Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Smores, crispy cereal treats, and marshmallows are a year-round staple, from summer camping trips to Halloween treats in the fall, from ski trips in the winter to a colorful snack in spring. There’s nothing better than bringing your four-legged friends with you to the outdoors or sneaking samples when cooking. And that’s where smart food prep comes in handy, as your dog will likely steal a few snacks when opportunity strikes.

Marshmallows are not safe for dogs because they have no nutritional value and may contain xylitol, which can lead to hypoglycemia in dogs. While xylitol is considered harmless to people, it is considered toxic to dogs. When combined with chocolate — which is also unsafe for dogs — s’mores are risky for four-legged friends. But that does not mean you have to give up your summer snacking fun.

Interesting fact: According to the ASPCA, xylitol is toxic to dogs but may be safe for cats.

A dog without diabetes or hypoglycemia sneaking a lick or grabbing a fallen marshmallow likely won’t hurt it. Still, you can do things to make it safer, especially if your senior pup or diabetic dog is a known snack thief.

Alternatives to Marshmallows for Dogs

The first and easiest solution is to read the ingredients on the marshmallows and check for xylitol, also known as wood sugar, birch sugar, and birch bark extract. If you’re struggling with the big brands, look for vegan options or ones made with stevia, which is safer for dogs.  

The next, more advanced alternative is to make your own marshmallows. It’s easier than you think and you’ll find recipes that take less than 30 minutes. It’s a perfect couples’ date night activity, fun to do with your kids or to film a social media video with your furry friend to help them rise to fame. When you control the ingredients, you can control the health levels for fido!

Your pupper will always want to participate in the fun, especially when it involves food. Once you’re ready to enjoy your snacks, have some dog-friendly ones prepared for them. You could put peanut butter on apples, which are safe for dogs to consume in summer. Unsalted popcorn while watching movies can be a fun bonding experience for movie-loving dogs in the winter. Fall is the perfect time for some yogurt with blueberries or pumpkin, and substitute carrots and strawberries for spring.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Marshmallows

There’s no stopping a determined dog from getting their treat, and chances are a single marshmallow won’t hurt a dog that is healthy. Xylitol in higher amounts attacks the liver and causes hypoglycemia in lower amounts. So, the first thing to do is to look at the signs of liver and diabetic issues.

According to the NIH, liver and diabetic issues may include:

Altered mentation and behavior Seizures Syncope Muscle twitching/fasciculations Somnolence Exercise intolerance Muscle tremors Collapse Ataxia (a lack of muscle coordination) Weakness Impaired vision

Other sites like PetMD mention a lack of appetite and vomiting as well.

If you are concerned and see any of these symptoms, the most important thing you can do is call your vet immediately. They will know your dog’s health history and risk potential and be able to tell you what to do.

If you’re going to enjoy marshmallows, keep them out of reach from your dog, as marshmallows are considered toxic to dogs. If your dog always manages to sneak a snack, use dog-friendly marshmallows you make on your own, or choose brands without xylitol.

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, there may be some breeds of dogs that are less triggering for your allergies than others due to their low shedding coats, which is essential to know if you need a service dog or a psychiatric service dog

In recent years, the term “hypoallergenic” has been used to describe certain types of dogs. Considering that 10-20% of the population is allergic to dogs, it’s no surprise that this label has gained popularity. However, if you have been pinning all your hopes on finding a hypoallergenic service dog as the perfect solution, it’s important to understand the science behind the hype.

While some individual dogs may indeed elicit fewer allergy symptoms than others, studies suggest that no specific breed (or mix of breeds) is truly hypoallergenic.

One revealing study found no significant differences in the levels of the primary dog allergen in homes with dogs labeled as hypoallergenic compared with those that weren’t. The authors noted the need for more research to confirm these findings, but the results certainly challenge the common myth about hypoallergenic breeds.

Five Service Dog Breeds That Are Better for Allergies

Some popular purebred dogs are frequently referred to as “hypoallergenic” because of their low-shedding attributes. These are 5 of the most popular service dog breeds for allergy sufferers:

1. Poodle

Poodles are often celebrated for their hypoallergenic coats, which shed minimally and produce less dander. Their intelligence and trainability make them exceptional service dogs. Due to their adaptability and quick learning abilities, poodles excel in various roles.

2. Labradoodle

Labradoodles are a crossbreed between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. They inherit the hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle while maintaining the Labrador’s friendly and loyal nature. This combination makes Labradoodles ideal for service work and mental health support. 

3. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their curly, water-resistant coats, which are less likely to trigger allergies. Their high energy levels and loyalty make them excellent service dogs, particularly for individuals needing assistance with physical tasks or those who enjoy an active lifestyle.

4. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers have a wiry, hypoallergenic coat that sheds minimally. Their alertness, trainability, and affectionate nature make them great candidates for service roles, especially in environments where a smaller dog is preferable.

5. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are small, hypoallergenic dogs with a cheerful disposition. Their gentle and sociable nature makes them excellent psychiatric service dogs, while their adaptability allows them to perform various service tasks effectively.

These breeds are often considered for service roles due to their intelligence, trainability, and temperament. However, it’s crucial to remember that there are no guarantees they will result in fewer allergy symptoms in all individuals. There may be less hair, but you can’t avoid their dander and saliva!

If you can, try spending as much time as possible around one of these dog breeds to see how severely your allergies are triggered by them. Each individual will respond differently to each dog, so it’s important to get firsthand experience. 

Managing Dog Allergy Symptoms 

For some allergy sufferers, their reaction to dog allergens is too severe to consider having a dog. For others, their need for a service dog can become a reality with careful management of allergies. Some minor sniffles and irritation can be significantly outweighed by the health necessities of a service dog. 

Here are some tips for mitigating dog allergies:

1. Building Tolerance

Some dog owners claim they have built up a tolerance to allergens. Allergen immunotherapy shots may be an option for building up true tolerance. Ask your doctor or allergy specialist about whether treatment is right for you. 

2. Housekeeping Habits

Good housekeeping habits can also help keep allergies at bay. Keep your service dog out of your bedroom if that is possible. That is, of course, difficult for many service dog owners who need their dog by their side 24-7. 

Use a HEPA air filter and vacuum regularly, and consider wearing an N95 or other filtering mask while doing so. Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a certified asthma and allergy-friendly filter.

3. Consider Carpet 

Hardwood floors are a popular option in homes these days, and one study found that homes with carpets had higher levels of dog allergens than those with hardwood floors. If you prefer to keep carpets in your home, consider opting for low-pile carpets and steam cleaning and vacuuming them regularly.

4. Regular Grooming

Some people opt to bathe their service dogs more frequently. However, this might not significantly reduce symptoms, and over-bathing could strip the dog’s coat of valuable oils. Ask your veterinarian how frequently you can bathe your dog without harming its coat and skin health. 

Finding the Best Service Dog For Your Allergies 

While no dog breed is entirely hypoallergenic, certain breeds are less likely to trigger allergic reactions due to their coat characteristics, shedding patterns, and ability to trap dander. Understanding the science behind dog allergies and hypoallergenic traits can help individuals make informed decisions when selecting a service dog. 

Combining the right breed choice with effective allergy management strategies can significantly enhance the quality of life for those who need service dogs but suffer from allergies.

Yes! Dogs can safely enjoy tomatoes, but there are a few risks to be aware of so you can feed your dog responsibly.

Fully ripe tomatoes (without the stems and leaves) can actually have nutrients that are good for your pup. Tomatoes have chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that can have anti-inflammatory effects in cells. They’re also a good source of fiber, aiding in digestive health and weight management. Lycopene, another potent antioxidant in tomatoes, has been linked to reduced risk of certain diseases

Tomatoes also provide vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamins A, B9 (folic acid), C, K1, iron, and phosphorus.

It’s best to feed your dog fresh, ripe, red tomatoes, free of any green parts. They should be washed and cut into manageable pieces to avoid choking hazards. You can also make tomato-based treats at home, like blending ripe tomatoes into a puree and freezing them in an ice cube tray for a refreshing summer snack.

Tomato Toxicity for Dogs 

You should only feed your dog the red parts of a tomato. That’s because of the risk of tomatine poisoning, which occurs when a dog ingests significant quantities of tomatine, a glycoalkaloid found in the green parts of the tomato plant, such as the leaves and stems, and in unripe (green) tomatoes. 

Tomatine acts as a natural defense mechanism for the tomato plant, deterring pests and insects from eating it. While the ripe fruit of the tomato contains only trace amounts of tomatine and is generally considered safe for dogs in moderate amounts, the green parts contain higher levels and can pose a risk if ingested.

Symptoms of tomatine poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the amount ingested and the size of the dog but may include gastrointestinal distress (such as vomiting and diarrhea), loss of appetite, hypersalivation, drowsiness, confusion, behavioral changes, weakness, dilated pupils, and abnormal heart rate. In severe cases, tomatine poisoning can be life-threatening.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a harmful amount of the green parts of a tomato plant and is showing symptoms of tomatine poisoning, contact a veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Dogs can eat the red parts of the tomatoes in small quantities. Tomato-Based Products for Dogs

Many tomato-based products, such as ketchup, tomato sauce, and certain pasta sauces, are not recommended for dogs due to their non-tomato ingredients. These products often contain additives and condiments that can harm dogs, even in small amounts.

Here are some ingredients to watch out for in tomato products:

Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup – Excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes in dogs. Salt – While dogs need some sodium in their diet, too much salt can lead to dehydration, sodium ion poisoning, and other health issues. Onions and Garlic – Both onions and garlic belong to the Allium family and are toxic to dogs. They can cause gastrointestinal upset and, more seriously, can lead to hemolytic anemia, damaging a dog’s red blood cells. Spices and Herbs – Certain spices commonly found in tomato-based products, like chili powder or Italian seasoning, can lead to gastrointestinal distress and hypertension

By choosing plain tomatoes or making homemade, dog-safe tomato treats, you can ensure that your furry friend enjoys the nutritional benefits of tomatoes without the dangers associated with processed foods. 

As always, moderation is key when introducing new food to your dog’s diet. Consult with a veterinarian, who can provide tailored advice to meet your dog’s specific dietary needs, ensuring they remain happy and healthy.