Hey, Don’t Feed Your Dog These Foods!

It is always tempting to share our food with our dogs, especially when they look up at us with those big, puppy dog eyes.  Some foods we eat are fine for dogs to eat and some may even have health benefits for them, but others can prove to be deadly.  Some of the foods on the following list are well known by dog owners, but others are less known and might surprise you that they’ll cause your pup problems.  Here is a list of foods that dogs should not have – but there are additional ones out there, so always check with your veterinarian when feeding your dog a new food!

  • Plants in the allium family such as onions, leeks, chives and garlic are poisonous to dogs.
  • Cooked eggs are great for dogs, but raw egg whites can cause a biotin deficiency in your dog and can also contain dangerous bacteria.
  • Cinnamon is not good for dogs.  It isn’t poisonous to a dog, however, the oils in cinnamon can irritate a dog’s mouth and make them sick.
  • Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, this is the most known food that dogs can’t have, but a good reminder never hurts!
  • Certain nuts such as pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.
  • Foods high in salt are bad for dogs because it increases water retention which isn’t good for a dog’s heart, especially dogs prone to have heart problems.
  • Fatty foods are a bad idea because they are even worse for dogs than they are for humans.
  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in certain candy and gum is extremely toxic to dogs.
  • Grapes are toxic to dogs, both in the fresh form as well as dried raisins.
  • Parts of avocados such as the leaves, skin and pits can cause a dog to get sick.
  • Alcohol seems like a no brainer, but giving a dog alcohol can cause major health problems.
  • Anything containing caffeine is very dangerous to a dog’s health.
  • Any part of a citrus fruit can cause health problems in your dog.
  • Apple cores/seeds are poisonous to your dog as they contain cyanide.

This is a quick list of some of the more common human foods that you should avoid giving to your dog.  When you are introducing a new food to your dog, even if it isn’t known to be troublesome to your dog, you should do so in a small amount to make sure they tolerate the food. 

Pet Spotlight: Tulip

Meet Tulip! Tulip and her furry siblings, who you’ll meet in the coming weeks, are frequent visitors of the Penny’s Play, Sit & Stay digs! Tulip is a five-and-a-half year old mix breed rescue dog, who we are SO happy came into our lives!

We asked Tulip’s mom, Courtnie, to tell us her adoption story to add with this spotlight and reading it made us fall in love with Tulip all over again and we’re happy for you to fall in love with her, too! Courtnie said, “Tulip came into our home as a four year old foster who had just given birth to a litter of 9 puppies. [side note from us: wow! 9 puppies!!! can you imagine how cute they must be!?] After being rescued, nursing her pups and seeing them all safely off to their forever homes, Tulip found herself in a shelter. Her mild and sweet nature weren’t a fit for the noise and chaos of shelter life-enter our family. As soon as I met her I knew there was something incredibly special about this beautiful girl. Her spirit was timid but not broken and through her eyes you could tell that all she needed was a good rest and lots of love-thankfully, we could give her both. Over the next several weeks we noticed a bond forming between Tulip and our resident puppy Gremlin. The two were soon inseparable. Tulip watched over Gremmie and Gremmie brought out the playful side of Tulip. It was like they were meant to be together and who were we to tear them apart? Tulip has been with our family for about a year and a half and has given us more love than we ever thought possible. She is sweet and patient and always hungry and the most perfect dog there is.”

We couldn’t agree more with Tulip’s sweet and patient nature and what a perfect dog she is! Tulip has definitely become a part of the family here at Penny’s, and holds a special place in our hearts. She is arguably the best snuggler – like she just scooches right up onto you and we couldn’t love that about her more! While she tends to be on the calmer side, (she is a lot like our Abbey) she doesn’t hesitate to run around and play during yard time. She loves to roll around in the dirt and wrestle with her brothers Gremmie & Lou. She also loves to give lots of kisses and we love when she is here to give them! She is such a sweet girl and we truly look forward to every day that we get to have her around.

You can find more information on how to make your dog a member of the pack here!

Is Homemade Dog Food Right for You?

Most people give their dogs at least some amount of “human food” on occasion, but what if you only fed your dog “human food”?  Would it be difficult or take a lot of time or money?  Is it better for my dog?  In this blog post we will cover these questions and provide some information on making your own dog food at home.

Benefits of Homemade Dog Food

Like with humans, natural and whole foods provide the most amount of nutrients.  Everyone knows that processed food has a lower nutritional value and has things added to it in order to keep it safe to eat while it sits in your cabinet.  A balanced, fresh food diet is better for human health and is definitely better for a dog’s health as well.  When making food at home you can be sure that you know every ingredient going into your dog’s belly instead of a bunch of things in your processed dog food that you can’t even pronounce.  Beyond being nutritious, your dog will love the taste of fresh homemade food!  Some dogs have allergies or health problems that make it difficult to find the right dog food, homemade recipes can be tailored to your dog’s special diet.

Downsides of Homemade Dog Food

Homemade dog food is obviously more time consuming than scooping food out of a bag or can.  The second downside is that the price of homemade dog food can be expensive.  Fresh and nutritious ingredients can be costly.  The most important downside is accidentally giving your dog an unbalanced diet that can lead to health problems down the road.

Tips

Setting aside some time to make your dog food in bulk it can be much less time consuming than you imagine.  The first few times you do it will take a little bit of time, but once you know what you’re doing it will get much easier.  Think of any of the times you’ve meal prepped for yourself. At first, it can be a bit of a daunting and time consuming task. After a few weeks, you’ve nailed it! Cooking for a few weeks at a time, depending on your freezer space, can really make it easier as well. 

The next tip is to look for sales and buy in bulk to help reduce the cost that it takes to make your dog a balanced and nutritious meal. 

Lastly, never make a recipe on your own, unless you happen to have a strong knowledge of a dog’s nutritional needs and know how to meet them.  There are plenty of recipes you can find online made by experts in dog nutrition that you can use.  Remember to always consult your veterinarian when you change your dog’s diet.

Whether you have been thinking about feeding your dog a homemade diet or the thought has never crossed your mind, we hope this post has inspired you to think about making your own dog food instead of purchasing a bag of it next time.  Take the benefits and downsides of a homemade diet, as well as input from your veterinarian to decide what is best for you and your furry friend!

Pet Spotlight: Chase

Meet Chase! He is the best friend of the Penny’s Play, Sit & Stay pack! Chase is a year and a half old Pomsky(half Pomeranian, half Husky).  Chase was chosen by his owner for his fun-loving personality, as well as his high level of cuteness of course.  He is friendly with dogs, cats and humans alike.  Chase will snuggle up with anyone or anything that will let him.  He is playful and a little clumsy; a ball of energy wrapped up in a puffy little ball of fur.  Chase loves to wrestle with even bigger dogs, including his “girlfriend” Nymeria!  They share a special bond as Chase loved to play with Nymeria when she was a puppy. 

One of the things Chase seems to love to do most is to get as dirty as possible.  If there is one small spot of mud in the yard, Chase will figure out how he can get it all over his coat.  In his attempt to crate train Chase, his owner realized that there is not a crate that he can not escape from.  He is now allowed to roam the house when his owner is away, but he has the manners to not destroy anything while he is gone.  Like many other dogs, Chase likes to ride in the car with his ears blowing in the breeze(pictured below). You can follow Chase on his instagram page @chase_mcpomsky. Chase is a frequent friend to Penny’s Play, Sit & Stay, and we love it that way!

You can find more information on how to make your dog a member of the pack here!

Dog Friendly Summer Activities

Sometimes we find ourselves getting in the routine of spending time with our dogs in the same ways: backyard play, walk, repeat.  Here are some summer activities that you can do to keep things fresh for you and your furry companion!

Backyard Water Park

Set up a sprinkler and baby pool in your yard, encourage your dog to run through the sprinkler by throwing their favorite toy through it or running through it yourself.  This is a great option if your dog enjoys water!  They can get in some playtime while staying cool in the water.

Hike/Camping Trip

Take your dog on a hike or maybe even an over night camping trip.  The shade in heavily wooded areas can keep you and your dog out of direct sunlight while staying active.  This idea can give you time to bond with your pet out in nature.

Beach/Lake Trip

Going to a pet friendly beach or lake can be a special trip for your dog.  Many dogs who don’t like pools will like running around in the shallow water of the ocean or a lake.  Be sure to use a life jacket for your pet if they will be going into deeper water and avoid the ocean if the surf is rough.

Park & Picnic

Take your dog to your favorite park or try out a park you haven’t been to before.  Many parks have dog parks within them where you can let your dog off leash to run around.  Make sure to find shady areas to take a break, maybe even pack a dog friendly picnic and take a break for lunch in a shady area.

Doggie Play Date

Invite friends and family over who also have dogs.  Have activities planned like a sprinkler or pool, a variety of toys and maybe even some pet friendly snacks.  This allows your dog to socialize with both other dogs and humans. 

These activities can help get you and your dog out for some fun in the sun.  When doing any of these activities, be sure to follow our summer safety tips.  If you have other activities you like to do with your dog, we’d love to see them in the comments below!

Pet Spotlight: Nymeria

Meet Nymeria! She is the youngest but biggest sister of our resident pack! Nymeria, whose name is inspired by a wolf and princess in Game Of Thrones, is our nine-month-old “super mutt,” although she only wears a cape occasionally. She’s German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Boxer, American Staffordshire Terrier, Asian group, companion group, and herding group.  She was rescued from an Alabama shelter; she was brought in when a woman saw someone giving away puppies out of a box in front of a Walmart.  Due to how common and problematic dog fighting still is in the area, the woman knew the pups would have a better chance if they were taken somewhere that they could be adopted to a good home.  She loved Nymeria (then Lena) so much she sent a letter asking to stay updated by whoever her forever family became – and we are so lucky it’s us!

You may remember in our last post about Abbey that we were NEVER planning to have three dogs. Well, you can imagine the surprise to ourselves and our families when we announced puppy number 4. After seeing her picture, we slept on it and went back to the adoption page the next day still just as in love. We reached out to our contact at PA Caring for K9s, just to inquire… she let us know Nymeria was available and the rest is history!

Nymeria is the friendliest pup who wants to play all day with every dog she meets.  She loves to play fetch and romp around the yard with her furry siblings (Penny, Ollie and Abbey).  When Nymeria isn’t running around playing, she loves to cuddle up on the couch and nap, which is one of our favorite ways to spend time with her. We love Nymeria’s spunky and rambunctious personality. She rounds out our squad perfectly!

*This is the last of the spotlights for our resident pack, but please stay tuned for future pet spotlights featuring all of their furry friends!

National Foster A Pet Month

June is national Foster A Pet Month, so we thought it was a good time to talk about the basics of fostering animals.  Have you been thinking about getting another pet, but don’t want to fully commit to owning?  Do you want to give back to pets in need of a home or to shelters that need more space to save more animals?  Here is some information about fostering pets that we think you’ll find useful!

Why foster a pet?

Many animals are stuck in shelters until someone adopts them.  Bringing a pet into your home in a foster situation can help improve their life in the short term and get them acclimated to a home environment for when they find their forever home.  Many shelters are constantly full; taking an animal to your home can free up space for them to save another animal.  Fostering can be a very rewarding experience.

Where do I find animals to foster?

Search for local shelters or rescues.  Most, if not all, shelters and rescues have a section of their website to give information to potential fosters.  You will likely need to apply to be a foster and provide them with information about you to be sure you are a good fit.

How do I choose which organization to foster for?

When you search the shelters and rescues in your area, you will learn more information to help you choose.  The organization can tell you the type of pet or pets that they need fosters for, the typical length of time that pets need to be fostered for, training that they offer before becoming a foster and support they give you when you become a foster.  All of these things can help you decide which foster situation is best for you.

Whether you are looking to give back to animals in need, want more furry friends to love or want to help out your local shelter or rescue; fostering can be a great experience.  Take the steps to find a shelter or rescue in your area who is in need of fosters and get some information from them so you can decide if fostering is right for you!

Pet Spotlight: Abbey

Abbey is a two-and-a-half-year-old Hound mix.  Abbey was brought in as a stray to an animal shelter in Alabama.  She spent six months in that shelter before she was brought to Pennsylvania for adoption. The minute we met her, it was clear how lovable  Abbey is – she loves snuggling and giving loooots of kisses!  Abbey loves to lay on the patio or in the dirt soaking in the sun. She also enjoys going for walks – although, mostly, the hound in her does keep her nose down sniffing around in the grass.  Despite some of Abbey’s lazy way of life, she always makes sure her bursts of energy are spent playing with her furry brother and sisters.  We had never planned on getting a third dog, but when we saw Abbey we knew we had to meet her; and when we met her, we knew we had to bring her into our loving home to join our family and we are so glad we did!

Dog Days of Summer

Many dog owners love to spend summer days outside with their furry friends, but there are precautions that they should take.  If certain measures aren’t taken, the summer heat can be dangerous to dogs! Dogs are not able to cool down as easily as a human can because they sweat very little and even panting provides little relief in hot weather. Follow these safety precautions and you can have your dog by your side for all of your summer activities!

Keep an Eye on Their Paws

Be sure to pay attention to what kind of surface your dog is walking on.  Asphalt, metal or dark gravel can get EXTREMELY hot and burn your dog’s paws.  Keep your dog on cooler surfaces like grass or dirt as much as possible!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Dogs need much more water on hot days than humans do.  In addition to keeping them hydrated, drinking water also helps keep your dog cooled down!  Always keep a bowl of fresh drinking water in a shady spot and refresh it often.  If you are out on a walk or a hike, bring a portable bowl and bottled water for your dog.  There are special water bottles designed for dogs that have a bowl attached to it for easy storage!

Made in the Shade

Provide your dog with a nice, shady spot to relax in. If you don’t have much natural shade from trees or your house, you can do create one with items like a canopy or large umbrella.  If you are out and about with your dog, stopping in a shady area to give your dog a few minutes to cool off is a great idea.

Keep ‘Em Cool in a Pool

Allowing your pup to take a swim in a pool is another fun way to keep them from getting too hot outside. If you don’t have a pool at your house – no problem! You can purchase an inexpensive baby pool as an option to give your dogs some relief.  Make sure to keep the water fresh so that it doesn’t warm up.  Your dog can hop in for a quick dip or lay in the water to stay cool in between running around.

Lotion ‘Em Up

Like humans, dogs can get sunburned.  If you have a dog with short hair or a light-colored coat and plan to have them outside for an extended period of time, you should apply some sunscreen.  You can buy sunscreen made for dogs to be sure it will not harm your furry friends (ask your veterinarian what they recommend).  Apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before going into the sun, try to keep your dog from licking it off before it absorbs.  The most important areas to apply to sunscreen are the nose, ears, skin around the lips, groin, inner thighs and any other areas your dog has light skin exposed.  Remember to reapply after 4 hours or after they get wet.

We know how much you and your dog look forward to hanging out together outside in the warmer months. Your best furry friends will thank you for keeping these tips in mind on a hot day! Just remember fresh, cool water will go a long way and if you need sunscreen, shoes, or shade – they feel the same! Leave us a comment with your favorite activities to do in the summer with your pups!

Pet Spotlight: Ollie

Ollie is a two-and-a-half-year-old mix breed (American Eskimo Dog, Black and Tan Coonhound, Collie, Siberian Husky, Terrier group).  Ollie had a rough start as a puppy; he was left at a landfill in Louisiana with one of his brothers at 6 weeks old.  Ollie was then taken to a shelter and next to a rescue organization (PA Caring for K-9’s).  Ollie was fostered for longer than usual due to his timid nature.  When Ollie was adopted, it took him a while to warm up, but soon began to snuggle right up to us!

With the help of his big sister Penny, (star of our last pet spotlight), Ollie has come a long way in the past two years and is now much quicker to trust new people.  Even the adoption organization and foster mom were surprised at how much he came out of his shell after spending time in our loving home.  He just needed a caring home that was patient and understanding of his personality to help nurture him to feel more confident.  He loves to play with his furry friends and snuggle up on the couch.  Ollie is great at catching treats or ice in mid-air, even from a distance.  Ollie has been such a great addition to our household and our time spent earning his trust has been so rewarding.