Dogs and Chocolate – Is Chocolate Bad For Your Dog? | Life Of Dog

Dogs and Chocolate: Why is it dangerous?

We are constantly warned that chocolate is bad for dogs. It is one of the first things you learn as a new dog owner.



Though we are cautioned against giving them any, many dog owners break this rule and cave in the face of their beloved pet, thinking they deserve a treat.

Vets now name chocolate as one of the most common causes of dog poisoning. This is because dog owners are uninformed and are unaware that the consequences of their actions could be fatal.

dog-and-chocolateThe reason chocolate is toxic to dogs, in particular, is due to components in chocolate called methylxanthines, specifically theobromine which is a stimulant.

This substance is okay for humans to ingest as we can easily metabolize it.

However, this is not the case for dogs. Though they can process it, it is at a much slower rate than humans and because of this slow process, the substance can build up within their systems reaching a toxic level that can be fatal.

Symptoms and Remedies for chocolate poisoning in dogs

If your dog has found some chocolate without your knowledge, they may only have ingested a small amount which may result in an upset stomach which does not warrant great panic.

However, if they have ingested a significant amount of chocolate they can suffer from the following symptoms; vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures.

If your dog has these symptoms they have clearly consumed a large amount of chocolate and you should immediately see your vet.

However, if they have ingested a small amount, and you promptly get them to a vet before they start displaying any symptoms there is an excellent chance that they will recover after appropriate care is given.

If your pet exhibits mild signs of poisoning such as vomiting or refusing their food, there is also a high chance that they will be perfectly fine.

However, if your dog has ingested a large amount of chocolate and they display signs of severe poisoning such as seizures and collapsing, their survival rate is, unfortunately, very low.

Therefore, it is paramount that you try and avoid the problem altogether by keeping them away from all chocolate in the first place, just to be safe.

However, there is no antidote for theobromine so your vet will most likely need to induce vomiting to ensure the chocolate is out of their system.

They may also administer intravenous fluids to help with dehydration from the vomiting, and certain medications may be given to control their heart rate and prevent any seizure activity.

It is wise that you get your dog to a vet immediately if you think they may have ingested chocolate, do not wait and see will they develop any symptoms. It will also be helpful to your vet if you take note of what kind of chocolate your dog has eaten and how much they have consumed as this will help in determining the best course of treatment to take.

Types of chocolate

The type and the amount of chocolate your dog has eaten are also crucial pieces of information to have, as certain types of chocolate contain a higher percentage of theobromine making them much more toxic to dogs.

Cocoa powder is the most toxic variety as it contains the highest proportion of theobromine. Cooking chocolate follows this is terms of toxicity.

Chocolate which is darker presents a greater risk to dogs as it contains a higher percentage of this toxin than milk chocolate.

However, because it is found in the cacao plant and is, therefore, present in cocoa powder, many assume that white chocolate is safe to give to dogs as it contains no cocoa powder.

This belief is not necessarily true as it does contain trace amounts of theobromine. However, poisoning is unlikely due to the small amount present. However, theobromine can be added to chocolate so it is important that you are vigilant.

How much chocolate is toxic to dogs?

The volume of chocolate your dog has consumed is also important as small amounts to a large or medium size dog most likely will not do them any harm.

However, to a smaller breed, it can be toxic as they are unable to digest it. It is crucial that you monitor your dog for any signs of poisoning regardless of their weight just to be cautious as it is hard to determine how much they have eaten and how much theobromine is actually present in the type of chocolate they have eaten.

As any pet owner knows, dogs are crafty and will find what you want to stay hidden, and chocolate is no exception.

To avoid this, you should ensure that any chocolate in the house is out of reach of your dogs. It should be stored up high so there is no chance of ingestion. This also includes drinking chocolate mix.

It is also important that you inform any guests or family members that chocolate should not be used as a reward for good behavior or as a treat as the consequences could be dire.

Dogs are also like hoovers and will inhale anything that falls to the floor so it is wise to teach them when they are young that chocolate or anything that falls to the floor is off limits to them.

You can do this by training them with a particular command like “no” or “leave it”. These steps should help with keeping your dog away from any chocolate in the house.

Therefore, it is crucial to your pets health that you keep them away from chocolate. There are many other options for dog treats, and chocolate should never be used as a substitute.

Instead, you should give them treats that are specially produced for dogs as you know that they are one hundred percent safe for them. There are now hundreds of varieties of treats to choose from so there is no need to give your dog food which is toxic.




dog or cat is best

7 Exciting Facts That Prove Dogs Are Better Than Cats!

Are Dogs Better than Cats?



It is not surprising that dog owners argue that they trump cats in every way, and this belief is not only due to bias on the owner’s behalf, but cats are also known to be the most indifferent of the two. Dogs have even gained the title of “man’s best friend”, due to their loyal and loving nature. However, this phrase is never attributed to cats, and for good reason, as they are commonly known to lack the loyalty and affectionate nature of dogs.

Loyalty:

Dogs are renowned for their loyalty whereas cats are not. It is well known that cats are independent creatures who, for the most part, make it very clear that they do not need you. They can disappear for hours on end and only return when there is the prospect of food. Cats come and go as they please which is the opposite of dogs, who depend entirely on you, they love attention and affection, and they will be happy to sit by you or even be in your company.

Dogs, will sit and patiently wait for their human to come home, no matter how long they have been alone, the length of time does not matter to them as they react as if they have not seen you for years. Their response will always be the same, joy and excitement that you are finally reunited.

Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats?

Cats on the other hand probably won’t even notice if your gone and most likely will not care that you’re home. They may show you affection just not to the same extent as dogs do. Dogs are the loyal companions who love you while cats tolerate you. This is why we hear stories of dogs as hero’s. Many have saved their family members from dangerous animals like snakes and bear’s all out of love and loyalty. These types of stories are commonly associated with dogs and not cats.

Health Benefits:

dogs are better than catsAnother positive aspect of being the proud owner of a dog is the health benefits. There is a reason why you don’t see people walking their pet cats; cats tend to be more skittish than dogs and prefer to be able to hide quickly and escape to higher ground rather than be stuck on a lead in a strange environment. Because of this, owners do not tend to walk their cats. However, dogs are the opposite and love walks. This will keep your dog in good health and will benefit you also. This is one advantage of owning a dog as it ensures that you cannot avoid exercise, as dogs will make it very clear when they want to go for a walk and will not stop until they get their way. However, this benefits you in the long run as it will keep you healthy and motivated.

Comfort:

Furthermore, dogs are better than cats as they provide comfort for their owners. Though the owners of cats will argue that they do this as well, dogs still win in this category as they have been proven to be able to determine their owner’s moods and decipher our body language. They can tell when you are sad or stressed or in need of support. They will lay with you to provide comfort and show you that they are interested. It is this trait that makes them perfect for nursing home companions, and it is also why they are used in colleges for exam times, as they offer comfort and relieve students of stress.

Training:

It is also proven that dogs trump cats in regards to training as they are easier to teach new things to in comparison to their feline counterparts. We rarely see cats that do tricks such as playing dead, giving handshakes and even sitting. Cats take much longer to train as they lack the eagerness that dogs have. However, many dog breeds love to please their owners which also makes them easier to train as they will do anything to make you happy. This is why we have seeing eye dogs and rescue dogs rather than cats as they pick up commands much better than cats.

Protection:

Though cat owners will argue that cats are usually the alpha of the house, they are still smaller and less threatening than dogs especially in comparison to particular large guard dog breeds such as the Alsatian, Rottweiler, Doberman and Boxer. Even small dogs are prone to bark at strangers which will perturb any thieves. Though cats can be vicious, they can also be skittish and may hide when a stranger enters the house making them unreliable guards.

Cleanliness:

Another reason why dogs trump cats is the fact that dogs do not need to have a litter box sitting in the middle of the kitchen. With a cat, you are tied to cleaning a litter box every day which is never a pleasant task and if you do forgo cleaning for even a day there will be an unpleasant odor all around your house. Though dogs also require you to pick up after them, especially in public areas like parks and public paths it is a much easier task compared to cleaning a litter tray, as it is less messy and requires less effort.

Adaptability:

Also, dogs are the better pet as they deal with change better than cats. You may have to move multiple times throughout your dog’s life, and you will introduce new people to your dog many times throughout its life also. However, dogs are usually happy to do so and are more attached to you as an owner than the environment they are in. They also take cues from their owners and if you appear comfortable in a new environment or around new people they will relax and accept the new situation happily. However, cats are the opposite of this and are wary of new situations and new people.

Though either a cat or a dog will make a great pet, most people prefer one to the other. Therefore, most dog owners will not be swayed from the belief that dogs are better than cats. As not only are they considered “man’s best friend” but their loyalty and playfulness make them the better pet every time.

dog is swimming on the dog days

Dog Days Of Summer. How It Will Affect Your Pet Dog

What Does Dog Days of Summer mean?

The phrase “the dog days of summer”, surprisingly has no connection to dogs.



Nowadays it is used to describe the hottest most humid days of the Summer months. Some believe that the expression stems from the fact that dogs can be lethargic and sluggish on a hot day while others think that the extreme heat of this time can cause dogs to become crazy. However, both are untrue. Instead, this phrase dates back to the Greek and Roman empires.

The phrase originated from a star. Specifically the star Sirius, which is commonly referred to as the dog star as it is part of the constellation Canis Major, meaning greater dog. The Greek and Romans believed that this star was so bright that it exuded heat which added to the Sun’s warmth, resulting in the hottest weather of the Summer. This period is believed to begin on July 3rd and end August 11th. They referred to this duration as “diēs caniculārēs” meaning “dog days.”

However, we now know that the “dog days” of Summer have no connection with dogs or the star Sirius. Instead, the oppressive heat of this period is because the earth is tilted at an angle that allows the sun’s rays to shine on the Northern Hemisphere more directly and for longer, resulting in the hot Summer days.

Fun in the Sun: Tips to keep your pet dog safe this Summer

Unfortunately, during the Summer months, multiple reports of dogs dying, as owners have left them in hot, stuffy cars become very common. Though we are aware of the risks, this problem persists. This week a nineteen-year-old girl from Virginia, USA left her puppy inside a hot car, and it did not survive. Similar to this, recently in Britain, an owner left his dog in a car for hours while he attended a music festival and the dog also died. The Summer months, in particular, present many hazardous issues for pets and to keep you informed and up to date about these issues here is a list of the potential risks you can face as a dog owner during the Summer months and some tips on how to avoid and deal with these risks.

dog days of summer - a dog is on the bathtub

Firstly, and most obvious, do not leave your dog in a hot car, ever. Even if you leave the window slightly open for them, it is not enough to keep the car or them cool on a hot day. It only takes fifteen minutes for a dog to suffer from brain damage in a hot car. Even if you think you will not be long, do not risk it, as car temperatures take only minutes to reach dangerous levels for animals. If you do see a dog in a car on a hot day you should take note of its state, is it panting? Does it appear restless and uncoordinated? Does it have a red tongue? is it drooling? These are signs of heat stroke, and you should immediately contact the authorities and search for the owner. If the dog is clearly in jeopardy and cannot wait, you should take the necessary steps to remove the animal from the car.

Heat Stroke

If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, you should immediately provide them with a drink and if possible spray them with water or even better, submerge them in a pool of water. However, it is important that the water you use is not icy, instead use cool water. Cold water can exacerbate the condition as it will cause the dog’s blood vessels to constrict which will make it even harder for blood to flow around the body. You can also use an ice pack, applying it to your dogs head and neck to further cool them, and you can also apply cold, wet towels to their body to help bring their temperature down. After you have taken these steps, you should see a veterinarian even if your dog appears to be fine.

Burned Paws

Another risk that dogs are susceptible to in the Summer months that may not occur to owners is hot pavements and paths. Like the human rule for staying out of the sun between twelve o clock and three when it is at its hottest, the same holds true for dogs. Walking your dog on a hot pavement can severely burn the pads of their paws resulting in painful scabbing and blistering. To avoid this, walk them on grass and if you can, walk them in the evenings when it is cooler. You can also buy dog booties and wax to put on your dog’s feet if you do have to walk them on a hot pavement and this will protect their foot pads.

Sunburn

Another danger you should be aware of as a dog owner is the risk of a sunburn. Though covered in fur, dogs are not immune to the sun. Breeds with white or light colored coats are more likely to burn as are dogs whose coat has been cut very close to the skin. To avoid this, you can now buy sunscreen specifically tailored towards dogs; you should make sure that you apply this to your dog’s ears, nose and belly. Any place that is usually pink on your dog is most vulnerable to the sun. However, if your dog does get burned apply Aloe vera twice daily to the burned areas or contact your vet for the appropriate aftercare.

Water Safety

When the Summer months arrive, the amount of dogs roaming the beach soars, as certain breeds love the water. Though this is a fun outing for dogs and owners, the sea can be dangerous. Firstly, if your dog does not want to go in the water do not force them as certain breeds do not excel at swimming, and they could drown. To prevent this, you can purchase life jackets for dogs to ensure that they will be safe in the water. You should also be vigilant and ensure that your dog does not eat dried seaweed or algae. Dried seaweed can expand in their stomachs having lethal consequences, and particular types of algae found in saltwater can be toxic to dogs as ingestion can cause paralysis and seizures.

Ticks

Furthermore, it is also crucial that you regularly check your dog for ticks. Though small they can be very dangerous as they carry serious diseases such as Lyme disease which can result in kidney failure. To prevent ticks, you should avoid walking your dog in high-risk zones such as wooded and grassy areas as this is where ticks usually dwell. If you, unfortunately, do find a tick embedded in your dog’s skin you should remove it straight away. You can try and do this yourself, or you can schedule an appointment with your vet. If you do decide to remove the tick yourself, you need to be incredibly careful that you do not pull its body from its head as once the head is embedded, it becomes very hard to remove all of it. There are many available websites which offer step by step instructions for tick removal.

Though the Summer months are a fun filled time for a dog and its owner, these months, in particular, can present a multitude of risks to your dog. Therefore, It is important that you educate yourself about these hazards and how to combat them.

dogs eating grass on backyard

My Dog Eats Grass and Now I Know Why

As a long term dog owner, it is hard to ignore the fact that every dog I have ever owned has at some point eaten grass and my dog now is no exception to this.



I will catch her eating grass on a regular basis, even though I know hunger does not cause this behavior. Undoubtedly concerned that my pet was ingesting a plant, I decided to do some research on the issue to decipher why it is dogs do this.

What makes a dog eat grass?

dog eating grassWith my dog, in particular, I find that two types of behaviors accompany the grass eating. Firstly, she will repeatedly swallow and become stressed and agitated and will want to be let outside. This kind of behavior usually leads to her frantically eating the first type of grass she can find; she will then vomit. Though there has been little progress made in discovering why they do this, it is commonly believed by many vets that when dogs vomit after ingesting grass, it is a sign that they already have an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues. Eating grass is believed to be your dog’s way of trying to fix the problem, as vomiting relieves them of their discomfort temporarily. However, if this is the type of behavior that follows the grass eating than it is wise that you see your veterinarian to assure yourself that there are no underlying health issues.

However, my dog and many others do not vomit every time they eat grass. I will often see that my dog will exhibit behavior opposite of what I have previously mentioned. She will leisurely eat grass that she has painstakingly searched for. She will be very particular about what grass she eats. She will also not vomit after she ingests it. After much research, this also appears to be normal behavior for a dog. Therefore, dogs that vomit after they eat grass usually already have stomach problems. Eating grass, in general, is not harmful to dogs unless it has been sprayed with fertilizers or pesticides which can be very toxic to animals.

It is also believed that dogs consume grass to make up for a missing nutrient in their diet. Grass is an excellent source of fiber and is also high in vitamins and minerals. If dogs are underfed and hungry, they may also snack on grass to curb their hunger, or they may do so when they are bored. Similar to humans, dogs will eat when they have nothing else to occupy them. Furthermore, dogs are not the only animals to eat grass. Members of the Canidae animal family such as wolves, coyotes, jackals and dingoes also ingest grass. As domestic dogs also belong to this family, this leads to the theory that eating grass may be instinctual.

 How can it be prevented?

dogs eating grass on backyardIf your dog  eating grass and vomiting than as I have suggested, you should see a vet. However, if your dog seems to enjoy eating grass and does not vomit after ingestion then, you can try to train them out of this behavior. This is a process that I have begun to undertake with my dog. Though it appears to have no adverse effects many public grassy areas are treated with chemicals and as a precaution I would rather attempt to train my dog out of the behavior than risk her health. When training your dog out of any particular habits, you need to give them an incentive. In my case, it’s dog treats. Like any form of training starting from a young age will be easier as they will not have developed many bad habits.

However, in my case, I did not do this as she is now two years old and I have only recently discovered that she is consuming grass. To train her out of this, whenever I see her eating grass I firmly tell her no to make her aware that this behavior is not allowed. When she listens, I reward her with a treat. This process requires vigilance on my behalf as I have to watch what she is doing when she is outside. This is something to be aware of if you are thinking about training your dog as it can be very time-consuming.

In addition to this, you could also try changing your dog’s diet as its need to eat grass may stem from a lack of a particular nutrient. You can add more fiber into their diet as this is what grass has a high percentage of and this may be the nutrient they are lacking. You can do this by adding more fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet or by changing their dog food to a higher quality kind as it will contain all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need for a balanced diet. These suggestions may help if your dog does, in fact, have a nutrient deficiency and may stop them from seeking out grass.

As I have stated earlier dogs also eat grass out of boredom, therefore keeping your dog entertained with an assortment of balls and toys for them to play with may stop their grass eating habit. You should also invest in some long wearing dog bones that will hold their attention for extended periods of time. These distractions will keep them occupied so they will not feel the need to eat out of boredom.

All in all, there is very little known about why most dogs consume grass. It is important to remember that if your dog is vomiting after it eats grass, then you should schedule a vets appointment to rule out any underlying stomach issues. However, if your dog is eating grass and does not vomit after ingestion then there is little cause to worry as it is very common behavior in dogs, and as long as your grass is free from chemicals, you can let them eat away, worry free.

 

feeding a dog

What To Know About Feeding Your Dog

As a new or a long term dog owner, it is likely that you have had many concerns about your dog’s diet.



There is a multitude of questions you need to ask yourself concerning the food you will be feeding your dog. It is important that you set healthy eating habits from the beginning as trying to enforce stricter food rules when your pet has grown will be much harder as your dog will already have become used to its food routine, and change will upset this. It is important to remember that like humans dogs need a diet that is balanced and nutritional, and this will help with their overall health.

Feeding Your Dog Once In A Day or Small Frequent Feeding: Which One Is The Best?

feeding my dogOne of the first questions you need to answer is, what are you going to feed your dog? And what food is best for your specific dog? It is important that you take into account its size and its activity level to determine how much food they should be getting.

You also need to decide how you will feed your dog. Will you set aside a particular time during the day at which your dog will eat? Or will you use the free feeding method? This process involves leaving a bowl of food out all day so that it is always available for your dog. There are distinct advantages to this method of feeding. This way is popular for those who have busy schedules and cannot be sure whether they will be home at a designated time each day as it ensures that your dog will never be without food. However, this may not be suitable if you have multiple pets as one may monopolies the food, resulting in one dog overeating and another under eating.

However, if you are not a fan of the free feeding method, then you can choose the option that allows you to feed your dog at the same time every day. This method, like free feeding, has its benefits. This works well if you know you will be home at a certain time every day. It is also the healthier of the two approaches as you are controlling their portion size. Therefore, the likelihood of obesity is reduced so you are also minimizing their risk of health issues. If you are using this method, you should leave your dog with its food from anywhere to twenty to thirty minutes allowing them enough time to eat their fill. Many experts recommend that when using this method you feed your dog twice daily. Ideally in the morning and the evening. However, if you own a puppy, it is advised that you increase the amount of food to at least three times a day until they reach six months as they will require more nutrients than adult dogs to help them develop.

Many owners also struggle with what food is best for their dogs. Is canned food or dry food better? Or should we feed a dog ‘human food’ such as meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables?

Like the various feeding methods, both options have advantages and disadvantages. With the canned variety, your dog will be eating food that has a higher protein content than dry food. It also has fewer calories so it is a good option if your dog is on a restricted diet for weight issues. However, unlike dry food, it does not keep as long and can be more expensive.

Dry food, on the other hand, is usually cheaper and will be more convenient for storage as it will keep for much longer than wet food once it has been opened. Dry food is a good option when you are free feeding your dog due to its shelf life, as it will keep for the entire day so you do not need to worry about giving your pet a fresh bowl. Dry food is also very good at cleaning your dog’s teeth because of its hard texture; it will help scrape tartar off their teeth.

Ultimately it is important to choose a type of food that bests suits your lifestyle and schedule. As long as you ensure that your dog has a nutritional and balanced diet, it will be happy and healthy.

feeding your dog once in a dayHowever, canned and dry food is not the only option available to you. For years people have been feeding their dog’s table scraps but is this healthy for them? The answer is, it depends on the scraps you are giving them. Many ‘human foods’ are perfectly fine for dogs. However, there are also many human foods that are toxic to dogs and you should under no circumstance feed them to your dog. These include grapes which can cause sudden kidney failure, chocolate which in excess amounts can result in death and certain types of nuts such as walnuts and macadamia nuts which are also toxic to dogs but non-fatal. These types of nuts may cause vomiting, tremors and weakness after ingestion. These are but a few, there are many other ‘human foods’ that are toxic to dogs, and it is your obligation as a dog owner to research these foods.

However, this does not mean that you cannot feed your dog any human food. Many owners now choose to make their dog food. This decision may be for medical reasons, skin allergies or gastrointestinal issues. If this option appeals to you, then many human foods are perfect for dogs. Most meat is an excellent choice to include in your dog’s diet such as chicken, turkey, beef and liver. Meat of any kind is a very good source of protein. You should also include a variety of vegetables particularly green leafy types such as lettuce, kale, parsley and basil. These vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and also contain a high percentage of vitamins and minerals.

Though the options are endless, it is important to remember that no option is necessarily the right option. Instead, you should do what is best for you and your dog, always ensuring that they have a nutritional and balanced diet.