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. 

 

Quick & Easy No-Bake Dog Treats

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.comHomemade dog treats are awesome for so many reasons! Our dogs prefer them, they’re cheaper than store-bought, they’re healthier than the mystery-meat treats on the shelves, and you can make most of the recipes in less time than it takes to drive to the store. 

When I found these no-bake treats on “Jo and Sue’s” blog, I was really excited to give them a try because they sounded so easy and simple to make. Not to mention there’s only a  few ingredients in them that we always have on hand, so if I’m ever in a bind and need a quick treat for the pups I can whip these up in no time! 

Ingredients:

  • Peanut butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Water
  • Oats

Step 1: Find Your Ingredients

DSC05321As you’ve read in my other posts, we use organic ingredients in our house. You can use regular or organic ingredients in your treats. All you need is peanut butter, cinnamon, water, and oats. But never forget the human foods that are poisonous to dogs.

Step 2: Combine Your Ingredients 

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine and stir the peanut butter, cinnamon, and water until combined.

  • 3/4 C peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C water

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.comSlowly add the oats to the mixture until they are thoroughly mixed in.

  • 1  1/4 C oats

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.com

Step 3: Create Ball-Shaped Treats

Once your ingredients are mixed together, scoop the mixture out of the bowl with a spoon and form ball shapes in the palm of your hand. The peanut butter will help the oats stick together once you form the balls.

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.comYou can make any sized balls you want depending on the size of your dog and her appetite. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet or plate to be chilled in the refrigerator. 

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.com

Step 4: Chill In Refrigerator 

Rather than baking these treats, they just need to be placed in the refrigerator before feeding them to your pup. You can even freeze them if you dog likes harder treats to chew on.

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.comYou can chill them for 1-3 hours depending on how anxious your dog is to try the tasty snack! 

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.com

Step 5: Enjoy!

No Bake Dogs Treats from RadioFence.comThe best part of all – devour! Watching your dog enjoy treats that you made yourself is the most rewarding part of the whole process. It’s so worth the little bit of effort it took to make these!

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.comJem and Zoey both LOVED these!

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.comIf I bought treats at the store for my dog, I can’t say that I would eat them with her. But we all tried these homemade treats and loved them just as much as the dogs did! 

Check out our dogs’ other favorite treat recipes:

Quick & Easy No-Bake Dog Treats
Yields 35
Yummy, simple, and healthy dog treats you can make in minutes - no baking required! Your dog is going to flip for these.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 C peanut butter
  2. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  3. 1/4 C water
  4. 1 1/4 C oats
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine and stir the peanut butter, cinnamon, and water until combined.
  2. Slowly add the oats to the mixture until they are thoroughly mixed
  3. Once your ingredients are mixed together, scoop the mixture out of the bowl with a spoon and create ball shapes. You can make any sized balls you want depending on the size of your dog and her appetite. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet or plate to be chilled in the refrigerator.
  4. Rather than baking these treats, they just need to be chilled in the refrigerator before feeding them to your pup. You can chill them for 1-3 hours depending on how anxious your dog is to try the tasty snack!
Notes
  1. We use all organic ingredients in our dog treats - but you can use any brand you like.
Adapted from Jo and Sue
Adapted from Jo and Sue
RadioFence.com Blog http://blog.radiofence.com/

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? 

Homemade Dog Treats – Only Two Ingredients!

RadioFence.com Homemade Dog TreatsBaby food and flour. That’s all you need to make an easy, yummy, and healthy treat that your dogs will love! What could be easier? 

Dog treats are expensive! And it’s close to impossible to find ones that don’t have chemicals and hormones that can harm our dogs. These treats are organic, take just a few minutes to prepare, and only cost $3.38 for 120 treats! Who said eating organic is more expensive? 

Baby Food Dog Treats - So Easy!
Yields 120
Only 2 ingredients and less than $4.00 to make 120 treats in just minutes!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 4oz jars of baby food
  2. 2 C whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Combine the two jars of baby food and two cups of flour into a mixing bowl and mix until dough it formed
  2. Roll dough out into desired thickness - I rolled it out to about 1/4" thickness
  3. Use a cookie cutter to create treats, or tear quarter sized pieces from the dough for quicker, misshapen treats
  4. Place treats on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
Notes
  1. Make sure you are aware of what human foods are toxic to dogs and read the baby food label to make sure it doesn't contain any toxic ingredients
  2. I used organic baby good and organic whole wheat flour for 100% organic treats
  3. You can use regular flour, coconut flour, brown rice flour, etc - just make sure you read the instructions on the flour label to see if you need to adjust the measurements
Adapted from Daily Dish Recipes
RadioFence.com Blog http://blog.radiofence.com/

Step 1: Choose Your Ingredients

All you need is:

  • 2  4oz jars of baby food
  • 2 cups of flour (your choice of type)

This step of choosing your ingredients is actually very important. As you’ve read in my previous posts, there are many human foods that are poisonous to dogs, and it’s very important that we watch what they eat so they don’t ingest any of them. When you buy your baby food check the label for the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t contain any that could harm your dog. 

RadioFence.com Homemade Dog Treats - Only 2 Ingredients!We buy all organic food, so I chose organic chicken and brown rice baby food plus a jar of organic sweet potato baby food. The type of flour you’d like to use can be your choice. I usually bake gluten free for the dogs by using coconut flour, but I chose to use whole wheat this time. You can use regular flour, rice flour, coconut flour, etc. Just follow the guidelines on the bag for converting from regular flour to whatever kind you use if it applies. 

Step 2: Mix Your Ingredients In No Time

RadioFence.com Homemade Baby Food Dog TreatsMeasurements:

  • 2  4oz cans of baby food
  • 2 C flour

It’s that easy! Just dump the two cans of baby food out into the bowl, measure your two cups of flour, and add that to the mixture. I stirred my ingredients with a spoon until they were properly mixed and ended up with a slightly sticky dough that held together beautifully. My terrible baking curse may be over! 

Step 3: Roll The Dough

RadioFence.com Homemade Dog Treats Using Baby Food

I loved how easy the dough was to roll – with other recipes I had to flatten the dough by hand because it was the wrong consistency. 

RadioFence.com homemade dog treatsHowever thin you want to roll your dough is up to you. The thinner the dough, the crispier the treat. I rolled mine out to be about 1/4″ or thinner.

Step 4: Make Your Shapes

RadioFence.com homemade treatsIf you’re feeling creative you can use a cookie cutter to make your treats into shapes. It’s the only time consuming part of this recipe, so if you want to keep it short and sweet from beginning to end you can speed up the process by just tearing pieces off into quarter-sized portions. 

RadioFence.com homemade dog treatsYou can see that I started out ambitious and cut most of my dough into stars, but at the end when I only had a little bit of dough left I just tore off misshapen pieces. They all are going to taste the same, and the dogs will eat them so quickly they won’t pay attention to the pretty shape anyway. 

Step 5: Bake!

RadioFence.com homemade dog treatsThis is another part of the recipe that can changed depending on your dog’s preference. I baked mine at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and had a semi-crunchy treat with a softer center. If you’d like them to be crunchier, bake longer. And if you’d like them to be softer, bake for a shorter time. I was pleasantly surprised to count 120 treats that all fit on just two baking sheets! I can’t think of any recipe I’ve tried where I made that many treats so quickly with only two pans in the oven. 

Final Step: Enjoy!

Zoey from RadioFence.com Homemade Dog TreatsZoey was the first to approve the new treats. She loved them! 

RadioFence.com Homemade Dog Treats Laci Getting A TasteLaci was quick to jump in front of Zoey to snag a taste. She went nuts over the treats!

RadioFence.com Pet Products JemJem’s hound dog nose told her these treats were worth a try, and she couldn’t get enough!

RadioFence.com Pet Products Jem and Laci Homemade Dog TreatsThere’s nothing more satisfying than making a treat for my dogs in my own kitchen with ingredients I can trust at a price that can’t be matched by store-bought treats. What a great day!

Other Amazing Homemade Dog Treats:

Easter Dangers That Can Poison Your Dog

 RadioFence.com Easter Dangers That Could Poison Your DogEaster is a great time of year full of egg hunts, bright spring flowers, yummy chocolate bunnies, baskets full of goodies, and fun family dinners. But for your dog, there are many things we enjoy that can really harm him from the food you prepare to the flowers you decorate with. Yes, there really are spring flowers that are poisonous to dogs! And they’re some of the most popular ones you see this time of year. 

Jem from RadioFence.com smelling the spring flowersPoisonous Spring Flowers 

I was so surprised to learn that some of the most common spring flowers are actually poisonous to dogs! Laci seems to eat anything she can get ahold of when she explores outside, and the other dogs are just as curious. I’m so glad I know now that I need to watch out for these flowers in the spring time and make sure they don’t ingest them!

Vets Now warns us to look out for poisonous Spring plants and flowers. These include:

  • Lilies
  • Daffodils
  • Spring bulbs
  • Azaleas

RadioFence dogs avoid spring flowers because they're poisonous!I went to our local grocery store, Publix, to buy my Easter goodies and easily found all of these flowers, so they’re definitely popular this time of year! That means we have to be extra careful to keep these plants out of reach for our dogs if we buy them, or avoid bringing them home altogether. If you’re out for a walk with your dog or visiting a friend’s house and spot these plants, make sure to keep your dog away from them.  Jem from RadioFence.com curious about the Spring flowersSigns that your dog may have ingested a poisonous plant include:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • “Drunk” symptoms

If your dog isn’t acting normal or has any of these symptoms, you need to take her to the vet as soon as possible. 

Poisonous Easter Candy

Easter baskets almost always have some kind of candy in them whether it’s chocolate, jelly beans, or sugary sweets.

RadioFence.com dogs exploring their Easter BasketAs dog parents, it’s vitally important that we familiarize ourselves with the foods that are poisonous to dogs. During the Easter holiday, the most common ones to worry about are:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins in your fruit bowls and baked goods
  • Macadamia nuts when you’re making cookies
  • Yeast dough for baking
  • Xylitol in candy

Jem and Zoey from RadioFence.com love Easter!I would say that Xylitol is probably the poisonous ingredient that dog parents overlook the most or are unaware of. It’s an artificial sweetener that can hide in many foods that you may not think could hurt your dog. Be extra careful leaving any sugar candies or chocolates within your dog’s reach and teach children that these sweets are for humans only and not to share with a begging dog. And never underestimate a dog’s will to climb on the furniture to reach a sweet treat that she isn’t allowed to have! 

Dog-Proof Your Easter Egg Hunt

An Easter egg hunt is the perfect opportunity for a dog to sneak and indulge in sweets and candies that are poisonous to him.

Buddy and Laci from RadioFence.com love Easter egg hunts!Unless you’re compulsive about counting how many eggs you hide and making sure all of them were found, chances are a few are going to be forgotten and left behind.

Jem from RadioFence.com on an Easter egg huntYour dog is sure to find these, and from my personal experience the dogs had no problem opening the eggs and getting the treat that’s inside. It’s scary to think that your dog could eat candy that’s poisonous to him so easily and you wouldn’t know it until he becomes ill and shows symptoms. 

Buddy and Laci from RadioFence.com on an Easter egg huntIf you’re having an Easter egg hunt with dogs around, the easiest and safest way to avoid any complications is just to fill the eggs with items that are safe for them to ingest. Rather than filling the eggs with chocolate that could make your dog sick and melt in the sun or candy that can spoil and poison your dog, fill them with cute little trinkets that kids will enjoy finding just as much as candy. Then you can reward the kids with candy later if you wish. The fun part of an Easter egg hunt is searching for the eggs anyways, so what you fill them with won’t change that!

Buddy from RadioFence.com's first Easter with us!We put our homemade dog treats in our Easter eggs and set them up specifically for the dogs to have their very own Easter egg hunt, and they loved it! Definitely a fun Easter activity for the whole family to do as a tradition from year to year. 

Our new rescue dog Buddy that you see in the picture above is spending his first Easter with our family, and he acted like he couldn’t be happier! He was such a ham for the camera and acted like he was a famous model – it was so funny that I wish I had it on video! I’m so happy he loves participating in the blog just as much as Zoey, Jem, and Laci!