5 Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Breath


By nature your dog does not smell all-together good. From his fur to his mouth, all sorts of foul emits from your four-legged friend, whether you care to admit it or not. And while we all want to improve our dog’s breath for our own peace of mind, in actuality, if left untreated, a dog’s bad breath could lead to something worse. Here are 5 ways to improve your dog’s breath while making sure he’s not suffering from other health issues.


1. Do a regular checkup – It’s crazy to realize that bad breath could be caused by a simple piece of food lodged in your dog’s teeth. He has no access to floss or mouthwash, so you have to help him out. Check his mouth regularly for any lingering food objects and wash them away. On a more serious note, however, this checkup can also help you determine if your dog has a tumor growth, which will also give off a smell. Obviously if you find an inexplicable growth, see your vet.


2. Brush your dog’s teeth, daily – Not once a month, not once a week, but daily. You can use a doggie toothbrush or even a thimble-like  brush you stick on your thumb (my favorite). Plaque starts at the upper teeth, so get in good there, and brush your dog’s tongue since smelly bacteria make camp there. Be sure not to use human toothpaste. That’ll get your dogs sick. Your dog may not love the idea of this chore at the start, but he’ll get over it. Especially if you introduce him to it slowly over a few days, keep calm while performing the task, and use a flavored toothpaste (like peanut butter) that he likes (ps. – people floss their dogs’ teeth, too, you know. Yeah, good luck with that one).


3. Do the chew – You know how your dog chews sticks outside? While that may scare and annoy you (and, we should add, it can definitely be dangerous), it actually helps clean your dog’s teeth. So, use a substitute – chew toys. Better yet, mix and match your poisons by adding some flavored toothpaste to a Kong or other toy. Rawhides work wonders on plaque, by the way.


4. Use breath fresheners – Greenies are the most popular, although Dentastix work too. There’s controversy around these treats because some dogs can choke on them, but dogs can choke on anything, if you think about it. I have a dog who swallows the Greenies whole, which not only scares the bejesus out of me, but completely eliminates any potential good the treat could offer. So, here’s what I do, I give him the treat is small segments. Greenies aren’t the friendliest treats to break apart, but it’s worth the effort.


5. Get a professional cleaning. Sometimes your dog’s bad breath has gone too far, and you need to get professional help. If you don’t, your dog’s teeth might not make it to old age, and the bacteria build up could cause other health issues down the line. Professional cleanings are not like the ones we have as humans. You might not like the  dentist, but a dog’s dental cleaning is far more aggressive, and frightening for your dog. That’s why any real and thorough cleaning that’s safe for your dog includes anesthesia. There are “anesthesia-free dental scaling” procedures, but the American Veterinary Dental College (the preeminent figurehead of your dog’s teeth) does not endorse that practice.

We may assume that bad doggie breath is just a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be. By using the methods listed above, as well as offering your dog a balanced diet that’s not overly loaded with meat, your pet doesn’t have to have breath with a bite.

5 Ways to Challenge Your Dog’s Mind


Anyone who is a parent knows that a tired kid is a well-behaved kid. The same goes for dogs. Dogs who are mentally and physically tired are less likely to be destructive, unruly and rambunctious. But it’s not just about running your dog for 2 hours each day. Physical exhaustion is one thing. Mental exhaustion is something entirely different. Trainers will often claim that 15 minutes of intense training is as exhausting, if not more, than an hour of physical play. And, when you train your dog, you’re teaching him a new activity under a controlled environment, which helps encourage the behavior you want your dog to model.

Here are 5 ways to challenge your dog’s mind to not only fight boredom, but to help your dog become the best he can be.


1. New tricks for old and young dogs. Throw out that notion that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Your grandparents have mastered cell phones, haven’t they? Why can’t a “senior” dog learn a new trick? Sit, stay, and paw are all good starting points. But leaving off there is like leaving off at “See Spot Run” when teaching a child to read. Now that your dog has some good basics, it’s time to build off that. Scour the Internet or ask dog trainers for challenging tricks to keep your dog’s mind stimulated.


2. Go on errands with your dog. They may just be boring errands to you, but to your dog they are opportunities at new smells, sounds and sights. Walking to the mailbox, visiting a friend, taking a drive to the car wash – these are all exciting times for your dog that will keep his mind racing.


3. Don’t turn your dog into an antisocial canine. Your dog should be introduced to new dogs all the time, if possible. New dogs involve a host of “newness” to your dog. Dog parks are great for this, as are chance encounters on long walks.


4. Don’t use the same toys. It’s great to rotate your dog toys out. Dogs can and will get bored of their toys if used over and over again. Stick to a toy for a few days, and then switch them out. Keep rotating these toys to stimulate your dog and ensure he remains excited about his toy collection.


5. Give him a job. As much as we say we’d retire if we hit the lottery, just imagine how bored life could be if we had no purpose. Dogs need a purpose too, and some dogs are specifically designed for a purpose. Retrievers like to retrieve (fetch rocks). Herders like to herd. Even on a walk, strap a doggie backpack on your dog and have him carry his own water. This not only gives him a job to do, but he has to now focus on keeping that pack on his back, and that added weight will likely tire him out.


Dogs are pretty amazing that they are capable of sitting around on the couch all day if you ask them to. But that’s not what they want. They’d prefer to be mentally and physically exercised and, if kept bored for too long, are more apt to cause destruction such as chewing pillows. Your dog deserves the best life possible. These 5 ways to challenge your dog’s mind will help make that happen.

6 Common People Foods That Can Kill Your Dog


While many human foods are not only safe for dogs to eat but can also be quite healthy for them, there are many things we eat which can be dangerous for a dog, and could make them sick or even kill them. As dogs themselves do not know what they can and cannot eat, it’s up to you to know what not to feed your dog. It would be nearly impossible to list all the human foods that are dangerous for dogs to eat, but in this article I will list some of the most commonly eaten human foods that are dangerous for dogs to eat, in the hopes it will save at least a few dogs and their owners from unnecessary misery.


Raisins and Grapes

I love both raisins and grapes. Unfortunately, though, I cannot share these with my dog. Both raisins and grapes can be lethal for a dog to eat as they can cause kidney failure.


Apple Seeds

Dogs can eat apples, they are actually quite good for dogs to eat. However, the apple seeds are highly dangerous for dogs to eat as they include poisonous cyanide, which is safe for us humans in this dose but not for our four-legged friends. One should never feed their dogs whole apples, and owners should also make sure their dogs do not go anywhere near apple trees while the apples are ripe and falling on the ground.


Animal Bones

Feeding animal bones to dogs is one of the most common mistakes dog owners make. A lot of dog owners, especially those who own large dogs, think that dogs can easily chew bones. While it’s true that most of the time, a large dog won’t have any problems chewing up a bone and that chewing bones can even have some health benefits for dogs, there are also risks involved. Every year, thousands of dogs end up in veterinarian hospitals with bone splinters stuck in the intestinal tract or whole bones caught in the throat. These are both serious conditions that often require surgeries and can kill your dog.



Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can have many health benefits for us humans. Among other things, it’s good for our heart, good for our skin, reduces the risk of diabetes, and can even help us solve math problems. Because chocolate is so  beneficial for us, it’s hard to imagine that it’s lethal for dogs. However, even a few bites of chocolate can kill a dog. The ingredient in chocolate that is deadly to dogs is theobromine. Theobromine is safe for humans, but it is absorbed much slower by dogs and can have serious or even deadly effects by increasing a dog’s heart rate, stimulating the central nervous system, and constricting the arteries.


Milk and Cheese

Unless you are lactose intolerant, milk and cheese are fine and even beneficial for you to consume. Unfortunately, though, cheese and milk are not safe for your dog. Dogs do not have the required enzyme to break down milk sugar. Also, cheese has too much fat in it, which can result in pancreatitis – a deadly condition.


I find it hard to believe that any of you would even consider giving your dog coffee, Coca-Cola, or anything else containing caffeine, but not wanting to take any chances, I decided to include caffeine in this list of popular people foods that are deadly for dogs. Just like chocolate, caffeine contains a stimulant that is highly dangerous for dogs – mehtylated xanthine, which stimulates a dog’s central nervous system and causes vomiting, heart palpitations, and even death.

This completes our list of common people foods that can kill your dog, however, there are many other foods that can be equally dangerous to feed your dog. For example, you should never feed your dog acorns, avocados, corn cobs, garlic, ice cream, lemons, mushrooms, nuts, onions, pistachios, or tomatoes.

Does Your Pet Really Need Flea/Tick Medicine All Year Long?


During the summer my scarves, coats and boots are put away in storage, since they do me no good when the thermometer hits 90. In the winter, you won’t see me in my sandals, although I’d like to have the option. We humans have our seasonal habits and rituals based on temperature. It makes sense then that dogs and cats follow suit, particularly in regards to their flea and tick medicine.

Each fall many a pet owner begins to question whether they really need to give their cat or dog flea/tick medicine throughout the winter. In the coldest months birds fly south, bears hibernate, and every living thing that once flourished outdoors is either dead, frozen, or in hiding. Doesn’t that include fleas and ticks?

Why everyone recommends year-round

This article, of course, is all but irrelevant for folks who live in warmer climates. They always need flea and tick medicine. But for those of us who do experience a bitter winter, it should be known that most, if not all, veterinarians suggest year-round flea and tick treatment. But why?

Here are some fun facts for you to munch on:

  • Fleas can live outdoors in temperatures as low as 33 degrees for up to five days (long enough to latch onto your dog, come into your home, and relish in the warmth of your living room).

  • Flea eggs can live year round in protected areas such as crawl spaces or porches.

  • Our best friend, Mr. Tick, is certainly more active in the late summer and early fall. However, even in the winter, if the temperature exceeds 40 degrees – which it can in most places – ticks will become active again (some experts think the threshold is more like 32 degrees). So, on those “balmy” winter days of 32 degrees or higher, when you just have to take your dog out to enjoy the so-called warmth, you’re exposing him to ticks.


Why you might not use medicine all year round

Flea and tick medicines are pretty hefty meds, both financially and chemically. These are the two biggest reasons why people don’t use them all year round.

The cost of these meds can be staggering, and a good way to combat that cost is by taking a few months off. However, there are cost-saving measures you can pursue, including going on Amazon or other online sites that offer a considerable savings on meds, particularly if you buy in bulk.

But many other folks don’t like the idea of constantly pouring “poison” onto their pets, particularly small dogs or cats. The Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation in 2008 about the ill effects of spot-on treatments after receiving 48,000 reports including 1,300 cases of serious reactions or death.

However, time and time again the reports show that these applications are safe and that most adverse reactions are a result of user error (such as an owner giving the wrong dosage to a pet). If, for example, a person used a dog treatment on a cat, that could cause death. Or, if the owner simply guesses his dog’s weight, his dog could become sick or suffer loss of fur/hair.

A dance with chance

The chances of your dog or cat getting a flea or tick in the wintertime are considerably lower than in the warmer months. That’s for sure. So, you might be willing to play a game of chance. However, if you lose that game, what happens? Your pet could suffer an infestation, which results in your home being infested. Your pet could suffer adverse reactions to the flea or tick that needs to be treated. It could be far more costly and annoying to rid your home and pet of fleas (or ticks) after one infestation, than the cost of paying for medicine all year long.

Your Dog and Food – The Common Sense Tips


If you’re a first-time dog owner, learning what is healthy for your dog to ingest can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, by being aware of what is safe in your pantry, and what is not, you can not only prevent your dog from becoming ill, but provide relief in times of pain and discomfort.

What not to give your dog

Many foods are healthy for us, and it may seem surprising to learn that they are bad for dogs. According to the ASPCA, avocado leaves, fruit, and seeds all have toxic potential. In dogs, sensitivity to avocado flesh can often result in diarrhoea, while the pit comes with the additional, serious risk of obstructing your dog’s intestinal tract. Grapes and raisins might be one of your favourite snack between meals, but have been linked to kidney failure in dogs, which in extreme cases can lead to death (macademia nuts can also lead to similar instances of toxicoses, though symptoms in this case will typically subside after a few days). Even onions and garlic, those popular cooking ingredients contain compounds that can affect your dog’s health. Be aware of concentrated forms of either of these, as eating larg, or strong amounts of either of these can cause severe damage to your dog’s red blood cells.

Some of the more unhealthy treats we enjoy can be equally hazardous if ingested by dogs. Live yeast, especially in raw bread mix, can bloat in your dogs stomach and cause severe respiratory distress. As it multiplies in the warm interior of the stomach, it produces alcohol which in the worst cases, can result in severe alcohol poisoning. When it comes to alcohol, it’s best to keep your dog as far away as possible. Your dog is far more sensitive to alcohol than you are, and even small amounts can lead to quick and dangerous intoxication. Even chocolate, that most tasty of treats, should never be given to your dog. The darker it is, the greater the chance it will cause toxicosis, thanks to greater concentrations of caffeine and theobromine, both of which can lead to vomiting, muscle tremors, seizures and death.

Like humans, dogs don’t always know what is best for them to eat. Even if your dog looks especially attracted to what you are eating, remember that these common household foodstuffs can present a variety of hazards to your dog’s health. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from having eaten any of the products mentioned, seek immediate advice from your vet.

“People foods” safe for your dog

Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom; there are still several healthy foods that you and your dog can share. Yoghurt is a great source of protein, the more active bacteria the better. There is plenty of essential dietary fibre to be found in pumpkin and sweet potato. Green beans are a good source of plant fibre, and oatmeal a good source of soluble fibre. Eating healthy food can even help improve your dogs appearance. Grooming services are well complimented with a diet that includes flax seed and fatty fish like salmon, which provide excellent sources of omega-3 acids, helping to keep your dog’s coat nice and glossy. Consult with your local or online pet store or grooming service to find out more about how a healthy diet can encourage the growth of strong, shining hair.

If you’re worried about what to give your dog as a treat, then apples are the way to go. Full of vitamins, and sweet and crunchy, your dog is guaranteed to love them. If your dog is in need of a protein boost, cooked whole eggs can also be used as tasty training treats.

Sharing your food with your dog can be great, but make sure you don’t overdo it; giving your dog too much of your food can make him or her ill and overweight. “People foods” should not make up more than 25% of your dogs diet. Make sure to also buy dog food designed specifically for your dogs needs.

So what if your dog is sick, what then?

Just like us, dogs constantly encounter the odd stomach ache, headache or cold. When it looks like your dog is in discomfort, it can be useful to remember that their aches and pains can be treated by somemedications you use, that can be equally as effective, in suitable doses on your dog.

For example, Pepto Bismol can relieve an upset stomach and combat diarrhoea. If your dog is having the opposite problem, and appears to be suffering from constipation, a few tablespoon of common mineral oil can loosen up the bowels and help the digestive system. If your dog is in basic pain, aspirin can provide basic pain relief and lessen joint inflammation. Most of us have some Robitussin for cold and flu in the cupboard, especially over the winter. If your dog is coughing or wheezing, a teaspoon of Robitussin can ease a sore and inflamed throat. Remember, human medication can help relieve any pain your dog is suffering from, but do not give greater dosages than recommended.

When it comes to your dog and consumption, health and safety is of the utmost important. Use common sense, and remember that your dog’s stomach is sensitive. If you are unsure about anything your dog has consumed, make sure to seek medical attention from your specialist.

This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger and a full time pet lover. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.

Top 5 Dog Breeds for Children


Dogs and children are a natural combination. A dog can be a child’s best friend growing up and it has been shown in studies that children with pets have better social skills and more self-confidence. However, for the sake of all involved it is important to choose the right dog for your family. Everyone in the family should want a dog and although the child may be responsible for some aspects of care, everyone should do their part and it is up to the adults to ensure that the dog is well cared for and properly treated.

It is also important to remember that dogs have limited communication skills and ways of indicating that they are uncomfortable with a situation and feeling threatened. Children are not generally good at reading a dog’s body language and understanding these ways of communicating. This means that regardless of how good natured a dog is, the dog and child should never be left alone unsupervised. It only takes a few seconds for something to go wrong. When that happens it is the dog and the child that pay the price.

Many breeds, including mixed breeds, can make fabulous pets for children. When making a decision, it is important to take into account your child’s age as well as your lifestyle, and the time you have to devote to exercising and grooming your new pet. Small dogs can be more delicate, especially as puppies, and are not usually good choices for households with small children. The following breeds can all make great choices. Regardless of what breed you choose, always check the breeder out carefully. Ask for proof of health clearances on the parents for common diseases like hip dysplasia, cardiac problems, and eye issues.


1. Labrador Retriever

There’s a reason that the Labrador has been labelled the best family pet time and time again. The have a moderate activity level that works well with most families and tend to be patient and gentle dogs. They are game for whatever activity the kids want to pursue, including curling up on the couch. They do shed and are prone to a number of health issues, so it is important to get a well-bred dog.


2.Golden Retriever

Like the Labrador, this is a popular choice. The longer hair is even more noticeable than the Labrador’s when they shed. Originally bred to be a gentleman’s hunting companion, the Golden has a relaxed outlook on life and goes with the flow in a fashion that works well with children.



For those who want a small dog or need to choose something with less energy and space needs due to lifestyle, the Pug can be an ideal choice. His short hair does shed but he is much sturdier than most small breeds of dog. Pugs love to play and cuddle and are little clowns that love to make their owners laugh.



A little more sedate than some of the other pointing breeds, he is generally healthier than Labrador and Golden Retrievers. His short coat does shed but it is not as noticeable as the longer hair of the retrievers. Pointers are patient and love to play games for hours on end, making them a great choice for families with more space and a higher activity level.



One of the original nanny dogs that watches over children with devotion and patience, the Newfoundland is an excellent choice for families that want a very large dog. The coat does require regular brushing and they do drool.


Most dogs can make an excellent family choice with supervision and training, including a mixed breed from the local shelter. Dogs and children really are an excellent combination. Take the time to do your research and find the right pet for your family.

Top 5 Dog Breeds for Men


A dog is a man’s best friend. But are some dogs better suited for the manly men that walk this world? And what exactly is a manly man? Is it the man who tightens lug nuts with his bare hands? Is it the man who chews on barbed wire rather than a blade of grass or toothpick? Is it the truck driving, jeans wearing, country-music listening kind of guy? My gosh, is it Brett Favre?

We all have our opinions on what makes a manly man, which is why we’ve compiled a rather diverse group of top five dog breeds for men. Our dogs range from the kings of the canine, demonstrating their girth, to a much smaller breed, helping to demonstrate that testosterone can have a heart.


1. Man = Power = English Mastiff. What’s in a name? Ah, well, if you’re the mastiff, then power’s in a name. Mastiff comes from “masty,” meaning power. According to, mastiffs were used centuries ago in the sport of bear baiting, because they were one of the few animals alive that could stand up to a bear. Most folks don’t want to mess with a mastiff, based solely on their size. And if their owner doesn’t like someone, chances are they won’t either. So, your daughter wants a pony? Let her have one. You’ll have a mastiff. Chances are your pet will be bigger.


2. Man = Sensitivity = French Bulldog. French Bulldogs are tiny little dogs with a lot more meat on their muscles than, say, a Chihuahua or Pomeranian. They may be tiny, but they’re not fragile. Some folks might say that Frenchies (like other bulldogs) are kind of ugly, but in a really cute way. That’ll win sensitivity points for any man who owns this dog. And here’s a bonus – these little guys love to snore (even when they’re wide awake). So next time you’re blamed for snoring loudly, blame it on your dog.


3. Man = Enforcement = German Shepherd.Who doesn’t love a man in uniform?.  But what if you’re a man without a uniform? What are you to do? I suppose you could get a German Shepherd, the go-to dog for police departments across the country. Adding a German Shepherd to your pack could help you come across as a true enforcer. But here’s the risk you take by getting a German Shepherd – it might turn out that your dog is smarter than you. These are some pretty intelligent canines. Are you ready for the competition?


4. Man = Family = Golden Retriever. Nowadays I think it’s fair to say that most people define a man by how well he cares for his family. That doesn’t mean with a paycheck, but with love, support and more. What represents the quintessential family portrait than a Golden Retriever? Time and time again this dog is one of the most popular breeds in America. Last year, the smartphone app Klooffreleased a survey they conducted showing that Golden Retrievers make men more attractive to women.


5. Man = Total Package = Pit Bull. A manly man should probably be really sensitive, yet strong and bold enough to protect when needed. He should love to cuddle, but won’t whine if you leave him alone. He should be able to move beyond any past baggage in his life without any grudges. In other words, a manly man is a Pit Bull. Sure, Pit Bulls get their fair share of bad press, but the majority of pit bulls are loving lap dogs who are small enough to curl into a ball, yet big enough to take for hikes. Plus, Pit Bulls are in every shelter across the country, meaning a man could really demonstrate his heart by rescuing his next dog from that kind of life.

Are you a manly man with a dog not on this list? Don’t fret. In reality, any dog fits the manly man’s needs, which is why they’re our best friends! If you think a different dog should be on this list, let us know why.

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