Things to Consider when Coloring your Pet

I’m sure you’ve heard of clothing for pets but here in the pet fashion world they have step up individuality Chanella bunch by introducing pet dye. Personally I love that there is an option to spice up my dogs coat. But there are some pro and cons with dyeing your pet, you first must make sure that it is pet safe dye that you are using. Some people think that dying your pet is awesome and some people think its cruel, the most important thing to remember is the safety of your pet if you decide to add some color.

Some of the pros for pet dye are:

  • freaking awesome looking hair
  • life of the party
  • complements from strangers
  • ability to express your pets personality
  • match your outfits with your dog

Some of the cons for pet dye is that it can cause:

  • Rashes
  • Skin irritation
  • Skin burns
  • Unsafe chemicals that pets can possible ingest

 

There are multiple ways to dye your pet some more permanent than other s. Most commondipper way is to use Manic Panic or Kool- Aid, I’ve used dog friendly blow pens, chalk, Manic Panic, and gel. While personally I prefer the blow pens since they only last about a week or so, Manic Panic is more permanent choice which usually lasts about 2 weeks. My boys are used for events for my work all the time, Dipper my Boston Terrier loves being dyed and will strut his stuff for anyone watching as long as he has a little more color in his coat.

dye

The awesome thing about blow pens is the possibility to use stencils and create customs designs. The grooming industry has boomed with the idea of fur dyeing and making dogs look exotic.

photo 1 (7)Nowadays you’ll see dogs looking like tigers, pandas, people chose certain themes just like we put a bunch of hearts on my co-workers dog.

 

While adding a splash of color might be super fun please remember to dye responsibly.

 

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Homemade Dog Treats

photo 5 (5)I like to think that I’m a pretty experienced baker but have never tried making treats for my dogs. I found a couple of good, healthy, and potentially grain free recipes to try out.  So for this trial round I’m going to try a peanut butter sweet potato treat that makes roughly 2 dozen cookies.

Peanut butter sweet POTATO

With this recipe takes about 30-40 minutes to cook and about a 10 min prep time.  The ingredients you are going to need are:

photo 1 (5)3 sweet potatoes (you can use canned if you don’t want to bake some potatoes)

2 eggs

1 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten free flour

1/2-2/3 cups of peanut butterphoto 2 (6)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then while your oven is preheating take your sweet potatoes and with a fork poke a bunch of holes in them. I microwaved mine for about 1 1/2 mins (basically you want to microwave them till they are soft). While the potatoes are in the microwave, grab a small- medium mixing bowl throw in your flour, eggs, and peanut butter.

Once the potatoes are done, I decided to cut mine in half and scooped out the insides just to make it easier on myself. Then mix in into the bowl with all your other ingredients. Now its time to combine! I just used my hand but if you don’t want to get dirty then you can use a stand mixer, hand mixer, spoon, whisk, etc. photo 3 (4)

Put the dough on to a heavily floured surface and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Then using any cookie cutter shape, cut out the dough and place onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 30-35 minute and out on a cooling rack. The cookies will come out soft but they do harden as they cool. Please note these cookies will not be your traditional hard cookies, they come out softer.

My boys loved these treats! Plus they were super easy to make. Definitely a great recipe to try if it’s your first time trying your hand at making dog cookies.
photo 4 (5)

Good? Bad? Understanding ingredients in pet food


We here at Fit N Furry are really concerned with what is going into pet food these days. I know we’ve all heard that wheat gluten is bad for your dogs but there are many more ingredients you might want to avoid.

Additives and fillers

Additives are substances added to something in small quantities, typically to improve or preserve it. And fillers are ingredients added to provide dietary fiber, bulk or some other non-nutritive purpose. One ingredient you might not think is bad would be sugar, also known as sucrose, cane sugar, caramel, and corn syrup. Sugars or sweeteners aren’t necessarily a dangerous item to have in food but if not carefully monitored if can cause a multitude of health

The most recent one that has gain the most popularity is Gluten. Whether it be wheat gluten, corn gluten, or soy gluten neither of them are good. Mainly used as a filler or binder in your pets’ food, it really doesn’t serve any nutritional value. Gluten allergies are becoming increasingly more common to find and gluten should be avoided in order to prevent your pet from becoming sick.

Preservatives

 Preservatives are a substance used to preserve food, wood, or other materials against decay. 

Preservatives are a little scarier to find in your pets food. BHA is most the most common preservative to find and is actually banned from human use but is still permitted in the U.S.  Another commonly used preservative is Ethoxyquin, originally created as a stabilizer for rubber it is also used as pesticide for fruit and a color preservative for spices. Fortunately right now there are studies being done to prove whether or not it is safe for consumption but until they complete those studies we recommend avoiding both BHA and Ethoxyquin.

Artificial colorings and dyes

Coloring and dyes are any dye, pigment or substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink. Do you ever wonder why some of your pets’ food is different colors than the other pieces? Most of us would think that it’s the organic ingredients that make up the color, while the truth is it’s artificial colors and dyes. Artificial colors, which are safe for human consumption, are not for your pets. Colors like Yellow 6 and Red 40 are commonly found and are linked to  multitude of problems.


Meat meals and By-Products

Meat Meals by-products are what’s left of a slaughtered animal after the edible parts have been removed. They include the meat not intended for human consumption. The unfortunate thing with Meat meal is that any kind of animal in any condition can be mixed in, including disabled, diseased, or dying prior to slaughter. The type of animal can vary from horse to goat to rats and can also have pus, rotting tissue, and possibly cancerous tissue. By-Products can contain basically anything from an animal that means parts like bones, heads, feet, etc. 

We here at Fit N Furry hope that understanding the ingredients that make up your pets food will help the decision buying process easier.


Chewing, Bite Inhibition, and Play-Biting

We have a guest blog post from one of our trainers, Devan Amundsen, who is writing about life with his new puppy! Check out ‘The Pup Blog!’

Well Wade is out cold! He naps so much, it’s almost easy to forget he’s in my life now!

But, when he isn’t napping, he’s biting.

He chews on absolutely everything.

So how do you manage it?

Obviously, it’s an extremely normal puppy behavior. Their teeth are growing, their gums hurt, and chewing is a fantastic way to pass the time!

Great. Just don’t chew on my shoes… Or the carpet… Spit out that rock! DON’T EAT THAT!!

Photo 2013-05-30 12.22.35 PMSo far, I’ve coated all power chords he can get to with some bitter “yuck” spray. It tastes incredibly bitter, and Wade hates it. You can even just use white vinegar diluted with water.

This stuff works great. Every time I catch him chewing on something that I can’t move out of his reach, I just spray some of this on there.

Corners of rugs, edges of furniture, power cords, baseboards, everything and anything my pup can chew on that I don’t want him to has a small amount of this on there.

So far, it’s working really well. He learned immediately that power cords taste disgusting, and why would he want to chew on something disgusting?t

But it’s mean and non-sensical to just walk around and tell him what he can’t chew on.

That’s where this little group of indispensable items comes in handy.

Photo 2013-05-30 12.22.27 PMI’ve been using these constantly with Wade.

Every time I catch him chewing on something, I take it away from him, say “no,” (Calmly and neutrally,) and hand him one of these things to occupy his time.

He immediately forgets all about what he was doing, and happily gnaws away at something good for him!

The rope is great for his teeth, massaging his gums and providing something soft, but firm to chew on.

The bully sticks are STINKY! They smell awful! But he loves them. C’est la vie. My only warning with these is not to leave him unattended for too long with one. Wade did chew on one for basically a whole day, and it turned into a soggy mess that he ended up half-swallowing. Thankfully, I was there to take it from him.

That’s another thing. Take things from your puppy. A lot. Take it, praise him, maybe give him a treat, and then give it back. That way, your puppy knows, “Whenever someone takes something from me, it’s okay! I get a treat and I get it back eventually anyway!”  Possessive issues solved.

I almost forgot about my favorite toy of all… The Kong. Wade absolutely loves his Kong. I have two, and I have one stuffed at all times. I stuff it almost entirely with food, but layer it with Kong stuffing so it stays interesting and challenging all the way through. Wade LOVES IT! He gets all of his meals through a Kong or hand-fed to him.

I almost forgot… Play-biting.

Photo 2013-05-30 01.55.59 PM

This picture was probably counter-productive, because it took 2 straight minutes of him biting my hands before I could get an acceptable picture… But he looks VICIOUS!

Wade is being such a little butt-head about biting! He likes to nip at fingers, clothes, and even faces when he’s playing! AHHH!!

This is normal puppy behavior as well, and as much as I’d like to teach him never to bite anyone ever, it’s too early for that.

Why?

Let’s say you taught your puppy to never bite anyone ever. Extremely reasonable, and your puppy should be doing that soon.

But not yet.

First, we need to teach him bite inhibition. Teach him that his mouth is a tool he can use sometimes, especially when playing with other dogs, but that he needs to be GENTLE! We’re teaching a “soft-mouth.” That way, one day when a small child scares the heck outta your dog by running up and jumping on him, the dog won’t turn around and bite with all of the immense power possible.

Basically, bite inhibition keeps a dog from doing actual damage if there was ever a need to use his/her mouth.

Teaching bite inhibition:

  1. Play with your pup. Be rough.
  2. When the pup uses any bite force whatsoever, yelp and pull your hand away.
  3. If your pup bites you three times in a row, stop the play session immediately, but calmly. Call him/her a bully, and walk away.
  4. Your puppy is going to be like, “What!? I was playing with thaaaaat!”
  5. When you come back into the room, make your pup sit calmly before initiating another play session.

It’s that easy.

Once your pup has a nice soft mouth, (about the time he gets his grown-up teeth,) We can teach him that with these new grown-up teeth, he is not allowed to bite. Ever.

Teaching Not to Bite:

  1. Any time your pup puts teeth on you, yelp, and walk away.

That’s it. End of story. Biting is restricted exclusively to toys… And maybe other dogs…

A fantastic way to reinforce bite lessons is to just let your puppy play with other puppies! There’s options everywhere, just search around. What you’re looking for is for your puppy to get some experience playing with other puppies. Other puppies instinctively know what’s appropriate, and what isn’t.

Your puppy should be playing with other puppies as SOON AS POSSIBLE!

So there you have it. Your quick guide to chewing, bite inhibition, and play biting.

Something Fishy for Fido?

ImageThere are so many wonderful benefits from taking vitamins. It strengthens our joints, makes our hair soft and smooth, and gives us additional energy. So why wouldn’t we give it to little Fido or Fluffy?

Fish Oil in particular is really a one stop shop kind of a vitamin! Constant use of Fish Oil helps with certain allergies towards our doggies itchy, dry skin by making it nice and smooth, like Fluffy just walked right out of the Groomer!

Is absolutely wonderful for strengthening of the joints for dogs diagnosed with arthritis, and even kidney disease! It may also be somewhat preventative. Well known canine published author and veterinarian, Nancy Kay, mentions that “Studies have documented that dogs suffering from heart failure who were treated with fish oil along with other standard medications showed decreased vulnerability to development of heart rhythm abnormalities, weight loss, and heart muscle damage.”Image

Natural food stores or even online pet websites all sell Fish Oil. They typically come in pill or liquid form and can usually sneak it in to your pups breakfast or dinner.

Just like starting any new vitamin or diet, please consult your veterinarian to see if the benefits of fish oil would be safe for your pooch!

We’re All Smiles at Fit’n’Furry Pet Resort!

We all see the commercials. Those perfect, well groomed canine specimens lying on the white carpet calmly nibbling on their new treats mom or dad just bought at the local store. But wait! There’s more! These yummy treats help clean teeth and prevent tartar as well as fight gum disease! Hurry to your closest pet store to grab your bag today! But are these “dental sticks” and treats really all that they’re hyped up to be? Fit’n’Furry is on the case getting down to the “root” of the question: Are these products truly an effective way to keep your pet’s teeth clean?

First of all, to help prevent tooth and gum issues, make sure you are feeding Fido an appropriate diet of dry, crunchy kibble. Soft, wet food and people snacks gets stuck along the gum line much more easily. This contributes to plaque buildup which then leads to tartar that will devastate the gum line. According to dogdentalcare.net, once the gum line has been destroyed and/or diseased, the dog can lose teeth, ensuring the need for professional dental care. Bacteria from the diseased gums can also infect organs via the pet’s bloodstream.

If you’re able to, frequent brushing of Fido’s teeth is a great way to avoid dental (as well as internal) complications. Many grooming facilities offer teeth brushing with their services if you’re not able to at home. Natural bones and even Nylabones (make sure the product is toxin-free) are easy and entertaining ways to scrub and scrape away plaque but not as effective as brushing. When giving natural bones, be mindful that Fido doesn’t snap off a piece and swallow. Natural bones can also cause tooth fracture.

So, are those wonderfully marketed “dental treats” as effective as frequent teeth brushing? No. But they still benefit Fido’s dental health!  Fit’n’Furry found on pets.webmd.com that coating treats with a substance called polyphosphate reduces tartar by 55% (Some treats claim to reduce tartar buildup by 80%!). The coating prevents plaque from turning into tartar by isolating calcium on teeth. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is an organization that evaluates pet products to see if they meet standards for reducing plaque or tartar. Only purchase treats that have been approved by the VOHC and adhere to your pet’s breed and dietary needs. For a list, please visit: www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm .

The m-“oral” (Or perhaps, the “molar”) of the story is, don’t rely on dental treats alone for Fido’s teeth and gums’ well-being. Learn how to brush your pet’s teeth, take him to a groomer or visit a pet dentist regularly (just like we would make a dental appointment ourselves). But to keep up the good work in between appointments, these popular dental treats are delectable, amusing and are a great purchase. Don’t forget, good oral hygiene can add years to your pet’s life span!

Flea & Tick Prevention For Your Pets!

They may be small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but  we all know that fleas and ticks can be the cause of major problems for both dogs and their owners. In one day, a flea can attack you cat or dog by biting them more than 400 times, consuming more than its body weight of your pets blood. And before its finished, a female flea can lay hundreds of eggs on your unsuspecting furry friend, making him the unsuspecting host of many future flea generations! As a result, itching and scratching from flea bites can lead to skin irritations, open sores and even fur loss. And let’s not forget about ticks! Tick bites aren’t just irritating; they may cause allergic reactions as well as transmit disease such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. And ticks can give the same infections to you!

Here are a few tips to help prevent flea and tick infestations on your furry friends:

  • Keep dogs on a leash when walking or hiking;
  • Comb your pet with a flea comb regularly;
  • Vacuum often and dispose of bags immediately after use;
  • Mow areas of the lawn where your dog spends time;
  • Wash pet bedding weekly and bathe your pet with a pet shampoo recommended by your veterinarian;
  • If your dog spends time in wooded areas, hand-check for ticks often;
  • Mark your calendars for regular application of flea and tick treatments;
  • Also, flea and tick collars provide long-lasting protection against fleas and ticks with no mess and no fuss!

Natural Remedies for Flea and Tick Prevention:

  • Add a teaspoon of Grapefruit Seed Oil to your pets water once a week;
  • Brewer’s yeast is also a common natural remedy for dogs with fleas. Holistic veterinarian Richard Pitcairn recommends it for that purpose. It is thought to work against fleas because it contains sulfur compounds that make your dog less palatable to fleas;
  • Add no more than 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar into a large bowl of water. Or Make a spray of 50% ACV and 50% water and spray onto your dogs coat. Make sure to avoid their eyes!
  • And Red Cedar shavings and bedding help prevent fleas and ticks as well. The aroma of Cedar oil overwhelms the breathing system of fleas and ticks and causes them to die almost immediately!

Keep in mind that regular bathing and grooming is also key for a healthy pet!