Brain Foods That Will Extend Your Dog’s Lifespan

Brain Foods That Will Extend Your Dog's LIfe SpanEating healthy is about more than looking slim and trim on the outside. Most importantly, it keeps our bodies healthy on the inside – especially our minds! And our dogs are no different. Their overall health – mind, body, and soul – is greatly affected by what foods they eat every day. 

Watching our dogs age can seem like the quickest and most gut-wrenching process of life. We want them by our sides forever, and seeing their muzzles getting grayer or their energy slowly getting weaker can make us feel hopeless. 

The nutrients in your dog’s food help support her muscles, joints, and skin. But they also affect your dog’s healthy brain function, and the right nutrients can vastly improve her lifespan. Dogs are just like humans when it comes to experiencing degradation in brain function with age. Senior dogs can develop dementia and other forms of brain deterioration that diminishes their quality of life. 

The best way to support your dog’s healthy brain function and improve his quality of life is to make sure his diet consists of the proper nutrients.

healthy foods to improve your dogs life

Omega 3 fatty acids

A very common issue for aging dogs is canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) which is extremely similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Dogs will begin to forget how to do things they could do before, become disoriented, forgetful, and have accidents in the house.

Flax is a great brain food for dogs!

Flax is a great brain food for dogs!

Omega 3 fatty acids are linked to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and have been used to treat mood disorders. Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids for dogs include salmon or other fatty fish, flax, and krill.  

Vitamins C & E

Just like humans, dogs will experience changes in their brains such as beta-amyloid accumulation and oxidative damage causing cognitive dysfunction. Older dogs that are fed a diet high in antioxidants have shown improved learning and spatial attention within only two short weeks of the diet starting. The improvement was even greater when this was combined with mental stimulation through walks, housing with another dog, and training exercises. 

The antioxidants in vitamins C & E protect the brain from free radical damage. Diets that are high in antioxidants are believed to help delay cognitive decline. In a study conducted to test dogs’ spatial memory and ability to choose between two different objects, recognize items, and adapt to new situations, dogs on diets that were high in antioxidants tested far better than dogs that were fed a normal diet.

Berries, Kale, and Carrots are great sources of antioxidants.

Berries, Kale, and Carrots are great sources of antioxidants.

Dogs can find antioxidants in berries such as blueberries and raspberries, carrots, and leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli. 

B vitamins

B-6 helps form neurotransmitters to help with healthy brain development. B-12 is an essential vitamin for brain and nerve function. It also helps form red blood cells and DNA.

We always have spinach in the house - and the dogs love it!

We always have spinach in the house – and the dogs love it!

Studies have also shown that consuming B-6 and B-12 has positive effects on memory. Dogs will ingest B vitamins from food when they consume:  most meats, sea food, chickpeas, and spinach. 

Luteolin    

This is a plant compound that tames inflammation in the brain which restores memory. It is found in celery, carrots, peppers, and rosemary. 

Celery gives your dog's food a yummy (healthy!) crunch.

Celery gives your dog’s food a yummy (healthy!) crunch.

 Introducing Brain Foods Into To Your Dog’s Diet

As with anything in life, prevention is always better than treatment. This means that you should start as early as birth with preventing cognitive disorders through a healthy supplemented diet. Your dog will live longer and experience a more enriched life if these brain disorders are prevented rather than treated once they are developed later on in life. 

Jem and Zoey Love Brain Foods!

Jem and Zoey Love Brain Foods!

A healthy lifestyle balanced with physical activity, socialization, cognitive-enhancing activities, and an adequate intake of dietary antioxidants will vastly improve your dog’s overall health, quality of life, and increase her lifespan. 

Remember! Always consult your veterinarian or pet nutritionist before making any drastic diet changes to your dog’s routine. Some pet foods already contain high levels of vitamins and antioxidants, so you don’t want to overdo it and cause damage. If you do make the decision to supplement your dog’s food after consulting with your veterinarian, introduce the change slowly so as not to upset his stomach. Most importantly when introducing human foods to your dog: familiarize yourself with which foods are poisonous to dogs! 

Learn more about brain stimulating tricks for your dog at Modern Dog Magazine!

URGENT: Some Peanut Butter Brands Are Deadly For Dogs

RadioFence.com reports that some peanut butter brands contain Xylitol which is poisonous to dogsIf dogs could talk, I’d imagine that most of them would say they’ve tried peanut butter before – and loved it of course! Whether their human used it to hide a pill, let them lick the spoon, or gave them a dollop to witness how funny it is when it gets stuck to their tongues. Peanut butter has kind of always been associated as a healthy treat for our dogs to indulge in. 

But what happens when the manufacturers change the recipe? Would they tell us? And do we always read the food label on the jar without fail before giving our dogs a taste? If you’ve been buying the same brand of peanut butter for many years the answer is probably no. You may think you know what ingredients are in your favorite peanut butter, because there’s no way it’s changed since you started buying it…right?

Wrong! Some peanut butter manufacturers have added xylitol to their ingredients! Why are they adding xylitol? Because they’re trying to lower the calorie count while still preserving the sweet flavor. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that you see most commonly in candy, desert, and especially gum. It’s even hidden in some vitamin supplements and medications. It’s a relatively newer ingredient in food items that is extremely poisonous to dogs, so we have to start being extra careful to read labels before feeding our dogs any human food. 

Nuts N More Contains Xylitol which is toxic to dogsNuts ‘N More, P28, and Krush Nutrition: Nutty By Nature brand peanut butters all contain xylitol. However, these are not necessarily the ONLY brands that contain xylitol, which means it is up to you to check the ingredients in the brand you are purchasing before you feed it to your dog. According to Dr. Kathryn Primm, dogs can’t properly process xylitol the way humans do, so it causes a drop in blood sugar and liver damage that are both life-threatening. Dogs that are poisoned with xylitol will stagger when they walk and collapse. If your dog is poisoned, it is critical that she is rushed to the vet. 

Most of the peanut butter brands that contain xylitol are the ones sold in health food stores that specialize in vitamins. For now most, if not all of the big-brand peanut butters are safe and so are our dogs. We’ve used peanut butter to give our dogs medication countless times, and we also use it in some of our homemade dog treat recipes.

Jem and Laci love Smucker's Organic Peanut Butter! Only 2 ingredients: peanuts and less than 1% salt.

Jem and Laci love Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter! Only 2 ingredients: peanuts and less than 1% salt.

 As for any food or treat you give your dog, it’s always vital that you check the ingredients list for anything that could be poisonous to her. Make it a habit to read every ingredient on the list, and if you ever see a word you don’t recognize ask your vet if it is safe for your dog to consume. There is a long list of human foods that are poison to dogs, and it’s important to have these printed out on the refrigerator or some place where family members and guests that may not have experience with dogs can view it to remind them of what is acceptable and unacceptable to share with your dog. 

Buddy loves the occasional tasty peanut butter treat!

Buddy loves the occasional tasty peanut butter treat!

Spreading the word about what is safe and unsafe for dogs to eat can save thousands of lives! Make sure your friends know the rules :) 

Has your dog ever eaten anything she wasn’t supposed to?

 

Help Your Dog Love Bath Time in 3 Easy Steps!

Train Dog To Like BathsSome dogs love the water whether it’s jumping after a stick into the lake on a hot day, jumping in the waves at the beach, or leaping into the pool to swim with the family. Other dogs are not so thrilled at the idea of getting soaking wet, feeling the pressure and hearing the noise of rushing water, or fearing that they’re trapped inside a big tub with no escape. Our dog Jem is one of those dogs that absolutely freaks out at the sign of water, so bath time has always been a chore to say the least. 

If your dog is one of those that absolutely hates bath time, fights and scratches to avoid it, and thrashes water all over the house in protest, don’t worry – there’s hope! Every dog wants to hear those two magic words: “good dog!” They love to be obedient, feel comfortable, and make their parents proud. It just takes a little bit of training on our end to get them to that point. 

Luckily there are tried and true methods for training your dog to love bath time and feel comfortable. It only takes a few 3-5 minute training sessions!

Step 1: Practice Being In The Tub

For some dogs, the act of standing in the tub is intimidating enough, nevermind having the water rushing out of the faucet and getting soaking wet.. The slippery texture and surrounding walls are unfamiliar and scary for some. If you practice having your dog just hang out in the tub to start with, this will give her a chance to get used to the environment. 

"Peanut Butter Kong?! Count Me In!"

“Peanut Butter Kong?! Count Me In!”

Putting down an inexpensive bath mat can make all of the difference in the world for your dog. This will make it so the tub isn’t slippery and gives your pup a stable place to stand. Sometimes the slipperiness is one of the most intimidating parts of bath time and can be resolved easily with this simple trick. 

I bought a bath mat for $5.00 that didn’t have too much texture. I didn’t want any of the “massaging” ones that would feel weird on her sensitive paws. 

Step 2: Associate The Tub With A Tasty Treat

The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The same is true for your dog! If your dog associates being in the bath tub with having his favorite treat, then he is sure to look forward to bath time! It’s best to choose a treat that will last awhile and require your dog to do some work.

Peanut butter solves everything!

Peanut butter solves everything!

A bone or peanut butter-stuffed Kong works great! I let Jem sniff her Kong before introducing her to the bath time to catch her attention. I placed the Kong in the tub, and she practically jumped in by herself to get to it. I placed her in t he tub, and once Jem got busy working on her Kong her anxiety about being in the tub slipped away within a few minutes. While your dog relaxes and works on the treat, gently and calmly brush her so she associates getting cleaned/groomed as a positive experience. 

A peanut butter Kong and a back massage?! Heavenly!

A peanut butter Kong and a back massage?! Heavenly!

 Repeat this process until she becomes calm, relaxed, and comfortable with the experience of being in the bath tub. Her anxiety will subside as long as you take things slow and practice this process on several separate occasions until she shows signs that she is comfortable.

Time to search the house for more peanut butter Kongs!

Time to search the house for more peanut butter Kong’s!

Jem became comfortable being in the tub and wanted to stay in during this part of the training until her Kong was out of peanut butter, and then she was on to the next adventure! She jumped out of the tub which I was happy about. If I can get her used to jumping in and out by herself, then she can feel like she’s more in control and relaxed. She did so great after only her first session! I was thrilled that such a simple trick made all of the difference in the world for her. And on our first try!

Step 3: Gradually Introduce Water

Rather than turning the faucet on and drenching your pup from the get-go, which can be intimidating, have a container of warm water ready to gently and slowly pour onto the floor of the tub. And before you have your dog get in the tub, wet the bottom of the tub so she can get used to the floor being wet and a little more slick. 

Pouring water indirectly onto the bottom of the tub is non-threatening

Pouring water indirectly onto the bottom of the tub is non-threatening

 Introducing the water slowly will make your dog feel like she is still in control of her emotions without shocking her with too much too fast. I poured a little bit of water next to Jem slowly and pulled back when she showed signs of fear. When she looked like she wanted to jump out of the tub, I would pause and let her step back into the comfort zone of chewing her Kong. She slowly felt comfortable with me pouring more and more water close to her. She even let me pour it on her foot and the Kong!

Jem quickly became comfortable with more water poured next to her

Jem quickly became comfortable with more water poured next to her

A running faucet can bother some dogs because the sound affects their ears. Repeat this process of introducing water and increase the length of time spent in the tub until your pup feels comfortable having the water poured onto her side, back, or feet. You can gradually introduce more water until you’ve moved on to having a full bath from start to finish. 

Jem went from a skittish, and scared pup to a dog that loves baths!

Jem went from a skittish, and scared pup to a dog that loves baths!

I was honestly surprised at how well these training techniques worked with Jem. She’s by far our most skittish, nervous, and fearful dog when it comes to water. The trick was to take the training slowly and trust her to show me how quickly she wanted to progress through the training steps. It required me to be patient and confident that she would learn to love bath time at her own pace. I remained calm and positive while giving her positive reinforcement and words of encouragement every step of the way. If Jem the “scaredy-cat” can learn to love bath time, I believe any dog can!

Does your dog love or hate bath time? And do you know any tricks to make the process more enjoyable for both pups and pup-parents?

These training techniques were adapted from PetFinder.com

Jerky Dog Treats “Made In The USA” Still Not Safe

RadioFence.com jerky treats made in the USA and china are not safe

By now we’ve all probably heard about the toxic dog treats from China that have caused so many tragic dog deaths and complications. Since 2007, that FDA has received more than 5000 reports of illnesses believed to be related to consuming jerky treats. Since these tragedies, there has been a mass movement to take all treats that are made in China off the store shelves and most pet parents have been paying attention to where the treats are made before giving them to their dogs.

jerky treats from china recalledBut come to find out… even if the treats have the “Made In The USA” sticker/label, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the treats are healthy for your dog to consume. One of the scariest facts about this whole issue is that the specific toxin or poison that has caused all of these illnesses and deaths hasn’t been determined. The FDA believes that there is an association between these illnesses and the treats made in China, but it has not been proven that this is the cause. The truth is that they still haven’t determined the cause of these deaths. 

china treats recalledThe FDA warns consumers that until they can determine which ingredients in jerky treats are poisonous, there may not be a single jerky treat brand on the shelves that is safe for consumption. “I don’t recommend pet owners feed their pets jerky treats until the FDA can actually tell us what in the jerky treat is actually causing the sickness,” said Studio City veterinarian Dr. Julio Lopez

Jerky treats at Petco - some make claims of their ingredients being sourced in the USA

Jerky treats at Petco – some make claims of their ingredients being sourced in the USA

The FDA warns us that jerky treats labeled “Made In The USA” may pose just as many health risks as the treats made in China because while many of these treats are “assembled” in the United States, they are likely to include ingredients from China. The Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer for the FDA explained that “manufacturers do not need to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.”

"Family-Owned Spot Farms" makes it known that the chicken is raised in Kentucky

“Family-Owned Spot Farms” makes it known that the chicken is raised in Kentucky

Los Angeles residents Henry Alvarez and Lynn Thanarajakool say they’ll never feed a pet a jerky treat again, no matter where it’s manufactured, after their beloved Dachshund Kingsley died within days of eating a treat from a package labeled “Made in China.” “I only gave him one treat and it was Wednesday night and he started feeling sick by I would say noon the next day,” Alvarez recalled. The veterinarian ruled Kingsley’s cause of death as kidney failure which is a consistent symptom that the FDA associates with feeding pets chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats. 

The FDA is continuing to investigate all jerky treats and the causes of these illnesses and deaths. If you choose to continue to feed your dog jerky treats purchased in stores, the FDA warns:

  • Adhere to weight guidelines listed on the package: smaller dogs may be more vulnerable to health problems related to the treats
  • Monitor your pets for signs of sickness
  • Report any serious symptoms to the FDA and your vet 
  • If your pet gets sick, keep the packaging so the FDA can track the origin of the ingredients if your

For more information from the FDA on jerky treats, visit this website.

Homemade, organic, locally-grown, inexpensive, quick & easy... what more could you ask for?!

Homemade, organic, locally-grown, inexpensive, quick & easy… what more could you ask for?!

 We make homemade jerky treats for our dogs because it’s much less expensive, we can be sure where the ingredients are coming from and that they are healthy ones, and our dogs have given us clear and obvious signs that they prefer their treats homemade – can you say spoiled?! Zoey was given a treat at a friend’s house the other night that was made by a family company in Texas and kept putting it in her mouth, spitting it out, putting it in her mouth, spitting it out, and so on. She only ended up eating it because the other dogs wanted it and were trying to take it from her! She didn’t want the treat, but she wasn’t going to surrender her treat knowing that another dog would get to enjoy it – typical alpha dog behavior. 

I’m confident that I can make homemade jerky treats for less money than the store-bought kind and with less hassle than going out to the store, so why would I take the chance on the store-bought treats when we don’t know what’s causing these deaths? Have you or anyone you know experienced anything out of the ordinary with treats or dog food? And do you trust the store-bought brands?

For more of our healthy homemade treat recipes:

 

 

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treat Recipe

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treat RecipeAll of our homemade treat recipes are human-tested, dog approved! As you’ve probably read in my other posts, we believe whole-heartedly in homemade organic dog treats. And the dogs love them too! Zoey, Jem, and Laci can hardly keep their composure when they see me making dough and smell it baking in the oven. They know it’s treat-time and can’t believe their fortune!

There’s nothing better than knowing the quality and source of the ingredients in your dog’s treats. They love the freshness and you can sleep well at night knowing there are no preservatives or toxic ingredients in your pup’s belly. The icing on the pupcake? They’re so much cheaper than store bought!

Step 1: Find Your Ingredients

Homemade Organic Sweet Potato Dog Treats from RadioFence.comWhat you’ll need:

  • Honey
  • Flour (wheat or gluten free)
  • Oats
  • 3.5 oz container of sweet potato baby food
  • 1 egg 
  • Optional: cookie cutters

You may also already know that we purchase all organic ingredients (when they’re available to us), but you certainly don’t have to. Non-organic ingredients will work also. The 3.5 oz jar of baby food is bigger than the ordinary sized jars, so you have to look for it. 

Step 2: Measure & Mix Your Ingredients

Homemade organic sweet potato dog treats from RadioFence.comYour measurements:

  • 3.5 oz sweet potato baby food
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1 tb honey
  • 1/4 C oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the baby food, flour, honey, and oats in a mixing bowl until combined. Crack the egg in a separate dish and beat – this will be brushed on top of the treats before they go in the oven.  The dough will be semi-dry and a little tough to mix together. 

Zoey and Laci Sniffing Out The Homemade Dog Treats from RadioFence.comI hadn’t even mixed the ingredients with a spoon yet when Zoey and Laci sniffed out what I was doing and came running over to give their seal of pre-approval. They were already so excited!

Homemade sweet potato dog treats from RadioFence.comThis is what your dough should look like after you mix the ingredients. At this point I realized that with 3 dogs I wanted to make more, so I doubled the recipe. Without doubling the recipe, you will get about 24 small cookie-cutter sized treats. 

Step 3: Roll Dough & Cut Shapes

RadioFence.com Homemade Sweet Potato Dog TreatsYou’ll want to flour your surface area, roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4″ thick. The thickness of your dough isn’t that important – it’ll just depend on how crunchy or soft your dog like his treats!

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats Recipe from RadioFence.comThe next step is using a cookie cutter to create the shape of your treats. This part was my favorite because I just ordered customized cookie cutters from HomePrint3D on Etsy and got to use them for the first time! 

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats from RadioFence.comI’m so in love with these cookie cutters! You don’t have to take the time to cut shapes into your dough if you don’t want to. After cutting these shapes, I decided to roll the rest of the dough out and just rip misshapen pieces off of it. After all, your dog isn’t going to appreciate the shape but the taste instead! This is the only semi-time consuming part of this recipe and can easily be avoided in a time-crunch. 

Step 4: Brush With Egg Wash

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats from RadioFence.comTime to use that beaten egg we set aside that we almost forgot about. Lightly brush the treats with a little bit of egg wash so they’ll get a beautiful golden brown in the oven. 

Step 5: Bake and Enjoy!

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats from RadioFence.comBake on a cookie sheet (using parchment paper if you’d like) for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. You can bake for less time if your dog prefers a softer treat, or longer for a crunchier treat. Twenty minutes will give you a pretty good crunch to this treat. 

Bone Appetit!

Bone Appetit!

It’s munchin’ time!

Jem from RadioFence.com Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats RecipeI love how patient they try to pretend they are. Jem can’t hide her enthusiasm… that tongue always gives it away!

Jem Laci Zoey RadioFence.com homemade dog treats recipeJem says “I’m ready for one – just toss it in my mouth!”

Laci and Zoey from RadioFence.com homemade sweet potato dog treatsThe anticipation is killing them!

Zoey from RadioFence.com homemade sweet potato dog treat recipeZoey got to try her first cookie with her name on it!

Zoey from RadioFence.com homemade sweet potato dog treatsAnd she absolutely loved it!

Jem from RadioFence.com homemade sweet potato dog treatsJem was so excited to take her cookie she became a blur!

Laci from RadioFence.com homemade sweet potato dog treatsAlthough Laci was a little left out because her cookie cutter hasn’t come in the mail yet… she was still super excited about this recipe and loved them just the same!

 Enjoy our print-friendly recipe card to add to your recipe collection and share with friends:

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats
Yields 24
Homemade, preservative-free, inexpensive, and easy to make!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3.5 oz jar of sweet potato baby food
  2. 3/4 C flour
  3. 1/4 C oats
  4. 1 tb honey
  5. 1 large egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine baby food, flour, oats, and honey and mix until blended together
  3. Crack egg in separate bowl, beat, and set aside for later to be brushed onto treats
  4. Roll dough out to 1/4" thick onto floured surface and create treat shapes with cookie cutter: rip misshapen pieces from the dough if you don't want to use a cookie cutter
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
Notes
  1. You can bake these treats for less time if your dog prefers a softer treat. This treat will be crunchy when baked for 20 minutes.
Adapted from The Little Epicurean
RadioFence.com Blog http://blog.radiofence.com/

For more of our homemade treat recipes: