Monday, January 25, 2016

Beware of the Natural Peanut Butter Scare!

       For many of us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a staple in our lunchboxes. I loved it as a kid and even though I’m grown up now I will confess that a spoonful of peanut butter for a midnight snack sometimes just hits the spot. The creamy nutty taste and irresistible lip licking texture is simply wonderful. It has many health benefits being rich in antioxidant vitamin E, muscle-friendly potassium, and it is a great source of fiber and good fat. With all of these great properties for us humans it is no surprise why it is recommended as a tasty irresistible treat for the four-legged man’s best friend as well.
       For most of us dog lovers, we have learned over the years that our canine family members have a special affinity for the delicious nutty spread. Peanut butter is a common flavor for biscuits and it can be used in toys or to re-fill frozen bones. It can also be a good enticer to get them to eat pills or other types of medication. In many cases using peanut butter as a treat is fine as long as it is just an occasional treat because too much peanut butter in excess can be problematic like causing pancreatitis and obesity. The point of this blog, however is not to discuss the effects of dogs being fed too much peanut butter, but rather to state that not all peanut butters are the same.
        We always want to buy the best foods for our body as well as things we feed to enhance our animal’s health.  As the current issues arise with GMO’s and added sugars, consumers are looking for products that are more “natural” with less additives and more whole ingredients. Overall this is probably beneficial for everyone to have less “junk” in the things we eat and let our pets enjoy. The once thought already good-for-you and super nutritious peanut butter has even stepped it up to reach out to the health conscious customer. Before you and your pet become a cautionary tale please be aware of the scares that some of these sandwich spreads can cause.
         Recently, a few companies have started making a “healthier” peanut butter by adding a natural sugar alcohol sweetener called Xylitol. I learned about this sweetener a long time ago from my obsession with Trident gum: “made with Xylitol”. They use it because of its ability to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. With the newfound knowledge of the properties of xylitol as a natural sugar, its low glycemic index, and its benefit to our pearly whites, we have started to see xylitol popping up in all sorts of food and dental products in the last few years. While this natural sweetener may be harmless to humans it is extremely dangerous for our dogs even in the smallest quantities.
       Ingestion of as little as .1gram of xylitol per kilogram of weight can cause a rapid drop in a dog’s blood sugar level causing a condition called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can show as staggering, appearing disoriented, weakness and seizures. Slightly more than that, approximately .5g/kg ingested can lead to debilitation, and sadly often deadly, destruction of a dog’s liver cells. This toxic dose could even be less for dogs with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or hepatitis. Xylitol isn’t comparable to your dog eating avocados or some chocolate, where it may not affect your dog at all or the damage could be minimal. If you were out and about and Fido was able to ingest a whole jar of peanut butter containing xylitol before you came home, the result could be fatal….very sad….but very true.
So far the five biggest national brands of peanut butter containing xylitol to watch out for are:
1.     Go Nuts
2.     Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter
3.     Krush Nutrition
4.     Nuts ‘N More
5.     P28

             I’m sure there are more out there on the market, but these seem to be the most commonly seen. Obviously these hound hazards can be easily avoided by simply reading the ingredients in your toothpaste or food items, especially peanut butter, and being aware of them in your house.  Something else to keep in mind is if the package says “sweetened naturally” or uses a “natural sweetener” make sure you flip it over and read the label and look for xylitol. It is often misconstrued as an artificial sweetener- but it’s not. Other sugar alcohols, such as erythritol, glycerol, maltitol, and sorbitol are not yet known to be toxic to dogs but better to be safe than sorry. Some companies have even said they would put a little blurb on the front saying “not safe for dogs” but until that day comes…. please read the labels.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fort Collins Chicken Laws

Having chickens in the city limits of Fort Collins has been allowed for some time now, but recent changes to the code may have some confused. Have no fear! We have gone over the rules and restrictions regarding backyard chickens, and have laid it out below.

The city of Fort Collins now requires an inspection and a permit to own chickens. The inspection is done by the Larimer Humane Society and animal control. If you are going to purchase chicks, first call (970)226-3647 extension: 7 to set up a time to have your chicken coop inspected. Roosters and Mallards (ducks) are not allowed, only hens are allowed in city limits.[1] No more than 6 chickens are allowed in one coop in the city of Fort Collins.[2]

The requirements are as follows:

-The poultry must be provided with a covered, predator-resistant poultry house that is properly ventilated, designed to be easily accessed, cleaned and maintained, and must consist of at least four (4) square feet per chicken hen or duck.[3]

-During daylight hours, the poultry must have access to the poultry house and also have access to an outdoor enclosure that is adequately fenced to protect them from predators.[3]

-The poultry must be further protected from predators by being closed in the poultry house from dusk to dawn.[3]

-Neither the poultry house nor the outdoor enclosure may be located less than fifteen (15) feet from any abutting property line unless the owner or keeper of the poultry obtains the written consent of the owners of all abutting properties to which the enclosure is proposed to be more closely located, in which event the agreed-upon location shall then be deemed acceptable notwithstanding any subsequent change in ownership of such abutting properties.[3]

-The poultry must be sheltered or confined in such fashion as to prevent them from coming into contact with wild ducks or geese or their excrement.[3]

-The poultry may not be killed by or at the direction of the owner or keeper thereof except pursuant to the lawful order of state or county health officials, or for the purpose of euthanasia when surrendered to a licensed veterinarian or the Humane Society for such purpose, or as otherwise expressly permitted by law.[3]

The above information was compiled from the city of  Fort Collins website. For more information on the rules and regulations click here. For more resources and contacts click here.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Keep Your Dog Active In Bad Weather

Winter in Colorado can get pretty bitter, which makes things difficult for some breeds of dogs to stay active. Those of us that have short coat or lean built dogs can struggle to keep them active in the winter. On those days where the mercury is low, what can you do to get your dog some exercise when you can’t take them outside? I asked myself this question as I have a hyper girl who absolutely hates the cold. After a little research I found the following tips that I think are pretty handy, all of which can be done in warmth of your home or apartment!
Fetch Inside. This one makes sense, but I never really thought of it. Just find the longest open distance you have in your residence and simply play fetch. This works great in a longer hallway, or even on a staircase which will wear your pup out even quicker!
Back and Forth. This one requires at least 2 people. Set yourselves up on different ends of your residence, or in different rooms; and simply call the dog back and forth. Make your pup run around back and forth between the people in the house. This generally excites them because they are getting a lot of attention from multiple people at once!
Hide and Seek. Similar to the previous paragraph, you can hide from your pet and make them find you. Usually works great to wear them out as they are more mentally stimulated trying to hunt you down. If your dog isn't much of a hunter you can always try Chase! Where you chase your pet around the apartment and get them excited running around!
Hide a Treat. If you are not really keen on doing the hiding yourself, you can always just hide treats for your dog to find. This requires a little training as they have to know you are hiding the treat. Start with very easy hiding places and work your way up to more advanced hiding places.
Extra Attention. Sometimes all your dog really needs is a little extra attention, and maybe some snuggle time.
New Toys. If your dog loves playing with toys, bringing home some fresh toys for destruction can do the trick. You can also get toys that are actually games or puzzles in which your dog must work to get a treat. These tend to work for wearing your dog out as they require more mental stimulation.
Tug of War. Another easy way to wear your dog out while you sit on the couch is to find a rope toy and play tug of war with the dog. If your dog is into tug of war they will usually want to play for hours! If you want to be more active or involved there is always wrestling! Wrestling with your dog (Not too rough) can wear them out quickly if you keep them moving and playing, also it gets them more physical attention which they love!
Doggie Daycare. If you can afford to take your dog to doggie daycare this is a great way to make sure your dogs is worn out by the end of the day! While you are at work your dog will be socializing, and running around in a warm building with other dogs having fun.
Treadmill. This one is another that requires training as most dogs are not going to be keen on walking on a moving object. This one seems more likely for dogs that need to burn a lot of energy and some hard playing will not get the job done. I did not believe that people would walk their dogs on the treadmill, but it is actually a very common thing.

As you can see there are a number of ways to keep your pet active when the weather turns cold. I know my dog and I both tend to gain a little weight during winter, but make sure you keep your pup active. If you know any other ways that you keep your dog active in the winter, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tick Season

I was wondering today about Ticks in Colorado as it is "that time of year." I found some information that I thought we should be passing along to our readers! The summation of this article is that tick prevention is more than worth it seeing as how much curing disease involves. To read the article and see their recommendations click HERE. To visit our website to see pricing, and selection click HERE. Have fun with your pets this summer, but be sure to keep them safe!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Messing with your dogs feet

I read a blog post put out by Canidae pet foods the other day and thought it would be a good one to share! I constantly have struggles with my dog on the nail clippings, but this gave me a good reason to calm down and not be so frustrated with it. If you are interested in why your dog doesn't let you mess with his or her feet click HERE to read the blog.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Human foods you should NOT share with your dog

Easter has passed, and this got me thinking about how much chocolate I have sitting around my house. Which made think about what would happen if my dog ate it? I know Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but how bad is it? Also what other human foods are bad for my dog? My first order of business was to dispose of the chocolate so my dog was safe; so I ate it…unfortunately I ate all of it which led me to feel sick to my stomach. Then I began my research, which upon further review there are quite a few foods that can make your dog sick or worse. Some are quite obvious (Chocolate, medicine, any fruit with a pit) and others are kind of a shocker (grapes, Onions, Milk). So here is my list with a short explanation as to why (I have a list of resources at the bottom for more details):

Chocolate: The ingredient in Chocolate that is poisonous for dogs is called Theobromine. A good rule to know is the darker the chocolate the worse it is. If your dog eats white chocolate it will probably be ok just be sure to monitor them. If your dog eats Dark Chocolate depending on his size and how much you should probably get your dog to the vet!

Avocado: Avocados contain Persin mainly in the leaves, seed, and bark this is mainly seen in Guatemalan variety. Dogs are allergic to Persin, which can cause Diarrhea, vomiting, and heart congestion.

Bread Dough: Homemade bread dough contains yeast which causes the bread to rise and expand, it will do the same in your dog’s stomach. You can understand why this is bad, it will cause your dog’s stomach to expand and will cause a great deal of pain. Also as the yeast multiplies it creates alcohol as a by-product which can cause alcohol poisoning in your dog and could result in death.

Alcohol: Even a small amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in your pets. If your pet ingests any alcohol be sure to monitor them for vomiting, seizures, disorientation. If symptoms worsen take them to a vet immediately for monitoring.

Grapes/Raisins: These foods have been linked to Liver Damage, and Kidney Failure. The weird part is some dogs were affected one time and not affected another. Even just a hand full of grapes can be life threatening for you dog!

Macadamia Nuts: This one is less life threatening, but can cause some severe discomfort for up to 48 hours, and could still result in death. Symptoms include weakness, paralysis of hindquarters, and vomiting. Be sure to monitor these symptoms closely.

Onions/Garlic: These will destroy your dog’s red blood cell count leading to anemia. Most dogs would have to ingest quite a bit to get very sick, but it is probably a good idea to avoid them.

Sugarless Gum: Sugarless gum contains an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which causes an over-release of insulin which can cause organ failure.               

Caffeine: In large enough quantities can be fatal to dogs. There is no antidote for this, so be careful.

This is just a short list of human foods that are potentially hazardous for your dog. Check out the resources below for more foods, and more detail. I hope this offers some insight the next time you think about giving sparky some table scraps! There are plenty of items that are ok to share with your pets, but we will save that for another day!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fort Collins Pet Laws

Below are the most common infractions people are cited for in Fort Collins. Each is a quick synopsis so you can gain a better understanding and avoid a citation!

Leash Laws – Any and all dogs on city or public land must be on a leash. The only public area where dogs are allowed off leash in Fort Collins is at one of the Dog Parks in town. For the full list of City owned dog parks click here.

Licensing – All dogs and cats 4 months and older in Larimer County must be licensed through the Larimer Humane Society. If they are not properly licensed you can be written a citation.

Rabies Vaccination – All dogs and cats in Fort Collins must be up to date on their rabies vaccination. You can be written a citation if they are not, also you will not be able to license them until this is done.

Pet Waste – As the owner of a pet, you are responsible for the removal of all pet waste on public and private property (not owned by owner of pet). If you are caught not picking up your pet waste, you will be written a citation.

Animal Disturbance of peace and quiet – The owner of an animal shall not allow said animal to create noise problems for neighboring homes or apartments. Noise problems would be barking loud and for excessive periods of time, whining and or yelping loud or for excessive amount of time, howling or squawking loud or for excessive amount of time. We all know dogs bark and birds squawk, it becomes a problem when this happens continuously throughout the day. Once a complaint has been made Animal Control will leave a notice, and if nothing is done to remedy this problem investigative actions will be taken. You could be written a citation.

Quantity of Pets – A pet owner is not permitted to keep more pets on their property than can be properly maintained in a healthy condition. The amount of pets must not create a health or safety hazard for the owner, neighboring persons, or animals.

Obviously the paragraphs above are not the exact laws and regulations in Fort Collins, for a more detailed description on each and many more click here. Below are the rules for all City of Fort Collins Dog Parks:
  •  Owners must clean up after their pets.
  • No aggressive dogs allowed.
  • Dogs must be licensed and vaccinated.
  • Puppies under 4 months prohibited.
  • Spayed/Neutered Animals recommended.
  • Leaving dogs unattended prohibited.
  • Limit 3 dogs per visit.
  • Dogs in heat prohibited.
  • Young children must be supervised.
  • Owners must carry a leash at all times.
  • Please keep gates closed.
In the future we will write a blog on livestock, and Chicken laws as the majority of the above laws do not apply to them!