Thanksgiving Foods that are Healthy for Your Pet

Last week we posted a story outlining some common holiday foods that could be potentially harmful to your pets. Today, we want to look at Thanksgiving foods that are not only tasty, but are healthy and good for your pet. This isn’t license to give them as much of these foods as they want, but you can feel comfortable sliding a little under the table for your dog or cat.

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Pet Friendly Thanksgiving Foods:

  1. Turkey: Turkey is just fine to give to your pet. As a matter of fact, it can be found in many pet foods. It is a great source of protein which is an important macronutrient for your pet. You should remove the skin as it is fatty (and calorie dense) and avoid the bones as they can splinter and cause internal damage.
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  3. Potatoes: Potatoes are generally okay unless your recipe calls for lots of butter and/or sour cream. If so, pull a couple of plain chunks out to give your pet. Potatoes are also a food frequently found in pet foods now as an alternative to grains.
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  5. Sweet Potatoes: Similar to  mashed potatoes, avoid the butter and marshmallow topping.  Sweet potatoes are a healthy tidbit for your pet from the Thanksgiving spread.
  6. turkey

  7. Green Beans: Most all green vegetables are good for your pet, but as with the other human foods, steer clear of the toppings. Especially green bean casserole if made with toasted onions as onions are toxic for your pet.
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  9. Carrots: We wrote about carrots and their benefits a few weeks ago, so they are definitely okay to give your pet, just hold the butter, salt, pepper or other seasoning.
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  11. Cranberry sauce: While whole or dried cranberries are good for your pet and help improve their intestinal system and are full of antioxidants, be sure you don’t give them cranberry sauce laced with liquor as that is toxic.
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  13. Pumpkin: Canned or cooked pumpkin is frequently recommended by vets as an aid in curing constipation in your pet.  But feeding them pumpkin pie with the sugar, spices and buttery crust is most definitely NOT healthy. Limit your pet’s treat to just the pumpkin itself – hold the whipped cream too.

 

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Your pets love the holiday season as much as you do. Family, friends and all of that yummy food is irresistible, but please watch what you give them and limit the volume of food they eat, so your pet don’t end up moaning and groaning on the couch like too many humans do.
Interested in making a healthy Thanksgiving treat for your pet like a pumpkin smoothie or turkey cookies?  Check out these sites for some healthy, pet friendly ideas:

 

Additional Resources:

Thanksgiving Foods that May be Harmful for Your Pet

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and everyone’s thoughts turn to food. What will we have for dinner? Turkey of course and stuffing, but does your family go with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, peas or green beans, pumpkin pie or apple pie? Maybe you go with all of the above! I know our pets would sure appreciate that dinnertable.

Pets can enjoy most Thanksgiving foods
Pets can enjoy most Thanksgiving foods

Speaking of pets, holiday time can carry hidden dangers when it comes to the quantity and variety of foods. It’s not just the volume and frequency, but you have lots of family members and friends sneaking Fido scraps under the table!

While a slice or two of turkey isn’t going to harm your pet, there are foods that are typically found during the holiday season that may be harmful if eaten by your dog or cat and you should take care to keep them away from your pets.

Potential harmful foods for your pet:

    1. Alcoholic beverages: may cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death.

 

    1. Chocolate and caffeine (coffee and tea): foods extracted from the cacao plant contain methylxanthines which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rates and even death.

 

    1. Stoned fruits (cherries, peaches, avocados – fruits with a pit): the pits may become lodged in the intestines and cause damage.

 

    1. Grapes/raisins: known to possibly cause kidney failure in dogs.

 

    1. Nuts, including walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts: the high amount of oil and fats found in nuts may cause intestinal issues and even lead to pancreatitis. Macadamia nuts are particularly harmful to dogs and may cause depression, vomiting and even hypothermia.

 

    1. Xylitol (artificial sweetener, found in candy and gum): causes an insulin release that may lead to liver failure.

 

    1. Yeasted dough: if ingested, it will rise in the stomach and cause problems, possibly even bloat.

 

  1. Onions, garlic and herbs: may cause intestinal irritation.

If your pet ingests any of these items over the holidays (or anytime) call the ASPCA Poison Control Center immediately for assistance:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number:                  (888) 426-4435

We hope you enjoy a safe and healthy holiday. Ensure your pet enjoys the holidays too by keeping these food items out of their reach.
Additional Sources:

ASPCA Poison Control: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
The Human Society: Foods that can be Poisonous to Pets
SlimDoggy.com: Can I Give my Dog Holiday Food at Thanksgiving?

 

 

How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Your Dog

cute dog

Apple cider vinegar has numerous household uses as a self-care product, a kitchen staple, and a wellness aid. Its long been used as a natural, at-home remedy for treating wounds, losing weight and improving heart health.

 The beauty of apple cider vinegar is it can also benefit your dog. In 2014 we published a blog on how apple cider vinegar can be used for feline holistic healing, and it continues to be one of the most read pages on our site almost four years later. This time, we’re focusing on how apple cider vinegar can help your dog.

Dogs can  benefit from apple cider vinegar in many ways. Apple cider vinegar can help a dog with itchy skin,flea and ticks, and with joint pain.

Itchy skin

itchy dog

If your dog suffers from itchy skin, raw and organic apple cider vinegar could do the trick for easing his discomfort. As a powerful antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial agent, apple cider vinegar can help alleviate symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions.

To use apple cider vinegar to help treat your dog’s itchy skin, fill a spray bottle with a solution that’s equal parts water and vinegar. You can apply the solution directly by spraying it onto patches of your dog’s itchy skin. Plus, misting this solution onto your dog’s fur helps promote a healthy, shiny coat.

However, do not spray apple cider vinegar on your dog if they have any open wounds from a bite or scratch–vinegar may sting and irritate any broken skin that is not yet fully healed.

Flea and Tick Repellent

outside dog

Not only can apple cider vinegar help soothe your dog’s itchy skin if they’ve been bitten by a flea or tick, but it can help prevent bites altogether. The acidity present in apple cider vinegar helps naturally repel biting insects.

You can use the same 50/50 solution we previously mentioned to help fend off ticks and fleas from Fido. To apply the vinegar and water solution, simply spray it onto your dog topically before letting them outside to play.

Easing joint pain

active dog

Apple cider vinegar can also be used to lessen joint pain from illnesses like arthritis. You can use a warm compress soaked in apple cider vinegar and hold it to your dog’s joints to help alleviate pain. For older dogs, apple cider vinegar ingested directly can help break down calcium deposits that form around joints.

If you add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food or water, we recommend using about 1 teaspoon per 50 pounds of your dog’s body weight twice per week. However, if you add the vinegar to your dog’s water, be sure to have plain water available as well. The taste of vinegar can sometimes cause dogs to drink less water, so you’ll want to have plain water available to avoid dehydration.

Apple cider vinegar is a great item to keep in your pantry to help bolster your own health as well as your pet’s and can be a valuable addition to your pet’s health regimen.

Please note, if your dog is showing signs of illness, it is important to take them to your veterinarian to make sure you get an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment. Once you know the medical status of your dog, you can decide whether to use an holistic or pharmaceutical treatment.

 

Now you can see if your SmartFeeder is plugged in.

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We released a Petnet App update for iOS and Android that addresses an issue with the SmartFeeder battery status inside the app. Now, on the Device page, you will see a “Charging” or “Not Charging” status that let’s you know if your SmartFeeder needs to be plugged in.

We recommend that you plug the SmartFeeder into a wall outlet so that the light on the front of the feeder body is glowing white. In the event of a power outage, or if your SmartFeeder is unplugged, the back up battery will last for up to 8-10 hours of feeding time.

 

How Owning a Pet Improves Your Health

Pets improve our healthIt’s no secret – owning a pet makes you a happier human. While pet owners have known this since the first grey wolf became man’s original best friend thousands of years ago, science can now confidently back up that being a pet owner does indeed improve your wellbeing. Having a pet in the home can improve your heart health, reduce your stress levels, and provide mental health benefits as well.

Improved heart health

Pets improve our health

Studies show that people with pets have lower blood pressure and heart rates and are at a lower risk for heart disease. It’s possible these lower risks can be attributed to the added exercise that pet owners have (when compared to people without pets).  Simple things like taking your dog for a walk or playing together in the backyard can add up and help a person say relatively fit. According to NPR, dog owners get an average of 22 minutes of exercise more per day than people without pets. That 22 minutes means burning over 100 extra calories per day (for a person weighing at least 100 lbs), which translates to over 10 lbs of potential weight gain that is avoided because of having a pet!

Stress reducers

Pets improve our health Pets have a calming, stress-reducing effect on humans. Simply petting your cat or dog can make your body release a stress-busting hormone that lessens levels of cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone. Gazing into your sweet pet’s eyes can release oxytocin (AKA the “love hormone”), reinforcing feelings of bonding and trust while alleviating stress. Having a built-in best friend doesn’t hurt for stress relief, either.      

Mental health benefits   

Pets improve our health

Owning a pet boosts your health beyond your physical well-being. Pet ownership provides important mental health benefits as well. Emotional support dogs can help alleviate suffering from psychological illnesses and emotional impairments by providing comfort, support, and unconditional love. Owning a pet also can elevate a person’s mood, creating stronger feelings of trust and a diminishing a sense of isolation. The bond between a pet and an owner can help decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, as well.

A lot has happened since the domestication of dogs; indoor plumbing, electricity, and the Kardashians, to name a few. The love and loyalty pets bring to our lives, however, has not. Having a pet can provide a plethora of health benefits, another reason that owning a pet can improve your life and make you happier.

Superfoods for Pets: Carrots

Carrots for pets

When it comes to nutritional ‘bang for your buck,’ carrots are hard to beat.  According to The Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants, by James Duke, Carrots contain over 200 known nutrients and phytonutrients!  Dogs love their natural sweetness and crunch, plus they’re loaded with vitamin C and K and other important nutrients like potassium, iron, and manganese as well as beta-carotene, which gives them their distinctive orange color. Whether used in food or as treats, feeding your pet carrots makes a lot of sense if you want them to keep healthy and happy.

Low calorie, high fiber

Carrots for pets

Carrots are a nutritious snack that won’t make your pet fat. They are low calorie but high in fiber (and thus filling), making them the perfect natural treat to feed your dog between meals. Carrots are a healthy alternative to many commercially available biscuits or dog treats. As an added benefit, the fiber in carrots helps your pet maintain good digestive health and boosts heart health.  

An excellent source of Vitamin A

Carrots for pets

Carrots are packed with beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in your pet’s body. Vitamin A can help improve your pet’s eyesight and is important for growth, development and a healthy immune system. It also has benefits for the livers, kidneys, and lungs, keeping the organs functioning properly and warding off disease.   

Carrots can help improve your dog’s dental health

Carrots for pets

As a bonus, giving your dog a raw carrot to chew on is an easy way to help improve his dental hygiene. Chomping on a carrot can help prevent plaque buildup by gently scraping your dog’s teeth. Though chewing on a large carrot stick is like a natural chew toy for dogs, keep an eye on your dog while he chows down, to ensure he doesn’t choke on the root vegetable.

While raw carrots are safe to feed dogs, you’ll want to make sure to steam or cook them before feeding them to your cat, as raw carrots can be difficult for cats to chew.   

Serving carrot to your pet

Carrots are a nutritious supplement to feed both cats and dogs. For small dogs and cats, it’s best to cut them up into bite-sized pieces, so they don’t pose a choking hazard.

As always, talk to your vet about using carrots as part of your pet’s diet or as a treat.

Carrots in Commercially Available Pet Food

Carrots are a very common ingredient in pet food. We did a search in the Petnet pet food database and found that carrots are in 49% of dog foods and 32% of cat foods.  Below is a sampling of foods that include carrots in their recipes.

Dry Triumph Chicken Rice and Sweet Potato          Cat All life stages

Dry Castor & Pollux Beef, Barley and Carrots Entree      Dog Adult

Dry Merrick Classic Real Beef with Whole Barley and Carrot Dog All life stages

Dry Nutram Sound S3 Chicken & Pearled Barley with Peas &  Carrots  Dog Puppy

 

Superfoods for Pets: Eggs

Eggs for pets

As a great source of protein, riboflavin, and selenium, eggs are a pet-approved people food to feed your cat or dog. Feeding eggs to your pet is a healthy supplement to their kibble, and the protein in them helps build muscle, repair tissue and strengthen hair.  

The beauty of eggs is they hold all the vitamins and minerals necessary to grow a newborn chicken, making them an excellent source of nutrients for your pet. They’re also a complete source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Plus, eggs are a rich source of essential fatty acids and can help settle your pet’s upset stomach.

While eggs are a healthy snack to feed your pet from the table or to add to their food bowl, The Petnet Team strongly recommends you not to feed your pet raw egg, as they pose potential health risks for your pet.

Keep em’ hardboiled

Eggs for pets

The best way to feed eggs to your pets is to hard boil them. Once boiled, you can cut the eggs into slices and feed them to your pet as a treat, or dice them up and blend them in with your pet’s kibble.

Don’t forget the eggshells  

Eggs for pets

If all the nutritional value of eggs weren’t enough, the shell is uber healthy too.

Eggshells give a protein and calcium boost to your pet’s food. However, you’ll want to be sure the eggshells have been boiled first, to protect your furry friend from possible salmonella poisoning. You can crush eggshells in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle and sprinkle half a teaspoon in your pet’s food bowl to promote Sparky’s strong bones and teeth.

Eggs in Commercially Available Pet Food

Eggs are a common ingredient in pet food.  They are present in almost 40% of all dog and cat foods.  If you would like to use foods that already contain egg, here are some quality foods that contain egg in their recipes: (Insert links to these )

Dry      Original Adult Orijen            Adult
Dry      Regional Red Orijen              All Life Stages
Dry      Wild Salmon Sojos                 All Life Stages
Dry      Chicken Farmina                    Natural & Delicious          Kitten
Dry      Chicken Adult Farmina      Natural & Delicious          Adult

Discuss with your vet

While eggs are safe for most dogs and cats to have in their everyday diet, overfeeding your pet eggs can potentially lead to obesity and other health problems. Discuss adding eggs to your pet’s diet with your veterinarian to decide the optimal amount to feed your four-legged friend.

3 Herbs That Can Improve Pet Health

Holistic medicine is a method of healing that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – when treating an ailment. It’s a practice that uses both traditional and alternative therapies to treat illnesses and promote overall wellness in people. Some owners also take a holistic approach when caring for the health of their pets, using natural remedies as opposed to or in conjunction with conventional Western methods that rely more heavily on prescription medications. We discussed a few holistic ingredients that can improve pet health in a previous blog, and today we’re taking a closer look at three herbs that can help improve your pet’s well being and keep them healthy, naturally.

Aloe Vera

 

pet health

Aloe vera has been used medicinally for thousands of years, with records of its use dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Today this plant is widely used for sunburn relief, but also has been known to alleviate heartburn and potentially lower the risk of breast cancer. Aloe vera has great health benefits for your pet as well, especially for helping to rejuvenate and hydrate their skin. When applied topically, this plant can be used to help soothe skin irritation with its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The aloe vera plant can help ease your pet’s discomfort from skin allergies, infections, and other diseases. It’s an at home first aid kit that can live happily on a shelf in your living room.     

Licorice root

Pet health

Licorice root super healthy for your pet, and they’ll enjoy the taste of it too. One of the uses of licorice is to help treat arthritis, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Licorice helps quell respiratory issues as well, as it soothes mucous membranes which can lessen the effects of colds and allergies. Some say licorice can improve the effectiveness of other herbs when taken in unison. This root can also help improve digestive issues like stomach ulcers and gives the immune system a healthy boost.

Licorice is often used in commercially available pet food recipes: it is present in only about 0.5% of all dog and cat foods.  Here are a few recipes that contain licorice:

Large Breed Adult       Recipe Petcurean      Now Fresh Dog
Large Breed Senior     Recipe Petcurean      Now Fresh Dog
Senior Orijen Dog

  1. Ginger

Pet health

Last but not least, we have ginger. This herb is excellent at settling your dog or cat’s upset stomach. It has numerous benefits related to the digestive system, including helping to reduce gas and nausea. Like licorice, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory which aids in lessening inflammatory-related illnesses like arthritis. Some studies have even shown it to possess cancer-fighting properties. It seems this herb can truly do it all.   

Ginger is present in 3.5 % of all commercially available pet foods.  Some good choices include:

Cat & Kitten Orijen

Grasslands Acana Cat

T23 Grain Free Turkey, Chicken & Duck

Holistic healing is a part of the puzzle

Much of holistic healing is about considering the underlying causes of or the long-term prevention of a disease, rather than treating symptoms. In certain circumstances, the right medical care for your pet might not strictly involve conventional methods. Often, herbal remedies can be used in conjunction with traditional medicine to give your pet the best care possible. While Western medicine is certainly useful and can be life-saving for your pet, it doesn’t hurt to consider natural approaches as well.

Each situation is unique; if you’re considering using an herbal remedy to help bolster your pet’s health, discuss with your veterinarian to ensure the right treatment best suited to your pet’s needs.

Superfoods for Pets: Blueberries

Blueberries are a delicious, nutritious superfood that is easy to pop into your pet’s food bowl or use as treats. These little blue gems are low calorie but high in nutrients, packed with fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

Some dogs even like to catch them.  Or not.

A superfood for pets and humans alike

Blueberries are a common ingredient in dog food, found in about 25-percent of dog foods on the market – and with good reason. These beauties are chock-full of flavonoids – antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, protect the body’s cells from damage and aid in the battle against bulge. That’s right – if your pooch is getting pudgy, the flavonoids found in blueberries can help manage their weight.    

Blueberries for pets

Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients – oh my!

Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. These berries also support healthy joints and strong bones. They promote good cognitive functioning and can help improve memory. This low-fat, natural treat is full of essential minerals like iron and potassium, making them an excellent supplement to your dog or cat’s breakfast.

In warmer months, frozen blueberries are a crunchy treat that can help keep your pet cool. This serving method is probably best for dogs, as cats may have a harder time chowing down on the frozen berries.  

Blueberries for pets

Moderation is key whenever you introduce a new people-food to your pet’s diet. Slip a few blueberries into your pet’s bowl so they can enjoy this fruit’s numerous benefits, but do so conservatively. If you’d rather not give your pet a nibble of the real thing, you can look for pet foods that contain blueberries in their recipes to ensure your pet reaps the benefits of this wonderful superfood.  

Common Cat Allergies and How to Treat Them

If your cat is sneezing, wheezing, itching and scratching, they may be having an allergic reaction. When a cat has allergies, their immune system becomes especially sensitive due to certain substances that the immune system thinks are threatening to the body.

Most common pet allergens are prevalent in the environment and are normally harmless to pets and people. To cats with allergies, however, these substances can cause unpleasant symptoms, like flaky skin or gastrointestinal issues as they try to rid their bodies of allergens. Read on to learn about common cat allergies, their symptoms and how to treat them.

Pollen

Common cat allergies

Trees, weeds, and grass can all be allergy sources for cats. Most cats aren’t adversely affected when exposed to environmental factors like pollen. Some, however, will have an improper immune response to ingesting pollen that triggers an allergic reaction. Pollen allergies vary in severity from cat to cat, and their symptoms may differ. Some signs your cat may be having a pollen allergy include itchy eyes that lead to eye scratching, a runny nose and coughing, and sneezing.

Pollen allergies are treated based on their severity. Your vet may prescribe medication, or simply advise you to keep your cat indoors with the air conditioning turned on during prime allergy season depending on your cat’s specific symptoms.

Fleas

Common cat allergies

Fleas are among the most common allergens for pets. Any time a cat has fleas, they’ll itch, but for cats that are specifically allergic to fleas, being bitten by a flea just once will make them extremely uncomfortable. The difficulty is, you may not be able to see evidence of a flea bite on your cat because cats experiencing flea allergies tend to clean themselves aggressively.

Check if your cat is gnawing at certain areas, like their belly or inner thighs, both of which are indicative of flea bites. You can also look for itchy spots along the back half of their body. To find the proper flea treatment to suit your cat’s needs, consult with your veterinarian.

Indoor allergens

Common cat allergies

Mold and dust are common household allergens your cat may react to. Instead of the seasonal scratching and itching that happens with outdoor allergies, indoor allergies can last year-round.   

An intradermal test by your veterinarian can help determine if your cat is experiencing indoor allergies. This test will allow your vet to uncover the precise cause of your pet’s allergy, along with the information needed to properly diagnose how they should be treated.

The last thing a pet owner wants is for their furry friend to be uncomfortable or in pain. Be mindful of your pet’s behavior and actions so that you can talk to your vet if your pet is displaying signs of an allergic reaction. Look for excessive biting, scratching or licking, all of which could indicate an allergy.

As always, check with your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has an allergy or displays allergic symptoms. Your vet can help to diagnose the specific allergen that is causing the reaction and help prescribe a course of treatment, which might include medication, supplements, or a change in food or environment. 

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