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?

 

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:

 

 

Dog “Germs” Could Make People Healthier

Mabel and Kynley - Two Nieces In Our Family

Mabel and Kynley – Two Nieces In Our Family

You haven’t met the two little ones in our title image yet – Mabel is the newest furry addition to our extended family (Mabel is Zoey and Jem’s cousin). And Kynley is the sweetheart that Mabel is giving kisses to that we are happy to call family! 

We’ve probably all heard that having a dog has some great health benefits. Studies have shown that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, and lower blood pressure. Their incredible sense for our wellbeing goes as far as detecting low blood sugar, seizures, and even cancer. But the latest study is testing whether having a dogs in our homes actually boosts our immune systems and makes them stronger than they would be if we didn’t have dogs! 

Zoey loves kisses!

Zoey loves kisses!

Scientists at the University of Arizona are conducting a study to see if the natural bacteria that dogs have encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms in people. They believe living with dogs could be causing our bodies to create enough microorganisms to reduce sneezing, itching, and hives from allergic reactions. Imagine if our dogs are the natural remedy we’ve been needing for our allergies!

Jem loves getting her "germs" all over our bed!

Jem loves getting her “germs” all over our bed!

I have a friend that has been severely allergic to dogs her whole life. She fell in love with a dog that sheds at the shelter, adopted him, and named him Meeko. She recently told me that she’s still allergic to some other dogs she’s around, but she seems to have built up a “tolerance” to Meeko’s hair and doesn’t have a reaction to him anymore! This has me thinking that our bodies really do create beneficial microorganisms as a result of being around them that fight against our body’s allergic reactions. Amazing!

Jamie and Meeko's first beach day - No allergies!

Jamie and Meeko’s first beach day – No allergies!

The study to test this theory is going to analyze the blood and skin samples of people and their dogs for three months to track health changes. Scientists believe that the deep connection we have with our dogs goes beyond the surface. We don’t just love them for their cute, fluffy, tail-wagging exterior. And they don’t just love us as a food-source and a door-opener to the backyard. The bond between us goes so much deeper than anyone can put into words – and this connection could be one that our health depends on. A doctoral student participating in the study says, “is it just that they’re fuzzy and we like to pet them, or is there something else going on under the skin? The question really is: Has the relationship between dogs and humans gotten under the skin? And we believe it has.” 

Moments like these are worth all the "germs" in the world!

Moments like these are worth all the “germs” in the world!

It’s completely understandable that dogs share their unique bacteria with us in our home over time. Households with pets have more bacterial diversity than homes without pets, which is great news for humans because exposure to a variety of microbes builds a stronger immune system. “We think dogs might work as probiotics to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts. These bacteria, or ‘microbiota,’ are increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age,” Dr. Charles Raison, professor of psychiatry at the university and the principal investigator for the study, said in the statement.

Buddy the rescue pup hasn't wasted any time sharing his "germs" with our family, and we love it!

Buddy the rescue pup hasn’t wasted any time sharing his “germs” with our family, and we love it!

Just when I thought I couldn’t love dogs any more than I already do… now there’s the possibility that they actually make me healthier! This is great news. I’m excited to see how this study goes and what incredible connections the scientists find between dogs and people. Researchers are still raising funds for the study and finding volunteers between ages 50-80. Looking forward to the results! 

We love Jem "germs" in this family!

We love Jem “germs” in this family!

The more germs the merrier in this family! All of our dogs get an overload of cuddles and kisses in this household. 

 

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Eating Poop?

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Eating Poop?Zoey has always had an infatuation with her own poop… and I can’t for the life of me imagine why. What we humans would consider a form of torture, our dogs seem to think is a tasty treat! Why do they do this? Should we be worried? And how can we get them to stop?

Coprophagia is the technical term for eating and ingesting feces. I was relieved to find out that Zoey’s poop fetish is completely normal. Many animal species enjoy the occasional poo-poo platter. 

A Visit To The Vet Is Necessary

In most cases, coprophagia is NOT a sign that your dog has a disease that you should be worried about, but in other cases it can be a sign of an underlying issue. Step 1 if your dog is eating poop is to take her to the vet for tests to make sure she is healthy. Medical conditions that could be causing your dog to eat poop include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin deficiency 
  • Increased appetite
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Parasites
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Anemia
  • Neurological disease

Jeez… is that all? That’s a lot of medical issues to worry about all because of one disgusting habit that many of us probably assumed was just “a dog being a dog.” But don’t freak out just yet! Most of the time dogs eat poop for non life-threatening reasons.

Your veterinarian will run medical tests to determine if your dog is suffering from any of the diseases or medical conditions that cause some dogs to eat poop. You will also want to discuss your dog’s diet, appetite, nutrition, and environment with your vet. 

Lack Of Nutrients Causing It?

Some dogs have an interest in eating their poop because they aren’t getting enough nutrients in their diet. Sometimes there are food particles in the poop that didn’t get digested. Dogs smell this and think of it as fresh, uneaten food. They may be unable to digest the nutrients the first go-around and eat the partially-digested particles in the poop to meet their nutritional needs. This is the most common reason that dogs eat poop. It tastes good! Even though we can’t possibly begin to understand how… If you believe your dog is eating her poop because she needs better nutrition, consult with your vet or a pet nutritionalist about what diet is best for your dog. 

The ASPCA suggests making sure you’re feeding your dog quality food. They state that you really can’t find high-quality dog food in supermarkets and sometimes can be mislead by the brands at the big box pet stores. The ASPCA suggests finding a quality pet supply store and looks for premium brands with human-grade ingredients. Always read the labels on the dog food you consider purchasing. Choose a brand that has one or more whole meat sources and no meat-by-products. 

Dogs That Eat Other Animals’ Poop

Some dogs don’t just love to eat their own poop, but they will eat other dogs’ poop as well. Our dog Jem will follow Zoey or other dogs around the yard waiting for them to go potty so she can get her stinky snack at it’s freshest. This is also very common in many dogs, but sometimes more risky than a dog eating his own poop. 

It’s important to make sure your dog never ingests the feces of dogs that are strangers. You don’t know if these other dogs are receiving the vaccinations and preventative care that is required to prevent the spread of diseases. If your dog is exposed to other dogs’ poop that is carrying diseases that puts your dog at risk. 

A Mom’s Natural Instinct 

Moms will also eat the feces of their puppies, so puppies may copy this behavior and keep doing it out of habit and curiosity. Once it has become a habit for your dog, it can be difficult to break. But it is definitely possible with the correct training. 

A Technique To Get Attention

Some dogs will eat poop to get attention if they feel punished or neglected. For dogs, any attention is better than no attention at all. A lot of them prefer to be scolded rather than being ignored altogether. Try spending more time with your dog, go for more walks together, and take car rides to show your dog that she is loved and important. 

Your Dog Is A Neat Freak

Other dogs who like a neat and tidy environment will eat their poop to clean their area. Some dogs think they’re doing a great job of cleaning the back yard when they eat their poop. Pups that have an accident inside may also eat their poop in an effort to clean the space.

How Do I Stop This Behavior?

The surest way to avoid your dog eating poop is the watch your dog when she is outside and clean up after her every time she goes #2. This isn’t always realistic for everyone to find the time and means to clean up after your dog every time. Many people don’t pick up their dog’s poop because they don’t want to dispose of it in the trash can and deal with the nasty smell and contamination. You can get a Doggy Dooley for your yard to make clean up sterile and convenient. The Doggy Dooley gets buried in your yard and chemically breaks down poo so you never have to deal with the smell in your trash can when you scoop the poop from the yard. 

Natural Food Additives To Stop Poo-Eating

Many experts believe that the products on the market that claim to discourage your dog from eating poop don’t actually work. There are liquids and powders to add to your dog’s food that claim to make the poop taste bad to the dog and keep him from eating it. Popular opinion is that these are not healthy to use long-term and don’t actually work. Some people have successfully discouraged their dog from eating poop by adding certain human foods to the dog’s food. Pineapple or foods with sulfur such as brussels sprouts or cabbage will discourage the dog from eating his poop. I’m going to try this in Zoey’s food and see if it works!

Correct The Behavior With A Training Collar

You can also use the aid of a training collar to associate the bad behavior with a correction. Consistency is key with this type of training. You’ll have to give your dog a correction every time he tries to eat the poop consistently for a few weeks until he avoids the poop completely. Your dog may regress and go back to his old ways, so you’ll have to reinforce the training later on down the road if/when this happens. 

What Not To Do:

Most importantly, you should always remember what not to do. We want to correct our dogs’ bad behavior, never punish them in a nonconstructive way. Punishment for an act like eating poop will only make your dog more likely to eat the poop next time as a way of “covering up the evidence” to avoid getting punished again. 

There’s been a belief by many people for years that you should rub your dog’s face in urine and feces when you’re potty training. This should never be used as a form of training, according to the ASPCA. If your dog is eating poop, never resort to rubbing her face in it to get her to stop. It won’t work to put an end to the behavior and can only lead to more problems.

Most importantly, never physically hit or harm your dog as a form of punishment for eating poop or any other behavior that you don’t approve of. Dogs are very loyal being by nature, and they want to please their “masters” if they are given the chance. Communicate with your dog in a way that she will understand the cause and effect of her behavior. Physical punishment is not understood by your dog and will only lead to aggression, fear, and acting out.

Do you have any techniques that worked to get your dog to stop eating his/her poop?