Can I Give My Dog? Answers for Dog Owners Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:44:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Can I Give My Dog SAM-e? Tue, 21 Apr 2015 03:35:49 +0000

Can I Give My Dog SAM-e?S-Adenosyl methionine, also known as SAM-e, is a relatively new health supplement which seems to be very promising. Though SAM-e occurs naturally within your dog’s body, supplementation may be necessary if they aren’t producing enough on their own.

SAM-e can be great for the liver as well as for combating arthritis. Everyone knows that dogs often have joint problems later in life. It could be that taking such a product may make life easier for them.

SAM-e may make sense for other reasons which we’ll also get into. Though the FDA doesn’t regulate this type of dietary supplement, most experts are fairly confident about the health benefits offered by S-Adenosyl.

Can I Give My Dog SAM-e? Answer: Yes

Especially if your dog is deficient, admittedly difficult to know.

There are situations that warrant providing certain naturally occurring chemicals in the form of supplements for a pet dog. It’s especially true, as it applies here, if your dog suffers from liver or bone-related issues.

There are some SAM-e supplements made specifically for pets. Our neighbors give their oldest four-legged friend this product, which is pictured above. They say it does a good job of dealing with his joint stiffness and swelling.

For Treating Osteoarthritis

Sadly, it’s a fact that many owners struggle to help their dogs with arthritis. The good news is that SAM-e usually works well as a natural treatment alternative. It’s a really great anti-inflammatory. In fact, several studies have shown that it’s effectiveness is on par with Celebrex and several NSAIDs but with less potential for serious side-effects.

Liver Health & Treating Disease

Obviously liver function is a critical component of good canine health. Unfortunately, the liver cells can become damaged because the organ may not be producing enough SAM-e. That’s when supplementation for your dog can be very important; it could get their liver back to producing glutathione again which is very critical. S-Adenosyl may enable protein synthesis, liver cell replication and better movement (exit) of bile acids.

Not only can this prevent further damage but it can even heal and repair cells! So there are very hopeful reasons to believe that SAM-e can help your dog if they have a liver disease. Of course, you should consult with your vet before starting any type of treat for such a serious condition.

Treating Dog Depression

SAM-e is such a great supplement because it promotes good health across the board. There are strong indications that it can also help with depression. It’s not uncommon for a pet dog to be feeling down due to poor health. It’s possible they could also benefit from SAMe’s ability to alleviate depressive symptoms. People are often asking about SSRIs and the suitability of such drugs for their dogs. S-Adenosyl methionine may be a superior alternative since it is widely believed to be safer; it makes sense since it’s naturally occurring much like Melatonin.

Dosage and Duration

You won’t start seeing results right away, so give SAM-e some time for your dog’s sake. It usually takes between 2 weeks and 1 month to kick in. People tend to give up to easily. Stick with it and don’t skip any days, just like with any vitamin supplement. In the end, you may be pleasantly surprised at the medical value of SAM-e as it applies to your dog.

The general rule of thumb is 10mg per pound of body weight. So dosing your dog’s SAM-e is pretty straightforward. For example, if your canine weighs 40 pounds; 400mg would be sufficient when taken daily. Provide it to Fido on an empty stomach for maximum absorption.

Conclusion on SAM-e

S-Adenosyl is one of the more promising health supplements for dogs. So yes, it’s true that both people and their pets can take SAM-e for help with arthritis. In addition, lots of exciting SAM-e research points to improved liver function and treatment for depression.

Any person or dog that’s deficient in producing their own SAM-e may greatly benefit. Just be sure to follow proper dosing guidelines because too much SAM-e can create problems for Fido. It’s always best to talk over the use of any supplement, including SAM-e, with a trusted vet beforehand.

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Can I Give My Dog Artichokes? Mon, 06 Apr 2015 13:09:27 +0000

Can I Give My Dog an Artichoke?If you’ve prepared tasty artichokes, it may be tempting to share some with your dog. This perennial plant bud is packed with lots of nutrients so, in theory, it may make sense for Fido as well.

The artichoke offers high levels of Vitamin C, Folic acid, Magnesium and fiber. But besides being very healthy, there are other important considerations before you serve some up for your beloved pet dog.

There are lots of recipes for making artichokes, some of which include ingredients which dogs shouldn’t be consuming. In addition, you must serve this flowery vegetable in a way which makes digestion easy for your four-legged friend.

Can I Give My Dog Artichokes? Answer: Yes, in moderation

It’s okay if you keep your artichoke recipe very simple, without other potentially harmful ingredients, and prepare it in easy-to-consume portion sizes.

Artichokes are not toxic for dogs, nor are the stems, hearts or leaves. The biggest danger is the potential to create a blockage in your dog’s digestive tract. There is also a chance, as with any human food, that they will react with symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting. Many new foods, including artichokes, simply don’t agree with our four-legged friends.

Artichoke Health Benefits

If all goes well, your dog can also benefit from this wonderful antioxidant-rich veggie. Artichokes are low in calories and sodium, contain no fat or cholesterol, all while being packed with lots of vitamins. So canines may be able to pick up some great nutrients that aren’t in their regular kibble.

But keep in mind that dogs create their own vitamin-c. They also don’t typically need to have their cholesterol lowered, another of the many health benefits. The artichoke, however, offers many other positives including Potassium, Niacin and several others previously mentioned.

Specific to Dogs

A lot of pet dogs struggle with all types of digestive issues. Artichokes, either the globe or spiny varieties, are known to help with irritable bowel and stomach as well as flatulence. The plentiful antioxidants can help defend against cancer, heart problems, premature aging and overall illness because it boosts the immune system. It’s also possible that your dog’s liver may benefit from occasional artichoke consumption.

K9 Digestion Considerations

To successfully feed your dog an artichoke, you should specially prepare it for them. This is important because you want to prevent an unfortunate case of intestinal blockage. They could easily choke on this food. Dogs consume things in such a way that it makes preparation necessary in this case. So it’s important to cut an artichoke up into small pieces and ration it out. Feed it to Fido slowly because you don’t even know if your best buddy’s stomach can handle it.

Also, don’t feed artichokes to your dog in the same way you may enjoy them. Exclude garlic and other inappropriate or questionable ingredients. This way your dog will get all the benefits and none of the drawbacks to a healthy artichoke meal. Who said table food cannot be fed to pets!

Cooked or Raw

Artichokes are often steamed, braised, sauteed, boiled or fried. For your beloved dog, it’s best to feed it to them raw. They won’t be missing out on a delicious recipe, promise. Just keep it simple! Besides, consuming an artichoke raw means your dog will get the maximum nutritional benefit possible.

Just cut off and get rid of the outer leaves. Then you are ready to cut it up for your dog so they can safely chow down. Try to get a freshly picked one. You can tell it’s fresh if the artichoke makes a squeaky sound when it’s squeezed.

Conclusion on Artichokes

There isn’t anything about an artichoke thistle that’s toxic for dogs. It’s actually a very good health food but there are some risks to feeding artichokes to your best buddy. Be careful to avoid creating an obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract. You don’t want their intestines to have a blockage. So that’s the primary concern with feeding your dog some artichokes on occasion. Finally, be sure to feed them this healthy plant bud without the added ingredients we often use as part of a typical artichoke recipe.

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Can I Give My Dog a Bath with Human Shampoo? Mon, 23 Mar 2015 04:43:25 +0000

Can I Give My Dog a Bath using Human Shampoo?Everyone has their own routine for bathing a pet dog. Many people are just using human shampoo to maintain a fresh smelling canine coat. But there’s some doubt, and for good reason, regarding how suitable regular shampoo is for dogs. People want to know if there’s really that big of a difference!

If your goal simply to have a nice smelling best buddy, then human shampoo will do the trick. However, there are many other factors to consider when you go about giving your beloved dog a good washing.

Of course, it’s cheaper to share your own shower supplies. But let’s take a closer look at this debated issue for your dog’s sake. You may come to realize that human shampoo can’t provide important health benefits and may actually do more harm than good.

Can I Give My Dog a Bath using Human Shampoo? Answer: Yes, but dog shampoo is much better

You can use a run-of-the-mill human variety if you temporarily run out of your dog’s regular supply.

But we don’t recommend regularly using human brand for a dog. The concept of ‘pet shampoo’ is not a marketing gimmick. There are so many reasons why a good canine shampoo is superior to human products. We keep it simple and regularly use a convenient detergent-free cleaning mist which never dries out their skin. You just spray it on and wipe it off. Most importantly, it doesn’t remove the natural oil in their coats. Our dogs have never looked better since we made the switch.

Some Shampoo Truths

Most human shampoos can be very harsh for dogs, even for us humans! The chemicals and fragrances in most regular brands are actually working against your dog’s natural ability to maintain their beautiful skin and coat. Sure, they’ll smell better but it’s a net negative overall. Unfortunately, the damage is often gradual and many dog owners don’t notice the effects. While you may save some cash, you aren’t doing your four-legged friend any favors by using human shampoo.

The fact is that dogs have more sensitive skin than we do. Human shampoo is much more likely to dry them out and make them itchy. In fact, some owners are quick to suspect allergies when the real culprits are the types of products being used in the bathtub!

Consider the pH Balance

When you use a human brand on a dog, you’re disrupting their skin’s delicate pH balance. This makes them susceptible to all kinds of parasites and bacteria in addition to drying them out. Regular products also tend to be too acidic. Most dogs require more of an alkaline concentration which, at the very least, keeps them better hydrated.

If Fido has trouble with rashes or has somewhat irritated, dry, flaky and/or peeling skin then it may be time to evaluate what you’re using on them. If that’s already the case, try a natural oatmeal shampoo treatment, also made for dogs, that can relieve such unfortunate irritations. Such products aren’t actually as expensive as you may think.

Smell is Least Important

Before you bathe your dog, consider all the factors. You want them smelling fresh but smell should be the least of your concerns in the grand scheme of things. Focus on preventing the stripping of oils and delicate skin (top layers) which act as natural protection against all sorts of things. Having a full shiny coat that’s also protected against fleas and ticks is an added benefit.

So bathing your dog serves a very important but quite different purpose for them. It’s part of preventative care which includes cleaning the teeth and ears. In other words, don’t routinely use human shampoo on your dog! Fur sure! (that’s a joke)

Conclusion on Human Shampoo

Everyone has, at one time or another, used a human shampoo on their dogs. It likely isn’t a disaster but you really shouldn’t get into that habit. Investing in a good canine shampoo will provide your dog with many important health benefits which we often overlook. Do your best buddy a favor and don’t compromise when it comes to maintaining their natural defenses. Buying a quality shampoo, that’s pet-formulated, is the prudent thing to do.

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Can I Give My Dog NSAIDs? Sun, 08 Mar 2015 11:04:44 +0000

Can I Give My Dog NSAIDs?We have covered the suitability, specifically for dogs, of several different NSAIDs. But there are so many NSAID brands which makes covering the subject sort of difficult. It’s time to address the entire issue as a whole and put to rest some misconceptions.

OTC pain pills are an important topic for dog owners but many just don’t realize it. NSAIDs can be highly dangerous for a dog and, no matter what, they should always be used with great caution. Tens of thousands of dogs have been harmed or have died as a result of their misuse.

What’s great is that NSAIDs have improved over the years. There are some which were developed with canines in mind. Reduce the risks and choose a brand, with the help of a vet, that will help your dog in the safest manner possible.

Can I Give My Dog NSAIDs? Answer: Yes, a safe brand with veterinary help

Forget the familiar brand names and instead get an NSAID that’s much safer. Better yet, try a natural safe alternative.

Geriatric dogs are often dealing with a combination of hip dysplasia, deteriorating joints with associated pain, osteoarthritis and arthritis. If your dog needs meds for a pain problem, we can recommend at least three lesser known NSAIDs; all of which you should discuss with your veterinarian. But first, learn more about how these medications actually work.

How NSAIDs Work

This is technical info but important to understand. These drugs are so effective because they quickly block prostaglandin production which is the primary cause of inflammation. This process, which also inhibits two types of important enzymes called cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2), works the same for both humans and dogs. However, the possible side effects can be more harmful for canines and you often won’t even know it.

The good news is that some NSAIDs can selectively inhibit certain enzymes, while allowing others (ie. COX-1) to behave more normally. This has important pain treatment implications for you and your dog. The end result is safer use and fewer side effects!

Household Names are Bad

People know the older NSAID brand names, common pain killers, which partially explains why so many dogs continue to be poisoned. These popular over-the-counter products are, by and large, inappropriate for a pet dog. Lack of knowledge truly does end up having detrimental effects on our four-legged friends.

You know the names such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, Bayer and the list goes on and on. It’s fair to say that nearly all of the well-known brands are all wrong for helping Fido. Of course, these household pain pill names are a quick and cheap fix, but you love your dog more than that!

Below are a few better NSAIDs which can work for your dog. At the same time, they’ll be at a statistically reduced health risk.

NSAID Recommendations

Our suggestions are only to make you aware of them. You should consult with your veterinarian to see if these NSAIDs are appropriate for your particular dog. Rimadyl is probably the most popularly prescribed NSAID for use in dogs. EtoGesic is another pain treatment option to consider. Finally, Metacam generally scores well for being safe.

In general, we are fans of carprofen NSAIDs or Vetprofen. But remember, all NSAIDs are potentially dangerous especially when used improperly. It may be best to first try a more natural approach to treating pain.

Even Safer Alternatives

Duralactin greatly helps chronic canine inflammation and sore joints. It’s natural and your dog can use it long term or in combination with NSAIDs. It’s also low in lactose and the pills are chewable. Personally, our dogs use a different one (this anti-inflammatory health supplement) and we’re seeing good results.

Conclusion on NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain for a beloved dog. It’s true that NSAIDs are provided to dogs all the time but they can be very harmful. Reduce your dog’s risks by using safer NSAIDs such as EtoGesic, Metacam or Rimadyl. These brands are proven to be safer and just as effective for dogs. Ask your vet about them! Alternatively, try natural alternatives such as those mentioned above because they often work just as well.

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Can I Give My Dog an IQ Test? Sat, 21 Feb 2015 08:37:41 +0000

Can I Give My Dog an IQ Test?We’ve all heard of taking an IQ test. It’s for testing intelligence but we usually associate it only with evaluation of the human mind. What’s even cooler, and much more fun, is giving your dog an IQ test.

People usually consider their own pet dogs to be very clever. What if you could truly evaluate how smart they actually are? IQ tests for dogs are easy to administer at home, won’t cost you anything and will help you better understand your four-legged friend.

Here we’ll provide some background and introduce some basic tests you can try out on your dog. While the results aren’t scientific, they do reveal a degree of canine intelligence. Remember though, intelligence can’t top unconditional love which is why dogs have always been considered man’s best friend.

Can I Give My Dog an IQ Test? Answer: Yes!

Your dog’s breed plays a big role in their inherit intelligence level but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. Your dog may be clever regardless.

Science is discovering that the average pooch is much smarter than originally thought. What’s great is that canine intelligence can be evaluated through behavioral reactions, or simple problem solving, to common scenarios.

You can arrange such situations which will test your dog’s intelligence. There are also some great interactive toys which possibly improve canine intelligence.

Instinctive vs. Learned

Intelligence, for dogs, falls into two categories. One being instinctive, which is largely determined by their genetic makeup and their breed. This is their natural ability. The other kind of canine smarts is obtained from experience and training. In other words, a dogs’ learned intelligence is acquired. This somewhat explains why some dogs can be taught new tricks more easily than others.

Limits to K9 Intelligence Accuracy

Obviously there’s some overlap between these two types of mental abilities. Combine this with other factors such as your dog’s willingness to participate, level of enthusiasm, their health and you can see why results may not be completely accurate. But generally, if your pup is easy to train then they’re likely pretty smart. Actually, IQ testing sort of goes hand-in-hand with training dogs. In any case, the below examples are just some fun and interesting mental exercises you can try with your dog.

Some Basic IQ Tests

One of our favorites is a memory test using 3 cups. Cover up a tasty treat under one of the cups. Then, distract them with something else for awhile. After some time has passed, can they correctly locate their treat on the first try? Another is very silly but pretty revealing. With your dog watching, pretend to grab a snack somewhere in arm’s reach. While you are chewing your imaginary food, do they seem to realize you are just fooling around or do they actually salivate?

Testing your dog’s ability to recognize danger is another important aspect of canine intelligence. Does your dog know to look both ways before crossing the street? If you’ve observed that, in our book, that level of awareness will score them some serious cleverness points.

Now that you have an idea of what constitutes doggie smarts, you can literally think up hundreds of situations which require some level of reasoning on your dog’s part.

Scoring and Improvement

In order to accurately assess your dog’s IQ level, keep track of exactly how well they’re doing by recording their scores. Many unofficial tests can be found online that include systems for keeping score. We also recommend answering the great questions here for a decent assessment for your dog’s overall intelligence.

Conclusion on K9 IQ Testing

Dogs are generally very smart animals. Our neighbor’s dog literally brings his leash to his master when he knows it’s time for a walk. We found the inexpensive book called How Smart is Your Dog? to be very useful.

No doubt, you can get a better idea of your pet dog’s intelligence by checking certain reaction skills. Such tests for canines are fun and useful. Be sure to make any IQ tests enjoyable for your dog, definitely not too serious. And if they aren’t scoring well, don’t hold it against them. Remember that their breed plays a big role. If your dog isn’t exactly Einstein, they can still be brilliant in your eyes.

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Can I Give My Dog Sushi? Sat, 07 Feb 2015 06:31:30 +0000

Can I Give My Dog Sushi?Many people, including dog owners, have come to love eating sushi. It has become more popular over the years so the question of feeding a dog some sushi needs to be addressed. Of course, the answer isn’t as simple as yes or no but we’ll do our best.

At first glance it would seem to be an illogical idea because sushi can be quite expensive. It’s reasonable, just from a cost perspective, to want to save this special indulgence for yourself. Sure, in general, the price of sushi has come down but it remains an expensive treat for a dog.

More importantly, and as with any raw food, you must be mindful of bacteria and parasites. Sushi that’s no longer fresh can be dangerous for anyone including dogs. In this sense, it’s almost more important to consider the real reasons for wanting to feed sushi to your dog rather than the actual merits of the food itself.

Can I Give My Dog Sushi? Answer: Yes, fresh sushi & exclude some ingredients

Giving your dog some because it may no longer be up to your standards is a terrible idea. Always throw away your potentially spoiled sushi.

However, if you can afford to occasionally share your fresh sushi with your best buddy then it should be okay assuming you know what’s actually in the sushi. Most sushi is simply rolled-up cooked rice with raw fish and/or vegetables such as finely sliced cucumbers and seaweed. Sometimes it contains other foods like egg. But there are some ingredients found in some sushi varieties that are absolutely off limits for pet dogs.

Avocados in Sushi

Most store-bought sushi contains avocado which is very healthy for humans. However, it’s arguably harmful for dogs. While many people will debate this, doubts remain concerning a potential toxin called persin. For this reason, whether you purchase your sushi or make it at home, it would be best to avoid providing your dog with any kind containing avocados.

Sushi with Spices

Japan’s sushi is the original kind and arguably the best. The Japanese, but also many westerners, incorporate wasabi into sushi meals which obviously should be excluded if your dog eats some. But sushi’s popularity has also created many other variations and innovative recipes. For example, Thai-style sushi is likely to be spicy and even contain some garlic. These additional ingredients probably aren’t good for your dog and are best avoided.

Sushi Symptoms & Sicknesses

Maybe you came here worried that your dog is sick due to having eaten sushi. The most common reason for this would be that it was the first time they tried some. As is the case with many new foods, and especially something like sushi, gastrointestinal problems surface including diarrhea, loose stools, upset stomach and vomiting.

You’ll be happy to know that most times a dog will experience these symptoms for a short time and often recover on their own. They are usually quite good at purging their systems in this regard. However, if you have reason to believe the sushi was spoiled then there could be more cause for concern.

This is why you should never give your dog any humans foods that you wouldn’t eat. For sushi, this cautionary approach is even more important for your dog’s sake. In any case, no matter what the reason for your dog’s sickness, be sure to provide them with plenty of fresh water in order to avoid dehydration.

Bring your dog to a veterinarian if they’re sick and getting worse from consuming contaminated or rotten raw foods because some bacteria and parasites may overwhelm them. They may need veterinary assistance to rid their bodies of what is essentially poison.

Conclusion on Sushi

While not very economical, occasionally giving some sushi to your dog should be harmless. Be sure to only offer them the kind that doesn’t contain avocados, spices or other questionable ingredients for dogs. It’s important to remember that you should never even consider providing oldish leftover sushi to a four-legged friend. No pun intended but doing so is a recipe for disaster. After all, sushi has raw seafood as a main component which can quickly spoil and sicken your dog.

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