Cruisin’ for Snacks

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Cruisin’ for Snacks! Cruise ship vacations are notorious for their boundless buffet offerings, around the clock food availability…and inevitable weight gain from the 24 hour indulging. To our dogs, we are the esteemed chefs presenting delicious delicacies for their around the clock indulgence.

As the chefs, it is our job to make sure we regulate the buffet line and incorporate both healthy meals and tasty nutritious snacks over the course of the day. For most dogs over a year old, feeding twice a day (normally morning and evening) and providing some snack times in between meals helps create a routine dogs crave. You can also use these times to reinforce training, teach new behaviors, and build the bond between you and your hungry diner. When feeding your dog his breakfast or dinner, have him sit and stay until you put the bowl on the floor and release him. If you walk past the counter and decide he needs a snack, have him shake or a give a high five to show his appreciation of the tastiness to come.

Our role as chefs also includes a bit of nutrition management, as it is our responsibility not only to regulate the quality of what we are “cooking”, but the quantity served. Just like cruise patrons, our pups are perfectly willing to devour mass quantities of any cuisine we provide.

Although there is no definitive amount of treats you should give, we do need to be aware of the caloric value of snacks during the course of the day and adjust snacking and mealtime quantities accordingly. Just like cruise ship vacationers, mindless 24 hour snacking and eating can result in some unwanted extra pounds.

Relax and enjoy spoiling your pup with some healthy treats every day, however don’t let them talk you into daily buffet-style binge sessions. By using a bit of moderation, this is one vacation that doesn’t have to end.

—Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

If your pup is cruisin’ for snacks, treat them today!

Easing into the Golden Years – Enhancing the Life of Your Senior Dog

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Easing into the Golden Years: Although we can’t stop time slipping away, there are several things we can do to help our furry family members age a bit more like Betty White than Keith Richards.

Determining when your dog is ready for her AARP card depends to some extent on her size. Larger dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller ones, so a Newfoundland would be considered a senior around age 7, where as a Chihuahua wouldn’t reach golden status until closer to age 10.

As she gets older, moving to twice per year wellness checks can help keep your dog active, comfortable and healthy as possible. Discuss having a full blood work panel performed. Not only can it provide an early warning to potential problems now, but it will serve as a baseline for the years to come. Your vet can compare future blood work against it, making changes easier to spot and address early.

There are a variety of holistic treatments, vitamins, and herbal remedies, as well as prescription medications that can address some of the challenges aging throws our way, such as arthritis. Besides downward dog pose, dogs are rarely good at yoga however they may benefit from other options we use such as massage, acupuncture or physical therapy. Always work with a veterinarian or certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist when utilizing supplements, medications, or treatments.

Additional options to help with mobility and fall prevention are non-slip treads on stairs, orthopedic beds, and stairs or ramps to get on/off furniture or in/out of vehicles.

Quality food and treats, exercise, and mental stimulation are still important in the golden years, but just like us, dogs’ abilities and needs change as they get older. You may need to switch or cut back on food, feed smaller portions more frequently, change the intensity, type, or duration of exercise. Daily exercise keeps both us and our dogs mentally engaged as well as physically active, however she may need to adjust the 5-mile run you always took with her down to a 3-mile walk.

Being able to communicate with your dog is important at any age. When I am instructing my students, I teach both hand signals and voice commands. This is due in part to how dogs learn, but it can also be beneficial later in life. Should your dog lose one sense, such as hearing, you still have the ability to communicate her via hand signals.

Even though becoming a senior doesn’t get your dog great perks like free coffee at McDonald’s or early bird dinner specials at the local diner, she can still enjoy an active and comfortable life throughout her golden years.

—Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

The Mealtime Mystery – Solving the Case of Food Sensitivities

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The Mealtime Mystery: Sherlock Holmes notices how seeming unrelated events are actually intertwined, and ultimately solves the mystery. Usually the culprit is the character who appeared to be the most innocent.

Sometimes with our dogs, we need to channel our inner Sherlock. Some clues being presented are recurrent skin or ear infections, chewing at her feet, missing areas of fur, potty issues, or very bad! These seemingly unrelated events potentially point to an apparently innocent culprit…food.

True food allergies in dogs are rare, but food intolerance or sensitivities are on the rise. Common offenders tend to be protein sources, with chicken, eggs, and dairy being at the top of the list.

Seeing your veterinarian is the first step in addressing potential food intolerance. Although currently no reliable tests for food allergies exist, you want to rule out other troublemakers such as a parasite, virus, or infection.

Once you’re sure some sort of alien invader isn’t the problem, the next step is to make a diet change, including both food AND treats. Make sure to remove all traces of the item(s) you believe to be the culprit. You want to switch to a protein source your dog hasn’t been exposed to previously. Lamb and Turkey are common alternatives, but there are many options, including venison, bison, salmon, or even kangaroo!

Investigate food labels carefully, confirming there is no mention whatsoever of the item(s) you are trying to avoid. For example, some foods and treats may have salmon as the primary protein source but also utilize chicken meal in smaller portions. If chicken is the issue, even this small amount could trigger a reaction.

Confirm everyone who comes into contact with your dog is aware of the importance of feeding her only the “approved” food and treats. Of course everyone wants to spoil her with “just a little taste” of some contraband occasionally, but it’s important to keep her away from the things you think may be triggering her symptoms, especially during the initial switch.

It can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks after you make dietary changes to see a noticeable decline in the symptoms. By utilizing your keen powers of observation, the assistance of your vet, and making dietary changes, solving the mystery of a food sensitivity can my quite elementary.

—Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

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Photo found via Pinterest

The holidays are fast approaching!
It can be quite a joyful experience gathering loved ones to enjoy the holidays together as a family—indulging in family recipes and carrying out traditions. As much as it can be the “most wonderful time” of the year, it can however be very stressful for our pets. Keep your pets healthy and safe with the following holiday tips:

Keep a Regular Routine
Pets can be extremely sensitive to sudden change. It is important to keep your pets on a regular schedule to reduce unnecessary stress. With all the different holiday plans, company, and/or travel, be sure to maintain scheduled feedings, walks, exercise and play sessions.

Avoid hazardous holiday trappings
While the Christmas trees are up and decorated, it is important that we pay close attention to our dog’s surroundings. Make sure your Christmas tree is very sturdy; pets tend to explore and may try to climb the tree—which can cause it to tip over and possibly cause an injury!
It is recommended to keep pets away from tinsel, popcorn strands, ribbon, string, and other wrapping accessories as serious injury, even death can occur if it is ingested.
Also, please consider using electrical cord containers for excess cords illuminating those festive holiday lights. Pets may chew on electrical cords when we’re not looking, which can cause electrocution. You can even run cords them through PVC to prevent any electrical accidents.

Avoid giving your pets holiday foods
Keep your food and other people’s food away from your pet. Those holiday cookies may look delicious, and your dog may be begging, but don’t give in! Avoid giving your pet any chocolate, baked goods, turkey (including the skin), yeast dough and table scraps. If you want to include your pet in the holiday food festivities, make or buy treats formulated just for them. (Happy Howie’s is a great option…)

Enforce positive training with Happy Howie’s
Happy Howie’s dog treats are a great training tool to help keep your pet calm during the holidays, especially with busy traffic in and out of your home. With Thanksgiving less than a week away, we would recommend our Turkey Premium Meat Rolls. Our meat rolls are the trainer-preferred treats throughout the country—slice it, dice it, break it or freeze it! Order here and your dog can enjoy some turkey (or beef or lamb if you prefer) too!

For more holiday pet advice, visit:
https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/holidays.aspx
https://apdt.com/pet-owners/safety/holidays/

Dangers of Halloween Candy

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Dangers of Halloween Candy – Halloween can be a fun event for your family and pets. It’s a time to dress your children, pets, and even yourself up in creative costumes! With all the commotion of trick-or-treating and indulging in our favorite candy, it is important we take the time to make sure our pets are safe.

We all know pets have just as big of a sweet tooth as their owners but be sure your pets avoid consuming Halloween candy this October. Avoid the dangers of giving your pets gum, mints, baked goods, and chocolate containing the “sugar-free” sweetener xylitol which is potentially very poisonous.

It is important that we try healthier alternatives for dog treats such a Happy Howies! Our all natural dog treats do not contain any corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, artificial colors or artificial preservatives. Eating healthy natural treats can help promote nutritional boost, reduce excessive weight gain and can help prevent disease and illness after consuming over a lifetime!

Fall Pet Health Tips

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Photo source via pinterest

Fall is near—literally, this weekend! Let us help keep your dogs healthy and happy this season with some Fall health tips from Pet Health Network:

Watch out for those nasty ticks
Just because Fall brings colder weather, this does not mean those lurking ticks will not be near. According to the University of Rhode Island, many species of ticks are active even into the winter, and can survive the first frost— which is why it is so important to look out for ticks. Here is some great tips to help keep them away:

  • Eliminate their favorite environment, such as: leaf and garden litter (these help them survive during the winter months)
  • Frequently check your dog’s fur for ticks
  • Use tick control and other repellent products, especially if you are outdoors often
  • Consult with your veterinarian about regular annual screening for tick-borne infections

Keep your Pet away from rat poisons and other rodenticides
Rodents always seem to find their way into our homes during the colder months, which is why many set up rat poison-type traps. Please be sure to keep the pets away from these poisonous products. Many on-the-market products can be very hazardous to our animals, even deadly. Try using live traps instead poison products. If you see a tail dangling in your pet’s mouth make sure you tell them to drop it, remove the rodent & keep an eye on them. If you think your pet has accidently ingested a rodent, please consult with a veterinarian immediately.

Feed your pet the right foods
Since its starting to get cold, pets need more energy to help them stay warm. You might need to increase your pet’s food intake—food generates body heat. Before you increase your pet’s food intake get an approval from your veterinarian. Perhaps a serving of Happy Howie’s treats will help give them the energy they may lack!

Beware of the antifreeze toxicity
Some people tend to use the Fall season as an opportunity to winterize their vehicles, which often involves regularly changing their antifreeze. This can potentially be deadly for your pets—one to two teaspoons of antifreeze can kill a 10-pound dog! Antifreeze contains a substance called ethylene glycol; Ethylene has a sickly-sweet smell that entices pets to lick it up. It is important to clean up spills immediately before your pet gets a hold of it.

Stay away from chocolates and hearty foods
The holiday season is approaching fast! We tend to indulge in hearty foods and sweets during this time, and it is important to make sure your pet eats none of it. Hearty foods and sweets can cause dogs to become very sick. Eating rich, high-fat foods can cause major stomach problems such as diarrhea, gastroenteritis even more serious conditions like pancreatitis. This is very important with Halloween coming up next month—keep chocolate away from your pets!

For more Fall Health Tips, click here

Check back with us soon for more of Howie’s Howl!

Dog Nutrition Tips

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In honor of today being National Dog Day, we want to share some nutritional tips to help keep your dog healthy thanks to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

It is very important that dogs maintain Read more

How To Tell If Your Pet Is Happy

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These happy, smiling dogs and more can be found on Pinterest.

Anyone can think that his or her dog is happy, but how can you tell? Sure you can do the best you can to ensure your pup is satisfied, but unless your dog has learned how to talk (and no we aren’t referring to being trained to “speak”), how can you know for sure?

Thanks to iheartdogs.com, we are happy to share a couple signs that indicate your dog is truly happy:

Relaxed Eyes

Often times we hear that the eyes are the window to the sole. The same goes for animals! According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), dogs eyes form different shapes during different times of the day, or when doing activities. When paying attention to its shape, Read more

The Importance of Pet/Treat Safety

The New York Times recently published an article in “The Haggler” section that discussed the nearly disastrous consequences pet-parent, Muriel Mateer, had to endure after giving her dog a bone—a real pork femur in fact:

“…A few hours later, Ms. Mateer’s 6-year-old pit bull, Bear, started to display some gruesome signs of gastrointestinal distress. She took him to a veterinarian near her home in Upland, Calif. Given antibiotics and hooked to an IV drip, Bear passed most of the bone shards that had been causing the trouble over the course of many stressful hours.

“He’s recuperating now,” Ms. Mateer said. “We almost lost him.”

bone_v1Ladies and gentlemen, the Haggler presents America’s most hated dog bone. The Better Business Bureau has been warning consumers about the Real Ham Bone for five years. There have been local news stories about it (“Bad to the bone?” asked a Fox affiliate in Milwaukee), and it has inspired a number of anti-Real Ham Bone Facebook pages. In May, a class-action lawsuit was filed in California against Dynamic Pet Products, with a lead plaintiff who says her basset hound died after ingesting a Real Ham Bone…” (Segal 2015)

Here at Happy Howie’s, we pride ourselves with products that are all natural, healthy & safe for dogs to enjoy. It is important to us that your dog is kept safe while enjoying treats. We urge all pet-parents to strongly consider every factor that goes into a treat purchase, and keep in mind the treats that are soft, chewy and/or easily breakable!

To read the entire article click here.

Segal, David. “The Treat That Could Bite Your Dog Back.” The Haggler. The New York Times, 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/your-money/the-treat-that-could-bite-your-dog-back.html?_r=1