The Happy Beast - Blog - Dog Health

Eight Things Your New Puppy Needs

We’ve been getting a daily puppy-fix at The Happy Beast! Spring and summer are popular times to get puppies and we LOVE meeting your new furry family members. Here are eight smart and useful buys for you and your new puppy.

 

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1. Inexpensive (but Still Cute!) Leash & Collar

Most likely, your new puppy will either quickly outgrow his first collar or chew through his first leash. That’s why I always recommend starting out with a basic, inexpensive option.  I especially love these neoprene collars from Sublime!

 

2. Kong Classics and PetSafe Squirrel DudessquirrelPTY00-13745_e

I call these stuffable, rubber toys “puppy babysitters.” Fill with peanut butter or canned food and freeze. Keep a couple in your freezer and pull one out when you need a break.

 

3. Rope Toysrope-toy

Ideal for teething puppies. Ropes are inexpensive and help soothe the gums when those sharp puppy teeth start falling out.

 

4. A Snuggly Bed

bedth

I got a Midwest Bed for my dog when she was a puppy and four years later, it’s still her favorite place to sleep. Perfect fit for a kennel, easy to travel with and it holds up well to frequent washings.

 

 

5. Training Treatspuppy-training-treats

Reward good behavior with lots of praise and tasty rewards! Variety keeps your new pupppy interested. Try Tricky Trainers, RealMeat Treats and Waggers’ My Little Wolf.

 

 

6. Sheepskin Toyspetsafe-sheepskin-bone-dog-toy-medium-6

Tuck one of these in your pup’s kennel and she’ll feel like she’s sleeping with a littermate. As she gets older, the toy will stand up to sharp puppy teeth and rough puppy play.

 

 

7. Tendons, Cheeks and Earsp-5406-16762

Stock up on natural chews! We prefer chew things that are made of edible materials as opposed to plastic or rubber chew toys. (It can be hard for a puppy to distinguish which plastic things are ok to chew on and which ones are not…like a tv remote.)

 

 

8. Fizzion Pet Stain & Odor Remover5b85a0e3-303d-4b16-a548-ed904e576954_300

We’ve tried all of the pet stain and odor removers, and this one is our absolute favorite! Totally safe to use around animals and humans and the toughest at cleaning up after potty training accidents. I’ve even used it to get a red wine stain out. (From an especially enthusiastic tail-wag!)

 

 

9. Bonus! Looking for a new puppy friend?

Be sure to check out our local shelters and rescue groups! Petfinder.com is an awesome resource if you’re looking for a certain breed, mix, age or just want to browse cute puppy faces.

Strategies & Tips for Overweight Dogs

Losing weight can be challenging for overweight dogs, but the health benefits are well worth it. At a healthy weight, your dog will be more resistant to disease, feel better, and live longer.  No one get’s excited about cutting calories, (especially when you’re a hungry dog) but we have a few tricks to make dieting simple, effective and a little fun.

Daily Recommended Calories for an Average Adult Dog

Set a Goal and Start Counting Calories

Determine both your dog’s current weight and his ideal weight. Talk to your vet about what your dog’s weight should be or bring your dog into The Happy Beast and we can make a suggestion. The easiest way to determine the calories in your animal’s current and ideal diet is…. to let us do it for you! Once you have a target weight, we can factor in age, breed, and activity level to help determine how many calories your dog needs. As a general guideline, look at the feeding suggestion on your dog’s food to find your dog’s IDEAL weight and feed 75% of that amount. For example. If your dog’s goal weight is 30 lbs and the label of his dog food recommends 1 cup of food, feed him only ¾ cup.

 

Fruitables Crunchy Treats

Treats are OK!

Cutting out treats is a foolproof way to reduce calories, but it’s definitely not necessary for success. In fact, a couple of treats during the day may help your dog feel more satisfied. Just make sure to factor treats into your dog’s daily calorie “budget.” Look for treats with the calories printed on the label. Fruitables’ Crunchy Treats and Boulder Dog Food Co.’s Bison Cubes have just 8 calories per treat. Decide how many treats you want to give your dog each day, and subtract the calorie-equivalent from his normal meals.

Chewing on bones and tendons also provides important dental care. If chewing is part of your dog’s routine, choose lower-calorie options and feed your dog less on days he gets a treat. Marrow bones and bully sticks have enough calories to replace a whole meal for a medium size dog. A tendon or cow cheek would replace fewer calories.

 

PetSafe’s Magic Mushroom

When I’m Bored… I Eat

Make dinnertime a game! Dogs have a natural instinct to forage for their food. Instead of feeding your dog out of a bowl, make him work for it! Fill a puzzle toy like the PetSafe’s Magic Mushroom with a serving of kibble and let him knock it around until the food falls out. If you’re feeding canned or raw food, stuff it into a Kong or spread it out on a large, flat plate. All of these will force your dog to slow down meal time and enjoy smaller bites (instead of gulping down everything at once) leaving him more satisfied. Feeding this way also provides mental stimulation and reduces boredom.

 

The Honest Kitchen dehydrated turkey

Add Fresher Foods

Besides their basic nutritional benefits, fresher foods help your dog feel more satiated. Kibble is typically very calorie-dense so it doesn’t take up much space in the stomach and can leave your dog feeling hungry. Because of their high moisture content, dehydrated, canned, and raw foods can help your dog feel full. Replace some or all of your dog’s kibble with a fresher food. Try Steve’s, Primal and SmallBatch frozen raw, Grandma Lucy’s, Sojo’s or The Honest Kitchen dehydrated.

 

trail-running-w-dog_The-Happy-Beast

Get moving!

Exercise doesn’t need to be a lofty goal. Thirty minutes a day is a good starting point, especially if your dog isn’t very active. Divide that time up into a few ten-minute walks or five-minute games of fetch.

Ready to start your dog on a healthy weight program? Stop by The Happy Beast and we’ll lay out an easy-to-follow plan for you and your dog!

Healthy Teeth & Good Breath (without brushing your dog’s teeth)

It’s pet dental health month and I really don’t want to brush my dog’s teeth. Now, I’m crazy about my dog’s health. I know maintaining a healthy oral system is SUPER important in preventing disease and it’s also important (to me) that Pi doesn’t wake me up with dog breath! BUT brushing her teeth every day just isn’t going to happen. Fortunately, there are simple, natural ways to clean your dog’s teeth and keep her breath fresh. And all without brushing.

Raw Bones

Raw bones are AMAZING for dental health. They’re what keep animals’ teeth so healthy in the wild without brushing! Tearing at connective tissues and meat cleans between the teeth while grinding on the bone scales off tartar. Chomping down on more delicate bones like chicken wings, necks, and lamb bones scrubs the surfaces of the teeth.

RAW bones are generally safe, while cooked bones should be avoided as they may splinter. Stop in The Happy Beast, and we can help you choose bones that are safe and effective for YOUR dog.

My dog gets a recreational femur bone (from Primal) a few times a week and I replace her normal meal with a piece of raw bone-in chicken every other night.

Bully sticks, tendons and other chews also stimulate the gums, work the jaw muscles and promote overall health.

Daily Dental Treats

Dogs love treats, so choose ones that provide health benefits!

We used DentaTreat with our little chihuahua-mix when she had cancer and lost interest in chewing on bones. After sprinkling it on her food for a few weeks, the tartar started sliding off her teeth.

“Composed of dental-active natural cheeses, minerals, apple polyphenols , and many other ingredients that help to maintain oral health, DentaTreat™ is a cat and dog supplement that can be sprinkled directly onto food, or it can also be used with a toothbrush as a tooth cleaning powder.” (Wysong.net)

InClover’s Grin treats are another easy and tasty way to support oral health. Chlorophyll, green tea extracts and prebiotics support a healthy mouth and stomach, fighting bacteria to improve your dog’s breath!

Enzymatic Oral Sprays and Gels (PetzLife)

These are ideal for dogs and cats who already have plaque buildup on their teeth. Grape seed and grapefruit extracts help reduce inflammation and disease while neem, peppermint and thyme oils fight bacteria and pathogens that cause gingivitis and bad breath. Just spray or rub on your dog’s gum line.

More Fresh Foods, Less Kibble

Kibble shatters on first crunch and is immediately swallowed. This allows inadequate time for any mechanical cleaning that might occur if chewed thoroughly. Crunching kibble cleans your dogs teeth only as well as chewing crackers cleans ours!  Read more here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dry-dog-food-cleaner-teeth/

Adding a fresher form of food to your dog or cat’s kibble will provide plaque fighting enzymes for their system and support healthier gums and teeth.

Genetics

It’s important to note that genetics play a big role in dental wellness. In The Nature of Animal Healing (borrow it from our store or buy it online) holistic vet, Dr. Martin Goldstein, DVM explains that generations of breeding “to hunt or show better or simply to look cuter” has “distorted the natural shape of their jaws.” Some dogs, especially small and toy breeds, will require more attention. Have your vet check your dog’s teeth at his routine exam. If tartar or disease have already set in, a dental cleaning may be in order. Even if your dog is very susceptible to periodontal disease, you can space out his cleanings by providing daily care with the right bones, chews, diet and treats!

Walk Your Dog! (It’s more rewarding than you think)

I used to hate taking Pi for walks. She pulled. She growled at strangers. She went crazy every time she saw a rabbit. But now we walk happily all over town. 15-minute walks easily turn into two-hour long adventures. We have discovered beautiful open spaces, interesting old houses and smelly things for Pi to roll in. Pi is a calmer, happier dog and I’m a cheerier, more relaxed person when we make a point to walk every day!

Turns out, there’s science behind this. Dogs and wolves come from a common ancestor – one that foraged for food, covering miles of territory every day. Today, our canine companions don’t have to go searching for food (that’s what they have us for!)- but walks help satisfy other basic needs. Sniffing out other animal smells and encountering new things in their environment provide great brain stimulation. Even a ten-minute walk can help mentally-exercise your dog! (Just like ten minutes of doing tough math or word problems can help exercise our brains.)

Walking is good for us too. A study done at the California State University- Long Beach, showed that walking benefits humans in more ways than just the physical exercise. The study followed 37 subjects over a 20-day period. Professor Robert Thayer, leader of the study noted, “We found that there was a clear and strong relationship between the number of steps [participants] took and their overall mood and energy level,” (If you want to read more about that study, click here: http://www.csulb.edu/misc/inside/archives/vol_58_no_4/1.htm)

It took some time, patience, and a lot of training treats to get Pi to walk nicely on a leash, but  the effort was totally worth it! I recommend using a training tool so you have a little more control over your dog if they get distracted. I used a Easy Walk Harness and a Halti head collar when I was training Pi to walk nicely. I still pull them out when we go to a new trail or exciting environment where she might “forget” her leash manners.

Walking Pi in the morning also allows me time to gather my thoughts before starting my workday, and walking her in the evenings helps me to unwind and review the day. Pi’s always happy to get out and see who’s peed on each fire hydrant since she smelled it last. If walking isn’t part of your routine yet, take your dog for a 5-10 minute walk around your block. I’m willing to bet you’ll both have some fun. If you and your dog are already getting out for regular walks, we want to hear about that too! Tell us where your favorite route is!

Transitioning Your Dog to a New Diet

Here are our Happy Beast tips for transitioning to a new diet!

Allow 4-10 days to transition your pet to a new food. Choose a supplement to make the transition easier on your animal.

1) Choose a supplement!

It’s not uncommon for dogs to have loose stools when transitioning to a new food. Pick one or two of the following to help your animal’s digestive system adjust get the most out of his new food:

2) Phase in the new food!

Combine your dog’s old and new foods together in the proportions shown in the diagram at the top of this post. Spend 2-3 days on each phase. A dog with a more sensitive system will benefit from a more time in each phase.