I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Learn how to teach your dog to swim.

Dog Swimming | How To Teach A Dog To Swim

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

How To Teach A Dog To Swim

Dog Swimming 101

I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Learn how to teach your dog to swim.
Dog Swimming

Growing up, I loved to swim. I spent every summer day at the local pool from 12-5 and 6-8. When we went to our friend’s cabin on the lake, I spent my days swimming and swimming some more. If I wasn’t swimming, I was walking along the shoreline with my dog, Toby, and the other dogs staying at the cabin. I still have a great fondness for water, but for whatever reason, I’m not a swimmer anymore. I do, however, still love walking the water’s edge and going knee-high to investigate what the water has to offer.

When I brought my golden retriever, Theo, into my life, I thought he would just take to the water and swim without any issues. He did take to the water right away, but he would only go chest-high. He did not want to take that last step where his feet would not touch the ground. The same was true when Dexter came into my life.

Today, I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Ideally, find a place in the water that has a gradual decline instead of a drop-off. This will allow you and your dog plenty of fun foot action, and help your dog get comfortable bouncing around in the water and having water splash around his face. Find something your dog thinks is exciting and interesting, and do a little play in the shallows. Maybe it’s a twig that you wiggle around on top of the water, enticing him to investigate and maybe grab. If your dog is a foodie, try luring him to take a few steps in the water, then treat him.

Once your dog is happy frolicking in the water, it’s time to take that first step into no man’s land. If your dog is chasing and retrieving a toy in the shallows, toss the toy about 2 feet past the point where he can touch. If he’s ready, he will go for it! Encourage him as he comes back with the toy. Repeat.

I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Learn how to teach your dog to swim.
Dexter Learning To Swim

If your dog isn’t retrieving in the water, squat down with him in the water and place your hands under his belly, gently moving him toward the deeper water, just a foot or two. Keep your arms under his belly for security as he gets his water feet going and doesn’t seem panicked. As you are supporting your dog in the water, turn him toward shore and let him go alone. Again, this is only about 2 feet from the point where he is able to touch the bottom. Repeat this process as he gets comfortable.

I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Learn how to teach your dog to swim.
Dog Swimming

A good tip for some dogs is to use a dog life jacket. Because a life jacket proves support and the ability to float, some dogs feel much more secure wearing them while they swim, particularly in the beginning stages.

Precautions and things to consider. If your dog just doesn’t seem that interested in swimming, so be it! Theo loved to swim—I had a hard time keeping him out of the water. Dexter, on the other hand, is a mucker. He likes wading in the water and walking the shoreline, but he prefers not to swim.

I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Learn how to teach your dog to swim.
Dexter Chillin’

Also, watch out for signs of water intoxication when your dog is swimming and playing in the water. Water intoxication or hyponatremia in dogs can be life threatening. According to Dr. Karen Becker, “Hyponatremia occurs when more water enters the body than it can process. The presence of so much water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance. The excess water depletes sodium levels in extracellular fluid (fluid outside of cells). Sodium maintains blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.”

Who’s at risk for water intoxication? We all are, if we drink too much water too quickly. Babies and smaller-breed dogs are at a higher-risk due to their size, but all breeds and all sizes can develop water intoxication. Dr. Becker explains, “Any dog can develop hyponatremia; however, the condition is most commonly seen in dogs who will stay in the lake, pond, or pool all day if you let them; pets that lap or bite at the water continuously while playing in it; and dogs that swallow water unintentionally as they dive for a ball or other toy.” If your dog is acting strangely when playing in the water, vomits, or seems lethargic or uncoordinated, seek immediate veterinary care.

Remember, all dog activities and dog games need to be played with care and rest.

Water Intoxification: Dr. Karen Becker


Did you teach your dog to swim? Was he a natural swimmer, or did he just say ‘no, thanks’?  Tell me in the comments.

I want to share with you how I taught my dogs to swim with confidence. Learn how to teach your dog to swim.
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Happy National Specially-abled Pets Day! I love the name of this holiday. There are many pet parents who are loved by a special-needs pet. It can be quite a learning curve in the beginning to figure out what a pet needs to thrive in life. But, once we do, they open our world and our hearts to a whole new level of love. It's important to celebrate our differences and the differences of our pets.

Wordless Wednesday National Specially-abled Pets Day

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Wordless Wednesday National Specially-abled Pets Day

Happy National Specially-abled Pets Day! I love the name of this holiday. There are many pet parents who are loved by a special-needs pet. It can be quite a learning curve in the beginning to figure out what a pet needs to thrive in life. But, once we do, they open our world and our hearts to a whole new level of love. It's important to celebrate our differences and the differences of our pets.
Special Needs Pets

Happy National Specially-abled Pets Day! I love the name of this holiday. There are many pet parents who are loved by a special-needs pet. It can be quite a learning curve in the beginning to figure out what a pet needs to thrive in life. But, once we do, they open our world and our hearts to a whole new level of love. It’s important to celebrate our differences and the differences of our pets.

Items for special needs or senior dogs.
Special Needs Dogs Rock


Does your pet have special needs? Tell me in the comments.

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Understanding Pet Adoption Practices, Policies and Adoption Fees. Let’s take a look at some of the more common rules and guidelines for adopting a pet from a local animal shelter or pet rescue.

Pet Adoption | Understanding Pet Adoption Practices, Policies and Adoption Fees

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Dog Adoption and Cat Adoption

Understanding Pet Adoption Practices, Policies and Adoption Fees

Understanding Pet Adoption Practices, Policies and Adoption Fees. Let’s take a look at some of the more common rules and guidelines for adopting a pet from a local animal shelter or pet rescue.
Pet Adoption Rules

As you’re going through your Facebook feed, a sad but sweet face of a mixed-breed dog looking for a new home catches your eye. You read his rescue story about how he survived being hit by a car and a good Samaritan turned him into the local animal shelter, then a local dog rescue took him under their care to help him find his forever home. You are totally smitten by his story and he seems like such a great dog to add to your current home (husband, 2 kids, 7-year-old golden retriever).

You eagerly email the contact of the local rescue, explaining how you want to adopt him and make him a family member. To your surprise, the dog rescue coordinator explains that you first need to fill out an application for consideration. What? This dog needs a home, so why won’t the dog rescue group adopt him to your family? Don’t they trust that you would make a good home for him?

Does that scenario sound familiar to you? Maybe you have tried to adopt a pet, only to find out the pet went to a different adoptive home. Or maybe, like me, you are actively involved with animal rescue and you have to explain to people on a regular basis about the pet adoption process of the rescue group you are volunteering for. I’m here to help explain why some of these adoption rules, policies and adoption fees are important, and why some rescue groups may seem strict.

First, just a little background on my background for those who are new to Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm. I’ve been in the pet profession full time for two decades. My first role was working at an animal shelter caring for the dogs and cats that came into the shelter. After my stint at the animal shelter, I worked with an organization training rescued dogs to become service dogs. After five years, I transitioned to teaching pet parents how to train their dogs for both basic manners and behavioral issues. I also found myself taking a part-time role at an animal shelter for a year in the intake and euthanasia department. Some years ago, I was the Ohio coordinator for Cavalier Rescue USA for a few years. I ran the intake of Cavaliers coming into the program for Ohio, foster families and the Ohio adoptions. So, I’ve been in the thick of things for many years, and have played many roles in various aspects of pet adoption.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common rules and guidelines for adopting a pet from a local animal shelter or pet rescue.

  1. Application: Most, if not all, pet rescue groups require a potential adopter to fill out an adoption application. This can be as simple as contact information, to more in-depth, asking about your home, yard, other pets, activities, and work schedule. For some, this may feel like an invasion of privacy, but for me as an adoption matchmaker, it is THE key to helping make the best match possible. Maybe your home life is active and busy and you are looking for a dog or cat that would be a good fit and accompany you on your various vacations and outings. The dog you are looking at is quiet, reserved, or maybe even fearful. You feel you can “make it work” and you may be able to, but in my heart and head, this is not the perfect match. It certainly isn’t that you would make a bad dog parent, but this particular dog may not be the one for your family. When matching pets and families, I personally shoot for both the pet and adoptive family to think they have a match made in heaven. I think all parties involved deserve that feeling.
  2. Fence: Now, this is actually one that I do not always agree with. I personally don’t feel a blanket rule that potential adopters “must have a fenced yard” is appropriate for all dogs. I do feel there are some dogs that must have a fence, but this should be case by case. Here is my thought process on why I don’t feel a fence requirement should be mandatory for all dog adoptions, as long as the adopters are committed to walking the dog and not letting him run at large. I don’t have a fence. I’ve only had a fence for one year out of my dog-owning life. My dogs get at least one walk in the neighborhood every day. This is a minimum, and in addition to all their outside leash sniffing and potty breaks throughout the day. This means that I am with my dog outside and paying attention to them. They are not running in the yard alone, possibly eating something they shouldn’t, barking, or even escaping. My dogs have always had more than enough exercise on our walks, indoor ball fetching, and outdoor 50′ leash running. I have never owned a fat dog or a dog who gets so fired up seeing a leash that they race around the house like a nut. Now, don’t get me wrong—I think physical fences are a wonderful thing, and I look forward to the day I can fence my yard. But, when that day comes, I will still accompany my dog outside 100% of the time—he will never be unsupervised outside. A fence in itself is not ensuring a dog receives exercise; the dog guardian is the one to ensure the dog receives quality exercise. There may be a particular dog that needs a fence for a particular reason, but again, I feel that is a case by case situation.
  3. Apartment Living: Here is another blanket rule for some rescue groups. Some pet rescue groups will not adopt a dog or cat to a person if they live in an apartment. I understand their theory, that these people may be in flux and may decide to move to an apartment that does not allow pets, but once again, I feel this should not be a rule, but a consideration. Yes, I lived the majority of my golden retriever’s life in an apartment. As a matter of fact, we moved from Ohio to North Carolina and back to Ohio, and lived in four apartments during that time. Do you think it ever occurred to me to move to an apartment that didn’t allow large dogs? Never. That was not an option or even a consideration. I move with my family.
  4. Landlord Approval: Along the lines of adopting to someone who lives in an apartment or rental home, comes the landlord approval. I am 100% in agreement with this. If you do not have permission to have a pet, or a particular pet, then you should not be adopting. If you truly want to adopt, then the first step would be to find a home where this is acceptable. Then, work on finding the perfect pet to bring into your family.
  5. In-Home Visit: Some rescue groups require an in-home visit. The purpose of this visit is not to discriminate against a person or their way of life, but to help make the best matches and to point out any concerns. If I am looking to adopt an adolescent dog who still has a lot of puppy habits like chewing and getting into mischief, a home that is cluttered or full of expensive antiques may be challenging for both the puppy and the owners. On the other hand, an older dog that is not looking for trouble may be a better fit. It may be an opportunity for educating the potential owners on how to properly puppy-proof the home for a successful transition.
  6. Veterinary Reference: The veterinary care you provided to your past pets is an indicator of the care you can and will provide for future pets. This is not to be confused with yearly vaccinations, but at least a yearly examination with your veterinarian shows that your current or past pets were under the regular care of a professional. Your pet’s vet records will also show if your veterinarian recommended any treatments and if you followed up on those recommendations. A pet’s health care is essential to their longevity.
  7. Adoption Fees: I’m surprised people think they should be able to adopt a pet for a little fee or no fee at all. Wouldn’t it be nice if running a good animal shelter or pet rescue was free? Or if all the pets in rescue were vetted for free? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Sure, rescue groups and shelters receive donations and tax breaks, but this usually does not come even close to meeting their expenses. I know when I was the coordinator for the Ohio chapter of Cavalier Rescue USA, it was not uncommon for a dog to incur $600 or more of veterinary care. The dogs that came into our program were usually in poor health; extreme dental or skin conditions were common, and dogs often needed to see a heart specialist (MVD is common in the breed).

The bottom line is that most pet adoption centers only want to make the best matches for both the pet AND the new family. Sure, there are some groups or people that take advantage of the guidelines or seem holier than others, but this is not the norm, nor is this the intention of the adoption guidelines. Everyone involved keeps in mind the best interests of both the pets and the potential adopters. The goal is to find the perfect home and make the best match possible. Please remember that rescue groups and shelters see the worst of the worst, and only want to make good choices. The lives of these pets are in their hands and they are doing the best that they can with the tools they are given. If you’ve had a bad experience with a pet rescue group or animal shelter, please give them or another one a second chance. Don’t we all deserve second chances?


Have you adopted a pet? Tell me in the comments.

Understanding Pet Adoption Practices, Policies and Adoption Fees. Let’s take a look at some of the more common rules and guidelines for adopting a pet from a local animal shelter or pet rescue.
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How to clean a cat's ears with the best natural ear cleaner for cats. Dirty dog ears? Check out this great natural ear cleaner for dogs. Eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. Your pets will thank you for it.

Ear Cleaner For Dogs, Cat Ear Cleaner: Pura Naturals Pet’s Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System Review

Pet, Dog, Cat Product Reviews, Natural Ear Cleaner Reviews

Pura Naturals Pet’s Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System Review

How to clean a cat's ears with the best natural ear cleaner for cats. Dirty dog ears? Check out this great natural ear cleaner for dogs. Eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. Your pets will thank you for it.
Pura Naturals Pet: Ear Cleansing System

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review from Pura Naturals Pet. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

Keeping our pets clean is not only important to their overall health, but also their self esteem. I’ve always felt that dogs and cats that are dirty or matted seem to carry themselves with less confidence when they are well-groomed and cared for. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it. But, either way, a pet’s hygiene is still essential to good health.

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Have you ever wondered why your dog may smell like Fritos? Or may you are wondering how to stop your dog from itching his ears or head. Does it seem like your cat is constantly shaking his head? Or your cat or dog has dirty ears.

If your dog or cat’s ears have an odor or smell or seem sensitive to the touch, the first thing I would do is take him into your veterinarian. You want to make sure your pet does not have any ear infection or ear disease. You don’t want to clean your cat’s ears or your dog’s ears if he has an underlying medical condition. You first must address that. Your veterinarian may also talk to you about changing your pet’s diet to a raw pet food or home cooked pet food for optimal nutrition.

Even with a good diet and health, you may need to clean your cat’s ears or clean your dog’s ears on a regular basis. Especially for dogs that like to roll around, nobody likes dirty dog ears or dirty cat ears. When you are looking for the best ear cleaner for cats or the best ear cleaner for dogs, it is important to do your research on the actual ingredients inside your pet’s ear cleaner.

How to clean a cat's ears with the best natural ear cleaner for cats. Dirty dog ears? Check out this great natural ear cleaner for dogs. Eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. Your pets will thank you for it.
Organic and eco-friendly pet ear cleaner.

Once again, it’s time to look for a natural ear cleaner for dogs and cats and flip over the bottle and read the entire ingredient panel. Remember, it’s not the front of the bottle, that’s a brand’s advertising, it’s the ingredient panel. There are ingredients in some pet ear cleaners like sodium benzoate and sodium hydroxide that have side-effects including organ toxicity. These are ingredients that I don’t feel should be in my pet’s grooming products. Why take a chance when there are other, effective natural pet grooming and ear care solutions like Pura Naturals Pet’s Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System.

The Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System is not only an organic ear care product, it is also eco-friendly and made in the USA. How cool is that? This pet ear cleaning kit comes with an organic ear cleansing serum and 25 reusable foam pura tips. The organic ear cleaner is made with organic olive oil, organic witch hazel, organic mullen and organic chamomile and nothing else. It does not contain any chemicals, fragrances or preservatives.

The organic mullein oil acts as a natural disinfectant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Mullein oil can also protect from infections. The organic witch hazel acts as a natural astringent and deodorizer. It also helps in breaking up wax buildup.

How to clean a cat's ears with the best natural ear cleaner for cats. Dirty dog ears? Check out this great natural ear cleaner for dogs. Eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. Your pets will thank you for it.
Eco-Friendly Foam Pura Tips

The Pura-Tips are pretty neat. I’m sure you’ve heard that you should not use Q-tips inside your dog or cat’s ears. The problem is that these Q-tips can go too far down in the ear canal and cause damage to your pet’s inner ear canal. The soft, yet sturdy Pura-Tips are shaped to help ensure that they won’t go too far into your pet’s ear. They are narrow at the start and widen to prevent inserting too far into your pet’s ear. The Pura-Tips can be cleaned with hot water and reused. They are made from plant-based materials and without the use of petrochemicals and leave a negative carbon footprint. Not only are they safe and effective for your pet, but they are environmentally friendly.

Pura Naturals Pet’s Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System checks out for a product I feel confident in using and trying with both Dexter The Dog and Nutter The Cat. So, let’s see how this ear cleaner for pets works. The directions suggest shaking the natural ear cleaning solution well and apply two drops to the opening of the ear canal. Once the natural ear solution is in the ear canal, massage the base of the ear to evenly distribute the solution into the ear canal. With the Pura-Tips, spread and remove any excess liquid by swabbing the outer ear canal. And that’s it.

How to clean a cat's ears with the best natural ear cleaner for cats. Dirty dog ears? Check out this great natural ear cleaner for dogs. Eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. Your pets will thank you for it.
Organic and natural ear cleaner for cats and dogs.

I am happy to say that both Dexter and Nutter were troopers for their ear cleanings. Pura Naturals Pet’s Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System was easy to use and both pets tolerated the procedure. What I really liked about the product, besides all the wonderful and natural ingredients, is that the ear cleaner did not give off any odor. I can put the cleanser to my nose and smell a faint smell of the organic ingredients, but I did not smell it while cleaning either pet’s ears. The other benefit is that their ears are not wet! I remember the days of cleaning service dog’s ears and their ears would be wet from the solution and stink. But, this is not the case with this product.

Pura Naturals Pet’s Pura-Tips Ear Cleansing System definitely is a natural pet ear cleaner that I can confidently recommend. The brand’s mission says it all. Our mission is simple. Pura Naturals Pet™ is dedicated to delivering the highest quality products using only the best materials the Earth has to offer. I am so thankful that Pura Naturals Pet is stepping up to the plate to help ensure our pet’s health and safety are important. If your pet’s health and keeping them clean, healthy and happy are important to you, I urge you to hop on over to their website, they offer a wide variety of natural pet care products. Tell them that Dexter The Dog and Nutter The Cat sent you.


Do you clean your pet’s ears? Tell me in the comments.

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How to clean a cat's ears with the best natural ear cleaner for cats. Dirty dog ears? Check out this great natural ear cleaner for dogs. Eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. Your pets will thank you for it.
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Wordless Wednesday with dogs.

Happy Humbug Day: Wordless Wednesday Style

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Happy National Humbug Day! Wordless Wednesday Style

Wordless Wednesday with dogs.
Wordless Wednesday: Scrooge Style


Do you get grumpy over the holidays? Tell me in the comments.

 

 

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes

I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet's medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat's medical condition.

Ways To Save Money On Pet Meds, Pet Medications, Discount Pet Meds

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

Ways To Save Money On Pet Meds, Pet Medications, Discount Pet Meds

I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet's medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat's medical condition.
Pet-Meds-Discounts

A few months ago, I wrote an article called When You Can’t Be 100% Natural. Today, I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet’s medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat’s medical condition. It’s not just about adding medications, but how to support them when they do need pet medications. These tips can also be used for decreasing your personal medication costs, too!

  • Pet Insurance: First and foremost, enroll your dog or cat in a pet insurance plan! The sooner, the better. Most insurance companies will not cover a preexisting condition and have a 30-90 day wait period before taking effect. Having pet insurance for Dexter saves me thousands of dollars every year, even with his deductible and monthly premium. Read my article on Choosing Pet Insurance for tips on finding the best pet insurance plan for you.
  • Pet Medication Choices: Be open with your veterinarian on the issue of cost. Some medications are more expensive than others, but a less-expensive alternative may have a similar effect on treatment. That said, also make sure you are looking for a pet medication with the fewest known side effects. Having more side effects can cost you more in the long run financially and physically for your pet.
  • Generic Medication: Another option for some pet medications is a generic form. Generic pet medications can be 70-85% less than their brand-name counterparts. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a month!
  • Compounding Pharmacies: Veterinary compounding pharmacies can prepare your pet’s medication to order, and usually at a cheaper rate. This is especially helpful if you have a pet that is hard to pill or needs a very specific dose. I order most of Dexter’s medications through Diamondback Drugs and have been very happy. We saved about $200 a month on one of our medications.
  • Comparison Shop: Don’t just take your pet’s medication to the closest pharmacy. Get on the phone or the internet and compare prices. You might be surprised at just how much different the price can be from pharmacy to pharmacy.
    • Online Medication Comparison Sites: Online tools can compare medication prices for pharmacies in your area. Just plug in your medication, quantity, and dose, and the tool will local pharmacies and their cost. Some even have coupons. You will want to ask the pharmacy if they will accept the coupon for your pet, as some do not. One example is GoodRX
    • Ask friends: This pet blog post was inspired by my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel friends! I was commenting on Dexter’s medication price increase, and discovered that a lot of these dogs have similar medical conditions with similar medications. We had a great discussion on where to purchase pet medications at a low price.
    • Mail Order Medications: Numerous online pet catalogs offer pet medications at a discount price. Drs. Foster and Smith and Valley Vet are two to check out.
  • Double Pill Dose: This may be an option if your pet’s pills come in tablet form. For example, Dexter gets a pet medication that is 5mg twice a day. If we bump that up to 10mg and split the tablet in half, the cost of the prescription is actually only $2 more! So instead of 50 days, I would get 100 days for $2 more. Crazy! Now, you can’t do that with monthly medications, because the medication is not distributed evenly in a tablet, but that’s not a real concern when you are giving the other half 12 hours later.
  • Order More: Sometimes ordering in bulk will cut down the cost per pill and for shipping. But, make sure you know the expiration before ordering too many.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways you can cut your pet’s medication cost. As a final note, I would suggest to go through these steps again if the price of your pet’s medication increases. Often medication prices will increase with one pharmacy and not the other, or a new medication may come to market that could be substituted.


Do you have any tips to share? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet's medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat's medical condition.
Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food

Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food

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Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food

Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food

Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food
Best food for dogs and puppies.

(Excerpt from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems)

Healthy Dog Food and Proper Weight   I am sure you have heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” I have no doubt that this holds true for both humans and our canine friends. Choosing the correct dog food for your puppy can be very confusing, and if you ask five friends and five vets what a healthy dog food contains, you will likely get ten different answers. So let us look at the six main categories of dog food, or dog’s diet: dry, freeze-dried, roll, canned, raw and home cooked. Then we will discuss how to read a dog food label, and what kinds of ingredients your puppy needs to thrive.

Dry dog food is by far the most popular category in the pet food industry. There is no doubt that dry food is very convenient and can range in price from cheap to quite expensive. Dry dog foods tend to be high in carbohydrates, which then turn into sugars when digested. Another down side in a dry dog food is that the high temperatures used in the manufacturing process make the food less digestible and nutritious for your dog.   This processing takes out almost all the moisture in the food. Moisture in your dog’s diet is important to prevent dehydration, kidney disease, organ function, and proper digestion. Adding water to the dry food will not provide your dog with adequate moisture.   Dry dog food does not typically help with dental care since a dog tends to gobble up his food instead of chewing. Moisture in your dog’s diet is important to prevent dehydration, kidney disease, organ function, and proper digestion. Adding water to the dry food will not provide your dog with adequate moisture. Dry dog food does not typically help with dental care since a dog tends to gobble up his food instead of chewing.

Dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food is another dog food category that is pretty convenient to give. The manufacturing process uses lower heat than dry, which helps maintain the nutritional value of the dog food.   However, once again the moisture is taken out of the product, so if you are using this product make sure you add enough water to fully re-hydrate.

Dog food rolls can either come in a refrigerated variety or one that can stay at room temperature prior to opening.   Dog food rolls are less processed and at lower temperatures, which helps preserve the nutritional value. Rolls are also higher in moisture content than dry or dehydrated.

Canned dog food tends to use a lower temperature and is less processed than dry dog food. Again, the lower temperature processing keeps more of its nutritional value. Canned food is also high in moisture.

Raw dog food can come in a prepackaged patty, frozen, or made at home. A prepackaged raw diet is nutritionally balanced with little or no preservatives. Since the diet is raw, it has not been processed and keeps all of the nutrition and moisture of the food unless it is a dehydrated raw. If you provide your own fresh raw diet, you are able to customize the ingredients to meet your dog’s needs. You will however need to ensure that the diet is balanced and add vitamins and minerals.

Home cooking for dogs
Home cooking for dogs

Home cooked dog food is truly a customized diet for your dog’s specific needs. This diet will be high in moisture, and nutritional value, will not be processed and will not contain any preservatives. If you choose organic ingredients, you can also ensure that the food is pesticide and chemical free. This diet will also need to be balanced and have added vitamins and minerals.

Reading a dog food label can be confusing and time-consuming, but is truly imperative if you want to provide a high quality, nutritionally rich dog food. Minimally the first 3-5 ingredients listed should be a named meat source such as salmon, turkey, chicken or lamb. The more muscle meat, the better. “Meat,” “animal,” or “fish” is not a named meat. Meals such as chicken meal are highly processed and may or may not contain skin and bones. Grains such as oats, quinoa (actually a fruit) and brown rice are not bad as some marketers may lead you to believe. However, ideally they will not make up the majority of your ingredients. Fruits and vegetables should make up the other portion of your dog’s food.

My personal top 11 ingredients that should NOT be in dog food or treats:

  1. Flavors of any kind, natural or artificial-No artificial or natural “flavors” of any kind. If it says, “flavor” in the ingredient list, back on the shelf it goes. It is not real food. And if it is not a real food ingredient, it does not have a place in my dog’s treat or dog food.
  2. Sugar of any kind including high corn fructose, corn syrup or cane sugar-Added sugar or high corn fructose is just adding empty calories. Not only are these ingredients bad for your puppy’s health, they will also hop him up, and your puppy can become hyperactive.
  3. Sorbitol-A sugar commonly found in berries, but it is prepared synthetically, so it is now a synthetic ingredient.
  4. By-products or digest-I can not think of one reason that a by-product or digest would be in a dog treat or dog food. If you are looking to provide healthy food and products for your puppy, something that is left on the floor of some meat manufacturing plant should not make the cut. And these products can even be carcasses from veterinarian practices! That is a pretty scary thought.
  5. Coloring, artificial or natural-Why would a pet treat manufacturer put dye or coloring in a dog’s treat?       To please the consumer’s eyes, of course. This is not necessary in a food item, especially when the coloring is artificial. Artificial anything is a chemical process and has a long list of possible side effects. “Natural food coloring” is not any better.       If the ingredient list does not list specifically what the coloring agent is, then natural can be made by things like bugs and rocks.
  6. Animal fat or anything “animal” or “meat”-Can you picture the animal when you read “animal” or “meat”? I would venture to say no. If the listing is that vague, it means that anything can be in the bag. A meat should list what kind of meat such as chicken, beef, or lamb.
  7. Chemical Preservatives-Chemical preservatives of any kind should be avoided. Healthy does not equate to chemicals. No BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), Ethoxyquin, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), Propyl Gallate, Propylene Glycol or Sodium Nitrite should be in your puppy’s treats or food. BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are banned in human foods.
  8. Corn, wheat, or soy-A lot of dogs are allergic, or have a low tolerance to these ingredients.       Excessive soy may contain estrogen that might provide some estrogen-like activity in your dog and contribute to slightly lower thyroid hormone levels.14 Why risk it?
  9. Glycerin, vegetable glycerin or glycerol-Glycerin or glycerol can actually be produced as a by-product of diesel fuel. It will be unlikely you will know the difference from reading the ingredient list (although vegetable glycerin is plant based, not from fuel). This is an ingredient in dog treats that helps make a treat soft and sugary. It is not uncommon for dogs to get a big case of diarrhea from eating treats or food with this ingredient.
  10. Binders such as agar agar, cassie gum (gum Arabic), guar gum, tapioca, gluten, xanthan gum, and carrageenan can block your dog’s intestines and even their esophagus while eating. These binders often cause gas and diarrhea. High doses have also been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and colon cancer.
  11. Added salt, regular or sea salt-Every living creature needs sodium in their diet, but too much can cause problems such as seizures, diarrhea, and extra water intake. A lot of foods have naturally-occurring sodium, so you do not need extra salt added to treats or dog food. However, salt is a natural preservative, so this alone would not rule out a dog food or treat for me if I could not find a better selection and this is the only not-so-favorable ingredient.
Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food
Fresh, home cooked for Dexter The Dog.

My philosophy is that a dog needs a high meat diet with fresh, whole foods and a lot of moisture. I typically shoot for about 75% meat. I personally home cook for my dog Dexter, using as many organic ingredients as possible. Home cooking for your puppy does not have to be complicated, but you do need to ensure that you are providing a balanced diet over time and supplementing with the appropriate vitamins and minerals. For more information on how to start a home cooked diet for your puppy, you can purchase What’s For Dinner, Dexter?   Cooking For Your Dog Using Chinese Medicine Theory co-authored with Judy Morgan D.V.M.

(Excerpt from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems)


Do you cook for your dogs? Tell me in the comments.

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Balanced Blends Raw Pet Food
Balanced Blends Raw Pet Food   Click Link for or $20 OFF First Purchase

Learn how to find the best dog food for dogs and puppies. Best Dog Food For Puppies: What Is The Best Dog Food Dog Nutrition and Holistic Pet Care and Food

Health Benefits of Licorice Root For Dogs, Cats, and People. Licorice Root is often used as a steroid replacement and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It also aids in stimulating digestion and relieving bowel irritations and leaky gut. It can also have a mild laxative effect and is a diuretic. Licorice root has also been used to relieve coughs, and can be used to help balance cortisol and relieve stress. Licorice root is commonly used as a “guide drug,” meaning it is used to enhance other herbals.

Health Benefits of Licorice Root for Dogs, Cats and People | Healthy Herbs for Pets

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Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) For Dogs, Cats, and People

Health Benefits of Licorice Root

Health Benefits of Licorice Root For Dogs, Cats, and People. Licorice Root is often used as a steroid replacement and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It also aids in stimulating digestion and relieving bowel irritations and leaky gut. It can also have a mild laxative effect and is a diuretic. Licorice root has also been used to relieve coughs, and can be used to help balance cortisol and relieve stress. Licorice root is commonly used as a “guide drug,” meaning it is used to enhance other herbals.
Health Benefits of Licorice Root

I’m betting when I mention licorice, the first thing that comes to your mind is the licorice candy you had as a child. But that is a far cry from the licorice root that we can use for healing purposes. Just a quick glance at the popular licorice rope ingredients and you will probably guess I’m not a fan. Are you ready?

Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Glyceryl Monostearate, Malic Acid, Lecithin, Artificial Flavors, Glycerin, Salt, Red 40.

Yikes. Having our health in mind, I hope you remove any licorice from your candy drawer if it has ingredients like the ones listed above. But today, we’re talking about the health benefits of REAL licorice root. Oh, did you notice that there isn’t even licorice in that licorice rope?

Licorice Root is often used as a steroid replacement and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Not this licorice

Licorice Root is often used as a steroid replacement and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It also aids in stimulating digestion and relieving bowel irritations and leaky gut. It can also have a mild laxative effect and is a diuretic. Licorice root has also been used to relieve coughs, and can be used to help balance cortisol and relieve stress. Licorice root is commonly used as a “guide drug,” meaning it is used to enhance other herbals.

Organic Licorice Root
Licorice Root

Licorice Leaves can also be used for their antimicrobial benefits.

Licorice Root Side Effects and Precautions: Licorice root should not be used in patients with high blood pressure, who are pregnant or nursing, or who have heart issues or kidney concerns. Licorice also lowers potassium, and can lead to increased sodium levels in the blood, increased blood pressure, and water retention. Do not use for more than a couple of weeks at a time. If your dog has any other medical issues like diabetes, liver disease or heart disease, please consult a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Practitioner.

Internally: Giving licorice root to you or your pet orally is one way to utilize the benefits of this spice. This can be accomplished through the root, tincture, capsule or tea.

  • Tincture: 10 to 20 drops per 20 pounds of body weight, up to two times a day.
  • Tea: Place 1 tsp. of licorice root in a tea bag and steep in 1 cup of hot water for one hour. Use 20-40 drops of the resulting tea per every 20 pounds of body weight up to two times a day.
  • Dry Powder: Up to 10 pounds of body weight = 1/8 tsp; 10-20 pounds = ¼ tsp; 20-50 pounds =1 tsp; 50-100 pounds = 2 tsp; over 100 pounds, up to 1 tbsp. Can be given twice a day.

Topically: Licorice root can be used topically to relieve inflammation and other skin conditions. This can be accomplished through a tea compress, oil infusion, sprays or salve.

  • Tea Compress: Place 1 tsp. of licorice root in a tea bag and steep in 1 cup of hot water for one hour. Allow tea bag to cool, then place on irritated skin.
  • Oil Infusion: Place 2 tsp licorice root powder in a glass jar and add 1 cup almond oil. Secure jar with a lid and place in a dark place for at least 2 weeks, and up to 6. Strain the oil through cheesecloth, discard the licorice, and keep the oil in the refrigerator until needed. Apply the oil topically to irritated skin.
  • Salve: Place 5 cups of water and 2 tbsp. licorice root powder in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-50 minutes. Remove from burner and allow to cool. Dip a cold compress into the cooled mixture and place on skin or directly rub mixture into skin. Place any remaining mixture into a glass jar in the refrigerator for a few days.


Have you or your pet used licorice root for your health?  Tell me in the comments.

Health Benefits of Licorice Root For Dogs, Cats, and People. Licorice Root is often used as a steroid replacement and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It also aids in stimulating digestion and relieving bowel irritations and leaky gut. It can also have a mild laxative effect and is a diuretic. Licorice root has also been used to relieve coughs, and can be used to help balance cortisol and relieve stress. Licorice root is commonly used as a “guide drug,” meaning it is used to enhance other herbals.
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Crazy Puppy Running

Out of Control Puppies, Zoomies Explained

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Crazy Puppy Zoomies: Wild Running, Jumping, and Biting
What do you do when your puppy or adolescent dog has the zoomies?

Crazy Puppy Running
Out of Control Puppies

In my twenty-year career as a professional dog trainer, I’ve often had dog guardians ask me why their puppy runs crazy like a devil dog daily, sometimes twice a day. The puppies are running so fast that their back legs often end up at the front of their body, looking like some weird creature. This is often accompanied by jumping on furniture, grabbing pant legs, mouthing hands, and even knocking children over. How often are pet parents asking me? About once a month! That frequency in itself should help those unsure about this crazy dog behavior realize it is normal. No, your puppy is not possessed by Satan!

3 Tips to help you survive the Puppy Zoomies

The good news is that it’s typically a puppy thing. Meaning, after about a year of age, a puppy does this behavior less and less. Of course, that also means your cute little puppy is definitely turning into an adult dog. No more sweet puppy breath.

  1. Predict: If you can guess when a puppy zoomie will happen, you can get ahead of it. Typically, puppy zoomies are in the morning and evening. Say your puppy usually has a goofy puppy zoomie around 9 am. Then, at 8:45 am, you are going to help get that zoomie out, so you can control it, to some extent.
    ***If you prefer to have your puppy run and race outside, then about 15 minutes before a typical zoomie, take your dog outside with your props (#2). If your puppy happens to start racing around the house before you get outside, encourage your puppy to go outside with you, by calling his name and running outside. If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, attach your puppy’s long leash on him for your outside romp.
  2. Toys: If you want to help teach your puppy not to mouth or bite you, then it’s your job to show him where to put those sharp puppy teeth. By this time, you probably have a good idea of what dog toys your puppy likes to fetch and chew.
    ***For this exercise, typical puppy toys are soft, but your puppy will be the final judge on what is valuable and worth the effort. When you take your dog to the place you want him to have his zoomie, grab at least four of his favorite toys. You will be tossing these toys and your puppy will be fetching, so consider that in your dog toys selection.
  3. The Zoomie Game: Now that you and your puppy are excited and in your preferred zoomie location, take one of his prized toys, wiggle it around, and toss it for him. If you have a good play relationship with your dog, he will likely run after the toy. As your dog runs after the toy you tossed, be ready with one of the other toys. After he grabs the first toy and turns around toward you, wiggle the second toy. He will then likely start running toward you, either with or without the first toy, it doesn’t matter. When he’s about 5′ from you, toss that second toy in the direction he’s running, so he’ll run PAST you to the new toy. As he’s running to get that second toy, run in the opposite direction with the third toy. When he looks toward you, again, wiggle the toy and get him excited about it. As he’s running toward you again, repeat the toy toss in the direction he’s heading.
    ***Now that you are orchestrating where your puppy will be running and focusing his puppy teeth on appropriate toys, your puppy will be less likely to jump on you or mouth your hands or pants. Now, just like with anything, it may not be perfect, but with practice, you and your puppy can appropriately get through the puppy zoomies with less mouthing and jumping.

On a final note, please make sure your puppy has a good potty break prior to going back into the house. Most puppies will have a bowel movement after puppy zoomies, so be prepared. Remember to enjoy puppyhood, because they are never with us long enough.



Have you experienced The Puppy Zoomies?

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 Positive and Natural Dog Training Books  
Dog Friendly Maumee Ohio

Pet-Friendly Maumee, Ohio Food Truck Friday

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Pet-Friendly Maumee, Ohio Food Truck Friday
Are you looking for a dog-friendly and family-friendly Friday Night? If so, Maumee’s Food Truck Friday might be just what you are looking for.

Dog Friendly Maumee Ohio
Maumee Food Truck Friday!

Dexter The Dog and my human family love to have fun dog-friendly weekend adventures. Maumee, Ohio is 5 minutes down the road from us and has a great summer Friday event that we all enjoy, Maumee’s Food Truck Friday! Maumee Uptown Business Association has been putting on this dog-friendly event for two years.

Maumee’s Food Truck Fridays are in the heart of the historic district. For those unfamiliar with this great little town, Uptown Maumee has a variety of unique shops and local businesses. Food Truck Fridays are held during the summer months from 5pm to 9pm on Conant and East Wayne Street in Maumee, Ohio. There is always plenty of on-street parking and even free parking lots right across the street from the food trucks.

Food Truck Fridays
This one Mom!

The line-up of local food trucks depends on individual truck availability, so it varies from week to week. This past Friday, Deets BBQ, Grumpy’s Deli, Rusty’s Road Trip, Nick & Nino’s Coal Fired Grill, Zin Coffee, Nacho Danny, Displaced Chef, Jacky’s Depot, and Rosie’s Italian were all in attendance. Another bonus is that the Maumee Farmers Market is also going on. There are plenty of tables and even tents to block out the sun. A local DJ rocks out some tunes and occasionally there is a live band.

After considering all the options, I decided to give Rusty’s Road Trip a try. I ordered an Italian grilled cheese and home cut fries. After I placed my order, the owner reintroduced herself to me – she had taken my dog training classes in the past! What a small world; you gotta love local!

I made a great food choice. The Italian grilled cheese from Rusty’s Road Trip was excellent. The bread was crispy and the cheese was gooey and delicious. I’m not sure what all was inside, but the flavors were great! The fresh cut fries were very tasty. And yes, Dexter did get to try a few, too.

Maumee Ohio Dog Events
Rusty’s Road Trip=Yummo!

After we all ate our local meals, we sat and listened to the DJ. It was a very nice and relaxing atmosphere. Families bustled around while the kids were laughing and playing. Once our food settled, we checked out the local merchants at the Maumee Farmer’s Market. My step-dad picked up some local bread and butter pickles, then we headed home. Another great Friday was under our belt.

If you and your dog find yourself in Northwest Ohio, or close to Maumee, Ohio on a summer Friday night, I encourage you to check out Maumee’s Food Truck Friday! You won’t be disappointed.

Do you and your dog enjoy a local event? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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