5 Tips to Add Years to Your Dog’s Life

As a member of the If My Dog Could Cook community here is the latest information to keep your dog happy and healthy.

We love our dogs and know that you do too.  Wouldn’t you like to prolong your dog’s life and ensure that he or she stays healthy and active?  You’ve heard us know the value of feeding your dog the best food possible, after all, what would your dog cook if they could?  Surely only the finest will do.

Below are five tips that will help keep your dog happy and healthy for years to come.

1. Feed your dog a high quality diet.

Dogs that are fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. A good diet can help strengthen your pet’s immune system, maintain his or her intestinal health, increase mental state, keep joints and muscles healthy, and generally allow your dog to feel better and be more active. 

2. Watch the weight!

Yes – we know you have a few extra pounds and your dog probably does too – Dogs that are overweight are at risk for a myriad of health issues. Obesity is the number one nutritional disease in dogs and studies have shown that being overweight or obese can shorten a dog’s life span by as much as two years. Why? Being overweight or obese puts your pet at risk for joint disease, heart disease and diabetes, - just like humans!  So limit food consumption and get your dog outside and play – you will both have more fun.

3. Take your dog to the veterinarian regularly.

Dogs know when they are going to the vet and usually protest - However, regular veterinary care is important. A routine examination by your veterinarian can uncover health issues that you may not detect. In many cases, an early diagnosis improves the chances of successful treatment and can cost less than when the illness becomes more severe.

 4. Keep your dog smiling!

 A common problem among dogs is dental disease. Oral health issues can cause your pet pain, making it difficult them to eat. If left untreated, oral health issues may even lead to heart and kidney disease. In addition to regular dental checkups, the most effective means of caring for your pet’s mouth at home is to brush his or her teeth (yes you can do it but don’t use regular toothpaste – just plain warm water). If your pet doesn’t like toothbrushes there are other alternatives as well, including dental diets, treats, and toys. Ask your veterinarian for some recommendations.

5. Do not allow your pet outside unsupervised.

We see this too often in our neighborhood – a dog walking alone on the side of the road – no harm – -- Wrong! Allowing your dog to roam free may seem like you’re doing your pet a favor. However, pets that roam are susceptible to a number of dangers, including automobile accidents, predators like hawks, coyotes, evil people, contagious diseases, exposure to poisons, and more. Allowing your dog to roam unsupervised may anger your neighbors if your dog trespasses and relieves “themselves on their lawn or digs up their garden.

This story was adapted from a post by Lorie Huston, DVM

We hope that you enjoy these tips - please visit us at ifmydogcouldcook.com for more tips, recipes and more to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Doggie Chili

​Dogs need large amounts of protein to keep them healthy and active. Your pup should get the majority of his protein from whole meat sources, such as fresh chicken. Beans also have a good amount of protein.
This recipe blends chicken, beans, and vegetables to create a healthy and tasty mix.

    4 chicken breasts
    1 cup of kidney beans, drained
    1 cup of black beans, drained
    1 cup of carrots, diced
    1/2 cup of tomato paste
    4 cups of chicken broth

 Remove the excess fat and dice the chicken breasts into nickel-sized pieces.
Cook the chicken breasts in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
Add the chicken, beans, carrots, tomato paste, and chicken broth into a large pot and cook over medium heat until heated through – about 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool before serving.
Store leftover chili in the fridge for up to five days.

Pro Tip: You can add a 1/2 tablespoon of fish oil to this recipe. The flavors are strong enough that even picky eaters won’t notice the added healthy ingredient.

Are Bones Harmful to your Dog?

Dogs have been eating bones since the beginning of time – however, does that mean that they are healthy or safe for your dog to eat?

Many dog owners know not to toss a turkey or chicken bone to their dog; those bones are just too brittle. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the risk goes beyond that, especially when it comes to the “bone treats” you may see at the store.  Don’t do it.  Many products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking, and may contain other ingredients such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings. Some dogs have experienced bad symptoms like these listed below:

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract)
  • Choking
  • Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum, and/or
  • Death. Approximately fifteen dogs reportedly died after eating a bone treat.

  • Read more here https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm208365.htm

    We want the best for our dogs. Don’t’ take chances with your dog’s health. Follow If My Dog Could Cook online and find recipes that you can make and you will see improvements and avoid the risks of processed products. Back to the bones – You can use fresh large beef bones from the butcher shop -  Get big chunks of beef or bison femur or hip bones filled with marrow – While they don’t supply much  nutrition for your dog (they are only to be gnawed on), they do provide recreation and mental stimulation and can be great for your dog’s oral health. Be safe, don’t leave your dog alone with bones or other treats – choking is a real risk hazard and can be avoided if your pup is with you. Please like and share this with your dog community.

    Frozen Yogurt Pops for Dogs

    If your dog loves to chase ice cubes around the kitchen, then he’ll love this frozen treat. It's made from human grade ingredients and include fruit juice and carrots, which give your pup an added vitamin boost. Yogurt has calcium and protein, and can help your dog digest food.

        6 oz. container of plain, non-fat frozen yogurt
        1 cup of no-sugar added fruit juice
        1/2 cup of carrots, minced

       Add the yogurt, fruit juice, and carrots into a medium-sized bowl.
        Stir until the ingredients are smooth and well-blended.
        Drop the mixture into the ice cube trays by spoonful.
        Freeze until the ingredients are solid.

    Pro Tip:  Use hard plastic trays instead of the softer rubber ones to make the treats. The treats are easier to remove from a hard tray.

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    Doing It At The Dog Wash

    When do you wash your dog? Does she your smell? Have a matted coat? Many dog owners choose to take their dog to the groomer to be washed and scrubbed and given the grand spa treatment – however this can be costly . We found this helpful tip from Good Housekeeping on how to clean your own dog that we would like to share with you.

    1.Pick your location: sink or tub (line the bottom with a rubber mat), kiddie pool, or even on a leash in the backyard, where you can use the hose. Have treats handy to reward cooperation.

    2.Brush out his fur before wetting him. A drop of baby oil can loosen sticky snarls (from, say, tree sap).

    3.Next, sprinkle your dog with baking soda. The powder won’t harm his skin, and its deodorizing properties will freshen his coat — and neutralize the vinegary smell.

    4.Let him shake a few times (prompt him by blowing gently in his ear), then brush his fur again.

    It’s as easy as that to do a quick wash. Brushing your dog daily is good for their fur and can help keep the top coat clean.


    Turkey and Vegetable Dinner

    This basic dog food recipe includes turkey for protein and vegetables for added vitamins and minerals. Turkey has less fat than beef, making this an ideal recipe for pups that could stand to lose a few pounds.
    4 cups of water
    1 pound of ground turkey
    2 cups of brown rice
    1 cup of carrots, chopped
    1 cup of green beans, chopped
    1 tablespoon of fish oil (optional)

    Cook the ground turkey in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until the meat is cooked through.
    Add the brown rice, turkey, and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
    Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until the rice is soft and tender.
    Add the carrots and green beans and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
    Allow to cool before serving.
    Store extra dinners in the fridge for up to five days.

    Pro Tip: Avoid using heavy oil to brown the turkey. The high fat content of the oil may upset your dog’s stomach.

    Beef and Vegetable Balls

    Beef and Vegetable Balls

    Some dogs prefer meaty treats over sweet ones. These treats have a hearty meat flavor and good aroma that all dogs love. When I made these, my dog stood outside the oven door, not so patiently waiting for the treats to cool.

    2 6-ounce jars of organic beef and vegetable baby food
    1 cup of whole-wheat flour (or white substitute)
    2 cups of dry milk
    1 cup of water

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
    Drop the mixture onto a baking sheet in large spoonfuls.
    Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
    Allow to the treats to cool completely. Store leftover beef and vegetable balls
    in the fridge for up to five days.

    Pro Tip: These treats do not keep as well as others. Try cutting the recipe in half if you only have one dog.




    Pet Friendly Travel – To Bring Suzy Along or Not?

    Summer is here – we were planning our vacation and really hate kenneling our dog.  My husband said, why don’t we take little Suzy along with us – we’ve traveled with her in the past and she handled the road trip well, I said hmm let me get back to you on that.  Thinking more on it, there had to be some hotels near where we were going in Orlando that could accommodate dogs. A quick search revealed that there are many hotel chains that welcome your dog as well as your family. Here’s our top five picks:

    La Quinta

    La Quinta is one of the biggest chains that welcome dogs. With more than 800 U.S. locations the hotel allows up to two dogs or cats per room at no extra charge. The rates are good, and since there are other pets they often have areas nearby where you can walk and play with your pet.

    Loews Hotels and Resorts

    With hotels in 18 cities in the U.S. and Canada—Lowes has a pet program called Loews Loves Pets - Fees vary by hotel, but a one-time service fee of $25 is common. Amenities (for up to two pets per room) include pet mats, food and water bowls, treats, and beds. There's even a special pet room service menu with vet-and-chef-developed recipes for cats and dogs. This might be the best spa for Suzy and they have a location in Orlando!

    Best Western

    With more than 1,600 hotels that accommodate pets, Best Western is a leader in pet-friendly travel, This dog friendly favorite keeps costs low and options open. You can bring up two dogs (up to 80 pounds each) in each room Western hotels charge a maximum of $20 per day, with a maximum per-week charge of $100. Some properties also charge a refundable damage deposit. It’s not a bad deal considering what kennel’s cost these days.

    Fairmont Hotels and Resorts  

    Fairmont loves dogs so much, pet owners can bring their own four-legged best friends along wherever they go. Policies vary by property are well detailed on the site. For example, the Fairmont in Washington, D.C., says dogs stay free and are lavished with treats handmade by the hotel's Executive Pastry Chef, while at the Battery Wharf in Boston, pets under 25 pounds cost $25 and receive a pet bed and food and water bowls. Considering the Fairmont’s reputation and rewards programs, both you and your dog can live in luxury during your stay.  Did someone say massage?

    Red Roof Inn

    Red Roof Inn is a friend to pets. The hotel chain has 360 pet-friendly properties The chain doesn’t charge a nightly fee or deposit for doggy guests. It’s not a fancy as the others - You won't find pet concierges or doggie room service, but you will find a welcoming community of pet lovers.

    So, the decision was made. Suzy was coming along with us – the room was air-conditioned so we were able to leave her alone for a few hours (we left the TV on)  which turned out to be a much better experience for Suzy since the kennel and separation is often traumatic for all of  us and our family since our family stayed complete everyone was just a bit more peaceful and enjoyed the vacation.