How to Help Senior Dogs with Arthritis

20 Jul

old goldens

We can’t avoid our dog’s progression in age, but we can ease the transition from fit adult to senior. As dogs grow older, they typically develop some degree of arthritis, and may even had hip dysplasia or other ailments that affect their joints and movement. It’s a natural part of aging, and the body’s way of telling your pup to slow down and stop to smell some roses—but we can help them along with this phase of their lives and make life a whole lot easier with just a few simple steps.

How can you help your senior dog deal with his arthritis? Some things you may already be doing (it’s just good common sense!) and some you may not have considered. If you’re worried that your dog’s mobility has really begun to suffer, you may need to consult your veterinarian for a more focused approach on one treatment—but there are still some simple steps you can take at home and in your daily routine to help your old “pup” out!

Weight Control

A lot of our steps will have a lot to do (either directly or indirectly) with proper weight control. Just like us, when your dog’s body is carrying more weight than it needs to, it’s adding that stress right to its joints. Proper weight control through nutrition and physical fitness will really help ease the stress your dog’s aging bones and joints feel day to day.

Change in Diet

As your dog gets older and becomes a little less active, it may be time to talk to your vet about a change in diet. Less physical activity means they don’t need all those extra calories found in a regular, healthy adult dog’s food. You may also need to start tapering back their portion size to avoid over-eating and weight gain.

Supplements

Adding a few “extras” to their meals may greatly improve their overall health and quality of life. Things like fish oils, chicken powder, coconut oils, turmeric, dog food protein, and Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate supplements are worth looking into and talking to your vet about to see which is best for your dog. Should you be doing all these supplements at once? Er, no. But your vet will help steer you in the right direction. Some vets prefer fish oils over coconut oil, and vice versa. It’s about finding what’s right for your dog.

Smarter Exercise

When your dog begins to show signs of aging, it may be time to taper back their usual fitness routine and incorporate more low-impact activities. It’s not about just exercising, but getting that daily exercise in a smart way. Perhaps those games of fetch suddenly become games of catch (less running). In the warmer months, some routine trips to the beach for a swim would be ideal and less stressful on their joints. Be prepared to walk a little slower on your walks, and adjust your route to accommodate how far your dog can go before he gets too tired.

Keeping your dog fit into his later years in important, but it’s more important to be smart about how they enjoy their exercise.

Prevent Slipping

Have hardwood floors? Tile? Laminate? Any smooth surface may start posing a challenge to your senior dog—especially when it comes to stairs. A few strategically placed carpets on landings and in rooms their frequent will go a long way. If your dog must frequently go up and down stairs in your home, consider getting the carpet attachment for them to help prevent slipping or an elevated lip on edge of the step.

If you’re adding a carpet to a high-traffic area, consider adding a skid-resistant liner beneath the carpet to avoid that slide when your dog goes through with some momentum!

Encourage Rest

Our dog’s bodies—just like ours—use sleep as a time to allow the body to heal itself. Encourage this restful slumber by providing your dog with an appropriate dog bed that’s well-cushioned and placed in rooms your dog frequents (living room, a bedroom, etc.) and encourage them to use it rather than hopping up on the bed or couch. There’s less impact on their bones and joints when walking onto a plush dog bed rather than hopping up and down onto a couch or (human) bed.

More Visits with Your Veterinarian

An older dog should see their veterinarian more frequently than they did in their youth. It’s important to keep on top of their health and the changes their body is going through. Things like water therapy or acupuncture aren’t just for us—dogs can benefit from them as well! Talk to your vet about the options available in your community. Your vet will help guide you through each step, and advise the next move to ensure your dog enjoys their golden years.

16 Beginner Dog Treat Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Less

24 Feb

beginner-dog-treats

Over the last two years we’ve amassed quite an impressive collection of dog treat recipes—and we’re constantly thinking up more! Trying your hand at the humble and hard to screw up dog treat is a great way to play around with baking. After all, dog treats are just very stale, sugarless cookies and dogs aren’t the pickiest when it comes to pet food ingredients. It’s a perfect combination when you’re just starting out as a baker.

If you’re looking to experiment in the kitchen a little bit, consider trying a few of our beginner dog treat recipes! We’ve rounded up a a few classics and a few interesting flavor combinations to try, all with five ingredients or less.

One (or Two) and Done

These treat “recipes” are the easiest of easy to make, because they contain one ingredient, maybe two at the most. Got a sweet potato or a banana on hand? Then you’re ready to get started.

  1. Dehydrated Bananas: If it’s safe for dogs, you can probably dehydrate it into a delicious treat for them! We’ve given our pups dehydrated bananas and mangoes, but the possibilities are pretty endless.
  2. Sweet Potato Jerky: We discovered sweet potato jerky very early on, and its still one of Topher’s favorite treats to work out of a Kong. Or, if you’re looking for a way to literally spice up your jerky treats, these turmeric and coconut oil “fries” were a huge hit last year!
  3. Dog Bone Fillers: Once you realize how easy it is to fill or refill an empty dog bone, you may never buy filled bones again. Last year we tested out three easy dog bone filler recipes, and we continue to use them to this day!
  4. Mango Coconut Fruit Leather: Fruit leather makes a great dog treat, or a great people treat! While the strawberry fruit leather technically has three ingredients, you could definitely leave out the honey if your strawberries are at their peak ripeness.
  5. Chicken Protein: It’s easy to add chicken breast protein powder to a dog’s treat. It provides a boost to their immune system and gives them a healthy dose of the protein they need.

Beginner Dog Treat Recipes

We started making treats at home because we wanted dog treats that weren’t a mash of strange chemicals or fillers. Then we kept making treats because it’s so fun to invent new combinations! Here are some of the treats we go back to again and again, because they come together almost effortlessly.

  1. Vegan Greenie Treats: Our take on the breath freshening treat, without all the ingredients you can’t pronounce. Want more breath freshening power? Just add more herbs!
  2. Peanut Butter Banana Oat: An effortless treat for when your dog has cleaned you out of house and home (what? Is that only Topher?) that uses true staple ingredients in our households.
  3. Classic Frosty Paws: While it might still be a bit too chilly for a frozen treat recipe, our classic take on Frosty Paws should be on any list for beginners. Simply pop all the ingredients in a blender, pour the mix into molds, and freeze! Easy peasy.
  4. Strawberry & Carob: Think chocolate and strawberries, for dogs! The carob and buckwheat makes these treats delightfully dark.

For Sensitive Dogs

For dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies, finding store-bought treats that don’t set off those sensitivities can be difficult. These five recipes are meant for dogs who can’t handle things like dairy or gluten. The best part? There are no strange fillers or unpronounceable chemicals, either!

  1. Gluten Free Ginger Apple: We call this one the ultimate stomach settler. Great for a pup who’s been feeling under the weather or for a simple treat that won’t aggravate other allergies.
  2. Cinnamon Sweet Potato: Another grain free treat that will make your house smell divine. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t thinking about making a cookie version of this for ourselves.
  3. Vegan Sweet Potato: The ultimate treat for dogs with allergies, this contains no gluten, no dairy. Plus, it needs only three ingredients!
  4. Quinoa, Peanut Butter & Carob: Gluten-free flours can be a little tricky, but they’re worth it in the case of these carob treats. If you can’t give your dog eggs, you can substitute coconut oil instead.

Weekend Fun

If you’re looking to step up from the beginner treat recipes and start playing with some new ingredients like herbs or funky vegetables, try on some of these treats. With only five ingredients, they won’t set you back much at the store while still allowing the chance to work with something new and different!

  1. Beet Mint Dog Treats: Since Ivana posted this recipe, I tried beets and they are indeed quite delicious. Your dog will think so too, trust us.
  2. Rosemary Sweet Potato: Inspired by some delicious gnocchi, the rosemary in these treats impart some great health benefits in your pup.
  3. Apple Cheddar: Cheese and apples don’t sound like a great combination, but Topher goes wild for these apple cheddar treats. Although, it might just be that sweet, sweet bacon grease.
  4. Beef & Carrot: Okay, I cheated by adding this dog treat recipe, since it has six ingredients—but these are a big favorite with Topher, and a fun treat to whip up on a weekend. Especially so if you’re like me and dabble in growing your own herbs.

Introducing TruDog: A New System for Complete Health

17 Feb

trudog-raw

Around this time last year, my husband and I had to really crack down about our own nutrition. It required a fair amount of work to shift our eating and cooking habits, but the results have made those changes more than worthwhile. All these changes got me thinking about our pets’ eating habits as well: not just what we were feeding them, but how and when as well.

I’ve always been pretty picky about what we feed our animals, but that came more from the knowledge that we wanted to stick to a certain level of quality and avoid common health pitfalls—obesity being the main one—for our dog and cats. But did my general desire for quality translate into a diet that meets all of Topher’s needs?

Even though I’ve been doing research on this question for a few months now, I’m still working on my final opinion. But today I’m very pleased to introduce TruDog, a company formed by one family that set out to answer a very similar question: we’ve been taking care of ourselves, nutritionally, but what about our dogs? They depend on us for their diet, so how well are we really feeding them?

Freeze Dried Real Ingredients

TruDog’s food products are made by freeze drying real ingredients: beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver, etc. Freeze drying is a delicate process that preserves the structure and nutritional integrity of fresh whole food. Only water is removed, preserving the characteristics and natural nutrition of fresh real food. This process creates a freeze-dried, “raw” product that needs no refrigeration. Simply store it in a cool, dry place and, before feeding, just add water. Precise feeding instructions are included with every pack that are effortlessly easy to follow.

We knew this product would be a hit when we had to hide it away to keep our dogs and our cats from finding and ripping the bag apart. In fact, Ivana’s cat Ace chewed on the bag itself before she could even open it!

No Fillers, Ever.

TruDog’s food products are wheat, gluten, corn, and soy free, and that’s just the beginning of the list of things they don’t include in their products. This makes them an ideal choice for dogs who have digestive issues or allergies. We know how important a good diet can be for keeping a more sensitive dog healthy and symptom-free, and love seeing companies working on making the pet food industry a little safer for these dogs.

A System for Complete Health

TruDog’s food products are designed to be fed on their own or as a mix-in with other products. All their product lines are meant to be utilized in conjunction with each other, providing optimal health and peace of mind for owners. Each product manufactured is carefully scrutinized to ensure it’s not overlapping other products—in the end providing a complete system that works.

While switching large dogs like Topher and Archer completely over to a TruDog diet would be pretty pricey, the supplements and the variety of products allow us to make sure our big dogs are getting everything they need out of their daily meals.

Made in the U.S.A.

All TruDog’s food products are made in Wisconsin using U.S. sourced ingredients. Their beef and bison are free range and grass fed, antibiotic, and hormone free. The TruDog family is committed to a lifestyle that provides the opportunity to live a life full of abundant health and happiness, inspired in no small part by their beloved Great Dane, Truman. After discovering Truman had a tumor in one of his legs, the family fought valiantly for his livelihood. After an agonizing six month battle, including surgery to remove his leg, they lost him to cancer.

This tragic loss provided the inspiration behind TruDog, to offer a healthy alternative dog food for dogs everywhere. If you ask us, they’re doing a wonderful job.