In the spirit of being thankful, CANIDAE has another fun photo contest going on right now. Just share a photo of your pet and why you are thankful for them, and you might win 6 months FREE pet food! For full details see the contest page on Facebook.
A few years back, the other RPO blog writers and I shared some of the reasons why we are thankful for our four legged friends, which you can read here. I personally make a point to verbally give thanks every day for my beloved cats, who are cherished members of my family. I express my gratitude each day that these amazing, loving and delightful beings chose me, and that they are all healthy, happy and safe.
Today, on the day when we gather with family and friends to share a feast and give thanks for our blessings, I wanted to share with you what some of my pet loving friends said when I asked them to fill in the following question: “I’m thankful for my pet because…”
Jeanne: I’m thankful for my pets because they always live in the moment and are wonderful companions.
If you are cold, your pet is cold. It’s that simple. Yes, dogs have a fur coat and it’s true that many of the northern dog breeds seem to thrive in cold weather. However, if you’re sharing your life with any breed other than something like an Alaskan Malamute, an American Eskimo Dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a Newfoundland, a Saint Bernard or similar, as a responsible pet owner it’s important to take extra precautions during the colder weather.
All dog breeds are vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite. Never leave your pet outside in the cold without supervision. As a general rule, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible during inclement weather. Here are a few additional reminders for protecting your dog during the cold winter months.
Prepare the House
Because you and your companion animal will likely spend more time indoors, prepare your house. Make sure to section off any areas you don’t want your pet to go, especially areas that lead outside. Dogs may get lost easier in the winter because the ice and snow can mask recognizable scents and landmarks, thereby making it harder for your pet to find his way home. Be sure there are no open doors or windows that can let the cold in or your dog out.
If you use space heaters, keep them away from locations where happy, wagging tails can knock them over and potentially start a fire. Moreover, if you build a fire in the fireplace, make sure your pet cannot get too close to the flame. In general, do your best to pet-proof your home.
It’s also important to offer a warm place to which your dog can retreat. A cozy dog bed that’s in a warm area, preferably up off of the floor and away from drafty windows and doors is the best scenario.
Take Shorter Walks
Be aware that cold weather can exacerbate certain physical limitations, especially in older and arthritic dogs. It’s a good idea to take shorter walks during the winter and try to stay away from frozen, icy patches. Some dogs may need a coat or sweater when outdoors in the winter, not to make a fashion statement but for warmth. Dogs with short hair will obviously get colder faster, but many of us don’t give the same consideration to dogs with short legs. Think about it; shorter legs mean his body is closer to the cold ground so he will get chilled more quickly.
Also remember that dogs with conditions like Cushing’s disease, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, or hormonal imbalances have a hard time regulating their body temperatures so they benefit from shorter, more frequent walks during the winter.
Give a Thorough Wipe-Down
After your walk, take the time to wipe off your dog’s paws, legs and belly when you first come inside. Many cities and counties use salt, deicers, antifreeze or some other types of toxic chemicals to help melt the snow and ice. These chemicals can irritate your pet’s feet. Furthermore, you don’t want your dog to lick his paws and ingest these substances. Likewise, it’s important to inspect your pet’s paw pads to make sure he didn’t cut himself on ice shards or broken glass.
Monitor Food and Water
Your dog should maintain a healthy weight throughout the winter. If he is less active than in the warmer months, you may have to adjust the amount of food he consumes. Make sure he has the proper amount of a nutritious, high quality dog food like CANIDAE, as well as plenty of fresh water during the winter months.
Sadly, not everyone is a responsible pet owner. If you happen to see a pet left outside during frigid weather, take action. Document the address, date, time, circumstances, type of animal and anything else you think is pertinent. If possible, take photographs or a video of the situation. Then call the authorities – a local animal control agency, the police or sheriff’s office, etc. – and report the situation.
On another day, go back to the location and see if that poor animal is still out in the cold. If so, respectfully call the agency back and make a second report. Please be the voice of those who cannot speak.
When the Thanksgiving celebrations roll around, so do the temptations for your dog. Rich human food, interesting decorations and even guests who don’t know what a dog shouldn’t have can all be a challenge to your dog’s good behavior and to their health. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to be aware of what could be enticing to your dog.
Rich or spicy foods can make your dog ill, particularly if they are on a routine of a healthy dog food like CANIDAE, created just for their dietary needs. All the wonderful smells and bounty available during Thanksgiving celebrations can be way too tempting for your dog. The sudden onslaught of so many varied rich foods not only can upset their digestion, but be dangerous for them to consume as well.
The most obvious danger is sharp turkey bones. Keep them well out of the way of your dog. When you throw them away, make sure they are in an enclosed container and somewhere your dog can’t reach.
Have you ever seen a dog that bore a striking resemblance to his human? Perhaps that dog was yours, and the human was you? A new study took a look at the belief that dogs look like their owners, and concluded it’s not a coincidence after all. Many dogs really do resemble their owners, and strangers are able to match owners with their dogs with amazing accuracy, just by looking at their face.
Sadahiko Nakajima, a psychologist from Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan, wanted to find out if people really could match dog owners with their canine friends just by looking at photographs of their faces. He wasn’t the first to conduct this kind of experiment, and his results were similar to what other researchers had discovered. Many dog owners do have a physical resemblance to their dogs.
But Nakajima didn’t stop there. He didn’t understand how complete strangers were able to match owners with their dogs with such an impressive and significant rate that was higher than mere chance. Nakajima recently decided to do another experiment to try and figure out if the resemblance was based on any particular feature on the face. He reasoned there must be something more than luck guiding the people who were looking at the photographs.
Hello again! The Warden says it’s never a good sign when she sees me walking out of the kitchen licking my chops, and it’s nowhere near my meal time. Yep, that’s true. It means Bad Kitty did something…again.
I am incorrigible, especially when it comes to food. In my defense, I don’t think my devilish behavior is entirely my fault. The Warden knows who I am, yet she’s always giving me opportunities to be bad. Can I help it if I simply can’t resist the temptations she lays before me?
The Warden worries about what would happen to me if something happened to her. She doesn’t think another hoomin would ever put up with my Bad Kitty behavior. But I said, “Hey, sometimes my naughtiness makes you laugh!” She said that was because she was a crazy4cats lady and I reminded her that there was absolutely nuthin’ crazy about loving us cats, even naughty ones like me.
I kept a diary for a few weeks, to see if anyone besides the Warden would tolerate my Bad Kitty behavior. I would hate to be homeless if she kicked the bucket. And I DO have lots of other good qualities that would make up for it…right?
Day One: I “helped” the Warden make enchiladas today. In other words, I jumped up and grabbed a huge hunk of chick-hen right in front of her, before she even knew what happened.
Day Two: Warden put her pizza back in the oven to keep it safe from me while she ate her slices in the living room. BUT she left the oven door cracked, so naturally I opened it and then I crawled in the nice warm oven to eat the pizza. Yum!
Day Three: Remember those enchiladas? Warden left their foil covering on the counter, and it had bits of cheese stuck to it. So naturally, I shredded that foil to get every last cheese morsel.
Day Four: I tried to eat something called a bear claw but it was in a zippered plastic bag. I was trying to rip the bag when I was caught red pawed. Oh well; I’m not sure the claw of a mangy bear would taste good anyway.
Day Five: I knocked a box of pasta shells to the floor while I was strolling on the kitchen counter. The box opened and pasta went everywhere! Too bad I only like it cooked.
Day Six: I discovered that if I get on the espresso maker and then stand on my tippy toes I can open the cupboard and reach the high shelf where my CANIDAE treats are kept. So naturally I did. When the Warden saw me, I tried to pretend I was just making a Catpucchino.
Day Seven: The Warden was fixing herself a baked potato when the phone rang. She came back after chatting to discover that there wasn’t much left of the full stick of butter she’d left on the counter. (See what I mean about giving me opportunity?).
Day Eight: Oooh!! There was a homemade biscuit-egg thingy sitting in the microwave and the door wasn’t shut all the way. Half of me (the front half, naturally) was in the microwave polishing it off when I got caught.
Day Nine: A glass bowl on the counter had some food in it but I couldn’t tell what it was because there was plastic wrap on top. I was busy trying to get into the bowl when it crashed to the floor and broke, sending salsa mixed with glass flying everywhere.
Day Ten: The pet sitter wasn’t told about my Bad Kitty ways, so she put empty CANIDAE cans in the trash under the sink. I pulled them out to lick off the stinky goodness and I may have spread garbage all over the kitchen floor.
Day Eleven: I licked yogurt out of the Warden’s bowl when she turned her back to get fruit from the fridge. I got yogurt all over my face and my whiskers!
Day Twelve: Amazingly, this is the only Bad Kitty confession that isn’t food related. I bit the Warden on her behind when she stuck it in my face (well, she was trying to get into the shower, but still).
Day Thirteen: The Warden tried to eat a Creamsicle right in front of me. I attacked her until she let me lick the stick.
Day Fourteen: Warden asked me “Are you going to be a Good Kitty today?” Haha! I almost had a coronary laughing so hard.
So what do you think? Would you ever adopt a Bad Kitty like me?
There was an adorable photo circulating on social media that featured a dog sitting in a high-chair eating a meal. The image was endearing but it piqued my curiosity. Were the dog’s owners anthropomorphizing their pup? Was the customized high-chair an attempt at being cute, or did the chair serve a purpose? I had to find out.
It turns out the dog has a condition called Megaesophagus, also referred to as ME or Mega E. Dogs with this condition must eat in an upright position, almost like he’s begging, hence the high-chair image.
Megaesophagus can affect dogs, cats, and humans, and occurs when the muscles of the esophagus lose tone and becomes inflated to the point where the animal or person can’t get food to go down their throat and into their stomach. As a result, the food just sits in the esophagus tube until it is regurgitated.
Megaesophagus can be a congenital defect or acquired as an adult. Any dog breed can develop this condition, but some are more susceptible than others. Dachshunds, Shar Pei, Miniature Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Newfoundlands and Great Danes seem to be at a higher risk.
Symptoms of Megaesophagus
Regurgitation is the primary symptom of Megaesophagus, and the easiest to detect, obviously. Another symptom that is fairly easy to notice is weight loss. If your dog suddenly begins losing weight and you don’t know why, pay close attention to his eating habits. Because the dog’s food is not making it into his stomach, the food is not digested so none of the nutrients are assimilated. As such, your pet’s weight loss is likely combined with malnourishment.
Aspiration pneumonia is a common complication of Megaesophagus, and it’s the most serious. Because your dog’s food sits in his esophagus, it can migrate into his lungs and cause pneumonia.
Care and Treatments
At this time, there are no medical cures for Megaesophagus. The answer to a long and relatively normal life and a good quality of life is lifestyle management.
The main consideration is what and how your dog will eat. You must find a nutritious and healthy dog food that works for your dog, like CANIDAE Pure Elements. Feed him small, frequent meals instead of one large daily meal.
High-chairs made for this condition are called Bailey Chairs, and they work because gravity helps pull the dog food through the dog’s esophagus and into his stomach.
Dog owners Joe and Donna Koch designed the first high-chair for Megaesophagus-inflicted dogs. They named it the Bailey Chair after their dog, who had Megaesophagus. These days, there are a wide variety of Bailey Chairs available. There is even a DIY kit available for you industrious types.
There are other options for feeding a dog with Megaesophagus. Some people pad a small wastepaper basket and turn it into a comfortable seat for their dog to eat from.
It will take some experimentation to figure out what works best for you and your dog. Whatever you settle on, it’s important to keep your dog in the upright position for at least 10 minutes after every meal so gravity has time to do its thing.
Megaesophagus Support Groups
A quick Megaesophagus search on Facebook delivered five active results. There is a general page dedicated to the condition and there are two support groups; Canine Megaesophagus Support Group (3200 members), Feline Megaesophagus and Upright Canine Brigade, Megaesophagus Awareness and Support (599 members). There is also a great website, Canine Megaesophagus Info, which offers a wealth of ME information in addition to support and awareness.
Members of these support groups share beautiful testimonials along with tips and tricks for establishing a thriving routine with a Megaesophagus dog. From what I’ve learned, a few adjustments in your lifestyle will allow your dog to have a long, happy, healthy life.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.