Jerky: To feed or not to feed

By now, most people who love a dog know about the jerky warnings from the FDA. To bring everyone up to speed, jerky treats from China have been making thousands of dogs and cats sick and have killed almost 600 dogs. Disgraceful. And apparently, still a mystery as to the cause.

I just can’t imagine the heartache these dog owners are feeling knowing the treats they bought and fed to their dogs were the cause of illness or, in many cases, the demise of their precious pet. Pets trust us for everything. Truly heart wrenching.

Treats are not necessary for a balanced diet but as pets have become part of our families, giving your dog a treat is akin to giving a child a cookie. Both child and dog can certainly live without said treat, but they are a lot happier with their treat of choice.

If your dog has consumed treats manufactured in China and is showing signs of illness, take her immediately to your veterinarian for treatment. The signs show within hours of ingestion and take hold swiftly. Most dogs have survived but with lifelong consequences of their ordeals; 600 did not make it out of the vet offices alive.

What are the signs to watch for?

*Decreased appetite

*Lethargic demeanor

*Vomiting

*Diarrhea

*Increased thirst/water consumption

*Increased urination

More severe cases show gastrointestinal illness and/or renal (kidney) failure. If your pup is exhibiting any of these symptoms, get her to the vet now! And take the treat in the original bag with you when you go for treatment.

The FDA is asking vet practices for blood and urine samples of affected dogs and in the case of a dog who perishes, for necropsy results. It only took six years, but now the FDA is serious about getting to the root of this very dangerous situation.

To be safe, look very carefully at the packaging of any treat you are considering purchasing for your dog. Look at the extremely fine print to ensure it is not made in China. Most manufacturers who produce their treats in the United States are very proud of that fact and readily advertise it on their packaging. And watch for the phrases ‘manufactured by’ and ‘manufactured for.”

The phrase ‘manufactured by’ is a good indication that the product was manufactured by the company whose name is on the package; ‘manufactured for’ is a sure sign that the product was manufactured by some entity other than the one on the label.

Another key point of information to consider is are there any additives to the treat? If vitamins or flavorings have been added, I would want to know if those additives were made overseas or within the US borders. Many items, such as vitamin C, are manufactured overseas. These days, you just can’t be too cautious.

Know your sources. Can the manufacturer trace the product from the grower to you every step of the way? Being able to trace the origin of treats can be like tracking down your great granny four times removed. But, as a person who has dogs instead of kids, I want to know that information.

Where were the sweet potatoes grown? Where and how was the poultry raised? Antibiotic free? No hormones added? Human grade raw ingredients?

As consumers, you have every right to know these pieces of information. And for your peace of mind and the health of your dog who trusts you to make good decisions, you should seek the answers to these questions.

As a manufacturer, I want to tell you this information. If you don’t know, ask. Manufacturers who are proud of the products they produce will readily give up this intel. This is your dog’s life and well being we are talking about!

If you just can’t decide what to do, remember this. Buying no treats at all is better than buying bad ones.

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

Lists to Help Keep Your Dogs Healthy During The Holidays

Can you believe it? It’s already mid-December. The kids have been in school for several months and we know how the football season will end. We are all hustling and bustling around preparing for the season’s festivities. Shopping, cooking, baking, candy-making, wrapping, and at least 500 other equally important activities.

Slow down. Take a few minutes to remember your dogs and how dangerous the beautifully decorated homes can be for them.  All of the pretty lights become very tempting for the curious pooch. And don’t forget all of the baking and cooking we do. Some of your joy and merriment can be ripped away by simply not knowing the dangers the holidays can bring.

Years ago, I had a wonderful dog named Molly. She was a sweet, sweet chocolate lab and the most endearing of pets. Her brown eyes were like pools of melted chocolate, so sweet and always there for me. On Christmas Day 2002, I almost lost her. After baking all day, my cleanup was haphazard. I was tired and just wanted to sleep before the Christmas Day festivities began. Molly smelled the cocoa I had used for cookies. During the night, she helped herself to the cocoa tin. When I woke up I found cocoa powder all over the TV room and a very sick Molly. Molly survived without any permanent damage but It was a close call.

The lesson here is please be cautious as the Holidays progress and take care of your “best friends.”

I found this list of cautions on the American Kennel Club website. It is a very good list of dangers we need to be aware of during the Holidays.

Christmas/Holiday Cautions

  • Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs. Make sure they are kept in places your dog cannot reach.
  • Do not put lights on the lower branches of your tree. They may get very hot and burn your dog.
  • Watch out for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and get badly shocked or electrocuted. Place them out of reach.
  • Avoid glass ornaments, which break easily and may cut a dog’s feet or mouth.
  • Do not use edible ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings. Your dog may knock the tree over in an attempt to reach them.
  • Keep other ornaments off the lower branches; if your dog chews or eats an ornament, he can be made sick by the materials or paint.
  • Both live and artificial tree needles are sharp and indigestible. Keep your tree blocked off (with a playpen or other “fence”) or in a room that is not accessible to your dog.
  • Tinsel can be dangerous for dogs. It may obstruct circulation and, if swallowed, block the intestines.
  • Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels, out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail.
  • Review canine holiday gifts for safety. Small plastic toys or bones may pose choking hazards.
  • Your dog may want to investigate wrapped packages; keep them out of reach.

For further reading about holiday hazards check out this article.

And as a quick reminder this is a list of foods that are hazardous.

1. Chocolate, Coffee, Tea

2. Grapes , Raisins, macadamia nuts

3. Artificial sweeteners containing xylitol

4. Juice soaked strings from baking meets

5. Alcohol

Remember our canine friends are curious and will be investigating all of our Holiday preparations. Keep them safe this holiday season.

Happy Holidays, woof woof.

Jenet Mullins is a retired sales executive from the media industry. As a Poodle Parent she shares her experiences and true life situations as a rescue adopter. Find her at Mediagal on Twitter or Jenet Mullins on Facebook.

Recipe: Cooper’s homemade vegetable treats

Cooper, an original founding member of doggyloot, absolutely loves frolicking around in the vegetable garden at the doggyloot offices. You can sometimes sneak a peek at him sniffing the basil or rolling around near the carrot plants. The doggyloot team cares about the health of your pup, which is why we did research on our path to the perfect doggyloot recipe.  We came up with an amazingly healthy vegetarian cookie that your pooch is sure to love! These treats are Cooper tested and approved!

The doggyloot team sat around and discussed some of the different health concerns that are always on the typical dog owner’s mind. We decided that we wanted a doggy recipe that is high in vitamins and rich in fiber, a recipe that totally captures Cooper’s passion for fresh vegetables! We picked these ingredients with your pooch in mind, so read on to learn more about these special ingredients.

Many dog owners have become increasingly concerned about their dogs’ diets. Over 45 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Veterinarians recommend bran for dogs that have poor or slow digestive systems because it’s rich in fiber and helps to naturally express your dog’s anal glands. Spinach is packed with antioxidants and iron to keep your dog from becoming sluggish losing his appetite. Carrots have a natural sweetness and are especially good for those pups that are battling the bulge! We added a dash of cheese because we know your dog can’t resist—did you know that cheese has some health benefits? It contains Vitamins A and D, which are great for your dog’s eyes and coat. Keep your pup happy and healthy with a little treat from your friends at doggyloot!

Cooper’s Healthy Vegetable Treats
Ingredients:

2 ½ cups of Flour
2 Tbsp. of Bran
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
¼ C. Spinach

¼ C. Shredded Carrots
¼ C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
1/2 C. Water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll out parchment paper or lightly grease your cooking sheet to ensure that your cookies won’t stick to the pan. In a large bowl, mix together the spinach, cheese and carrots with the cooking oil. In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder and bran. Slowly add the water to the dry mixture, then add in the vegetable mixture. Knead the dough for one to two minutes until dough is firm. Roll out your dough and cut cookies with your favorite cookie cutter!

Place the cookies in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cookies are browned. Leave your treats out to cool for an hour and store in an airtight container to keep fresh.