Holiday Stress and your Dog


holiday dog photo

The holidays are a busy time of year at most households.  It can also be a bit stressful for both you and your dog. Usual routines get interrupted by more frequent comings and goings with holiday shopping, parties and festivities.  Cold, snowy days and shorter daylight hours might interrupt your usual walk routines and suddenly there is a big tree in the house that your dog isn’t supposed to touch.

As you are planning your family’s holiday activities, be aware that your dog might be feeling a little left out or stressed.  If you can, take time to do something special with your dog, even if it’s just making time to snuggle and give extra belly rubs.

If you are simply too busy to slow down with a full-time job, shopping, wrapping gifts, school concerts and so on, consider taking your dog to daycare.  Doggie daycare is perfect for days when you are running around like crazy and your dog is feeling neglected. Signs of your dog’s stress might manifest and him acting a bit sad and gloomy, excessive chewing or destroying things, when he’s never exhibited that behavior before, excessive barking or trying to get your attention or clinging super tight to you staying as close as he can as you move from one room to the next.

Be sure to also let your dog know how much you love him.  Nothing shows your love more than time spent together, so when time allows you to be focused on your special pooch, do something you will both cherish. Take a walk together to see the lights in your neighborhood, book a training class together that is essentially scheduled together time of working to understand each other, do some FitPAWS sessions together.

Each year together is a blessing and time is a fleeting thing.  We all get busy during this time of year that is about celebrating life, love and family.  Light a candle, take a breath and take in all that you love.

From my heart to yours, may you and all creatures great and small, have a joyous holiday season.

Thanksgiving with your Dog

Thanksgiving Dog Image

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday to bring family and friends together. With a little planning, your fur baby can enjoy the celebration too.

If you are cooking a plain turkey at home, there’s no reason your dog can’t enjoy a little of the meat along with you! In Chinese Medicine, turkey is a neutral to cool food, which is especially great for older dogs or those who have a Yin deficiency.

To make sure your dog does not suffer from intestinal upset, be sure you bake your turkey without lathering on all of the butter, oil and seasonings.  That’s where some problems could begin.  If you do season your bird keep it simple and don’t feed the skin to your dog.  The fat content of the skin could lead to pancreatitis and seasonings could possibly irritate your dog’s digestive system.

Sitting around the table, make sure that no one slips your dog a cooked turkey bone. Poultry bones become very brittle when cooked and are small in size, which spells disaster for your dog who could suffer from an obstruction, choking, bone fragments piercing the lining of the stomach or intestines, constipation, rectal bleeding or a blockage that requires emergency surgery.  Scary stuff!!  So never feed cooked poultry bones!!

You’ll also want to bypass the stuffing when sharing your turkey with your dog.  Stuffing often includes onions which are toxic and that means onion powder too.

Green bean casserole wouldn’t be a good choice for your dog, but chopped up steamed green beans would be great!  A little plain baked sweet potato, not the yams covered in butter and marshmallows are another great addition to your dog’s thanksgiving plate.  When cooking cranberries, you could always cook just a little tiny bit in plain water minus the sugar to let your dog have a teaspoon with dinner.

When it comes time for pie, your dog could enjoy a tablespoon of plain baked pumpkin without all the spices.

If you prefer to give your dog a canned food, Merrick has a recipe called Thanksgiving Day Dinner. It has turkey, sweet potato, carrots, apples and green beans.

Not everyone is able to bring their dog along if going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving and that usually means several hours of your dog being home alone.  Make sure you do something nice together before you have to leave the house.  Take a longer walk than you usually do together, play a little extra ball… do something out of the ordinary that makes the day special.

Most importantly take the time to give thanks for your wonderful companion and the life you share together. Pets are family and the holidays are for us to share together.  Just keep plan ahead and keep them safe.  You’ll have a wonderful memory to cherish always.

Halloween Ideas for You and Your Dog

Dog-O-Lantern photo
Halloween Dog-O-Lantern Fun!

Everyone loves seeing their dog all dressed up in a cute Halloween costume.  There are so many adorable costumes out there, who can resist taking photos and sharing them on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are looking for a few more ideas to celebrate Halloween with your dog, here are a few additional ideas to try:


Carve Breed Specific Jack-O-Lanterns using a doggie face stencil.  Better Homes and Gardens has some adorable stencils you can download for free.   There are lots of breeds to choose from or if you are skilled at drawing,  try your hand at making your own.

Keep it pet-safe and use a mini LED light inside instead of a candle inside.

Bake Pumpkin Dog Treats for your pooch and his friends. Here’s a recipe combining the goodness of pumpkin, oats and coconut that we love!


1 ½ c    rolled oats

¼ c       unsweetened all-natural coconut chips (not the sweetened shredded kind with nothing added)

¼  c      creamy peanut butter (make sure it does not contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs and is found in sugar free items.  Some good brands to choose are Earth Balance, Simple Truth, MaraNatha)

½ c       pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, but make sure nothing is added)

½ tsp   cinnamon

½ tsp    baking powder

1             egg


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with wax paper.

Combine oat and coconut in mini food processor. Pulse for 30-45 seconds then place in a bowl

Add cinnamon and baking powder to the oat and coconut mixture

Mix together the peanut butter, pumpkin puree and egg and add to the dry ingredients.

Roll out ½ inch thick.

Cut with cookie cutters.  Bones, pumpkins or leaf shapes are fun to use.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.


Make matching DIY Witch Hats for you and your dog.  All you need are a few pieces of black felt, some festive embellishments and a glue gun.  DIY Network has a pattern to get you started.  Decorate it to your liking to make it your own.  A little corded black elastic works great to keep the hat in place.

My Furry Valentine

doggie valentine image
Do you have a Furry Valentine?

Does your Valentine have four legs, fur and cute little black nose?  For many of us, our dogs are our Valentines.  Who else loves us so unconditionally and is always there, no matter what?  While your dog needs to stay far away from the V-day chocolates, there are many other ways to show your furry Valentine you care.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Go for a special walk together and allow your dog to take his time, smelling deep and as often as he wants.  Smells are absolute delights to your dog, so don’t rush his joy.
  • Knit matching pink and red scarves.
  • Bake heart-shaped liver treats.  Pan fry some chicken or beef liver, allow it to cool then place in a food processor with a tablespoon plain yogurt and blend until smooth.  Fill a silicone heart tray up with the treats, cover and place in the freezer.  After a day, pop the heart shaped treats out and put them in a ziplock bag.  Take one out as a special treat a few times a week.  Your dog will love them!
  • Write a poem for your dog and read it to him by candlelight.

    Register your dog on one of the many lost pet registries.  All you need is your dog’s microchip number and you can tie your contact info to your pet.  If you’ve already done this, Valentine’s Day is a great time to make sure all of your contact info is up to date. In the scary case of your dog getting lost, you want to do everything you possibly can to get him back to you as quickly as possible.  Here are a few of the pet registries:

  • Find a Professional Animal Bodyworker in your area and schedule a 30-minute massage for your dog.  Their muscles get sore too!
  • If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a canine aquatic center, schedule a time for a swim.
  • Sign up for a refresher obedience class.  Taking a class together is a great way to renew the bond you share with your dog.
  • If your dog doesn’t go to doggie daycare on a regular basis, treat him to a few days!  He will love the attention and play time while you are at work or running errands. You might even find you want to incorporate it into your regular routine.

Celebrate your love shared!  Valentine’s Day isn’t just for humans.  Love comes in all shapes and sizes and nothing beats that happy dance and tail wags when the two of you are together.  Happy Valentine’s Day!






Keeping your dog safe this Halloween

Keeping your dog safe at Halloween image
Halloween Safety Tips for Your Dog

Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year.  There are so many cute costumes to dress your dog up in, fun events to attend and scary yard decorations.  But Halloween can be downright frightful for your dog.  Here are some tips to keep your dog comfortable and safe this Halloween.

Candy is for the kids with two legs, never for those with four.

Most people know chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but other candy is also very dangerous. Be aware that half-eaten candy bars can end up on your lawn on Halloween night. Keep your eyes open and do a good look over in areas where something might have been dropped.  Also, be sure to keep the candy bowl out of your dog’s reach.

Door bell ringing and knocking can be stressful for your dog and pose a risk for your dog running out when you answer the door.

Consider sitting on your front porch or at the end of your driveway to hand out candy to lessen the chaos and eliminate the risk of your dog getting out of the door when you answer it. In any case, be sure your dog is wearing an ID tag, just in case an accident happens and he gets out of the door.

Dressing your dog up this Halloween

Be sure the costume does not restrict your dog’s movement or make it hard for him to breathe.  Not all dogs enjoy playing dress, but others love it.  Know what makes your dog happy.

Jack-O-Lanterns are a great festive decoration, but use caution.

If you are using a real candle, make sure your dog cannot tip the pumpkin over or get his nose burnt while sniffing.  Dry ice inside of jack-o-lanterns can also pose a danger to dogs.

Out and about with your dog on Halloween night

Use a collar that lights up or a put a reflective vest on your dog to make sure your dog can be seen. Never take your dog out without a leash.  Even dogs who are used to being off-leash and under voice command can get spooked on Halloween night and run off or into danger.  Dogs are best left and home on Halloween night, but for those who insist on taking their dogs out, please do not go out without a leash.

Participating in Halloween festivities with your dog

Remember your dog might not enjoy being dressed up and having all of the attention.  Respect what your dog enjoys and is comfortable with.  Never put your dog in a situation that is unfair to him and causes stress that could result in him nipping or biting someone.  Use common sense and keenly observe what your dog is comfortable with.  Keeping your dog and others safe means respecting boundaries.