Well, technically, it’s tomorrow, January 24. And, you may be asking yourself why a pet waste management company would write a blog post about peanut butter. Simple. it’s all because of the dogs — and their insatiable love for this tasty, creamy treat!
If you ever want a quick laugh, search YouTube for videos of dogs eating peanut butter. But, this video is my favorite! You’ll find tons of pups going crazy for it even as it sticks to their lips, teeth and gums —licking incessantly. But why do dogs love this yummy, yet messy treat?
Well, there’s more than one correct answer. The main reason dogs love peanut butter:
The sugar, the salt, and… more sugar
The consensus among many veterinarians is dogs certainly love the sugar and salt in peanut butter. It makes them remember it once they’ve tried it, but the aroma is what makes them initially attracted. The aroma comes from proteins and fats that have been changed in the roasting process — and, to a dog, probably smells a bit like caramelized meat.
Dogs are omnivores and have a sensitivity for sweetness. In the wild, a sweet taste could mean something is loaded with carbohydrates — something a dog could eat for quick energy. Cats, on the other hand, can’t detect sweet things because they are mainly carnivores and have less of a need to find carbohydrates.
Both dogs and cats are more likely to savor food that is heavy in fat and sodium because these nutrient sources would be less commonly encountered in diets consumed in the wild.
Dogs, like people, are hardwired to seek out certain chemicals that signal a nutrient-rich food, with fat and protein being the primary sources.
Your dog wants what you’re eating
You mean you haven’t noticed your dog’s intense stares directly into your eyes as you’re eating something he or she thinks will be fantastically delish? Of course you have.
Another reason your dog could love peanut butter is our dogs frequently desire food that is being eaten by their pack leaders. And, in many cases, such food is not shared with them. But, for whatever reason, we’ve decided that sharing peanut butter is OK, and dogs are fully aware that this is one of the few food items that their pack leaders willingly share with them. So they savor every last gooey bit of it.
If you’ve shared peanut butter with your dog before, go to the cupboard, take out the jar and notice his/her reaction. Excitement level probably at an 11 because they know there’s a high probability of snagging a bit for themselves.
Caution: Read those labels
But, before you dip that spoon in the jar to share with your pup, it’s important to remember to always check labels, specifically for a sweetener called xylitol. Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs.
Your best bet is to buy all natural or organic peanut butter. But, as long as the peanut butter you’re sharing with your pup doesn’t have xylitol, you’re golden!
While Bay Area residents either deal with or worry about coming down with this year’s nasty and potentially deadly flu, there’s something else for dog owners to consider:
Canine influenza — more commonly called dog flu.
Dr. Kyle Frandle of the Los Gatos Dog & Cat Hospital indicated that the dog flu going around the Bay Area this winter is pretty serious.
“In the last few days there have been confirmed cases of Canine Influenza H3N2, known as dog flu, in our area. Canine Influenza is a highly contagious virus. There are two strains of the virus – H3N8 and N3N2 — and are host specific and can be found all over the world,” stated Dr. Frandle.
So, what are the symptoms of dog flu and what should dog owners be looking for?
Symptoms and Types of Canine Influenza
General symptoms of these illnesses include coughing, fever, malaise, sneezing, and anorexia. Red and/or runny eyes and runny nose may be seen in some dogs. In a majority of cases, there is a history of contact with other dogs that carried the virus.
Dogs that are infected with the canine influenza virus may develop two different syndromes:
Mild – These dogs will have a cough that is typically moist and can have nasal discharge. It can be more of a dry cough. Symptoms typically last 10 to 30 days and usually go away on its own.
Severe – For the most part, these dogs have a high fever (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s possible for pneumonia to develop. The most common type being hemorrhagic and sometimes bacterial pneumonia may onset, too. The influenza virus affects the capillaries in the lungs, forcing a dog to cough up blood and have trouble breathing if there is bleeding into the alveoli (air sacs).
Treating Dog Flu
The mild form is usually treated with cough suppressants. Antibiotics may be used if there is a bacterial infection. Rest is important as well as isolation from other dogs.
The severe form needs to be treated aggressively using different types of antibiotics, fluids and other supportive treatments. Hospitalization and isolation are necessary until the dog is well.
Preventing Dog Flu
There is a vaccine available for canine influenza. However, it should only be considered after a conversation with your veterinarian.
Any dog that is suspected to have canine influenza should be isolated from other dogs. Those dogs with the mild form of the infection usually recover on their own.
The virus is contagious and is spread by direct contact between dogs as well as by contaminated stool, surfaces, bowls, collars, leashes, equipment, and the hands and clothing of people.
The virus can be spread via direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, such as barking, sneezing or coughing and by contact with contaminated objects. Clothing, shoes, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease to prevent infection.
This is another great reason why we make sure to disinfect our tools daily as well as in-between client visits. Our tools are disinfected using vet-grade sanitizers and disinfectants. Sanitation and cleanliness are key in our industry. At a time with dog flu so prevalent, it’s that much more important for us to be aware of what we may be introducing into our clients’ yards.
If you’re concerned your yard may be contaminated with the canine influenza virus, we offer a yard sanitizer spray which acts as a disinfectant. It kills canine influenza, parvo, E-coli and other types of dog-related viruses. It works best on hard surface areas and artificial turf but can be used on grassy areas as well.
The pet industry is booming. With growth in 2017 almost $3 billion higher than in the previous year alone, it’s an industry that continues to grow year over year. Just look at the statistics!
Inside industries with such steady growth, trends are bound to emerge — specifically the trend of raw feeding. But, is it a trend or something more likely here to stay? I’ll discuss some of the pros and cons and let you decide what’s best for you and your dog.
An idea proposed by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst in 1993, the raw diet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: whole, natural, uncooked foods. A common acronym is buy Lyrical dance costumes online BARF, which can stand for either Birigui Biologically Gatak Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food, ironically.
A raw dog food diet typically consists of:
– Muscle meat, often still on the bone
– Bones, either whole or ground
– Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
– Raw eggs
– Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
– Apples or other fruit
– Some dairy, such as yogurt
Statistics for Raw Feeding for Dogs
This new trend is growing in popularity but still remains controversial. One thing’s for sure: raw food diets are big business in America with sales of raw and raw alternative dog food more than doubling in just four years: from $117 million to $393 million in 2016.
Billinghurst suggested that adult dogs would thrive on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated: raw, meaty bones and vegetables. Grain-based commercial pet foods, he contended, were harmful to a dog’s health.
Conversely, many mainstream veterinarians disagree, as does the FDA. The risks of raw diets have been documented in several studies published in veterinary journals.
Right now, reports of health benefits and/or detriments are mainly anecdotal, and large-scale statistics are still probably several years away.
The Pros and Cons
Here we’ll list some the benefits and risks associated with a raw dog food diet.
Pros of a raw food diet include:
-Safety: You know exactly what ingredients your dog’s eating, so there’s no need to worry about commercial-food recalls.
-All-Natural: If you’re concerned about preservatives in commercial food, then a raw diet might be a good alternative.
-Your Dog Has Unique Dietary Needs: If your dog is allergic to or has adverse physical reactions as a result of eating certain ingredients in commercial foods, a raw food diet may be the solution.
Other benefits touted by raw feeding advocates may include things such as shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels and smaller stools (you may notice the poop can sometimes be white in color and can become powder-like or crumble easily upon touch or contact).
Cons of a raw food diet include:
-Possible Contaminants: Raw diets can put dogs at risk for Salmonella, Campylobacter, E-coli, and other harmful diseases. Humans are also at risk of acquiring these diseases if proper washing and handling instructions are not met sufficiently.
-Safety Risks: Dogs can choke, chip their teeth, or suffer intestinal blockage or organ perforations from chewing on and eating bones. Additionally, dogs have a hard time digesting raw vegetables, so veggies should be blanched and ground, which requires more work
-Convenience: Or lack thereof — a raw food diet for dogs can be expensive and it’s definitely time-consuming putting together multiple meals per day. Feeding then gets more difficult or complicated if you’re traveling with your dog or left him behind with a sitter. (However, some grocery chains are implementing raw dog food sections in their stores to make shopping for certain items more convenient, as well as to cash in on the trend.)
What should you do?
Before changing or altering your dog’s diet, especially if you’re considering making an abrupt move from kibble to raw, it’s always smart to consult with your veterinarian beforehand. Your dog may have certain health conditions that make a drastic change in diet prohibitive. Be sure to also do extensive research on the internet before talking with your vet, so you can make an informed decision about what goes in your fur babie’s bowl.