8 Naughty Foods To Avoid Giving Your Dog During The Holidays!

The holidays are hectic. The shopping, the dinners, the packed living rooms and the variety of foods available, and the general sheer chaos of it all are a recipe for our pets to consume things they should not. Little fingers passing treats under the table and pups that help themselves to whatever drops to the floor can make your dog sick to her stomach, or worse.
The following foods, which can cause afflictions in dogs, ranging from mild tummy distress to death, are seemingly innocent and mild foods that might easily be considered harmless. This makes it all the more important that these foods stay on your radar.
Here are eight foods that dogs should not eat:
Chocolate
Luckily, many of us already know that chocolate is highly toxic for dogs. It’s the chemical theobromine that causes the distress. All types of chocolate are harmful. The worst offenders are dark chocolate, unsweetened baking chocolate, and chocolate mulch.
Coffee

Ok, so what dog is gonna drink coffee? Well, that would be our lab, Django. If you have a coffee cup, she will try to get in your lap and lick it every time. Large consumptions of any caffeine (including those in energy drinks, sodas, cocoa, and even some medications) can cause death. And there is no antidote for caffeine overdose.

Grapes

Seemingly harmless, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Even a small amount can make dogs sick. Repeated vomiting is a telltale sign.

Salt

Just like in humans, too much salt can cause heart, kidney, and liver problems in dogs. Dogs do not need additional salt added to their diet if they are consuming a nutritious dog food, which will already have a small amount of sodium included.
If your dog gets into a bag of chips or another salty snack, it’s OK, and there is no need to panic. Just replenish your dog’s water bowl to ensure that she has enough water to flush out the excess sodium. A dog would have to ingest a great amount of salt to get sodium iron poisoning.
Symptoms include excessive drinking, vomiting, and diarrhea. Too much sodium on a regular basis can also throw off a dog’s electrolyte balance.
Candy and Gum
…but probably not why your think. Any foods sweetened with xylitol can be damaging. Xylitol causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop and might also cause liver failure. As a result, many low-fat, diet snacks are off limits for dogs!
Macadamia Nuts
This seemingly natural food can be fatal to dogs. Just a few can make them sick, and if they eat cookies with chocolate in them, that ups the chance of the consumption being fatal.
Onions and Garlic
A little won’t do any long-term damage, but prolonged consumption of onions and garlic breaks down a dog’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

Yeast Dough

Just like in an oven, if it ends up in a dog’s tummy, it will rise and expand, causing your dog’s belly to swell — and experience a lot of pain. Oddly enough, when the yeast ferments the dough, it produces alcohol, which might also cause alcohol poisoning.
All dog owners want to safeguard their dog’s health, and accidental ingestion of harmful foods often occurs as an oversight. If your dog starts experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, panting, sluggishness, or just doesn’t seem right, please call your vet. It’s also a good idea to keep the phone number of your local, 24-hour emergency vet in a handy place in your home.

8 Doggy Tail Wags...And What They Mean!

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

Dogs are naturally expressive creatures, and that’s partly why they make such wonderful companions. From the way they bark, growl or hold their heads, you can pretty much judge how they are feeling or even sometimes, what mood they are in. Often, we can learn even more about our dogs just from the state of their tails.
Interestingly, a dog will not wag his/her tail when it is alone. Tail wagging, according to researchers, is a behavior that takes place exclusively when around others.
A dog’s tail is an appendage of the vertebral column, and they typically contain between six and 23 mobile vertebrae. The direction in which they wag their tail is directed by either side of the brain, and depends on the dominant side of the brain in each individual dog. Moreover, how they move and hold their tails says a lot.
Keep in mind that herding dogs move their tails less when working. As a whole, herding dogs also hold their tails lower than other groups of dogs. The reasoning behind this is so wagging tails will not become a distraction for the sheep or cattle that the dog is herding. So while their tails still do exhibit informative information, their movement may be subtler.
Here are some common canine emotions (complete with tail wags) and what they mean for their owners:
Happy: Waving back and forth, or curled up high
Ashamed: Tail is down as far as it can go without curling, head is probably in the same state
Scared: Tail curls between their legs
In Love: Waves back so excitedly you can barely get a full glimpse because it goes that fast. (I witnessed this last week with my own pup who fell head over heels for Henry, the Golden Retriever on our corner.)
Relaxed: Just laying out, not placed on any side purposely, otherwise known as go-with-the-flow tail
Alert: Straight up in the air
Interested: Horizontal to the ground
Beware of the tail wag that is a little too excited because many dogs have been known to bite while wagging their tails. When sizing up a dog you don’t know, it’s best to pay attention to the complete body language and not just the tail. If their ears are back and teeth are showing, they are probably exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Of course, a dog’s tail is used for more important reasons than reading their moods. All dogs use their tails for equilibrium. More specifically, herding dogs, like Border Collies rely on their tails to help them keep balance as they make turns while herding sheep. Similarly, Labrador Retrievers use their tail to help them swim, maintain their balance in the water, and stay on course as they reach their destination.

Doggone Cute: 11 Dogs in Holiday Hats (Photos)


I admit that I enjoy receiving holiday cards with adorable puppies and dogs more than I do those with children. Is that terrible?

The fact is that I just cannot resist a cute pup dressed up for the holidays.

Last year, we dressed up our black lab, Django and our chihuahua, Hayley for Santa. The results were sickeningly cute. Having been there, done that with the kids’ holiday photo cards for years, we made some doggie cards last year.

As I got to thinking of what we would do with our pups this year in terms of pictures, I realized how instantly I can become engrossed in holiday doggie photos, and decided to do a round-up of dogs waiting for Christmas and Hanukkah.

Decked out in their favorite hats (and other gear), they are pretty gracious models (and I did already say how hideously cute they were, right?).
I'm rocking this Santa hat on one ear. 
Image: Flickr/ dee_r

I promise I won't knock over the Menorah this year. 
Image: Flickr/ druid labs

4 Easy Ways To Help Animals This Holiday Season



Whether you’re giving a gift or giving back, check out the below list for some great ways to help our furry and feathered friends this holiday season, courtesy of the ASPCA:

Adopt, Don’t Shop
Make adoption your first option this holiday season! Avoid buying anything from pet stores that sell puppies because most of them come from puppy mills. Search for local adoptable animals.

Help Local Shelters
Help your local shelter by volunteering your time or finding out what supplies they need. You can also win a grant for your local shelter by entering our "Home for the Holidays" contest with Dogist and Subaru.