4 Natural Sources For Glucosamine – And Why Your Dog Needs It

You may have heard of glucosamine, especially if you have an older dog. Perhaps you’ve seen the word written in bold on supplement bottles and special kibble formulas. But what is this compound, and what can it do for your pooch?

Glucosamine actually refers to the combination of glucose and glutamine, a simple sugar and an amino acid respectively, and it helps build cartilage and tissue in your pet’s joints. That’s why glucosamine-enhanced products are often marketed toward senior dogs who may need extra support to avoid getting too stiff and achey as they age.

But while promises of a glucosamine-rich diet may be plastered all over the packages of big-name pet food brands, the sad truth is, most of these labels are very misleading. You see, these kibbles may be enriched with glucosamine, but often the concentration is so low, you’d need to feed your dog dozens of cups of food – per day – for her joints to benefit! Of course, no caring pet parent would do that.

So what’s the alternative? You can incorporate cartilage-heavy foods into Fido’s diet, or you can give him a supplement to support joint health. Wondering what specific sources naturally contain glucosamine? Here are some major ones:

1. Shellfish shells (lobster, shrimp, crab)

2. Beef trachea

3. Chicken feet

4. Pork tails

As mentioned above, glucosamine is present in foods that contain a lot of cartilage, and obviously, this may be tricky for busy pet parents to keep on hand! If you don’t have any spare lobster shells or chicken feet lying around, don’t worry; a tasty, high-quality supplement will do just fine.

The fact is, almost all dogs could benefit from a boost of this essential compound, especially those that are prone to joint issues. That’s why iHeartDogs developed glucosamine-rich chews and bone broth in order to offer pet parents a healthy and convenient way to supplement their dog’s diets. Joint issues are some of the most common ailments that afflict canines, but with some awareness and precaution, we can help our most loyal companions live as comfortably as possible!

The best part is, as you’re helping your own dog, you’re also helping shelter pets live healthier lives. The purchase of each of these products helps fund healthy meals for pups who are waiting for their forever homes.

Tags: dog, glucosamine, product, senior, supplement

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Saved From The Junkyard, This Pit Bull Is Now A Front Porch Princess

Chained inside a junkyard for years, this eight-year-old pit bull had lost her trust for humans. People called her “mean” and “gross,” but two roommates couldn’t watch her life be wasted on the wrong side of a chain link fence. They decided to rescue her, but helping a dog that has been neglected and mistreated for years is never simple.

Image Source: Imgur/killsley

On the first day outside of the junkyard, the roommates had to muzzle her while they tried to get her collar off. She was afraid to be touched, but the collar she’d been wearing for years was digging into her neck. When it was finally removed, it was caked in mud and blood and revealed a large wound that had been left to fester.

With her collar off, the long process of recovery and building trust started. She refused to walk through doors and was nervous about being inside. If anyone tried to approach her, she would growl and show her teeth.

Image Source: Imgur/killsley

It took weeks to see improvement, but the dog’s rescuers refused to believe it when people said she couldn’t be saved. They were patient and kind, and more importantly, they didn’t give up. One of the rescuers wrote on Imgur,

“I won’t lie and say I was 100% convinced this dog could be saved, but I sure as hell was going to try.”

After a month, the former junkyard dog finally felt safe enough to be pet. She was still uncomfortable inside, but she found solace in her new favorite spot on the front porch. With more time, she let her rescuers get closer and closer. Eventually, she was sitting in their laps and attacking them with kisses.

Image Source: Imgur/killsley

It was suddenly obvious that the dog no one believed in was ready and willing to start life over again. But before she could really move on, she needed a name. The first time she laid her head in her new owner’s lap was when they officially called her Princess. Her owner said,

“Even if she’s past her prime, she deserved the princess treatment.”

It wasn’t easy to help this junkyard dog find her way to being a front porch princess, but her story is proof that with love and patience, dogs can learn to trust again.

Featured Image Source: Imgur/killsley

Tags: dog rescue, junkyard dog, pit bull, rescue story

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Top 10 Most Popular Dog Names

One of the biggest dilemmas a new dog owner has is what to name their new pup. Do you let the kids pick and end up with a dog named Dora, Thomas or Waldo? Do you choose a name based on a character from your favorite movie, book or television show? Or do you go the more traditional route with the basics like Fido or Fluffy?

Looking at the top 10 most popular names for both male and female dogs from 2016, it looks like the choices in dog names is a mix of traditional and new. This list, compiled by dogtime.com, shows that when it comes to popular dog names, there is still a wide array of interesting names perfect for anyone looking for a moniker for their new puppy.

Top 10 Female Dog Names

  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Molly
  4. Daisy
  5. Maggie
  6. Sophie
  7. Sadie
  8. Chloe
  9. Bailey
  10. Lola

Top 10 Male Dog Names

  1. Bailey
  2. Max
  3. Charlie
  4. Buddy
  5. Rocky
  6. Jake
  7. Jack
  8. Toby
  9. Cody
  10. Buster

Whether you go the classic route or try to come up with an original name, just remember some key points when coming up with the perfect name for your dog. Consider a name that starts with a hard-sounding letter, ends with a soft-sounding letter and doesn’t sound like dog command words like “sit” or “stay.” Keeping that in mind will help your dog learn and understand their name as quickly as possible.

If you are picking a name for your dog that is a tribute to your Aunt Agnes, be sure to check with Aunt Agnes first. She may not appreciate having a dog named after her (no matter how cute that pup may be).

Overall, naming your dog is a personal choice. Just be sure that whichever name you choose, it’s one that everyone can live with, including your pup.

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Five Million People (and Counting) Have Watched this DIY Dog Project Video

In just over a week, almost 5 million people have watched this video on how to build a dog food dispenser. All it takes, basically, is cardboard and hot glue. Is it practical? That’s debatable. However, the video is oddly satisfying to watch.

It shows all the steps, from concept to finished project, in just under 4 minutes. You won’t find yourself skipping ahead to the end!

In all honesty, my own dogs would joyfully disassemble this dispenser, and leave nothing but the jar licked clean. Do you think your dog could learn to love a crafty food dispenser like this?

DIY Dog Food Dispenser Tutorial

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About Kiki Kane

Kiki Kane is a lifelong animal lover owned by two rescue dogs, a cat, and a horse. She has been blogging professionally since 2009.

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Woman Leaves Hilarious List Of Rules For Her Dog-Sitting Nephew

Is there anything more stressful than trusting your furbabies to another human? Children can call or text if there is a problem, but our dogs are entirely at the mercy of their caretakers! While leaving a list of Do’s & Don’ts can help ensure peace of mind, Tommy Rivers’ aunt may have taken it a bit too far! Clearly uneasy about leaving her precious pup Pepper in Tommy’s hands, she created a very detailed list of expectations – and restrictions – for her young nephew.

Luckily Tommy has a great sense of humor and a Twitter account! He shared the list with his followers this past weekend and it has since gone viral.

Here’s a closer look…

Take Care Of Pepper

As you can see, Auntie’s list of Do’s are a bit finicky, but don’t all pawrents want the best for their pets? She asks that Tommy preserve Pepper’s girlish figure by avoiding carbs and only giving bones every other day. Reasonable.

She also lists what specific types of affection Tommy should provide to Pepper – big hugs, little kisses, sniffs and belly rubs. Certainly quirky, but very cute!

Then we get to Auntie’s list of Don’ts. Pepper is never to be yelled at, physically harmed in any way, or let out of Tommy’s sight for a moment! And why, you may wonder, would a nice young man like Tommy ever do anything to upset little Pepper’s world? Well, the last item on the list may give us some insight: Jealousy!

“And most important……..,”  Auntie writes. “Don’t you Hate her cause you Ain’t her!”

Needless to say, the Twitterverse is 100% in Auntie’s corner!

It seems that Pepper found the comments from her 800+ new fans pleasing!

But surely she will be even happier when her mom gets home to spoil her personally!

Featured Images via Twitter/@TommyRivers

Tags: dog sitter, funny story, tweets, twitter

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Is Your Dog A Picky Eater? Try These 6 Tips & Tricks!

When it comes to food, there are two types of dogs: those who live to eat and those who eat to live.

If your pooch lives to eat, pickiness is definitely not a problem in your household!

But for dogs who aren’t motivated by food, convincing them to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet can be quite a challenge.

Image Credit: Flickr | Andrew Vargas

A dog’s eating personality is usually established early on, so it is best to insist on a strict feeding routine right from the start. These 6 tips can help you get off on the right foot or inspire your already-picky-pup to get back on track!

Note: Picky eating can be a symptom of a serious health problem. Dogs that have always been picky, but maintain a healthy weight, active lifestyle and a shiny coat are not as concerning as those who suddenly go off their food and have additional symptoms like a dull coat, poor energy and weight loss. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

Tip 1: Get the Entire Family on the Same Page.

Image Credit: Flickr | Paul Bettner

Are you thinking of adding a new canine family member to your household? Dr. Louise Murray, director of medicine for ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City, recommends discussing a feeding plan with the entire family first.

“You and your family need to sit down and decide what the rules will be,” Murray says. “And you must all be on the same page. If mom gives food off the plate, but dad plays by the rules, it won’t work.”

Tip 2: Don’t Feed From the Table.

Image Credit: Flickr | Ed Schipul

Fresh meat, veggies, beans and whole grains can be excellent nutrition options for your dog. Deciding to feed a raw diet, a homecooked diet, or a mixture of dog food and “human foods” is fine, but skip the rich/fatty/spicy/fried options!

Not only will table foods inspire your pup to hold out for these options over his own healthy food, they can also lead to begging, diarrhea, constipation or serious health issues like pancreatitis.

Tip 3: Keep Dog Food and People Food Separate.

Image Credit: Flickr | Jeffrey W

Want to share your healthy dinner of lean meat and fresh veggies with your dog? That’s fine! Just be sure to serve his portion in his dog bowl, not from your plate or from something you are preparing for yourself. Dogs should never associate your food with their food.

Tip 4: Stick to a Schedule.

Image Credit: Flickr | Laura Washere95

Dogs should eat anywhere from once to three times per day depending on their individual needs. Decide on a feeding schedule and stick with it. If your dog does not eat within 15 to 30 minutes, pick the food up and try again at the next scheduled meal time. Stubborn pups may hold out for something better, but if they get hungry enough, they will eat!

Tip #5: Provide One or Two Healthy Options, Not A Full Menu.

Image Credit: Flickr | Deb West

Dr. Murray says that the reason for a dog’s picky eating habits can usually be found by looking in the mirror.

“If you asked your child would she rather eat spinach or a Twinkie, the answer is obvious. If you’re going to sometimes give your dog bacon for breakfast or steak from your plate, why would you blame him if he shies away from dry dog food?”

Remember, your kitchen is not a restaurant! Decide on one or two meal options that are best for your individual pup and stick with them!

Tip #6: Go Easy on the Treats.

Image Credit: Creative Commons/Live Once Live Wild

We tend to give our pups too many rewards in the form of food which allows them to turn up their nose at dog food and wait for treats and table scraps instead. Every little morsel outside of meal time helps quell their hunger and inspire pickiness. Instead of a treat after every potty break, try rewarding them with a brief play session or a good old-fashioned “Atta boy!”

H/T to WebMD Pets

Featured Image via Flickr | Megumi

Tags: diet, dog care tips, dog food, dog health tips, eating disorder, picky eater, tips for dog owners

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What Does Your Dog Say About Your Personality? [Quiz]

You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle stressful situations. How you, as a pet parent, choose to handle these dog hijinks will give insight into your personality—all of which can be revealed through this scientific quiz technology.


Never beg a friend to watch your dog again. The next time you travel, find a loving dog sitter on Rover.com. We have thousands of sitters in cities from Houston to Tampa and Portland to Sacramento. So go ahead—meet your dog’s other best friend and hit the road happy.

Search Sitters

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About Kiki Kane

Kiki Kane is a lifelong animal lover owned by two rescue dogs, a cat, and a horse. She has been blogging professionally since 2009.

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Can You Pronounce All 13 of These Unusual Dog Breed Names?

Love me, love my name! The American Kennel Club recognizes 190 dog breeds, and more foreign breeds are finding their way to our shores every day. If you’ve ever looked at a dog breed name and thrown your hands up in the air (looking at you, Xolo) or bluffed your way through it, we’ve got your back.

Check out the spelling of the dog breed, then scroll down to see the phonetic pronunciation and learn a little about each breed.

Beauceron

Pronounced Bo-ser-on. A herding and guard dog of northern France named for the Beauce region.

Belgian Malinois

Pronounced Mal-in-wa. A Belgian shepherd dog breed now best known for their use as guard dogs. Named for the city of Malines.

Coton de Tulear

Pronounced Cah-TON de Tu-lay-ahr. Named for the city of Tuléar in Madagascar and their fluffy cotton wool coat, the Coton is a playful small dog, related to the Bichon.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog


Pronounced ENT-leh-boo-cur. A member of the Sennenhund family, related to the Greater Swiss and Bernese Mountain Dog. Named for the Entlebuch region of Switzerland at the foot of the Alps.

Keeshond


Pronounced KAYZ-hon, plural Keeshonden. A medium-sized spitz dog related to the Pomeranian. Named after famous Dutch patriot Cornelis “Kees” de Gyselaer.

Kooikerhondje


Pronounced KOY-ker-hond. The name is Dutch for “little caging dog,” and the breed was first used to chase ducks into cages. A member of the Spaniel family.

Mudi


Pronounced Moodie, plural Mudik. Hungarian herding dog related to the Pumi and Puli.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen


Pronounced Puh-TEE Bah-SAY Gree-FOHN VON-day-uhn.  A small scent hound native to the  Vendée region of France bred for chasing rabbits.

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno


Pronounced Poe-DEN-go Pe-KEN-o. A  petite hunting dog bred to hunt small game in packs.  Intelligent and friendly, the Podengo also comes in a medium and large size.

Schipperke


Pronounced SKIP-er-kee. Schipperke means “little shepherd”  in their home country of Belgium. This mischievous little dog requires lots of exercise to stay on the straight and narrow.

Spinone Italiano


Pronounced Spin-OH-nay Ih-tahl-YAH-no. The Spinone is a hunting, pointing, and retrieving dog hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy.

Vizsla


Pronounced VEESH-la. This Hungarian pointer is known for its beautiful red coat and sweet, loving personality.

Xoloitzcuintli


Pronounced Show-low-eats-QUEEN-tlee. The sacred dog of the Aztecs, this hairless beauty comes in three sizes in its native Mexico.

Hat tip: AKC

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The First 5 Things to Teach Your New Puppy (and When to Start)

Never underestimate a puppy’s ability to learn.

Whether you know it or not, you started training your puppy the moment you brought them home!

Since pups are rarely taken from their mothers before 6 weeks (and more often, not before 8 weeks), their training, in fact, began before you even met.

It’s never too early to train

In addition to socialization, it’s never too early to begin training other behaviors with a puppy.

These range from shaping natural behaviors like elimination to better fit in our human world, to teaching a pup their name and foundational positions.

This list can help guide you in the first weeks and months of puppy training.

Potty training

For obvious reasons, this one is an essential and, while I could write an entire article just on the nuances of how to house train a puppy, it all distills to three simple steps.

  1. Celebrate and reward when your pup potties in the correct location.
  2. If your pup goes in the wrong location and you SEE it happen, calmly interrupt them and immediately bring them to the correct location. If you do not see your pup have an accident, clean it up and hope to catch the next one. No amount of scolding will communicate what you did not like about their choice of toilet.
  3. Supervise, supervise, supervise! The more accidents your pup has that you don’t see happen, the more they learn that sometimes it’s okay to go in the house.

Guarding

Puppies have a natural inclination to protect the things they love including food, toys and friends.

Taking objects away from your puppy when they are in the middle of enjoying them only teaches them to guard these objects, not to give them up.

Instead, try redirecting your dog to another object in order to remove the first or trade them for something of high value.

Mouthing

Puppies explore the world with their mouths, which means those razor sharp little teeth are never too far away. If your pup gets forceful with their nipping, let them know.

Exclaim “ouch” and remove the body part they are chewing on for about 30 seconds.

If that doesn’t calm them, after your next “ouch,” completely separate yourself from your pup for 30 seconds to see if they are willing to calm down.

Basic obedience training

Puppies can learn all of the basic cues that older dogs can— from down to shake to roll over. Start with the two foundational behaviors of “focus” and “sit.”

To build focus, try the name game:

  • Say your dog’s name in a happy tone of voice.
  • When puppy turns towards you, say “Yes!” and reward them.
  • With a little practice, your dog will learn not only their name but that when you call them, you require their attention.

To teach sit:

  • Begin by holding your hand flat with palm facing up. In the tips of your fingers hold a tiny treat right at your puppy’s nose.
  • Slowly raise the hand above your puppy’s head. For their nose to follow the treat, it is most natural for them to lower their body into a sit.
  • As soon as that butt hits the ground, say “Yes!” and release the treat.
    Try this five times then try the same thing with no treat in your hand (still rewarding afterward).

Featured image: Zoom Room Redondo Beach

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5 Tips for Taking Your Dog to an Outdoor Festival With Total Success

Last weekend, I went to a neighborhood summer festival in Portland and met dog after dog. From a giant Labradoodle to a tiny Chihuahua, every kind of canine was represented. Some dogs looked like they were loving the crowd, but a few of them probably would have been happier at home.

Nothing says “summer fun” like an outdoor event, and when they’re dog-friendly, even better! But how can you take your dog to an outdoor festival and make sure you both have a good time?

From farmer’s markets to block party concerts, we have tips to enjoy outdoor festivals with your four-legged best friend.

1. Make sure the festival is dog-friendly

First things first: don’t take your dog to a festival unless you know for a fact dogs are allowed. Large, multi-day concert events like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza have a strict no-pet policy (excluding service dogs).

What if you can’t tell if a festival is dog-friendly or not? As much as we hate to say it, when in doubt, leave your dog at home. You don’t want to show up at a festival only to be turned away at the entrance, or put your dog in a potentially dangerous environment.

In general, small local festivals are more likely to welcome dogs. Think hyper-local: block parties and farmer’s markets have a festival vibe without the enormous crowds. Check your local newspaper or city website for options, and don’t be afraid to call or email organizers to ask about bringing your dog.

Another bonus of local festivals is that they’re, well, local! If your dog decides she’s had enough festing for the day, you can simply take her home.

2. Make sure your dog is festival-friendly

Not every dog can handle an outdoor festival. My pups are too old, cranky, and nervous to enjoy being outdoors around lots of people. Some dogs just don’t like crowds, and some crowds aren’t welcoming to dogs.

Here are some traits of a dog who can go to an outdoor festival:

  • Well-socialized with other dogs (you’re bound to see some at the fest)
  • Gets along with all types of people, including kids and unpredictable adults (outdoor festivals tend to include some intoxicated guests)
  • Comfortable in noisy environments
  • Good leash manners and recall

Before you take your dog to an outdoor festival, brush up on basic training to ensure she behaves safely in a crowd. You should also make sure her microchip and collar tags have up-to-date contact information just in case.

3. Prep for hot weather

Let’s state the obvious: summer is hot! Once you’re at a dog-friendly festival with your dog, it’s important to keep her cool. Follow general summer safety tips: stay cool, stay hydrated, and watch your dog for signs of heat stroke.

Pack these dog summer essentials in your festival bag:

In addition to being prepared for hot weather, watch your dog for signs of overheating. If you feel hot in your summer festival clothes, imagine how hot your dog feels in their fur coat.

Be prepared to take off early if the temperature gets too high.

4. Noise control

If you’re headed to the neighborhood block party with your dog, prepare for a noisy crowd and loud music. You don’t have to leave your dog at home to rock out, just keep her comfortable.

Some tips for enjoying an outdoor concert with your dog:

  • Stand far back from the speakers
  • Look for a shady spot where you can stand and see the stage, and your dog can lay down and take a break
  • Stay out of the mosh pit. There’s more room for dancing at the back of the crowd, anyhow!

You can also invest in a pair of MuttMuffs noise-reduction headphones. These noise-reducing ear muffs are designed especially to fit the curves of a dog’s head. You might want to try them on at home, first, to help your dog get used to wearing them. But they’re a great tool to make sure your dog enjoys the show as much as you do.

5. Have fun (but don’t push it)

Whether you’re hitting a big beach party or the farmer’s market down the street, outdoor festivals are a great way to enjoy summer with your dog. But your dog might not have the same stamina as you do. Remember to stick to your dog’s schedule. If they always eat dinner at 7pm, they’ll need to eat dinner at the festival at 7pm, too! Take their food with you, or plan to get home by dinner time.

When your dog looks like they’ve had enough for the day, it’s time to hit the road. Think of it this way: leaving the festival early means you’ll have more energy to enjoy the next beautiful summer day.

Preview image via flickr/kathmandu

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