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.

41GNRXAB0CL__1448445238_178.135.80.70

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. 

12605516_10205834718127288_9199225991525700319_o

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. 

IMG_4926

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. 

IMG_7416

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. 

IMG_7895

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!

Dirtiest Place In Your Home: Your Pet’s Water Bowl!

Clean water for your pet - pet fountains from radiofence.comA clean water bowl is more vital to your pet’s health than you could imagine. A study conducted in 2011 by NSF International tested for the dirtiest places in our homes and found that our pets’ water bowl is the 4th dirtiest place in our homes! When you compare that to places like the toilet, doorknobs, shower drains, and garbage disposals, that really puts it into perspective just how dirty our pets’ water bowls are! Who would have thought?

What Kinds of Germs Are In My Pet’s Water Bowl?

The most common bacteria found in dog and cat bowls is Serratia Marcescens which has a peach/pink color to it. It commonly causes infection and pneumonia. Even if you don’t see a pink-ish color in the bowl, there’s a good chance the bacteria is there. 

IMG_2993You will also find yeast, mold, and coliform bacteria (salmonella and E. coli) in your pet’s water bowl. The fat in your pet’s food is the ideal fuel for germs like these, so food bowls are three times as filthy as the water bowls – so always disinfect with hot water and antibacterial soap between meals or in the dishwasher! Don’t forget to use that soap… according to a study published in a Canadian Veterinarian Journal, rinsing the bowls with hot water is so ineffective that it’s as if you’re doing nothing at all. You absolutely need antibacterial soap to kill the germs – and NO your pet won’t taste the soap just as you don’t taste the soap on the dishes you eat from. 

The NSF states:

Pet dishes should be washed daily, either in a sanitizing dishwasher or scrubbed by hand with hot soapy water, then rinsed. If hand washing, place the dishes in a 1:50 bleach rinse (one cap of bleach in one gallon of water) and soak for about 10 minutes once per week. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.

Rule of thumb: don’t expect your dog to eat or drink from something that would give you the ‘heebie-jeebies’ if you had to use it yourself. 

What Material Should My Pet’s Bowl Be Made Out Of?

IMG_2924Did you know that some materials are better than others at fighting the growth of bacteria and germs? You really want to stick to stainless steel or ceramic for your pet’s water (and food) bowls. These are the cleanest and safest – no plastic! Plastic is extremely porous and scratches easily which makes it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, algae, and mold.

Solution To The Dirty Dog Bowl Dilemma:

Get a pet fountain! They constantly filter the water so even the messiest drinkers will find a clean bowl of water the next time they go in for a drink. I’ve seen dogs that come inside with a face full of sand, bugs, mud, or whatever else they find outside. Then there’s those messy eaters that can’t keep their food out of the water bowl. And I wondered why the dog bowl was the 4th dirtiest place in the home because…? A pet fountain eliminates all of these bacteria causing particles. 

A pet fountain should be a necessity in every pet’s home… it’s just good hygiene! But there’s plenty of other reasons why your dog prefers a fountain over a typical water bowl.

Your Pet Wants A “Fresh Glass Of Water” Too!

Do you love to drink from a glass of stagnant water that’s been sitting out all day? Of course not! And neither does your dog or cat.

IMG_2911It wasn’t until the pet fountains were invented that I sat back and realized –  ‘Wow, I’m expecting my dogs to drink from a bowl of water that’s been sitting out all day (or a couple days) …but I wouldn’t drink from that!”

If I have a glass of water that I didn’t finish after a few hours, I dump it in the sink and grab a fresh glass and refill. So it’s funny that we are so accustomed to our dogs drinking in this way. Now after having that “a-ha” moment, it just feels like common sense to provide my dogs with the same “luxury” I’m accustomed to. Would you drink from the same glass for your entire life without washing it every day? 

Fountains Encourage Dogs and Cats To Drink More Water Which Improves Health

Research shows that one of the best ways to improve your dog or cat’s health is to get her to drink more water. Whenever I take the dogs to the vet for their check-ups, I share my concerns with him that I don’t see Zoey drinking enough water. Jem is obsessed with ice cubes and regularly takes big gulps from the water bowl, so I know she’s getting the hydration she needs. But Zoey seems so uninterested in drinking water, and she doesn’t like ice cubes, so I worry.

IMG_3039On those rare occasions when I see her drinking from the water bowl I’ll tense up, stop whatever I’m doing, and try not to make a sound for fear that I’ll spook her and scare her away from it! It’s that bad… So I was relieved to learn that fountains are clinically proven to encourage dogs to drink more water than they do with a conventional dog bowl. This is great news for a finicky drinker like Zoey!

IMG_3057Does your dog drink from a fountain? If not, do you think he or she would love one as much and Jem and Zoey do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

As a thank you for being a loyal reader of the RadioFence.com blog and educating yourself on your pet’s health, we’re giving you 5% off any fountain of your choice. Your dog deserves clean, healthy water every day! Use coupon code “FOUNTAIN” at check out. 

 

See Our Favorite Porcelain Fountains In Action:

 

Have you ever seen how dogs really drink water?

 

BarkPost uses our pet fountains to explain how dogs drink water:

How To Understand Pet Food Labels: Know The Red Flags

1

If you’re anything like me, you may be starting to worry that there isn’t a healthy pet food that you can trust. It seems like each week there’s a new “pet food recall” notice. And with brands bragging that their food is “made with real beef or chicken,” it makes me wonder what the other food is made of?! 

DSC06727Dog food has a “3% With Rule” which states that any food that claims to be made “with chicken” only needs to consist of 3% chicken to make that claim true. For example, “Honest Jack’s Dog Food With Chicken” only needs to consist of 3% chicken in order to meet guidelines. Crazy, right?! 

Pet food labelsI’ve been working on my own research to clear up some of the controversy that’s on peoples’ minds about pet food, but it’s incredibly difficult to find concrete answers to my questions and concerns. It’s proved to be close to impossible to get a straight answer about pet food truths and lies. The confusion about which pet foods are healthy and which ones are fooling us can’t be clarified as easily as I’d hoped. It’s going to take more than one post to get some of this confusion sorted out, so stay tuned!  

Why It’s So Important To Research Your Dog’s Food

DSC06728We have the responsibility to research dog food brands ourselves and learn as much as we can beyond what the companies are telling us on the surface. Almost every aspect of our dogs’ health starts with their diet. A healthy diet can make all of the difference in the world for your dog throughout her entire life.

DSC06730So what should you look for when reading pet food labels? Should we buy labels that say “gourmet, premium, natural, or organic?” Or do companies know that these words are going to trigger us to purchase and they’re using them as marketing techniques?

The government’s rules and regulations on pet food have nothing to do with the advertising and marketing claims that these companies use. That means they can say anything they want regardless if it’s true. Has the Blue Buffalo controversy come to your mind yet? 

 The FDA’s Regulations: Do They Protect Our Pets?

The FDA “establishes standards applicable for all animal feeds: proper identification of product, net quantity, manufacturer’s name and address, and proper listing of all ingredients.” Seems pretty bare minimum to me… so what about the company’s claims to us that they are a superior brand? No regulations on that?

The FDA states on its website: “Pet owners and veterinary professionals have a right to know what they are feeding their animals. The pet food label contains a wealth of information, if one knows how to read it. Do not be swayed by the many marketing gimmicks or eye-catching claims. If there is a question about the product, contact the manufacturer or ask an appropriate regulatory agency.”

So what I get from that explanation is that we’re pretty much on our own to learn how to read labels in order to understand what we are purchasing. Now that’s a hefty task… 

AAFCO Regulations: Do They Protect Our Pets?

Not all states require the FDA to enforce their labeling regulations. Many of the states have adopted the pet food regulations established by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). These regulations are more specific and “cover aspects of labeling such as product name, the guaranteed analysis, the nutritional adequacy statement, feeding instructions, and calorie statements. 

 The AAFCO website provides a lot of contact information from state to state, but it says little about what the committee does. It does state that, “AAFCO’s Pet Food Committee has created a great tool for small pet food businesses to learn what is required when they wish to make pet foods and treats. Though this information is very beneficial in explaining what is necessary for a company to start up their business, it is just a tool. For further information regarding what is required by the state where you live, contact your State Feed Control Official.”

The words “it is just a tool” was a red flag for me. They also state that, “While AAFCO doesn’t help consumers directly, AAFCO has clearly stated in its philosophy regarding feed regulations in the Official Publication that “The most important aspect of feed regulation is to provide protection for the consumer as well as the regulated industry. A major function of feed regulations is to safeguard the health of man and animals. Another important function of feed regulation is to provide a structure for orderly commerce.” We also use expert nutrition opinions to establish nutrient standards (profiles) for dogs and cats.”

Look For The AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement On The Pet Food Bags

The AFCCO states that the nutritional adequacy statement is quite possibly the most important thing to look for on the pet food bag. It will state that the food meets AFCCO standards.

IMG_1931Nutritional adequacy statements may look like any of the following examples:

  • “___________ is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (or cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for ___________.”
  • “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that ______________ provides complete and balanced nutrition for _____________.”
  • “_____________ provides complete and balanced nutrition for ___________ and is comparable to a product which has been substantiated using AAFCO feeding tests”

 Nutritional adequacy statements that do not meet AFCCO standards that you should beware of will look like these:

  • ““A nutritional or dietary claim for purposes other than those listed above provided the claim is scientifically substantiated”
  • “This product is intended for intermittent or supplementary feeding only”

Don’t Trust “Gourmet” or “Premium” Food Claims

You may be surprised to know that the FDA has no regulations or guidelines to protect consumers from misleading claims like “gourmet” or “premium.”

DSC06710FDA labeling guidelines state, “products labeled as premium or gourmet are not required to contain any different or higher quality ingredients, nor are they held up to any higher nutritional standards than are any other complete and balanced products.”

That bothers me, what about you?!

Beware of “Human Grade” Pet Food Claims

The AAFCO states that although many food companies have claimed to provide human grade ingredients, this term has no legal definition in animal feed regulations.

“Extremely few pet food products could be considered officially human edible or human grade.” The AAFCO also states that a dog food that truly met human standards would be extremely expensive.

There are official standards that must be met in order for food to be deemed “edible” by definition for human consumption. If these qualifications are met then “human grade” claims can legally be made even though there is no official definition for the term. However, a product created for a pet is very unlikely to be nutritionally adequate for human consumption. There are foods that humans can eat, such as chocolate, that are toxic to dogs. Therefore, “human grade” does not by any means indicate that a food is nutritionally safe for dogs. 

“Natural” Pet Food: While It’s Better, It’s Still Unclear

The word “natural” is being used on tons of food labels both in the dog and human food industries. It makes us feel good when we think we’re getting an honest product, and we hope that the label is telling us the truth. Some people confuse the terms “natural” and “organic” as being interchangeable, but they are absolutely not the same.

DSC06719PetMD veterinarian Dr. Hughes tells us that the word “natural” means that the FDA deems the product to contain no chemical changes to the ingredients. Of course we don’t want our dogs to ingest chemicals day after day. This can greatly deteriorate their health. Purchasing a dog food that can provide FDA certified “natural” ingredients should be part of your dog’s daily diet. 

DSC06722The AAFCO says that the word “natural” is a descriptive term that sounds positive, but there are misperceptions about the word. The term was undefined in the past by state and federal agencies, but in an effort to appeal to consumers, marketers have used the term for their food. 

The AAFCO Definition for “Natural” Pet Food: 

DSC06716“A feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subjected to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”

DSC06729However, the FDA labeling guidelines states, “the term ‘natural’ is often used on pet food labels, although that term does not have an official definition.” The FDA does recognize the AAFCO definition for natural. Unfortunately, it’s up to us to do the remaining research for us to be sure that the company’s claims to be natural are in fact truthful. Furthermore, not all states have adopted the AAFCO definition for “natural.” The FDA admits that ingredients can still contain trace amounts of chemically synthetic compounds and still be considered natural. 

Are you even more confused than before? Don’t feel bad, I am too! It feels like there still isn’t a concrete, defined, trustworthy answer to the natural vs unnatural debate. 

Don’t Believe “Holistic” Pet Food Claims

DSC06720There is no legal definition of the word “holistic” for pet food. Any manufacturer can claim their food is “holistic” regardless of the ingredients. To me, this word would be a red flag for ‘marketing scam!’

DSC06723

“Organic” Pet Food: Look For The Seal 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, organic ingredients must be grown with only animal or vegetable fertilizers such as manure, bone meal, compost, etc. When a product has the USDA Organic Seal, it is certified to meet these standards. If the product does not have the official USDA Organic Seal, it’s claim to be organic has not been proven true by any official agency. 

According to the AAFCO, Organic pet food is “produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering may not be used.”

 

Now that was a lot to take in! The pet food controversy is one that I believe is far from over. More consumers than ever are demanding answers from manufacturers, and I hope that in only a few more years we will be able to grab a bag of dog food off the shelves without all of these worries and concerns. Stay tuned for more information on reading pet food labels and understanding what all of the chemically-named ingredients truly are. 

Do you have a rule you abide by when picking out your pet’s food? Or is there a tried and true method you believe works when choosing a reputable manufacturer? 

Homemade Doggy Ice Cream For Summer

homemade dog ice cream recipe from radiofence.com What treat do you crave the most on a hot summer day? A nice cool, refreshing ice cream cone? Well your dog is thinking the same thing! Too bad dairy can make their tummies hurt so bad… it would be great to let our pups have a lick and get a break from the heat. 

I love to find fun, new, and exciting ways to keep my dogs entertained. I’ll search for things that we can do together at home when we’re stuck inside because it’s close to 100 degrees out. What screams “summer vacation” more than ice cream?!

Your dog can still enjoy an ice cream treat during these hot summer months as long as you make it yourself at home. And don’t worry, just like all the other recipes I share, it takes less time to make this yourself than to buy the mystery-meat “dog ice cream” at the grocery store. 

All you need is a blender/food processor, bananas, and peanut butter!

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients

homemade dog ice cream recipeIngredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas – peeled
  • 1 tb peanut butter

See? I told you this was going to be easy! 

All you have to do is peel the bananas and put them in a dish for freezing. 

homemade dog ice cream recipeI chose to cut mine into small pieces before freezing them because my Ninja is small, but you can freeze them whole if you have a bigger machine.

Step 2: Freeze Your Bananas

All you have to do to prepare your doggy ice cream is freeze the bananas for 2-3 hours. You can always freeze them for longer if you wish, but my dogs were in a hurry!

You can see a little peak of Zoey’s raw food (Darwin’s) in the freezer… I’ll have to tell you more about that later! 

Step 3: Blend The Ice Cream

homemade dog ice cream for summerOnce your bananas have chilled in the freezer, simply stick them in the blender/food processor and blend for 30-60 seconds or until they have an ice cream-like consistency. 

homemade dog ice cream for summerI couldn’t believe how much this looked and felt like real ice cream when I was finished blending! The texture of the bananas and the refreshing cool temperature could have even fooled me into thinking this was real ice cream. Maybe we will make this a human snack tradition as well!

Step 4: Add Peanut Butter

homemade healthy dog treat recipeAdd a tablespoon of peanut butter (I just scooped a spoon-full out of the jar). It doesn’t need to be exact. Blend again until it has mixed with the bananas.

Jem says “I smell something yummy!”

This part is completely optional, but what dog doesn’t love peanut butter? You can add any ingredients to your ice cream that your dog loves or that she needs supplemented into her diet. Consider adding any of the brain foods that extend your dog’s life span

And always remember, read the label on your peanut butter to make sure it doesn’t have the added ingredient that is highly poisonous to dogs!

Zoey and Laci say, “If only we were a couple inches taller!”

Step 5: Beat The Heat and Enjoy!

homemade dog ice creamNow for the best part of all, watching your dog devour this amazing treat that you made so easily in your kitchen! Isn’t there something rewarding about knowing you made a treat for your dog yourself and watching how much she loves it?

homemade dog ice cream treatI wish we had some cute ice cream bowls or cones, but they loved this ice cream so much that they probably would have destroyed it too quickly for me to get good pictures no matter what I served it in! 

homemade dog ice cream treatAs always, Jem and Laci were the biggest little piglets when it came to scarfing it down. They were running from bowl to bowl trying to make sure to stake their claim on each one. Zoey was her usual shy self and took a couple licks before just letting them take over. As usual, I let Zoey have her treat in a separate room so she could enjoy it without the others trying to nab it from her.

homemade dog ice cream I love this recipe for so many reasons – it’s healthy for the dogs, easy for me to make, and it’s always a great back-up plan for bananas sitting on the counter that have gotten too ripe for the family to eat. I have a feeling my girls will be getting homemade ice cream pretty often as our bananas become over-ripe.

Have you ever tried a homemade ice cream recipe, and did your dog love it as much as mine did? I hope you try this recipe, and if you do let me know how they like it!