5 Mistakes of Crate Training Dogs (and how to fix them)

Pet owners know that crate training dogs is a great way to help our pets stay out of trouble when left alone, either when you leave for work or go to bed for the night. However, many people don’t know how to properly start the process of crate training a dog.

Most Common Problems with Crate Training DogsA dog crate and crate training itself are great tools for an owner. There is a myth that crates represent something negative to dogs, but this has been debunked by many experts and dog trainers. In fact, dogs enjoy their crates and the result of crate training can be a happier, well-behaved canine, especially if starting with a puppy.

There are many different dog crates out there, and while they differ in construction, most of them represent the same thing to dogs. So your pick of the crate doesn’t matter as much as the way you use it. As long as you avoid some of the below mentioned mistakes of crate training dogs, your success is guaranteed.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (ADPT) have released an official statement regarding their stance on crate training dogs, which reads:

“The Association of Professional Dog Trainers recommends the use of crates for puppies and dogs as a short-term training tool and as safety equipment throughout the dog’s life.” (source)

Not knowing where to begin and how to do this effectively can lead to frustration on your part, and your dog will feel badly too. If you want to start crate training a dog for his safety and comfort, you’ll need to avoid some of these common mistakes listed below.

Pet owners who are new to dog training and have questions about how to properly crate train a canine should take a look at this video guide on crate training dogs. Samantha discusses how to crate train a dog properly and mistakes that should be avoided.

5 Mistakes of Crate Training a Dog
(And How to Fix Them)

Crate Training Dogs Problems

Mistake #1. Hiding the Dog Crate

Many people don’t like the look of their dog’s crate, so they hide it away in an unused room. This is a huge mistake. If you put the dog crate in a room where people don’t spend any time, your dog may or may not want to use it.

The dog might feel isolated.

When crate training dogs, you should put the crate in the room where you spend the most time – like the living room. This way, your pup will feel good about being in his crate, since he will know you are still around. Believe it or not, the crate will quickly become his favorite hangout spot.

If you don’t like the look of the crate, get creative! You can cover it with cardboard or planks of wood to create a little “end table” out of it. Your dog will not mind; many dogs like having their crate dark and cool. Decorate it to match your other furniture, or look online for a “designer” crate. There are plenty of options to fit your personal style.

Mistake #2. Bare Minimum

Another mistake is not furnishing your dog’s crate. Leaving it empty will be uncomfortable and unwelcoming for your pup. To make it a nice little haven, put a comfortable dog bed inside, or anything else that makes it feel more like home for the dog.

Consider your dog’s preferences when picking one out. If he likes cozy pet beds, get something soft and fluffy. A bigger dog may prefer a cooler dog bed, a thin bed or even just a blanket instead.

You can also put some toys or chews in your dog’s crate for entertainment. Some good choices are soft dog toys that he might like to cuddle with and tough chews like KONG dog toys or Nylabones which are the most popular choices among dog parents.

Make sure these are sturdy objects that can’t be choked on if they get torn apart. Putting these inside when crate training dogs will help keep your Fido occupied. It will also show him that his crate is a safe place with all of his favorite things.

Mistake #3. Moving Too Fast

Crate Training DogsMany people make the mistake of simply putting their dog in the crate, locking the door, and leaving for hours at a time. This will make your dog fear the crate, and it can cause some serious issues with crate training dogs and housebreaking down the line.

You need to gradually introduce your dog to his crate when you first get it for best results.

Start out by letting your pup explore his crate at his leisure. He’ll likely sniff around and go in and out to check it out. Some dogs take to their crate right away – that’s great if yours does!

If not, simply start rewarding the dog for going into the crate of his own volition; praise and treats are good choices. Eventually, your dog should start using his crate for rest. Once he goes into his crate regularly, feed him inside to continue getting him used to it.

Rewards have been shown to be the most effective way to quickly train a dog, so why not? After a few successful tries, start closing the door while Fido eats. Start by remaining in the area, but eventually go to another room to see how your dog does in his crate alone.

Keep closing the door for increasing lengths of time, always monitoring your dog’s anxiety level while in the crate. If he is doing okay for half an hour, you can start leaving him inside the crate for short periods of time.

Make sure he doesn’t need to go potty before putting him in the crate. If your dog has an accident inside, it can set your crate training back quite a bit.

Mistake #4. Punishment

Crate Training DogsIf you want your dog to see his crate as a safe place to be while you are gone, never use it as punishment. Crate training dogs should result in your pet being happy to go into his little oasis; using the crate as punishment will cause him to fear it, and he may stop going into his crate willingly.

Remember, dogs respond better to positive reinforcement anyway. Praise, treats, and playtime are all better ways to teach your pooch appropriate behavior.

The only time your crate could be used as something akin to punishment is if your dog is overly excited or nipping. If he needs to calm down, commanding him to go into his crate can give him a chance to relax. However, if you use this method, he should still be rewarded for following the command to go into his crate.

Mistake #5. Confusing Signals

When crate training dogs, decide on one word to be used as a command for going into the crate, such as “crate” or “kennel”. Stick with this one word when teaching him. If you use other commands, you will confuse your dog and cause him frustration. This can lead to issue with crate training, and he may not want to obey you.

Remember that hand signals are important too. Many dogs respond to hand signals more then a verbal command. To command your dog to go into his crate, try pointing at the crate.

Get him used to this signal and don’t use that particular hand motion for any other commands. This will ensure your command is clear to your pup, and he’ll understand what you want from him.

Crate training dogs can be very successful when done properly. A little research done before you start can really help you prepare. If you’re trying to crate train a new puppy or adult dog, avoid making these mistakes and you should find that getting your pup used to his crate is a breeze!

Source: topdogtips.com

We all love puppies because they are cute, look less dangerous when compared to an adult dog, and generally they are friendly.

If you have a puppy or you intend buying one, you can go through the information given in this post which just three essential tips for anyone who is getting a puppy by www.psychologytoday.com

tips for puppy lovers
Source: countryliving.co.uk


Get your puppy from a reputable source

If you are getting a puppy, it’s important to pay attention to where the puppy comes from. Unfortunately, many puppies come from puppy mills, commercial breeding sites that vary in quality all the way down to dire. Puppies from pet stores (that typically originate from a commercial breeding establishment) are more likely to have behavior problems as adult dogs (McMillan, 2017; Pirrone, 2016). So avoid the pet store, and be aware that if someone is selling a puppy on the internet and will bring the puppy to meet you in a parking lot, it’s a sign they could be trying to hide where the puppy came from.

Try to see the puppy with both parents if possible. One study found if people did not see either parent, the puppy was 3.8 times more likely to be referred for a behavior problem later in life than if both parents were seen (Westgarth et al 2012).

Because some breeds are prone to particular health problems, ask about the health of the parents and if they have had any medical issues that might be passed on to the puppy.

The sensitive period for socialization begins at 3 weeks of age (e.g. Freedman et al 1961). Since this is before puppy comes to live with you, you should also ask the breeder what they are doing for socialization. They should be raising puppies in a home environment where they are already getting used to the kinds of household sounds and activities they will experience throughout their lives.

As well as breeders, reputable rescues and shelters can sometimes be a good source of puppies.

Socialize your puppy the right way

The sensitive period for socialization starts at 3 weeks and continues until 12-14 weeks, meaning you have important socialization to do as soon as the puppy arrives at your home. The American Veterinary Society for Animal Behaviour says “it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.” This is because infectious diseases are not the main cause of death in dogs under 3 years old—instead, behavior problems are. Good socialization can help prevent problems.

Socializing your puppy means lots of positive exposures to other people and other animals. At the same time, they should be habituated to different sounds, surfaces, and environments.

It’s important to note this does not mean forcing your puppy. Instead, give them a choice, encourage them to interact, and try to ensure all experiences are positive. Keep an eye on your puppy’s body language so you can intervene if they start to look scared. Use play, food, and petting to ensure the puppy is having a nice time.

Although we don’t know exactly how much socialization is needed, research with guide dog puppies suggests more is better (Vaterlaws-Whiteside and Hartmann, 2017).

Sign up for puppy class

An easy way to get some much-needed socialization is to sign up for a good puppy class, where your puppy will meet other people and puppies.

Puppy class is not just about obedience training. A good puppy class will also include exercises to help your puppy get used to body handling (such as at the vet, grooming, tooth brushing). Opportunities to play with other puppies will help your pup learn canine social skills—but it should be done carefully to ensure it is fun, and not overwhelming, for all. This may mean shy puppies are kept separate from bouncier ones, and/or that play is interrupted to check both puppies are consenting.

Because dog training is not regulated, it is essential to check the dog trainer will use positive reinforcement. The use of aversive methods (technically, positive punishment and negative reinforcement) is linked to risks to canine welfare including fear and aggression (Ziv, 2017).

Worried about health issues? The AVSAB says, “Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class.”

Unfortunately, up to a third of puppies are not getting enough socialization (Cutler et al 2017). People who attend puppy class expose their puppy to more stimuli and are more likely to reward good behavior—which means they are giving their puppy a better start in life.

These tips should help your pup grow up into a friendly, confident adult dog. Have fun with your puppy!


Cutler, J. H., Coe, J. B., & Niel, L. (2017). Puppy socialization practices of a sample of dog owners from across Canada and the United States. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 251(12), 1415-1423. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.251.12.1415

McMillan, F. D. (2017). Behavioral and psychological outcomes for dogs sold as puppies through pet stores and/or born in commercial breeding establishments: Current knowledge and putative causes. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Pirrone, F., Pierantoni, L., Pastorino, G. Q., & Albertini, M. (2016). Owner-reported aggressive behavior towards familiar people may be a more prominent occurrence in pet shop-traded dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 11, 13-17.

Vaterlaws-Whiteside, H., & Hartmann, A. (2017). Improving puppy behavior using a new standardized socialization program. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 197, 55-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.08.003

Westgarth C, Reevell K, & Barclay R (2012). Association between prospective owner viewing of the parents of a puppy and later referral for behavioural problems. The Veterinary record, 170 (20) PMID: 22562104

Ziv, G. (2017) The effects of using aversive training methods in dogs – a review. Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, 19:50-60.

Freedman, D., King, J., & Elliot, O. (1961). Critical Period in the Social Development of Dogs Science, 133 (3457), 1016-1017 DOI: 10.1126/science.133.3457.1016

Source: topdogtips.com

Whichever dog you have, and for whatever purpose you are keeping a dog, you must endeavour to pay a close attention to what you are feeding your dog with.

There are many dog foods in the market today, bearing good names brands, and well packaged just to make everyone believe they are of good quality.

You should not allow yourself to be deceived by these. Taking time to discover the right food for your will go a long way to help you achieve your purpose for keeping one.

bad dog food
bad dog food

Listed below dog foods you must not buy for your pet no matter what they put on it to make it more attractive and cheaper. They are made from low quality ingredients, hence they cannot benefit you or your dog.

Bad Dog Food BrandsIt’s not entirely fair to blame pet owners for choosing bad dog food brands, because these pet foods are what we often see in commercials spiked with false advertising or misleading dog food labels. Subconsciously, the constant exposure to said worst dog food brands manipulates us and affects our decision-making abilities.

The more we hear a name of a certain dog food brand, the more likely we are to purchase it. That’s just how human psyche works. Therefore, for an average dog owner not particularly interested in investigating guaranteed analysis and ingredients lists, some of those brands become synonymous with “dog food,” just like Pampers is with diapers, or Xerox is with copying machines. That’s how strong and heavy-handed the marketing of some of these bad dog food brands is.

Unhealthy dog foods are everywhere – on the TV screen, on most of the shelves in the pet shop, in your friends’ dogs’ food bowls. If you’ve never done the research to try and find top rated dog foods, and haven’t looked at the ingredients list of your pet’s food, chances are you’ve been buying one of these bad dog food brands. Statistically, it seems that more pet owners buy the worst dog food brands from local pet shops than online, and that’s most likely due to dog food reviews under each brand, which keeps the pet owners more aware of potential dangers, and dog food companies more honest.

Pet owners that wish to change this and ensure that no harmful ingredients are being fed to their dogs, the bad dog foodsthe below list of twenty worst dog foods is a good starting point. I will mention a few of the main ingredients in each brand of dog food just so you can get an idea of what exactly what you are feeding your dog. I won’t be cherry-picking: these are the main ingredients of these dog foods (some of the first on the list).

How these worst dog foods were chosen

For the below list of bad dog food brands, I’ve gone through hundreds of formulas and their ingredients lists to find the worst offenders. Some companies outright manufacture only bad dog food that’s unhealthy for pets, while others only have a few recipes in their line of pet food that may not be a good idea to feed to our dogs.

As you go through the list, you will quickly notice names of the ingredients who are the most common offenders. Some may argue that these foods aren’t harmful to dogs, while others will strongly agree that there is no reason to feed pets things like soybean meal when other dog food formulas offer high quality, protein-rich recipes. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of dog foods that are good for the money.

Here are the top most common ingredients found on the labels of these twenty bad dog food brands, and why some experts believe they should be avoided:

Meat by-products. Found in all of our contenders below, meat by-products are a cheap way for manufacturers to increase the protein count without putting actual meat in the dog food as well as preserve the shelf life of pet food. These are the leftovers of slaughtered animals after all the edible parts for human consumption have been used up. It’s important to note that not all meat byproducts are bad and some are actually very healthy for pets. However, because of the governing laws in the U.S. on how pet food is made, there is no way for pet owners to know whether included meat byproducts are good or bad, and many companies can safely hide under this “by-products” umbrella. Therefore, I propose that we avoid all by-products until FDA, CVM, AAFCO and others force companies to disclose more information.

Animal (chicken) fat. Some animal fat found in pet foods can be healthy, but it’s the chicken fat (or poultry fat) specifically that pet owners should stay away from. This is because it can come from diseased or dying animals, and the company has no obligation of disclosing that. It’s likely that “animal fat” on the ingredients list will often come from poultry (which doesn’t only mean chicken but also seagulls, geese, buzzard and others) and it’s also preserved with a number of undesirable chemicals.

Sodium Hexametaphosphate (SHMP). This is an ingredient that is sometimes used to coat dry dog food kibble because of its benefits for dog’s dental health. The benefits are real, as this study found that it helps in reducing tartar in dogs. However, the ingredient comes with its own set of disadvantages which do not outweigh its advantages: in another study, the chemical was found to cause skin and kidney problems. Overall, there is no reason to add sodium hexametaphosphate into dog food and a healthier way to avoid tartar on your pet’s teeth is to simply brush them.

Caramel color. This will be another ingredient you notice several times in the below list of bad dog food brands, and it should not be fed to pets. In fact, this can even be found in many human foods too. A 2011 study from The International Agency for Research on Cancer deemed caramel color food ingredient to be carcinogenic. Some organizations have already been urging FDA to ban this ingredient, but to no avail so far. And as long as our government agencies have no problem with such ingredients in foods, pet food companies will continue to use them.

BHA/BHT. These are two already well-known unhealthy preservatives that you don’t want in your dog’s food (or your own, for that matter), and that you will surely notice very often among the ingredients in the below bad dog food brands list. BHA, an antioxidant often used in petroleum products, cosmetics and pet food, was found to be cancer-inducing and cause tumors, and the same goes for BHT.

Oils. Vegetable or canola oil – soy oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and other similar type of oils are known to frequently cause inflammations in dogs and should probably be avoided until we see some studies on their safety and efficacy (of which there are none, currently). In the meantime, some have already called out oils like canola on their possible side effects, with this article in particular being eye-opening.

Coloring. Food dyes are another no-brainer when it comes to undesirable ingredients in dog food. We often consume them ourselves, so it’s not surprising that we are likely give it to our dogs, but most of the more popular food dyes include benzidine which the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal categorizes as “a human and animal carcinogen”. A 2012 study found the most popular food dyes to possibly cause cancer in animals and the FDA has been urged to ban them since 2008 to no avail.

Cellulose. It is usually added in dog food as a source of fiber, but as a plant fiber it’s not what you should be looking for in your dog’s food because it can cause digestion problems in your dogs. Essentially, it serves no purpose and is mostly a filler to expand the dog food formula. Instead, focus on recipes that are rich in whole foods.

The above are just some common offenders found in the below list of bad dog food brands. For more details, studies and names of poor quality ingredients, also take a look at this science-based article of common dangerous ingredients, as well as Sarah’s dog food myths list to understand why the below dog food formulas were included.

20 Bad Dog Food Brands
(in no particular order)

Bad Dog Food Brands List

1. Cesar Dog Food

Right off the bat, I’m starting with a brand that a worryingly large amount of people wrongly associate with “quality” and most pet owners who scan dog food labels are already aware of. Cesar is a brand of wet and dry dog food that is filled with undesirable ingredients that you really need to consider – corn, wheat, chicken by-product meal, brewer’s rice, chicken meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), soybean meal, vegetable oil (source of linoleic acid), rice flour, and quite a bit of others.

2. Purina Moist & Meaty Burger Recipe

Another one of the most famous bad dog food brands, Purina is often named by dog owners as a serious offender when it comes to the health properties of their pet food. Not all of their formulas are bad, and some of the vet recommend dog foods from Purina are quite good, but unfortunately this brand is a strong hit or miss. Some of the things you can find in specifically Purina Moist and Meaty Burger recipe include soy flour, beef by-products, soy grits, high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, and a lot more. This is a great example of a dog food that’s fooled millions of people about its quality thanks to its top-notch marketing.

3. Retriever Hi Protein Dog Food

Like other brands, the Retriever Hi Protein dry dog food does contain a sufficient amount of protein in its recipe, but it also comes packed with ingredients that you might be a little less excited about. Things such as meat and bone meal, wheat middlings, ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground wheat, animal digest, corn gluten meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid) definitely make the Retriever Hi Protein a bad dog food brand that you want to give neither to your Retriever, nor to any other dog.

4. Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food

Sadly, another one of the most famous bad dog food brands out there, Kibbles is also a well-known offender when it comes to unhealthy dog food and a few of their recipes. Some of the highly unoriginal ingredients you can find in Kibbles’ “original” dog food recipe include soybean meal, corn, ground wheat, animal fat (preserved with BHA), beef and bone meal, wheat middlings, corn syrup, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), caramel color, and quite a few other questionable ingredients pets probably don’t need.

5. Purina Dog Chow Formula

And we’re quickly back to another Purina dog food recipe, this time taking a look at their Dog Chow formula. Greatly packaged with a cute puppy and a kid on the front, the things that are behind that package are actually less cute – poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, meat and bone meal, whole grain wheat, soybean meal, animal digest, and another handful of other things you really wouldn’t want your furry pal to consume.

6. ShowTime Dog Food

ShowTime Dog Food definitely deserves a spot in the worst dog food brands show thanks to a large number of ingredients this company uses in their formulas. Ground yellow corn, ground wheat, corn gluten, poultry and porcine meat, poultry fat (preserved with BHA), dried beet pulp, ground flaxseed, poultry digest, brewer’s dried yeast, fish meal, just to name a few. ShowTime’s fabled “performance formula” gives them a good performance on our list, but it’s unlikely it will help your dog’s health and performance in the way you wish it would.

7. Pedigree Adult Dog Food

Pet owners who are vigilant about their dog’s food are well-aware of this, and I haven’t forgotten about Pedigree either. A giant when it comes to brand recognition, sales and fame, but also a big name when it comes to bad dog food brands and the amount of unhealthy ingredients that they put into their recipes. Corn gluten meal, ground whole corn, animal fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), meat and bone meal, wheat mill run, wheat flour, ground wheat, caramel color, wheat gluten is what you’ll find on the back of a package. Pedigree are a prime example of a dog food brand that prefers to invest into marketing rather than the quality of their food, simply because it’s more cost-effective.

8. DAD’S Econ-O-Mets Dog Food

You may not find this brand for purchase online too often, but it’s a common choice in many local pet stores. What better way to advertise your food than to give it a heart-warming name such as “Dad’s” and add a scientific-sounding bit in the end like “econ-o-mets”? Unfortunately, Dad’s Econ-O-Mets’ “local family formula” has quite a few undesirable ingredients in it, including – soybean meal, beef meal, ground yellow corn, wheat middlings, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), and soy hulls.

9. Twin Pet Dog Food

Twin Pet’s uninspired package design isn’t the only uninspired thing about their dog food – the list of their ingredients fits this description as well with a ton of now familiar unhealthy additions like wheat middlings, ground corn, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), de-fatted rice bran, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal digest, zinc and ferrous sulfate. A typical example of a bad dog food brand that you don’t want your pet to eat, Twin Pet fits perfectly into this list.

10. Doggy Bag Dog Food

Another serious offender, the Doggy Bag dog food has a lot of ingredients that you really don’t want your dog to consume – ground yellow corn, soybean meal, wheat middlings, calcium carbonate, bone meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), animal digest, ferrous and zinc sulfates, calcium pantothenate, niacin, biotin, and other unnecessary filler-supplements. Not all are harmful, of course, but the ones you really don’t want to put in your dog food bowl are these six – soybean meal, ground yellow corn, wheat middlings, bone meal calcium carbonate and animal fat.

11. KAL KAN Dog Food

Kal Kan is yet another somewhat known dog food brand name around local pet food stores that people will be disappointed to find out is actually not healthy for their dogs. Some of the interesting stuff you can find inside their pet food bags include ground wheat, ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), corn gluten meal, wheat middlings, and more. At this price range, it’s easy to avoid this brand and pick a healthier option in that budget.

12. Big Red Dog Food

This dry dog food may have “Great Gravy” written with the largest possible font on it, but it is far from a “great dry dog food”. Some of the main ingredients of Big Red Dog Food entry to our list have already been mentioned several times: soybean meal, ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, wheat middlings, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), wheat flour, guar gum, cheese powder, FD&C Color (red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #2, blue #1), and a ton of others.

13. Retriever Mini Chunk Recipe

Back to Retriever company, and another one of their products are ranked as the worst dog dog out there. This time it’s their Mini Chunk dog food formula. Some of the suspects you can discover on the label are well-known: wheat middlings, soybean meal, dried plain beet pulp, ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), poultry by-product meal, brewers rice, and more. If the Retriever Hi Protein didn’t convince you, I hope it’s now clear that this brand should probably be avoided.

14. Gravy Train Dog Food

Gravy Train is not only perfectly named to continue this train of poor quality kibble, but they also have some of the most ideal ingredients to be on the list of bad dog food brands. In this recipe you can find plenty of names that you are already familiar with, such as soybean meal, corn, meat and bone meal, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), wheat middlings, animal digest, caramel color, wheat flour, and a ton of others. If you want your dog to eat a healthy dog food formula, you should probably let this train pass you by.

15. Ever Pet Dog Food

In some of the Ever Pet dog food formulas, you can find a number of worst offenders when it comes to unhealthy and dangerous dog food ingredients: animal fat preserved with BHA, whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, and soybean meal. Some of the other ingredients of Ever Pet foods are wheat mill run, chicken by-product meal, animal digest, corn distillers dried grains with solubles, caramel color, dried peas and carrots, vegetable oil (source of linoleic acid), and more.

16. Purina Beneful Original Recipe

It turns out I’m not done with Purina dog food recipes just yet. Here is Purina’s Beneful Original formula and it’s one of the worst dog foods out there. Despite its name, this recipe has a lot of unoriginal and familiar unhealthy for dogs ingredients – corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, whole wheat flour, chicken by-product meal, animal fat (preserved with mixed-tocopherols), soy flour, rice flour and quite a few others.

17. Ol Roy Dog Food

In my experience, Ol Roy is nothing new when it comes to how poor their ingredients are. This bad dog food brand includes a lot of our now painfully familiar offenders such as meat and bone meal, ground yellow corn, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, brewers rice, added colors (titanium dioxide, yellow #5, yellow #6, red #40, blue #2), and much more. I’m truly sorry to say it to the fans of Ol Roy dog food, but when it comes to how bad they are for your dog, Ol Roy deserves a name on any worst dog food brands list.

18. Hi Point Dog Food

Another good example of how poorly manufactured pet food can be, Hi-Point Dog Food even has the statement “Good nutrition for the life of your bog” right below its name on the package. Unfortunately, it’s not that good of a nutrition if you look at the actual ingredients and know how they may affect our dogs. Some of the main suspects in Hi-Point dog food recipe include ground wheat, pork meat with bone, corn distiller’s dried grains with solubles, corn gluten feed, chicken by-product meal, whole grain ground corn, poultry fat (preserved with BHA, BHT, and citric acid), and others.

19. ALPO Dog Food

Alpo dog foods are here as well – a Purina brand, some of the Alpo recipes are no better than some of the Purina line pet foods you can find. Ingredients you can find inside of it includes the familiar soybean meal, ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed tocopherols, meat and bone meal, animal digest, chicken and egg flavor, and some others. Alpo may invite you to “Come ‘n Get it”, but I would strongly advise you skip Alpo when you go shopping for food at your local pet shop.

20. IAMS Pro Active Recipe

I’d like to finish up this list of bad dog food brands with another one of the more famous names out there – IAMS. Just like with a few other names out there, not all IAMS dog foods are bad, and some are extremely well-made. But it turns out that IAMS Pro Active recipe specifically has a set of unhealthy ingredients, including things such as chicken by-product meal, ground yellow corn, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), soybean meal, dried beet pulp, corn gluten meal, chicken flavor, and a few others.

Check the video below for additional common food your dog should not eat. You won.t believe these foods can harm your dog, but they are the most dog killers when it comes to killer foods.

New Fromm Dog Food
New Fromm Dog Food

Without any doubt the pet food industry is a fast growing one. Research have shown that at the end of 2017, over $80 billion had been spent on pet food worldwide. Dog food account for over 70% of the total pet food sales in United States alone in the same year.

Today dog owners are taking more precautions in what they feed their dogs with. Money which used to be the major factor for choosing type of food has been displaced by quest for high quality which can be measured by what each owner want for his dog.

The proportion of top-tier pet foods, such as Fromm, sales continue to increase as consumers demand higher-quality, more humane ingredients in their pet foods.

Before you fill Spot’s bowl it’s a good idea to understand his or her nutritional needs. You can use this information to read food labels and decide which brand suits your needs. Learning the difference between kibble and canned food will help you make an informed choice about which high-quality dog food brand is right for you. Once you’ve chosen a brand and style of food it becomes important to know how to change Spot’s food without causing stomach issues.

Understanding Canine Nutrition

Understanding Canine Nutrition
Understanding Canine Nutrition

A complete, balanced diet is the foundation of your dog’s health. That means a diet rich in six major nutrients: water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Each nutrient performs a specific function in the body.

Water is the most important nutrient; it’s impossible to live long without sufficient amounts of water. Water transports nutrients and waste, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and tissues, and helps with digestion.

Protein is the most well-known nutrient for its role in building muscle. Protein is also needed to create hormones like insulin that help control blood sugar and enzymes like pepsin that help break down proteins. Antibodies that the body produces to fight infection are also made of proteins.

Fats are broken down and used to make energy. They also help the body absorb vitamins, and are components of cells and nerves. Dogs use fats as the first nutrient broken down for energy. Fats are needed for the body to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K; and fats are a structural component of cells and nerves. Without fats, cells and nerves couldn’t be built.

Carbohydrates are used for energy, fiber, and to feel full. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose that’s used for energy. Fiber that accompanies carbohydrates keeps the circulatory and gastrointestinal systems clean and helps you feel full.

Vitamins and Minerals are required in small amounts in order for are certain physical reactions to take place. For example, although proteins and fats are used to build hormones that won’t happen without the presence of certain vitamins and minerals.

Dogs, like humans, are omnivores and get these nutrients by eating foods from animal and plant sources. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores and require animal products. Cows require a plant-based diet and are referred to as herbivores.

Your pet’s age, health, and activity level will determine in what ratio these nutrients need to be in. The National Research Council (NRC) and Merck Veterinary Manual have published detailed reports for the nutrient requirements of companion animals through different life stages. And product labels indicate which life stage each package of food is intended for.

Choosing a Good Dog Food

Choosing a Good Dog Food
Choosing a Good Dog Food

Choosing a good dog food can feel overwhelming because there are so many formulations and brands exist. Of course, you want the best quality within your budget, but where do you start?

Commercial pet food is generally a safe highly regulated industry. Manufacturers must follow strict rules, and brands have to undergo scientific testing before making their foods available. Even so, it can be hard to tell exactly what you’re choosing with each bag or can of food. Learning to read packaging becomes an important skill.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) ensures that important information is easily and readily available on pet food labels. The product’s name is one of the most visible parts of the food packaging and a good indicator of the product’s ingredient list. Some of the AAFCO guidelines are explained below.

The 95% Rule applies to products with names such as Pupper’s Chunky Chicken Food, Doggo’s Favorite Beef Food, or Venison and Sweet Potato Fido Food by Honest Kitchen. Named ingredients must constitute at least 95% of the product by weight, not counting water for processing AND 70% of the total weight. In cases such as the Honest Kitchen example, then both ingredients combined need to account for 95% of the weight.

The 25% rule applies to products with names such as Pupper’s Beef Dinner or Fido’s Chicken Entrée. Those named ingredients must constitute at least 10% of the total product by weight AND at least 25% of the product by weight not including water added for processing.

The “with” rule applies to products such as Pupper’s Fabulous Food With Beef or Happy Doggo’s Food With Quail and Liver. Named ingredients must constitute 3% of the product. In cases like the Happy Doggo’s example, each named ingredient would constitute 3%.

Kibble versus Canned

Kibble versus Canned
Kibble versus Canned

One of the most common pet owner concerns is whether it’s better to feed dry kibble or wet food. Nutritionally they’re about the same. So it really depends on your lifestyle, budget, and preference.

Sometimes dogs are more interested in one kind over another. For example, pets with a diminished sense of smell due to age or illness will lean toward canned foods because they tend to have a stronger smell than kibble. Canned foods are also a good choice for pets with small mouths, missing teeth or jaw problems.

Introducing Fromm

Fromm Family Foods is a fifth-generation family-owned pet food maker originally named The Company when it started in 1904. Fromm has a long solid history of using scientific technology to develop its own nutritionally sound diets.

They began as a breeder of silver fox and developed their own line of food to create larger litters with healthier coats. In 1933 the Fromm’s efforts paid off with the birth of the world’s first litter of eleven silver foxes in the company’s farm. A few years later Fromm produced the first completely granular pet food. By 1949, Fromm Complete Dog Meal was available commercially.

Fromm Family Foods continued innovation through the 1970s by introducing lifestyle-specific formulas such as Hi-Stress, Maintenance, and Senior. In 2003, Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals became the first variety-driven gourmet pet food.

Their Line-up

Fromm has about 53 products within four distinct product lines: Classic, Four-Star Nutritionals, Gold, and Pâté.

Classic is based on the original Complete Dog Meal formula. It’s suited for growth and maintenance of all breed of adult dogs. The ingredients include chicken, brown rice, whole eggs, and real cheese.

Four-Star Nutritionals features a variety of interchangeable entrees formulated so that you can feed a different flavor anytime. Each grain-free recipe includes your typical protein source combined with novel whole fruits and vegetables such as lentils, yucca, and apples.

The Gold product line is geared towards animals of specific life stages. Here you’ll find foods tailored for weight management, senior nutrition, and puppies. These contain the natural ingredients of the other lines but also added probiotics and fish oil.

Pâté product line is the canned versions of simple balanced formulas. These can be feed on their own or as supplements to the dry meals.

Popular Products

Gold Nutritionals Adult Dog Food

Gold Nutritional Adult Dog Food
Gold Nutritional Adult Dog Food

Gold Nutritionals Adult Dog Food is formulated for normally active adult dogs. Its main ingredients are duck, chicken, lamb, whole eggs, and cheese. Noticeably absent are common food allergens such as corn, soy, and wheat.

Looking at the ingredient list you find high-quality protein and carbohydrate sources making this food palatable and easily digestible. Gold Nutritionals Adult Dog Food is above average compared to other commercially available kibble.

Gold Nutritionals Adult Dog Food – Small Breed

Gold Nutritionals Adult Dog Food – Small Breed
Gold Nutritional Adult Dog Food – Small Breed

Fromm Gold Adult Dog Food Small Breed is similar to that of regular Adult Dog Food in that it contains duck, chicken, lamb, whole eggs, and cheese. Common food allergens like corn, wheat, and soy are absent in this variety as well.

The kibble size of Gold Adult Dog Food Small Breed is smaller than Fromm’s other varieties to accommodate the smaller mouths of little dogs. Each kibble is slightly smaller than a dime.

The calorie content of this variety is slightly higher than the regular Adult Dog Food. The reason for this is that smaller dogs tend to be very active and need those extra calories.

Overall, Gold Adult Dog Food Small Breed is a highly palatable, easily digestible dog food. Pet owners report high satisfaction when feeding this product.

Four-Star Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Game Bird Recipe

Four-Star Grain-Free Dry Dog Food - Game Bird Recipe
Four-Star Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Game Bird Recipe

The game bird recipe of Fromm’s Four-Star Grain-Free Dry Dog Food features novel proteins and carbohydrates. Additionally, it uses no grains as a source of fiber or carbohydrates.

The main protein sources of this formula are duck, turkey, quail, and pheasant. The addition of pea flour, dried whole egg, and spinach also act as good plant-based protein sources.

Carbohydrate and fiber are obtained from cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and alfalfa sprouts. These ingredients add flavor profiles most pets aren’t used to having, as well as adding essential vitamins and minerals.

The final protein and fat content in the game bird recipe are higher than the classic recipes. The final calorie count, though, is about the same. Kibble size is slightly smaller than the size of a dime.

Pet owners report high satisfaction with this product, especially among picky eaters.

Four-Star Canned Dog Food – Shredded Chicken Entrée

Four-Star Canned Dog Food – Shredded Chicken Entrée
Four-Star Canned Dog Food – Shredded Chicken Entrée

Four-Star Canned Dog Food – Shredded Chicken Entrée consists of shredded chicken cooked in chicken broth, potatoes, beans, and carrots. It’s a hearty stew consistency containing recognizable pieces of food.

In addition to those main ingredients, it also contains green beans, tomato paste, and salmon oil. Green beans are high in fiber, low in fat, and high in important minerals. Tomato paste is a thick concentrate made by cooking tomatoes for an extended period of time to reduce their water content, then straining out the seeds and skin. In this recipe, it’s used as a flavoring. Salmon oil is added to help maintain healthy skin and coat.

This is a high-quality food suitable for pets with no specific dietary requirement. It’s a favorite among senior pets and those with sensitive stomachs.

Changing from Other Brands

Once you’ve decided to change your dog’s food it’s important to do it slowly, unless you’re advised differently from your veterinarian. Gradually changing the food allows your dog to adjust to the new taste and consistency; it also helps the digestive system adjust to the change in nutrients. Your veterinarian may advise you to immediately change your pet’s food in some cases of kidney or heart disease, as well as a number of other conditions.

Changing a dog’s food usually takes about 7 to 10 days, but dogs with sensitive stomachs could take as long as six weeks. The most important thing to remember is patience because every dog is different.

Following the steps below will help you safely transition to a new food:​

  1. Measure how much of the old food you normally feed your dog.
  2. Replace ¼ of the amount with new food then mix the old and new foods together.
  3. Feed this mixture for a few days and watch out for signs of stomach distress such as flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. If your dog experiences these you may have to decrease the amount of new food in the mixture.
  4. If there are no problems then increase the amount of new food to half. The new mixture will be half old food and half new food. Remember to mix the foods so that your pet can’t easily eat only one food.
  5. Feed your pet this mix for a few days to make sure there are no stomach issues.
  6. Change the food mixture to ¾ new food and ¼ old food.
  7. Feed this mixture for a few days. If your pet experiences no problems then begin feeding 100% of the new food.



can dog eat lemon
can dog eat lemon?  Credit: topdogtips.com

Sound very strange. Dogs eating lemon? You never can tell what dogs can eat this days. With  new dog food recipes coming out now, and interests in home prepared recipes on the increase, you can indeed make do with a lemon inclusive formula for your pet.

Lemon is not just a fruit, it contains such health enriching chemical composition that will surprise you. Introducing this into your dog food will definitely be beneficial to your dog, and that is apart from the fact that it is a cheap alternative to many other options that can give you the same value that you desire.

Lemons are a type of citrus fruit that has an intensely sour flavor. This fruit is generally not eaten as is because of its strong taste but is instead used in combination with spices and herbs in cooking, or in desserts and drinks. But can dogs eat lemons, or are lemons bad for dogs?

If you’ve been wondering, “can dogs have lemon,” the answer is – YES, dogs can eat lemons technically because in very small amounts they’re not toxic to them. However, because of how acidic this fruit it, only extremely small amount of lemon (or lemon juice itself) can be given to dogs. Also, we should question whether lemons are even needed for dogs and if there’s any reason to give dog a lemon to eat.

Lemons is a nutritionally powerful fruit and provides many health benefits for people. But the amounts in which can dogs have lemons differ significantly, and in this article we’ll look at what happens when dog eats lemon whole, are lemons bad for dogs in any instance, can dogs eat lemons on a regular basis and more.

What are lemons?

fresh lemon

Lemon is a yellow citrus fruit from the lemon tree, and the juice from this fruit is frequently used in food and drinks. In particular, the rind and pulp are used in baking and cooking. Its distinctive sour taste is also a key ingredient for foods and drink such as lemon meringue pie and lemonade.

There are multiple varieties of lemons, and they are heralded for their large quantity of Vitamin C. They also have heavy concentrations of citric acid and phytochemicals. Lemons are also used as cleaning agents and for aromatherapy purposes which makes them very effective due to their high acidity levels.

This is what fresh lemons look like:

Other than making tasty drinks and foods, lemons have also been used by people for medicinal or nutritional reasons. There’s plenty of research support the many benefits of lemons for humans, but can dogs eat lemons and reap the same benefits? Is there any evidence on using lemons for dogs, can dogs have lemons in any form, or are lemons bad for dogs in any cases? let’s take a closer look.

Lemons for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

Can dogs eat lemons the same way humans can? Technically yes, you can give your dog lemon. But because too much of lemon juice from the lemon can have a toxic effect due to high acidity, essential oils and psoralens, you need to be careful with the amount that you feed your dog.

The most significant concern of feeding lemons to dogs is the acidic values in this fruit which can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea. Although generally, a dog needs to consume lemons in larger quantities to get to this point.

But should you give your dog lemons?

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any studies done with canines that would show any benefits of feeding lemons to dogs. So while technically a small serving of lemons may be safe for dogs, we don’t know of any reasons currently to give your pets lemons. In fact, UK’s animal welfare organization RSPCA have issued warnings about feeding lemons to dogs for pet owners who’ve been making videos. Their claims may be slightly exaggerated since it’s the amount that matters, but concerns are valid nonetheless.

One may suspect that it’s possible that certain health benefits of feeding lemons to dogs would apply as they often do when looking at other fruits – blueberries and apples, for example. People and dogs often share some health benefits of fruits, so let’s take a look at what studies show in clinical trials with humans and mice on the benefits of lemons.

Those are just some of the benefits of lemons for people (and mice), but none of those have been tested in dogs, thus we cannot know for certain whether any of these health benefits would apply to them. It’s certainly possible.

Can dogs have lemon juice?

One might wonder, if lemons are not bad for dogs in small amounts, can dogs have lemon juice as well? The answer to that is NO – dogs should not be drinking lemon juice in any amounts. Lemon juice is a high acidity concentrate with absolutely no benefits to dogs, and is very likely to cause stomach upset or other GI related issues in canines.

A whole lemon will have fiber that helps to balance out the natural sugars and acidity. This makes the lemon itself safer to dogs than lemon juice. Bottom line is there’s no reason to give lemon juice to dogs. The same applies to giving lemon water to dogs.

With that being said, can dogs have lemons (whole) and reap some of the benefits? We don’t know for sure, but we can assume that some of these proven benefits found in humans and mice may stretch to dogs. This is relevant since small amounts of lemons for dogs are safe, so here are some potential benefits that are not yet proven in any way.

benefits of lemon
benefits of lemon. Credit: topdogtips.com

7 Potential Benefits of Lemons for Dogs

  1. Lemons may provide relief from arthritis pain in dogs.

Although lemons are acidic, they have an alkalizing effect when in the body itself. This alkalizing effect balances the pH levels in the body, reducing the inflammation and relieving the pain associated with arthritis. This was seen in humans but we’re not sure if this actually would work in dogs, and it remains to be seen.

  1. Lemons may help fight and reduce the risk of cancer in dogs.

Lemons are full of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects a dog’s cells from free radical damage. The cells that are damaged by free radicals are the first step in the development of cancer, and adding Vitamin C to your diet may prevent cancer altogether. Lemons contain flavonol glycosides and limonene, two cancer-fighting antioxidants amongst the twenty-two that are found in this fruit.

  1. Lemons may be used to prevent ear infections in dogs.

Ear infections are one of the most common health problems encountered in dogs, and the number one reason pet owners visit a veterinarian. Using a natural remedy like a lemon flush in the ears may prevent future ear infections from occurring due to its acidity. It’s particularly useful for dogs who swim on a frequent basis. However, this needs to be discussed with a vet and you should never attempt to do this without vet supervision.

  1. Lemons assist in the absorption of critical nutrients.

Not only does lemon have a high concentration of Vitamin C, but it also has Vitamin B3, Vitamin E, selenium, and potassium. Each of these vitamins and minerals – and especially Vitamin C – work to help the dog’s body absorb nutrients more efficiently which causes body functions to run normally. This is particularly the case for iron absorption which, in human trials with consuming lemons, was shown to help prevent anemia.

  1. Lemons may help stimulate weight loss in dogs.

Lemons have a lot of pectin fiber which stops hunger pains from occurring. Additionally, studies have shown some weight loss associated with alkaline diets, and because of the alkaline content within lemons, this fruit may be used as a means to help your dog shed some extra pounds as was observed in studies with people and mice.

  1. Lemons may promote strong teeth and bones.

The high quantity of Vitamin C in lemons may help a dog’s body to absorb and metabolize calcium, strengthening teeth and bones. Also, a diet high in Vitamin C is likely to promote a less than friendly environment for bacteria to grow and thrive (as is true for cancers), especially in the mouth, effectively washing away bacteria and plaque.

  1. Lemons may help eradicate dog acne.

Some puppies and dogs of certain breeds, such as Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Boxers, are prone to developing acne on their lips or chin. Using lemon with green tea to dab gently on the acne may help to fight off this skin condition, but this needs to be discussed with a veterinarian and done under vet’s supervision.

So, can dogs have lemons?

The bottom line here is that while yes, dogs can eat lemons, we aren’t sure of any proven benefits of feeding this fruit to our dogs. It’s possible that some of the proven benefits of lemons in mice and people can be applied to dogs, but this remains to be seen. If you want to feed your dog a few slices of lemon, it’s totally fine and it should not upset your dog’s stomach or have any other issues. But we don’t know yet if there’s a reason to feed this fruit to dogs at all.

3 Side Effects of Lemons for Dogs

Are lemons bad for dogs in any instances? Yes, absolutely – they can be dangerous to dogs when consumed in larger quantities, or for dogs with certain health conditions. Here are some of the possible side effects of feeding dogs lemons.

  1. Too many lemons may lead to psoralens toxicity in dogs.

The acidic citrus levels in lemons are often too much for some dogs to even taste, but there are also some dogs who will eat anything they can get their mouths on, no matter how sour or bitter the taste. Too much citrus may develop into psoralens toxicity. If your dog has ingested a lot of lemons, look for these symptoms of toxicosis:

  • Gastrointestinal distress (vomiting, diarrhea)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inability to stand or walk
  • Rashes in the groin area
  • Liver failure
  1. Lemon peels, seeds and plant can be very dangerous for dogs.

While the whole lemon fruit may be safe to dogs in small amounts, the peel or skin of lemon is a severe choking hazard, primarily but not exclusively for smaller breed dogs. A large piece of peel can easily obstruct the gastrointestinal tract. The lemon plant itself can also be toxic to dogs.

While a lemon seeds aren’t dangerous to dogs in terms of their content, they can irritate the digestive system of any dog with gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, and otherwise become a choking hazard for dogs.

  1. Lemon juice is not appropriate for dogs.

The acidity in lemon juice can cause severe stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. You should not give your dog lemon juice for any reason.

Can Dogs Eat Lemons?

So can dogs eat lemons safely? In small amounts – yes, you can give your pooch a few slices of whole lemon. But while dogs can eat lemons, it’s generally not encouraged unless carefully monitored for amount, and even then we must question the reason why would anyone given a dog lemon.

Most dogs won’t enjoy the taste of lemons anyway. We also aren’t sure if there’s any real benefits from feeding lemons to dogs, even if studies with mice and people demonstrate them. Finally, you should never give your dog lemon juice and in generally, maybe stick to safer and actually beneficial fruits (like banana or raspberries) that are good for dogs, or any other human foods that are proven healthy to canines.




Before it happened to my dog, I didn’t know the signs of bloat in dogs. Nor did I realize how serious and life-threatening it is.

Unfortunately, now I know way too much about canine bloat!

Bloat kills about 30% of the dogs it affects — and it’s how my beloved Golden Retriever, Beau, died.

Bloat can kill a dog within minutes. It is a true medical emergency that requires immediate veterinary treatment. Even with immediate care, 25% to 40% of dogs with bloat do not survive. Source

We got Beau as a puppy before we had children. He was our baby. He had an amazing disposition and personality.

Do you know the signs of bloat in dogs? Look for a distended stomach... and the other symptoms mentioned in this article.

He loved the water and loved our first baby so much that his favorite place to sleep was under the crib.

One night shortly after eating his dinner, going for a family walk, and playing with the neighbor’s dog… Beau seemed a tiny bit more subdued than normal. We also noticed that he was trying to vomit, but nothing was coming up. We gave him some water and he seemed a bit better, then it was time for bed.

What happened next — over the course of 36 hours — was devastating.

What follows is my story of losing our dog unexpectedly to bloat and:

  • Signs of bloat in dogs that you should watch for.
  • Tips for preventing bloat in dogs.
  • What to expect if your vet tells you that your dog’s stomach has twisted.
  • Some dog bloat treatment options.


5 Important Things You Need To Know About Bloat In Dogs:

#1 – You might not even know your dog has bloat.

The term bloat in dogs could just as easily be called a twisted stomach.

Sounds painful, right? It is.

Dog bloat — also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex —  is a medical and surgical emergency.

Here’s what happens during a gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV):

As the stomach flips, it drags the spleen and pancreas along with it, cutting off the blood flow. The oxygen-starved pancreas produces some very toxic hormones. One, in particular, targets the heart and stops it cold. In fact, a dog can go through successful treatment and seem to be out of danger, when suddenly the heart stops. Source

That is exactly what happened to my beloved Beau.

We had no idea that his stomach had twisted — or how it had become twisted. He was treated quickly, survived life-saving surgery, but died from a heart attack the next day.

#2 – Know the signs — and call your vet immediately if you suspect bloat.

This is the MOST important thing to remember.

In our case, it was 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, and we didn’t call the vet. As it turns out… neither do most people.

Some of the signs of bloat in dogs are easy to miss. Beau was dry heaving and I thought it must have been a blade of grass or something bothering him.

He did seem slightly lethargic, but it was at the end of a day, and he had played hard with the neighbor’s Newfoundland… and it was bedtime!

We went to bed as usual — something I regret to this day. I awoke to find Beau curled up in between the back of the toilet and the wall. This was super odd as he usually slept at the foot of the bed, or on the floor on my side of the bed.

I called the vet and little did I know I was describing the symptoms of bloat. She told me to get him in the car and to bring him to her ASAP.

TIP: One of the most obvious symptoms of bloat in dogs is an enlarged abdomen — but Beau’s stomach was not at all distended.

You may also see these signs of bloat in dogs:

  • Labored breathing.
  • Drooling a lot more than normal.
  • Trying to vomit but nothing comes up.
  • Having a rapid heartbeat, but a weak pulse.
  • Having a pale nose and mouth (might even look whiteish — which is a sign of shock).

Beau was in the early stages of canine shock, and we didn’t even know it.

Here’s a super helpful step-by-step chart showing what to do right away if you suspect bloat.

This video shows how to check your dog’s vital signs:

#3 – Even if you treat the bloat, your dog might still die.

If there’s any suspicion of bloat, take your dog to the nearest vet hospital. If the stomach has twisted, then emergency surgery is the only option.

The only way to treat it is to go into their abdomen surgically and untwist the stomach. The stomach is then sutured to the body wall to prevent it from twisting again. This is called a gastropexy. Source

According to our veterinarian, most of the dogs with bloat she saw in her office were already in shock and didn’t usually survive the surgery. She stated that most owners don’t recognize the signs of bloat in time — and the sad truth is that most often her clients thought their dogs were just tired. They would leave for work and come home to an unresponsive (or deceased) pet.

So after patting us on the back (literally), she told us Beau needed emergency surgery to try to flip the stomach back around, and she was going to have to staple it to the inside of his body so that it wouldn’t be likely to happen again.

So we signed the papers to allow all necessary measures to ensure that Beau would be ok. After an excruciating afternoon waiting for the surgery results, we were thrilled to hear he made it through the surgery — and we could go see him!

NOTE: This is the part of the story where it’s hard for me not get emotional because we questioned each one of these steps during (and after) Beau died.

After Beau had his life-saving surgery for bloat:

  • We were told we had to transport our dog to an emergency 24-hour vet — because our vet that performed the surgery was not able to stay open overnight and monitor his progress. Let me reiterate… we were told WE HAD TO TRANSPORT our Beau who was in post-surgical critical condition.
  • Beau was unhooked from his life-saving monitoring devices and fluid bags and we drove him in our Jeep (bouncing and worrying that he could throw a stroke at any minute).
  • The emergency vet took Beau (he was lifted in and out of the vehicle by us) and he was again hooked up to fluids and monitoring devices. I made sure I knew everyone’s name, and they told me for the 4th time they had it under control. (I called to check on him 4 times overnight — they said he was making a “miraculous” recovery.)
  • We were told to pick him up first thing in the morning and to transport him BACK TO OUR VET — and if all went well, we would be able to take him home that very next day. That. Didn’t. Happen.

TIP: If your dog needs emergency surgery, choose a location that will stay open 24 hours. This could save your dog! Here’s how to find an emergency 24-hour vet near you.

  • We arrived to pick up Beau and take him back to our vet for continued observation and post-surgery care. He was again unhooked from all of his fluids and monitoring devices and he jumped into our car. (I remember cringing at this thinking, “How can he feel so good to jump into the car?”)
  • We arrived at the vet and he was hooked back up to monitoring devices and fluids after he went to the bathroom with me outside. I had to go to work and was going to check on him at lunch (I worked about 5 minutes down the street). When I left he was sitting in his crate in the vet’s office.
  • I walked across the street to get a cup of coffee — and was called when I was in line to order — that he had just died from a heart attack and I should come right back. I think he waited until I left the building — he was special that way.

#4 – Preventing bloat in dogs is very difficult to do, but it’s good to know the risk factors.

The most common denominator among dogs who’ve experienced bloat is anatomical — being a larger, deep-chested dog.

Here’s a list of dog breeds that are more susceptible to bloat. Just keep in mind… while the dogs on that light might be more susceptible, they’re not the only breeds to suffer from bloat. And small dogs can get bloat too!

Breeds with deep chest cavities — such as German Shepherds, Dobermans, Greyhounds and Great Danes — are more likely than others to develop a GDV. This is because of their anatomy, where the deep chest means their stomach is suspended in the abdomen — like a hammock from 2 trees. If there is a weight in the stomach (i.e., food) and the dog then rolls or goes for a run, the stomach swings on its mountings and potentially flips over. The twisted stomach is a sealed unit, and gas produced as a result of digestion cannot escape. Thus pressure builds up inside the stomach, causing it to swell. The blood supply to the twisted stomach is cut off, and this piece of bowel rapidly dies off. A combination of toxins, circulatory collapse, organ failure and shock means this condition is almost certainly fatal without treatment. Source

Other risk factors that increase the chances of your dog developing bloat include:

  • Having a close canine relative that has experienced GDV.
  • Having a rambunctious personality.
  • Being stressed.
  • Eating only one meal per day.
  • Eating very quickly.

The likelihood that your dog will have an incident of bloat increases with age — there is a 20% increase in risk with each year of age.

#5 – Bloat is often deadly — but it’s not your fault.

We don’t know exactly why GDV happens. Some people do all of the “wrong” things, and their dogs don’t experience it, while some do all of what we think are the “right” things, and their dogs do. Source

Beau died after extremely intensive treatment and life-saving surgery to flip his twisted stomach.

The surgery was around $2,500, and we also had to pay for the overnight care. Of course, money was insignificant at the time — we just wanted our Beau to survive.

So, we’ll never really know what caused Beau’s stomach to twist, but our vet did tell us a few things that might have contributed to our dog’s bloat:

  • We only fed him one meal a day and it was dinner.
  • We allowed him to play rigorously with another dog shortly after eating.

Constantly watching for the signs of bloat in dogs can seem overwhelming — like you always have to be on high alert. But it’s worth it!

The Bottom Line (And Some Good News!)

Canine bloat is a serious, life-threatening condition that you cannot prevent — you can only watch your dog closely and try to eliminate as many risk factors as possible.

Now that you know the risk factors and signs of bloat in dogs, you have a better idea of what to watch for!

What does seem to help is feeding your dog more than once daily — 2 to 4 times is ideal. Slowing down the rate at which your dog eats using food puzzles also may help. Avoid high fat diets or those with added oils high on the ingredient list. If your dog is at risk, consider having preventive surgical gastropexy performed. Age, breed, family history, fear or stress, food gulpering, and once daily feedings all seem to be more important factors [than the type of dog food you’re serving] in the development of bloat and GDV. If you have a large- or giant-breed dog, talk to your veterinarian about how to reduce the chances your dog will develop this terrifying situation. Now go get a food puzzle and use it 2 or more times a day. Source

Now a bit of good news…

Since losing Beau to bloat, I’ve changed some routines for Bella — who is my best companion these days. I also keep an eye out for signs of bloat in dogs (mine and others… I can’t help myself).

I've changed Bella's eating routine since learning of symptoms of bloat in dogs.

Bella will eat her food very quickly — if I let her.

So, to reduce the chances of Bella getting bloat, I…

  • Feed her 2 small meals during the day, rather than 1 large meal.
  • Try to get her to eat slowly. (There are dog food bowls that help dogs eat more slowly.)
  • Limit her activity, as best I can, right after eating.
  • Monitor her behavior for about 30 minutes after mealtime.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not perfect or necessarily diligent at meal time — every single time — but I do my best.

If your dog gobbles up her food like Bella does, try one of these slow feed dog bowls.

And here’s some more good news: some dogs do survive!

This video provides a great description of bloat and how a dog named Hazel survived her bout with bloat:

And finally, check out this happy ending for a dog named Griff, who battled with GDV.

Hopefully, I’ve lessened your anxiety and you’ve learned something about what dog bloat is, why it happens, and how it’s treated — so if the unthinkable happens, you’ll get right in the car, head to the vet, and yours will be one of the dogs that survive.

I’m a health nut, a frugal mom, a dog lover, a DIYer, and a gadget girl. Personally, as a post-divorce, working single mom on a budget I have a lot of experiences that I enjoy sharing so others can learn from the things I wish I knew earlier! Professionally, I’ve worked full-time in a variety of marketing, sales, and editing jobs. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as Managing Editor at The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).


A New Dog in the Home  credit: cesarsway.com

Bringing a new dog into the family can be a tough job. Unlike humans, new dogs don’t adjust to a change of environment quickly. They are always on the defensive, suspicious of the new faces they have come to meet, and sometime they can be aggressive.

As a new owner, it is your duty to easily get your new dog to love you, your family and your home. This is more important when you have a dog already, and also when you have a kid in the house who does not understand the nature of a new dog but think it is another playmate.

Back in the day of wild canines, dog evolution was in the “paws” of the wild canines.

Today, humans manipulate characteristics and have changed the face of the first domesticated wolves that became companions. By neotenizing (to cause a breed to retain immature or juvenile characteristics or features, even as adults), we have even manipulated breeds to be able to communicate efficiently with one another.

Deborah Goodwin, John Bradshaw, and Stephen Wickens, researchers from the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Southampton in Great Britain, studied ten breeds of dogs and how they communicate and form sociability; look it up because it is fascinating!

To summarize, our manipulation of characteristics has created numerous problems, not only physically (in the form of dysplasia and disease), it has also created problems with communication and sociability between breeds and individuals.

For instance, did you know that terriers are bred to show dominant traits and not get along with other dogs (especially other terriers and other dogs like them)? This means it is crucial to know the characteristics of the dog you have and the dog you are looking at adding to your household.

It may not be smart to have two very dominant Staffordshire Terriers or Bull Terriers in the same household. And, if you are determined to make it work, it may take a lot in the form of control and maintenance when it comes to the humans in the house.

It’s true, some dogs can’t get along no matter what you do, nor the medication applied.
These dogs have a desire to kill one another on sight, and it is challenging to maintain dogs like this safely. Many breeders know how it is to live with this dynamic, because most often the dogs are of the same sex.

It is crucial that these dogs never have access to one another or meet face to face. Just the other day, a client was telling me that one dog broke out of it’s crate, then hit the other dog’s crate like a bull until it broke the other dog out so that they could fight.

Stories like that amaze me, but it certainly happens. The average dog owner does not have what it takes, nor the desire to live this lifestyle.

Some Tips on How to Safely Add Dogs to Your Household

Safely Add Dogs to Your Household. Credit: lovemydogblog.com

Know Your Breeds (again, don’t put two very dominant breeds together)

Puppies Are Usually Easier to Integrate (make sure you take the time to train the new puppy!)

Do NOT Adopt or Buy Siblings (siblings often grow up to have dominance problems and fights, even though they got along as puppies)

If Your Adult Dog HATES Puppies, Don’t Get a Puppy (some adults just hate puppies, so it might be easier to find an older or calm adult dog)

Don’t Assume Fighting Will Dissipate (many people see early aggression and discount it. Listen to what the dogs are trying to tell you. It is easier to immediately send a dog or puppy back before you spend weeks getting attached)

Insist On Control From the Beginning

Exercise Makes For Tired Dogs and Less Conflict

To live harmoniously with two dogs that don’t necessarily care for one another takes a very involved and very controlling owner.

The dog must understand his boundaries and what will be tolerated.

Ironically, I have two dogs that don’t like one another.

They haven’t liked one another from day one, yet they tolerate each other because they both love and respect me.

I stop any hard or inappropriate play, immediately!

I don’t allow them to stiffen and posture over one another.

I don’t even allow them to shoot each other “stink eye” without letting them know that I see it.

By stepping in early, it dissipates the situation and prevents it from escalating.

Control Requires Obedience
Control, by definition, requires obedience.

If I have not taught the dogs obedience, they have not learned to control themselves, even without distractions.

How then, could I expect the dog to listen when he is enraged or focused on something besides me?

Obedience is the key to keeping your pack functioning without fights.

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Kid-Friendly Dog

Help Your Kids Welcome and Get Along With a New Dog. Credit: luckypuppymag.com

Almost half of American households have a dog.

While they are often called “man’s best friend” that doesn’t mean all dogs a perfect match for kids. Before your family grows to include both dogs and children, consider which breed will fit best into your happy home.

Some breeds are better than others at making playmates for children. In addition, your lifestyle will play a big role in deciding how big and how active a dog is best.

Use this guide to help you pick the perfect furry companion for your family.

What Size is Best?

When considering what kind of dog is right for your family, size is a great place to begin the conversation.

Think about the amount of space you have available in your home or yard for the dog to play. Small dogs make much better apartment animals than large pets.

If you have a lot of open room, a large dog might be the perfect pet to run around with your child.

There are other important things to remember when considering how your new dog’s size matches your lifestyle.

Smaller dogs may be more fragile if your kid is rough in his or her play habits. Larger dogs may not know their own strength and be too aggressive accidentally.

How Active is Your Family?
Certain breeds require more attention and exercise than others. Before you decide which dog makes sense for your family, think about how much time you’ll be able to actively spend with them.

Beagles and terriers make great companions for kids that have a ton of energy. They’ll happily play and run around all day.

Boxers are also really playful and energetic as well if you’re considering a larger dog.

It’s important to make sure your dog gets proper exercise and attention or its playfulness can become restlessness.

Likewise, consider the grooming needs of your pet. You’ll need to factor this time into your lifestyle or it may affect your dog’s behavior.

The last thing you need in a house full of dogs and children is a lot of barking and frustration. Choosing the right breed can help eliminate this before it ever becomes a problem.

The Temperament of Your Dogs and Children Matter
You don’t get to pick your kid’s temperament, but you can choose your pet based on its attitude.

Your dog needs to be patient, calm, and friendly to make a good companion for a kid.

Bulldogs are very patient and loving of children. They’re strong enough to take a good amount of rough play and keep coming back for more.

They can also be protective, a trait you’ll need to watch to make sure it stays healthy.

Retrievers are also great for kids because of their friendly nature and eagerness to please.

Think about how your children like to play. If they’re more outgoing and adventurous, choose a dog that can keep up with them.

What About Mutts?
Often the best canine companion for children isn’t a pure breed.

A mixed breed, or mutt, can make a great pet because the process of combining the genes of different species tends to mellow out the wildest traits of each individual breed.

There is evidence that mutts are healthier in some cases, as well.

Mutts are often easygoing and loyal. And they can have fun and unique coats and character traits that make them one of a kind.

Consider adopting a mixed breed dog to add to your family. Here are 5 reasons why adopting is a great option.

The Best Pet is a Loved Pet
Dogs and children brighten up any home.

And whichever breed you select, your pup will benefit from the pampering we provide. Whether your pet needs a grooming or an overnight stay, they will be comfortable and well taken care of.

Make a reservation for your furry friend at our resort today!





Socks, slippers, sandals, boots… we humans have many ways of protecting our feet, but our dogs really don’t! Sure, you can try to put booties over your pup’s paws, but even if they don’t kick them off, those precious pads can still get dry and cracked.

In addition to coming into direct contact with all types of surfaces and terrain, pooches sweat through their paws and depend on them to absorb shock (remember – they don’t have sneakers for that!). Our dogs’ paws go through a lot, and if they become split and cracked, it can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort.

If your four-legged friend has chronically dry, irritated paws, make sure to take him to the vet: this could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency, an allergy, or even a serious medical issue. But if he’s given an otherwise clean bill of health, you can help keep his paw pads healthy and moisturized with a few simple steps!

Common Causes:

1. Hot Pavement

When the weather gets warm, the pavement can get hot! Many people don’t realize that our pups’ paws are actually quite sensitive, but it’s true: if the ground is too hot to leave your palm on for just a few seconds, it can scorch and burn Fido’s feet. But even if the sidewalk isn’t sizzling, that toasty surface can suck the moisture right out of his paws!

2. Wintery Conditions

Likewise, chilly weather can cause paw pads to dry out. In addition to snow, ice, wind, and frigid temperatures, sidewalks and roads are often coated with irritants like sand and salt.

3. Chemicals

Adding to the point above, the salt used to melt ice in the wintertime isn’t the stuff you keep on your table — it can contain chemicals. When spring rolls around, the fertilizer on your lawn or garden can irritate your dog’s paws. And believe it or not, it’s possible that he’s sensitive to your household cleaners, especially those used on your floors or carpets.

4. Allergic Reactions

It may come as a surprise, but dogs can suffer from environmental allergies, just like us humans! The big difference is, their paws are completely exposed to these irritants because they don’t wear shoes! Believe it or not, food allergies can also lead to paw irritation. Sometimes these allergies make your dog’s feet itch, leading to compulsive nibbling and chewing that may result in painful infections or dry, cracked pads.

Natural Remedies:

1. Prevention 

By taking a few precautions, you can help prevent paw pad irritation in the first place! If the temperatures are extreme and your pooch will cooperate and wear booties, this is a great way to keep those feet protected against inclement weather. If not, avoid walks on hot pavement and try to circumvent areas that are covered in salt in the winter. If the latter can’t be avoided, make sure to wipe your dog’s feet off as soon as he comes indoors. (Note: you don’t want to risk him licking that stuff off, either!)

If it’s an allergy or sensitivity causing your pup’s paws to dry out, consult with your vet about diet changes, supplements, or prescription meds, and try changing your floor cleaners to ones free of chemicals and/or fragrances.

But if your pooch already has dry, cracked paws, try…

2. Shea Butter

This popular ingredient is known for its moisturizing properties, for both humans and dogs! This all-natural substance is actually fat from nuts that grow on the African shea tree, but it does wonders for hydrating and soothing dry skin and paws. Shea butter is a wonderful solution because it’s non-toxic to dogs, so while they shouldn’t lick it off before it gets a chance to moisturize and sink in, it won’t hurt them if they do.

3. Coconut Oil

Like shea butter, coconut oil is natural and safe to use on your pup. It’s known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and moisturizing properties, and can be used as a homemade treatment for a multitude of skin issues. It may be hard to keep your dog from lapping it off their paws, though — especially if you already use it as a meal supplement or a toothpaste — but the longer it sits, the better it can help soothe irritation!

4. Calendula 

This multitasking herb is derived from a flower and known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied in a gel form, and is a common ingredient in soothing salves because of its efficacy.

5. Omega Fatty Acids

These multitasking nutrients can ease allergies, calm inflammation, and help restore the natural oils in your dog’s skin and coat, providing relief from his tail to his paws. Consider getting a supplement free of common food allergens such as gluten, grain, and soy. As always, consult with your vet before making any dietary changes or additions.

6. Water

It’s always important for your furry companions to stay hydrated, but it’s key if they’re suffering from dry skin or paws. After all, how can those feet retain moisture if their body is thirsty? Try to encourage your pooch to lap up a little extra by keeping his water dish full and fresh.

7. All Natural Paw Balm

A tin of non-toxic, pet-friendly paw balm that melts into paws can help your pup’s paws heal much faster.

Our Nature’s Butter™ Paw Balm is made from 100% all natural, ethically sourced, pet-safe butters and essential oils, poured by hand on a family farm in Northern Minnesota. This balm features ultra-hydrating ingredients that lock in moisture in layers, including some of the beneficial materials listed above. Not only does this balm ease discomfort, it can offer protection from further irritation. Part of our new line of soothing and moisturizing dog-safe balms. To learn more about the Nature’s Butter™ collection, click here.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.

Tags: allergies, cracked, dry, health, irritation, paws, products

This new photo series of dog portraits is knocking our socks off. How often are you thisclose to a sweet doggy face (and not also getting a faceful of slobbery kisses?)

Photographer Chona Kasinger recently cruised the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show in search of compelling dog faces, and boy, did she find them. From shockingly human, to highly boop-able, to downright cherubic, these are the mesmerizing results of her experiment.

Photo: Chona Kasinger

Sure, you’re a dog person, and maybe you can recognize at least a few different breeds on sight. But things change when you get up close and personal, as these fascinating photos show. When you get down to eye level with a dog, a much bigger story unfolds,

Close-Up Photos of Dogs

Think you know your dog breeds? These dog portraits just might make you think again.

Yorkshire Terrier

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Bassett Hound

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Belgian Shepherd

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

St. Bernard

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Portuguese Water Dog

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Dogue de Bordeaux

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Cocker Spaniel

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Shetland Sheepdog

Photo: Chona Kasinger

Jack Russell Terrier

Photo: Chona Kasinger

Old English Sheepdog

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

Siberian Husky

Photo: Chona Kasinger


Photo: Chona Kasinger

About the Photos

These dogs were participating in the annual Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show. For one weekend every year, dogs of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds take Seattle’s major sports’ stadium by storm. The SKC Dog Show showcases a vast array of very good dogs as well as myriad opportunities to learn about them.

Yes, there are agility trials and “meet the breed” events, but the best part is enjoying the company of thousands of dogs at once.