pretty used to vet visits by now… keeping her cool on the table!

I’m a bad one to ask… because I’m guilty of taking my dogs to the vet even when there’s a very minor issue. I do this because I hate worrying that if I don’t take them I could regret it later if something serious is going on. BUT, it’s common for dogs to have upset tummies. So if you see clear signs that your dog’s condition has been consistently improving with an almost full recovery by 24-48 hours then it’s most likely a 24 hour bug and a vet visit is probably not necessary. 

I know they don't feel well... but they're so cute when they cuddle!

I know they don’t feel well… but they’re so cute when they cuddle!

 If your dog has been sick without significant improvement for more than 48 hours, the best thing for you to do is take her to the vet. It’s not normal for your dog to remain ill for an extended period of time. She could have a disease or a permanent condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome that requires regular medication prescribed by your vet. 

Signs of Serious Distress – It’s Time To Go To The Vet

  • Distended stomach
  • Nervous pacing
  • Severe lethargy
  • Drooling and retching
  • Trying to vomit without success
  • Hacking and heaving
  • Constant diarrhea and vomiting 
  • Constipation – straining to poop without success
  • Signs of severe dehydration – test your dog’s skin for elasticity by gently lifting the skin on her back with 2 fingers, then let the skin drop. Skin that quickly returns flat on the back is good, hydrated skin. Skin that returns slowly or doesn’t reform is a sign that your dog needs to go to the vet for fluids immediately. 
The cause of Zoey's panic... she ate a pair of underwear.

The cause of Zoey’s panic… she ate a pair of underwear.

Panic is an emergency sign that your dog has a serious issue that may require you to administer medical care at home if there isn’t time to get to the vet. Zoey was in a panic about a year ago and once again this week because she ate something that she couldn’t digest and was desperately heaving to try to throw it up. She was biting ferociously at my hair, the carpet, blankets, grass, and everything else within reach to try to make herself throw up. She was also labored for breath and hacking and heaving like something was stuck.

I knew I needed to induce vomiting right away to save her from whatever was stuck in her belly. My vet was closed and the emergency vet was too far away. If you need to induce vomiting for your dog, use hydrogen peroxide. Measure with a syringe or turkey baster:

1 ml of peroxide/lb of dog's weight

1 ml of peroxide/lb of dog’s weight

  • 1 ml per pound of your dog’s weight

I used 15 ml for Zoey because she’s 15 lbs. I didn’t have a syringe with measurements or a turkey baster on hand because we just moved, so I was able to use the cap from the top of a cough syrup bottle because it had ml measurements on the side. If you don’t have anything in your house with ml measurements, 15 ml is exactly 1 tablespoon, so you can use that as a reference. I poured the peroxide down her throat and within 5 minutes she threw up whatever was causing her stomach panic. The first time, it was the underwear. The second time, I think it was stuffing from her toy. If your dog doesn’t throw up within 15 minutes, give her another dose. 

She was so glad to get that out of her stomach quickly!

She was so glad to get that out of her stomach quickly!

I was so glad that I knew this peroxide method and I was able to induce vomiting to relieve her from the panic she was feeling. And even more, I was able to avoid surgery since the underwear and stuffing came out before it got stuck in her intestines. 

Blood in vomit or stool is a perfect example of a stomach ache that is not normal. This would be cause for immediate, emergency medical attention. This could be an indication of an obstruction from eating objects like coins, stuffing from toys, string, etc that would need to be dealt with right away to save your dog’s life. 

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Left poisonous materials within your dog’s reach? You should know if you’ve left something poisonous like insect poison, rat poison, cleaning products, chewing gum (xylitol), chocolate, or any other poisonous human foods out in the open that your dog could have ingested. If you believe you left something within your dog’s reach, take her to the vet immediately. 

IMG_8914Diseases that cause upset stomach are very serious and can include:

  • Parvo
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Pancreatitis
  • Twisted stomach.

These conditions would need to be treated quickly at the vet to save your dog. 

Bacterial contamination can cause stomach problems that will call for a trip to the vet’s office.

  • Parasites
  • Worms
  • Stale or contaminated food

Any of these bacterias can cause infection that will need to be treated with medication at the vet. You should check to see if the food you feed your dog has been recalled recently. 

Injury to the stomach will also cause these symptoms. If your dog has played rough at the dog park, was alone with anyone you aren’t sure is trustworthy, or you recall an incident that could have caused a stomach injury, then you need to take your dog to the vet to make sure there is not an injury that needs medical attention. 

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Non Life-Threatening Causes Of Upset Stomach

Most of the time, if your dog has an upset stomach it is caused by something she ate. Try to think back to what your dog ate right before symptoms started. 

IMG_1936Changes in diet can cause sudden stomach problems. Have you switched your dog’s food recently? If you don’t gradually introduce a new food you dog will have stomach issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Did you just introduce new treats that could have been bad?Immediately go online to check if your dog’s food or treats have a recall. Or did you notice her eating something outside that could be poisonous to dogs? Did she get table scraps from a friend or relative that doesn’t know your dog doesn’t eat table scraps? 

Common food-related causes of upset stomach:

  • Eating too fast
  • Food allergy
  • Eating too much

Aging is a common “cause” of upset stomach. Aging dogs experience changes in metabolism, digestion, and overall health. 

IMG_6996Stress can also cause stomach upset. We recently moved to a different house, and I think that had a lot to do with Jem and Zoey’s stomach issues. Understanding how to help your dog adjust to moving helps prevent this. Dogs can experience stress due to many things including separation anxiety, change in schedule or routine, a trip to the vet, fighting in the household, etc. 

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Symptoms of Upset Stomach

  • Change in appetite or not eating
  • Gurgling stomach sounds
  • Eating grass
  • Bloating
  • Lethargy 
  • Dry heaving
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Painful stomach to the touch
  • Biting at sides of body
  • Fever
  • Excessive thirst

Without fail, it’s always the best case scenario to take your dog to the vet if your gut instinct is telling you that it’s the right move. However, this article’s purpose is to help differentiate between the common non-life threatening causes of belly ache versus the life threatening causes of belly ache so you can better understand how to help your sick pup. Have you ever had an experience with your dog getting sick where you learned from it? Any advice you may have to pass on to me and our readers is greatly appreciated! 

I love knowing that if my dogs have an emergency, I am educated on how to save them :) I hope these tips help you if you should ever need them!

I love knowing that if my dogs have an emergency, I am educated on how to save them :) I hope these tips help you if you should ever need them!

Come back next week for amazing at-home remedies to cure your pup’s belly ache!

10 Health and Happiness Benefits Your Dog Can Only Get From Daily Walks

 10 Heatlh and Happiness Benefits Your Dog Can Only Get From Daily Walks - RadioFence.com Pet Products BlogHave you ever heard the experts say how wonderful a simple walk is for your overall health? The same is true for your dog’s health! There are vital health benefits your dog can only get from a daily walk, so it’s very important to be aware of what these are and use them as motivation to take those little daily adventures together!

1: Exercise

radiofence.com/blogProbably the most obvious benefit is the exercise component of the walk. Some dogs never leave the couch except to quickly do their business in the same small patch of grass only to hurry back inside to veg out on the couch. Daily exercise is vital to your dog’s health because it prolongs her life and improves her overall health and mental wellbeing. All dogs, no matter how big or small, should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Bigger dogs require more, but taking a 30 minute walk every day is a great way to get some exercise in.

2: Familiarity 

"I think if we put our heads together I think we can remember if we've been here before..."

“I think if we put our heads together I think we can remember if we’ve been here before…”

Dogs strongly desire to learn their surroundings and become familiar with their environment. If your dog rarely leaves the back yard to learn the smells and sounds of the neighborhood, this can cause behavioral and psychological issues and confusion. Imagine your dog seeing the mailman drive by or neighbor kids playing outside and you hear her bark excitedly because she is familiar with their involvement in the neighborhood dynamics rather than aggressively lashing out at them because they’ve encroached on “her territory.” Familiarizing your dog with the people, places, and interactions in your neighborhood provides her with a sense of security and improves overall behavior toward these previous unknowns. 

3. Socialization 

Jem socialized with the neighbor's artificial dog, butterfly, and pelican on today's walk... better than nothing!

Jem socialized with the neighbor’s artificial dog, butterfly, and pelican on today’s walk… better than nothing!

How many of us have been guilty of saying “my dogs is much more of a people lover than a dog lover.” This shift in socialization is not a good thing. Dogs need to be able to socialize with other dogs without aggression just like we socialize with other people on a regular basis.

Your dog should have friends too! Daily walks are a great way for your dog to meet other dogs that she would have never come in contact with otherwise. This socialization makes her a much friendlier dog overall and teaches her that meeting new dogs is a positive thing. When she is put into a situation in the future where she needs to socialize, she will do so in a positive way rather than fearing the interaction. 

4. Bonding

You may think that staying inside on a rainy day watching Netflix and cuddling on the couch with your pup is the ultimate bonding experience, but dogs can actually begin to feel depressed or unimportant when they’re cooped up inside all the time. You have plenty of tasks and chores to keep you busy around the house, but your dog lacks excitement when she remains stagnant day after day. A walk is a one-on-one “date” for the two of you that shows your dog that you have taken the time to put your undivided attention onto her and expresses to her that she’s important and not forgotten. 

As you can see in the video, Jem and Zoey light up when I say “do you want to go for a walk?!” We bond so much on our walks that I can’t imagine what our relationship would be like without our little daily excursions! 

5. Exploration 

Jem and Zoey got to meet an armadillo on today's walk! Talk about exploration!

Jem and Zoey got to meet an armadillo on today’s walk! Talk about exploration!

Imagine only seeing the same 4 rooms of a house and the same 500 ft of back yard for your entire life. Feeling a little depressed just thinking about it? It’s in your dog’s nature is to explore, and walks are a great way to discover new smells, sights, and experiences every day that your dog craves. Exploration is so important for mental health and well-being. 

6. Training

Jem has mastered her training of "self control" when other dogs bark from inside their fences. She keeps her cool and doesn't bark back!

Jem has mastered her training of “self control” when other dogs bark from inside their fences. She keeps her cool and doesn’t bark back!

Your dog has mastered “no, sit, stay, down” and all of the other indoor commands. But there is so much more! Training your dog not to bark and chase people on bikes, not to eat those mysterious plants that could make her sick, or even just how to react to a car entering her personal space is extremely important. Training your dog to understand how to conduct herself outside of the home makes for a much more well-rounded, street-smart, and better behaved pip.  

7. Confidence

I can tell Zoey feels like her best, happiest self on walks!

I can tell Zoey feels like her best, happiest self on walks!

We all can agree that we hate seeing our dogs feeling scared, timid, confused, or unsafe. If your dog doesn’t experience other places outside of the home, she lacks the confidence and ability to face any changes when they occur. You want your dog to feel safe, secure, and confident going anywhere with you. Daily walks create a sense of trust in you that your dog will carry with her in everything you do together.

8. Excitement

Chasing that armadillo was the most excitement any of us experienced all day!

Chasing that armadillo was the most excitement any of us experienced all day!

Being bored is one of the most frustrating feelings. You never want your dog to lose her spunk or feel like each day is just another empty one that lacks excitement and change. Mixing up the routine with a walk releases so much boredom, pent up energy, and sadness that your dog may have stored inside. 

9. Brain Stimulation

Jem has learned from countless walks to pick her paw up when the leash gets between her legs. Brain stimulation at it's finest!

Jem has learned from countless walks to pick her paw up when the leash gets between her legs. Brain stimulation at it’s finest!

Your dog’s mind needs stimulation to stay healthy and sharp. Daily walks provide the opportunity for your dog to continuously learn new things and different experiences that keep her brain healthy. 

10. Enjoy The Nature Of Your Surroundings 

Whether you live near the beach with palm trees, mountains and streams, or desert with a slight breeze, there’s something to appreciate about each and every environment around us. Your dog is meant to experience and appreciate the great outdoors, and a daily walk provides that opportunity for the both of you.