While most dogs will eat nearly anything you put in front of them, veterinarians, breeders, and trainers will tell you that along with exercise, nothing affects the health of your dog more than the quality of their diet. And a natural diet is best of all because natural dog foods do not contain harmful man-made chemicals, additives, or preservatives. What’s wrong with man-made ingredients if they help keep dog food fresh or make it taste better? The problem with these ingredients lies in their possible effect on your dog’s well-being and the fact that they don’t align with what healthy dogs eat in the wild. Considering these factors, here are five reasons your dog should be eating natural:

  • Not solely carnivores – In the wild, dogs supplement their diet of meat with grasses, herbs, fruits, and root vegetables. Your choice of a natural dog food, therefore, should contain the same variety of ingredients that will keep your pet healthy based on a balanced diet.
  • Prevention is a priority – Some artificial colors are said to cause hyperactivity, aggression, and insomnia, as well as thyroid problems and cancers. As well, a preservative called ethoxyquin has been known to cause liver and blood disorders while the preservatives BHA and BHT are said to be carcinogens. A natural diet free of additives eliminates the risk of these and other possible health concerns.
  • Digestible advantages – Less gas, less odor, fewer trips outside, less waste to clean up. These are advantages that dog owners enjoy when they feed their pets natural dog foods. Because a dog’s body “knows” what to do with natural ingredients there are usually fewer digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting, too.
  • Less is more – When dogs eat nutritious food that provides what their bodies need, they require less of it. When dog food ingredients contain nutrient-dense calories, only need two meals per day, they beg less for food and treats, and you can maintain their body weight easier.
  • Dogs are what they eat – When your dogs are doing well their skin and coat appear healthy, their weight and energy level matches their age, and their stool is brown and firm. Natural dog foods promote these characteristics by including ingredients from a variety of food groups, using lean meats that are low in fat, and including only the most essential vitamin and nutrient supplements.

Among pet owners and professionals, there is still some disagreement over whether grains such as corn and wheat are healthy for dogs. Some experts say that dogs cannot digest grains while others claim grains cause allergies. Still, others say that grains provide dogs with necessary nutrients. Whatever your opinion, be sure to ask your veterinarian if a diet containing grains is suitable for your pet. Meanwhile, don’t risk affecting your canine’s behavior, health, or his life for the sake of additives that are not naturally part of a dog’s diet. Go natural!


Does Your Dog Get Hot Spots?

Posted by Dawn Donaldson


It's fairly common for dogs to regularly lick specific areas of their body. Although that behavior isn't problematic on its own, you should keep an eye out for licking that progresses to biting or excessive scratching. When a dog starts doing that, it can cause the upper layer of the skin to get infected. The scientific name for this infection is pyotraumatic dermatitis, but it's more commonly referred to as a hot spot.


Understanding the Causes of Hot Spots


A dog usually won't start biting or scratching parts of its body for no reason. Instead, this behavior generally starts with an insect bite, allergic reaction or other issue that causes itching. In an attempt to get rid of the itch, a dog will begin by licking the area. When that fails to provide relief, a dog will take more aggressive actions like biting or scratching. The unfortunate reality is instead of getting rid of the itch, this approach only makes the problem worse. A dog can easily end up with spots of skin that are red and raw.


Two of the most common areas for dogs to develop hot spots are their rear ends and behind their ears. The first location generally stems from flea-allergy dermatitis, while the second can happen if a dog has an unaddressed ear infection. Dogs with longer coats are most at risk of developing hot spots. This condition is also most likely to occur during the hottest and most humid times of the year.


How to Help Your Dog with a Hot Spot


If you ever notice that your dog is starting to scratch or bite part of its body a lot, you'll want to take a closer look at that spot. What you see can range from a mild irritation to skin that's completely raw. For a hot spot that falls into the mild irritation category, you may be able to help your dog by using a natural cream.


With hot spots that are already raw or one that continues to get worse, the best course of action is to visit your vet. There are two significant ways that your vet will be able to help with a hot spot. The first is accurately identifying the underlying cause. Not only will this help to break the itch-scratch cycle, but it will also help to minimize the likelihood of a hot spot coming back.


The other way your vet will be able to help is by assessing the hot spot and preventing or treating any infection. Depending on the severity of the hot spot, a vet may utilize anti-inflammatory medications, topical antiseptics or a local treatment for the wound. Options like a T-shirt or e-collar may also be used to prevent further irritation to the hot spot so that it has an opportunity to heal.

Important Winter Care Tips for Your Dog

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 

It's true that dogs have a much more robust natural coat than humans. However, that doesn't mean dogs can handle the really cold temperatures we experience in Cincinnati without any help. Because domestic dogs are used to being taken care of by their owners, the same applies during the winter.


The good news is by knowing a few essential winter care tips, you'll be able to keep your pup happy and healthy through even the worst winter days. So with that in mind, let's take a look at exactly what your dog needs from you when the temperature drops really low:


1. Grooming


Dry skin and flaky coats are common issues during the winter. You can help your dog by using a moisturizing shampoo and limiting the number of bathes it gets during the winter months. Frequent brushing is also a great way to get rid of skin flakes and stimulate good skin circulation.


2. Cold Weather Gear


A good rule of thumb is if it's too cold for you to go out without some type of coat, the same is true for your dog. It's worth looking into different coat and sweater options for your pup. You should also see if any protective footwear options make sense for your dog.


3. Walks


You may ultimately decide that booties aren't the right fit for your dog. If that's the case, there are also cream products that can create a protective barrier on your dog's feet during walks. You'll want to check your dog's feet when you get home and clean off any debris. As you're out for a walk, be sure to keep an eye out for anti-freeze or other chemicals on the ground. And if your dog is whining or showing other signs of anxiety, it probably means it's just too cold that day for a walk.


4. Winter Safety


In addition to avoiding chemicals that may spill on the sidewalk, don't ever leave your dog alone in the car. While this warning is more common during the summer, the extreme temperatures of winter can be just as dangerous. And if you have extra devices like space heaters plugged in around your home, make sure your dog can't get to the extension cords or any hot surfaces.


5. Hydration


Just as the winter is still a dangerous time to be alone in a car, it's possible for dogs to get dehydrated during the colder months. Make sure your dog always has a clean bowl of fresh water easily available.


By keeping those five tips in mind, you'll be able to help your dog manage the cold weather of winter. And if you're looking for a place where you dog can still have lots of fun even when the weather is bad, be sure to take a look at our doggie daycare.

7 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

Posted by Dawn Donaldson


 

 


Since you want to take great care of your dog and provide it with the highest quality of life, we want to share seven foods that you should avoid ever feeding to your dog:


1. Chocolate


Although most dog owners already know that chocolate is bad for pets, we wanted to include it as a reminder. Since chocolate treats are especially common during the holiday season, always be careful to keep any of these items around your home fully out of reach of your dog.


2. Chewing Gum


While there's a lot of awareness about not letting dogs eat chocolate, many people aren't aware of the dangers that chewing gum presents. The issue with this item is it contains xylitoyl. This substance is also the reason why you should never let your dog use any dental products that are made for humans. In the event your dog ever eats chewing gum, it's important to go to an emergency vet right away.


3. Bulb Plants


This category include flowers like tulips and daffodils, as well as vegetables like shallots and onions. The good news is most bulb plants aren't immediately poisonous to dogs. But very high doses or long-term consumption can cause red blood cell damage, which is why you'll want to keep your dog away from plant that falls in this category.


4. Coffee


The chemical that makes chocolate very dangerous to dogs is Theobromine. What makes this chemical so problematic is how similar it is to caffeine. Because coffee is highly concentrated with caffeine, it's important to keep beans, brewed drinks and other any other forms of coffee away from your dog. This rule applies to all forms of caffeinated beverages.


5. Raisins and Grapes


As of now, scientists aren't aware of exactly what makes grapes poisonous to dogs. However, there's no question that this fruit can be quite toxic to them. Be sure your dog isn't ever within reach of a bowl of grapes or raisins. In the event that a dog does eat this fruit, prompt treatment by a vet can protect the dog's kidneys.


6. Mushrooms


Not all mushrooms are dangerous to dogs. The challenge is it's very hard to tell the harmless ones from those that are highly toxic. As a result, it's best to keep your dog away from any type of mushroom.


7. Avocados


While this food may come as a surprise, there are actually two dangers with avocados. In addition to the pit posing a choking danger, avocado can cause heart damage in dogs.


Avoiding the seven foods we covered above will help keep your dog safe. In addition to feeding your pup a healthy diet, regular exercise will also play a big role in its overall wellness. A great option for keeping your dog active is to bring it to dog day care in Cincinnati.

Preparing Your Pet for Thanksgiving

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 


Thanksgiving is a really fun holiday. Not only do you get to eat delicious food, but you also get to spend quality time with loved ones. Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving at your home or traveling to be with family members, we want to share some tips for ensuring your dog enjoys this day as well:


Preparing Your Dog to Host Thanksgiving


How you prepare for hosting guests during Thanksgiving will depend on your dog's personality. If your dog enjoys being around people, you may not need to do much to get your pet ready. But if your dog is generally only comfortable with people it knows well, you'll want to think about how you can create a positive environment for your pup.


Some dogs get anxious when new people enter their home. Other dogs are triggered by certain sounds like the doorbell. Being aware of a specific trigger like your doorbell and then politely letting your guests know not to ring it can help your pet a lot.


If any of your guests are going to stay with you for several days, find a time that you can supervise them interacting with your dog. This will help your pup feel at ease by knowing a guest is definitely welcome.


There are two other tips that will help your dog a lot. The first is ensuring your pet gets plenty of exercise. Going for some extra walks during the Thanksgiving holiday will prevent your dog from having excess energy. The other tip is to keep your dog from eating a bunch of table scraps. Sticking with your pet's normal food and treats will prevent digestive issues. 


Safely Traveling with Your Dog for Thanksgiving


Going on a Thanksgiving road trip with your dog can be a wonderful experience. To ensure your dog is safe on the road, be sure to bring along a crate or travel bag. This will also provide a secure space where your pet can comfortably sleep while you're staying at someone else's home.


Any road trip over a couple of hours should include at least one potty break, so be sure to give yourself extra time in your driving schedule. You'll also want to bring plenty of baggies to clean up after your dog during your time away. Bring water in your car, along with enough food to last the entire trip. It's also a good idea to bring along your dog's vaccination card.


Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season can make your schedule especially busy. If you need time to get things done and want to be sure that your dog isn't bored at home, our dog day care is an excellent option.

Helping Your Dog Lose Weight

Posted by Dawn Donaldson


Pets can look quite cute when they're carrying around extra weight. However, that doesn't mean this condition is good for their health. The reality is that dogs who are overweight face an increased risk of multiple health problems. And because more than half of all pets across the United States fall into the category of being overweight, it's an issue that deserves plenty of attention.


The Ideal Weight for Dogs


How much a dog should weigh will depend on its breed and size. While you can use a dog's ribs to gauge if it's overweight, underweight or about right, a more accurate way to assess your pet's weight is by discussing this issue with your vet. If your dog is currently overweight, a vet will be able to tell you exactly how much weight your pet should lose.


3 Ways to Help Your Dog Slim Down


Once you know the target weight for your dog, there are several different ways to help your pet reach it. The first is to take a long look at what you're feeding your dog, as well as how much you're feeding. Many big brand dog foods have a lot of fillers, additives and preservatives. Those ingredients can result in your dog consuming a lot of empty calories on a daily basis. They also take away from the overall nutritional value of food. If you discover that your dog's food falls into this category, it's time to look for a better option.


You'll also want to take time in gradually transitioning your dog from its old food to the new one. And once the transition is complete, be sure that you're feeding the right amount each day. Even high-quality food can cause a dog to gain weight if it's eating too much of it. The next way to help your dog slim down is by reducing treats. As with food, it's also a good idea to review the type of treats your dog gets and stick to ones that have some nutritional value.


Last but certainly not least is to help your dog be active on a daily basis. Some breeds may only require 20 to 30 minutes of activity a day to get in much better shape. The key is to be consistent! Since this is often a challenge for people with busy jobs, consider doggie daycare for your pet. When you bring your dog to us, you can count on your dog getting plenty of fun physical activity throughout the day!


October is Adopt a Dog Month

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

                                                 

If you've been thinking about adopting a dog, October is the perfect opportunity to make this decision official. Not only will bringing a dog into your home this fall make the holiday season even more memorable, but October is actually Adopt a Dog Month. Since there are a lot of great things about adopting a dog, we want to use this post to highlight five of them:


1. Save a Life


The sad reality of pet overpopulation in the United States is that 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every year. By making the decision to adopt a dog, you are giving that special animal the opportunity to live a full and happy life.


2. Start a Wonderful Journey


Having a pet is a very special experience. You'll be able to bond with your dog in all kinds of ways. Whether you live alone or have a family, the dog you adopt will become a central part of your daily life. From playing outside to hanging around the house, you'll be able to enjoy countless fun experiences with your pet.


3. Adoption is Affordable


Bringing a dog into your life is a financial commitment. However, it's a financial commitment that's completely manageable. And when you go the route of adopting, you won't have to worry about an overwhelming upfront cost. Shelters want dogs to find homes, which is why they work very hard to make this process a smooth transition for people adopting. Not only do shelters do a great job of keeping adopting costs down, but this fee typically includes spaying/neutering, first vaccinations and potentially even microchipping.


4. Lots of Benefits to Having a Dog


We mentioned above that bringing a dog home is an opportunity to save a life and the start of a wonderful journey. While you can give a dog a lot by adopting it, you'll also get so much from having a pet in your life. Studies have found that dogs provide numerous emotional and physical benefits to their owners. Whether it's having a reason to exercise more often or enjoying the stress-reducing effects that pets have, your dog will always be there for you.


5. Gift That Keeps Giving


When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you are freeing up valuable housing space that will allow the shelter to bring in another dog in need. Seeing the great experience you have after adopting may inspire others to do the same, which will continue the cycle of helping dogs that need it the most.


If you have any questions about local shelters or bringing your newly adopted dog to our daycare, don't hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 513-860-DOGS.

Do Dogs Get the Winter Blues?

Posted by Dawn Donaldson


Although there are some exciting things about the start of a new year, one thing that plenty of people in Cincinnati and other parts of the country don't love is the weather outside. Not only can it be quite cold and weather conditions can be downright unpleasant at times, but there are only a limited number of hours every day when the sun is actually up.


Beyond people simply disliking this combination of factors, it can actually trigger what's known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Commonly abbreviated as SAD, this condition is a specific type of depression that occurs during the winter months. Statistics show that more than three million people struggle with this condition every year.


As any dog owner knows, there is no shortage of similar traits between humans and our canine companions. That brings up an interesting question about whether or not dogs are also susceptible to SAD. The short answer to that question is yes. We're going to explain why that is, along with what you can do to help your dog.


Why SAD Can Affect Dogs


The same mix of conditions that can cause seasonal affective disorder in humans can also trigger this issue in dogs. That's because we're all mammals. According to researchers, melatonin is at the heart of this issue. This hormone, which comes from the pineal gland, is responsible for tasks that include regulating biological rhythms. Since light exposure plays a big part in how much melatonin is produced, the lack of sunshine during the winters can cause issues for some dogs and ultimately lead to SAD. 


How to Help a Dog That's Struggling with SAD


Before we get to two different ways you can help your pet if you think that winter has brought a case of SAD, we want to cover the main symptoms of this condition in dogs. The most common symptoms that dogs display include neediness, lethargy and an overall attitude that's best described as the winter blues. While hair loss can occur in the most extreme cases, it's more likely that you'll notice a behavioral change in your dog. That type of change can be anything from inappropriate pottying to sudden aggression. 


In terms of what you can do for your dog, artificial light boxes designed to help humans combat SAD have also been shown to work for dogs. You simply need to expose your dog to this type of light for 15 to 45 minutes a day during the winter. The other way you can help your dog is by ensuring it gets plenty of exercise all winter long. If this is currently a struggle for you because you're away at work during the day, learn how our doggie day care can provide your dog with a fun and active environment!

Winter Nutrition for Your Dogs

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 

Now that winter is upon us in Cincinnati, it’s important to remember the changing needs your dog may have during this busy time of the year. Since it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the hustle and bustle of this season, we want to share a few tips on how you can keep your dog feeling its best:


Adjust Calories


The arrival of winter means your dog is probably going to have different caloric needs than during other times of the year. If your dog spends most of its time inside and may get less exercise during the winter due to the cold weather outside, you should consider reducing your dog’s caloric intake to compensate for the lower amount of energy it’s using on a daily basis.


On the other hand, if your dog spends a lot of time outside, you may actually want to increase the number of calories it gets every day. Taking this step will ensure your dog is able to maintain its optimal weight. Increasing portion size or adding another daily feeding are both ways to accomplish this task.


Go Slow and Consider Different Options, Including Supplements


Regardless of whether you decrease or increase your dog’s daily calories, you will want to ease into this transition. The reason that’s important is it will prevent your dog from experiencing any digestion issues related to a sudden change. It’s also worth looking at different options for how you want to feed your dog during the winter.


For example, some brands have blends of dog foods that are designed to minimize calories while still providing the perfect balance of nutrition. And if you have any concerns about areas where your dog's diet may be lacking, you can easily address them by using dog supplements. Chondroitin and glucosamine are both great options if you want to support your dog’s joint health during this cold time of the year.


Don’t Forget About Staying Active


In addition to what your dog eats during this season, the amount of exercise your pet gets will play a big role in its health and overall sense of well-being. So even though it’s not always the most pleasant experience when the weather is cold, it’s very important to take your dog out on a consistent basis. And if you’re not able to exercise your dog as often as you’d like because of work or other obligations, Dog Day, Every Day is here to help.


With our dog daycare program, which starts at just $15 a day, your dog will get to stay active in a positive and safe environment. We encourage dogs to explore their natural instinct as pack animals in large, open play spaces that are conducive to both high energy stimulation and quiet play.

Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

Halloween is almost here, which means lots of spooky fun for both children and adults. While people of all ages love this holiday, there is one big group that doesn’t automatically share this enthusiasm. The group we’re talking about is dogs. Given all the noise, masks and other increased activity that goes along with Halloween, it’s something that can put dogs and other animals on edge. However, if you wish your pet could also safely enjoy this holiday, the good news is that’s completely possible.

Here’s exactly what you need to know to keep your dog safe and happy during Halloween:

How to Keep Your Dog Calm at Home


If you’re going to have candy available for trick or treaters, you’re in for an evening of seeing lots of fun costumes. But regardless of whether kids are knocking on your door or ringing the doorbell, chances are your dog isn’t going to love all this extra noise. You can help keep your dog at ease by creating a comfortable space for it in the back of your home. Using a radio or TV in combination with a fan can help drown out all of this extra sound.

Planning to be gone on Halloween? It’s still a good idea to create this type of safe space that minimizes sound for your dog. Keep in mind that your dog may be more anxious than usual, so double-check around your home to make sure there’s no spot where your dog can escape if it gets frightened. This is actually a good opportunity to check that all of your dog’s microchip information is up to date.

Taking Your Dog Out on Halloween


Anyone with an especially anxious dog is best off leaving their pet in a safe environment at home. But if your dog does fine when people and other animals are around, you may want to take it trick or treating with the rest of your family. Due to the increased activity that you’ll be around, keep your dog on its leash at all times. And if you’re thinking about dressing your dog up, be sure your dog feels comfortable and the costume doesn’t create any unnecessary anxiety.


Be Smart About Halloween Candy and Decorations


Most people know that candy can make a dog sick. And if a dog eats enough candy at once, it can be fatal. So be sure to keep candy stored safely away where there’s no chance of your dog getting into it. Halloween decorations are another less obvious danger. Make sure your dog isn’t chewing on any Halloween lights or similar decorations you have around your house.


Finally, while pumpkins don’t pose the same threat as candy, any dog that eats a large amount is going to have an upset stomach. So if you have a Jack-O-Lantern, put it in a spot where your dog won’t be tempted to start snacking on it.