If you are a proud parent to a fur baby, you'll undoubtedly want to give them the best possible care. Whether it's nutrition, training, dental care, or foods to avoid, there's so much to think about when caring for our beloved pets. That's why we've put together this list of little-known facts and advice from experts. You might be surprised at some of the realities we reveal here, so keep reading to learn new ways to keep your animals healthy and happy.
Avoid Fraying Dog Toys - They Could Put Your Pet in Danger
First, we preface what we're about to say with the disclaimer: rope tug toys aren't always hazardous. So if your pooch's favorite toy is made of rope, you can breathe a sigh of relief. However, rope toys are worth keeping an eye on because when they become an issue, it's no exaggeration to say they can be life-threatening. As you likely know, rope eventually frays, especially if the tug toy is well-loved!
If your pup ingests one of those frays, there's a good chance they'll pass it through their system. But, unfortunately, this isn't always the case. If the frays get lodged in their intestine or stomach, this can be incredibly painful for dogs and, in more extreme cases, lethal.
Take Your Cat to the Vet if They're Displaying These Thyroid-Related Symptoms
Did you know that we humans aren’t the only species that can have thyroid issues? In fact, cats can also suffer from conditions like hyperthyroidism. There are a few surefire symptoms to look out for. Needless to say, if your cat is exhibiting these behaviors, you should take them to a vet to get their professional opinion and/or treatment. That said, here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
Is your cat hyperactive at times? Is your kittie always hungry but losing weight? Are they drinking tons of water? If the answer is yes: your cat might have a hyperactive thyroid.
How to Know if a Bone Will Wear Down Your Pup's Teeth
Dog chews and bones can be an easy way to keep your dog occupied when you haven’t got time to play. However, feeding your dog too many bones and chews does have a downside. They can cause your dog’s teeth to wear down too quickly, resulting in expensive visits to your vet. Also, beware of gastrointestinal issues that can arise when hard pieces of a bone or chew get stuck in the small intestine.
Simply press your finger against the bone or chew. If your finger doesn’t make any kind of dent in it, then the doggie treat is too hard for your dog’s teeth.
If Your Dog Has Smelly Feet, It’s Time for a Visit to the Vet
Humans and dogs have plenty in common. This, unfortunately, includes smelly feet. Where doggie paws are concerned, let’s not forget they’re on their bare feet a lot! So it’s no surprise they pick up microbes such as yeast and bacteria on their travels. However, you only really need to worry if your dog’s paws start to smell worse and/or your dog begins licking and chewing its paws more than usual.
Should that occur, it’s time to take your smelly pawed pup down to the vet in case your dog has picked up some kind of infection that needs antifungal medication.
Cool Your Cat Down With Frozen Towels When It's Hot Out
We, humans, can live with hot weather by staying indoors in air-conditioned homes or rooms with fans. However, for cats who are used to hanging out in the great outdoors, that may be a problem. It’s much tougher for our furry friends to cool down. So why not help them by popping wet paper towels in your freezer? When it’s time to cool your pet down, simply retrieve the paper towel.
All you need to do is pat your cat with the super-cold wet or frozen towel or even a lightweight cloth to help it chill out faster. Trust us; your cat will be super thankful!
Make Sure Your Cats Stay Away From Lilies - They Are Deadly
Who doesn’t love buying themselves a bouquet of flowers as a treat? Or hope their beloved turns up on the doorstep holding the biggest bunch you’ve ever seen? The bad news is that if your favorite flowers are lilies, and your animal of choice is a cat, you’ll have to make a choice. Why? Because cats are highly allergic to lilies, so much so that it can cause kidney failure!
You might think that all you need to do is keep cats and lilies apart, but no. Even the pollen from the fragrant flowers can be enough to make your cat ill.
Be Careful When Giving Your Dog Pigs Ears - Some Are Coated in Bleach
Dog Moms and dog Dads, listen up. You'd imagine anything edible sold for dogs to chew on would be safe, right? Wrong. Take pig ears and other kinds of chews. Many of these are bleached, and, unsurprisingly, bleach isn't good for dogs. As for chews specifically made out of pig's ears, these have a super-high fat content, which increases the risk of obesity, diarrhea, vomiting, and too much bacteria in the small intestine. None of which is good for your pup!
So, while dog chews aren’t entirely out of the picture, just check their content before feeding them to your dog. Alternatively, ask your pet care practitioner for their professional opinion.
How to Calculate Your Cat’s Age
There's a specific formula used by the American Kennel Club to calculate a dog's age. But what about cats? Well, the answer is that cats age differently from dogs. In its first year of life, your cat's age is equivalent to 15 human years. After this, the age equivalent to a human's gradually reduces. So when your cat is two years old, its second year is equivalent to an extra nine human years.
Only when your cat is three human years old do we add four years for each year after that. So, when your cat reaches five human years, it’s actually 34 years old.
If Your Dog Gets Stung by a Bee, Use This At-Home Remedy Before Going to the Vet
One of the joys of being dog parents is taking your pup for walks and playing with them in your backyard. However, it's not all fun and games if your pup is stung by a bee! Fortunately, you can apply an at-home triage-style treatment before taking your dog to the vet. First, remove the bee sting, but don't use tweezers. Instead, apply a homemade mix of baking soda and water to the sting.
Now ice the area for a few minutes until you feel the sting has reduced enough to pop your pup into your car and take him or her to the vet for professional pet care.
Myth Buster: If Dogs Eat Grass It Doesn't Mean They're Ill or Lacking in Nutrients
An old school of thought believes that if a dog decides to chow down on grass, it's telling you it's sick or lacking something in its diet. But, apparently, this is just a myth. Yes, if a dog eats grass, it's likely to vomit. But that's the end of it. Apparently, the urge to eat grass is instinctive in dogs. I.e., they do it just because it appeals to them.
So in this instance, perhaps the simplest solution is the right one: if your dog is eating grass, they might just be hungry. Maybe they fancied a quick grassy snack? Who knows? If only pups could talk!
Why You Should Avoid Chews With Double Knots
Unfortunately, rawhide and rawhide-alternative chews often come with these double knots. If you're unsure what we mean by the 'double knot,' take a look at the pic. Because they're so prevalent on the market, understandably, not many dog parents know these knotted ends can be a choking hazard. If a dog manages to break one of these cute-looking knots off, it could choke them (especially if they're a smaller-mouthed dog).
They're also more likely to cause intestinal obstructions because they're hard to digest if swallowed whole. So this also makes them a terrible choice for pups with a history of stomach problems or pancreatitis.
These Specific Behaviors Indicate Your Cat Is Bored
Most kitties seem happy to spend their days sleeping, eating, running around the neighborhood, and occasionally pouncing at you as you pass them in the hallway. Sounds pretty good, right? Who wouldn't turn down the opportunity to nap for hours on end? However, there are a few tell-tale signs that your feline friend is bored of their routine. For example, if they're picking fights with other cats more than usual.
Or, if they're doing their business outside of the litter box, destroying furniture, or obsessively grooming, there might be a chance that your kittie is bored. So, try stimulating them with toys or catnip.
It's Healthy for a Dog to Have a Wet Nose
Is your dog's nose wet? If so, great, that's perfectly normal and healthy. Your doggo's wet nose assists with their sense of smell. It also aids them with cooling down. So, with that in mind, it's unsurprising that if the opposite is true and your dog's nose is very dry, that might be a reason for concern. In this scenario, it's worth taking your furry friend to the vet to get their opinion.
It might be just the change of the season, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. The same goes for if your dog's nose is too runny; again, that's worth getting checked out.
Why Experts Think You Should Stop Feeding Your Dog Leftovers
Hand's up if you're guilty of feeding a dog your leftovers when no one is looking! Whether it's your own or a friend or family member's, we think it's safe to say the majority of us have done this at some point or another. It's just so hard to resist those big doggie eyes! However, if everyone keeps feeding the pup "just a little treat," your pooch might be at risk of overeating.
For various health reasons, obesity is something you want to avoid for your dog, and the easiest way to ensure this is to stick to feeding them the recommended amount of dog food.
When Buying Dental Treats for Your Dog, Make Sure They're VOHC Certified
Like most things in life, not all canine snacks are created equal. So, suppose you're looking to purchase a doggie chew or treat with dental benefits; it's wise to read the packaging carefully. Never take the brand's word for it that the treats are good for your doggie's gnashers. Instead, scan the packaging for a VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approval stamp (as pictured here). These certify that the contents have actual dental benefits.
Fun fact: Before giving your furry friend their treat, test it by hitting it against your knee. If that's painful, it's likely too hard for your pup's teeth and gums and could cause damage.
Cats Love Cuddles Just as Much as Dogs
When it comes to pets, one popular misconception is that only dogs give and receive affection. We’re not sure we agree. Dog lovers will often say that their dogs show unconditional love way more than any cat will or can. However, we’ll dispute that by saying cats can also have similar devotion. They just communicate their feelings a bit differently. In fact, according to the experts, there are some tell-tale signs that your cat loves you.
For example, if you see a cat showing you their tummy, or it blinks at you slowly or nibbles at you, it’s simply saying it loves you and wants some affection.
Have an Anxious Dog? Talk to Your Vet About Trying Calming Chews
It's not uncommon for dogs to suffer from anxiety. This is especially true of pups purchased or adopted during the pandemic. Thanks to the lockdowns, many puppies grew up with their owner's constant attention and didn't get as much opportunity to socialize with other dogs and strangers. In light of that, there's a higher chance of them suffering from separation anxiety or feeling nervous around animals and people they don't know.
If your dog suffers from this, you can give your dog a calming chew to help ease their anxiety. The same applies if certain situations trigger your dog, for example, fireworks.
Your Pets Need Sunlight to Be Happy
Have you ever noticed that you feel a bit happier when the sun's out and shining? Well, that isn't necessarily a coincidence. There's some science behind this. Sunlight is a valuable source of vitamin D, which helps our brain release more serotonin. For the uninitiated, serotonin is a hormone that makes us feel happier. Just like us, our dogs and cats need sunlight, or they'll be at a greater risk of developing depression.
Vets recommend exposing your pup to at least 20 to 40 mins of direct sunshine daily. But obviously not when it's super hot, and you risk burning their little paws!
How Often You Should Really Be Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
Although giving your dog certified dental bites and chews is a good thing, unfortunately, they're not a substitute for brushing your dog's teeth. It's also worth noting that many of these dental chews are pretty high in calories, so if your dog's struggling with their weight, these might be worth avoiding. Interestingly, veterinarian Dr. Hunter Finn says that dog parents should brush their dog's pearly whites at least once every three days.
Needless to say, you need to purchase dog-friendly toothpaste. It's recommended that you concentrate on cleaning the gnashers at the back of your dog's mouth because they're the teeth they use the most and, subsequently, are usually the dirtiest.
Don't Feed Your Dog Rawhide - It Could Lead to Life-Threatening Infections
For years rawhide has been a favorite with canines and is still widely sold in pet stores and superstores. But despite how much our four-legged friends love to chew on these things, they're not very good for pups. Dogs can munch chunks of rawhide, clean off, and swallow them. Unfortunately, when this happens, the rawhide can get stuck in their intestines or stomach. In worst-case scenarios, this can lead to a life-threatening infection known as peritonitis.
The moral of the story? It's wise to substitute your dog's rawhide treats for safer alternatives like carrots, bully sticks, or celery, and always read dog treat packaging to ensure they're rawhide-free.
How to Tell if Your Dog Loves You
We've all heard the age-old adage that dogs are "man's best friend." They're incredibly loyal and, in some cases, a bit like Velcro - they never leave your side. However, if you're wondering whether your dog loves you, pay attention to whether your dog recognizes your name. Most dogs will know the name of their owners; how cool is that? Another tell-tale sign is if your dog feels the need to protect you.
Dogs will often feel the need to guard their owners while they're eating. Yes, they might be hoping to scoff at something that falls to the ground, but they still love you!
Be Skeptical of Food Branding - Things Aren't Always What They Seem
For most businesses, making money is the primary goal, and unfortunately, the same applies to pet food companies. In an ideal world, you would like their priority to be your pet's nutrition and health, but sadly that isn't always the case. This is why it's wise to read the fine print and do some research into the quality of the pet food you're considering. It's not uncommon for brands to use clever marketing tactics.
Pet owners often purchase things thinking they are a great quality product for their fur baby, only to be duped into buying something inferior. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there!
Take Your Dog to the Vet if You Suspect an Ear Infection
If you notice your dog's ear is red, or it smells, or your pooch is excessively scratching its ear or shaking their heads, there might be something wrong with their ears. In these instances, it's necessary to check your dog's ears for signs of infection. However, as you can see from this picture, other than the slight extra redness in the infected ear, it's not easy to see if something is wrong.
In this situation, we suggest taking your pup to the vet for a check-up. They might need something prescribed to clear up the infection or to get rid of ear mites.
Hide Your Dog's Medicine in a Strawberry
Let’s face it; most medicine tastes bad and bitter. So if you have to give your dog his or her daily medication, avoid the fancy gimmicks and dog accessories you can buy online, and instead strategically place the pill in a strawberry to obscure the bitter taste. It’s super simple. Just slice off the top of the sweet-tasting strawberry and make a tiny hole big enough to hold the medicine. Hopefully, your dog will just enjoy the treat.
If you’ve heard strawberries are bad for dogs, it’s not the case. Happily, your beloved dog can enjoy that fresh burst of strawberry sweetness just as much as you do.
You Can Start Dog Training at Eight Weeks
Did you know you can start puppy training as young as eight weeks old? Of course, we're only talking about introducing the basics. For example, potty training, the 'sit' command, teaching them their name and familiarizing them with their daily routine. For instance, when meal times, bedtime, and playtime is. That said, you'll likely have to wait another month or so for your pup to learn more challenging tricks and to come when called.
Experts say that three to four-month-old puppies can graduate to learning more advanced commands like “shake” and “roll over.” However, remember that every dog is different and that training is never a one-off activity; it requires consistency and patience. So stick with it!
Opt for Edible Chew Toys
We've mentioned a few times that it's wise to be wary of certain dog chews and treats, so you might be considering investing in a safer long-lasting chew toy specially made for dogs, like the ones pictured here. Typically they feel a bit rubbery and are sometimes flavored for extra doggie delight. Although these chews are usually soft enough for your pup, you should still keep an eye on them while they're relishing their chew.
You can never be too careful of their teeth. If you notice that your dog is crying while eating its chew, this might be a sign that they have a toothache.
Peanut Butter Is Fine for Dogs
We've run through a comprehensive list of human treats that dogs can't eat. The good news is that peanut butter isn't on that list. So, when you're at the end of your jar of peanut butter, it's OK for you to offer it to your hound to enjoy. Alternatively, feeding your dog a small amount on your finger is also fine. But don't give them too much, because you don't want them to pile on the pounds!
Also, remember to check the peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol. It’s poisonous for dogs and can cause seizures, liver failure, hypoglycemia, and worse. Instead, we recommend buying some specially-made peanut butter for dogs.
Brush Your Dog's Fur Daily
Your dog's fur needs regular brushing, particularly if they are blessed with long lochs. Failure to regularly groom long-haired dogs can lead to matted fur that will eventually need cutting out. In extreme cases where clumps of fur have been left tangled for ages, this can cause your canine severe discomfort. Knotted dog hair can create pressure on their skin, which in extreme cases, can lead to sore and painful bruising.
Not only that, but tangled dog hair can stretch your pup's skin, leaving it more sensitive and inclined to tear. In light of this, experts suggest daily brushing for longer-haired dogs and for dogs with thick undercoats.
Talk to Your Dog in a High Pitched Tone
If you've ever wondered how to best speak to your furry friend, we have a bit of insight - and you might be glad to hear that you don't have to stop putting on that silly, baby voice that we all put on when we talk to our fur babies! Experts believe that they actually like being spoken to this way! According to Dr. Finn, doggos enjoy exaggerated and excited high-pitched tones.
But, apparently, this only applies to words and phrases they know, like "walk" and "treat," etc., because if they don't understand the terms, they have nothing to get riled up about.
How to Remove Ticks From Your Dog
Tiny parasitic ticks that suck blood from animals can cause serious bacterial diseases. One way to prevent your dog from being bitten in the first place is to ensure they wear an anti-tick collar and that they're up to date with their anti-flea medicine. However, if it's too late for either of those pet care tips, and your dog has a tick, all's not lost. You can remove it with a simple-to-use and inexpensive tick remover tool from Amazon.
However, we'd always recommend adopting Plan A above Plan B. In other words, it's much easier to do what you can to prevent your dog from being bitten in the first place than having to deal with tick bites.
Keep Your Pets a Healthy Weight
There are tons of Instagram accounts with thousands of followers dedicated to adorably chunky dogs - and we love them. We're looking at @round.animals on Instagram. However, we fear this might become a bit of a trend. Obviously, like humans, there are some health-related instances where dogs struggle to lose weight. However, where possible, the healthiest thing for your pup is to maintain the recommended weight for its breed and age.
Sadly, obese pooches are at a higher risk of suffering from complicated health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. So, please don't follow the trend, and do your best to keep your dog lean!
Dogs and Grapes Do Not Go Well Together
This one’s for every dog mom and dog dad out there. While you may already know that there are tons of types of fruit you can offer your pet pooch, grapes are a big fat no, no. Feeding a dog even one grape can be lethal because it can cause severe liver and kidney damage. The same applies to the dried version: raisins. So, by extension, that also means you can’t feed your dog any sweet treats that contain these ingredients either.
No one knows precisely why, so why not focus on feeding your dog the nicest food you can afford instead? Perhaps the occasional bit of chicken? And leave the grapes for yourself and your family.
Feed Your Dog the Right Food in the Right Quantities
Yes, our dogs look cute when they are a bit on the cuddly side, but having a chubby pooch isn't such a great idea. In the same way that we adults are advised to watch what we eat and avoid gaining too many pounds, dog parents must do the same for their pups for health reasons. So, with that said, be sure to monitor your dog's food content and quantities.
We advise feeding your four-legged friend proper dog food (I.e., not your leftovers!). Research and purchase the highest quality dog chow formulated for your dog's breed and age, and follow the portion instructions accordingly. It might sound obvious, but this is the best way to ensure your pup doesn't gain too much weight!
How to Calculate Your Dog's Age in Dog Years
Have you ever stopped to wonder how to calculate your fur baby's age in 'dog years'? You might have heard that every human year equals a dog year. I.e., a dog year is seven human years. However, Dr. Finn begs to differ. He explains that a pooch's body ages much quicker than us. So much so that a one-year-old pup is considered 31 in human years; that's pretty interesting, right?
Then as the hound gets older, the dog year-to-human year ratio gets smaller (thank goodness!). Some experts believe that once your dog is eight in human years, they’re 64 in dog years.
There’s No Substitute for Good Pet Insurance and a Good Vet
When your pet is poorly or has an accident, it's natural to want a vet to check them out. In the same way that we humans prefer to be seen by a doctor who knows us and our medical history, it's important you have a good relationship with a knowledgeable vet who can take care of your pet's needs. In an emergency, you'll be glad you can rely on them!
Not just that, but good pet insurance goes a long way to protecting you from astronomical vet bills. Just double-check that your vet takes your insurance before signing onto their books!
Walk Your Dog to Keep Them Fit
This might seem like one of the more obvious tips. However, it's worth noting that walking your dog isn't just nice to do - it's something that responsible dog owners should do to keep their dog(s) fit (providing there aren't any health complications that prevent your pup from doing so, of course). If you're unable to walk your dog yourself, consider hiring a dog walker. Maybe ask around to see if anyone knows of someone reliable?
Not only is it great for your pooch's health, but this kind of quality time with your dog is a wonderful way to strengthen your bond while also providing them with mental stimulation - win-win!
Don't Worry if Your Dog Sleeps With Their Tongue Poking Out
As adorable as it is when dogs sleep with their tongues poking out, have you ever wondered whether it's normal? In answer to that question, yes, it's completely fine - there's nothing to worry about! So you can continue to admire how cute your dog is when it sleeps! In fact, some experts think this is a sign that your pup feels comfortable, safe, and content. How sweet is that?
Dr. Finn also thinks dogs sometimes sleep with their tongues out to help regulate their body temperature, especially during the blazing summer months when they need to stay cool.
There Are Lots of Foods That Dogs Must Avoid at All Costs
So while it’s a big fat yes to strawberries, there is, unfortunately, a whole list of food items that are just super bad for dogs. This is one of the most important dog care tips on this list, so listen up. We’ve already told you about grapes, but the list is longer. The most toxic foods that can harm your dog are chocolates, macadamia nuts, garlic, onions, corn on the cob, and avocado. Dog parents may love most of these; indeed, some are healthy for us to eat.
However, those same foods are toxic for dogs and can cause a range of symptoms, from liver and kidney failure to swollen limbs, gastric problems, intestinal blockages, vomiting, and diarrhea. So, keep them out of reach from your four-legged pals!
It's Okay for Dogs to Sniff Each Others Butts
There is always something a bit awkward about your dog sniffing another hound's butt. It's almost instinctive to pull them away when you see them doing this. However, there is a very good reason why they exhibit such strange behavior. First, it's instinctual, especially if the dogs haven't met before. As gross as it sounds, dog anal glands emit a smell unique to them that other dogs can pick up on.
This provides the dog (the one doing the sniffing) with information on how to act. More specifically, it gives them a better idea of whether the hound is friendly or not.
Be Wary of Feeding Dogs Human Food
We've hinted at this time and again, but we can't stress the importance of being careful what you feed your dog. If you're cleaning out the fridge, or something's on the turn, and you're considering giving it to the dog, think twice. Instead, chuck it in the trash where it belongs. The same goes for leftovers after dinner. Of course, feeding your dog scraps increases the risk of accidentally overfeeding your dog.
Needless to say, this goes hand in hand with weight gain and obesity. On top of that, many of the spices, herbs, and additives in our food aren't suitable for canines, so it's best to steer clear.