How to Keep a Dog House Warm in the Winter

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Winter is Coming

Well, that escalated quickly.

Just a couple days ago it was bright and sunny, albeit slightly on the cool side, and I was raking the leaves into a pile for the four-legged kids to play in.

Now I’m standing here with a cup of coffee warming my hands, staring out at about 3 inches of snow on the ground while listening to a weatherman drone on about an overnight low expected to be around 24°.

With the change in weather comes the most-asked – and often delivered in a panicked way – question this time of the year, “How do I keep my dog house warm?”

dog outside in winter

It’s snowing!

Okay, before we get started, let me set out a few ground rules (yes – I’m setting ground rules).

We are not starting a debate on whether or not dogs should stay inside or outside during the winter – or for how long; sufficed to say if you’re not 100% sure your dog has the coat to maintain then in a cold environment, then keep them inside.

We are not discussing how canines generate their body heat – or how they disperse it.

And we’re certainly not going to discuss doggie sweaters and jackets.

We are simply discussing the best ways to insulate (or improve the insulation of) an existing dog shelter or choose a new dog house that is in an unconditioned space – specifically outside.

If ya’ll can agree to the ground rules, then lets jump in …

(Dog) Home Improvement

At the risk of stating the obvious, the first order of business is to determine if the existing structure – whatever it may be – is adequate to provide the required protection. Basically, how good is it?

Keep in mind that protection is completely dependent on your location, and the expected temperatures, so a dog house in Florida or Texas will have different requirements than one in, say, Colorado.

Because we’re pushing into the cold months, we will concentrate on protection from the cold – and not with sweaters.

A few basics for your pooch palace to take into consideration:

  • The house should be large enough to allow your dog – or dogs – to move around inside. The height should allow them to keep their heads up and not hunch over. The height should allow them access to their bed without bumping their head. They should be able to stretch out without cramping. The more dogs, the more room is required.
  • Without exception, the roof should be waterproof and extend over the opening to keep any rain from going into the house. Also, make sure the structure is set in a manner that the opening is away from the prevailing direction of incoming rain.
  • The opening should be large enough for your dog to comfortably enter and exit, without being excessive – or solid.
  • Without question, there should be some type of bed for your dog. Make sure it’s on a platform of some sort, raised up about 6″ from the floor of the house.
  • The walls, roof, and floor should be completely insulated.
  • The house needs to be windproof, period. Insulation and waterproofing are important, but wind chill can be a killer – literally.

If you find your dog house meets most of the requirements – then let’s see how we can improve it!

A homebuilt doghouse can easily be modified, and alterations should be straightforward enough to tackle in an afternoon with some help from your favorite DIY store.

Leaky roof? Start by removing all the old shingles and sub-roofing. Add a layer of insulation, lay down some water-resistant membrane, and then re-shingle. If the height isn’t quite what it needs to be, now is the perfect time to add height – before finishing off the roof.dog in snow

If the walls or floors have no insulation – or if the insulation is not what it should be – then you have the option to add the insulation and another layer on the outside of the structure, or the same on the inside.

Insulation materials can be standard fiberglass, filler, insulation board, or even bubble-wrap. In a pinch, even stuffing old blankets or towels between the layers will be better than nothing.

If your dog is a chewer, make sure that he can’t get to the insulation.

For some additional protection at the entryway, try hanging a light section of screening or plastic sheeting up to cover the opening; this will allow easy access for your pups and keep some of the outside elements where they belong – outside.

If there isn’t one, make a simple platform for a bed – and make sure the bed is able to withstand the elements. Some 2×4 legs and a plywood top are perfect, the key is to get your pup up off the ground.

If for some reason there’s no room for a platform – or you’re not able to construct one – consider purchasing a raised dog bed frame, or even a pile of straw. The key is to get your kid up off the floor.

Let There Be Heat

The danger with dog houses comes in with the northern half of the continent and snow – and the owner that gets the bright idea to add heat to the new quarters.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not against heat at all. I like toasty toes on a snowy night. Personally, I leave the house open to the yard for the pups so they can go in and out of the garage and the house  as they please, with a couple of those nifty “as seen on tv” screens up over the doorway to keep the cool weather out – you’d be amazed how much cold block they provide. But I digress …cold dog in snow

Heat’s not a bad thing. Heat’s good – especially if it’s snowing like it was last night. But where there’s heat, there’s usually electricity. And that’s where the trouble starts.

If you’re thinking about grabbing the space heater that usually camps out under your desk keeping your toes warm, you need to set it back down and back away – now.

Heating a space for your canine isn’t like heating a small area in a house, for humans. For starters, the smaller the area, the quicker the area heats up – then proceeds to quickly overheat. And that’s when we start throwing around words like “fire hazard” and “flammable”.

And don’t forget, the area also contains your dog so it’s a lot smaller once they’re in there – and the last thing you need is for that wagging tail to knock a heater over. Or burn their tail.

So where does that leave us? Well – like anything in life, it’s all about the right product for the application.

House Warming

You’ve got a few options to keep your furry friend toasty this winter. First you need to decide if you’re going to do it yourself or just buy something premade.

DIY

If you’re in the do-it-yourself kind (or know someone handy around the toolbox) then building a doghouse should be right up your alley. It’s really not much different from a treehouse or kids playhouse, and there are tons of plans on the internet.

And you can paint it to match your house.

But if, like the rest of us, you’re less of a builder and more of a buyer, then a little research and shopping is in your foreseeable future.

Insulated Dog Houses

When shopping for a new dog house, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re shopping for Fido – and not for a lawn accessory. Try not to fall for the lure of “it’s so cute” or “it matches the garage”. The overall look of the structure is really on the bottom of the list of requirements.

  1. Make sure the overall interior is large enough for your dog to move around.
    insulated dog house

    This one comes with a floor heater

  2. Ensure that it is fully insulated. If it doesn’t state fully insulated – then it’s not.
  3. You will need to set the house on blocks to get it up off the ground, so the base should be sturdy enough to handle it.
  4. Windows look nice, but are not for all climates so try not to fall for them. Windows, at best, allow for air leaks in colder climates. At worst – they let in the rain as well.
  5. Go for rain and wind proof. Not resistant – remember that resistant can resist to some degree, but that’s it. A wind proof and rainproof structure will block the wind and rain completely.
  6. Something should cover the opening – if there’s not an easy access then make sure you can hang a screen or vertical plastic strips to protect the opening and allow easy in and out. Avoid solid or doggie-doors; snowfall can block these and trap your pet inside or outside.
  7. Let’s be honest – porches are nice. You like ’em, I like ’em, and we know the dogs like to lounge on ’em. So, feel free to splurge on a house with a porch – just make sure it’s a covered porch.

Finding an appropriate doghouse basically comes down to one test; if you and a sleeping bag can handle it overnight and be relatively comfortable (well – except for the whole size thing…) then it’s going to be warm enough for your four-legged kid.

Check out more insulated dog houses

Dog House Heaters

dog house heaterThat’s right, there are heaters specifically designed for heating dog houses. You might also hear them called “dog house furnaces”. As my mother would say, “six of one, half a dozen of another”.

At around 100 bucks, they aren’t cheap but these, obviously, are the best option to heat your dog house since they are made to do just that.

There is a bit of installation so get ready to pull out your toolbox or call your neighbor.

Some benefits of using a dog house heater are;

  • There is generally some protection or guard to keep your pup from getting his nose into the heating element
  • Since they are designed to heat small areas, you won’t risk overheating the space
  • The cords are wrapped, protected, and usually “chew proof
  • They are compact and easy to install

More dog house heaters

Heated Kennel Pads

Heated kennel pads are probably the most popular heating option for tempering the inside of a dog house.

heated kennel pad

These are placed directly under the bedding, but more often are tucked into the space between the floor and the bed (cuz you raised it a few inches off the floor, right?) to warm the overall space while avoiding overheating your pup.

There are numerous benefits to these mats;

  • The temperature is moderate, which will eliminate overheating of the space – and your pet
  • While not completely waterproof, higher quality mats are weatherproof and will withstand light moisture.
  • Most cords are PVC and steel-wrapped to eliminate chewing tendencies.
  • They are about 1/5 the price of a dog house heater

There’s even one that’s made specifically to fit inside igloo shaped dog houses! (It’s this one)

More heated kennel pads

heated dog bed

Heated Dog Beds

Try not to confuse the heated kennel pads with heated dog beds; they might sound alike but while the kennel pads are made for, well, kennels – the heated dog beds are strictly for indoor use.

These would be good if your dog’s crate or current bed is currently in a drafty room or one with tile floors. If it’s too cold for you to walk on without socks, Rover probably won’t enjoy it either.

Think of them as a fluffy electric blanket.

More heated dog beds

Heater Boxes

Heater boxes are popular because they are less expensive than a high-quality heated mat, and maintain a lower heating temperature.

The drawback of heater boxes is that there is a smaller, concentrated source of heat in the form of a bulb – which can be broken and scatter glass in the dog house.

Professional HVAC System

If you’ve got a few hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket, call up your HVAC guy and consider a small package unit that’s designed to heat – and even cool – very small spaces, like sheds and dog houses.

They’re not for the very small houses, so if you’re considering one – or if you have multiple dogs sharing the structure – you might want to look into it. Besides – it will add value to your house!

Heated Dog Bowls

This may seem like a luxury item to most. I know when I saw it, I thought, “really? This is getting a bit ridiculous.”

heated dog bowl

But then I thought about people in much colder climates whose dog’s water bowl may actually freeze.

Which leaves Fido licking an ice cube when he gets thirsty.

I guess you could use it as a food bowl too if your dog’s chow gets rock hard in the winter. Not sure how common of an issue that is.

So for those of you facing that problem, or if you just think it’s cruel to make a dog drink ice cold water when he’s already cold, there is a solution.

And don’t worry, these babies are temperature controlled so you won’t have to worry about scalding your dog’s tongue on boiling water.

More heated dog bowls

Do It Yourself – Outside The Box

If you’ve jumped into the whole DIY scene with both feet and no snorkel, or simply refuse to spend a weekend shopping, there are options that don’t include a massive building project or breaking the budget;

  • If you’re pinched for time – or pennies – consider wrapping the existing doghouse in a good tarp. You can pick one up for only a few dollars, but they can make a huge difference by keeping the rain and wind at bay. If you cross wrap the front flap, you can fashion a sort of ‘door’ for extra protection – just make sure your pooch can easily go in and out.warm house with snowy window
  • Save all your dollars by keeping Fido inside during the winter. Allow them to go in and out, but make them primarily inside dogs during severe weather. Problem solved for free!
  • Ready for some real fun? Grab a sheet of plywood, two sheetmetal “C” collars, and a dryer vent kit from your favorite DIY warehouse. Cut the plywood to fit into one of your windows, cut a hole in the center, and affix one of the “C” collars. Cut the other collar into the side of the dog house, and run the flex from the window to the shelter. Make sure that you have the backflow flap going the right direction and presto! Free heat for the kennel. Of course, this only works if the dog house is close to your house and you don’t mind covering up a window…

Hot Dogs

Whether you’re looking to make improvements to your current dog house, or upgrade to a new one, it’s important to remember that our canine kids aren’t wild wolves; they are domesticated companion animals that need to be sheltered from extreme weather.

Try to pay attention to them – they will let you know if they’re too cold.

The post How to Keep a Dog House Warm in the Winter appeared first on Central Park Paws.

from http://www.centralparkpaws.net/dog-houses/keep-dog-house-warm/

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Raw Paws Bully Sticks Review

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Disclaimer: We were sent this product in return for a review.

With Fall fast approaching, and the cold winter months fast on it’s heels, our canines will tend to spend more time inside than out – which lead to restlessness and the potential for destructive behavior.

So, it seemed like the perfect time to do a review of specific chew products – so we chose to focus on the Raw Paws® Pet Food bully sticks.

Who are Raw Paws?

Since they exploded onto the scene in 2014, Raw Paws® has quickly become a premier supplier of high quality and affordable raw and natural pet foods, which include freeze dried and refrigerated raw products, nutritional supplements, treats and chews.

Raw Paws all natural pizzle sticksWith experts available, they can advise their clients on the benefits of raw or partially raw diets, as well as transitioning diets so as not to cause any digestive upset to your four-legged kids. Trust me – no one wants digestive upset in their canines!

When it comes to choosing, preparation, and feeding, Raw Paws® certainly doesn’t leave you blowing in the wind.

Their highly detailed website impressively covers all the basics from understanding the benefits of this dietary style, to choosing and incorporating the change – and the customer service was top of the line for answering questions fully and factually.

Personally, I was introduced to Raw Paws® back in 2016, through a friend of the family – so I have some experience with their company and products, although I had not previously purchased these particular chews.

I believe that bully sticks should be chosen over commercially processed rawhide for a number of reasons (let’s not open that can of worms here!), however I do not to allow my personal preferences to cloud our reviews.

We have a simple formula; the dogs do the testing, and I do the writing.

As an added bonus to our readers, Raw Paws is offering $25 off chews orders of $100+ with code RAWCHEWS25

What are Bully Sticks?

Bully Sticks. Also called pizzle, these sticks are a natural, healthy option over commercially processed rawhide aimed at hours of chewing enjoyment for canines of all shapes and sizes.

But what exactly are bully sticks? Experienced dog owners choose them over other forms of chewing treats without a second thought – but always hide a knowing smile when they overhear a novice owners ask what they are made from. If you’re not sure what bully sticks are, we could tell you – but what fun would that be?

Unlike traditional rawhide chews, bully sticks are highly digestible. Because they break down easily in your dog’s stomach, there is less chance of intestinal blockage – unless they swallow large chunks.

Unlike bones, bully sticks do not splinter – another benefit for your pup’s tummy.

Available in 3 different sizes (6″ standard, 6″ jumbo, and 12″ jumbo), Raw Paws® Pet Food sources their bully sticks directly from Brazil, under strict guidelines of grass-fed, antibiotic free beef. Like all of their products, these bully sticks are excess additive and preservative free – containing one simple ingredient: 100% beef.

For this review, we chose the 6″ standard size bully sticks, and enlisted the professional chewing services of three canines who enjoy bully chews; one German shepherd, one Rottweiler, and one American Staffordshire Terrier.

To Chew, or Not to Chew?

Bully sticks are for chewing enjoyment – nothing more, nothing less. They may have several specific uses, but they still remain a chew treat. Like any other treat, they should not be fed in place of any base nutrition (like, in place of meals) and should not be fed so often that the dog cannot eat their meals.Best bully sticks for dogs

Bully sticks – like other chews – are NOT recommended for dogs that tend to swallow large pieces of treats or gulp their food when eating.

While these sticks are one of the safest treat and chew options on the market, when a dog insists on swallowing large chunks of anything, the potential of choking is still there.

Monitor your dog carefully to determine if they have any bad chewing habits before allowing them to wander off with their prize.

Uses for Bully Sticks

So you’ve got your bully sticks – now what?

Some uses for bully sticks can include;

Rewards

Rewards can be part of training, or generically used because they’ve been a good boy. Whatever you choose, try to be consistent in the rewarding – and never reward bad behavior!

Creating distractions

healthy chews for dogs

Bully sticks are also good for your dog’s teeth

Lets be honest, sometimes dogs need distractions. They’re bored, or the weather outside is frightful, and they’re underfoot to the point of banishment. Sometimes it’s the doggie parent that needs the break from throwing the ball for the ten millionth time.

Bully sticks are perfect to occupy your furbaby for long chunks of time, but never give a chew or treat because YOU are frustrated or need to occupy them somewhere else. Rewarding what you consider bad behavior is a recipe for future disaster.

If you need to distract your pup while you finish that report or project, take a breath and an extra few minutes to send your dog to their spot or the couch – and then present them with the chew.

Training

Training can be made easier for dogs that love to chew, and can easily fall into a training pattern by withholding and returning their chews. From incorporating chews while teaching “stay” and “place”, to rewarding them for a job well done, bully sticks are more than just a chew toy.

Staying busy

Occupying their mind – and mouth – with a chew is a win-win for human and canine alike. We all feel the effects of boredom, and when our canine kids can’t get out and stretch their legs, that pent up energy still needs to be spent. These rugged chews will keep Rover’s jaw moving for hours, a perfect way to use up that energy!

Is Raw Paws® a Better Product?

Hmmm …. There’s no easy answer to this. If you were to ask me if Raw Paws® produces a quality product, and would I feed it to my own canine kids – I would answer with a resounding “yes”.

The value for product is above industry standard – more than fair, and the company has clearly combined ethically sourced quality ingredients with a focus on high nutritional value, and are then proportionally packaged for easy feeding and freshness.Raw Paws Bully Sticks

Are they better than everybody else? I can’t answer that since I haven’t reviewed everyone else, BUT you don’t necessarily have to do a full-throttle review to get a feel for a product, to know whether it’s above average – or below average.

Strictly from an ingredient point of view on a website, a curious consumer can learn a lot about a product.

Are they 100% natural? Do they contain additives and preservatives? Are they flavored? Remember – added flavoring is added chemicals.

Websites of quality product will tackle these questions head on with openness and honesty.

Still not sure? Then remember this simple rule of thumb – if a company or manufacturer doesn’t come right out and state it, than they aren’t. Is the “preservative free” label missing? Then it’s got preservatives. It’s as simple as that.

A few minutes of investigation on your own – including reading reviews by non-biased companies and consumers – can avoid a lot of hassle and bellyaches for your pup, and less heartache for your wallet down the road.

Specs on the Sticks

For this review, we tested the standard 6″ bully sticks. Also available are 10-count pack of 6″ standard, 2- or 5-count packs of 6″ jumbo, and 3-count pack of 12″ jumbo.

Sourced from Brazil, the beef is grass fed and free from industry-standard antibiotics. The bully sticks themselves are crafted from 100% beef, without any added preservatives, additives, or chemical flavoring. Nothing but 100% natural beef … uh, just google it.

all natural bully sticks

Pencil for scale

This product is noted as “low odor”. Unfortunately, such a claim is completely subjective; that being said, it is my opinion that Raw Paws® bully sticks are definitely lower in odor than most, although they are not odor-free – from either end of the dog!

The resealable bag really was that – resealable. It might seem like such a little thing, but we’ve all been there with “resealable” bags that weren’t. And that’s just a big ‘ole pain in the bully stick, if you know what I mean. Because the product is a dried natural product, refrigeration was not required – and that was appreciated as well.

Don’t forget; like any pure beef product, bully sticks contain amino acids – a nutritional requirement for any healthy canine.

Although they contain multiple nutrients and minerals, bully sticks are not to be considered part of your dog’s diet; they need a consistently balanced diet with the proper nutrients fed in a reasonable manner and quantity for your individual canine’s needs.

Treats are meant to be just that – treats. If your dog is filling up on chews, cut down the amount he gets.

What we liked

As a natural option for chewing, bully sticks are at the top of the pecking order, so to speak.

For over a century, rawhide has been the traditional go-to for dog owners. Unfortunately, as modern manufacturing techniques, contamination concerns, and the pursuit of cheaper products are brought out into the light of day, an alternative for chewing treats was needed.dog chewing on bully stick

Bully sticks have gone from an exotic treat to surging forward as a primary chewing option to not only satisfy a canine’s natural desire to chew, but to combat boredom – and control plaque and tartar between professional cleanings.

Raw Paws ® uses only specifically selected, natural product. For us – and this review – that’s a big thing. As you would expect from the base product, there is wide variation from one stick to the next, in formation and coloration.

This is a hallmark of a truly pure, natural product. Only a manufacturing plant can make something perfectly uniform – and how natural can that be?

The bully sticks we tested left no stain or residue on the carpeting or the beds, and I credit this back to the lack of ancillary ingredients and fillers.

If a product is truly made from 100% beef (or chicken, or what-have-you) like this one is, you don’t need to add to add extra chemical-created flavors to make it taste like what it is. Right?

The two of the three dogs involved in the review – the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Rottweiler – both enjoyed the sticks in their own way.

The Pittie engaged in recreational aggression with the stick before conquering it. His jumping and running around in circles as he tossed it about showed his clear enjoyment of the play – and stick. Once settled in chewing mode, he ate about half, before wandering off. A few hours later he polished it off.

The Rottie took her prize to her bed, and curled up for an afternoon of delicate surgery as she slowly disassembled and ingested the stick in one sitting.

What we didn’t like

Traditionally, the primary drawbacks of bully sticks has been their odor. While the commercially processed sticks have managed to eliminate the natural odor with the numerous additives and preservatives, as well as over processing the sub-quality ingredients, the trade-off simply isn’t worth it.

By using only higher quality, natural ingredients, Raw Paws® has reduced the odor – but it’s still there.

Although keeping the product in a sealed container and using before the expiration date (yeah, that’s important when feeding fresh or high quality food and treats) when feeding bully sticks, it’s important to remember that there is odor both before eating, and after eating, if you know what I mean…What are bully sticks made of?

The concerning issue with the bully sticks we sampled from Raw Paws® was the reaction from the GSD.

Not only did she refuse the bully stick, she made her opinion quite clear as she barked at it.

And I don’t mean the playful barking at treats that’s exhibited by some of the breeds, like GSDs and huskies – but barking at it. “Get back or I’ll tear you a new one” kind of barking.

Outside of the downright hostile reaction – that was clearly dislike rather than fear or aggression – she had no interest in the stick, and calmed down when I took it away. Reintroduction of the stick after she watched her companions enjoying themselves made no difference.

She clearly – and uncharacteristically – wanted nothing to do with that treat.

Our two cents

When considering natural chews for your four legged companions, remember that it’s not all about the price – or how cute or fancy the product looks. Your furball isn’t going to care what it looks like, but what it tastes like.

Bully sticks are a natural chew, and definitely should be chosen over commercially processed rawhide.

As with any other chew, toy, or new food, you should pay attention to your canine while they are engaged with the sticks – especially when first introduced.

Chewies are a great way to occupy your pup, but you should always pay attention to their chewing habits, especially when introducing them to bully sticks for the first time.

Summing it up

One of my favorite things about being associated with Central Park Paws is participating in consumer product reviews.

We have the freedom not only to review products through our affiliate programs, but we will often respond to concerned emails from readers with reviews of questionable products.

We give honest reviews of all the products we test – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But with great reviews comes great responsibility.

We strive to keep our reviews neutral – focusing solely on the product at hand – rather than engage in the ‘politically correct’ arguments of food preferences, dietary styles, or the pink elephant in the room – raw food versus kibble.

It is our opinion that Raw Paws® bully sticks are not only a premium bully stick, but the overall company ethics and commitment to superior products allows us to put our stamp of approval on this product.

Happy chewing!

As an added bonus to our readers, Raw Paws is offering $25 off chews orders of $100+ with code RAWCHEWS25

The post Raw Paws Bully Sticks Review appeared first on Central Park Paws.

from http://www.centralparkpaws.net/dog-treats/raw-paws-bully-sticks-review/

What Does It Mean When a Dog Eats Grass?

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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

“This is Shasta. She’s a vegan”

That was the simple introduction made by my hubby as he placed the little blue-eyed husky mix – cleverly disguised as a ball of fur with giant ears and a pink tongue – into my open arms.  Through the “getting to know you” puppy kisses, I waited for the punchline.

The look on his face told me he was dead serious.Dog eating grass

After having the new fluff ball at home for a few hours I knew he was right – and I was about to embark on an adventure through the twilight zone that I had never expected with a dog.

Shasta ate grass. I’m not kidding – she ate it.

I’m not talking about the occasional nibble as if she had a bellyache – you know, the old wives’ tale about dogs and grass.

Nope, the puppy was out there chowing down my lush green lawn like a kid with an after school snack of chocolate chip cookies and no homework. All day, every day. Grazing away like the cow she wasn’t.

Was there something wrong with her? Was she sick? Was she hungry?

Or worse – was my puppy really a vegetarian?

So, the hunt was on for an explanation to solve the canine mystery we’ve all encountered – why does our dog eat grass?

Are Dogs Carnivores or Herbivores?

Actually, our four-legged furbabies are both.

The correct term is omnivore, and this is an unpopular fact that has been proven through various phases of scientific study, as well as genetic markers in the domesticated Canis Lupus Familiaris, as well as Canis Lupus – the wild wolf.

So, although they commonly considered steadfast carnivores, studies are more and more supporting that both dogs and wolves alike are omnivores.

Clearly, canines are preferential carnivores. Heck, if given the choice between a thick, juicy steak or a grilled chicken breast, and a bowl full of boring field greens – which would you choose?

Dog chewing on a stick

Getting his “roughage”

It’s the same with dogs. They go for the meat every time.

A cursory look inside the mouth of the beast shows dentition perfectly designed to rip and tear – trademarks of a carnivorous bend. But that doesn’t mean there is no need for vegetation in their diets.

A closer inspection shows the intestinal design supports an omnivorous diet.

Heck, studies show that even wolves have been known to seek out and ingest the various berries that their dinner from the previous days had snacking on. This fact, that seeking vegetation of various kinds to supplement their diets, in itself is proof of the omnivorous nature of the beast.

Unfortunately, another problem with identifying canines as omnivores is that it goes against the current fad of “grain free” diets that are becoming more and more popular – as well as the resurgence in “raw food diets“.

Rather than go into the benefits or evils of grains – and other so-called “fillers” –  or open the Pandora’s box of debating raw versus kibble in our dog’s daily nutritional plans, we’re going to focus on the vegetation en masse.

So one scientific – and practical – reason about why dogs eat grass and other leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to their chicken and beef, is that it’s in their DNA.

Vegetation, along with quality meat products, are both components of a balanced diet. And besides – they like it!

But we’re still left with a question – is grass bad for my dog?

Should I Let My Dog Eat Grass?

Okay, since we’ve established that eating grass isn’t the end of the world – it still doesn’t answer why my beautiful little husky is cross-dressing as a billy goat. So let’s take a look at some of the why’s that could be rational explanations;

Just like you and I get food cravings that can be indicative of a missing nutrient from our daily diet, the same can be said for our canine companions. And while we can grab a handful of potato chips to get a little sodium boost, it’s different for Fido.

We do the best we can to make sure they have a balanced diet – and that includes the occasional yummy treats – but every now and then they need a little extra. And since it’s programmed into them, they know just where to look.

Grasses not only add roughage to aid in digestion (dogs can’t process the grass), they can add various other minerals – as well as quick rehydration on hot days or after rough and tumble play.

Why does my dog eat grass?

The common explanation for dogs eating grass is because they’re sick and need help to get whatever is ailing them out of their system.

But in reality, it’s been proven that only a small percentage of dogs vomit after eating grass, and even then the general consensus of research veterinarians can’t agree if it is a driving force to seek out and eat grass for the gastrointestinal relief, or a learned pattern of behavior – or simply a coincidence.

If your dog is sick, he’s gonna be sick – grass or no grass. And like every other dog owner on the planet, nothing can rouse me from a dead sleep in the middle of the night like one of my dogs about to get sick on the carpet.

Speaking of things that go burp in the night … I don’t mean to gross you out here – but are you sure your little angel is eating grass?

Stop and think of the potential nasties that could be hiding there, enticing Fido. Another dog’s scent. A parting gift leftover from a rabbit passing through. Remnants from last night’s chow that still smells so yummy.

The term pica refers to the eating of non-food items – and trust me, there are plenty of non-food items out there to be discovered and ingested.

What Can You Do About Your Grass-Eating Pooch?

Well … Just like in every other realm of life, you’ve got options available.

First things first, identify what’s getting eaten – and why.

Yeah, we just covered why dogs might be eating grass or other leafy stuff, but have you done your homework? Do you know why your pup is eating the grass? Or should we say – do you know what your dog is actually eating?

That’s a pretty big key to deciding what to do about it.

Figuring out the what in the equation is key, and then the answer why will be pretty obvious. Just open your eyes and watch. Look at where he stops and watch what he does.Is grass bad for dogs?

Nonchalantly walk around the yard while your dog is sniffing out a spot to make a deposit, and pay attention to his actions and reactions.

Is he looking for specific grass or leaves to eat? Is he sniffing and gently licking? Is he uncovering a dainty morsel to devour? Is he heading directly to the previously digested dinner for a second helping?

If it’s traces of scents your pup is going after, say from a neighborhood dog remarking territory, that’s easy enough to handle.

A short conversation explaining the problem and asking the dog’s owner to walk across the street, or not allowing them to stop along your property line should suffice; most dog owners understand some of the quirkiness that comes with the leash and collar.

Rinsing the spot on a daily basis works as well – especially if you can catch it as soon as the offender completes his rounds. You can also try a soap-suds rinse; it will eliminate not only the offending odor but discourage remarking.

“Tootsie rolls” are a common delicacy – and the fresh ones even more so. Again, this takes a respectable amount of vigilance on your part to identify and eliminate (no pun intended) the temptations. The first step could be keeping a close eye of Fido as he wanders the yard to identify the offender.

If it’s from a rabbit or other wildlife, then consider rabbit fencing to reinforce any areas that the bunny might be slipping through, or even wildlife sprays. A few nights of the offending fragrance will curtail the wildlife from crossing into your territory.

If you find that your dog is recycling his own “tootsie rolls”, that will take a little more effort to correct. Dogs re-ingest food for three primary reasons:

1. The food is still yummy. That means there’s undigested goodness in abundance. If this is the case – and your dog is not absorbing all the available nutrition from his meal – then it’s time to look at a change in food.

2. There’s a nutritional need. Just like we crave what our bodies need, there might be nutrients in the waste – whether his own or another animal’s – that he needs. This takes more consideration, and perhaps a trip to the vet to ensure his nutrition is where it should be.

3. Compulsions occur in our four-legged friends just as easily as they do in us. If there is no rational explanation – or you find that your little bundle of joy is eating poo indiscriminately, then it is time for a serious intervention.

dog in high grassTraining, as well as physical aids such as muzzles can eliminate eating the non-food items. Proper dog training can also be very effective. If it’s serious, your veterinarian can add a medicinal component to change the behavior.

If you discover it’s really just about the sweet, succulent grass or plants, you can simply let nature take its course and let your dog continue to eat grass. It really won’t hurt anything.

One small caveat: if you use any weed or pest control chemicals, you will want to discontinue them – these chemicals can be dangerous when ingested.

Also, get a book – or scour the internet – and eliminate any potentially toxic plants and weeds.

Lastly, you can take steps to eliminate the draw of the offending vegetation altogether.

Don’t Want Your Dog to Eat Grass?

Okay, so you’ve decided that you’re taking grass off the canine menu. No more vegetarian diet for you. Now you need a plan. And patience – lots and lots and lots of patience.

Basically, if you don’t want your dog to eat the grass – you eliminate the grass.

See how easy that was?

  • Consider a pea-gravel run. With some proper preparation, and special emphasis on drainage, you can create an area for your dog that’s both grass-free and healthy – and easy to clean up.
  • Keeping to leashed walks is another way to ensure your pup isn’t stopping for a quick meal while out and about. Just remember to pay attention when they stop and sniff – a bit of solid leash training can go a long way.
  • Do a little recon work – does Bruiser like to eat grass in the morning? After he’s had his nightly meal? Is there only a certain area that he eats the grass?

Information is knowledge – and knowledge is power. Filling in the blanks can not only help you understand what he is eating – it can help you avoid it.

Another way to deal with eating grass without turning your backyard into a rock garden is with discouraging sprays and scents. These chemical-based sprays can be either bitter tasting, or an acrid odor that repels dogs altogether.

Although they can be quite effective, they can be expensive between initial purchase and reapplication after the rain washes them away – or they can be more dangerous because of their caustic make-up that repels or gives a bad taste.

The truth is that while eliminating grass from their diet is possible – it really might not be all that practical once you’ve weighed out the options.

Should I Let My Dog Eat Grass? Probably

When it comes right down to it, our pups are pretty smart. If they pick up a strange new habit, it’s a good idea to look into it and ask why – but if it’s not hurting anything, maybe the best action is to just let it run its course.

Shasta? Yeah, she still eats grass. I’ve made sure that we no longer treat for weeds and grubs in the yard, and I’ve even taken to planting some of her favorites in a small area just for her. She rolls all through them and munches away to her heart’s content.

But she is also getting a good, solid diet rich in meat, minerals, and vitamins.

My puppy is not going to be a vegan.

The post What Does It Mean When a Dog Eats Grass? appeared first on Central Park Paws.

from http://www.centralparkpaws.net/pet-health/why-dogs-eat-grass/

How to Crate Train a Puppy

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Crate Training Puppies

Bear – his registered name was Ursus Americanus – was the second dog I ever owned.

An obsidian black Chow Chow without a speck of any other color anywhere. From his black fur to his black nails and every square inch of him. My little licorice jellybean was a fluffy bundle of energy and love.

Who tried to eat the house.

Yes, the house.

He’d chew on anything that he could get his mouth onto. Oh, yeah, there were the usual victims of shoes, and I can’t even begin to guess how many socks. But he would chew on the couch, the windowsill, the door frame, my desk chair, the stairs, the cabinets.

I had him for less than 2 weeks and every single room in the house bore the scars from his chewing. He could not be left alone for more than a couple minutes or something would fall prey to his little habit.

And apparently he wasn’t even teething yet.

I discovered he was also digging up the carpeting in the closets to hide treats.Dog chewing need crate training

Where does a 12-week old puppy learn to rip up carpeting to hide treats?

When I caught his mouth on the base of my 12″ dob telescope, I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew where this puppy was concerned.

I called the breeder for some advice, and they suggested investing in a case of bitter apple spray and a crate.

I had never used a crate before, because I thought they were cruel. How was a crate going to teach him not to chew and besides – what if there was a fire?

After about a week and a few conversations with the breeder, my vet, the local pet store, and the guy doing some of the repairs on my woodwork, I decided to try the crate training my puppy.

It took a couple weeks, but I successfully crate trained Bear. After another couple months of training – and re-training – we got his chewing habits under control with appropriate toys.

I came to the conclusion that rather than being cruel or dangerous, that the crate offered a sense of security to Bear, his own personal space, and was actually helpful for housebreaking.

Although I must say, up to that point he had been breaking the house just fine.

By the time he was 6 months, Bear was a happy, well adjusted little gentleman, and I became a believer in kennels and crates.

Why Should You Crate Train Your Puppy?

There are several good reasons why you should crate train your puppy – and none of them are harmful to the emotional or physical growth of your new best friend.

Crates and kennels are a throwback to their wolf lineage and lairs, so a personal den gives them a tie to their roots.

Is crate training good for dogs?

Courtesy of Jinx McCombs

  1. Private space is as important to your canine as it is to you. A kennel or crate is a place of their own, and helps build their self-esteem, as well as trust. It’s his own space to be alone with himself away from the other animals – 4-legged or 2-legged kinds.
  2. Oddly enough, crates can be a source of comfort when they’ve got a tummy ache, have been a naughty boy (provided they sulk in there on their own accord), or because they have the blues from missing you.
  3. Crate training can keep your Fido from forming bad habits, such as chewing or other destructive behaviors. Roaming the house unsupervised can lead to exploration – and 99% of the time, that exploration is done with their teeth. Trust me on this one.
  4. Crates provide safety not just by keeping your little bundle of energy from getting onto trouble when you’re not home, but since crates are required when traveling in cars or airplanes, having them trained to remain calm inside one makes any travel safer.
  5. Overall, kennel and crate training includes open and latched doors. The door should always remain open for their access, and depending on your situation and preferences. The door can be left open or closed overnight, although for the first 6 months or so, the door is generally closed to prevent overnight accidents.

Please remember – never force a puppy into a crate if he is clearly afraid of it.

What NOT to Do When Crate Training

If you choose to crate train, it’s vital that you avoid a few pitfalls in order to keep a happy and healthy puppy and adult dog.

  1. Crates are not punishment. You should never put your puppy of dog in “time out” because they had an accident or chewed something while you were out of the house. Any correction needs to be at the time of the misdemeanor, not hours later.
    1. That being said, you can – and should – use the crate when there are guests and the puppy excitement gets out of hand. Place him in the crate until he calms down, and make sure none of the guests pay any attention to him until he has calmed down.
  2. Crates are not play places for kids, period. Crates will quickly become your dog’s personal sanctuary, and they will often go in and out of them according to their mood and whim. You should never allow kids in them for any reason. At all. End of story.
  3. Crates are not so you can have some peace and quiet. Puppies are a handful on a good day – and a test of your sanity on bad ones. But never, ever put your puppy in their crate because you need a break from their energy, or some free time.

How Long Does Crate Training Take?

There’s no easy answer to this one – no matter how disappointed you might be by it.

How to crate train a dog

Like any training, there are several mountains and valleys – and plateaus – before success.

It takes commitment and endurance not to slack off when you think that there’s no hope you will ever get it done.

Or, being lulled into a false sense of security during a plateau and slacking off training prematurely.

On average, it takes up to several weeks to get your pup to get used to going in and out of his crate and having it closed for periods of time.

Some take to it immediately, some take a little longer.

A few years ago I had a puppy take to it the first day – I’d never seen anything like it. She waltzed right into the kennel the minute I put her stuff in it like she owned the space, and for the most part that was all it took.

I had another dog that was so terrified of his crate, after a few weeks of not going near it we abandoned the idea altogether. He never went into a crate – not his, not any of the others.

How to Crate/Kennel Train a Puppy

Step 1: Choose an appropriate kennel.

You don’t want to go too small, or your dog will outgrow it too fast, and you may be tempted to continue to use it past the size limit – which will cramp more than just your dog’s style.

On the other hand, one that’s too large may lose the effect of a cozy den, and provide an area for your pup to conduct business rather than learning to hold it.

Your best option is a kennel that will be an adequate size for your breed when fully grown, and simply use a divider panel to make the area smaller – and move it back as he grows to enlarge the area.

There are several styles of crates and kennels on the market, from a standard wire kennel to a soft-sided nylon.

Up and coming on the market are kennels that are a cross between wooden furniture and wire kennels, and can be purchased or made, if you’re very handy. These hybrids can be very stylish – and very size adaptable.

As nice as they are, I’d steer clear of the soft sided Nylon crates if your pup is as destructive as mine except as temporary traveling equipment. Nylon just screams, “chew me!”

Step 2: Buy a bed.

Be sure to include a crate pad for comfort. Obviously, one that has a waterproof liner is best, but at the very least make sure it’s washable.

Never use harsh chemicals when washing; you want some of your dog’s own smell to remain so he knows it’s his. Also, consider throwing an old shirt that you’ve recently worn in there. Your fluffy baby loves your smell, and finds it comforting.

If possible, introduce the bed a day or two before the crate – placing the bed near where the kennel will be. Encourage him to sleep on the bed, and in the very least play with him on it several times a day.

This will start transferring his scent – and ownership – to the bed, and help in the next step of crate training.

Step 3: Place the crate.

Dog with toys in crate

Toys make a doggo happy!

Place the kennel in a well-traveled area in the home, where most of the action occurs. You can move it later, to give him privacy and quiet, but right now your little furball wants to be near you.

Constantly.

And the best way to have him get used to this new monstrosity is to have it in an area that you are in, and he sees you are not afraid of it.

In addition to a familiar place near his humans, be sure to have some of his toys and blanket scattered around the area.

Leave the crate open for a day or two, and simply ignore it. If your pup happens to venture into it, don’t react at all. Keep a discrete eye on him, but try not to respond to his actions.

Step 4: Introduce the puppy to his den.

This should be done slowly, and you should expect this part to take some time. Start by moving the new bed into the crate.

Puppies are naturally curious, and within a few hours he should wander into the crate, if for no other reason then to check out his bed. Toss a favorite stinky treat in there on top of the bed and walk away, staying in the room and ignoring the crate.

If, after a week, he is still too hesitant to go in, then use the treat enticements and a calm voice to talk to him as you pick him up and put him in front of the crate, petting him and talking to him.

Do not, under any circumstance, simply put him in and shut the door of the crate as his first experience – this is pretty much guaranteed to make him afraid of the crate.

Step 5: Nap time.

Once your puppy has ventured in and out of the crate a few times, start placing him in there for naps. This is most easily done by picking up the sleeping puppy and placing him on the soft bed inside the crate, and let him wake up on his own.

Happy crate trained dog

Nap time!

If you can be in the same room when he wakes, then all the better. If there’s a favorite snuggle toy he sleeps with, then it should go in the crate permanently.

If he takes it out, then return it to the crate in a matter-of-fact manner – don’t make any fuss.

Eventually, if you play with him near the crate, he will start to go in there for his naps.

If you are training your puppy to voice commands, especially a ‘lay down‘ command, this is a perfect time to incorporate this training. As he gets used to the kennel as a place to lay down and sleep, we move on to the next step.

If your puppy – or dog, for that matter – is afraid of the crate, do not jump ahead to this step and hope that waking up inside the crate will suddenly cure him. It’s just plain cruel.

Step 6: On Command.

Decide on a name and command for the crate, and start using it. Common choices are “kennel”, “crate”, and “place”. Personally, I use “lair” because it sounds cool and it’s not a word than can be confused with any other command.

Whatever you choose, when you see your puppy go into the kennel, tell him “good, kennel” – or whatever you want the command to be. Toss treats or toys into the crate, and reinforce the name each time each time he enters.

To move from passive to active in this command, kneel near the crate and show him a much favored treat, followed with the command “kennel”.

Give him a chance to respond before repeating. If he doesn’t understand, then draw him into the crate with the treat in your hand, while vocalizing the command. Like any other instruction, this will take patience and consistency.

The goal is for him to enter the crate on command.

Step 7: Shutting the door.

This step shares some similarities with placing your baby in their crib to sleep; knowing when to pick them up, and knowing when to let them cry for a couple minutes.

The first time you shut the door, do it while the pup is eating a treat or chewing on a toy. Close the door, and open it right up again. Keep repeating this until they choose to come out of the crate.

crate training puppies

Who could shut a door on this face?

Then, do it a few more times with them outside of the crate. If your little pup has learned to lay down on command, then ask him to lay, and then close and open the door.

The key to this step is to open the door before they have a chance to get upset or cry. Do this several times a day, over several days.

As long as he does not react to the door closing in a negative manner, you can leave it closed a few moments longer each time, staying in direct sight.

Keep practicing this step until he doesn’t pay much attention to the door closing and opening.

You can make this a game by playing with his toes through the door.

One option you have at this stage is closing the door and letting your pup nuzzle it open. You can also leave the door partly closed during the day, and let your pup want to go into it, and paw it open. This teaches him not to be afraid of the door.

Step 8: Latch the door.

This is an important step, and should not be done until your dog is comfortable being in the crate. The first time you latch the door, be sure to stay in plain sight, and latch it for only a handful of seconds.

Let him rattle the door, but do try to open it before he wines. The last thing you want is to associate the door opening as a result of his whining.

If he whines first, then wait several hours, or until the next day, to try again – and be sure to do a shorter length of time.

Repeat this pattern over the next few days and add a few seconds each time as you can. Remain right at the crate with your hand on the latch, talking to your little guy the whole time.

Step 9: Walk away.

When you have been able to extend the time the door is closed and latched to about a minute, start putting distance between yourself and the kennel.

Start by standing up – because he can still see you it will not cause separation anxiety or any fear. Simply stand up and sit back down, and open the door – even if this was a shorter period than you’ve been working on.

Slowly, add distance with the door closed. Back away a couple steps, keeping eye contact and speaking softly and cheerfully, and return. Repeat, adding a step or two, for the next handful of days until you can make it to a doorway.

Once you’ve achieved this distance with no whining, it’s time to walk away from the crate. Start this step over, but this time turning and facing away from Fluffy.

As before, incrementally increase the distance away from the crate until you can make it to the door.

Step 10: Increase crate time.

Once you can walk to the doorway and back, its time to begin increasing the time in the closed kennel while you are in the room. Start by sitting against or near the crate, with your phone.

Crate training for puppy

Pup loves his crate

Try and be quiet, but make sure you put a few toys in the crate first. Slowly start extending the time and distance until about 30 minutes, and you’re on the other side of the room.

Once you have a calm pup with 30 minutes in their crate – preferable calm ones! – then it’s time to start leaving the room.

Close and latch the crate, walk out of the room until you are out of sight and then return to the room, but do not open the crate immediately.

Do this several times throughout the day, varying the amount of time out of sight, but as you increase it do so by only a minute or two each time.

Increase these periods gradually, and consider starting an overnight routine.

You Did It!

At this point your little guy is crate trained; that is he goes into the crate and remains with the door closed without crying. Now, you will begin to increase the time from half an hour up to several hours.

A hotly debated topic among breeders and trainers, is feeding in the crate. It undoubtedly shortens the crate training timeframe, because you can close the door while they are distracted by the food.

On the other hand, after several weeks training you may find your pooch will not accept his food anywhere but inside the kennel, which can cause a whole heap of new problems.

And remember, above all never give in to whining at the beginning of training. Your puppy should whimper when he needs to potty during the night, but he should not be rewarded by coming out unless it’s for a bathroom break.

Crate Training Tips

A few added tips for a successful training, and a happy puppy…

  1. In the early stages of training, do not cover the crate with blankets; he draws his reassurance from seeing you. Once he is fully trained you can try it – but not yet.
  2. Plan your potty breaks when you know you will be leaving for any amount of time. Don’t let him play hard, slurp up all his water, and then put him in the crate for a few hours. It’s just like family roadtrips when you were a kid, “go to the bathroom before you leave”.
  3. Rule of thumb for crating puppies up to 12 months old is one hour per month, up to six hours. So, a four month old should not be in the crate more than four hours without a break, and an 11 month old no longer than six hours.
  4. Tired puppies are easier to crate for any length of time, because they will fall asleep. A puppy full of energy and wanting to play will be stifled and unhappy.
  5. Crating a puppy while you are at work isn’t the best idea; their bladders can’t take the extended time, and the boredom will cause them to act out. If you must leave your 4-legged child for more than 6 hours at a time, consider having a trusted neighbor kid come over and take the pup out into the yard for an hour every day. Heck, they’d probably do it for free! If that’s not an option, consider putting an exercise pen around the crate and leaving the door open. Or, put the crate in the kitchen or another room and allowing them full access and put up a child-gate.
  6. Make “good bye’s” short and sweet. Don’t let them drag on, or be emotional. Simply put Fido in the crate, give him a treat, and tell him you have to leave for a while.
  7. If you’re planning on keeping your puppy crated at night, remember that the best place for them to sleep is in your room, where they can see, hear, and smell you. This may involve moving the crate daily, or purchasing a separate crate.
  8. When letting your puppy out of the crate, do not make a big deal out of it; you’re not releasing him from prison. Be just as matter-of-fact as you were when you left.
  9. Once your dog is fully housebroken, and trustworthy not to eat the house – or every pair of shoes you own – you can opt leave the crate door open during the day. Crate training isn’t necessarily teaching them to be locked in a crate all day, but rather being able to be in a crate, as well as making it a part of their personal routine and space.
  10. Crating does not solve separation anxiety, especially if you’re still in the room.

The perfect recipe for successful crate training takes 3 ingredients; patience, consistency, and commitment. As long as you keep these at the forefront of your training motivation, you will have a crate-trained puppy in no time.

 

And Bear? Well, he eventually outgrew his termite phase, and appreciated his crate once he got used to it.

We were able to leave the door open while we were at work or shopping, and he found it a great escape from the hustle and bustle of family life.

He still stashes his treats – but now he hides them in his crate.

The post How to Crate Train a Puppy appeared first on Central Park Paws.

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Best Indestructible Dog Beds

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Ever have one of those days where you wish you could hit ‘rewind’? Or just crawl into a little hole and not come out for an hour – or a year?

Yeah, I had me one of those recently.

My husband walked in on me coming absolutely, positively unglued – something that in all of our years together he’d never experienced – over the actions of one of our dogs.

I have no doubt the view of me raving like an under-medicated lunatic who just broke out of her restraints, contrasted with our dogs calmly laying around enjoying the show with their tails and tongues wagging, is what lead to him dropping his stuff and (after a moment of initial shock) practically busting a gut laughing at the scene.

Not one of my finer moments, I must admit, but I suppose I can appreciate the entertainment from his point of view – and the dogs, too.

In my defense, I had good reason to crack like a dropped egg.

Caña de Cerveza had chewed up another dog bed. I swear, that mutt is shooting to beat a personal best score.

They say every moment is a teaching or learning moment – and heaven knows on that day I did both! – as a result, and weeks of research, I became an unofficial expert on “indestructible” dog beds.

So What Makes a Dog Bed “Indestructible”?

chew proof dog beds

Some dogs will chew ANYTHING!

So many manufacturers tout that their beds are “indestructibly” or “chew proof”, but if you’re like me, you want to know how they gauge what makes the cut.

Is it simply because it takes a lot more effort for a dog doesn’t rip it into a million shreds the minute Mom walks out of the room?

Or is it made from materials that taste nasty so your pooch doesn’t want to bite into it?

Is there a balance between durability and safety?

And for heaven’s sake – does a dog bed even exist that won’t be turned into stuffing at some point with a little effort and a whole lot of motivation from a bored pup?

To answer those questions, we need to decide what defines “indestructible” – and if it’s right for your dog.

To start with, “indestructible” and “chew proof” in relation to dog beds are used interchangeably by the manufacturers as the same thing; it might still be chewed, but without excessive damage – and your pooch may lose interest in it.

While we’re at it – these so-called “chew-proof” beds aren’t an automatic requirement. Unless your pup has left multiple bed carcasses in their wake, try choose a bed based on comfort – especially for an older dog.

Most tougher beds are, obviously, made from tougher materials – and those canvas-type materials aren’t the most comfortable.

Keep in mind most dogs chew out of boredom. If you have provided enough stimulation while you’re not at home – especially larger soft chew toys – then there’s less chance that your furbaby will resort to ripping the stuffing out of his bed.

Of course, some dogs chew because they’re jerks – uh, I mean, because they enjoy it.

When choosing an indestructible bed, remember that it’s all about the construction. The best outer materials can fail quickly with poor construction, and sub-par materials can actually hold up much longer than expected if stitched and assembled well.

Outer Material

The general construction material of the bed will determine the chew-worthiness of the bed.

While we want to balance durability and comfort, our focus is a bed for our four-legged friend that will not look like a stuffing factory exploded in the living room.

1680D Ballistic Nylon

If you think 1680D Ballistic Nylon sounds a lot like the material that your backpack is made from – you’d be right. Although not technically “indestructible”, this is a classic chew proof material because of the dog’s lack of interest in chewing it, as well as its resilient durability when chewed.

Canvas

Not as durable as 1680D, canvas is a good choice for its durability and also because it is a material that does not naturally entice chewing.

Denim

A less durable material, but a dog that has never had denim toys – like one made from an old pair of jeans – will generally not begin to gnaw on this.

Microfiber

best indestructable dog beds

Have you ever come home to this?

The microfibers – including microsuede – are not the preferred choice for dog beds since they mimic the plush stuffed tows our chewers delight in disassembling.

Inner Material

I’ve always been a bit disappointed by the lacking of real regulation and labeling of materials on dog beds, but there’s not much we can do about it.

Unless your dog has special needs (age, arthritis, allergies) the materials aren’t as important as long as it’s adequate for comfort.

Waterproof

This really isn’t a “make or break” rating – unless a bed claims to be waterproof and fails. But let’s be honest – waterproofness is only important if we specifically need it, and then it’s gotta be on point.

Construction

Don’t settle for anything less than double stitching at the seams.

Remember for beds constructed with multiple layers of fabric, one layer may fail and the next – for whatever reason – may not; unless your dog breaks all the way through to the inner cover or filling, the bed may not be considered “failed” by the manufacturer.

Warranty

This is a tricky one. Most manufacturers offer a 30 or 90 day warranty – but limit the replacement of the cover only or the bed to one-time. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the warranty before purchase.

Lastly, try to resist the urge to treat your dog bed with anti-chew sprays. At best they can cause your pup to avoid their bed – and at worst they can cause chemical burns when chewing, or other irritations to eyes or nose when snuggling.

Best Indestructible Dog Beds

There are dozens of tough dog beds on the market, touting their indestructibility in some form or another.

The below were chosen from a stringent assortment of scientifically methods, including flipping coins and pointing to pictures and asking the dogs which the liked.

As with other items from our reviews, those products that passed well are donated to a local shelter.

DIY Durable Denim Duvet

chew resistant dog bed

This option intrigued me from a do-it-yourself aspect, but also because of their dual claims of “chew resistant” and “not chew proof rated” – so that seemed like acceptable grounds to check it out.

For our review, we focused on the 1680D nylon cover – but be advised if you choose the microsuede that you’re just creating a giant stuffed animal – and we all know what happens when our chewers sink their jaws into a soft, plush toy.

Technical

  • Size: Multiple availabletough duvet for dogs
    • Medium (36″ x 29″)
    • Large (48″ x 29″)
  • Color: Seal Brown
    • Also available in black, tan, brown, olive, blue, and grey depending on cover material chosen.
  • Outer Material: 1680D Nylon
    • Also available in canvas, denim, oxford, or microsuede depending on color chosen.
  • Inner Material: Consumer provided pillows or other filler material.
  • Chew Rating: 4/5 for material chosen and reviewed.

Overview: The concept was a good one, when you think about it; a tough outer cover added to a waterproof inner cover that allows you to make your dog bed from the best materials for their personal needs.

The three pillow option of the large bed held the pillows nicely, although it led to an awkward size for my test-mutt.

Unfortunately, it’s important to carefully pay attention to the material when choosing color, since you may wind up with a cover made of microsuede that entices chewing rather than one of the sturdier covers.

The inner “waterproof” cover was definitely not what was pictured, and unfortunately didn’t hold up to the water balloon test for waterproofness.

Tails Up (Pros): The 1680D ballistic is a durable material. A serious chewer will still try it, but lose interest before any damage occurs. The ability to change the inner materials was surprisingly easy and refreshing, as opposed to hours searching for the perfect combination of cover and comfort.

Tails Down (Cons): The sizing of the duvet is awkward, since it’s long and narrow. Also, the waterproof inner cover seems to barely register as water-resistant. The zipper really needs to be more durable. The pillows shifted around easily, leading to uncomfortable hard spots.

Verdict: Good idea, but falls short due to the inner cover, inability for the pillows to stay in place, and ordering confusion.

goDog Bubble Bolster

goDog Bubble Bolster review

This manufacturer makes some of our favorite stuffed toys, so it was a no-brainer to include a review when this came up on my radar.

There are several options for the loft of the outer material, and for the sake of this review, the XX-large size in cocoa we chose is the high pile plush constructed material.

goDog beds are not self-classified as indestructable, but rather “guaranteed to last longer than standard plush beds”.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple available
    • X-small (18″ x 13″)tough dog beds
    • Small (23″ x 17″)
    • Medium (30″ x 19″)
    • Large (35″ x 23″)
    • X-large (43″ x 28″)
    • XX-large (49″ x 30″)
  • Color: Cocoa
    • Also available in tan, beige, and grey
  • Outer Material: Unspecified, shaggy material
  • Inner Material: Unspecified
  • Chew Rating: 1/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: Like with the other beds, the first thing I did when setting the goDog Bubble Bolster bed on the floor was to crawl onto it and check it out myself for comfort – and boy was it!

The plush material was soft and the feel of the hardwood through the bed was definitely decreased. It could easily lend itself to a nap were it not for the other canines demanding their turn.

The bed boasts a bolster, which is not much more than a raised edge around the bed, and the overall stitching. The Chew Guard Technology™ is a proprietary process that adds a tear-resistant mesh lining.

The seams are reinforced and the bed as a whole is machine washable.

Tails Up (Pros): The overall construction appears well done, the no-skid bottom is a nice touch, and their sizing is geared towards fitting standard crating, allowing the bed to easily pull double-duty – a bonus when your pup is traveling away from home.

Tails Down (Cons): The bed is not waterproof or water resistant, and the fluffy plush material of the bed was no more than a giant chew toy.

Verdict: This bed had an impressively short lifespan because the plushy soft material is indistinguishable from a standard chew toy.

DogBed4Less Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed

DogBed4Less chew resistant Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed reviewAn orthopedic dog bed that’s indestructible? Sign me up! With numerous sizes available to choose from, a single piece, 100% gel-infused memory foam interior cushion, with an inner waterproof liner and a tough exterior made from 1680D.

I didn’t read much more of the description before adding it to the cart.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple availablenon chewable dog bed
    • Small/Medium (35″ x 20″)
    • Medium/Large (37″ x 27″)
    • Large (41″ x 27″)
    • Extra Large (47″ x 29″)
    • Extra Large (40″ x 35″)
    • XX-Large (55″ x 37″)
    • Jumbo (55″ x 47″)
  • Color: Navy Blue
    • Also available in seal brown
  • Outer Material: 1680D Nylon
  • Inner Material: 4″ 100% gel-infused memory foam (non-toxic)
  • Chew Rating: 5/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: This orthopedic bed is not fully chew proof rated from the manufacturer – but the dogs don’t know that. After a few discrete test chews (yeah – she didn’t think we saw her!) the interest in the bed as a source of entertainment subsided.

The exterior is rougher than some of the more indulgent materials, but that’s to be expected – we’re shifting from softness to durability.

The waterproof interior certainly held up as waterproof, and the orthopedic core held up to sleep and play.

Tails Up (Pros): This bed was surprisingly comfortable, and the cool gel was definitely welcome in the recent heat wave.

Tails Down (Cons): Replacing the core after washing was a wee troublesome, and the zipper of the bed we tried was a bit stiff – but easily remedied by a bit of beeswax.

Verdict: A great bed that was generous enough in size for multiple large dogs to flop on for cool comfort.

K9 Ballistics Crate Pad

K9 Ballistics Crate Pad reviewSpecifically a crate pad, the manufacturer advertises this bed for light to moderate chewers only, and will resist about 90% of chewing. The overall construction of 1680D is not water resistant or waterproof.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple Available
    • Toy (23″ x 17″)k9 ballistics crate pad for chewers
    • X-Small (30″ x 19″)
    • Small (35″ x 23″)
    • Medium (41″ x 28″)
    • Large (47″ x 36″)
    • X-Large (51″ x 36″)
  • Color: Green Camo
    • Also available in black, blue, grey camo, green, red, tan.
  • Outer Material: 1680D Nylon
  • Inner Material: 1.5″ thick polyester fill
  • Chew Rating: 3/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: As a crate pad, the K9 Ballistics is an acceptable option. The 1680D nylon holds up well to scratching and the double-stitching lends itself to quality construction. The cover is not removable, but the whole unit is machine washable.

Like with any 1680D, there is ancillary noise when the dogs move around on it. When used as a stand-alone bed, it did not fall victim to chewing – but it wasn’t used much, either. Probably due to the thinness of the overall bed.

As a crate liner, the loft was adequate, but dogs to tend to chew their crate bedding more, and its lifetime is definitely limited if you have a crate chewer.

Tails Up (Pros): The 1680D is good construction material, and the sizing fits the popular kennels.

Tails Down (Cons): The thin pad is not protective enough, and the crate ties are an enticement for chewers

Verdict: the K9 Ballistics Crate Pad has an adequate design and good materials, but it’s too thin for comfort.

Please note: This bed is also available in an orthopedic version, consisting of a 2″ core, consisting of a 1″ layer of memory foam on top of a 1″ layer of dense foam.

Kuranda Elevated Dog Bed

Kuranda Elevated Dog Bed reviewAn elevated, PVC-framed dog bed that is basically a hammock design, which will avoid base pressure points. The PVC frame is walnut colored, and assembled at home with enclosed stainless steel hardware.

There is an optional fleece pad available for extra comfort. PVC glue is NOT recommended for use during assembly.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple Available
    • Small (30″ x 20″)unchewable dog bed
    • Medium (35″ x 23″)
    • Large (40″ x 25″)
    • X-Large (44″ x 27″)
    • XX-Large (50″ x 36″)
  • Color: Khaki
    • Also available burgundy, forest green, smoke.
  • Outer Material: Cordura®
  • Inner Material: None
  • Chew Rating: 5/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: As it is, this bed really is chew-proof – but I wouldn’t consider it indestructible due to the construction. There is no specific weight for the Cordura® but it feels like standard canvas weight, or about 1000D nylon.

The Kuranda elevated dog bed is basically a raised cot, commonly used for teaching “place”. The dogs go to it easily enough as instructed, but it is not a chosen place for a nap – although it became more attractive when their regular bed was put on top.

Unless your dog has had experience with these raised cots, there will be a long curve for them to get used to it between the insecure footing and noisiness of the material. Assembly required.

Tails Up (Pros): A simple design that easily lends itself to the indestructible label.

Tails Down (Cons): Uncomfortable without additional padding (that may be chewed!), definitely not a good choice for arthritic dogs. Dogs not familiar with cots will shy away from it.

Verdict: Considering only the chew factor, this option receives a 5/5 – but there is no real comfort unless the fleece pad is ordered, or a folded blanket is placed over the top, and even then its unique design may likely be rebuffed due to insecure footing.

Slumber Pet Toughstructable Bed

Slumber Pet Toughstructable reviewWhen I came across this bed touting to be the “future in chew-proof dog beds”, with its advertised chew-proof ripstop material, double-stitched seams, and reinforced corners, I was excited.

I clicked the button to add it to my cart, and anxiously awaited its arrival.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple Availablewaterproof dog beds
    • Medium (36″ x 23″)
    • Large (42″ x 28″)
  • Color: Tan
  • Outer Material: Polyester
  • Inner Material: Polyfil
  • Chew Rating: 0/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression – and boy did this bed make an impression. Just not a good one.

I’m not sure what they consider ripstop material – but this is definitely not what I’ve encountered.

The Slumber Pet Toughstructable bed felt like the material my aunt’s curtains were made out of.

The double-stitched seams weren’t, there weren’t channels for the filling, and there was no indication of reinforcing at the corners.

I know this for a fact – the bed’s remains were strewn across the living room in less than 2 hours. Oh, and don’t bother looking for a warranty – there was none.

Tails Up (Pros): The Velcro closure was nice, I suppose.

Tails Down (Cons): Hmmm … Just throw $65 in small bills on the floor and it would probably last longer.

Verdict: Poorly made, falsely advertised, and overpriced.

KONG Chew Resistant Heavy Duty Pillow Dog Bed

KONG Chew Resistant Heavy Duty Pillow Bed reviewI stumbled across this one completely by accident, so I added it to my cart – and quickly deleted it. Just shy of $300 seemed a bit pricey, even with my Prime shipping.

But it was Kong so I poked around and found it at PetSmart for less than $100. Pleased with my frugalness, I put in my order and waited for my treasure.

Technical:

  • Size: 30″ x 40″
  • Color: Brown
  • Outer Material: Polyester
  • Inner Material: Polyester
  • Chew Rating: 3/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: I won’t say this was the worst bed reviewed – but in light of the company reputation, it was by far the most disappointing.

I fully expected the same Kong toughness that I had enjoyed with their soft toys (well, not that I chew them personally – you know what I mean!) but that was not the case.

The polyester was certainly not going to stand up to roughhousing for long, but for whatever reason none of the dogs tried to disassemble it – maybe because of the faint funny odor.

The piping around the edge is definitely a chew enticement, as is the carrying handle. More size options would have been nice.

Tails Up (Pros): The dogs didn’t chew it. It’s a Kong. It seems comfortable enough to me.

Tails Down (Cons): The Kong dog bed is definitely not up to the standards of other Kong products. The handle feels like it can be easily ripped off, and the material definitely doesn’t feel like it will withstand much pawing.

The dogs didn’t have much interest laying on it unless instructed to.

Verdict: Let’s be honest – Kong knows how to build tough toys that could withstand Jaws on a bad day and come back for more. Beds… not so much. It’s really no surprise that these beds are not listed on the Kong website anywhere. Be sure to price shop!

K9 Ballistics Original TUFF Dog Bed

K9 Ballistics Original TUFF Dog Bed reviewThe next step up from their crate pad, the K9 Ballistics TUFF Bed option is designed in true dog-bed style. A more colorful pallet of 1680D nylon exterior and a thick channeled poly fiber fill was more than I could resist – so I didn’t.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple Availablebest dog bed for chewers
    • Small (18″ x 24″)
    • Medium (27″ x 33″)
    • Large (34″ x 40″)
    • X-large (38″ x 54″)
    • XX-Large (40″ x 68″)
  • Color: Sunny Sky Stripe
    • Also available in black, blue, gray camo, green, green camo, lattice, marine blue stripe, red, and tan.
  • Outer Material: 1680D Nylon
  • Inner Material: Polyester stuffing
  • Chew Rating: 5/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: The 1680D nylon is tough, and the ripstop pattern will definitely stop small rips from expanding through standard use. The K9 Ballistics TUFF bed is definitely not waterproof; according to the manufacturer, it’s designed for any wetness to pass right through – and it actually does.

The velcro strip replacing a zipper will eliminate any chewing enticement.

Tails Up (Pros): This bed is easy to clean, and comfortable for the dogs. The fluffy filling doesn’t compact as much as I thought it would, and it withstood digging and rough-house play.

Tails Down (Cons): There is definitely more outer material than inner material, leading to an under-stuffed look.

Verdict: Well made tough dog bed that definitely lives up to the standards of toughness set by K9 Ballistics.

Please note: This bed also comes in a bolstered version; a couch-style with arms and a back for those pups that like to snuggle into their beds.

K9 Ballistics Deep Den Dog Bed

K9 Ballistics Deep Den Dog Bed reviewAnother K9 Ballistics option (mostly because I like the name!) for the nesters and snugglers of the house. The rounded oval design, high sides, and generous stuffing make for a comfortable sleeping spot for young and old dogs that like to curl up.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple Availableround indestructible dog bed
    • Small (24″ x 28″)
    • Medium (30″ x 24″)
    • Large (36″ x 28″)
    • X-Large (45″ x 38″)
  • Color: Black
    • Also available in lattice and green camo
  • Outer Material: 1680D Nylon
  • Inner Material: Unspecified
  • Chew Rating: 4/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: As expected, the Deep Dog Den bed was another well made product from a manufacturer determined to get their super-durable dog beds right.

The full perimeter wall allows the pup to be fully snuggled in without the annoyance of an opening.

The fluffy filling is soft and non-clumping, and the overall design can be tempting for committed chewers.

Tails Up (Pros): Rugged material and quality construction. Smaller sizes are machine washable; the X-Large size needs to be cleaned with a hose.

Tails Down (Cons): The interior lining may not hold up to extended digging – typical for nesters and snugglers. The overall design could be a chew enticement, especially the removable bottom pad.

Verdict: Although not chewed by my dogs, the removable bottom pad and high sides could definitely be chewing enticements.

Hugglehounds Chew Resistant TuffutLuxx Bed

Hugglehounds Chew Resistant TuffutLuxx Bed reviewOne more manufacturer of tough toys tossing their offering into the “unchewable” dog bed arena. The fashionable colors of their removable outer cover feature contrast quilted-stitching to give an extra classy look.

The manufacturer touts their beds as “Abrasion resistance more than 6x higher than most tough chew dog beds”. With claims like that, it needs to spend some time with my chewer.

Technical:

  • Size: Multiple Availableindestructable beds for dogs
    • Medium (36″ x 27″)
    • Large (42″ x 30″)
    • X-Large (48″ x 36″)
  • Color: Atlantic Night
    • Also available in Belgian chocolate and champagne
  • Outer Material: Unspecified nylon
  • Inner Material: Polyfill
  • Chew Rating: 4/5 for bed chosen and reviewed

Overview: Without a doubt, the Hugglehounds TuffetLuxx is a nice looking bed. The quilted stitching gives the nylon outer a little more of a softer feel, and the polyfill is fluffy and adequate.

The zipper flap is well stitched, although the zipper itself was stiff and snaggy.

Advertised as waterproof, only the inner cover held up to water balloons.

Tails Up (Pros): Nice looking bed sure to go with any décor, comfortable and sturdy. Held up well enough to canine tug-of-war.

Tails Down (Cons): Although only one of the dogs chewed through (can you guess which one?), the threads snag and rip easily when pawed; this can lead to weak areas that will tear.

Verdict: Not a bad bed at all, although it fails to meet the high expectations that come from their lofty claims.

Bottom Line

We’ve looked at just a sliver of the “indestructable” dog beds on the market, and K9 Ballistics are a clear forerunner overall – although the DogBed4Less was our clear winner for their chew-proof orthopedic design, overall construction, and bang for your buck.

Unless constructed out of chainmail, no dog bed is truly indestructible for a committed canine.

Also bear in mind when choosing a bed that each dog is different, and their chewing needs are just as varied – and their toys will give you a good indication of construction material that are the better choices.

For example, if you use old jeans to make chew and tug toys for your pup – what do you think will happen to a denim bed?

You definitely get what you pay for – but before dropping several hundred dollars on a bed, do a little price shopping. Also, check your local pet store; an afternoon spent trying out beds could go a long way to choosing the best one for your pooch.

Above all, remember that dogs will be dogs.

It’s been a few months now, and Cerveza hasn’t chewed up her new bed.

Now if I can just get her to stop hoarding cheese under it…

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What Type of Dog Should I Get?

http://www.centralparkpaws.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Giant-Mastiff.jpg

Puppy Love: Finding the Perfect Canine Companion

Of all the animals in the world, there’s no greater variety than found within Canis Lupus Familiaris – better known as the common dog.

Big and small, tall and short, fat and thin, hairy or naked, and pretty much any color combination you can come up with, these majestic – and sometimes silly – animals have been dubbed man’s best friend, and rightfully so.

For pretty much any human need, there is a canine that can fill it.

  • Need a traveling buddy for all those weekend adventures? Get a dog.
  • Need a protector from the creepy neighbor down the street? Get a dog.
  • Need a companion to watch the game and yell at the refs? Get a dog.
  • Need a playmate to dress up in fru-fru outfits and bows? Get a cat – and a first aid kit.
    Giant Mastiff

    Giant Mastiff

Once you start looking at the different breeds, that’s where the differences start to show up.

The regal Afghan Hound with her tall stance and silky, flowing hair.

The Giant Mastiff with its coat that’s three sizes too large.

The exotic Peruvian Inca Orchid, a mid-sized hairless dog that sports a natural mohawk that matches the boy your daughter brought home senior year.

The downright creepy Chinese Crested that’s almost so ugly it’s cute – but you still wouldn’t want to meet the 6lb little beast in a dark alley.

It’s almost beyond belief that these widely varied animals are all descendants of the Wolf.

Fact really is stranger than fiction !

With so many differences in the dogs on the outside, there’s just as many differences in their overall personalities and temperament – so it’s important to pick one to perfectly match YOUR personality and lifestyle.

Yeah, the German Shepherds are without a doubt the most awesome (me, biased? noooo…) dog on the planet – but are they appropriate for a tiny apartment in the middle of the city where the most excitement that ever happens is a new season released on Netflix?

Location, Location, Location

It’s true in real estate and it’s true in searching for the perfect dog – it’s all about the location.

Your living conditions really are one of the most important considerations, because your home is his home.

An 800 square foot apartment in the city would not be the best living conditions for, say, a Great Dane with a shoulder height of almost 3 feet and an average weight of 175 pounds – and that’s before adding a human and furniture!

Your living conditions are usually – but not always – reflective of your basic lifestyle.

Apartment Life

For the most part, apartments are on the smaller side, which limit the space to romp around inside.

Also, most apartments relegate any exercise for your canine to walks – and this usually eliminates the ability to really get in a good run to stretch their legs.

Don’t forget that most apartments frown upon a dog that barks at every little noise.

Bulldog

Bulldog contemplating life

A smaller living space should shift your focus to one of the small or mid-sized breeds that require less consistent exercise and tend to be a quieter breed.

Be sure to check your rental agreement for animal regulations and size limitations!

  • Bulldog: quiet and calm, these dogs tend to be unfazed by the world outside the walls – and don’t require a lot of exercise.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are a favorite of female apartment dwellers due to their loving demeanor and small size.

My House, My Rules

A better option for a canine is the typical single-family home. More interior room as well as a yard allow your dog to get their wiggles out as needed, and fresh air does their soul good.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever knows what you did

Longer walks through the suburban neighborhoods allow for more investigation of smells, and parks are perfect for a game of fetch or a romp with the canine neighbors.

  • Bull Terriers are perfect for houses with small or mid-sized yards, and are known for hanging out and playing in the yard for hours without constant supervision.
  • Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the ‘burbs, being friendly with the neighbors and other dogs as well.

Where the Buffalo Roam

Often misunderstood as the perfect scenario for dog owners with the endless acreage for day-long excursions and the other animals for companionship, the farm isn’t without its own unique set of hazards.

Wild predators and nuisance animals like skunks can all add up to trouble for a dog owner who erroneously thinks he can have an ‘open range’ dog – not to mention what bugs and diseases he can bring back!

Just like any other housing arrangements, a dog is a pet and a responsibility.

  • Border Collies are almost a natural for a farm. They love to run and explore – and thrive when given chores to do.
  • Catahoula Leopard Dogs are popular in the south, and are common on farms for their protectiveness of livestock and their ability to cover miler each day – and never miss their dinner bell.

What I like to Do For Fun

Your personal lifestyle is another factor in the equation for the perfect canine companion.

How you spend your time during the week days and weekends is important because your dog doesn’t understand the work week – they just know if you’re home or not.

These are a few of your priorities that need to be weighed in light of the needs of the dog you choose – whether you want a snuggler of just a distant companion. Besides, if you’re not home to take care of your four-legged fur baby, who will?

Days

Maltese short hairHow do you spend your daytime hours? Do you work from home or pull a typical 9-5, or are you an 80 hour-a-week workaholic who uses home as a place to nap and shower between stints at the office?

  • Shar Pei’s are those adorable dogs that are covered with rolls and wrinkles – and are noted for their low energy.
  • Maltese is a beautiful white fluffball that likes to be the center of attention – or left alone for hours on end to nap in the sunshine.

Weekends

What is your leisure time like? Are you a weekend adventurer, hitting the trails for a new adventure? Bar hopping to take in all the games and as much alcohol as humanly possible?

Basset Hound Puppy

Those ears!

Or are you a ‘Netflix-n-chill’ kind of person – weekends spent with your favorite movies and series, with Chinese and pizza delivery on speed dial?

  • Basset Hounds are probably some of the lowest maintenance dogs on the planet. They require little exercise and lots of sleep – and like to hang out with you on the couch with Netflix and a lot of pizza.
  • Labrador Retrievers are perfect canine companions for those adventures, and can handle just about any weather or terrain you encounter.

Socialization

Are you a hermit who likes to keep to yourself, or do you stop and talk to every person you meet? Opposites might attract – but when it comes to your puppy, it’s best to be more suitably matched.

  • Bullmastiff is a large breed – and just as lazy – will enjoy those calm evenings and weekends at home, provided they get a few short walks in … And some of the pizza.
  • Irish Setters are playful and energetic – and love making new friends, no matter what species they are. Their luxurious coats grabs attention and are conversation starters.

The Whole Gang

Pug

Who shares your home and life with you? Are you running a bachelor pad for your college buddies, or are you a single mom with young kids? Newly wed or cohabitating?

The amount of time and attention you actually have free, as opposed to your good intentions, is an important consideration.

  • Pugs are perfect companions for households that are busy or constantly shifting; they have great dispositions and low stress levels – and just like to be around humans!
  • Welsh Corgis are the queen’s favorite for a very good reason; they are fun and frisky and people pleasers to the core.

Why I Want a dog

Ah, the bottom line is always why. And that’s the most important thing you need to figure out before you run out and hit the local SPCA or pet store – why do you want a dog?

There’s honestly no right or wrong answer. It could be as simple as you just want one. Or, you could have very specific reasons.

Either way, the more on target you are with what motivates you, the better you can make the perfect match – and eliminate any possible disappointments or unmet expectations for you as well as the new pup.

Above all, remember that a dog is a permanent addition to your life – so if you’re looking to fill a temporary opening, consider a hobby or a goldfish.

For the Kids

If you’re hearing the begging of tiny little voices and pleading little eyes – you’re probably past the point of no return.

Weimaraner

Happy Weimaraner

While it’s true that kids who grow up with dogs have higher self-esteem, miss less school, are healthier and are overall more responsible, you need to understand that the promises of doing everything required to take care of it will, in fact, become you doing the majority of the work – kids need to grow into the role of canine caregiver.

But the rewards are out of this world.

  • Newfoundlands are gentle giants with an endless supply of patience and eternally devoted – perfect for families and young ones, especially as a first dog.
  • Weimaraners stand out for their unique gray coats, but are friendly and most importantly, incredibly obedient.

Working or Hunting

Is there a specific job that you expect your dog to do? Are you looking for a duck chaser on hunting days, or a deterrent to keep unwelcome guests out of the business yard?

If you’re looking for a working dog, you also need to decide if it’s going to be a straight working dog – trained to do its job – or will be pulling double duty as a family pet.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever is probably the greatest water hunting dogs due to their coat and webbed feet – and their ability to master the land as well as water.
  • Dogo Argentino is an excellent guard dog – and when trained to hunt boar, is unrivaled for its tenacity and ability to take down a full-grown wild boar.

Midnight Blues

American Eskimo

American Eskimo

Not to be compared to the crazy cat lady up the street, are you looking for a dog to fill a certain void in your life – or as a complement to your life? Are you between loves and looking for someone to come home to?

  • Pomeranians are cuteness overload, and all they want do is cuddle and get loved.
  • American Eskimos are sometimes called miniature Samoyed’s – but these dogs are bursting with affection and will follow you anywhere.

Critter Manager

If you’ve decided that a dog is the perfect animal to keep mice or other small rodents under control, we have to have a talk … But there’s always the Rat Terrier, which is a smaller breed, bred for – you guessed it – catching rats.

But seriously, you should leave the mice catching to the cats. Just sayin’.

Adventurer

German Shepherd

German Shepherd is ready to go!

Are you a weekend warrior who tackles the trails or camping spot every weekend? Is your idea of fun trudging through the backwoods and blazing new trails?

Are mosquitos your best friends? Do you spend most time covered in mud and sweat?

  • German Shepherds are the perfect companion dogs; from Saturday hikes to a week in the Smokey Mountains, the GSD is a faithful companion that can keep up and, with a canine backpack, can pull his own weight … Unlike Mike on our last camping trip…
  • Siberian Huskies aren’t just for the snow – but it’s no doubt that’s where they shine. From wooded trails to open country, the husky is at home out in the open.

Three’s Company

Are you looking to enlarge the herd? Got a single dog that you think might be a little bored – or is too clingy when you’re around and trying to get stuff done?

If you’re looking to add a dog to an existing household, there’s a few things to keep in mind before taking the plunge;

  1.  Dog expressions don’t match human expressions. In other words, just because they look lonely doesn’t mean they are lonely
  2.  A clingy dog might not need a friend – they might just love you to pieces!
  3.  Does the current canine occupant get along with other dogs it encounters?
    Beagle

    Sleepy Beagle

If you’re still committed to adding to the flock, there are several breeds that are naturally social with other dogs

  • Beagles are the smallest of the hound family, and unquestionably is a friendly and happy dog that loves everyone and everything.
  • Boston Terriers are fun loving social butterflies that try to make friends with every other animal they meet.

Get Your Game On

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier ready to play

How often do you see a jogger with a dog and think, “That could be me!”? If you’re considering a dog for a workout partner, I guarantee that they will be a buddy that never begs off that 5 mile run in favor of sleeping in.

 

  • Greyhounds are perfect dogs for loafing around the house all day, and taking for an extended run after work or on weekends. There are hundreds of ex-racing greyhounds available for adoption across the country.
  • Jack Russell Terriers are little perpetual motion machines that will keep up with you on and off the workout circuit.

I Wanna Talk About Me

Probably the most important part of choosing a dog is matching their personality traits to YOUR personality.

By taking a few minutes to consider some traits about yourself (hey – we’re not judging here!) you might realize that dream dog you thought you wanted could, in fact, be your worst nightmare.

Just think about it and decide yourself – we promise we won’t tell anyone.

ID, Please

Your age goes a long way in choosing a dog. Whether for your adult-self or as your child’s first pet (for the love of God – don’t buy a puppy for someone else’s kid!), age and maturity level goes a long way.

  • Bichon Frise are the perfect match for senior pet owners with their quiet demeanor and loving personalities.
  • Chihuahua’s are noted for their ability to bond and pledge their undying loyalty to one person.

Have A Heart

Chow Chow

Chow Chow

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve, or do you suck it up? Do you need hugs and kisses, or just a beer and a little peace and quiet until the commercial? Your emotional sensitivity level needs to match your puppy’s.

 

  • Irish Wolfhounds are giant teddy bears when it comes to sharing the love with their humans – and their giant size matches their heart.
  • Chow Chows are hard to miss with their large fluffy bodies and jet black tongues. Originally working dogs in China, their loyalty is matched by their sense of independence.

Martha Stewart’s Nightmare

Are you a neat-freak, with a place for everything and a low tolerance for muddy footprints? Or are your housekeeping skills enough to send Martha Stewart into cardiac arrest?

Is the lawn perfectly manicured, or are your neighbors taking up a collection to buy you a goat?

No matter your level of cleanliness, as crazy as it might seem – there’s a dog for that!

  • Alaskan Malamutes are playful and affectionate companions – and can’t walk across the floor without leaving a thick trail of hair in their wake.
  • Xoloitzcuintlis – the Mexican Hairless Dog – is the perfect companion for a neat freak because hey – you can’t have dog hair everywhere if the dog is bald! But its loyalty and protectiveness is unsurpassed.

Pass Me A Tissue

Labradoodle

Oodles of Labradoodles

If you dread the change of seasons, or sneeze at the sight of a dandelion, have no fear – allergies don’t keep you out of the running for dog-parent of the year.

Check our article on Hypoallergenic Dogs to see that dogs and allergies really can co-exist.

  • Poodles are the most popular “hypoallergenic” dog breeds. Bred in a wide variety of sizes from 3 pound toys to 60 pound standards, there’s a perfect size for anyone.
  • Labradoodles are wildly popular due to their hypoallergenic status thanks to the poodle and their easy going, fun attitude from the lab side.

Early Birds and Night Owls

Your preferred hours of activity might make you think that you’re eliminated from the puppy owner pool – but nothing could be further from the truth.

If you start getting into your groove when the clock hits midnight, or prefer to start your day an hour before the sun even thinks about popping up over the distant hills, your dog could certainly adjust their circadian rhythm to match yours.

The question is what you do during these non-standard hours of activity. If you’re a night owl, are you an active and outside? Or do you do your best gaming online during those overnight hours?

  • Great Pyrenees are a livestock guard dog – and given the choice prefer the night shift. So if you’re a daytime sleeper and have the room for a companion who keeps the same hours, it’s a match made in heaven.
  • Belgian Malinois is gaining in popularity among single men, and their energy level – especially at sunrise – makes you think that there’s an instant on switch in there somewhere.

Indoor Plumbing, Please

Dalmatian

Dalmatian, probably named ‘Spot’

If you prefer the conveniences of modern technology and can’t go a city block without your designer coffee, or if your role model is Crocodile Dundee, you need to take that into consideration before bringing home a 4-legged bundle of love.

  • Dalmatians are actually a lot higher maintenance than most people realize. Contrary to the calm canine sitting on top of the fire truck, Dalmatians need a lot of room to run – and a lot of free time to do it.
  • Dachshunds are easily identifiable by their oversized ears and body, and undersized legs. The short legs allow them to get enough exercise without having to venture out into the world on a regular basis.

Which One Will You Choose?

We’ve already said it, and it’s still true – you need to carefully consider what you expect from your future canine companion and be sure you’re able and willing to have this addition to the next decade of your life.

You’ll be so glad you did!

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The Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes

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Why I Switched to Homemade Dog Food

A few years ago, I came home to find my poor 16 year old pup lying on the ground in agony. I quickly rushed her to the vet to find out that she had broken her back leg, probably from something as normal as jumping down from the couch, and had to have it amputated.

But that wasn’t the whole story.

It turned out that her bone was extremely brittle due to cancer.

That terrifying ‘C’ word.

The vet recommended a biweekly course of chemo for my baby. It would cost about $500 a visit and there was only a 30% chance of survival.

I decided, after seeing my aunt and stepfather go through the process, that I would rather enjoy the remaining time I had with her rather than subject her to that poison.

Of course, I didn’t just take it lying down, I researched as much as I could about the condition and what I could do about it.

That’s when I came across an article (can’t find it now, unfortunately) that led me to believe that Lady’s food might have something to do with her problems. So I decided to do something about it.

I began cooking her meals of chicken (livers, gizzards, breasts, etc), black beans, and rice in a big batch every Sunday evening.

Within a few weeks, my old girl was acting 10 years younger, her coat was looking better than it had in years, and she was much less “snippy” with the other animals.

She outlived her “life expectancy” by 3x, and passed away happy and full of life. My final memories of the dog that had been with me for all of my major life events are of how she really was, not slowly, painfully deteriorating away.

And I credit that to feeding her homemade dog food instead of relying on a big brand mystery bag.

Why You Should Make Your Own Dog Food

If that story wasn’t enough for you, there are many other reasons to ditch the bag and make your own dog food.

dog food recipesFirst, I would like to point out that commercial pet food is much less regulated than you think. The FDA and AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) have rules in place but they are not as strict or scrutinized as hard as human food.

Which means that these companies can put almost whatever they like into your dog’s food. And they put a lot of trash in there. Why do you think pet food is constantly getting recalled? And pet owners CONTINUE to buy it!

So that’s why you shouldn’t buy commercial pet food but here’s why you should make your own:

Homemade pet food typically has more nutrients, less preservatives, can be tailored specifically to your furry friend, and actually costs less than store bought food!

That’s right, you can save money while providing your pup a healthier food option.

And if your canine companion has health issues like irritable bowel syndrome or allergies, DIY dog food can make a huge difference.

How to Make Your Own Dog Food

Making your own dog food really isn’t difficult as long as you follow a few simple rules.

First, unless your pup needs a special diet like grain free or vegan, you should try to stick to this meal ratio: 50% protein, 25% veggies, and 25% grain. You can also follow this ratio of 40-60% raw meat/protein, 20-30% cooked starch, and 20-30% raw vegetables/fruit.
how to make your own dog food

Second, be sure to know what foods dogs can and can’t eat. I’ll go into this more later.

Lastly, add supplements to their meals to make up for nutrients that they aren’t getting from the food alone. There are 6 essential nutrients that every dog needs.

The National Academies of Sciences has put together an amazing resource detailing which vitamins and minerals dogs must have and the exact amount to feed them daily based on age.

But don’t start worrying that you’ll need to take a science class to feed your dog, we’ve compiled a collection of over 80 recipes below that cover almost every type of diet.

Resources

What Should and Shouldn’t Go Into Your Recipe

Of course, dogs can’t eat all of the same foods that we can. So before you start whipping up something in the kitchen for your pooch, you’re going to need to know what you can and can’t feed a dog.

Can

Here are some popular ingredients to use when cooking for your pup. These are only the most popular so if you’re not sure, consult an authority like your vet or a trusted website like the AKC or PetMD.

Proteins

The protein portion of your dog’s diet can come from poultry (chicken, turkey, etc) – including organ meats such as livers, hearts, and gizzards – eggs, beef, tuna, salmon, venison, lamb, or pork (be mindful of the fat though).

There are also a few less common safe meats like kangaroo and rabbit, just check with your vet before adding to your menu.

Veggies

Some of the best vegetables to add to your pet’s bowl include broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green beans, peas, spinach, and sweet potatoes. So basically everything that your 3 year old won’t eat.

Grains

If your dog has a grain allergy, or you just prefer a grain free diet, feel free to skip this section. If grains aren’t an issue to you, especially for larger dogs who take more to fill up, oatmeal and rice (preferably brown rice) are great choices and they are ridiculously cheap.

Supplements

Which supplements your dog needs will depend on what you choose to feed them and what conditions they may have. For example, glucosamine would make a good addition for older dogs – especially those with arthritis.

For dogs with digestive issues, you may want to try out a probiotic.

We’ve also included a few recipes down below for “toppings” to add to your dog’s food that can make up for missing nutrients.

Resources

Can’t

Here are some of the most common foods that are dangerous to dogs. This list is not exhaustive so if you’re not sure, do your research first.

  • Grapes/raisins
  • Cherries
  • Avocado
  • Onions/leeks
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Garlic
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Uncooked spinach
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Citrus
  • Coconut and Coconut Oil
  • Milk and Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Chives
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast Dough

Tips for Making DIY Dog Food

As with most things in life, preplanning can make your life a lot easier. Many of these meals can be made in large batches and used throughout the week (obviously you should refrigerate it).

how to make homemade dog food

Most of them can also be frozen if you decide to make a really big batch. Don’t worry, I’ve included a section for that too.

And if you don’t have enough freezer space, you can also can your homemade dog food for long term storage.

Lastly, if you’re making a meal with eggs, don’t throw away the eggshells, add them to the mix for extra calcium.

Choosing the Right Diet for Your Pet

The diet that you ultimately decide on for your pet will, of course, depend largely on your pet (breed, age, medical conditions, size, etc), your budget, and your schedule.

There are meals that can help with diabetes, healthy coats, arthritis, allergies, weight loss, and diarrhea. There are also recipes specific to puppies or senior dogs.

Here are a few resources:

Homemade Dog Food Recipes

I know that was a lot of information and you’re probably overwhelmed. But really all you need to do is pick a diet plan and then choose a recipe that you like from the list we’ve compiled.

Many of these meals can fit into multiple categories (like a grain free puppy food that can be made in a crockpot) so be sure to scan through them all.

If you can’t find one you like, you can create a free pet recipe here.

Healthy Dog Food Recipes

While almost all home cooked dog food recipes are healthier than commercial pet food, the ones below are specifically designed for dogs with diabetes, arthritis, diarrhea, and general health.

Cookbooks

Dog Food Recipes for Puppies

puppy power smoothies

Puppy Power Smoothies!

Puppies need extra nutrition to feed their growing bodies. These recipes pack in a lot of nutrients into a smaller package. You might want to think about adding supplements to your puppy’s food as well.

Recipes for Senior Dogs

Older dogs require a different diet than their younger counterparts. Their food is generally easy to chew and has supplements for joint pain relief. Cutting calories while maintaining protein intake is also important as their metabolism slows down.

Grain Free Recipes for Allergies

Grain free meals have many benefits over those with corn, wheat, rice, soy, or oats. Many dogs have an allergic reaction to soy, corn, and/or wheat, causing them to scratch incessantly, develop sores, sneeze, or have digestive issues. Fortunately, switching to a grain free diet can solve many of these issues quickly and without medication.healthy dog food recipes

It is important to note, though, that many dogs are also allergic to protein sources such as beef, chicken, or eggs.

You can also make any of these other recipes grain free by following this guide.

Cookbooks

High Protein Recipes

Most dogs, especially younger ones, need a large amount of protein. Pregnant and lactating dogs also need a lot of protein. Canines are not carnivores though, they are omnivores like us. So don’t feed them just meat.

High protein diets can also be used for weight loss since extra protein doesn’t get stored as fat.

Cookbooks

Low Protein Recipes

Woof loaf for dogs

Woofloaf

Low protein diets are typically recommended for dogs with kidney disease. However, the article above, by T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM, argues that that myth was started by a study using rats, not dogs. And rats don’t eat meat naturally.

Cookbooks

Raw Food Diet Recipes

While there is a lot of hype around raw food diets, both for pets and humans, many vets aren’t as quick to jump on board. Some even recommend cooking the meal before serving (is it still raw food at that point?).

If you do decide to go with a raw food diet, be careful of salmonella. Up to 80% of animals on raw food diets were exposed to it.

Cookbooks

Easy Crockpot Dog Food Recipes

I don’t know about you but I absolutely love my crockpot. It’s almost magical how I can put food into it in the morning and come home to a meal.

If you want to cut down on the time you spend cooking your dog’s meals, a crockpot can do that for you.Easy crockpot dog food

Cookbooks

Vegetarian Dog Food Recipes

As we established before, dogs are omnivores. Which means they eat meat and plants. So can dogs survive and stay healthy on a meatless diet? The short answer is yes (but NOT cats).

For those owners who would like to switch their dog to a vegetarian diet, there are a lot of options. Here are a few:

Cookbooks

Natural Dog Food Recipes

Preservatives and chemicals are what you’re trying to avoid by not buying dog food from the store. So why would you use foods with preservatives and chemicals when you’re making Fido’s dinner?home cooking for your dog

Cookbooks

Dry Dog Food Recipes

While all of these recipes are nutritious and delicious, they are a bit of a pain to serve. But dry dog food keeps longer and can be served with one hand in ten seconds. Or you can make your wet food stores last longer by mixing them with some kibble.

Cookbooks

Recipes for Weight Loss

With America leading the globe in obesity rates, it’s no wonder that our dogs get fat too. And just like us, this extra weight can have a negative impact on their health.

If your pooch needs to lose his pooch, try out a few of these recipes. He’ll get back into his beach body in no time.

Cookbooks

Frozen Dog Food Recipes

For those of us who are short on time, or just like to do everything at once, making a large batch of dog food and freezing it is very handy. Take them out the day before or in the morning and they’ll be ready for Fido’s dinner.

Cheap Dog Food Recipes

diy dog food beef stew

Getting prepped to make beef stew

Most of the recipes on this list are pretty cheap to make, especially when you cook in bulk. Here are a couple of meals that won’t dent your wallet.

Food Addins/Toppers

Whether your dog isn’t getting enough nutrients out of his regular diet or he needs extra supplements for a medical condition, adding what he needs into his food is pretty easy. And there are a lot of options. Adding glucosamine can ease joint pain and if your pup is lacking calcium, sprinkling egg shells into his meal can be a simple solution.

Of course, there are plenty of companies out there more than willing to sell you a pill or powder to add to your dog’s food but we’re talking about homemade solutions here! So check out these food toppers for improving your dog’s health:

Dog Food Recipes for Small Dogs

When feeding a small dog, there are some things you need to keep in mind. They have smaller mouths so whatever you feed them shouldn’t be too large for them to eat or get stuck in their throats. They also have smaller stomachs (go figure!) so adjust their portions proportionally.

For more information on their nutrient needs, check out this article.

Dog Food Recipes for Large Dogs

This might come as a shocker to you but large dogs weigh more and have bigger bones than their smaller cousins. Carrying around all that weight means that the larger your dog, the more prone to joint pain and calcium deficiencies.

Big dogs are also more likely to have digestive issues.

Your Turn

Do you have a recipe for homemade dog food that you’d like to share? Send it on over!

The post The Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes appeared first on Central Park Paws.

from http://www.centralparkpaws.net/dog-food/best-homemade-diy-dog-food-recipes/