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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  Your Dog's Best Year Ever!
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Thursday, January 7,2016

Your Dog's Best Year Ever!

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

Wild animals live by natural instinct. They do not overeat, rapidly alter their body temperature, drink contaminated water, or waste energy. They devote their total attention to mindfully living; whether hunting, playing, or sleeping. They survive, and thrive.


Is your dog’s ribcage unnoticeable? Does her tummy protrude? Is the indentation between her rib-cage and hips missing? Your dog may be overweight. Having an overweight dog is not only uncomfortable for the dog, it can be an invitation for diabetes, high blood pressure, cancerous tumors, lung and heart disorders, arthritis and joint issues. And, you are decreasing their life expectancy. Our dogs rely upon us to feed them nourishing foods, in proper amounts. Add years to your dog’s life by maintaining proper weight and exercise according to their health, age and fitness level.

We just unexpectedly had my mother in law here for a month. Even though she has been to our house many times, she never had a dog of her own, or lived with one 24/7. At nearly every meal, she attempted to give one of the dogs something from her plate. Feeding from the table creates beggars, can cause problems in the pack, and can lead to a fight. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs, or may be on restrictive diets. Some foods can be dangerous to dogs (grapes, chocolate, raisins). Always ask if you can give a dog a treat, and when. Read the label. Avoid anything with corn, wheat, soy, or byproducts, these are all nutrientvoid fillers. Verify everything is made in the USA.

Do you eat from dirty dishes? Drink from slimy glasses? Enjoy cloudy water? Then don’t ask your dog to, either. Wash your dog’s bowls EVERY day with hot, soapy water. Rinse in hot water and allow them to dry. Keep water bowl(s) filled with fresh, (preferably bottled) water.

Avoid giving your dog ice. A cube now and then is fine, never a bowl full, especially when s/he is overheated--doing so can lead to bloat.

Most dogs have the inherent need to chew. It exercises their gums, cleans their teeth and calms them. Rawhide is a beef by-product (read: leftover). It is usually bleached and laden with preservative chemicals. Worst of all---it is indigestible. Ingesting rawhide can lead to blockage and death. Opt for raw bones (cooked bones splinter), or porkhide.

Take your dog places, but NEVER leave your dog unattended in your vehicle. If your dog likes other dogs, attend and support pet-friendly establishments and events. Never use a retractable/flexi lead when you’re out at these.

Walk your dog - EVERY DAY, for at least 20 minutes. This is a minimum daily requirement. Use a standard leash (4-6 feet), with the handle secured on your wrist. Walking is physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically healthy for the dog, and you, too. Don’t forget bio-bags. If your dog is older or physically unable for a long walk, you can still take them out in a wagon or stroller. They will enjoy the scenery and time spent with you. Leave your phone at home, stand tall, and walk briskly. Try a walking meditation (no talking). Just breathe, take in the sights, and enjoy each other’s company. Wishing you, and your four leggeds a happy, healthy and fun 2016!

Tina Valant-Siebelts is a confirmed dog-o-holic, mom to many rescued pets, who volunteers with numerous organizations. To "fill all those dog bowls," Tina is an award-winning photographer, writer & event coordinator.


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