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There are few things dogs love more than giving big, sloppy kisses.
According to an animal behaviorist, dogs lick their humans as a sign of affection. But when they’re doing the licking, are our pets leaving behind a trail of dangerous bacteria?
If you grew up around dogs, you’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale that dog mouths are cleaner than humans. This is a reassuring thought when dealing with pups who love to lick—but is it actually true?
Are dog mouths cleaner than humans’?
In order to get to the bottom of this age-old tale, researchers from Oklahoma swabbed the mouths of humans, dogs, and cats. Then, they analyzed the swabs for the number of bacteria in each sample. Their conclusion? Human mouths had the smallest number of bacteria, followed by dogs and then cats. In other words, human mouths are slightly less dirty than dog mouths are.
At the same time, research suggests that dog mouths are much less likely to spread disease to humans. This is because dog bacteria and human bacteria thrive in different environments. When you get a kiss from another human, their bacteria can easily repopulate. It’s much harder to pass bacteria from dogs to humans, and vice versa.
How to keep your dog’s mouth clean
Even with this information, there’s much we can do to keep dog mouths cleaner. Here are a few doggy dental hygiene tips:
Brush their teeth
Just like humans, dogs can benefit from brushing their teeth. Studies show that brushing your dog’s teeth inhibits the growth of mouth bacteria—as long as you use toothpaste made for dogs.
Start by giving your dog a taste of pet toothpaste and then giving him a treat. Then introduce toothpaste on a toothbrush into your dog’s mouth and give him a treat. Eventually, you may be able to brush your dog’s teeth without any stress or fuss.
Of course, some dogs are still fussy with this process. If it’s not easy to train your dog to enjoy brushing his teeth, try chew treats.
Plaque is a major dirty mouth culprit. In order to cut down on your pup’s plaque, researchers suggest giving them dental chews daily. Treats your pet can gnaw on do a great job of reducing plaque buildup.
There’s a wide array of chew treats on the market, from minty fresh options to natural chews. From antler chews to braided bully sticks, there are dental health solutions out there that your dog is sure to love.
Go in for a professional cleaning
If your dog’s breath is extra funky, it’s always a good idea to bring them to the vet for a teeth cleaning. Veterinarians know exactly what’s going on in your dog’s mouth, and they should be your first call if you’re ever in doubt.
Want to learn more pet health tips? Visit our Healthy Dog blog. And if you’re curious about other dog facts you might’ve got wrong, read this.
When getting ready to take your dog for a walk or offering them their favorite treat, you can expect to see their tail wagging.
Common knowledge may have taught you that tail wagging means your pooch is happy…but that’s not always exactly right. Keep reading to learn several dog facts you probably got wrong—from tail wagging to colorblindness.
About 8 percent of the adult male population is colorblind, with the majority of those individuals experiencing red-green colorblindness. If you or someone you know is colorblind, you probably understand that this form of colorblindness is more like a color deficiency. Colorblind individuals still see some colors, but their total color spectrum is narrower
Ever get a sloppy kiss from your pup and hope the old rumor was true that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than yours? Unfortunately, that fact isn’t exactly true. According to Korean researchers, dog mouths aren’t necessarily cleaner than human mouths—but they are less likely to spread disease to us.
Why might that be? Simply put, it’s harder for dog bacteria to survive and colonize in human bodies. Our germs are largely different so you might not catch a cold from your dog if he’s under the weather in the same way you might from a loved one. Make that one more reason why dogs are man’s best friend!
Why do dogs wag their tails?
A dog’s wagging tail is a clear indicator of how they’re feeling…but not all wags mean the same thing. Dr. Stanley Coren, Ph.D. explains first that dogs only wag their tails around other living things. Much like humans typically reserve speaking for when another human is around, dogs reserve tail wagging for more social settings. And since movement is something dogs’ eyes are particularly sensitive to, tail wagging can be a great way to get attention.
Next, Dr. Coren breaks tail wagging down into parts. The relative height of your pup’s tail means a lot: From excitement or aggression at high heights, to relaxation at a middle height, to anxiety or submission at low heights. Wag speed also informs you of how excited your pup is. Below are several common types of wags and what they mean.
A broad, traditionally happy wag means your pup is feeling friendly.
A small, slow wag calmly establishes that your pet is present and looking for attention.
A fast wag with small movements indicates that your pet is excited or about to do something.
Of course, there are plenty more ways your dog may be wagging his tail. As a rule of thumb, Dr. Coren finds height indicates levels of calm, while speed indicates levels of excitement.
Looking for more dog advice and fun facts? Check out the Best Bully Sticks blog. And for great deals on treats your pet will love, visit the Best Bully Sticks website.
Thanksgiving is a holiday perhaps best known for its food. Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing…the list goes on and on.
What if your dog wants to join in on the feast? Not sure if dogs can eat turkey—or anything else from your Thanksgiving table? Read on and think twice before slipping your pup something from your plate this year.
Can dogs eat turkey?
Plain, cooked turkey by itself isn’t inherently harmful to dogs. In fact, it’s a great source of protein and other nutrients. Turkey meat, skin, and fat are all common ingredients in dog food and treats.
However, your Thanksgiving turkey is a different story. Not all turkeys are made equal and your Thanksgiving turkey isn’t the same turkey used in your dog’s food or treats.
Beware of bones, too! Turkey bones can be a major choking hazard for dogs. Because turkey bones are weaker than other types of bones, it’s easier for them to splinter. These bone fragments can pierce the tongue, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Turkey bones can also cause constipation and more severe blockages of your dog’s digestive system.
You might think the drumstick is the perfect Thanksgiving treat for your pup, but unfortunately, it’s not a strong enough bone to be an ideal dog chew. Instead, give your dog a strong, durable dog bone or bully stick to gnaw on instead.
What about the rest of the Thanksgiving feast?
So now you know about turkey, but what about everything else that you’ve prepared? Here’s a quick rundown.
The Thanksgiving don’ts
Stuffing: Stuffing often includes onions, garlic, chives, leeks, and scallions. These members of the allium family are toxic for dogs and can cause excessive drooling, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Mashed potatoes:Plain cooked potatoes aren’t toxic, but mashed potatoes often contain garlic and onion. Also, if you add milk, butter, or cheese, these dairy products can irritate dogs’ stomachs.
Grapes and raisins: Be very careful if you’ve added grapes or raisins to salads, desserts, or other food items. If ingested by dogs, they can cause kidney failure.
Marshmallows: Never give your dog sweet potato pie or sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. Marshmallows contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is extremely toxic for dogs. It can cause low blood sugar, seizure, liver failure, and even death.
Always consult your vet about your dog’s diet and if you have any questions on potentially unsafe foods.
Happy Thanksgiving! Be grateful for your furry friend—and be careful what you feed him.
Even though it’s a holiday, consistency in your pet’s diet is important. Instead of giving your dog something from your plate, you could treat him with a new chew from Best Bully Sticks.
For most dogs, mealtime is the best time of the day.
And yet, food is something our pets have little control over. Dog owners have a responsibility to feed their pups food that will keep them going—but what if your dog food is doing more harm than good?
To keep your pet healthy, make sure you do your research on dog treats and dog food. Here are three things to watch for—and if you ever have any questions, talk to your vet.
Artificial vs. natural preservatives
You need preservatives to keep dog treats and dog food fresh. However, not all preservatives are created equal. Artificial preservatives can be cheaper and keep food fresher for longer, but they can also contain harmful chemicals.
Some common artificial preservatives to look for on labels include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin. BHA and BHT are two preservatives commonly found in dog and people food alike. According to Japanese research, these preservatives aren’t just keeping food fresh. The study found that BHA and BHT are carcinogenic for animals like rats. BHA is also on the list of Known Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxicants, so it’s a good idea to avoid these harmful preservatives whenever possible.
Instead, look for natural preservatives like tocopherols, citric acid, and rosemary extract. These natural preservatives are healthier; however, they don’t keep food as fresh as artificial preservatives. This isn’t an issue as long as you keep tabs on all “best by” date labels.
The ingredient label
Whenever you’re scanning the nutritional information label on pet food, it’s good to know the rules behind the label. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires accurate identification of the product, quantity, manufacturer, distributor, and ingredients.
It’s important to note that the AAFCO is not a government agency; still, the association’s recommendations on product names, nutritional adequacy, feeding directions, and calorie information are often enforced on the state level. This does differ by state, so be sure to look up your own location’s specific regulations. When you’re not sure what your state’s laws are, consult your vet!
When choosing treats and food for your beloved pup, make sure to look at the nutritional label. Increasing your calorie awareness will help keep your pet at a healthy weight.
As for how many calories your dog should consume daily, there’s no one correct answer. Some sources say that dogs need about 20-30 calories per pound per day to maintain their weight. However, this can depend on your pet’s breed, size, age, physical activity, medical conditions, and other factors. Consult your vet to get his or her advice.
Getting educated on the ingredients on what your pet eats can help you feel confident about the way you’re fueling your pooch. The next time you’re looking for high-quality dog treats at a reasonable price, visit the Best Bully Sticks website. And for more pet tips, you can also check out our Healthy Dog Blog.
When it comes to pet supplements, some are more commonly prescribed than others.
There are joint supplements, like glucosamine and chondroitin, herbal supplements, and so many more. But, according to VCA Hospitals, omega-3 supplements are some of the most widely prescribed supplements for dogs. So, what makes omega-3 so great for our furry friends?
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated molecules that dogs, like humans, have a dietary need for. Foods like flax seeds, hemp oil, and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Most commonly, however, omega fatty acid supplements are made from flax or fish.
What are the benefits of omega-3 for dogs?
According to Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and help protect against abnormal heart rhythms in cats and dogs with heart disease. Unlike omega-6 fatty acids, which are adequately present in pet diets, omega-3 fatty acids have a general anti-inflammatory effect. That’s a good thing for dogs who are suffering from heart disease.
In addition, it’s important to maintain your dog’s balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to ensure optimal health. Because omega-6 fatty acids are already prevalent in your dog’s diet, you can choose to give your pup an omega-3 supplement. It’s important to always consult a vet before altering your dog’s omega-3-to-6 ratio.
On top of its anti-inflammatory properties, VCA Hospitals state that omega-3 has been shown to inhibit tumor growth. Furthermore, omega-3 is readily absorbed by dogs, which means that your dog will experience its effects just days after you begin supplementing.
How much should I supplement?
The ideal dosage of omega-3 fatty acids varies by dog. Before you pick up an omega-3 supplement, be sure to consult your vet. Omega-3 supplements aren’t for every pooch—and while omega-3 is safe for most, you should always have a vet’s approval to change your dog’s supplementation regimen.
Looking for more pet health tips? Check out our Healthy Dog Blog. And for great deals on wellness-driven dog treats, visit the Best Bully Sticks website.
So, you’ve decided to buy a puppy. After picking a breed, readying your family, and meeting the perfect pooch, you might think you’re ready to bring your new friend home.
Before that happens, however, there are some important items to check off your new puppy checklist. By obtaining these items before you bring your new pup home, you can ensure your pet’s first days at home go off without a hitch.
Crate and bedding
Dogs are den animals. This means they feel comfort in cozy nooks and providing them a space of their own is essential. Crates also help new puppies remain well-behaved during potty training and transportation. Make sure that the crate is big enough for your pooch to feel comfortable, but not large enough for them to move around and make a mess in.
Whether you opt for a plastic or wire crate, be sure to provide your puppy with some bedding. Soft blankets and dog beds help comfort your pet and keep them warm.
Stainless steel food & water bowls
It may seem like a no-brainer, but purchasing quality food and water bowls is a new puppy must. Opt for stainless steel to avoid any allergic reactions your pooch may have with plastic. Stainless steel is also made to last and easy to clean, making it a great choice for food and water bowls.
Food & treats
Once you’ve secured food and water bowls, it’s time to fill them! To give your puppy the nutrients he needs, take care to pick out a dog food that’s made for younger dogs. Since puppies grow at a rapid rate, they need more nutrients than the average adult dog. Puppy dog food is richer in nutrients to help your puppy stay healthy and strong.
In addition, high-quality dog treats and chews are a must. Long-lasting chews like bully sticks can promote dental health and soothe sore teething gums.
New puppies are notorious chewers. To avoid unwanted holes in shoes or chunks eaten out of furniture, it’s wise to pick up a few squeaky chew toys for your pup.
Leash, collar & tags
Select a leash and collar of the appropriate size and length for your dog. Smaller dogs should wear harnesses instead of collars to reduce the risk of harming their necks. No matter your dog’s size, leashes and collars provide you with the opportunity to show your (or your pup’s) personality.
Once you’ve got a leash and collar, it’s a good idea to pick up personalized dog tags. These can include vaccination records or your contact information in case your pup gets lost.
Shampoo and brush
Sooner or later, your new pup will get dirty. Be sure to pick up a wire brush and shampoo for at-home grooming, or make your own dog shampoo if you’re looking to save money.
Enzyme stain remover
To clean up indoor dog messes, invest in an enzyme stain remover. This type of cleaner removes smells that only your dog can pick up. As dogs love to “go” in the same place more than once, it’s important you get rid of that smell right away.
Schedule a vet appointment
Last but not least, be sure to schedule a vet appointment when you bring your new furry friend home. Puppy appointments often include vital vaccinations and health checks, and should never be skipped.
Looking for more dog advice? Check out our Healthy Dog Blog. And for the best deals on treats your dog will love for life, visit the Best Bully Sticks website.
Dogs are notorious chewers. For most of them, it doesn’t matter whether they’ve found a favorite toy, your most expensive shoe, or their tastiest treat. If they’re chewing, our dogs are happy.
If you’ve ever wondered the reason why dogs chew so much, you’re not alone. Understanding this primal instinct can help dog owners comfort their pets (and avoid a few chewed-through pairs of shoes, in the meantime).
Why dogs chew
There are several causes of persistent chewing, most of which depend on the stage of life your pup is in. For every cause of chewing, however, there are simple ways to avoid more damage to your home and belongings.
The first reason dogs chew is that they’re going through teething. Just like human babies, our pups lose and grow teeth in their first year of life. This process leads to sore gums, something chewing alleviates (ASPCA).
If your puppy is teething, you can help provide them comfort by sticking a soft chew toy in the freezer before playtime. The cold will soothe their gums, while the chewing motion will reduce teething pain.
Instinctively speaking, however, dogs may chew for completely different reasons. Chewing has been shown to keep doggy jaws strong and teeth clean (Whole Dog Journal). It’s no wonder chewable treats like bully sticks are so popular—they help promote dental health in a tasty package.
Beyond dental health, dogs instinctively chew because it is their way of exploring the world (Pet Health Network). Without fingers to help them, dogs figure out what’s what by chewing on things. They’re particularly drawn to smells and tastes from other animals—so is it any shock that our pups find themselves chewing the smelliest items we own?
Additionally, our dogs chew because of the environments they’re in. Boredom, for example, is a major reason behind excessive chewing. If you’ve ever come home from a long day to find the living room in shreds, you probably understand that bored pups often take things into their own hands (or mouths).
Many pups also chew when experiencing feelings of anxiety or frustration (ASPCA). For example, some pooches need to gnaw on something in the car, while others cope with the stress of thunderstorms by chewing through anything they can find. A dog’s surroundings and stimulants may cause their chewing instincts to kick in and should thus be closely considered when attempting to stop your pup’s excessive chewing.
Finally, our dogs may chew just to get our attention. Your dog chewing on a ball can prompt you to start a game of fetch, just as your dog chewing on something they’re not supposed to have will prompt you to run after them. Most of the time, our pups just want to connect with us. Chewing is one way to do that.
What you can do
The first step is to work with your veterinarian to determine the root cause of the excessive chewing. After that is understood, in order to avoid any gnawed-on furniture or destroyed shoes, provide your pooch with the right things to chew on. Never give your pup a chew toy that once belonged to a human (like an old rag or sneaker). Dogs don’t know the difference between a rag they can chew on and a dress they can’t—so only give your dog chew toys that are meant for dogs.
In addition, fight off puppy boredom by purchasing dog chews that change shape over time. Cow ears, for example, become more interesting as your dog chews, thanks to the way the ear buckles as it’s eaten. For a species that primarily explores through chewing, this ensures hours of puppy-approved fun.
Want to learn more dog care tips & tricks? Visit our Healthy Dog Blog. And for great deals on chewable treats, check out the Best Bully Sticks website.
Omega-3s are well-known for their many health benefits that help the heart, kidney, brain, eyes, skin, coat, and joints. The omega-3s in krill oil could be more beneficial for dogs than fish oil, since krill oil can be more easily digestible.
In addition to DHA and EPA, krill oil has astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is what gives krill their pink-orange coloring; it’s an anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
The Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University provides similar information on why fish oil—which is similar to krill oil—can be helpful for your pet’s health. The anti-inflammatory properties present in these oils benefit organs like the kidney, heart, and joints, while the healthy fats support your dog’s coat.
Interested in krill oil for your dog?
If you’re interested in giving your dog krill oil, consult your vet. Always check with any doctor before choosing to introduce a supplement into your pet’s diet.
Having a bad hip isn’t an issue exclusively for humans. Did you know dogs can have hip problems, too? According to the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, canine hip dysplasia (CHD) affects 15.56% of all dogs.
Clearly, CHD is a common affliction. Learn all about what it is, its symptoms, and how it can be treated below.
What is hip dysplasia in dogs?
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a condition that affects the hip bones of dogs, especially larger dogs and certain large breeds. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, so it relies on smooth twisting. If a dog’s hip joint doesn’t develop properly, the joints can rub together, deteriorate, and cause pain and other issues. Over time, the hip joint loses cartilage, forms scar tissue and bone spurs, and causes issues.
While CHD can be hereditary, it can also be caused by old age. CHD most commonly occurs in young dogs with CHD or older dogs with arthritis; arthritis can be caused in part by hip dysplasia.
The American Kennel Club notes that CHD affects breeds like Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. When it’s caused by genes, CHD begins in dogs as they grow.
Also, hip dysplasia doesn’t look the same in every dog. VCA Animal Hospitals notes that “some pets with significant signs of hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis on X-rays may not exhibit any clinical signs, while others with minimal changes may experience severe pain and lameness.”
Signs of hip dysplasia in dogs
Symptoms can include:
• Decreased activity
• A decreased range of motion
• Difficulty walking, running, jumping, and climbing stairs
• Pain and stiffness
• Swollen shoulder muscles
Regular vet check-ups are important to watch for signs of CHD and keep your dog healthy.
Hip dysplasia treatment
It’s best to try and prevent CHD from worsening. While you can’t totally prevent it due to its hereditary nature, you can do your part to keep your dog healthy.
Good nutrition and regular exercise help. Obesity is a factor that can seriously exacerbate hip dysplasia. If you have a larger breed, keep them at a lean weight as a puppy. Large breed dog food and a constant exercise regimen help. Overweight puppies are more likely to develop hip dysplasia.
If your dog does have CHD, treatment can include weight loss (which helps alleviate the pain), physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine, and even surgery if the condition is severe enough.
Natural supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can help ease the pain as well. Your vet can provide more comprehensive information on CHD treatment.
Looking for joint supplements for your dog?
Try Happy Hempies Joint Support. It’s an all-natural supplement with hemp, green-lipped mussel, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These ingredients help support your dog’s joint health and mobility.
Let’s face it. Dogs’ ears are adorable. Whether they’re fluffy bichon frise ears or floppy hound dog ears, they’re super cute—but they do require some TLC from you.
Regularly cleaning your dog’s ears helps keep them clean from earwax and bacteria and prevents infection. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, ear cleaning is especially important for dogs because the structure of canine ears makes it easy for material to get stuck and cause issues.
What materials do you need?
Cleaner: We recommend using a vet-approved ear rinse. You may see articles about DIY dog ear cleaners with ingredients like rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, but these natural remedies could do more harm than good. Avoid any cleaners with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as they can cause irritation for sensitive ears.
Tool: Never use cotton swabs like Q-tips. These can be extremely dangerous and injure your dog’s eardrums if they jump or jostle. (You shouldn’t use Q-tips for your own human ears either!) Instead, use cotton balls or gauze. They’re softer and easier on your dog’s ears.
Hygiene: Wearing plastic gloves while cleaning your pup’s ears will prevent any germs or bacteria from your hands from infecting your dog. If you don’t have any, ensure that you thoroughly wash your hands before and after.
Treats: Last but not least, make sure you have your dog’s favorite treats on hand! Many dogs get stressed out by getting their ears cleaned, so make it a pleasant experience and give them treats during the cleaning. This will help distract them and encourage the positive association between ear cleanings and treats.
How do you safely clean your dog’s ears?
First, create a calm environment. If your dog gets jumpy or anxious, be sure to use a soothing voice. Your dog can feel and feed off your stress!
If you know your pup isn’t a fan of getting his ears cleaned and tends to run away, ask a friend to help hold him in place or go into a small room and close the door so your dog can’t escape.
Sit down on the floor with your dog and keep them steady. Wet one cotton ball with the ear rinse and gently rub the outer ear to clean it from debris and wax. Throw that cotton ball away and wet a new one with ear rinse for the inner ear. Be very careful when cleaning the inner ear; use a soft touch and don’t push past any resistance. You don’t want to be rough or push too far or else you may cause damage to your dog’s ears.
Then, use two new cotton balls for the other ear. Don’t reuse any for both ears or else you could transfer germs.
Give your pup vocal encouragement and calming pets (and treats!) during the process.
How often should you clean them?
Ear cleaning frequency totally depends on your dog. Some dogs get a lot of earwax buildup quickly, so weekly or biweekly cleanings might be necessary. For others, a monthly or more infrequent cleaning can do the trick.
Pay attention to how your dog’s ears look. Overcleaning could cause irritation too, so don’t get overzealous. If you need a second opinion, ask your vet.
When should you contact your vet?
Regular ear cleanings are meant to prevent any issues. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, your dog may have an infection.
Excessive scratching, rubbing, or shaking of the head can suggest an ear issue. If you inspect your dog’s ear and notice unusual material or a smelly fluid, these are signs of a problem.
Some wax and fluid are normal to see on cotton balls after an ear cleaning; however, excessive buildup or material that looks like mites isn’t healthy. Never clean a red or inflamed ear. This can cause more pain for your dog.
If you see any of the above, contact your vet for a consultation.