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The Benefits of Fresh Dog Food
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If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that our dogs are members of our family—and your veterinarian thinks you should feed them like one. How? With a fresh diet made from whole, real foods that are good enough for any member of the family. When it comes to good nutrition, our dogs are just like us; the better they eat the better off they are. By giving your best friend the best food, you can ensure that they have a longer, healthier life.

"Fresh diets for dogs have a variety of benefits," says Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, board certified veterinary nutritionist and clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, "It's nutrition you can see. Going forward, we all need to be looking for ways to provide fresh diets to our pets." Dog food company NomNomNow is finally making it easy for every owner to do so.

Fresh dog foods have traditionally been challenging to feed, as they require expensive formulation from a veterinary nutritionist. However, NomNomNow makes it easy to purchase fresh dog food, so your pet can receive the best nutrition possible. It's formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, cooked fresh to order, and delivered free to your door. And best of all? Not only is this fresh diet healthier and easier to feed than any other dog food, but customers are amazed at how affordable such a high-quality diet can be. NomNomNow's introductory offer of 50% off your first two shipments makes it even more of a no-brainer to try.

Pet parents who have made the switch to fresh say that it's about better health, and getting more time with our four-legged best friends. NomNomNow customer Vida K. says, "A healthy lifestyle is important for our dogs. As they get older, we realize that time is short and we want to squeeze as much time out of them as we can...With a healthy diet, we are literally adding years to their life."

Recent studies have shown that the preventive power of vegetables can actually be life-saving for our pups:

In a 2005 study at Purdue University, researchers found that by simply adding fresh vegetables to dog's kibble diets, cancer cell growth was prevented and decelerated by 70- 90%. Given that half of dogs over the age of 10 succumb to cancer (the leading cause of death for dogs of this age), we can't afford not to feed our dogs vegetables.

Fresh feeders and veterinarians also report a host of other immediately visible health benefits. Because dogs can better optimize the nutritional value of the food they're eating, results show up in several ways.

"Fresh foods are indeed more bioavailable than those made with highly processed ingredients," says Dr. Catherine Lane, DMV. This translates to the vital long-term health benefits a fresh food provides, plus a range of short term benefits to the pet and owner as well.

 

 

Pet parents say that within weeks of feeding NomNomNow, they begin to notice results. "Ever since switching to NomNomNow, Taya has been completely full of energy, looks very fit/healthy, and has a constant shiny coat," says Travis D. of San Francisco, who has been feeding NomNomNow for over a year. "People even comment on her when we walk down the street!"

Dr. Shmalberg confirms that most of his patients report these benefits shortly after switching to fresh dog food, in addition to continued immune system maintenance and better overall health.

The rich vitamins that come from fresh vegetables (Vitamin A, C) and freshly-cooked meats (zinc) play an important role in immune system maintenance, which not only helps your dog feel better every day, but also means fewer trips to the vet. "The impact of fresh dog food on Bella has been significant," says pet parent Bennet M. of San Francisco, a NomNomNow feeder for a year and a half now, "She's shown many overall health improvements, and in turn reduced our vet bills. Her veterinarians say she is one of the healthiest bulldogs they have seen."

For pet parents considering making the switch, current fresh feeders all agree: NomNomNow is the best and easiest way to provide the best diet possible. Better food and better health mean more years with our four-legged best friends—and isn't that what we all want?

To try fresh dog food and see real health benefits, start your dog's profile today and enjoy 50% off your first two deliveries of fresh dog food (free shipping included).

Say hello to real food you can feel good about feeding, and more years with your best friend.

7 Homemade Dog Treat Ideas in Under 30 Minutes
Easy-to-Make DIY Dog Treats

Dogs are cuddly, cute and best of all, loyal! The only thing they love more than their owner is treats. But not all store-bought treats are good for them. 

Personal Creations sent over 7 homemade dog treat ideas for your beloved best friend. They all contain fruit, veggies or a good source of vitamin D and protein. The next time you see a tail wag, hand over some pupcakes or doogie donuts and let them know how much you love them!

If (and When) It's OK to Invite Your Pup to the Party
Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter gives advice on having dogs at parties
Is it OK to let a dog roam around a party?

Question: Is it OK to let a dog roam around a party?

Answer: A dog may be man’s best friend, but, let’s be honest, not all humans like dogs and not all dogs like all humans. For most party hosts, this isn’t a big issue: They know their dog and will put it in a crate, the yard (weather permitting) or an area of the house where the pet will be comfortable. 

Or they will let the dog wander about, knowing that it is calm and not a food thief or constantly underfoot. Most hosts also know the guests who are coming over, and most guests will know that the host has a dog. They may have already met the dog and are expecting it to be present.

Problems arise when the dog has characteristics or tendencies that distract guests or make them uncomfortable, or when a guest has fears or allergies. 

I suggest that you always warn new guests that you have a dog (or other pets). That way, if they have fears or allergies, they are aware of the situation ahead of time. 

I also suggest that if you have fears or allergies, it’s OK to make them known. “Sarah, I would love to come on Friday! I have a true phobia of dogs, so I have to ask: Do you and Kevin have a dog?” The conversation can then evolve into what the host and guest feel comfortable with in regard to the dog and visit.

If you haven’t talked with your host about your fear or allergy and show up to the party to find Fido free-roaming, it’s OK to speak up to your host. 

Just remember that how you say something is just as important as what you say. A calm tone (as calm as you can muster if your fears are kicking in) and offering a suggestion rather than a demand will be better received.

“Beth, thank you so much for having us. I’m terribly sorry, but I didn’t realize that you have a dog. I have a very real fear of them. Would it be possible to keep him separate from the party?” 

Most hosts will be accommodating. Also, you can choose to suggest that you leave the party. Not that I think it’s the best solution, but stating that your allergy or phobia is severe enough for you to have to excuse yourself is certainly an option. “Beth, I’m so sorry — I forgot to tell you that I have a very severe dog allergy, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stay for the party. I would love to get together another time.”

Either way, you should feel confident in your communication, and if you aren’t able to stay for the party, suggest another time or place to get together.

22 Plants You Didn't Know Could Poison Your Dog

The plants and flowers we keep in our homes and gardens are lovely to look at. But dozens of common house and garden plants are actually deadly to dogs.

A study found that one in 12 pets has eaten poisonous plants, with smaller dogs and puppies being particularly at risk due to their size.

It’s no secret that foxgloves are poisonous, but did you know that daffodils can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even heart problems if consumed by your dog?

Use this infographic to correctly identify which plants are poisonous to your dog so you know which ones to keep your dog away from when out on a walk or in the garden. If you have family or friends this could help, please feel free to email them or pass it on by using the share buttons.

Plants that are poisonous to dogs

 

 

Safe Passage for Foster Dogs
The owners of 2 well-loved terriers give care and affection to canine visitors to prepare them for their forever homes
The joys of dog fostering

This household of four — a couple and their two dogs — welcomes in new faces all the time. These new faces are local foster dogs who need a temporary place to stay until they find a forever home.

Pets at a Glance
Pets: Chloe, a Jack Russell terrier; Tucker, a toy fox terrier; and their foster roommates
Ages: 6 (Chloe) and 5 (Tucker)
Location: Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 
Owners: Drew and Jenna Kutcher

Meet Chloe: She was Drew and Jenna Kutcher’s first dog, as well as their first interaction with the foster dog system. Chloe had been staying with a foster family until the couple could pick her up. Jenna could see how well loved Chloe had been, and that positive experience made her decide to keep in touch with the rescue shelter and get on its email list.

Meet Tucker: Soon, Jenna found herself signed up to foster a dog. “I committed us to our first foster experience, which ended up being a failure in that we kept him — that’s our dog Tucker,” she says. 

Foster family: A year and a half later, a friend of Jenna’s started her own pet rescue. Jenna got involved and that’s when she started actually fostering dogs on a regular basis. Together, Drew, Jenna, Chloe and Tucker have become a temporary family to many young pups.

 

Welcome home: The Kutchers’ goal is to make every foster feel comfortable and safe in their home. To do this, Drew and Jenna carry around the pup in what they call a puppy sling. “We literally wear the dog on our bodies so they learn to trust us first, and it gives our two territorial pups a chance to adjust to the new family member,” Jenna says. They also keep the foster dog separate from Chloe and Tucker initially to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the new situation. 

Short but sweet: Each foster dog stays with the Kutchers for anywhere from a week to a month. This foster dog, Frito, stayed for two weeks.

 

Office space: The foster dogs, such as Emma here, call Jenna’s office home. “It’s a warm, sunny spot in the house, and it’s more removed from our bedroom where our two dogs sleep,” she says. “Our dogs are pretty feisty and used to ruling the home, so it’s always a shock to them when a new dog arrives. Keeping the fosters in my warm office with the French doors closed allows us to bond with the new pup and give our dogs time to adjust to the new friend.”

Plus, the room has hardwood floors, which makes it easier to clean up any accidents.

On the job: Both Jenna and Drew work from home. She’s a photographer, podcaster and educator and he’s a personal health coach. Because they work from home, the dogs spend almost every minute with them and not much time in a crate. The dogs get to explore the couple’s 105-year-old Craftsman home; for Miguel, that meant climbing up on a chair.

 

“Most of the time we will spoil the fosters and let them snuggle in our laps while we type at our computers, but we try to make sure our two dogs don’t feel left out,” Jenna says. Here, Max rests a paw on the laptop, which might be more distracting than helpful, but that’s OK.

Favorite part of the workday:Walk (or run) time! Both the humans and the dogs eagerly step outside to stretch their legs. Jenna and Drew also love to listen to podcasts while they walk the dogs around the neighborhood.

Break time: “You’d be amazed at how much puppies sleep,” Jenna says. Emma takes a snooze in the middle of the carpet; she needs a long nap after her jog with Drew.

Jenna says they also have lots of little beds around the house for the dogs to sleep in.

Occasionally, the foster dogs hop into the couple’s bed and snuggle under the covers.

Off-limits: To keep everyone safe and the carpet clean, the Kutchers use child gates to block off stairs and any carpeted rooms. This also means that big puppy eyes are never too far out of sight.

Picture-perfect: Jenna captures these cute pet moments by making the dogs comfortable and offering lots of treats and love. Catching the puppies, such as Finn and Belvedere here, when they’re sleepy also helps. 

Payment method: Treats, and especially rawhides, occupy the pups while they’re being photographed. Puppies have sharp teeth, and rawhides also help keep them away from furniture and shoes. “Luckily we haven’t lost any items,” Jenna says.

 

Sharing photos: Whenever a foster dog stays with the Kutchers, Jenna takes lots of photos and posts them online. “It helps them get adopted faster, which sometimes makes us sad,” she says. Jenna shed a few tears when this pup named Ruby left, but she knew she was going to a great family.

The joys of fostering: “It’s so fun to get to love on a pup and wait until they find their forever home,” Jenna says. “So many dogs are saved through fostering because it gives them that in-between space between getting rescued and being adopted. It also gives them the chance to live a normal life and get acclimated to what life with their forever family might be like! It’s always a zoo and a little crazy at first but it’s always, always worth it.”

Home, sweet temporary home: People often tell Jenna that they could never foster dogs because they would want to keep every one. Which Jenna understands, because she also wants to keep every one. “But when you foster you start to recognize the role that you play as a temporary mom or dad to the pup and you can love on them until they find the right family,” Jenna says. Watching that gratifying transition over and over has made it possible to keep fostering without keeping every pup that walks into the house. The couple enjoy the dogs while they can and then send them off to their next loving family. 

Your turn: Have you fostered a pet? Did you make any special accommodations in your house for it? Share your story with us in the Comments. 

8 Revamped Laundry Rooms That Make Room for Fido
Canine amenities include pet beds, crates, bowls, washing stations, doors and even a designated pet water bowl filler

As our lives revolve around our beloved critters more, we need to make space for them. If you have at least a medium-size laundry room, or a combined laundry room-mudroom, it’s prime real estate for dog needs. Pet-washing stations can also double as a place to rinse off muddy boots and rinse out laundry. And if well-planned, these rooms can also provide space for pet beds and crates, food and treats, toys and leashes. See how some people are outfitting their laundry rooms to work for their dogs too.

Grooming. Pet washing stations can be quite handy, and the laundry is an ideal place for them. A dirty dog doesn’t make it past the mudroom before cleaning up, and they are also a good place to clean off muddy cleats and let snowy boots drip dry.

An elevated dog bath is a good option for those with bad backs and knees who have small to medium-sized dogs. It can also double as a utility sink. But the main reason I absolutely had to include this photo is because the dogs in the photo match the dogs on the wallpaper. 

Wallpaper: Thibaut

Beds and crates. Rather than lower cabinets, these built-ins incorporate a dog bed. Yellow and white stripes and beadboard make it a cheerful design asset as well.

The designers did a great job of maximizing this laundry room wall to fit in a pet washing station and bed.

These clever Murphy dog beds fit right in with the rest of the cabinetry, then flip down for nap time. Though narrowness doesn’t appear to be a problem in this laundry room, this is a clever solution for a tighter space. You can flip the dog bed up if you need the room to access a front-loading washer or dryer.

Built-in dog crates are another good option. Cabinetmakers can trick out cabinets to serve as dog crates for a seamless look.

Pet food. Keeping pet food close to where the pets eat makes mealtime easy. Laundry-mudrooms are often a convenient place to set this up.

The space under a utility sink is prime for a domesticated version of a trough. Pet bowls slip right into custom holes for easy filling. They stay in place rather than sliding all over the floor when a hungry dog is going to town on them.

Easy entering and exiting. This laundry room has a motorized pet door. The door opens when the pets wearing their power door collars want to go in and out, thanks to directional ultrasonic detection circuitry.

Electronic pet door: High Tech Pet

AZ Bill Aims to Protect Dogs in Hot Cars
Photo by Rusty Clark

A metro Phoenix community college teacher’s civics assignment wound up helping create a law to aid dogs trapped in hot cars.

Debra Nolen, who teaches ethics, suggested her students find ways to help dogs left behind in locked vehicles.

 “I wanted to find a topic for them to learn about civic engagement and social responsibility and this seemed perfect,’’ she said.

Complete newcomers to politics, students and teacher contacted Nolen’s state legislator, John Kavanagh, who had previously supported other animal-welfare laws. He agreed to sponsor their bill and other Arizona animal-rights groups got behind it.

Under the new law, someone who uses “reasonable force” to break into an unattended motor vehicle is not subject to civil damages if there’s a “good faith belief” a child or animal “is in imminent danger of suffering physical injury or death.”

Would-be rescuers must first notify police, medical personnel or, if needed, animal control officers. Then, after entering the vehicle, they must remain until responders arrive.

Previously, Arizona laws weren’t clear if a Good Samaritan could be sued for damaging property while rescuing a trapped animal.

Now, 29 states have some type of a “hot car” law on the books, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Laws vary; some make distinctions between domesticated animals versus livestock; some differentiate between law-enforcement personnel and citizen rescuers.

“In the last few years, there has been an explosion in the number of hot-car laws,’’ said Lora Dunn, director of the criminal justice program for the fund. “There’s greater awareness, people are getting involved and pushing their lawmakers.’’

But it’s not always easy.

Some Arizona legislators questioned why animals warranted the same expectation of protection as humans.

 “I actually had one legislator describe pets as ‘chattel’,’’ Nolen said. “I had to tell him how so many people have sacrificed their own well-being on behalf of their pets.’’

Having Arizona’s governor talk up the legislation in his State of the State address helped push it past those ideological obstacles, Kavanagh said. Nolen’s participation too was key, he said. “She was a like a bulldog on this.’’

All part of the learning process, says Nolen. “My kids learned so much from this, how to be active in their communities for good. I look at them and think ‘these are tomorrow’s leaders’.’’

Working to End Dog Breed Ban in Public Housing
Ernie, the pit bull mix who inspired Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski to sponsor a bill to disallow breed-specific bans by landlords.

New legislation being introduced in New York could change the lives of dog loving low income New Yorkers dogs, and very likely the thousands of dogs in NYC area shelters and rescue organizations. New York State Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, himself a rescued Pit Bull owner is spearheading legislation that would prevent landlords in public housing from discriminating against any specific breed of dog.

Currently, the New York City Housing Authority or NYCHA which manages the nations oldest and largest public housing program providing low income apartments to over 400,000 New Yorkers has had a breed specific ban in place since 2009. When that ban took effect 115 dogs, mostly Pit Bulls were surrendered to Animal Control, 49 of whom were euthanized. NYCHA housing as explained by the Mayor’s Alliance For NYC Animals “restricts specific breeds, including Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, either pure- or mixed-breed.” The breed ban actually impacts over twenty breeds (including some fairly rare ones) and dogs mixed of any of those breeds

Breeds and Breed Mixes Currently banned from NYCHA Housing: Akita Inu, Alangu Mastiff, Alano Español, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Argentine Dogo, Bedington Terrier, Boston Terrier, Bull and Terrier Bull Terrier, Bully Kutta, Cane Corso, Dogue de Bordeaux, Dogo Sardesco, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro, Gull Dong, GullTerr, Irish Staffordshire Bull, Korea Jindo Dog, Lottatore Brindisino, Neapolitan Mastiff, Perro de Presa Canario (Canary dog), Perro de Presa Mallorquin (Cade Bou), Shar Pei, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tosa Inu

Assemblyman Zebrowski’s proposal will be discussed by the New York State Assembly’s Housing Committee in the coming weeks, and then will go before the full Assembly followed by the Senate. In an interview with ABC news Assemblyman Zebrowski said: “You can have no dogs, you can have a restriction on the number of dogs, you can have some sort of subjective criteria to evaluate the dog, make sure they are not dangerous…. You just can't banish all of one type of breed.”

10 Nontoxic, Dog-Safe Houseplants
Keep pets healthy with the right selection of indoor plants

When preparing to adopt our kitty, I learned from the folks at the rescue organization that a few of our houseplants were toxic to cats and dogs — and since this particular furry friend enjoys chomping on plants, it was vital we remove these from our home beforehand. (And even though some pets pay no attention to plants, it’s always better to be on the safe side.) But many of the most popular design-friendly houseplants, including split-leaf philodendron and fiddle-leaf fig, are toxic to cats and dogs. So what’s a design-loving pet owner to do? Live without houseplants? No way. We’ve found 10 cool houseplant options that are all nontoxic to cats and dogs.

1. Tillandsia. Air plants are tailor-made for modern spaces, and they need very little care. Because these petite plants don’t require soil, you can place them just about anywhere — on a piece of driftwood, in a seashell, in a hanging glass vessel. However, their small size can prove problematic if you have a nibbling pet: A lot of damage can be done to the plant in a short amount of time, so watch your pet and be prepared to move the plant out of reach if this becomes an issue.

2. Boston fern. Most true ferns are nontoxic to cats and dogs, including the classic Boston fern. This fern has lush, full foliage, is easy to care for and looks equally at home in traditional and modern spaces.

3. Staghorn fern. This unique plant has sculptural appeal when mounted on the wall and — major bonus for plant-chomping pets — can be kept up high and out of the way of those sharp little teeth. Cluster several on a wall and create your own living art installation.

4. Maidenhair fern. Delicate and romantic, the light-as-air foliage of a maidenhair fern is a beauty to behold. This plant is a bit fussier than most houseplants, preferring a humid environment (or frequent misting) to stay healthy. The ultra-tender leaves may be tempting for pets to nibble — and while it won’t harm your furry friend, the plant itself is quite fragile and can easily be destroyed by a curious cat. If you want to keep a maidenhair fern but it keeps getting chewed up, try placing it in a hanging planter.

5. Dwarf olive tree. Dwarf olive trees can do well indoors in a large pot with good drainage, but they do need a very sunny spot with at least six hours of full sun each day. If you live in a cool, cloudy region, it probably won’t thrive.

6. Rosemary. Like the olive, this is another attractive Mediterranean plant that will look right at home in interiors of any style. Grow a pot of fresh rosemary in a kitchen window and enjoy snipping fragrant sprigs to add to your cooking.

7. Ponytail palm. This wacky plant looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Ponytail palms are well suited to modern interiors — starting with a smaller plant is easier on the budget, and you can always transplant it into a larger pot as it grows. A full-size specimen makes a dramatic statement, as seen here.

8. Echeveria. This succulent has rosettes of leaves in shades that range from green to blue, depending on the variety. They do best in well-drained soil, in a spot that gets morning sun.

9. Orchid. With their elegant, long-lasting blooms, it’s no wonder that orchids are a decorator favorite. Thankfully, according to the ASPCA, phalaenopsis and dendrobium orchids (two of the most popular varieties) are nontoxic to cats and dogs. Plant a single orchid or group several in one large vessel for more drama.

Note: Roses, also pictured here, are nontoxic to furry friends as well. So feel free to treat yourself to that bouquet!

10. Cat grass. Pets nibbling houseplants, even nontoxic varieties, can get tummy aches. For cats, you can encourage healthier green eats by planting a container of cat grass and placing it in an easily accessible spot. Not to be confused with catnip, which is in the mint family, cat grass will not give your cat the crazies. It’s usually grown from oat or wheat seed. If growing your own cat grass from seed, keep the container out of reach of your pet until the grass grows in, to protect the tender sprouts.

Tell us: Do your pets nibble the houseplants? Share your stories in the Comments.

Dogspotting
A sport and lifestyle of spotting random dogs

First there was trainspotting, then planespotting, and now…dogspotting! Take an object that interests you – in our case, dogs – and turn it into a hobby by seeking as many different examples as possible, taking photos of them and sharing with other enthusiasts. A Facebook page called Dogspotting has become wildly popular. Members – currently over half a million - post photos of an incredible diversity of dogs in all sorts of situations from around the world. One can easily become lost scrolling through the photos, reading comments, smiling all the while.

There are rules for participating. In a nutshell: no photos of your own dog, or a dog you already know; no photos taken at dog parks, vet clinics or other “low hanging fruit” locations; no service dogs (they’re working, so leave them alone); no posing humans in the frame; and be nice to each other. If you have photos that break the rules but still want to share, there’s a sister page called Dogspotting Society where they’re allowed. There’s also a Dogspotting phone app.

The site has generated its own dogspotting lingo. Some common words include: doggo = dog; sploot = dog lying with all legs splayed; pupper = puppy; floof = especially fluffy dog; cloud = white fluffy dog (usually a Samoyed); mlem = dog’s tongue is licking its muzzle in photo. The lingo and photo descriptions (e.g. describing a bulldog puppy as a giant wrinkle) are half the fun. There’s also a point system, with higher points awarded for spots of unusual dogs or situations, for example a dog carrying its own leash, or a wild canid (fox, coyote, or wolf), “the most noble of all spots.” Links for the rules, the points system, and frequently asked questions are available on the page.

This is a hobby most easily indulged in a city or urban area where seeing “strange” dogs on streets or in cafes is common and photographing them easy. For those of us living in the country, spotting a wild canid is a challenge worth embracing. Visit the page, but be warned, it’s a time sink! It’s difficult to avoid scrolling through the photos and reading a few comments for each. Initially, that’s time well-invested before posting your first spot as you’ll see site administrators chiming in on rule-violating posts, gently reminding the poster that sister site Dogspotting Society is the appropriate place for their photo.

The wide variety of dogs and settings in the photos and the accompanying comments are wonderful antidotes to life’s daily stresses. Just don’t forget to take your own dog out for a stroll – maybe a stranger will post a photo of her on Dogspotting.

More From The Bark

By
Lisa Wogan
By
Lisa Wogan
By
Lisa Wogan
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Smiling Dog: Trumper
Dogs Chasing Laser Pointers
22 Plants You Didn't Know Could Poison Your Dog
Dog Aggression vs Lack of Social Skills
Smiling Dog: Gabby
Smiling Dog: Floyd III
Music Appreciation by a Dog