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Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Summer is finally here! And for a lot of us that means getting outdoors and enjoying cookouts with family, friends — and pets!

It’s a great time to sit back and relax, drink a beer or two and maybe set the family record for the number of hot dogs you can eat. But don’t rest too easy, there is some responsibility you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have pets!

cook-on-bbqWhile we are enjoying our favorite summer foods, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of these tasty treats are not so good for our furry friends.  Even simple things that you might not think of, like onions and guacamole, can be dangerous.  These kinds of foods are typically left out on a table well within reach of any curious dog or cat, so let’s look at some of the more harmful culprits we should keep an eye on.


Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Hot Dogs

While tasty, hot dogs are not the healthiest food for us humans, and they are even worse for pets. Hot dogs are packed with tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are just not used to. Excessive amounts can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. It’s our recommendation to avoid them altogether, but if you must must must give in to temptation and treat your dog, please exercise moderation. Also, it’s helpful to cut them into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Snack Foods

Chips are pretzels are also full of salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination.  And who wants a dog peeing everywhere!?  In all seriousness, snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs as they can be for us and we should exercise caution.  If your dog gets too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers and even death.


The leftover remains from ribs, steaks or chicken wings can be dangerous in the mouth of your dog.  Bones can splinter easily  and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dogs mouth, stomach or digestive tract.  They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards.  For your dog’s safety, make sure everyone knows where they can safely dispose of their food.

Fruits and Desserts

Fruits in general are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues, but the main culprits to watch out for are grapes and raisins.  They have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs.  Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.

Choking Hazards

Many cookout foods are also choking hazards.  Hot dogs, bones, and corn cobs can get lodged in your dog’s airway.  Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite size.


An ice cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet.  Even a small amount, just a few licks or laps, can be dangerous or even fatal.  In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean up after your forgetful friends.


Foods Your Pet Should Enjoy

Okay, cookouts are all about fun and food.  If we enjoy these things, why shouldn’t our pets?  They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them!

thThe good folks at the DogVacay blog have come up with some tasty, pet safe recipes that you can prepare for your pet and bring to your next cookout.  The recipes include a tasty Bacon Swiss Burger, a delectable Turkey Burger and Peanut Butter Treats!

As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation.  If your pet is just too far determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way.

Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because they can enjoy the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!


14 Foods You Can Share with Your Dog

As pet owners, we are often warned about what foods not to share with our pups but sometimes it is hard to resist those puppy dog eyes. Here are 14 foods you can share with your dog!

Keep in mind that all dogs are different and just like people some dogs could be allergic to certain foods. Always try new foods in small amounts and watch for any side effects.

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Peanut butterLicking dog
  3. Chicken
  4. Yogurt
  5. Carrots
  6. Broccoli
  7. Green beans
  8. Pumpkin
  9. Eggs
  10. Salmon
  11. Cottage Cheese
  12. Apple slices
  13. Cheese
  14. Sweet Potatoes

You can make your own dog treats with these ingredients and more. Check out our DIY Dog Treats board on Pinterest for recipes!

Enjoy these treats with your dogs this summer and remember to always treat in moderation.

5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity

4153580157_7000b383d1_mAccording to leading veterinarians, pet obesity is becoming an epidemic and should be a top health concern for pets. It is estimated that 54 million cats and 34 million dogs in the US are clinically obese. Many pet owners struggle with keeping their pets at an ideal weight.

We’ll admit, it can be sometimes hard to deny those puppy dog eyes and we just want our pets to be happy, right? So why can’t they have a few extra treats if they want them? Unfortunately, a few extra pounds can be detrimental.

The excess weight on our pets can cause a variety of other health problems, the same way obesity can have adverse effects on human health. A few extra pounds on a dog may not seem like anything to worry about, but the added weight can exacerbate arthritis, cause joint and bone issues, and it can greatly increase the possibility that your pet will develop diabetes or cardiac/respiratory disease. Thier immune systems can be diminished, making their ability to fight off other illnesses and disease.

It’s best to learn how to prevent pet obesity before weight related complications arise, because even if your pet loses weight, the damage may be irreversible.

Is My Pet Obese?

The easiest way to tell if your pet is overweight is to feel the ribs. If you can feel the individual rib bones easily your pet is most likely not overweight. The Healthy Weight Calculator from PetMD.com is also a great tool that can help you determine your pet’s proper healthy weight.


11273378_177099ccde_mCauses of Obesity

There isn’t just one cause of pet obesity; there are quite a few factors involved! Our pets rely on us to feed them properly and give them the proper amount of physical activity to stay fit. They don’t think about what they eat, if they are overeating and how it may effect their health. If your dogs are like mine, they will accept any treat or table scrap offered without hesitation.

Most pets, including cats, need a fair amount of physical activity each day in order for them to stay fit; a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor nutrition is the number one cause of pet obesity. When deciding what and how much to feed your pets, keep their activity level in mind. The amount of food listed in the instructions on pet food labels may contain too many calories for your pet, especially if they aren’t very active.

Many pet parents ‘free feed’ their animals, in other words, their animals have constant access to food throughout the day. Some pets, though few and far between, are good at self-regulating and stop eating when they are full, while others will scarf down food whenever it’s available. It’s important to measure out the amount of food that your pets eat in a day (including treats and table scraps!), so you can monitor their intake.

Some specific breeds may be more susceptible to obesity. These breeds may be predisposed to conditions including naturally slow metabolism and hormonal disorders that make them more likely to gain weight.

Having a pet spayed or neutered also causes metabolism to slow, and after the procedure many pets gain weight, but the benefits of spaying and neutering your pets far outweigh the negatives.


5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity

1. Know Your Pets’ Caloric Requirements

The average human needs a 2000 calorie diet to maintain their weight and receive adequate nutrition, our pets need far less. Refer to the following chart to estimate the number of calories that your pets’ require. For a more accurate estimate of your dog’s require caloric intake, visit the Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Calculator.

2. Portion Control7362339338_b348e6b8ec_n

Use a smaller scoop and a smaller food bowl. Studies have shown that the size of your pet’s bowl and food scoop affects the amount of food that you feed your pet. If you have a Chihuahua and you are using an 8 inch bowl, you are probably going to overfeed Chico quite a bit. It all has to with how much food you perceive is in the bowl. If you used a small dish, you would perceive that you were feeding more food. If you are trying to help your pet lose weight, using a smaller bowl and a smaller scoop will go a long way towards helping them reach their goals.

3. Keep Track of Snacks

Many people are feeding the right amount of kibble for their dog’s appropriate weight, but they might also be feeding them a dozen milk bones or bites of “people food” throughout the day. Don’t forget that the treats and snacks that you feed your pet throughout the day should also count towards their daily calorie intake. That includes treats used for training! If you pet isn’t a picky eater, try using carrot sticks, apple slices or celery as a substitute for high calorie treats. They’re natural, whole foods and low in calories, and most pets love them.

4. Several Smaller Meals

If you feel that your pet seems hungry throughout the day, try dividing up your pet’s meals into smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Before you schedule your pet for 4 meals a day, a word of caution: your pet has probably trained you into feeding him when he does something specific. For example: Bear knows that if he sits next to the treat jar looking sad, I will probably hand him a cookie or if my cats meow at the top of their lungs for an hour, I’ll provide them with a scoop of kibble or two. My pets are likely not actually hungry, but they are repeating behaviors that in the past has been rewarded with a treat or extra meal. Try not to give in, redirect them with a game or go for a quick walk if they’re particularly relentless.

3835373704_1db968f4ff_m5. Veggies!

Supplementing meals with fresh or frozen vegetables or low calorie fruits can be a big help. The added fiber in the vegetables will help your pet feel fuller, longer. Don’t feed your pet foods that may be toxic, like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, garlic, avocados, raw or green potatoes, grapes, raisins, or any pits, stems or seeds from fruits. I also tend avoid corn, since it is a common pet allergen.

You should always consult your veterinarian before putting your dog on a special diet or exercise program. The first, most important and often most difficult step is is to control the amount of food your pet is allowed to eat. If you cannot excercise your pet as often as necessary or if your dog has a condition that hinders activity and natural weight maintenance, your vet can often make recommendations to help with your situation.

A slow and steady approach is the healthiest, just as with people in the same predicament. Make slow changes to your pet’s diet and exercise regime. Your pet shouldn’t lose more than 1-2% of body weight per week.

Maintaining a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle will help you keep your pet at it’s happiest and healthiest for years to come!

8 Easy Steps to DIY Frozen Dog Treats

It’s the middle of July, and as we brace ourselves for the next heat wave, I’m thinking of ways to keep my pup cool, too. The evening news features footage of zookeepers serving frozen treats to captive animals – from frozen bananas and fruit juice to whole frozen fish and bloodcicles (awesome if you’re a tiger, I suppose) none of the animals deny a frozen treat for a few minutes of relief from these oppressive temperatures. So, what can we offer our pets at home?

  1. Start with a clean container that you can fit into your freezer. You can use anything from ice cube trays to plastic jugs, rubber toys (kongs work great) – muffin tins and popsicle forms also work great.
  2. Next formulate your mixture. It can be as simple as natural or low sodium chicken or beef broth, peanut butter & oatmeal, non-fat plain yogurt, lactose-free milk or cottage cheese.
  3. Fill the container of your choice.
  4. For and extra special treat add some kibble, training treats or even some cooked lean meat. Most dogs have a taste for fruits and veggies, too. Add sliced, chopped or pureed bananas, apples, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot parsley or pineapple.
  5. Pop them into the freezer.
  6. Insert a bully stick or jerky strip when the treats are half frozen to make it a true pupsicle.
  7. Put back into the freezer until frozen.
  8. Serve to your pup! Frozen treats should be served outside to save you the melting mess inside.

If creativity and food prep isn’t your thing, we have options for you too.IMG_3739

  • Plain ice cubes or crushed ice can be a refreshing addition to the water bowl.
  • Frozen marrow bones.
  • Many companied, like Frosty Paws, are now creating doggie “ice cream” that’s ready to serve in portioned cups. You can often find these or similar products in many pet stores and even in some grocer’s freezers.

Next time you sip a shake or smoothie, be sure to have a frosty treat ready for your four pawed friend, too, you may be surprise how much they appreciate it!


Should I give a Vitamin B12 supplement to my dog?

Sick DogHi Pet Blog Readers! Please welcome Erica, a veterinary clinic technician, with this guest post about the possible uses for vitamin B12 supplementation for your dog. I’d like to preface this by saying that you should always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplements, and definitely get your pet to the vet right away if they are showing signs of lethargy (periods of time lacking energy, excitement or extreme weakness).


The vitamin B12 is not only important for the human body- it is also important to the health of a dog or cat’s nervous system and the growth of red and white blood cells. Lethargy, weakness in the legs, or a lack of appetite in a pet may be a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency. This common deficiency may be a result of insufficient levels of the vitamin in the pet’s diet, or of an inherited condition that makes it difficult or impossible for the pet to absorb it through its regular diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency that goes untreated may lead to more serious problems, such as serious gastrointestinal diseases and weight loss. A B12 vitamin supplement is a very effective and simple solution to the problem, whether the problem stems from insufficient dietary levels or from an inherited condition. B12 supplements can also help pets that suffer from gastrointestinal ailments or kidney disease.

How is Vitamin B12 Administered to Pets?

B12B12 vitamin supplements may be administered to pets by a variety of methods, just as it can for humans. The most common method is by oral supplement, which can be administered by crushing a tablet and mixing it into the pet’s food, or by mixing the supplement with water and administering it directly to the mouth by syringe. Increasing meat in the pet’s diet will also provide more of the vitamin. Because many pets have difficulty absorbing the B12 vitamin, injection is a commonly used method of administering the supplement. Some will want these injections to be administered by veterinarians, but the process is simple, and with the veterinarian’s approval, the injections may often be done at home by the pet’s owner. Typically, B12 injections are reserved for serious deficiencies, and they are recommended if the pet has a gastrointestinal illness or an inherited condition that prevents it from absorbing the vitamin through food. Injections are typically administered to a dog’s hind leg. Cats receive the vitamin through subcutaneous injection. B12 injections are typically given once a week for the first five or six weeks, bi-weekly for another period of weeks, and, eventually, on a monthly basis.

How Long Until My Pet Shows Signs of Improvement?

Dog TiredAs the pet is taking the vitamin supplements or injections, the veterinarian will test the pet’s blood regularly, until the B12 level is acceptable. While the pet is taking the supplements, improvements in appetite and energy, weight gain, and improvement of any gastrointestinal problems should be noticeable. For the majority of pets, a few weeks taking the supplement will begin to show improvements in the problems associated with the deficiency, but the breed and medical condition of the pet will ultimately determine whether it will need the supplements in the short or long term.
The potential side effects of a B12 vitamin supplement are minimal. B12 is a safe, non-toxic vitamin. While it is possible for a pet to have too much of certain vitamin supplements, taking too much of a B12 supplement will very rarely harm the pet, because it is not stored in the body. The bloodstream will only absorb as much of the vitamin as it needs at a time, and discard the rest through urination. Vitamin B12 is truly a safe solution for pet lethargy, so talk to your veterinarian today about Vitamin B12 injections or supplements for your pet.

Erica Anderson has spent ten years as a Tucson veterinary clinic technician. She loves writing about pets, parenting, and gardening.


So, have you tried B12 for your dog? How did it work out and what were you treating? I’ve used B12 myself in the past to supplement my diet and increase my energy and I think it worked pretty well for me! Share your stories in the comments!

What You Need to Know about Jerky Treats & Your Pets’ Health

Sick DogIf you’ve been following the news this week, you probably have heard about the FDA’s update on jerky treats. To many pet owners, the fact that dogs are getting sick and dying, from unknown causes, have been linked to common jerky treats that are manufactured in China.

The FDA has been researching the illnesses and deaths for months with no new leads about the cause of the mysterious illness. At the time of the update, over 580 pets have died as a result of tainted treats and over 3,600 pets have become ill since 2007.

The FDA needs more information to continue their research, so they’re asking pet owners and veterinarians to report illnesses and deaths that may be related to jerky pet treats. The FDA’s website goes over, in detail, the information that should be included in your report. If your pet has become ill after ingesting jerky treats that were manufactured in China, we urge you to report as much as you can so that the FDA can solve this mystery.

What Are Some Symptoms of This Mysterious Illness

If you pet experiences any of the following symptoms within a few hours of eating a jerky treat made from chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruits, consult your veterinarian immediately and save the remaining treats and packaging for testing.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination

Severe cases have also displayed:

  • Kidney failure
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Collapse/convulsions

What Can You Do To Avoid Tainted Treats?

USA made jerky treatsMost of the jerky treats implicated in this illness have been manufactured in China.  For the safety of your pets, That Pet Place has removed any jerky treats that have been made in China from our shelves and website.

Find a manufacturer of jerky treats that uses ingredients from the USA. At thatpetplace.com we’ve made it easy to find jerky treats made in the USA with our navigation panel. You might consider feeding a different type of treat to your pet. If you’d like to be more proactive about the types of treat you are feeding to your pets, you can invest in a food dehydrator and make your own jerky treats from any kind of meat or fruit/vegetable.

The best thing you can do is to be vigilant and to read the labels of the products that your pet is eating. Pet food manufacturers are not required to list the origins of all the ingredients on their packaging by law, at least not yet. We sincerely hope that this mysterious outbreak of illness can be stopped soon.


Best Dog Treats – Tasty Favorites for Your Canine Companions

Dog with RawhideOffering your pet a sweet or savory treat seems like it would be a simple gesture of affection, but with so many treats and chews to choose from sometimes it can be rough to find the right one to buy.  If you’re fortunate enough to be able to take your pet inside your local pet store to pick out his or her own favorites you’re a step ahead, but if you’re on your own while shopping it may be a little tougher to navigate to the the right products. Here is a brief description of some of the best dog treats and chews and why they may or may not suit your pet. Please remember that no matter what tasty tidbit you offer your pet, observe them closely to make sure they’re enjoying their snack safely.

Chances are you know your pet better than anyone, so you probably have a good idea what they might like and what will be appropriate to offer. Your dog may already show an affinity for certain flavors or textures, or he may have some habits or behaviors that need to be considered while you shop. For example, if your dog is a strong chewer, you’ll want something that doesn’t break or splinter. If your dog is a little “chunky” low calorie snacks may be just the ticket. Small breed and senior pets may only want bite-sized, soft or chewy products that are easy to break apart. It may even be possible your pet has some medical issue, sensitive stomach, allergies, dry skin, ect. that steer you towards supplemented or specially formulated creations. Read More »

Iams & Eukanuba dog and cat food recalls : August 2013

iamscatThe health and safety of your pets is very important to That Pet Place. We regret to inform you that P&G has announced a limited, voluntary recall of select Iams dry cat & dry dog and Eukanuba dry dog foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. No health effects related to salmonella have been reported on these products. P&G is taking this precautionary step in order to ensure our customers and consumers get the highest level of quality and service. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

Lot Code ExampleThe lot codes of the recalled products include: 3186 4177, 3187 4177, 3188 4177, 3189 Eukanuba4177, 3190 4177, 3191 4177, 3192 4177, 3193 4177, 3193 4177, 3194 4177, & 3195 4177. The lot code is located on the front or back of the bag at the top of the bag and is the bottom left number.

For more information on how to find your bag’s lot codes, please see Iam’s recall listing for dog foods, Iam’s recall listing for cat foods or Eukanuba’s recall listing for affected dog foods.

What to do if you have an affected product:
If you determine that you have one of the affected products you may return the product to That Fish Place – That Pet Place retail store or the store where you purchased your pet food for replacement or reimbursement for your purchase.

If you need additional information regarding this recall please visit Iams or Eukanuba’s websites.  We will keep you updated if there are any updates related to this recall. 

Doggie Diets Update: How homemade dog food has improved my dogs’ health

3 dogs

My pack, looking slim, trim and healthy!

Has feeding homemade dog food improved the health of my dogs? If you want the short answer, it is a resounding YES! It has been 3 years since I decided to start making my own dog food… wow, time flies! I thought it was well past time to update everyone on how choosing a high quality dog food has helped my pets become healthier overall.

Just a quick disclaimer: I worked with my veterinarian and did a mountain of research before I decided on a diet that was right for my pets. I encourage you all to talk with your vet before trying home cooked dog food, or at the very least read Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats by Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD.

overweight dog

Barret was overweight and I didn’t even know it!

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

I didn’t know my dogs were overweight until I looked back at some old pictures. I can’t guarantee that your pets will slim down on a home cooked diet. No matter what you feed them, if you overfeed them, they’re still going to be fat. However, part of creating a dog food recipe is determining how many calories your pets should be eating. A combination of reduced caloric intake and eating only fresh whole foods have slimmed my guys down considerably. Read More »

Choosing the Right Dog Bowl for Your Dog

Choosing a dog bowl

Click to see the full sized graphic on thatpetplace.com

If you’ve recently walked down the dog bowl aisle, you’ll know that there are dozens of different sizes and shapes of dog bowls available to choose from. What you might not know is that the different shapes now available are specifically manufactured to meet the specific needs of different dog breeds and age groups. Here at That Pet Place we’ve put together a handy infographic to help you with choosing the right dog bowl that is the perfect match for your pet! Read More »

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