Dog Weight Gain and the Holidays

Dog care this holiday season to avoid overweight

Feasting and food are everywhere during the holidays. Snacks for the on-the-go, the kitchen abuzz with commotion and delicious smells, and even family and friends who may not be aware of house rules (or simply ignore them) can leave your dog licking their lips and eager for that tidbit of food to drop.

The bad thing is that, with all the food and excitement, your dog can end up putting on a few extra pounds too. And while they might beg and whine for a taste of what you (or one of your guests) are eating, it’s important to be careful of what your dog eats during the holiday season.

Three (3) Effective Ways to Keep Your Dog from Gaining Weight During the Holidays

 1. Keep the food rules enforced

Now consider the fact that the holiday season brings friends and family together. Who is allowed to feed them? Be sure that your guests are aware of your dog’s food rules and inform them of the dangers that come with not following the said rules. For example, not everyone is familiar with dogs. They are not aware that there are certain human foods that dogs should never eat. Grapes, chocolate, and onions are a few of them.

There are numerous stories about people treating their neighbor’s dog to a chocolate chip cookie, so the best precaution to take is to simply prohibit anyone else from treating your dog to anything. Be especially careful with young children, since they tend to be easily persuaded by “puppy-dog eyes.”

Most other human food is consumable to a certain degree. The question is: Are they good for your dog? Fried and fatty foods in general should be avoided as treats. Fatty foods are extremely hard on their livers and store very quickly as excess weight. If you must or feel obligated to treat your pup to some holiday specials, fresh vegetables such as carrots or some fruit slices would be a healthy treat to indulge them. Only give your dog something that you have prepared, especially if your dog has allergies.

2. Don’t oversize your dog’s portions and go easy on treats

One of the other issues with the holiday season is that some owners may become a little “generous” with their dog’s food portions. Perhaps they believe that an extra scoop will help keep their dog’s belly satisfied and keep them from wanting to vacuum the carpet under the dining room table. But the truth is that most dogs will always want what you’re eating. It’s best to keep their food portions the same, and rely on a healthy treat as a substitute for an overfilled bowl.

But you should still be careful with your treat delivery. Dog treats are just what their name implies – treats. In excess, they aren’t good for your pup, and are only meant to help train or used as a reward for a special situation. You don’t have to indulge your dogs with treats to help them have a good time.

3. Keep them active

Because the holiday season is a busy one, an unforeseen issue with weight gain is that dogs aren’t getting the exercise they need to keep them fit. Their food portions may have stayed the same, but now they’re not getting the chance to use up what they put in.

So, what are a few ways to keep your dog active during the holidays? You could start by taking them on walks of all types. If you have to go to the mail, take your dog with you. Does your puppy have a playmate you could arrange regular play-dates with? When it comes down to it, it is the responsibility of every pet owner to make sure their dog has the opportunity to get the exercise they need. Take a walk in the evening or even while your turkey is roasting in the oven. Time is there, as long as you’re willing to look for it.

This holiday season brings about much festivity, and your pup is definitely going to want to hang around to catch a few crumbs that fall off the dinner table. As your dog’s owner and protector, you’re responsible for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dogs don’t have to put on a couple of pounds to prove they had fun during the holiday festivities. As long as you take a few precautions and keep them active, your dog will have fun this holiday season.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Shiny Balls and a Tree

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

It’s another one of those days. Yep. I’ve got a whole house full of empty. It’s been like this lately. The old man takes off early in the morning. The hat and coat go on, the keys jingle, then he pats me on the head and tells me to be a good boy.

This might be totally frustrating were it not for the fact that he always comes home with something new. The other day it was a sweater that smelled like fifteen different people. I knew at once that it wasn’t a toy because it came out of the bag and dropped right into a box and was sealed up with paper. Then just yesterday, he brought home a toy. But this one wasn’t for me I was told. It too went into a box and was wrapped up in paper.

As of today, there’s a whole lot of new things around, but none of them are for me. It gets a little depressing, especially since I get the feeling that I’m being forgotten. And the more I dwell on it, the more depressed I get. All alone in this big house with new toys that I can’t play with. Sure, I stop to sniff them through the slightly open hallway closet, but it’s just not the same as the attention that I’m missing out on.

Up and out to take care of potty business, the only thing I can be sure of is that my now warm couch pillow will be cold when I get back to it. Maybe after I get done, I’ll catch a snooze in the dining room window where the afternoon sun keeps the carpet warm.

The air has definitely gotten colder out here, and even though the old man got rid of most of the leaves, many continue to drop from the trees. Some pile up, while others twist and ride the cold wind, accumulating on the fence, which is where I spot Buck, peeking his snout through.

“Hey, Rocky.” Buck barked. “What you doing?”

“Just taking care of the business.” I woofed back and told him I couldn’t go with him watching. He politely took interest in the sky for the few necessary moments.

“Past few days have been boring. Christy brought home some really cool things, but I couldn’t play with them. One was this awesome smelling pair of boots that definitely could use some chewing.” Buck told the sky. “Lots of cool stuff, but none for me.”

“Same here. You think they’re planning something?” I asked, now suspicious of our companions plotting some strange plan. “Maybe they’re going to get some new dogs?”

“No way!” Buck howled. “One of me is enough.”

“True.” I stated, though still suspicious of our companions’ behavior.

“Maybe they’re just saving up a whole lot of treats to give us at the same time.” Buck said with an inspired look in his eyes. Then the expression evaded his grasp when he discovered that his tail was wagging. He seems like such a confused dog sometimes.

“Well it’s too cold for me out here, so I’m gonna head back inside.” I told Buck. “Be careful with the tail this time.”

“Oh, I’m…gonna get…that rascally thing…don’t…you worry.” Buck said between his “challenge” cries.

Back inside, the house seemed much warmer than when I had left it. Of course, being outside in the cold air will make anything inside seem like a better comfort solution. And the spot where the afternoon sun had been shining through the window was so nice and warm. I laid down and turned belly-up.

That’s when the door swung open and the old man peeked around it. He stared. I stared. My tail wagged.

Then came the tree. One of our neighbors, whose name I can never seem to remember, brought the tree…inside. It wasn’t our usual one. This one smelled real. And guess where it went. Right in my sunny spot. This upset me at first, but after the neighbor had left, the decorating started. Bulbs and lights came out of boxes and went on the tree. I played with one of the shiny balls, but the old man took it and put it back in the box. Then he gave me a different one. Still shiny, it smelled completely different than the last. This one was apparently “okay” for me to chase and play around with in the room.

While I was busy trying to get the ball, the old man continued to hang different things on the tree. I was getting frustrated with mine. Due to the old man’s apparent “thumbs” on his paws, he was able to grab onto these balls without using his mouth. Of course, he doesn’t get to really dig into his food and enjoy it the way I get to. He always has to use his paws to put food in his mouth. He’s so silly sometimes.

But, this does seem to present a problem in this particular situation. I chased the ball into the corner, and that’s when I was able to get a good grip on it. I brought it back to the old man and showed him.

“Good boy!” he said, which was always good to hear. I nodded proudly.

Then he picked me up and told me to put it in the tree. Seriously? After all that work? Oh well, like companion, like dog. I reached out and released the ball into the tree. It dropped down a branch, but was caught by another and stayed. Then the old man indulged me as he rubbed my neck and we stepped back to enjoy the new scenery.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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Protecting Your Dog’s Paws from Snow

Proper dog care when playing out in the snow

Cold snow stings. Anyone that’s ever been hit by a snowball will testify to that. And while we humans bundle up and put on a tough pair of boots to go out and enjoy building a snowman in the front yard, our dogs do not always have something to protect their paws and keep their body warm.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to dogs and snowy environment. One of them is that snow is not as soft as you think it is. Snow is basically crystallized water. So, taking your dog out for a potty (or to enjoy the snowy atmosphere) on a snowy day is tantamount to rubbing a piece of icy cold crystal against your dog’s paws.

Despite their tough appearance, dog paws are actually quite sensitive. Snow can irritate a dog’s paws, or cause laceration on paws over time. Small amounts of exposure aren’t enough to really hurt them or rub a paw raw. However, long periods of time spent walking or running on snow can cause your dog’s paws to chafe, freeze, and/or unnecessary pain.

How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws from the Snow This Winter  

1. You should start with the basics. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed. Nails are more fragile in a cold-wet environment and can crack or break during playtime. Also, keep the fur trimmed between your dog’s paws. This particular spot tends to accumulate snow and debris, which can become uncomfortable or irritating for your dog’s paws.

2. For more extreme conditions, it is wise to keep their feet covered. Booties are nice; if your dog doesn’t mind wearing them. Just be sure that they’re waterproof, or they won’t provide any benefit. In heavy snow situations, dog boots are probably your best solution. These cover your dog’s paws, as well as, keep them warm and protected. Dog boots can be quite expensive.

3. Perhaps one of the most interesting methods for paw protection is applying a layer of petroleum jelly or balm on your dog’s paw pads just before you go out. The layer will help protect against chafing. Don’t put too much, though, for it can make the paws less hard-wearing and more susceptible to cuts from debris. One thin layer is sufficient.

There are paw-waxes specifically designed for this application (though their contents are similar to petroleum jelly), and can be found at most popular pet stores. This method helps protect their feet and soothe their paws.

4. After a walk or an outdoor snow activity, take the time to wash your dog’s paws with warm (not hot) water to remove all debris and help improve circulation to their toes. This will also help clean away any protecting balms that you don’t want your dog licking on (or tracking through the house).

Remember that there is more than just snow out there. Unfortunately, common snow-treatments can become irritants for your dog’s paws. Rock salt is used to keep sidewalks from icing up or to prevent thick layers of snow from accumulating. Rock salt is very abrasive, and can quickly chafe your dog’s paws, even if you don’t notice it.

Most dogs will not have sores or lacerations, but may still suffer from irritated paws that will be bright pink or red. Your canine pal will limp or avoid walking due to the discomfort that he is feeling.  He may begin licking his paws excessively to soothe the pain. But, keep in mind that excessive licking will actually make the irritation worse, so you’ll want to divert him from doing so or apply some moisturizers to the affected paws. If there are cuts or sores, be sure to treat them immediately. Wash them thoroughly and apply antiseptic or antibiotic ointments. It is then best that they stay out of the snow for at least a couple of days.

With the winter season nearing, we’re bound to see a few snow flurries that will turn the front yard into a playground for us and our dogs. As long as you take a few precautions and help protect your pup’s paws, enjoying the seasonal snowfall will be a fun experience your dog will never forget.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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