Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Helping Your Dog Get the Right Amount of Exercise

For centuries, dogs have worked alongside humans. Even as dogs became more domesticated, they still enjoyed hours of work each day with their masters. However, as humans became less active and more overweight, so did dogs. Some people believe if they get a dog it will make them more active because they will have to walk the dog, but the reality is that many dogs will adjust to your schedule....so if you are not active, they won't be either. So, how do you decide how much exercise your dog really needs?

Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one size fits all number. Depending on your dog's breed, current age, health, and daily surroundings, the amount of exercise varies. All dogs should exercise their body everyday for one to three hours through walking, running, or playing to maintain a healthy weight. Ideally, this exercise will be split up throughout the day, but with hectic work schedules or extreme weather conditions, that may not be feasible. For smaller dogs a few 10 minute walks or intense inside fetch game might be better than a long hour walk. For larger dogs, ten minutes of running followed by 20 minutes of walking is a good starting point. Breeds like Collies, Labradors, and Shepherds need even more exercise and do well with exercise that incorporates tricks. When it comes to learning new tricks this is the one thing that is the same for all dogs, they all need at least an hour of play time with their master to stimulate their brains and deter them from negative behaviors. This play can be done indoors or outdoors and should vary once in awhile to keep your dog's brain stimulated. The play can even involve the puppy parent standing still, but the dog should be moving as much as possible.
Having owned several Labrador Retrievers and currently owning a Collie/ Lab mix, I can tell you firsthand getting the right amount of play and exercise in everyday can make a huge difference in your dog's behavior and overall health. One new way to keep track of my dog's activity is with the Purina Pro5 app. This free app lets me track all kinds of activity and even set activity goals for all my pets. Another great way to stick with keeping active is to do specific activities with your dog at the same time everyday. Your dog will get into the routine and be reminding you each day when it is time to be active. Although there is no magic amount of exercise dogs need, it is important to make sure you and your dog stay active every day to help keep your dog healthy and continue to help you and your dog maintain a strong bond. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Moose Antlers: All Natural Dog Treat Your Dog will LOVE!

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, why not get your dog s treat they will LOVE this year? All natural moose antlers are the newest treat that dogs everywhere are falling in love with!

I first discovered these treats in November, when I attended the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. They sold various sizes, and I brought home the medium size for my dogs to try. I should have gone with the extra-large because my dogs LOVED them! Fortunately, I can easily get more online from Arcadia.com; (they even have a special Valentine package).
Another option for all natural antlers can be found online at Blue Ridge Dog Chews. They carry mosses, deer, and elk antlers as well as hemp dog toys.
Both companies sell a variety of sizes based on your dog's weight, so they truly are a perfect match for any dog. If you are looking for additional all natural dog treat ideas, check out the Eco-friendly links tab at the top of the page to find green treats, toys, and clothing for your furry Valentine!
Be sure to stop by Pupcycled on Facebook and post a picture of your dog during the month of February.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review of Wilbur's Barkery Homemade Dog Treats

Some dog owners make homemade dog treats to be more eco-friendly, but many people start making homemade treats due to their dog having a food allergy. When Jenn and Jeremy's dog had IBS, they started making treats and shared them with other friends that had dogs. Before too long, the treats were so popular that they started their own business, Wilbur's Barkery.

I got to meet the couple at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia when I purchased a make-at-home dog treat mix from their booth.
The treats were very easy to make and all my dogs loved them. I liked the ability to buy the mix and make the homemade dog treats whenever I wanted. The mix also came in a really nice jar with a cookie cutter, so it would make an awesome gift as well. (And reusable/ eco-friendly)! However, if you are not into baking the treats yourself, you can order the treats online. The baked treats last for three months. If you live in Pennsylvania, you may be able to find them at a local pet store, dog show, or craft fair. Below is a picture of the lovely couple and behind them is their logo....so be on the lookout for these wonderful treats!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eco-friendly Dog Sweaters

Cold weather means time to think about an eco-friendly dog sweater for your furry friend. Even with fur, only a handful of breeds can really keep warm on their own in winter weather. Siberian Huskies, Saint Bernards, and Alaskan Malamutes are all breeds who can handle being outdoors in sub-zero temperatures, but even for these breeds, proper shelter and warmth is still necessary. If you have a dog that spends a lot of time outdoors, you want their coat to thicken as the cold approaches, but once that happens and temperatures continue to stay at the freezing point, you may want to consider getting an eco-friendly sweater and other winter gear for your dog.

When looking for a sweater for your dog, one fabric that is warm and very eco-friendly is alpaca fur. Eco-conscious dog owners should look to re-purpose human alpaca sweaters into dog sweaters or knit or buy handmade alpaca dog sweaters. Although the sweater may seem a bit pricey to start, keep in mind that alpaca fur dog sweaters, if cared for properly, may last your dog's entire lifetime.

As a dog owner currently living in Pennsylvania, I have seen first hand how the sub-zero winter temperatures, even for a day, can affect dogs. We have five acres, and my Collie/Lab mix loves to just run around outside, for several hours a day. Usually, I have to tempt him with treats to come back inside. However, when the temperatures dipped below freezing this past week, he was out and back in without any hesitation  A dog sweater allows him a little more time outside, but I still have to worry about frostbite on his paw pads. So in my opinion, the alpaca fur will keep your dog warm on walks or during other outdoor activities, but dogs still need time indoors or in proper shelter to warm up. A dog sweater should not lead to thinking your dog can spend hours outside since it does not protect his entire body. 

For more winter tips to keep your dog safe and healthy check out my winter tip and paw protection post.  Also, remember to feed your dog a little more over the winter months to help build up fat reserves and bathe them less and brush them more to keep their coat healthy. By following these tips your dog will be better prepared to handle the natural environment and its changing temperatures.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Winter Tips and Paw Protection for Dogs

In an all natural, normal winter environment, dog owners may have less to worry about, but the reality is those environments are becoming less and less and therefore, more and more dogs are exposed to harmful winter related items every year. By following a few simple winter tips and paw protection ideas, you can help your dog stay active and healthy all winter long.

Even if you are an eco-friendly dog owner and keep safe and natural products around your home, getting your dog outside for a walk during the winter months requires some planning to keep your dog safe since other people may be using harmful salts and anti-freeze solutions. The acronym PULL is an easy way to remember some key winter tips for your dog.

Protect paws- use all natural balm or paw covers to keep your dog's paws protected from ice, snow, cinders, and salt
Use a leash-even the best trained dogs should be on a leash in the winter due to frozen water and thick snow areas that can be dangerous if a dog runs loose
Leave it-make sure you dog knows this command so you can avoid your dog licking anti-freeze or eating salt
Limit time-get your dog outside, but make sure they have a sweater if they have short hair, and go for two short walks versus one long walk to allow your dog to warm up in between

Having lived in both a city and rural area during the winter months, I understand the pros and cons of both for dog owners. If you live in a rural area, like I do now, getting outside in the cold with your dog for a little every day may be fairly easy. The pros here are that you can just go out, walk in the snow covered grass and have a good time together and come back in. (I do keep a towel by the door and wipe their paws when they come in to help keep their paws healthy and my rugs clean). All of my dogs love playing in the snow and being outside in the winter, and since none of them have long fur, keeping everyone dry is pretty simple as well. The only real con is that sometimes they just don't want to come back in.
However, if you live in a city there are a lot more cons than pros. First, you have to be prepared to walk on unshoveled sidewalks, icy areas, and heavily salted sidewalks and roads. (It will take more than a towel at your door to clean your dogs paws after walking on all that)! You can buy paw protector boots to put on your dog, but keeping your dog's paws clean and putting a balm on every day before and after your walk, can be just as effective for city dogs. The second hassle for city dogs during the winter is keeping your dog warm. From cars driving by and splashing up water, to melting snow and mud, your dog will likely need extra grooming during the winter months. If your dog gets salt caught up in fur around their paws or stuff around their eyes, you could end up with big problems down the road, so daily grooming is important for city dogs. Finally, walks may need to be shorter in the winter months, so it is important to find physical activities you and your dog can do indoors to keep them active all winter long. Hide and Seek type games and indoor obstacle courses are a great place to start.
Although winter offers a challenge to dog owners, it is important to still get your dog outside and keep them active all year long. Hopefully, by following the PULL winter tips you will keep your dog and their paws safe.