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Nutrition for Dogs, News, Tips

March’s Monthly Treat Okinawan (purple) Sweet Potato Cookies

This month’s treat was all about Purple, Yams that is! We used purple sweet potatoes known as Okinawan in their native Hawaii. They are touted as a powerhouse of nutrition and you can find many of the benefits here. The purple pigment provides more than just color. It is a byproduct of the antioxidant Anthocyanin. The Okinawan potato contains 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries. 

We paired the purple potato with pumpkin seeds. They a great source of protein, amino acids, fiber, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, folic acid and niacin; all important nutrients to your pet’s overall good health. When feeding them please make sure they are raw and unsalted. An interesting fact we also learned about is they are being used as a holistic approach to treating worms in your dog.

We combined jerky, yogurt, and an egg to provide extra protein for your pup. We do keep it simple below is the complete ingredient list. 

  • Rice Flour
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Egg
  • Purple Sweet Potato
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Turkey Jerky (locally made)

“Sweet potatoes are cooked with the skin produces more fiber than a serving of oatmeal"

We also sent some our customers another version that we made with organic Buckwheat Flour instead of Rice Flour. Buckwheat is a nice grain free alternative for dogs on special diets

Tips, News

The Power Of Poop — Big Business

Puppis is a constellation in the southern sky. A poop deck is the roof of a cabin in the rear of a ship. Pooped means fatigued and Poop...well, it needs no explanation other than why I’m writing about such an indelicate subject. It’s because I have a pet peeve, no pun intended, about dog parents who leave it behind.

The big question is why they do? I don’t have that answer. But, I can tell you that it’s a very serious problem around the world. In a weird way, I find doggie poop fascinating now. That’s because of the outrageously creative and inventive ways people have come up with to deal with it. I guarantee once you read this, you may never look at dog poop in the same way again. In fact, you may gain a certain respect for it and all that it can do.


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FIRST, HERE ARE SOME FACTS

How Much Waste?

  • Every year 40 million tons of dog waste is produced throughout the world - 10 million tons in the U.S.  That would fill 3,800 trucks stretching from Seattle to Boston.

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that a dog excretes 0.75 pounds of waste per day.  That’s about a half-ton of pet waste per year per household.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 2-days-worth of dog waste from about 100 dogs would contribute enough pollution to close a beach and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it.

How Much Bacteria?

  • One gram of dog waste (the weight of a business card) contains 23 million fecal coli-form bacteria.   

Is It Dangerous?

  • YES!  Recent studies show that dogs rank third or fourth on the list of contributors to bacteria in contaminated waters. Dog poop can seep into our ground water, wash into storm drains, and flow into streams and rivers transmitting deadly parasites that cause cramps, fever, hives, kidney problems & even permanent vision damage.

  • Pet waste is rich in nutrients which act as fertilizers for algae so it grows faster. These algae blooms result in large fish kills when they die because the process of decay removes all oxygen from the water.

  • Because of the various parasites, never compost pet waste.

  • In Buenos Aires, an estimated 650 people are hospitalized every year from slipping on dog poop. Now, that’s an image I don’t want to think about.

How Long Does It Take to Decompose?

  • It can take dog waste piles a year or more to fully break down, depending on climate, the animal’s diet, size, etc.    

The Million Dollar Answer

About 40% of Americans don’t clean up after their dogs. A national survey found that 80% of dog owners were unaware that dog waste possesses a health threat and more than 83% didn't know they could become infected by the worms and parasites in it. That may be a reason why dog owners don’t think twice about not picking it up. “If you think picking up what your dog leaves behind is disgusting, try drinking it,“ Jacob D’Aniello, DoodyCalls co-founder and CEO. “The longer dog waste stays on the ground, the more it washes into the water and the environment.” According to the EPA, yet another good reason why people should avoid walking their pets near streams and waterways.

EXTREME MEASURES 

People around the world have come up with clever and creative ways to deal with dog poop issues.  Some have gone beyond just finding ways to clean it up.  They have invented ways to make dog poop a lucrative business.  

DNA Testing      

Apartment and condo managers now use DNA testing. “We would call or send a letter and that dog owner would say: “Prove it,” says Barbara Kansy, manager of a 398-unit condo in Braintree, Massachusetts. So, she contacted BioPet Vet Lab in Tennessee and signed up for PooPrints. The first step is to register the DNA of all the dogs in the complex by collecting cheek cell samples for the database. The second is to collect a feces sample and send it to the lab for matching. The process is part of the condo contract. The initial DNA testing fee is $59.95. Additional testing fees if needed are $50 plus a $100 fine that doubles or triples for each offense. The unorthodox solution worked. Only one offender has been cited since subscribing to the service.

CSI  

The University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is another leader in DNA dog waste testing. Just like in a CSI episode, it helped solve a 2000 homicide in which three men were shot execution-style. The suspect claimed he never left the car and only acted as a lookout, but dog feces found on his shoe matched feces at the crime scene. DNA testing on dog poop also helped convict a Texas man of rape in 2008. The California lab linked the feces on his shirt to one of the victim’s dogs waste in the backyard where the crime took place.

Special Delivery in Spain   

Mayor Borja Gutierrez of Brunete, Spain was plagued by citizen complaints about dog owners who didn't clean up. So, he got creative and set up a sting operation.  Volunteers were instructed to watch for negligent owners and then approach their dogs to pet them. After a few flattering remarks, they would ask the breed and then the dog’s name. Back at City Hall, where more than 500 residents had registered their dogs, it was enough information to get the owner’s address. The dog owners got packages – white boxes bearing the town seal and labeled “lost and found." Curious and unsuspecting, they signed for them. Delivering over 140 boxes of the real stuff seemed to make an impression. Not only was there a 70% improvement in cleaning up - most of the owners found the campaign to be funny.   

DOG POOP POWERS THE FUTURE

It was only a matter of time before someone would come up with the idea of poop for profit and other 21st century innovations.

FREE WiFi      

Terra, a Mexican Internet firm, partnered with ad agency DDB to create an incentive program for dog owners: FREE WiFi in exchange for their dog’s poop. The pilot study was done in 10 parks in Mexico City. Owners would put their dog waste in a robot-like machine called Terra Poo. The more poop… the more free Internet. Users got signals via dog bone-shaped dongles inserted on the grass, trees, or other hot-spots near where people might congregate.

Lights in the park

Every day about 200 dogs visit the Cosmo Dog Park in Gilbert, Arizona. When they go home, they leave behind about 8 cu yards of dog waste. Now, those little piles will be used to power a light at the park thanks to a team of engineering/technology students from Arizona State University. The “dog waste digester” breaks down the dog waste in septic tanks through a process called anaerobic digestion. The by-product is biogas – a combination of methane, carbon dioxide, water vapor and other gases. The “digester” helps save the city money by eliminating the cost of collecting the dog waste and taking it to a landfill and reducing atmospheric emissions of methane,  a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.  

HI TECH POOPER SCOOPERS

You won’t believe the dog poop gadgetry that I found on line. Until now, I didn't know I needed more than just a plastic bag to take care of business.  I’m going to mention just a few.

Poop-Freeze

The company’s tag line, “Just Frost & Toss with Poop Freeze” says it all. Just aim, spray and watch your dog’s poop frost to a cool -62 degrees.  

Vacuums

The Power Pooch System is a lightweight, cordless power shovel. The Dog Dung Vacuum has a 30,000 rpm motor and is good for 50 suctions. Both suck up the waste into a disposable bag.

Doggie Do Drain

If you want another option besides a landfill, this might be for you. The “drain” screws into your existing sewer clean out. Your pet’s waste goes directly into the sewer line along with yours.  

Poop Scooping Robot

The Poop Scoop is a futuristic robot designed by the GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception) LAB at the University of Pennsylvania.  It’s capable of finding and removing 95% of dog poop on a sidewalk at the amazing rate of one ppm (poo per minute). The price tag on this prototype robot is a whopping $400,000.  

I’M POOPED!

WOW!  Who knew that dog poop was such a big business.  And, who knew that using a plastic bag was so old school. I don’t know what I want more now - one of those power shovels, a robot, or a company to service me. That’s not true. I want to keep walking Maru with my baggie in hand just like we’ve always done.  It’s our special time together when I can be a good mom to her and a good citizen in my community. I guess there’s no moral to this story except to always “watch your step”.

PS A How-To Pick Up Dog Poo. 

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4 Winter Tips To Keep Your Pup's Paws Healthy

Christmas decorations are up in stores and that got me thinking that it really wasn’t too early to start preparing for the wind, rain, and snow heading our way soon.  But instead of raking leaves and putting away patio furniture to mark the end of a season, I get ready by changing out my wardrobe. Like me, Ms. Maru has both a summer and winter one which includes sweaters, scarves, coats, and … boots.  Maru really hates her boots.  She tries hard to shake them off and when that doesn’t work – her body freezes into a catatonic pose and she stares me down with pitiful sad eyes.  Quickly though, she resigns herself to the fact that either the boots go walking or she won’t. 

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Of course, then I start to think.  Am I being mean by forcing her to wear those boots?   Do I want her to wear them because I like them?   Or, is there a legitimate safety or health reason she should wear them?  Here’s what I learned. 

Researchers in Japan discovered how dogs keep warm on frozen ground thanks to a specialized circulation or “heat transfer” system built in their paws.  Using electron microscopes, they found that that even though a dog’s paw has less insulating fur than on its body, the pads contain a high fat content and connective tissue which are freeze resistant. 

When warm blood arrives in the paws via arteries, heat is transferred to small veins -  or venules - which warm the blood before it returns to the rest of the body. This special system prevents the body from cooling and ensures the paw temperature stays constant. This same network has been found in penguins, Arctic foxes and even dolphin fins.

This latest discovery has interesting evolutionary implications and may suggest that the ancestors of the domestic dog lived in cold climates.

Keep in mind that while dogs have this intricate heating and cooling system, not all domesticated dogs are able to withstand icy conditions or sub-zero temperatures on their paws.  Their size, breed, and environment are all determining factors. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep your dog safe and healthy this winter.

Frozen Lakes & Ponds

Animals don't know what "thin ice" is. If they fall in, it’s very difficult for them to climb out and hypothermia is a very real and life-threatening danger. "Ice skating" dogs are prone to injuries such as cruciate tears if allowed to "skate" with their pet parents.  This is also true of icy walks.

Salts & Chemical De-icers

Pets who walk on sidewalks that have been "de-iced" are prone to dry, chapped, and painful paws. To soothe them, pets will lick their paws.  Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal irritation and upset. Wash off your pet's feet after an outing with a warm wet cloth or footbath.

Antifreeze

Thirsty and curious pets will lap up antifreeze. Just a few licks can be fatal. Lock up antifreeze containers and clean up spills immediately, especially if your dog stays in the garage.

Foot Care

Dogs walking in snowy areas may get large ice balls between their pads, causing the dog to limp. Be sure to keep ice clear from this area. For dogs that have a lot of hair between the pads, keeping it clipped shorter will help with ice ball formation.   Avoid cold feet by ensuring pads are not split or injured and to spray paws with cooking spray before taking out in the snow…. or WEAR BOOTS!

 


And that brings us back to my original question of boots or no boots for Ms. Maru?  It’s a definite yes now.   I feel better and less guilty knowing that there are good reasons why it makes sense to make her a little uncomfortable for a few minutes. 

And, that triggers another question.  Why do dogs walk so funny in their boots?  That’s because they have hairs between their toe pads that send the same signals to their brain that their whiskers do.  So, really they walk funny because of a neurological response to the foreign object on their paws.  You guessed it.  The dreaded but ever so cute BOOT!    

 

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