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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Time for a Treat?

     Just about any dog is ready for a treat, just about any time.  And you as a good "parent", must decide when the time is right for such a treat as well as what kind of treat your dog will receive.  Doggie treats are a wonderful bonus for your dog, and fun for you to give.  But they are not nutritionally necessary.  Just like for own diets, we must monitor what our dog eats for nutrition, quantity, and even whether it may even be bad for him.  Special dilligence should be used if your little friend is a Dachshund, because excess weight can cause or aggravate back problems.
     A good guideline to follow is first of all, ask your veteranarian if your dog is a good weight.  If not, you will probably be given some tips on feeding to either bring his weight up or down to a healthy level for that particular dog.  There are many good quality, high protein dog foods on the market.  You should use advise from your vet, some personal research,  along with your individual budget constraints.  Some dog foods are extremely expensive, and not necessarily the best for your dog.  Just because they claim to add mass amounts of vitamines to their food doesn't mean that is best for your dog.  Check with your vet before feeding a food that has claims like that; my own vet told me she had treated three dogs in one month with vitamine poisoning from one particular (and very high priced) food.
     Some "people" food is OK for your dog.  Most dogs love apple slices, carrots, and string cheese.  Any of these in small portions are fine.  But always separate the giving of treats away from your own meals, and NEVER feed straight from the table.  This will encourage a disrespect from your dog who will then sit right under you and beg whenever you or even guests are eating.  Some things to NOT give your dog are chocolate, macadamia nuts, onions, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and xylitol (an artificial sweetner found in gum).  There are many things, including flowers, toxic to dogs; a complete list can be found online by searching "plants toxic to dogs"  and "foods toxic to dogs". 
     Do you have a problem with your dog snapping at your hand for a treat?  You can train him to take it slowly (and safely!)  with just a little effort.  At a time when your dog is not excited, and when he has already eaten and is not hungry, hold a small treat in your closed palm.  Your dog will smell it and try to open your hand wih his nose.  Only when he relaxes, and pulls back, open your hand and say, "Easy."  Your dog will learn to gently take a treat from your hand without taking your fingers with it! 
     I hope this has been informative for you.  If you have a comment or question, please leave it on the space below.  I will do my best to answer, and if I don't know the answer, I will find it for you!  And, if you're not already a "follower" of my blog, please subscribe above and it will come directly to your email.  Thanks for stopping by, and as always, . . .
                        HAPPY TAILS, EVERYONE!