Sadie’s Valentine Angel

SADIE’S VALENTINE ANGEL

Kathleene Baker has allowed us to share a favorite Valentine’s Day memory, based on an event in her life that she will never forget.

“I was finishing lunch at our local restaurant, when a scruffy, poorly dressed fellow entered and approached the clerk at the counter, apparently asking for some sort of handout. When speaking, he glanced out the front window several times, which motivated me to do the same. He wasn’t alone. He had two companions outside, one a terribly thin dog.

After a few minutes, the man at the table next to mine got up and walked to the counter. “I want to order a couple big broiled chicken breasts for that poor dog out there, and bag up a couple of to-go meals for the dog’s owners.” The chicken was ready before the meals, and the stranger grabbed the chicken and headed outdoors. Being curious, I hustled outside and lingered by my car. The aroma of chicken had the dog’s tail wagging…actually her entire body wagged.

Her new- found friend offered small bites while stroking her lackluster, drab coat. “Her name is Sadie,” said the caregiver. “She’s a real good dog…We found her roaming the streets, and she just kind of took to us. My name is Ed. The guy inside is my brother, Charles.”

Sadie was obviously in need of the chicken she was smelling…I wondered how long it had been since she had enjoyed a full tummy. Then out walked Charles with the to-go meats, and both men got teary-eyed as they expressed thanks. “You know we love Sadie. She is all we have and we try our best to care for her. You know, we took her from the animal shelter because she was pregnant when she found us. They said they would find homes for the puppies, but Sadie was old and wasn’t likely to be adopted. We couldn’t stand to think they might put her down, so we went back and got her. We are a family.”

The generous stranger looked at them, and said, “I’ll make a deal with you. When you can’t feed Sadie, she will have a running tab at this café. All you need to do is tell them that Sadie needs a chicken breast. “ He pulled a card from his pocket, “and I know the managers at the shelter down the street that offers aid to both men and their pets. You go down and give them this card, okay?”

Tears welled up in the eyes of both men, as they knelt and wrapped their arms around the skinny old dog. “And,” continued the stranger, “perhaps they can help you until you get on your feet again.. I will be getting reports from the folks who work there, They’ll be watching out for all three of you.”

I climbed into my car and dried my eyes as I watched the benefactor walk back inside, where, through the window, I good see him speaking with the manager, who was nodding his head, and shaking hands with Sadie’s Valentine Angel.

May the spirit of love and compassion make you someone’s Valentine angel.

Too Cold for Man or Beast

Bitterly cold temperatures, frigid winds, and major snow storms have hit us hard in Iowa. As tough as this weather is on humans, it can be even tougher on our pets. Stephanie Shain of HSUS stresses that if it is too cold for you to be outdoors, it is too cold for your animals. “Just because they have fur coats doesn’t mean that they can endure cold weather. If you are uncomfortable, so are they. NO dog should be kept outside when the temperatures drop below freezing. Animals are vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia in less than an hour of exposure.” It is important to keep our four-footed friends warm and safe, by following a few common sense suggestions.

  • Walks should be brief, and in frigid weather limited to “taking care of outside business.”
  • Dogs should NEVER be left outdoors or in unheated areas.
  • Salt used on icy roads and sidewalks can cause a dog’s pads to become dry, cracked, and painfully sore. Dogs can also get ice stuck between their toes, which can cause significant discomfort and sometimes, frostbite. Cleaning your pet’s paws is imperative when he comes in from a walk outside. Carefully snip the tufts of hair between your dog’s toes, to help prevent ice balls from forming. Add a layer of protection to his footpads before heading out. A thin layer of aloe or petroleum jelly provides a protective layer and are safe, even if your dog licks his feet. The oil helps keep ice and snow from clumping in between the toes.
  • Give your dog a little extra food during cold weather. They need more energy in the winter than they do in the summer.
  • When refilling your car’s radiator, be sure to clean up any spilled antifreeze. Ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that appeals to dogs. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and other household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol. It costs a little more, but is not so toxic to pets and children.
  • If it is necessary to bathe a dog in winter, turn up the heat in your home, keep baths short, dry him quickly, and keep him warm until totally dry.
  • Prevent static electricity and dry skin by operating a humidifier. The forced dry air that heats our homes tends to cause humans to get chapped lips and dry hands, and also causes dogs’ coats to dry out and become itchy. A humidifier is beneficial for the entire household.
  • Use space heaters with caution. These auxiliary heat sources can cause burns or even house fires if bumped over. There are quartz infrared portable heaters with much better safety records than most portable heaters, and they produce safe, clean, economical heat. Do some careful research before you purchase one!
  • Please get involved if you see a neglected animal. Urge people to bring their dogs inside. If you meet with resistance, alert the authorities. Concerned neighbors are often the only hope for these poor animals.

 

Winter: Our Weather is Frightful!

Winter has definitely arrived, and it is EXTREMELY cold this year in Iowa, with snow already piled high in many places. Even though we enjoy looking at the “Winter Wonderland”, this season of freezing temperatures and numbing wetness poses many dangers for our four footed companions. Please follow some common sense rules to help your pets remain happy and healthy during these cold months.

  • Do NOT leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. I receive regular calls regarding dogs tied outside during this cold winter weather. We discourage tethering dogs in any weather, but it is especially dangerous this time of year. Dogs left out in the cold too long can get frostbite and hypothermia just as humans do. Responsible dog caregivers do NOT leave their dogs outside in the cold. While dogs may possess some natural protection against winter weather, Iowa’s variety of bitter elements can jeopardize any pet’s health and safety. Even with temps above freezing, the wind chill can still threaten a pet’s life. If you don’t want a dog in the main part of your house, surely there is a heated area that could be kid-gated where he could spend his day in warm comfort. If he has behavioral problems, the solution is not to banish him to the back yard, but to spend time training him. Dogs are usually willing to comply to house rules IF they understand what the rules are. Remember that good caregivers have good dogs! If you absolutely refuse to let your dog into the house, at least fix up a warm corner on the porch, basement, or garage, use plenty of blankets to provide a barrier from cold floors, and provide him a warm, cozy “den”. There are many small, safe heaters that can be used to warm his den. (Don’t keep pets in unheated areas!)
  • A little extra food is usually recommended in cold weather, and fresh water is an absolute necessity…ice and snow are NOT acceptable substitutes. Your dog needs clean, fresh water available at all times. He will also appreciate a few extra chew toys and other playthings so he isn’t tempted to turn to the furniture or your shoes out of boredom!
  • Shelters are already getting complaints about Christmas puppies. Puppies do not tolerate the cold well, and we admit that it is difficult to house train a puppy during the winter. If you recall, we strongly advised against giving puppies as Christmas gifts, but if you did get one, it is now your responsibility to train him. Your dog may feel it’s more convenient to use the floor or carpet, but you can curb this with a regular outdoor comfort-station schedule in which you GO OUT WITH him first thing in the morning, several times during the day, and last thing at night. You made a commitment (and it isn’t the dog’s fault that the weather is lousy!)
  • If you see an animal shivering out in the cold, don’t just ignore him. Perhaps his caregiver doesn’t even realize the dangers, and ignorance is curable by education. Avoid being belligerent or accusatory, but politely explain the dangers. If the friendly approach is unsuccessful, notify the authorities. It is Iowa law that animals be provided ADEQUATE shelter, fresh water (not ice) and fresh food. When you report to the animal control authorities, it is important that you calmly, coherently give brief, specific facts. Exact address of the dog is needed, and it is best to have written documentation of the problem. The authorities are very busy, so sometimes you need to be persistent. If the situation does not improve, report again…and again…and again. A dog’s life may depend on your intervention.

AS I LAY DYING is an observation shared by Patti Ragsdale which I was asked to repeat.

As I lay dying in a pile of ice and snow, I felt a hand touch my matted coat, and saw an angel looking down at me.

As gentle hands stroked my fur, I wondered if I had died, released from the never ending agony of chains, neglect, and loneliness.

The human angel gently lifted me from the cold frozen ground, bathed my skinny, dirty, body and treated all the wounds and sores.

Her soft touch, kind word, and warm blanket overshadowed the years of suffering when no one cared.

I am no longer lonely and frightened. I am loved.

It’s No Happy New Year for Many Dogs

Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

If you drive around your neighborhood, you will see many chained up dogs shivering in the cold. Winter weather means extra hardship for ‘backyard” dogs, and, as responsible pet caregivers, we acknowledge that it is inhumane treatment, but we seem to just look the other way and are silent. These dogs suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration, and often have nowhere to go to escape the cold and snow. Why do so many dogs end up at the end of a chain? There are many excuses. Animals are still considered property in the eyes of the law, and some caregivers view their dogs as “possessions” to do with as they please. Others just shrug and say that people have always kept dogs that way. Some simply don’t want the animal in the house and resort to a chain to prevent him from running away. Most have tired of the responsibility of adequately caring for a dog or are not willing to deal with a behavior problem, and have simply relegated him to the outdoors—tied or penned up. There are thousands of chained dogs in this country who exist with deprivation and loneliness. Let’s begin the New Year by breaking our silence about all the chained and penned up dogs. Lori Oswald tells this true story of a backyard dog.

Donovan was not a special dog. He never pulled a child from in front of an oncoming car; he didn’t win a ribbon in a dog show; he was quite an ordinary dog. His owners could be considered quite ordinary too…a nice family with two children, who decided fourteen years earlier to get a dog. A dog would be fun. So one day, perhaps at a shopping center giveaway, or maybe from the pet section of the local ads, they found Donovan, and brought him home. At first the kids were excited, but the newness soon wore off. Dad build a small house and they staked him outside with a chain attached to it, agreeing that he would be “just fine” outside. I never met Donovan. Although I regularly visited his house, I never even knew he existed. He lived 24/7 on a six foot chain, digging holes for entertainment, watching as life passed him by. Mom assured everyone that he was “well cared for.” For 14 years Donovan lived out back on his chain, hungering for a little attention and affection. One day he finally escaped his little world on a chain and holes and dog house—he died. Donovan, unfortunately, is not a fictional character. Neither are his owners. They have been looking around for another dog. “We sure miss Donovan,” they lament.

How many Donovans are in your neighborhood? It’s no Happy New Year for dogs on chains, and it is up to us to break our silence and say “NO! It is not okay to allow dogs to be tethered for extended periods of time.” A dog is a pack animal and needs to be treated as part of the family.

 

A New Year. A Fresh Start

Most of us have made New Year’s lists of good intentions…which we usually quickly forget.   We really do plan to eat healthier, exercise more, and clean out our closets.   Overworked, overstressed, and always in a hurry, we seem to regret the past and worry about the future, rather than savoring the moment.   There is a lesson to be learned from our four-footed friends as legendary Field And Stream writer Gene Hill says in his piece, “Just My Dog”:

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds.  He has told me a thousand times that I am his reason for being, by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile, by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him.  (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.)  When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.  When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.  When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.  When I am a fool, he enjoys it; when I succeed, he brags.  Without him, I am only a man.   With him, I am all-powerful.  He has taught me so much, including the meaning of devotion.  With him, I know a secret comfort and private peace.  He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.  His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.  His presence by my side is protection against my fears.  He has promised to wait for me…whenever…wherever…just in case I need him.  And I expect I will, as I always have.

Here are a few resolutions that would benefit your dog;

*Daily walks are good for both you and your dog.  Don’t walk the same path every day; canines need to smell  new scents, mark their territory, and discover new things.  It also gives you the opportunity to clear your own head, and forget your schedule, your cell phones and all the activities of the day.   Focus on the moment.

*Many dogs need a professional groomer’s touch once in a while, but you can certainly do regular brushing and maintenance.   If your dog smells bad, it’s time for a bath.  Hopefully you have access to a deep sink, or even a tub, and a place to keep shampoos, conditioners, combs clippers, and towels.

*A scrambled egg is a healthy addition to your pet’s diet…raw carrots are always a good treat.  Forget the unhealthy, commercial treats.  Here’s an easy-to-make recipe for homemade biscuits:

Mix 1 egg,  ½ cup of water, 2 ½ cups flour, ½ cup non-fat dry milk powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 5 tablespoons of margarine.  Knead the mixture until the dough forms a ball.  Pinch off small pieces, and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.   Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dogs love to be included as family, as Donna Hughes explains:

You’re going to the mailbox to drop some letters there……It won’t take long; it’s no big deal.

                Hey, I know—I’ll come too.

                You’re filling up the feeders for the birds in the yard; you don’t need help…it isn’t hard,

                But why don’t I come too?

                You’re driving to Gramma’s house for New Year’s Day…the roads are jammed; the traffic crazy.

                Don’t worry…I’ll come too.

                Your cold is getting worse, and you are sneezing up a storm…

                That cough is bad; you need some rest….to bed now; I’ll come too.

Another quote by Gene Hill:  No one can fully understand the meaning of love unless he is owned by a dog!    A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail  than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.

Let’s resolve to make this the very best year ever, filled with peace, love, and joy for both the four-footed and two-footed.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

I’ll Always Be With You

I’LL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU.

Hopefully, all of you dog lovers are also friends with Winnie the Pooh …

not a dog but with the same endearing characteristics of dogs.

“Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too” is truly a golden oldie…

a 1991 Christmas television special based on the Disney television series,

and TV Guide ranked the special number 6 on its l0 Best Family Holiday Specials list.

Two days before Christmas, Christopher Robin writes a letter to Santa Claus

, asking for a few presents, and sends the letter off into the wind, but on Christmas Eve,

since Winnie the Pooh did not ask for anything for himself, they retrieve the letter,

and rewrite it to include Pooh’s present, a pot of honey.

They cast the letter intothe wind again, but the wind shifts,

and they are afraid that Santa will never receive the letter.

Pooh decides that they must take things into their own hands

to make sure gifts are delivered.

Pooh sneaks out and delivers Tigger, Rabbit, and Eeyore

a super-bouncer barrel, a bug sprayer, and a mobile home, respectively,

or rather handmade versions of the said items that break apart upon use.

Pooh finally decides to try to deliver the letter to Santa himself,

telling the gang that it would be worth missing Christmas

if he could “bring Christmas” to them. He does not get far, though

, as the wind suddenly takes the letter, so he gives up. At the Christmas tree,

Pooh’s friends bemoan that spending time with him at Christmas

is more important than getting any gifts, just as Pooh reunites with them.

Christopher Robin shows up on his new sled and brings them all the gifts

they had originally asked for. They celebrate together.

One of my very favorite Pooh quotes is “If there is ever a tomorrow

when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember….

you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think….but the most important thing is,

even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”

 

Old Jake’s Christmas Wish

With Christmas coming, it is a very common request for a child or even teen to request a “puppy” for a gift, but are you ready for life after the puppy stages? The average dog lives for a dozen years…are you ready to commit for twelve years?. Will you have a child and still have enough time to care for your dog and the baby? Will you be moving in the next 12 years. Will your next home be pet friendly?. These are just a few questions you need to consider before you decide to adopt a super sweet, totally dependent, puppy as a Christmas gift. When you get a puppy, it will pee and poop in the house. They will chew toys, carpet, anything around because they are not trained. Would you bring a newborn baby home and get angry when he has accidents? You have to expect accidents with a puppy. They cannot train themselves.. training is your responsibility. The arrival of a dog changes a household considerably…for years. Someone has to be responsible for their daily needs—feeding, exercise, health care, grooming. The decision should be thought about, talked about and negotiated, and a new dog doesn’t necessarily have to be a puppy. There are many older dogs who would make wonderful companions. Old dogs like Jake have a special sort of dignity and charm all their own, if only they are given a chance.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the pound

Not a creature was stirring, except one lonely old hound.

His dim eyes could see the shelter was decorated in holiday trim

And poor old Jake kept waiting for a visit from Him.

All of his friends had found a new home,

Except for old Jake, all cold and alone.

But Jake knew it was Christmas, the gift-giving season;

He hoped his friends were placed for the appropriate reason.

He had seen it before, the holiday gift…

A new dog at Christmas….gave everyone a life.

But a dog isn’t a gift; it’s a lifetime commitment..

The dog that on Christmas who brought so much joy,

Ends up tossed aside, like an old worn-out toy.

The dog becomes a problem; they don’t want it around,

And often the Christmas pup ends up back in the pound.

The night grew colder, and no one came.

Who would want an old dog, all crippled and lame?.

So Jake closed his eyes and drifted to sleep

It was a good nap, all peaceful and deep.

Jake didn’t wake up that Christmas Eve night,

But he had found his new home…everything was right.

He was in his eternal home, where he was loved, he knew.

Old Jake’s Christmas wish had finally come true.

 

IF YOU CAN’T COMMIT, PLEASE DON’T GET A DOG!

Holiday Traditions Pose Hazards for Our Dogs

Many of our holiday traditions can pose serious threats to the well-being of our pets. As you begin to prepare for the festive season, be aware of activities that can be potentially dangerous to our four-footed friends.

‘Tis definitely the season for overeating, but it is important to keep your dog on a normal diet. Don’t give your pets holiday leftovers, and keep them out of the garbage. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages, and greasy, spicy and fatty foods can give your dog indigestion and diarrhea.

If you serve adult holiday beverages, be sure that alcoholic drinks are always out of reach of curious paws. If ingested, your dog can suffer severe damage, and possibly go into a coma, resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Be careful with holiday floral arrangements. Lilies can cause serious digestive problems, and common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can be potentially toxic. Should a dog (or cat) eat mistletoe, there is a strong likelihood that he will suffer gastrointestinal upset. Holly can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy if ingested.

Traditional tree decorations such as ribbons or tinsel, if ingested, can become lodged in the intestines and cause an obstruction. Take care to prevent your pets from having access to glass ornaments, wires, and cords from holiday decorations. Keep fragile ornaments toward the top if the tree, because, If chewed, such ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, while a wire can deliver a potentially fatal electrical shock.

Several popular holiday treats are toxic to dogs. Many candies and other desserts contain the sweetener xylitol which is poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause abnormal heart rate/rhythm, and even seizures. Be sure to dispose of candy wrappers carefully, because ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.

Be sure to cover the Christmas tree water. Stagnant tree water can act as a breeding ground for bacteria, and if ingested, a pet could end up with abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Remember that a dog will quickly know if a gift contains something edible, even if the humans don’t. Ask your guests in advance if there is food inside the presents, and keep them out of paws’ reach.

PLEASE do not even consider giving a puppy as a holiday gift. Usually giving a puppy for emotional reasons turns out badly. Love is not the problem because everyone loves a puppy, but people need to have some basic knowledge about the commitment and responsibility of caring for a pet. Accept the same philosophy as adopting a child. You don’t just give a kid away. Everyone must understand the responsibility of caring for a child, and the same holds true with a dog. A dog is not for Christmas; it is for life, and the holiday season is a busy time. We have all seen the ads depicting adorable puppies with red bows…Adorable? Absolutely. But in real life the holidays are not a great time to introduce a new puppy into the family.

The first few days with a pup are important, and it’s difficult to give a new dog the attention she deserves when everyone’s focus is on the big holiday. Puppies need lots of help at first to understand rules, and in a busy home, visitors are coming and going and doors opened to welcome guests make it easy for a pup to slip out unnoticed.

If you decide to give your family a puppy, please don’t take her home amidst the holiday excitement. Instead, wrap up a collar, dog dish, some puppy toys, and maybe a photo of the pup, and put those under the tree. Then wait until the festivities are over to actually bring the new puppy into your home. This accomplishes the puppy surprise, but allows time to make your home puppy safe, and give your new pup the attention she’ll need to adjust. Most of all, be committed to a LIFE LONG relationship

No Holiday Puppies

Surprising your family or friend with an adorable puppy for Christmas may seem like a perfect gift, but is it really? NO. animals should never be given as impulsive gifts, and the holidays are probably the worst time to bring a dog into your home and life. New puppies and dogs require extra attention and a stable environment which the holiday season does not allow caring for a dog’s round-the -clock care.

A dog is not a toy that can be returned or discarded, and the result of making the wrong choice when selecting a living being as a gift is often tragic. No matter how much you think your loved one would enjoy this “surprise”, you should never presume to make this decision for another person.. A dog is another family member and requires a lifelong commitment, so lifestyle, time, and financial resources are important considerations.

Most professional organizations recommend you give a “puppy gift package” instead of a live pup with a gift certificate entitling the recipient to a “dog of your choice”, a crate, gift certificates for a vet check up or dog toys, bowls, leash, books about dog care, or puppy socialization classes—be creative and have fun. Then if you discover on Christmas morning that the idea of the responsibility for a dog is definitely not wanted, all the items can be returned or donated to a local shelter or rescue group.

The new caregiver must be ready to make a commitment for the animal’s entire lifetime, and be prepared to accept the responsibilities that come with their new family member. Pets are forever and it is important to understand that dogs take time and commitment as shown in this Pet Promise:

  • I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being and recognize that my dog’s well-being is totally dependent on me.
  • I will ensure that my dog has current identification, including collar tags, and tattoo or microchip ID.
  • I will always provide fresh water and good quality food for him.
  • I will socialize my dog by exposing her to new people, places, and other dogs.
  • I will be responsible to keep him clean and well groomed.
  • I will teach him basic training rules, including sit, stay, and come when called.
  • I will take her to the vet for all needed vaccinations, and regular dental checks. I will regularly do home all-body checks, looking for any bumps or lumps, or changes in either physical appearance or behavior.
  • I will provide both adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation.
  • In good times and bad, in sickness and health, I accept the responsibility and privilege to care for him, and spend time with him.

A dog is a “forever” dog, not an “until you get bored with me” not until circumstances change, you have a baby, you have to move, or you have no time, A dog is forever….if you can’t promise forever, don’t get a dog.

 

The Season for Caring and Sharing

‘Tis the season for caring and sharing, with the holiday season definitely in full swing, which means an over abundance of rich foods, many of which are not healthy for our four-legged friends …..actually many of them are not healthy for two-legs either, but we won’t dwell on that (or the fact that we stuffed ourselves at Thanksgiving)!

Holiday staples that are hazardous to pets include your turkey, which is usually basted in tasty herbs and spices that would likely upset her stomach. The fatty skin, and added salty brine isn’t good for her. Resist her begging looks and don’t share more than a small, (very small), bit of turkey breast, or you risk causing a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas which requires immediate medical attention. .

When the turkey is gone, the bones that remain are NOT good chew toys ….they are brittle choking hazards that usually splinter if chewed. Be mindful of any bones on the table, kitchen counter, or trash, so your inquisitive pooch doesn’t make himself a bone buffet.

What do you put in your stuffing? This is a dish that usually includes some onions, mushrooms, garlic, and butter, none of which your dog should have. And then there’s the gravy, often loaded with garlic, onions, spices and herbs that are not safe for dogs. Since garlic is a member of the onion family (as far as dogs are concerned), garlic bread is also a no-no for them Sausage also contains onions, garlic, and other spices harmful to a dog’s health.

Raisins should never be given as a treat, and fruit with seeds or pits should be avoided, because they inflame the intestines. No plums, peaches, or grapes either!

If you bake for the holidays, it is important to NOT leave yeast dough on the counter unattended. Dogs will eat anything, and if yeast dough sits in his stomach, it can expand due to the warm, moist environment which can cause stomach upset, bloat, and twisting of the stomach. Yeast dough which ferments in the stomach can morph into alcohol and carbon dioxide which can become toxic very quickly as it is rapidly absorbed into the dog’s G.I. tract.

Most cooks know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but dogs are curious creatures, and can often snag a chuck of chocolate off the table or counter. Theobromine and caffeine are two components in chocolate that stimulate the nervous system and cause severe symptoms.

Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute used in a ton of products, including baked goods, some peanut butters, gums, mints, chewable vitamins Life threatening conditions can result when ingested by dogs,

Both pumpkin and sweet potatoes are good for dogs, but at the holiday season, many people add cinnamon and nutmeg to their pumpkin or sweet potato dishes. Not good for the dogs!

Dogs shouldn’t be eating desert anyway, but some are worse than others. Pecan pie contains nuts which can cause muscle spasms and weakness of the legs, and is also loaded with sugar, nutmeg, and other not-so-dog friendly ingredients. (Nutmeg is added to many holiday desserts and is toxic to our canine companions.) Walnuts and macadamia nuts should be kept out of paw’s reach..

You certainly don’t intend to feed your dog rotted, moldy food, but trashcans are treasure cans for canines. Your overflowing trashcan can contain moldy foods that produce harmful mycotoxins, which can do serious damage to your dog’s health.

If you serve alcoholic beverages, keep them away from your dog. Accidental ingestion can cause severe coma, slowed respiration, and a life-threateningly low blood sugar in your dog.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian right away, but prevention is a better solution. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!!