Gingerbread Holiday Treats for Dogs

Gingerbread Holiday Treats for Dogs

Nothing says the holidays like homemade cookies and treats. Every family has their own recipes and traditions, things they look forward to each year. Why not add some dog-friendly holiday treats to your family’s traditions this year with these gingerbread dog cookies?

Ginger is beneficial to dogs, just like it is for us. It can help ease an upset stomach, prevent bloat, and reduce inflammation due to arthritis. Studies have shown it may help reduce the risk of cancer and even prevent heartworm. And of course pumpkin is great for your dog digestive tract, something that might be especially needed during the holidays when well-meaning relatives are sneaking him snacks. So, these holiday cookies are not just good, they are good for your dog!

How to Make Doggy Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients

  •  2 eggs
  • 115 grams canned pumpkin
  • 57 grams of ginger
  • 57 grams of cassia cinnamon (the other type of cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, is toxic to dogs, can be completely left out as well)
  •  570 grams brown rice flour

Directions

These treats are easy to make!

  1. Preheat oven to 180
  2. Mix together eggs and pumpkin until smooth.
  3. Add in ginger, cinnamon (optional) and rice flour, gradually, combining with spatula or hands until a dry, stiff dough is formed. If the dough is too dry and won’t stick together, add a splash of water. Not dry enough, add a touch more flour.
  4.  Roll dough out on a floured surface.
  5. Cut out cute shapes – dog bones, Santas, stockings, whatever you wish!
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and thoroughly before feeding to your dog.

Makes roughly 50 treats depending on size of cookies. You can easily wrap these in a tin or a decorative plastic bag with a ribbon to make a great gift for the dog lover in your life.

We know these treats are not grain free. But they are treats and not meant to be fed in large amounts.

 

Fun Ways to Cool Your Dog off This Summer

Fun Ways to Cool Your Dog off This Summer

It’s warming up and that means it’s finally time for summer fun! I firmly believe that dogs love the summer as much as we do because we tend to do more with them – we get outside more, play more and take longer walks. During all the fun in the sun, we need to make sure we keep our pups cool, so they don’t get overheated. While that may sound boring, there are actually a lot of fun ways to keep your dog cool in the summertime.

Cool Toys

These toys are not just cool, they are cold. Many companies make toys that can be frozen or submerged in cold water to give your dog a refreshing toy during the hot months. Look for “Hydro Toys” at any pet store or online. Just be sure you buy ones that are made for your size of dog and supervise play as many of these toys are not as durable as say a Kong is.

Frozen Treats

You can make their meal time fun while cooling them off by mixing their Stay Loyal kibble with water or cold bone broth, let it soak for about 10 minutes, then put in a Kong or other food toy and freeze. Not only will it occupy your dog, but it will keep them refreshed and cool. It also helps make sure they are getting plenty of water, so it’s a double win. Frozen meaty bones are great too.

Functional Accessories

You can order a Kool Collar online. These ingenious collars are made to be frozen. Your dog can wear it while out and about – think of it as the doggie equivalent of a wet bandanna that we put around our necks.

Another cooling accessory is one you can make yourself. An ingenious person on Instructables.com took a pair of cargo pants, cut them, and turned them into a doggie vest that could hold ice to keep their dog cool while hiking.

Another great summer items is a cool pet bed. There are some DIY ones to be found if you search the web, or you can buy one from the Pet Shop. It’s a cooling mat that your dog is sure to love to lay on while enjoying the sunshine.

Finally, check out the FroBo. It’s a bowl that keeps dog water nice and cool, without you having to waste it by dumping out and refilling it all day. It only takes about two hours to chill and then keeps water below room temperature for up to eight hours.

Water Fun

Of course, playing in water is always a great way to cool off! Many dogs enjoy a sprinkler to run through. Don’t have a sprinkler? All you need is an empty pop bottle according to one Instructables.com user. They attached a 2-Liter soda bottle to the hose nozzle after punching a few holes in the bottle – some facing up, some out the bottom, etc. She claims it worked great!

Kiddie pools also make great dog pools if you have the space in your backyard.

Have concrete that’s hot on the paws? Lay down an old sheet or blanket and run the hose over it – instant cooling area that won’t burn your pup’s pads.

Another fun water solution is a mister. You can buy backyard misters that the entire family, not just the dog, will enjoy.

Of course, going to the beach, lake or river is always a fun way to keep your dog cool. Just be sure to watch for signs of overheating and bring plenty of drinking water with you.

With all these suggestions, you are sure to both have a fun and cool summer.

Why Give Dogs Yucca?

Why Give Dogs Yucca?

If you have taken a look at our ingredients, you may have noticed yucca is one of them. Unless you have a semi-tropical garden, you may be unfamiliar with this plant that’s part of the agave family. So why did we decide to put it on your dog’s food?

What is Yucca?

The yucca plant has stiff leaves – sword like – with beautiful white bell-shaped flowers. It’s a root vegetable that grows in sub-tropical climates like Mexico and South America.

And, like everything we put in Stay Loyal, it has some great properties!

Why Put Yucca in Dog Food?

Yucca is full of great nutritional value. For example, yucca is an excellent source of vitamin C, B vitamins, protein, and magnesium, to name a few nutrients it contains.

Then there’s the saponins contained within the yucca root. Saponins are plant glycosides that react to water by foaming. This foam aids in digestion by helping those vitamins and minerals pass through your dog’s intestinal wall. This basically means it helps your dog absorb and digest his food better, giving him more nutrition at each meal.

Yucca is known for helping with arthritis pain, so it’s good for aging dogs! In fact one study found it significantly helped 59 percent of the dogs in the study with knee and hip pain.

BONUS! Yucca helps keep urine and feces odor down – something every dog owner appreciates.

Yucca can be used topically as well. In shampoo form, yucca is good for all kinds of skin issues.

A Note of Caution

While yucca sounds like a wonder root – like all good things, too much can be harmful. An over dosage of yucca can cause vomiting, diarrhea and bloat. If you decide to feed a supplement, it is vital you give the right dosage. It is recommended that any food with yucca in it that is fed daily, should have less than 2 percent. We are careful with all our ingredients to make sure we have the correct balance for the health of your dog, taking the guesswork out of feeding these supplements.

If you are thinking of feeding an extra yucca supplement, do your research and make sure you know the correct dosage. For example, to aid in digestion, it is recommended to add 2- 4 grams of dried yucca root per kilogram of food fed each day. As you can see, if your dog is only getting 120g of food a day – say for a small or medium sized dog – they are going to need very little yucca.

For this reason, it’s easier to feed a food with yucca already in it – making those small measurements is time consuming! Not to mention doing the math to figure out how much your dog needs.

Fed correctly, yucca is a great additive to any dog’s diet. It helps boost the amount of nutrition being absorbed, with the added bonus of decreasing smells! Who could ask for more out of their dog’s food?

How to Teach Your Dog to Wait for His Meal

How to Teach Your Dog to Wait for His Meal

It’s amazing how our animals always know when meal time is. If you feed on even a semi-regular schedule, your dog probably starts to act excited or even demanding right around that time each day. For most dogs, mealtime is one of their favorite times of the day, which means that when you walk to where their food is kept, or pick up their dish, they get excited. Very excited. This can lead to some pretty annoying habits, including demand barking and jumping on you.

Instead of fighting your pup to get their food and set it on the ground without spilling it everywhere, you can train her to wait nicely for it.

There are a few ways you can do this. It’s just a personal preference on what works for you and your dog.

Teach Your Dog to Sit For His Meal

This option is good for the dog that is excited, but not jumping all over and demand barking. Maybe they get a little “hoppy” – bouncing those front feet off the floor – but they aren’t all over you. It’s fairly easy to teach and just takes a bit of patience. It works better if your dog already knows sit, because they are used to doing that behavior, but it’s not necessary.

To teach, all you have to do is hold your dog’s bowl of food in your hand and wait for him to sit. It’s best to stand so that the bowl will be several inches away from your dog when you set it down.

If he jumps on you, turn away from him.

As soon as he sits, start to bring the bowl to the floor. If he pops up, stand back upright, bringing the bowl with you.

The first few times this is going to take a few minutes! Be patient!

If your dog starts to demand bark, walk away! Leave the room he is in if you have to and close the door so he can’t follow. Return when he stops barking.

When you can get the bowl all the way to the ground and your dog doesn’t move, start to move your hand away – BUT BE READY! If your dog breaks his stay before your hand is away, pick the bowl up before he can get to it. And Start over.

When your dog sits and stays so you can lower the bowl, move your hand away and stand up, then you can say your stay release word (if you have one) or whatever word you want to use – like “free,” “okay,” “break,” etc. This lets the dog know he can get his food. If it’s the first time you are using this word, you may have to point to food or encourage him to move, but it won’t take long for them to figure it out.

Variations

The following variations are good for dogs that are more excited at mealtime and have a tendency to jump all over you as you try to get their food ready. These options give them a job “stay where you put them and wait quietly” while you prepare their meal. It’s definitely handy if you have to get their food ready, such as preparing meaty bones, chopping up vegetables or measuring medications.

If your dog is already kennel trained, you can train him to go in his kennel and stay, with the door open, until you bring him his food. It’s just like teaching a stay. If your dog breaks it, return him to the kennel. Same directions as above, except he is lying or sitting in his kennel. Once he realises he won’t get fed until he waits quietly in his kennel, he will be happy to wait.

If your dog is trained to stay on a mat/dog bed, you can do this with that behavior as well. Same steps as above, just he is lying on his mat waiting for you to release him to get his food rather than in the kennel.

Remember – If your dog starts to demand bark, walk away! Close a door and leave the room he is in if you have to. Return when he stops barking.

Teaching your dog manners at mealtime is not just nice for you, it’s nice for anyone who may have to watch him for you when you go out of town. Just be consistent and your dog will be a polite dinner guest in no time.

What’s the Best Diet for a Diabetic Dog?

What’s the Best Diet for a Diabetic Dog?

With obesity being so prevalent in the dog population – 41 percent of Australia’s dog are overweight – diabetes is a real threat. Animals that are overweight are predisposed to developing Type 1 Diabetes, which is caused by the destruction or abnormal function of the pancreas. Senior pets are also more at risk.

Outward symptoms of diabetes:

* Excessive urination

* Excessive Thirst

* Increased appetite

* Weight loss (even though they are eating more)

However, many dogs may seem fine or have very subtle signs. A blood and/or urine test is needed to diagnose the disorder, which is why routine tests for pets at risk are so important.

Living with a Dog with Diabetes

Once your dog has diabetes, there is no cure. Treatment is your only option. Your vet will prescribe insulin medication and tell you your dog needs to lose weight. The last piece is management through diet. It’s important that your diabetic dog is on the correct diet – something that will not cause blood glucose spikes.

Unfortunately, there are some differing opinions on what exactly is the best diet. Your dog’s individual health is a major factor in this – you may have to experiment a bit to find a food that works with your dog. Here are some things to look for and consider when selecting a meal plan.

Fibre

It is believed that high fibre diets can help manage obesity by curbing blood glucose levels is also helps your dog feel full longer. However, if your dog is one of the diabetics that is having trouble keeping on weight (rather than obese), high fibre can increase that weight loss. Conversely, for obese dogs it can help with weight loss. If you are looking to add fibre, you can add a fibre supplement to your dog’s regular food or switch dog food formulas if necessary.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are another “controversial” topic when it comes to treating the diabetic dog. Carbohydrates have a strong association with “after eating blood glucose levels” – that much is certain. This means the amount of insulin your dog needs can be affected by the amount of carbohydrates in his food, but again, it depends on each individual dog.

The most important thing is to keep the amount of carbohydrates steady – whatever that amount is – so that your insulin dosage remains correct and your dog stays stable.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates create rapid spikes in blood glucose and should be avoided. This means sugar, including corn syrup and propylene glycol. Watch for these ingredients in treats and moist foods especially.

Protein

Most agree a high-protein diet is best, especially for over or under weight dogs. Diabetic dogs should never be on a low-protein diet.

Low Glycemic Foods

Low glycemic foods release glucose slowly and steady – these are the types of foods that are good for a diabetic dog. Low glycemic foods include most berries and vegetables, some whole grains and legumes.

High glycemic foods, which should be avoided, are white rice, white or wheat bread and anything with high amounts of sugar and no fiber.

Feeding Time

Another important factor is when your dog eats. Ideally she should be fed two meals, 12 hours apart. Some dogs may need a snack in between. The most important thing is to keep them on a steady schedule – this helps their blood glucose level stay stable as well.

When selecting a food for your diabetic dog, be sure to check the Ingredients and Guaranteed analysis. Our formulas are high in protein and relatively low in Carbs compared to other dry foods. Our Salmon and Turkey is high in protein and fiber so is worth considering.

Whenever you are changing a diabetic dog’s diet, do so even slower than you would a healthy dog. Monitor them carefully for any changes, especially after eating. Keep track of any affects and let your vet know so you can determine what may be causing any glucose spikes and adjust the diet and insulin accordingly. Feeding your dog correctly will allow him to live comfortably for many years.

Proper Puppy Socializing: The First 18 Months

Proper Puppy Socializing: The First 18 Months

Getting a puppy is one of the most exciting things. There is nothing like the day you pick out that bundle of fur and bring it home. But that day also marks the beginning of work. Because we all know puppies are work. Not just the feeding, house training, and puppy-proofing the house and yard. One of the most important things is making sure you socialize your puppy properly.

Why is this so important?

A dog’s temperament comes from two places – genetics and experiences, both nature AND nurture. So no matter how even tempered his parents and grandparents were, you still need to make sure he goes out and experiences the world while he is young. BUT! Those experiences need to be POSITIVE in order for your dog to feel comfortable in the world he is expected to live in for the rest of this life.

START IMMEDIATELY

This is the big thing.

A puppy’s main socialization period is from birth to twelve weeks, so it is imperative they get out and experience new people, places, and things.

Many do not worry about exposing their puppy to things before they have had their first shots. And, while it’s true your puppy shouldn’t go to a dog park or visit nose to nose with strange dogs before they are fully vaccinated, there are many things you can do to socialize them that will not expose them to viruses.

You probably noticed that most of a puppy’s main socialization period was spent with its littermates. This is why it’s important to choose a breeder that understands the need to give puppy’s stimulation. Visits with people, objects in their environment to climb over and explore, etc. The better your breeder does at this, the easier job you will have.

But now it’s your turn. Here is s checklist of things you should expose your puppy to from the time you get him to 12 weeks. REMEMBER!! Experiences should be positive! For most puppies, it’s a good idea to keep the exposure short at first. This lessens the chance that something will go wrong (i.e. something scares the puppy) or the puppy gets tired of whatever it is you are exposing him (also a negative). For some things, just a few seconds it all that’s needed. Then, do it again tomorrow.

IF your puppy shows signs of fear or crabbiness (like “I am tired, I don’t want to do this anymore). Do not push them. That will make it worse. Better to try again tomorrow or after your puppy has had a break (nap, playtime, mealtime, etc).

People. Make sure to exposure your puppy to different “types” of people: men, women, children, people wearing hats, sunglasses, in wheelchairs, with canes, etc. Give people toys to interact with your puppy in a positive way. Watch children closely as often their loud voices, sudden and sometimes harsh movements and running can frighten a puppy, especially a small breed.

Surfaces. Ever met a dog that’s scared to walk on smooth surfaces? Make sure your dog isn’t one of them. This can be done in your house! Look for things he can walk on that are made of concrete, carpet, tile, stone, etc. textured paint on wood boards make excellent tactile objects for your puppy to explore. Reward your puppy for going over new surfaces with praise and play.

Sounds. This is a HUGE one. Start getting your puppy used to sounds. Play recordings of fireworks, thunder, trucks, crowds, babies crying. Turn on action movies or the radio too. Do not start the noise loud, start softly and turn up the volume as your dog is comfortable. Again, do something positive while the sound is on, so your dog is classically conditioned to pair the noise with something good, instead of being scared.

Animals. Even though your pup does not have all its shots, it can still look at other animals. Carry him around the park or past your neighbor’s dogs etc. If you have friends or family members with healthy dogs and your vet is fine with it, let them meet those dogs one on one. Neighborhood cats walk by the window? Praise your puppy for being calm and not wanting to bark or chase.

Objects. Things with wheels (bikes, skateboards), vacuum, brooms, etc. Anything your puppy is going to come in contact with should be introduced as soon as possible. Umbrellas are a big one as we often don’t think about them when we get a summer puppy but by winter they are older and may be fearful when we bring it out.

Twelve Weeks to Eighteen Months

Now, your puppy is fully vaccinated and the real work can begin. If you’ve done the above exposures, your puppy is going to be much better prepared for the next phase in his training than a puppy who stayed locked away in a puppy pen for a month.

FEAR PERIODS

The most important thing about this timeframe is that your puppy will go through two fear periods. It is impossible to say when exactly, unfortunately. During these times, all of a sudden your puppy will be scared of things that he used to be fine with. It could be anything from the vacuum to people to dogs. These windows are where the most damage can happen.

One bad experience during a puppy’s fear period can leave a lasting impression for life on your puppy.

It is during these times that often a puppy will become reactive (lunging/barking at people and dogs) or scared of noises, children, bikes, if they have a bad experience. So pay attention to your puppy and when you start noticing they are becoming shy or fearful, take extra care that they have positive only experiences until they become confident again. How bad the “fear period” is varies greatly from dog to dog.

Places. Now that your puppy can walk around without worry of illness, let him walk! Especially little dogs, humans have a habit of carrying them everywhere. This does not allow them to explore their environment. Take them everywhere you can: pet stores, restaurants, store, park, beach, groomers, vet, etc. For the last two, take them when they are not actually going for an appointment. Instead, just go for a visit so they learn to like, not fear, those facilities.

Animals. Now it’s time for your puppy to get some real socializing. Let them greet dogs and other animals IF AND ONLY IF you are positive they will be friendly! This goes for both sides. If you think your puppy is not going to be friendly, but is scared or aggressive, it’s better to forgo this socialization than to have them practice bad behavior. At the same time, you do not want your puppy attacked and frightened by another animal. All it can take is one attack for your puppy to fear other dogs for life. It is best to NOT do this on leash. Dogs tend to feel more threatened on leashes because they cannot get away and they are tethered to a human and unable to present full canine body language.

Training. You can start training your puppy right when you get him at 8 weeks in your home. But now it’s time to take him to training classes. Not only will he get training, but its great socialization – you are in a new place with other dogs, people and noises.

Remember, make sure every experience is a positive one.

It feels like a full time job, but take care to socialize your puppy properly those first two years, and you will both live happier the rest of your life together.