Winter Care for Your Dog

winter-in-snowIt’s time to say goodbye to colorful fall and say hello to cold winter.  You’re probably planning on wearing a heavy coat, lighting the fireplace, and drinking lots of hot chocolate.  But what about your dog?  Special attention and care must be given to him so he can have a comfortable and warm winter.

Care for Outdoor Dogs

winter-doghouseIt’s very cold outside, and, if you own an outdoor dog or have a dog who mostly likes to be outdoors, this can be a big problem.  A doghouse is warm, but it’s not enough to keep your dog from freezing in low and negative temperatures.  If you’re expecting freezing temperatures and lots of snow, consider buying an outdoor heater to put in the doghouse or bring your dog inside.  Please remember that veterinary experts suggest that dogs not be left outside when it is 20 degrees outside, or 40 degrees for puppies, senior dogs, or those with little fur.  Also, even if you aren’t expecting a lot of snow, make sure your dog’s doghouse is only big enough for him to stand up and do a tight circle in to conserve the heat.  Put fresh straw in the doghouse and a very warm bed on top of it to keep your furry friend warm and cozy.

winter-chainedNEVER leave your dog chained or tied up outside!!  First of all, it’s dangerous to tie up your dog, no matter what the weather.  He could easily get tangled and strangle to death.  Also, if your dog gets tangled or wrapped around a tree, he will not be able to reach his water and will die of thirst.  You must also remember that dogs who are chained or tethered are three more times likely to bite someone as they feel scared and trapped.  It’s not good for your dog to be tied outside alone.  It is a detriment to his health, safety, and happiness.  Also, if you leave your dog tied up outside in the snow, he could get frostbite or die of overexposure.  Please do not risk your dog’s life.

With the cold weather, it’s easy for your dog’s water to turn into a block of ice.  Your dog cannot drink ice, and without water he will die of thirst.  However, you can fix the “icy” problem by buying a special heated dog dish that will keep your dog’s water from freezing outside.  Remember, your dog cannot drink ice.sissy after outside

With the cold weather here, don’t have your dog’s hair cut.  It is meant to keep him nice and warm, like a big coat.  If you have a Poodle, have your groomer give him a short trim to keep him comfortable and free of mats.  I grow out my hair for the winter, and I look like a little teddy bear.  My humans have to spend a lot of time brushing my long, curly hair to keep it from matting.

Swirling snowflakes, mounds of snow, and icicles hanging from the trees.  Snow is wonderfully fun, even for your four-legged friend! However, you must take precautions with your dog.  Here are a few snow tips:

  • Be careful when taking your dog for walks on the snow, as it could hurt his paws and causewinter-snow-trench them to bleed.  Also, if the snow has been chemically treated, make sure that your dog doesn’t eat it, and scrub his paws with warm water and soap after his walk to make sure he doesn’t lick off any of it.  If your dog’s paws get irritated by snow, doggy snow boots might be a good investment.
  • After your dog runs in the snow, thoroughly dry him with a towel, especially around his paws and belly where little snow balls cling.
  •  Never let your dog out of your sight when he is out of a fenced yard.  (If your dog does not come when called 100% of the time, he should never be in an open area without a leash.)  If he wanders off, even for a little way, he could easily become lost.  The snow ruins finding a scent for dogs, so they cannot smell their way home.winter-walk
  • If your dog gets cold, buy him a sweater to keep him warm (puppies and older dogs are especially sensitive to the cold).  I have a very stylish pyramid sweater made by Blueberry which you can buy for $12.99 on with Prime shipping, and it keeps me very warm when I start shivering.
  • Never leave your dog outside for a long time as he could get frostbite.
  • If you have a small dog or a puppy, never let him outside off leash when there are powerful winds.  He could get blown away!

If you have a large amount of snow, shovel away a small area of your yard for your dog to go potty in.  The bigger your dog, the larger the space will have to be.  If it’s extremely cold and snowy outside, you could use a pee pad or a lot of newspapers for your dog to go potty on.


A dog curled up beside a roaring fire – it’s picture perfect, isn’t it?  It is, however, very dangerous!  Among many other dangers, your dog could become curious of the pretty, colorful flames and try to touch it, or a spark could fly from the fire and set his beautiful coat aflame.  Continue to enjoy your fire, but put a little fence around it to keep your pets out.


Have a warm and fun winter with your dog!

Oral Care for Your Dog

teeth-smileThe care of your dog’s teeth is easy to overlook.  Humans don’t often study their dog’s teeth and try to stay as far away as possible from the smelly breath – yuck!  Have you ever wondered why your dog’s breath does smell, though?  If your dog has bad breath or visibly dirty teeth, it may be time to give them attention!

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

teeth-openI know it seems a little silly to brush your dog’s teeth, but you wouldn’t believe the benefits!  Fresher breath (your dog will always have an element of bad breath, but brushing can help reduce it; yours wouldn’t smell minty either if you ate dog food!) and less tartar buildup are the wonderful results of regular brushing.  If you open up your dog’s mouth, you may see little specks of brown, orange, and yellow on his teeth.  This is tartar, and too much of it can cause teeth to rot.  If you let the tartar build up, a veterinarian may have to professionally remove it, which can be expensive.  Save your dog the discomfort and you the money by investing in a dog toothbrush and special doggy toothpaste.

There are two different types of toothbrushes for dogs: the traditional toothbrush like the one humans use and the finger brush, which slides onto your finger, allowing you to put your finger into your dog’s mouth to brush.  Personally, I think that the finger brush is easier to work with, but if you can’t stand even the idea of putting your finger into your dog’s mouth, a normal toothbrush might be a better idea.

To make brushing your dog’s teeth a better experience, put a little doggy toothpaste on the toothbrush and let your dog lick it for his first brushing.  Do it again the next day, but try to get him to take it into his mouth.  After he is comfortable with that, rub it on his teeth once or twice and then let him lick it.  As the days go by, increase the amount of times you stroke his teeth with the brush until he is fine with you brushing them.  You probably don’t need to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but if you can manage it 2-3 times a month your dog’s teeth will feel and look a lot better.

A Reminder: Never use human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth.  There are some ingredients in it that could make your furry friend very sick.


rosie's big paws 12 wksBones can help reduce tartar, but they aren’t as powerful as brushing your dog’s teeth.  Provide your dog with large, made in the USA bones to help keep his teeth clean along with regular brushing.  You might even want to buy some chewy dental sticks for your dog to munch on.  For more about bones, read this article.

Rainy Day Exercises for Your Dog

rain-on-grassIt’s raining outside, and your dog is just about to drive you crazy with his energy.  You don’t want to put on a raincoat and boots and play a wet, muddy game of fetch or go for a walk, and your dog really needs something to do.  Don’t worry!  With these rainy day exercises, your dog will be tired and content long before the sun comes back out!

Indoor Fetch

chewing a toyIf you have enough space, you can always play indoor fetch.  Little dogs will especially get good exercise, as they have shorter legs and have to run farther.  Long hallways are always great to play fetch in, but you can just bounce a ball in the kitchen and watch your dog jump after it.

Stairs Exercise


If you have stairs, you and your dog can both get some great exercise by going up and down them!  If your dog needs motivation, have some small treats that you give to him every time he goes up and down the stairs with you.  Just make sure that you don’t let your dog come running at top speed down the stairs as he might lose his footing.

Hide and Seek

“I found you!”

Some dogs find hide and seek extremely boring, while others really enjoy it.  To play, let your dog watch you hide behind a chair so he can still see that you’re behind it.  If he doesn’t come up to you, call his name.  You can even encourage this game by giving him a little treat when he finds you.  Up the difficulty by hiding behind furniture where he can’t see you and, later on, cracked doors so your dog can use his paw or nose to find you.

Mind Games

dog-tilting-headA lot of the time, when your dog’s mind is tired, his body is tired, so games that challenge his mind are always good.  One mind game you can easily play with your dog is to take two cups, put them upside down on the floor, and put a treat under one of them.  Point to it and let your dog nose the cup over and get the reward.  Once your dog is good at that, you can make it even harder by sliding the cups to different places and letting your dog guess which one hides the treat.

How to Strengthen the Bond Between You and Your Dog

You know your dog loves you by that wagging tail and goofy grin or a loving stare with those soulful eyes.  Humans and dogs can develop bonds so strong that dogs are even willing to give up their lives to save their loved ones.  How strong is your bond with your dog?  Every person and his or her dog can use some bonding time, and here are some ways to do it!


rosie 15 wks retrievingYou can really tighten the bond between you and your dog just by playing with him.  Try to steer clear of any rough games, like tug-of-war or wrestling, as they encourage your dog to growl at you.  Here are some great bonding games:

  • Fetch
  • hide and seek (hide behind a couch, call your dog, and give him a treat when he finds you.  Let him watch you hide the first few times until he gets the hang of it)
  • Chase; encourage your dog to chase you around the yard.  However, don’t chase your dog!  This encourages him to run away from you, which could come back to bite you if he ever runs away.


MichalgolanTraining your dog every day is a great bond strengthener.  Try doing 5-10 minute long training sessions two or three times a day with your dog.  If you have even less time than that, just review the tricks your dog knows already.  You will see a change in his obedience and loyalty to you, and training your dog decreases boredom as it gives his mind something to think about.  Read the Tricks Page to get you and your dog stared on a training adventure!
Tip: Some good tricks for short training sessions are sit, down, and shake.

One-on-One Attention

How much one-on-one time does your dog get with you everyday?  Try to up it with regular cuddling and petting sessions.  You and your dog will both have a better bond and day because of it!

Grooming Your Dog

grooming-cuttingIt’s easy to overlook grooming your dog, especially if you have a short-coated breed.  When I talk about grooming, though, I don’t just mean brushing your dog’s fur.  There’s more to it than a brush and bath!  A simple at-home grooming session is what your dog needs to stay healthy and happy.


Professional grooming tools

The first thing you probably think of when you hear “grooming” is brushing your dog’s fur, right?  Different coats have different needs, some of them requiring professional care.  I, for instance, being a Poodle, have to go get my hair cut every 6-8 weeks.  If it isn’t cut, hair starts falling over my eyes!  Besides professional grooming, my humans also have to brush me with a pin brush.  Ask your veterinarian or other owners of your breed what grooming tools they use and purchase those.  Short-coated breeds will only need to be brushed about  once a week (unless they are crazy shedders; if they are, brush them every day!).  Dogs with long coats, however, will need to be brushed once a day to keep their coats in top condition.

If your dog has an undercoat (think of hair like a collie’s), make sure that you don’t just brush your dog’s top coat.  These breeds have two coats, so you have to make sure to get under the top coat to the under one.  If you fail to brush his under coat, it will become so knotted it may have to be cut off.  Sometimes, after cutting a dog’s hair, it never grows back as well as it did before.


You don’t often think of including your dog’s ears in the grooming session.  Sure, you brush them, but have you ever cleaned them?


If your dog’s breed is one that has real hair (Poodles, Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, etc.), you will need to pluck the hairs out of their ears.  Since these breeds’ hair keeps growing, the ear hair will just get longer and longer, clogging up and causing moisture to build, which leads to yeast infections.  However, don’t try to pluck them out by hand.  The best way to do this is with a specially made plucking tool and some ear powder to make gripping the hair easier.  This is best done by a professional groomer, as they know how to get those hairs out without hurting your dog’s ear canal

For Rosie the Golden Retriever’s ears, my humans use a baby wipe to get the dirt out.  One human holds a spoon of peanut butter for Rosie to lick while another cleans her ears.  This way, Rosie will always associate her ears being cleaned with something good.


Your dog’s nails should be short and blunt

If your dog’s nails have ever scratched you, you know the need for cutting them!  Plus, not having them cut can cause terrible pain to your dog.  In the worst scenario, the nails could curl up and poke into his paw pad, causing terrible pain when walking.  Of course, you would notice if this started to happen and immediately take your dog to the vet, but even somewhat mild growing can cause the nails some harm.  For instance, if you let your dog’s nails grow out too long, it will be harder to cut them without making them bleed later on.  You can cut your pooch’s nails at home with a special tool (ask your groomer or veterinarian to show you how) or have a professional do it.  Don’t try to cut your dog’s nails without having a professional show you how first!  You could cut the quick (a blood vessel) in your dog’s nail, which will bleed a lot and hurt and frighten your dog.

Cutting your dog’s nails will not dull them; they will still be pokey enough to tear your skin and clothes.  If you want your dog to have dulled nails, take an emery board and buff them.  Don’t forget to have the nails cut as well!


Naturally, in order to have a fully clean and groomed dog, he needs to get a bath.  Before you
scrub-a-dub-dub, fully brush your dog.  While this may seem silly as you will mess up your dog’s hair scrubbing it, it will prevent you from scrubbing any knots, making them tighter and tighter.  Now, in lukewarm water, work up a good lather with dog shampoo, careful not to get any into your pet’s eyes or any water down his ears.  Make sure to really scrub the base of his tail, his feet, and the scruff of the neck.  These are all fleas’ favorite hiding spots!

Making it Enjoyable

grooming-happy-dogSome dogs love to be groomed, while others definitely don’t see it as a fun past time!  This can be because they are forced to stand still, the brushing is uncomfortable, they don’t like getting their ears or feet touched, or they don’t like water.  So, to trump these discomforts, you need to give your dog a whole lot of praise and treats.  Dice up a hot dog and, after a few strokes with the brush, feed him a piece.  Or, as you’re cleaning out his ear, scratch your dog’s favorite spot.  Grooming can actually be a bonding time between you and your dog once your pooch learns to associate it with good things.

Fleas and Ticks are Attacking!

itchy dogThe warm weather beckons for your dog to spend more time outside.  The grass is green, the sun is out, and the squirrels need to be taught a lesson!  Outside, however, there are enemies for your dog.  Little bugs, patiently waiting on blades of grass for their next victim, are ready to jump on his fur and cause him misery.  Now, I’m not saying that you should never let your dog outside.  That would make life even more miserable for your furry friend!  To make sure he stays comfortable, though, you need to take a few precautions.

Keep Flea and Tick Meds Current

itchy crawling tickIf you forget to give your dog his flea and tick medicine, he will get pretty itchy.  Always keep his meds up to date by marking the calendar or making a reminder on your phone.  If you are wondering what brand of flea and tick meds you should use, consult your veterinarian.  I personally like Nex Gard because it comes in the form of a delicious treat.  Frontline has worked well for me also, but my humans don’t like the smelly, messy gel medicine they have to put on my back.

Make sure that the flea and tick control medicine you buy will also kill flea eggs.  Fleas, you see, will lay eggs directly on their victim (your dog in this case).  These eggs will hatch any time between two days and two weeks.

Clean Your Dog’s Bedding

A good idea is to clean your dog’s beds on a regular basis.  Every two or three weeks should work well in keeping those nasty bugs at bay.  If you can manage to get your dog’s beds in the wash every week, that is even better.  By cleaning those beds, you will be killing the fleas (and their eggs which roll off into your dog’s bedding) and ticks that cause dogs so much anguish.

Pull Off Ticks

itchy tickTicks – ugh!  These tiny creatures feast on blood, sometimes transmitting harmful bacteria, viruses, and diseases straight to you and your dog.  When you find one of these blood suckers on your dog, you will have to pull it off.  It’s gross, yes, but very necessary.  Get your tweezers and pull off the tick near the head, making sure to get the whole tick off to prevent infection.  If you notice swelling or prolonged redness on the area the tick was, consult your veterinarian.

Tips for the Summer

heat dog on grasSummer is here and swimming, camping, and spending time with family and friends is on many people’s minds.  What about your dog, though?  It’s hot outside, and special care and attention needs to be given to him to to keep him cool and comfortable.

Water, Water Everywhere!heat dogs drinking

Forget about “not a drop to drink,” though!  You need to give your canine lots of water this summer to assure that he stays hydrated and cool.  Keep a dish of cool water in a corner of your home for your dog constantly to have or, if your dog lives of often is outside, make sure you fill his bowl up about a couple of times a day.  Also, place your doggy’s bowl in the shade.  It will keep the water cooler and encourage your dog to stay in the shade, too.  If you notice your dog spilling his water dish, buy a heavy-duty water bowl.  Without water your dog could quickly die.

Provide Lots of Shade

It can get very hot for your dog outside, so make sure that he has constant shade.  Remember, if part of your yard is shaded at a certain time of the day, it might not be a few hours later when the sun moves.  This can be especially dangerous for dogs who live outdoors.  Sure, dog houses are shady, but it can get super hot in such a small space.  Put up a beach umbrella or small canopy for your dog to lounge under.  You certainly don’t want your dog to get overheated!

Your Dog’s Coatheat your dog's coat

Wow! you think. My dog must be really hot wearing his fur coat!  Yes, it can get hot under there, but there are other reasons that we dogs were given such magnificent fur.  It actually helps us not get sunburned!  So, with that in mind, always consult your veterinarian before having your dog’s fur shaved.  Dogs such as Poodles, however, will always need a nice summer cut to keep them cool, as they have real hair that continually grows.

The Swimming Pool

heat poolSwimming is fun and a great way to cool off for your dog, but remember to never let your dog swim alone.  The edges of the pool are slippery, and your dog might not be able to get out.  Make sure your dog doesn’t drink the pool water either.  Also, if your pool is by a high surface, make sure your dog can’t jump in.  Once, when my humans’ pool was by the porch and I was very young, I jumped in.  Thankfully, one of my humans saw me and helped me out.  That was very scary!

Hot Feet, Hot Feet!

Before you bring your dog on a walk, feel the asphalt.  Does it burn your hand?  Imagine walking on that in your bare feet with little to no protection.  Ouch!  This can be the way your dog’s feet feel.  The steamy asphalt can seriously burn his paw pads, so always check to see if you would like to walk on it.  Another option is walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside or on the grass.

Please Don’t Leave Me in the Car!!heat dog in car

Please, please don’t ever leave your dog in the car without any air conditioning!  Don’t even do it when the weather is in the 70s or with the windows rolled all of the way down.  The car, you see, acts like a refrigerator, only it traps in the heat.  It is a horribly cruel way for a dog to die, so please leave your dog behind when you have errands to run and he can’t come with you.


Is your dog excessively panting with moist paws and a body hot to the touch?  If your dog is unable to cool down, he may have heatstroke.  Give him a bowlful of water, throw a wet towel on him, and drive to the vet immediately!!  Dogs with flat noses (like Pugs) are especially susceptible to heatstroke, so make sure to not over exercise them in the heat and encourage them to stay in the shade or, preferably, indoors.

Keeping Your Dog Cool Tips

  • A kiddie swimming pool (or sprinkler or water hose) is a great way for your dog to splash around in the heat dog playing with waterwater and cool off.  If your dog is a little leery of entering the water, throw a few dog biscuits in for him to go after.
  • “Pupsicles” are basically popsicles made for dogs.  Your dog might like licking ice anyway, but, add a little flavoring (like chicken or vegetable broth), and you have a real treat!  Here’s a tip, though: have your dog devour this treat on your porch or lawn.  It can get really messy once it starts to melt!

Signs That Your Dog is Sick

Dogs are sometimes very secretive about their discomforts and ailments, which can make it hard to know when your dog needs medical attention.  Do you know the main signs that point to your dog not feeling good?

Loss of Appetite

Has your dog been off of his food for a day or two?  Perhaps he has just been picking over it.  Sick dogs will sometimes totally loose their appetite or experience a decrease.  Pay attention to how much your dog regularly eats, especially if you free feed him, so you can see when there is a decrease in appetite.s dog food

Your dog might be eating less of his food because he eats a lot of treats.  Remember to subtract any snacks during the day from your dog’s regular meals.  If you don’t, he won’t get the essential vitamins from his dog food and start to get chubby.

Diarrhea or Loose Stools

Check your dog’s stools every once in a while to make sure they are firm.  Loose ones can point to causes that your veterinarian will need to address.  And, if your dog has diarrhea, tell your vet about it.

Listlessness or Decrease in Activity

s dog listlessHas your dog been moping around the house, not really wanting to go on his usual tail-wagging walks?  A young dog should be alert and ready for such outings, and such a decrease in activity may mean that your dog is sick.  If your dog is senior, however, he might just be aging.  I, for instance, have decreased in activity level these last couple of years.  I’ll be thirteen this summer, so I need more rest.  When I was young, though, I was quite hyper and always ready to go, go, go!

Excessive Scratching

Has your dog been itching a lot, even though you’ve given him his flea and tick medicine?  It might be a good idea to consult with your vet about the possibilities of allergies.  A lot of dogs are allergic to certain foods like rice or things like grass.s dog itching

Vomiting or Coughing

Once, I vomited after eating something out of the trash, but it didn’t seem to call for a trip to the vet.  Excessive vomiting, however, is something that can be very serious, requiring your veterinarian’s attention.  Coughing is also a concern, as it can mean that your dog has caught kennel cough, which is a lot like flu is for humans.


s dog ballThis one is really obvious.  If your dog seems to be gagging on something you can’t get out, rush him to the vet’s or the nearest emergency animals clinic.  Something as simple as a tennis ball has sent many a dog to the emergency room!

Excessive Panting

s dog pantingHas your dog been panting for a long time, sweating on the bottom of his paws, and feeling hot to the touch?  If your dog has been out in the hot weather for too long, he may have gotten sunstroke.  Douse him in water, put a wet towel on him, and take him to the vet immediately!

Dogs will flat noses, like Pugs, are especially in danger of getting sunstroke.  Please don’t leave your dog out in the sun!  Give him a shaded area other than his doghouse, which can get very hot in such a little space.


Obviously, if your dog is bleeding, he needs to visit the vet.

Snake/Insect/Animal Bite

If your dog is bit by a snake, take him to the vet!  Even if you feel like it was just a harmless
snake, that bite could still get infected or the snake really have been venomous.  Also, insect bites that won’t heal or start to excessively swell call for a trip to the veterinarian’s.  Bites from other animals need medical attention too, as the animal who fought with your pet could have had rabies or other infectious diseases.s snake


Limping calls for a trip to the vet.  Your dog might have broken his paw/leg or bruised it badly.


bone with pupYou can always make your dog’s day by giving him a bone.  However, have you ever thought about the importance of what kind of bone your give him?  It might save your dog from choking or intestinal blockage!

Rawhide is a popular choice when it comes to dog bones.  However, you often hear frighteningbone rawhide stories of dogs who have choked from a rawhide.  When your dog chews off and swallows a bigger hunk of this bone, he could choke.  And, if that doesn’t happen, the rawhide will expand in his stomach, posing other blockage threats.  However, some rawhides pose less of a threat than others.  Bigger bones that your dog can’t wrap his whole mouth around and break are best, and always buy bones that are made in the USA, are uncolored, and are unflavored.  Even these bones, unfortunately, have choking hazards for your dog.  If your dog is an aggressive chewer, it would probably be best to avoid rawhides.  Perhaps a safer company to buy rawhide chews from is  Their bones are only made in the USA and not made from a collage of bits and pieces of rawhide mashed together.bone with frenchie

What about bully sticks?  While these are sometimes less dangerous than rawhide, they, like all bones, still have choking hazards.  The best rule of thumb for these is to buy made in the USA and all-natural bones.

bone with bulldogHave you ever heard of Busy Bone?  These bones may be safer than rawhides, bully sticks, pig ears, etc. when it comes to choking, but it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain to certain dogs.  I have eaten a few of these before and done fine, but other dogs aren’t so lucky.  Please be careful when you feed your dog these bones.

Other chews, like pig ears, can be very dangerous for your dog because they are so stiff.  When your dog chews it, it will chip off into many different sized pieces, some of them sharp enough to cut your dog’s throat or big enough to cause blockage in his throat or stomach.  Try to avoid these kinds of chews as best as you can!

bone with dogOf course, always supervise your dog while he is chewing, no matter what kind of bone he has.  And, when you see that his bone is getting icky and parts of it are getting loose or have chipped off, throw it away.  If you let your dog finish it, he could get one of the small pieces stuck in his throat or stomach.  Depending on your dog’s chewing style, some bones will be safer for him than others.  I don’t chew on toys, but I will do back flips for a yummy bone (well, I would do back flips ifonly  could).  My humans always make sure that any bones I get are made in the USA, and, for some odd reason, they throw it away before I am finished.  I’m not a heavy chewer, but if your dog is, he will be more likely to choke or have throat or intestinal damage.  A good idea is to ask your veterinarian what kind of chew he recommends and about the dangers he has encountered with rawhides, bully sticks, pig ears, etc.


To Feed or not to Feed: Table Scraps

foodYou’re just about to bite into a delicious piece of bacon when two eyes, large and pitiful, come into view.  A paw gently falls upon your knee and you can feel a snout lovingly nuzzling your empty hand.  Who can resist such a cute pup?  Those eyes are so desperate looking!  A little bacon won’t hurt, right?

A little taste probably won’t hurt your dog too much, but you can never tell.  Even something as simple as a bite of bacon can wreak havoc in your dog’s stomach.  Your veterinarian has probably already told you the dangers of feeding your dog table scraps, but how can a little piece hurt?  You might be surprised to learn how unhealthy it can be for your pooch, and how it even teaches bad behaviors!

Table Food = Tummy Ache

dogbeingfedYou eat hamburgers, spaghetti, bread, and bacon all of the time, but your dog doesn’t.  His stomach is used to special dog food that his stomach can digest easily.  This means that even a bite of your hamburger could result in a tummy ache, vomiting, or diarrhea.  Sure, your dog may not show signs of pain after helping you eat your lunch, but dogs don’t like to announce discomfort.  Plus, even if his stomach isn’t upset after eating people food, there are still other problems that easily occur from this bad habit.

Obesity and Pancreatitis

When you feed your dog people food, you are adding to his portion of meal for that day.  Hence, he is going to start to get chubby.  And that chubbiness could lead to obesity.  If your dog is overweight, he won’t feel as good or have as much energy.  Dogs who are overweight don’t have as much lifespan as healthy dogs, and extra fat puts stress on certain organs and bones.  Even if you cut back on your dog’s normal dog food, you still shouldn’t substitute it for any people food.  Again, your dog’s body isn’t used to such food, and it will put more fat on him than dog food would.


Something as simple as a hotdog that you share with your dog can trigger pancreatitis.  Dogs who are overweight are especially in danger of it.  What is pancreatitis?  Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas gets inflamed, and can cause vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea.  It’s definitely no fun to get this sick, so please don’t ever feed your dog table scraps!

The Begging Problem

Besides the most important results of feeding your dog table scraps – such as vomiting, beggingobesity, and pancreatitis as mentioned above – there is another factor to consider: begging.  Yes, your dog looking up to you lovingly while you eat lunch can be very cute, but it can get very old.  Dogs LOVE food, and we will do nearly anything for it.  Scratching you, licking you, watching you, nuzzling you, jumping, sitting up, and barking are just a few ways your dog will beg.  Once you feed your dog that one French fry, he will begin to beg for more.  And when you have company over, this can get really irksome, as he will try to convince your friends that they need to feed the dog.  So please don’t start this awful habit!  I must confess that I beg when my humans eat, and they are now very sorry they ever gave me that one bite of toast a long time ago.  I haven’t forgotten that kindness!  Fortunately, I don’t beg as furiously as I did before – I used to scratch their arms and put my paws on their knee – but I am really good at fixing my puppy-dog eyes on anyone with something yummy.  Trust me, you don’t want to start this irritating habit.

Are all People Foods Bad?

Some healthy foods can greatly benefit your dog

Well, there are a few exceptions.  Foods that are unsalted, have little to no sugar, and have low fat can actually benefit your dog.  Now, this doesn’t mean that you should share your healthy muffins with your furry companion.  The healthy people foods that I’m talking are more veggie-like.  Peas, carrots, and corn can help your dog get healthier.  However, I highly suggest that you consult your vet before adding anything to your dog’s diet, and please feed it in small amounts!  Also, make sure that you subtract any snacks and treats you feed your dog from his normal meals.  I used to be crazy about carrots and other nice snacks, but my vet banned them because it was making me have accidents in my cage at night.  Back to dog biscuits for me!