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:

Homemade Treats To Improve Aging Dogs’ Health

homemade treats to improve aging dogs healthWhether your dog is a senior with arthritis, or you want to start early preventative care for your young pup, these homemade treats are rich with ingredients that help with arthritis and inflammation, joints, digestion, skin/coat, tumors/cysts, cholesterol, cancer, and cataracts. They’re a great source of antioxidants, beta carotene, fiber, vitamin A,  potassium, iron, Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and B vitamins. This recipe is super easy, tasty, and so healthy for our dogs! The human members of your family may even like them too. 

Ingredients That Help Aging Dogs IMG_2682

  • Turmeric – a natural spice that has amazing health benefits for humans and animals. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties to help joints and is known to help with fatty tumors and cysts. Known to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and rich with antioxidants believed to prevent and fight cancer. It’s also packed with beta carotene which can prevent cataracts. 
  • Pumpkin – great source of fiber for dogs with an upset stomach, regulates the digestive system, and a source of vitamin A, potassium, iron, and beta carotene. 
  • Flax Seed Meal – incredible source of Omega 3 fatty acids which is great for dogs’ skin and coat. The antioxidants in flax seed are also an anti-inflammatory. 
  • Oats – a great bowel regulator, source of protein and B vitamins, calms nerves, and prevents tumors.
  • Eggs – excellent source of protein 
  • Meat – you can use ground turkey, venison, beef, pork, or chicken depending on what you prefer to use. I recommend a lean meat like turkey, venison, or chicken. 

Amount of Turmeric Depends on Your Dog’s Weight

You will need to adjust the amount of turmeric you use in this recipe depending on your dog’s weight.

If your dog is:

1-25lb = 1 Tb of turmeric

26-50lb =2 Tb of turmeric

51-75lb = 3 Tb of turmeric

75lb+ = 3.5 Tb turmeric 

Step 1: Mix All Ingredients In A Large Bowl

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  • 1 C ground flax seed meal
  • 1 C of oats
  • 2 eggs
  • Turmeric (amount depends on your dog’s weight)
  • 1 can pumpkin

IMG_2685Your mixture will look like this once combined thoroughly. Next step is to add the 1 lb of ground meat:

IMG_2686Once you’ve added the ground meat, the mixture will be finished:


Form The Treats

IMG_2688The mixture will be slightly sticky, so rolling the treats into balls or using cookie cutters wouldn’t be an easy task. I simply grabbed globs of batter out of the bowl and plopped them down onto the baking sheet. I pushed down to flatten them, and they’ll taste just as good if they’re ugly as they would cut into pretty shapes!


IMG_2690Once the baking sheets are full of treats, place them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Depending on the size of your treats, they may need to bake for more or less time than that. I didn’t bake mine for long, because these are specialized for elderly dogs. A softer treat is better than a crunchy one on their teeth.

 Chow Down!

Turmeric can cause dehydration, so make sure your dog has plenty of water available when you serve these treats. 

IMG_2726 Jem and Zoey loved the smell of the treats coming out of the oven!

IMG_2743Of course Jem did her typical move: jump up onto the counter to investigate! 

IMG_2791And she loved what she smelled! 

IMG_2805Jem and Zoey loved these treats sooo much that I couldn’t even get a clear picture of the crazy girls! They went nuts! Safe to say this is a recipe for the record books. 

Storing These Treats

You must keep these natural treats in the refrigerator since they lack preservatives. They will last up to a week in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer. You can also freeze the uncooked dough if you would rather not bake them all at once. 

Do you have any other tried and true methods for helping elderly dogs feel more comfortable or prevention for younger pups? 

Homemade Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

homemade chicken jerky dog treatsSome people think that making your own dog treats is labor intensive and time-consuming. But what if I told you that it’s as easy as chop and bake? Anyone can dice up some chicken and place it in the oven, right? It’s so easy! And with only 1 ingredient, no preservatives, no added-anything, and no mystery meats… your dog will thrive on these tasty treats! And dehydrated treats are the least labor-intensive creation imaginable. You barely have to lift a finger! And with claims that even jerky treats made in the USA aren’t safe, it’s so important that we can rest-assured that we are feeding our dogs non-toxic treats.

Step 1: Prepare Your Checklist of Ingredients


  • Boneless, skinless chicken

That’s it! Just 1 ingredient. You can buy whatever is on sale, but I used the chicken breasts that our family eats. These will be ready in no time, so preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Step 2: Slice The Chicken

DSC06783A lot of people slice the chicken into thin, 1/8-3/8″ jerky slices. The thinner they are, the less time they will need to cook in the oven. However, I found it was much easier to just cube the chicken into thin, square-shaped pieces. I began by cutting the chicken into long jerky strips, but it was kind of difficult, and the cubes ended up cooking better in the oven. 

DSC06788Step 3: Place & Bake

DSC06789Place the chicken pieces on baking sheets. You can use non-stick spray if you wish. 

DSC06792Place in the oven and bake for about 2 hours at 250 degrees. The amount of time will vary depending on the thickness and size of the treats you cut.

Jem’s trusty nose tells her there’s something in the oven…


Step 4: Eat Up!

DSC06793Make sure your jerky treats are a golden color with some crisp to them. If they’re still soft and very white, you should cook them for longer. Your treats may take more or less time than mine did depending on the size you cut them. 

Zoey smells something coming out of the oven…

DSC06800And Jem is quick to investigate…DSC06816“Are all of these for me?!” 

DSC06850Jem can’t believe her eyes!

DSC06844OH my gosh they really ARE for me…

DSC06841And soon enough Jem couldn’t get enough…

DSC06843But Zoey’s height doesn’t keep her from taking a whiff…

DSC06857And she loves what she tastes!

DSC06861These jerky treats were so easy to make and healthy for the dogs. Based on their reactions, these seemed to be their favorite dog treats that I’ve ever made! I had to put them away in the refrigerator and spray Febreeze to get Jem to stop sniffing around the kitchen for more! 

Other favorite homemade treat recipes:


How To Understand Pet Food Labels: Know The Red Flags


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!’


“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? 

Yummy Homemade Banana Dog Treats

homemade banana dog treats from radiofence.comWhat’s better than homemade dog treats? When they’re only 1 ingredient! These banana dog treats are super easy to make and much cheaper than store-bought treats. You can’t go wrong! And your doggy is going to love them.

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients

All you need for this recipe is bananas! I chose to use 5 bananas because I have 3 hungry doggies to treat this week. 

homemade banana dog treats from radiofence.comI chose bananas that still had some green color. This made them stay in tact better when I cut them rather than soft, ripe bananas. 

Step 2: Peel and Cut The Bananas

homemade banana dog treats from radiofence.com

homemade banana dog treats from radiofence.comI sliced my bananas into bite-sized pieces since my dogs are small. When I give them treats, I like them to be bite-size rewards after a walk, trick, or good behavior. Over-treating can lead to obesity and other health problems. 

banana dog treats from radiofence.comYou can also slice the bananas long-ways into three pieces for a chewy treat for bigger dogs. This shape is also great if you want your dog to have a treat that will last longer.  Don’t worry if you can’t cut them perfectly, as you can see mine broke!

Step 3: Place & Bake

homemade banana dog treats from radiofence.comPlace the bananas on a baking sheet. You can use parchment paper, but I didn’t have any in stock! I heard that squeezing lemon on the treats will keep them from browning, but I don’t know if it made much of a difference. I’d say that this step of adding lemon isn’t necessary. 

homemade banana dog treats from RadioFence.comBake in the oven at 200 degrees for 1 hour & 30 minutes. They will come out of the oven still a little bit soft. Let them sit and cool for about 30 minutes, then remove from the baking sheet. You can cook them for longer if your dogs prefer a crispier treat. 

Step 4: Go Bananas!

Yep, that’s right. My pups went absolutely bananas over these treats! It was so much fun to watch them freaking out over the taste. 

Zoey and Laci were the first ones out of the gate…

zoey and laci homemade dehydrated banana dog treats from radiofence.comI wasn’t sure which one of them would get the first bite…

homemade banana dog treats from radiofence.comBut before they could get a taste…

radiofence.com banana dog treats INCOMING! Jem swooped in for the prize! And with one sniff of the banana…

banana dog treats from radiofence.comShe was hooked!

radiofence.com banana dog treatsZoey had to see what all the fuss was about…

radiofence.com banana dog treatsAnd she was in love!

radiofence.com banana dog treatsIt was Laci’s turn to fight for a taste…

radiofence.com homemade banana dog treatsShe wasn’t about to let Jem steal her bite…

radiofence.com homemade banana dog treatsOut of the way, Jem… this bite is mine!

laci radiofence.com homemade banana dog treatsSuccess! Laci got her bite, and she went crazy for it…

radiofence.com homemade banana dog treatsThe girls loved their treats so much that they wished their Uncle Buddy there to try them. But since they didn’t have a big dog to share the big pieces with, they would just have to split it in three…

radiofence.com pet products

Health Benefits Of Bananas For Dogs 

Bananas are beneficial to dogs when given in moderation, so a treat is the perfect solution. They’re one of the most nutritious fruits you can feed your dog. They have high levels of vitamin B, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium that your dog may not be getting from her dog food.

Large/Medium sized dogs can eat up to half of a banana a few times per week. Smaller breeds should have smaller slices. It is recommended to feed your dog bananas in moderation since they can cause constipation in humans and dogs when consumed heavily. If your dog struggles with constipation on a regular basis, it may be wise to avoid banana treats. 

Dogs that suffer with colitis, which is inflammation of the colon, benefit greatly from eating bananas because the enzymes soothe irritations in the intestines. Always consult your veterinarian to make sure any nutritional additives to your dogs diet coincide with her treatment regimen. 


If you love how easy dehydrated dog treats are to make, check out our other recipe: