Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dogs and Bones - A Dangerous Combination

There is nothing more cliche than a dog with a bone. However, in reality, bones are one of the most dangerous things a dog can get their teeth into. Brittle bones have the potential to splinter and present a choking hazard, They can also be detrimental to your dogs teeth and cause intestinal obstruction and stomach lacerations that can be life threatening.

Crunching and chewing will help keep your dog's teeth healthy by helping to keep tarter at a minimum. However, very hard, dense bones can result in broken teeth, especially for enthusiastic chewers. Splintering bones can cause gum and mouth lacerations resulting in pain and possible infection.

Sharp splinters of bone can also cause serious health problems if swallowed. These pieces can cause lacerations in the esophogus, have the potential of becoming embedded in the stomach or intestines causing internal bleeding or obstruction. Serious conditions can result causing your dog severe pain, the need for emergency surgery, and possibly death.

How do you keep your dog safe and satisfy their need to chew?

Dallas enjoying her Whimzee!

  • Provide healthy alternatives: Look for chew alternatives that are made of natural, easily digestible, ingredients and are not chemically processed. Whimzees are wonderful dental chew treats made from all natural ingredients including vegetables and rice.
  • Offer inedible chew toys: Choose toys that cannot easily be torn and avoid those with pieces that could be pulled off easily. For aggressive chewers be aware of embedded squeakers that could be a choking hazard if accidentally removed.
  • Keep kitchen garbage out of reach: Dogs don't know what bones could be harmful, they just know they smell good, and may sniff one out of an open can or bag. 
  • Be aware on walks: If your pup sniffs a bone from spilled garbage along the way on a walk, they may grab and chew it up before you are aware of what happened. If this occurs, be sure to monitor your dog and look for signs bone splinters may be causing them distress. Symptoms include vomiting, bleeding, gagging, and/or refusing to eat.
Offer your dog a variety of safe and healthy chews and they will let you know which ones they prefer. What are some of your dog's favorite treats or toys to chew?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Paw Prints In The Snow...The Joy Of A Winter Dog Walk

It has been a cold, snowy winter and all of the dogs I walk, love it. When the dogs are excited to walk, even cold weather walks are enjoyable for me although I would much prefer walking on a sandy beach. For the pups, every walk in the snow is an adventure.

I enjoy winter walks the nost when the snow is still falling and everything is white and beautiful. Falling snow confuses some of my furry friends and they will lift their heads to the sky to see where this white stuff is coming from. Others don't even seem to notice and just enjoy their walk as they would any other day.

Once the snow is on the ground, it's a puppy winter wonderland! Some want to lay down and roll around. Others love to dig, or poke their nose deep in the piles as if looking for hidden treasure. None of them mind the cold or the wetness, they just see it as fun.

Their joy makes me smile and will brighten a winter day every time. Best of all, they leave behind one of my favorite things of winter - paw prints in the snow! All different sizes, in different patterns, leaving behind wonderfully cute reminders of the fun that was had.

Then, when the sun comes out, and the snow begins to melt, the  new source of excitement are the uncovered patches of grass that appear. For the dogs it's an opportunity to sniff the upcoming spring. For me it's a symbol of the warmer weather that will soon be here.

Does your dog like to make paw prints in the snow?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Potential Hazards When Walking Your Dog - My Dog Thinks That's A Treat?

For your dog, a daily walk is an adventure. Often the adventure will lead your dog to things to explore, pick up, drink or eat. Some of these things could be unexpectedly harmful. It's amazing to see what a dog will consider worthy of snacking on. Some things are obvious. Once while on a dog walk we came across a sandwich that someone had abandoned on the road. As soon as my furry friend saw that (smelled it?) his face lit up that it was the most wonderful thing he ever encountered. It took all my strength, and promises of treats when we got home, to keep him from gobbling it up. Letting him eat it would not have been wise since there could contain food items or ingredients that could make him sick.

It's best to be alert during walks to prevent you dog from ingesting hazardous items. Some things to look out for:


Rocks? Yes, rocks. Some dogs like to eat them. Maybe it's their texture, crunchiness, or perhaps they smell or taste good, but if they are swallowed they can cause a variety of internal upsets. Smaller stones and pebbles might pass right through but you will need to spend the next day or two searching through their poop to make sure it has passed. Larger stones and rocks could cause internal injury and blockage that would require emergency surgery. Dangerous and painful to your dog and damaging to your wallet. It's best to make sure your dog avoids them.


Some dogs actually view poop as a treat. Whether it be their own or some that has been left on the side of the road, you should be aware that your dog may find it appetising.While eating their own poop is not dangerous to your dog, only distasteful to humans, eating poop from unknown origin could be since it may contain parasites and/or bacteria that could make them sick.

Cigarette Butts

Some dogs find cigarette butts enticing and enjoy chewing on them. Cigarette butts contain nicotine which is highly toxic to dogs. If you notice your dog has found one and is chewing, get it away from them as quickly as possible. When retrieving it is not successful, and it has already been swallowed, make sure they don't have access to any others. Signs of nicotine poisoning includes vomiting and diarrhea, so be on the lookout for these sympthoms or other abnormal behavior. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog is showing any adverse reactions.

Puddles of Water

Puddles of water may look inviting to a thirsty dog. Well it's only water, right? It's water but the problem is you don't know what could be in that water. Puddles from melting snow could contain sodium chloride, the ingredient in many types of ice melt. Sodium chloride is highly toxic to dogs. Puddles in the street could also contain traces of gasoline or oil as well as many other nasty ingredients. Best to steer your dog away from the puddles and be sure to bring along water for long walks, especially on hot days.

Staying alert and watching your dog on walks is the best way to keep them safe. Has your dog ever ate, or tried to eat, anything unusual on a walk?