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Cruisin' Canines

How to Choose the Best Dog Treats

  It can be difficult to find a good dog treat. At most pet stores, they take up a full aisle, so it can be overwhelming looking at the different packages and trying to make the best choice for your pet. Treats can be given for training or for rewards, and it’s important to be sure that you’re giving your dog something that won’t be too unhealthy—after all, you wouldn’t eat a dozen cookies in one day, would you? 1) Check the Ingredients Make sure that treats you’re considering aren’t made with a lot of fat or sugar—instead, check for whole grains and a single source of protein, for instance.  Oats and chicken or lamb are good for treats, and filler ingredients shouldn’t be non-nutritious things. 2) Watch the Calories Even with treats that are made with high-quality ingredients, you need to be mindful of the amount of calories that are in each one, particularly if you’re using them as training treats and giving your dog multiple treats in one go. If you’re giving biscuits, they can really add up and in just a short amount of time cause your dog to gain a lot of weight. 3) Avoid Table Scraps Table scraps might be what your dog seeks out most, but they’re not very healthy—they can be high in calories, fat and sodium, and they should only be given table scraps on special occasions—most experts say never to do so, but if we’re being realistic, sooner or later you’ll want to give your pooch a piece of chicken or steak. 4) Vegetables Are Great One way to avoid having to worry about picking out treats is to simply cut up some veggies and use those as treats. Many dogs like carrots, so you can cut up some carrots into small bites (just make sure they won’t choke on them), or try out bell peppers. Make sure that you aren’t giving them anything dangerous, though—dogs aren’t supposed to eat certain foods like avocados, grapes, potatoes, mushrooms, and most tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.). Vegetable scraps and chunks can be a great alternative to processed/packaged treats, and they’re low in calories and high in nutrients. Keeping your dog healthy is part of the responsibilities of being a dog owner. Like you would with your diet, make sure to pay attention to what you’re feeding your pet so that they don’t consume too many calories.

Don’t Let the Cold Weather Make Your Dog Fat

  When it gets cold outside, it can be understandably more difficult to find the motivation to take your dog on longer walks. You’re cold, they’re cold, and even with the cutest dog sweaters and jackets available, it’s still no fun being outside for any length of time. While it’s fine to shorten your dog walks a bit, it’s important to make sure that the winter weather doesn’t give cause for your pooch to make a New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym. Check out these helpful tips for keeping your dog’s beach body afloat all year long. 1) Play Fetch Inside Making your pet run the length of your house is an easy way to get them to burn off some energy (and calories) even when they’re not outside. If your dog isn’t great at playing fetch, you might have to get their toys for them in the beginning. You can train them to fetch using treats, but don’t go overboard, because then you’re back at square one. 2) Check to See if Your Neighborhood Has an Indoor Play Space Some cities and neighborhoods have indoor spots for dogs and their owners to gather so that the dogs can get some exercise and socialization without having to endure the cold. Find out if your town has one of these, and if so, take advantage of it (but only if your dog is good around other dogs, obviously). 3) Consider Doggy Daycare In a similar vein to indoor play spaces, you might want to consider dropping your pet off at a doggy daycare once or twice a week. This will not only keep them socialized and tired from playing, but they’ll get to run around all day and burn off some of that excess energy. 4) Hire a Dog Walker for More Walks If you’re not interested in full-day doggy daycare, another option to consider is bringing on a dog walker once a day or a couple times a week. This way, your dog can still enjoy outside time, but you won’t have to freeze out there with them. Most dog walking services, including Cruisin’ Canines, set up routine walks with your dog so that they can get regular exercise. 5) Feed Them Slightly Less Of course, like with humans, dogs can adjust their diet in accordance with activity level. Look at it like this: if you were training for a marathon, it would be fine to eat a few hundred extra calories a day. However, if you finished the marathon and stopped running altogether but kept up that diet, you’d gain weight. The same can be said for dogs—when they’re not walking as much, you can cut back on how much you’re feeding them. For instance, if they typically get a half cup every morning and night, cut it back by a few tablespoons per day—not enough to make your dog feel truly hungry, but just a few bites less to curb the difference from having shorter walks. Keeping your dog in good shape is essential for their overall health, not to mention better on their joints (and hey, it could save you a few bucks on their food over the next few months). Follow these tips and you’ll be worrying about how to avoid getting wet from spring showers in no time.

November Dog of the Month is

Pilgrim! Well, howdy there! My name is Pilgrim, and I’m a 4-month-old White Shepherd-Husky mix. The nice humans at PAWS called me John Wayne, but after my mom and dad took me home, they began calling me Pilgrim in a silly cowboy voice. I love to run, play and burrow into soft things (including crotches). I love to play with other dogs, but I’m still learning how to hang out with my feline roommates, Pica and Pixel. I also have a friend named Philip, who walks me twice a day and leaves notes for my parents that make them smile.

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