Why You Should Give Turmeric to Your Dog

Why You Should Give Turmeric to Your Dog

By now, you have probably heard people talk about how good turmeric is for you or read an article about it in a health magazine. Turmeric has become very popular, to the point where you can now buy it in supplement form. But what you may not realize is that it’s great for dogs too! It can really help your dog in ways you won’t believe!

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice – found in a lot of curry dishes – that contains something called curcumin. Curcumin is a powerhouse! There are over 6,000 studies on the benefits of turmeric.

Just look at some of these benefits:

· Anti-inflammatory

· Antibacterial

· Antioxidant

· Antiviral

· Antifungal

· Cancer fighting

For your dog, turmeric can help:

· Treat and prevent cancer or tumors

· Relieve arthritis or joint pain

· Support heart health

· Support liver function

· Help treat gastrointestinal disorders

· Allergy relief

· Pain relief

· Weight management

· Reduces blood clots

· Helps prevent cataracts

· Treats diarrhea

And this is just a partial list! One study from the U.K. determined that the curcumin in turmeric stopped precancerous lesions from becoming cancerous. Other studies say it works better at pain and inflammation management than ibuprofen.

Turmeric really is an incredible spice! And being so inexpensive, as spices go, it’s an easy one to add to your dog’s diet.

How To Feed Turmeric to Your Dog

First, consult your vet. When dealing with the health of your dog, you always want to make sure you are doing the right thing. Even natural supplements can interfere with each other, causing absorption issues. For example, curcumin may reduce iron absorption in foods, so that is something to be aware if you have a dog with iron level issues.

Next, there are several forms of turmeric. You can feed your dog powder, a supplement pill, or create a paste by mixing it with water (100ml of water to 25g of turmeric) and a bit of coconut oil, around 15grams. The form you use will probably depend most on your dog and how he will eat it. If one form doesn’t work try another. If you choose to go the pill route, be sure you check the other ingredients to make sure they are all safe for your dog.

If you already take turmeric, you may know that black pepper increases the amount of curcumin that enters circulation. HOWEVER, black pepper can cause issues in dogs, such as respiratory problems, hemorrhoids and upset stomach, so it’s best not to feed your dog black pepper. There are recipes online for “turmeric paste” to feed your dog, and many of them include quite a bit of black pepper. If your vet feels you need to add black pepper to increase the effects of the turmeric, do so sparingly. And watch your dog for signs that it’s bothering him.

Next, dosage. It’s always good to ask your vet how much turmeric is okay for your dog. Turmeric doesn’t have a lot of side effects, and is pretty safe in high-quantities, but you still want to be careful. And remember to start with a small dosage and build up, so your dog can get used to it.

Turmeric is a natural way to keep your dog healthy, so talk to your vet and give it a try!

Your Dog’s Gut Bacteria and Stress: How are They Related?

Your Dog’s Gut Bacteria and Stress: How are They Related?

Dogs get stressed out just like us. And just like us, many display digestive issues when anxious. For example, how many times have you heard a dog owner or boarding facility owner say a dog had diarrhea the whole time it was there? Their food didn’t change, but their routine and environment certainly did. Some dogs may throw up or drool when stressed as well, all signs that their stomach is upset. Stress also causes behavioral changes in canines, including barking, growling and biting, so understanding how to reduce or alleviate stress is important.

So what does gut bacteria have to do with all this?

There are two basic categories of bacteria that live in the digestive system – good bacteria and bad bacteria. Called the gut microbiome, because the digestive tract is made of up hundreds of different types of bacteria and other microbes, this system needs to be in balance in order for your dog’s body to function properly.

The good bacteria, also called beneficial bacteria, such as probiotics, help keep toxins out of the bloodstream, block bad bacteria, and aid in digestion, immune system function and absorption of nutrients. It’s easy to see why your dog’s stomach may be upset if he doesn’t have enough good bacteria or has too much harmful bacteria in his digestive tract. But what does that have to do with stress?

The Gut-Brain Axis

The brain of many animals (including humans and canines) is connected to the digestive tract in a two-way communication structure. It is this structure that allows the stress we feel in our brain, to affect our gut. Conversely, it also means that what is going in our gut can affect our brain. Including relieving stress.

There have been several studies done on dogs’ gut-stress relationship, and every single one of them found that dogs on probiotics showed less signs of stress than those not on them. One study tested dogs in a boarding environment being fed the exact same diet, the only difference was the probiotics. Another study took already anxious dogs and found that those given the probiotics appeared 90 percent less anxious than those that were not given any. This included reduced instances of spinning, barking and pacing as well as improved heart rate (83 percent of subjects) and cortisol levels (75 percent of subjects).

Part of the reason scientists say this happens is because probiotics produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, which make us feel good. And as mentioned in the study above, probiotics help lower cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.

So, if you have a dog that seems constantly stressed, you may be able to help your four-legged friend be more at easy by upping his probiotic intake. It’s a great thing to do in conjunction with training. And, since probiotics also aid in digestion and your dog’s immune system (70 percent of which is housed within the digestive tract), it will also help your dog stay healthier.

If you do choose to go down this path, I use human grade probiotics for my dogs. If your dogs are small get the child probiotics and depending on your dog’s size use accordingly. If you have a dog over 40kg you can get the adult probiotics. I go for the probiotics with more than 10 species of good bacteria or more. Reason being, the more diverse the microbiome the healthier it is.

Is the Siberian Husky the Dog for You?

Is the Siberian Husky the Dog for You?

The piercing blue eyes and wolfish looks of the Siberian Husky have made them a popular pet. They can be found all over the world, living in apartments, urban houses and rural farms. The breed has not changed too much over the years, but it’s environment certainly has. This can sometimes cause a problem when new owners are overwhelmed by their habits. While it’s easy to fall for their good looks, read on to find out if the Siberian Husky is a good fit for your family.

Breed History

The Siberian Husky is an incredibly old breed (some believe it could be as old as 4,000 years!) that was bred for a very specific function. The Chukchi (meaning “reindeer people” in Russian) needed a dog that could survive temperatures of -50 degrees C, survive on very little food, and pull a sleigh swiftly over long distances for multiple days. The Siberian Husky was the result of their careful breeding.

In the 1900s, the breed started to gain popularity outside Siberia, as word of their incredible speed and endurance spread throughout the world from sled dog races. Then in 1925, the legendary Balto helped Leonhard Seppala lead a relay of Huskies 658 miles in 5.5 days carrying a life-saving diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska. That event sparked a world-wide passion for the Husky breed that has never abated.

Today, while some work as sled dogs still, the majority live as pets. There are several breed clubs in Australia, including The Siberian Husky Club of NSW and Siberian Husky Club Victoria Inc, which was founded in 1984 due to the rise in numbers of the Husky in Australia.

Temperament

Bred so carefully for thousands of years, the Siberian Husky, as a breed, has a very consistent genetic code, and that includes their temperament. The Chukchi people used these dogs as warmth in winter, so they had to be people friendly, trustworthy enough to sleep with children. But they also needed to be independent, able to think for themselves and even find their own food, which was often necessary on the Tundra. And of course, they had to get along with other dogs, since most sleds are pulled with a team.

Modern day Huskies have all these traits – they are a loving family dog, an alert chaser of squirrels, smart as a whip and the constant clown at the dog park, willing to play with anyone.

Energy Level

It should come as no surprise that a dog that can run 658-miles in under 6 days would be high energy. They were bred to run 100 miles a day and the modern Husky is no exception to this.

They must have an outlet for their energy, or they will destroy your house looking for something to do. Many Husky owners are shocked at the destruction they can cause while their owner is at work. This is a breed that must have an athletic outlet every day to be happy, health and well-behaved.

Space Needed

With a high energy level, having a big backyard is nice for a husky. However, if you do plan on giving your Husky room, be aware they were also bred to dig holes and tunnels, in order to borrow and keep warm. This means, your yard may look like a mine field, and your fence better be buried in the ground, or he will get out. They are also good jumpers and climbers, so a high fence is important as well.

Common Health Problems

When a dog is bred to survive in Siberia, health is obviously an important factor. There was no vet for these nomadic people living hundreds of miles from nowhere. And their dog was their sole source of travel, so he had to be dependably healthy. This means, that as breeds go, the Husky is one of the most healthy. There are some issues of hip dysplasia, but according to the Siberian Husky Club Vitoria Inc., careful breeding has reduced the risk to low. They do note, however, that there have been instances in recent years of Huskies with luxating patellas and cruciate ligament injuries in Australia. So, it never hurts to ask the breeder if they have had x-rays done on breeding stock.

Training

Smart and independent, the Siberian Husky had to be fairly easy to train, since mushers had to give instructors from a distance and in all kinds of conditions. But, due to the specific conditions of sledding, particularly the dangers, Huskies were also bred to be independent thinkers – if they sensed the command would lead them to danger, they would ignore it. This trait can make them a bit harder to train, as today’s modern Husky sometimes ignore cues, not due to danger, but distraction. That prey drive they used to catch their own dinner is now focused on chasing lizards, birds, or rabbits, instead of listening to you. Or maybe they would rather be playing then practicing a down stay. This can make them a more challenging trainee, but their intelligence means they can learn just about anything you can dream up.

The best tip is to exercise before training, so they will be less distracted and can focus better. They have a strong work ethic, once they settle down.

Feeding Recommendation

We recommend feeding your Siberian Husky puppy our Chicken, Lamb & Fish. At approximately 10 months of age, switch to the adult portions, keeping in mind the breed was designed to not need too much food; It is easy to overfeed a Husky!

If you feel a Husky would be a right fit for your home, talk to local breeders, ask about what testing they have down and what kinds of homes past puppies have gone to and lived successfully. This will help you pick a breeder with the right puppy for you and your family.

How to Teach a Trick: Beg

How to Teach a Trick: Beg

While you may be thinking, “Why would I want to teach my dog to beg!” this is not a trick to train your dog how to get food out of you, but rather an awesomely adorable trick that’s great for pictures and also great for your dog’s health.

HOW?

This trick is quite a workout for your dog – it strengthens their back, stomach and hind leg muscles while improving their balance. This makes it a great trick for keeping your dog in shape…while looking adorable.

It’s a fairly easy trick to train, but your dog should already have a sit on cue or offer a sit in order to proceed.

Step 1. You are going to need some type of food treat for this, it really is the easiest way. Use your dog’s kibble if they really like it, small pieces of carrot, or a healthy dog treat. It has to be something your dog likes enough to follow it with their nose. You may have to experiment with a few different kinds of foods to see if your dog is interested enough to follow it before proceeding.

Step 2. Either cue your dog for a sit, or wait for him to offer one. It doesn’t really matter which way you do it, unless you do not want to have to cue your dog to sit before you cue for the beg. In that case, don’t cue the sit, wait for her to offer it so the sit becomes part of the beg cue.

Step 3. Take a treat in your hand, put it close to your dog’s nose and slowly move your hand up and back just enough that your dog has to bring his front feet off the floor to get the treat. As soon as he moves even just a small amount, praise and reward him!

You want to get rid of the food as quickly as possible. After the third or fourth lure, remove the cookie from your hand and see if your dog will still follow your hand into the “begging” position. If so, reward while in that position. If your dog doesn’t follow your empty hand three times in a row, go back to luring once or twice and then try with no treat again. The quicker you remove the lure, the better.

Step 4. Continue to use your hand to “lure” your dog until she is doing the full “beg” position – back straight, front legs up. Just remember to TAKE IT SLOW! This trick uses a lot of muscles that your dog probably does not normally use. So, don’t ask him to do it a bunch or to hold it for a long time at first.

If you notice your dog is wobbly or shaky, drop your hand slowly to lower them back down before they fall over, this is a sign your dog’s muscles are weak and that you have probably done enough for the day. Only lure your dog into position a few times each training session while her muscles are building.

Step 5. Keep working on it until your dog has the strength for a nice, solid, beg position. Note that her front paws will be in whatever position works best for her to keep her balance – some will have one paw higher, some will let their front legs dangle, and others will tuck both up. That’s okay! Don’t try to change this, as your dog will choose what is most comfortable for them. As they build muscles, front paw position may change as well. What you are looking for is a nice, smooth transition up, with no sign of shaking, and the ability to hold it for a few seconds.

Step 6. Once your dog is going into the full upright beg position with no food lure, it’s time to add the verbal cue if you wish. If you want the cue to just be your hand going over your dog’s head, then you are done! But most like a verbal cue. Most people use “Beg,” but you can use anything you want. I know someone whose cue for this behavior is “Say Please.” Add the cue by saying your words as your dog lifts into position following your hand signal.

At each repetition, start saying the verbal earlier and earlier, until you are saying it before you start the hand cue. If your dog starts to raise up before your hand moves, then they understand the verbal cue. If not, go back to saying the verbal at the same time or just before the hand cue, try that for a few repetitions, and then try to say the verbal earlier again.

This is a great trick that gets your dog in shape and looks adorable. Once your dog has mastered this, you can add to it by teaching your dog to “hug” something or hold something with his paws, or teach them to get up on their hind legs to “dance.” It’s just a trick, so take it slow, move at dog’s pace and have fun.

Weird Things Our Dogs Do That Are Perfectly Normal, But Gross Us Out!

Weird Things Our Dogs Do That Are Perfectly Normal, But Gross Us Out!

Ah, the life of a dog. Most of us think they have it pretty good. They get to lay around all day on the couch, don’t have to go to work (at least most of them don’t!), meals are prepared by someone else and the extent of “doing the dishes” is to lick the bowl clean. But, there are some things about a dog’s daily routine many of us find gross, even though they are perfectly normal for our dogs.

Licking (themselves, us, really anything)

A dog’s tongue is much more than just something he uses to taste what he eats and help it go down the throat. Like all animals, canines use their tongues as a way to clean themselves. And that means cleaning every part they can reach. You may find it gross that your male dog licks himself (especially if he then wants to come give you a kiss) but it keeps him clean. They will also lick their own wounds, for the same reason. However, we all know too much licking is not good, hence why we use the cone of shame on our dogs.

Rolling in Stinky Things

Another thing that may make you rethink life as a dog is their desire to rolls in stinky things. We did a whole article explaining this here -> https://stayloyal.com.au/blog/why-does-my-dog-love-to-roll-in-dead-animals/. Let’s just say, it’s perfectly normal for your dog to want to roll in smelly things, or a dead thing, though the exact reason is not known. And besides what’s the big deal if they lick themselves clean afterward, right? 😉

Sniffing Rear-ends

This is the dog equivalent of a handshake. While a person may get arrested for harassment if they did this (and honestly, why would we want to?), to a dog, this is the polite way to greet. In fact, a dog that doesn’t go around to the rear-end is one that should be approached with caution, or not at all. Dogs that are going to react out of fear or aggression, will stand stiff and stare at the front of the other dog, or sometimes just past their shoulder, to the side, rather than circling around.

Regurgitating and Eating It

Yeah, no reason to explain why we think this is gross. But for a dog, this is completely normal. Many dogs gulp there kibble without chewing, so it’s still in big pieces, their body is programmed to cough back up the partially processed food so they can re-chew it, making it easier to digest. Read this article here for more information on the many forms of vomiting in dogs -> https://stayloyal.com.au/blog/dont-freak-out-if-your-dog-is-vomiting-or-regurgitating/.

Eating Poop

And of course, there is poop eating. This is a no brainer why we think it’s gross. And, while some of the time for dog’s this is also not normal, but rather a sign of something wrong nutritionally or medically, there is one time in a dog’s life when this is perfectly normal – motherhood. Bitches eat the poop of their puppies as a way of “cleaning up” the den before they are able to leave and go potty outside the den.

While these things may seem a bit unsettling to us, to a dog it’s just part of being a dog. Maybe it’s a good thing to be human after all???

Why is My Dog Water Bowl Slimy?

Why is My Dog Water Bowl Slimy?

Dog water bowls are standing water. Given this fact, we don’t think about cleaning them as much as we should. If left alone, you may find your dog bowl feels slick and slimy on the inside. What exactly is causing that and is it safe for your dog? Should you be concerned?

The technical term for this usually invisible slime is called “biofilm.” Biofilm is made up of organic and inorganic, living and dead matter. Basically, it’s a bunch of bacteria adhering to the side of the bowl, bound by a thick substance (the slime you feel). Another way to think of it – it”s the same phenomenon that causes plaque on your teeth.

Sure, it can be good bacteria, but it can also be bad bacteria. E. coli, listeria, and legionella (a bacteria that causes a “Legionnaires” disease, which represents itself as pneumonia) all love to live in biofilm. Have pink slime? Pink slime is a sign of Serratia Marcescens bacteria being present. It can cause all kinds of problems including respiratory infections, septicemia, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, to name just a few!

Biofilm has been known be the cause of ear, urinary tract and bladder infections, not to mention the risks the aforementioned bacteria can cause.

What’s worse, is when bacteria is ingested within biofilm, it is resistant to your dog’s immune system, meaning it is more likely to survive and cause problems. The bacteria can also separate within the body, creating new biofilms and new infections – spreading quickly. It’s also difficult for vets to identify which bacteria is causing the problem, because culture swabs have difficulty breaking through the biofilm to get at the bacteria. Due to all this, it can require high doses of antibiotics to kill the bacteria once it’s in your dog’s system.

As you can see – biofilm is a bacteria’s best friend, and a dog owner’s bane.

How to Prevent Slimy Build Up in Your Dog’s Water Dish

The best thing to do is to regularly wash your dog’s water bowl – some vet’s say daily, other’s say weekly. At the very least, every time it’s empty. And by wash, we mean with a soap and very hot water, not just rinsing.

Also, ceramic or stainless steel dishes are better than plastic. Plastic is porous and gets minute cracks and scratches that are the perfect places for bacteria to grow where your soap and water can’t reach them.

Following these simple tips can help keep your dog healthier.