Make Summer a Blast With These Pet-Friendly Vacation Ideas

How many times have you found yourself struggling to figure out what you want to do or where you want to go on vacation because you’re not sure what to do with your pet? Do you leave them at home or maybe with a pet sitter? Either way, leaving your pet at home while you leave for a couple of days doesn’t sound enticing. Well, what if you could have fun on vacation and also take them? It sounds like the best of both worlds, but is it really possible? With these pet-friendly vacation ideas, you’ll have a blast while also being able to bring your furry friend along for the trip!

Pet-Friendly Vacation Ideas

Since Lola, your trusty poodle never leaves your side, you’ve decided to bring her on vacation with you this summer, but you’re not sure where you guys should go. Since most places aren’t very dog-friendly, but you still want to have fun with your furry companion during your time off, where should you go?

San Diego, California

You’ll be pleased to hear that San Diego is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. Whether you’re there for the attractions, tours, or restaurants, you and Lola will be welcomed with open arms. With beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and the incredible San Diego beaches, you and Lola will have a fantastic time. Start off with some lunch at the Patio on Lamont at Pacific beach, where you can get a taste for some authentic Californian cuisine, but Lola can also chow down on some of their homemade dog biscuits.

If that’s not really your style, you can always hop over to the dog-friendly terrace at the Pier Cafe on West Harbor Drive. After lunch, let Lola loose at Nate’s Point Off-Leash Dog Park at Balboa Park, which is open 24 hours a day, so you can enjoy a late night jog or an early morning walk as the sun is rising. Since Lola’s an active one, you might want to go explore Fiesta Island, one of San Diego’s many off-leash beaches and parks.

According to Smart Assets, San Diego has a whopping 530 dog-friendly restaurants, so you should have no concern as to whether you’ll be able to find somewhere to eat. Want to sit around and drink a beer with your best bud by your side? San Diego has plenty of breweries where you can do just that. If you’re in the city at the right time, you might even be lucky enough to catch one of the many canine-focused events that they put on every year.

Austin, Texas

If you’re not really interested in visiting California and don’t want to spend the money to do so, maybe Austin, Texas is the right place for you and your furry companion! Nationally known as one of the most pet-friendly cities in the United States, there are plenty of fun things to do with your pet in Austin. If you’ve brought along your pooch, you’ll surely want to enjoy the great outdoors at Lady Bird Lake. Located in downtown Austin, this river-like reservoir provides plenty of fun for visitors as well as locals to get out and enjoy the weather. From hiking and biking trails to kayaking and paddleboarding on the water, you could spend a whole day at Lady Bird Lake with your pup.

What dog doesn’t like running around off leash? Red Bud Isle Dog Park is 17.5 acres of off-leash fun for you and your dog. Since it’s located right on Lake Austin, it’s a great place for dogs to run around and then cool off in the water after a hot day in the sun. After your day in the sun, you’ll surely want to cool off with some drinks. What better place to do so than Yard Bar. This local bar is a popular spot for dog lovers in Austin and allows you to enjoy some good food and drinks while you watch your dog play in the bar’s off-leash dog park with fellow pups from the bar. If you’re interested in getting some shopping done while on vacation, you’re going to want to head to “The Domain.” This outdoor shopping center has shops such as Macy’s, Dillards, and more. The nice thing about this shopping center is that most shops allow pets and will even give out treats to dogs that stop by.

Sedona, Arizona

Let’s say you’re more of an outdoorsy sort of person and you’d like to go vacationing somewhere that you can things like hiking, going on adventure tours, and just being in the outdoors all day long with your pet. Well, Sedona is the place for you. A trip to Sedona is wasted without venturing out to their local hiking hills. The beautiful red-rock scenery will leave you wanting more and more. With dozens of fantastic routes to choose from, varying in difficulty level, you and your pooch can grab your canteens and get going on an all-day hike.

Pets and PTSD: How Animals Help with Trauma

PTSD Overview

Whether it’s due to the experience of a horrific event while serving in the military or being involved in a traumatic car accident, there are millions of Americans who deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on an everyday basis. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event such as a serious accident, terrorist act, natural disaster, combat, rape, or personal assault.

Individuals with PTSD have intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their specific experiences that likely last long after the event has happened. They can be triggered at any moment. Many relive the moment or event through continuous nightmares and flashbacks. PTSD does not discriminate by culture, ethnicity or race, as it can happen to anyone.

Symptoms of PTSD typically can be placed into the following four categories: Intrusive thoughts, avoiding reminders, negative thoughts and feelings, and arousal and reactive symptoms.

  • Intrusive thoughts are involuntary memories or dreams, as well as flashbacks of the traumatic event. Some flashbacks may feel so real that people feel as if they’re re-living the experience.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event may include avoiding certain people, places, activities, and situations that may bring back memories of the event.
  • Negative thoughts and feelings may include ongoing distorted beliefs, ongoing fear, anger, and guilt or shame.
  • Arousal and reactive symptoms could include irritability, outbursts, reckless behavior, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Many people who experience a traumatic event may exhibit symptoms like the ones described for a couple of days after the event. If these symptoms continue for months or even years following the trauma, that’s when a person is considered as having PTSD.

The trouble with PTSD is that the symptoms it causes will also occur with related conditions such as depression, and can lead to substance abuse, memory problems and other mental and physical health issues. It can be extremely difficult to live a normal life while dealing with PTSD. It can make everyday tasks much more difficult. Studies have shown that one thing that helps minimize the effects of PTSD is interaction with animals! This is where PTSD pet therapy comes from.

What is PTSD Pet Therapy?

You or someone you know may have PTSD and may be struggling with getting over it and suppressing the symptoms that come with it. Have you tried or are you familiar with pet therapy? Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. This interaction also involves the animal’s handler. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or mental disorder — in this case, PTSD.

The most common animals used in pet therapy are dogs and cats, although fish, guinea pigs, horses, and other animals may also be used depending on the circumstance. The type of animal chosen usually depends on the treatment plan set in place between you and your therapist, as well as your personal comfort levels and preferences. Another name for pet therapy is Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). AAT is a formal, structured set of sessions that helps people reach specific goals throughout their treatment process.

What Are the Steps Involved in PTSD Pet Therapy?

Your doctor or therapist that’s managing your treatment will administer pet therapy. A trained handler, who is often the pet’s owner, will bring the animal to every meeting and work with your doctor or therapist to help you reach your goals. The first step in pet therapy is making sure to select a suitable animal that you feel comfortable with. Therapy is unlikely to go well if you and the animal don’t share a connection and feel comfortable with one another.

There are many organizations that will train and connect volunteer owners and pets with healthcare providers to make things easier. Prior to participating in pet therapy, an animal and its handler must first fulfill certain requirements, which include a physical examination of the animal to confirm that it’s been immunized and is free of disease, an obedience training course to ensure proper animal control, an instructional course to teach the trainer about interaction with other people, an evaluation of the animal’s temperament and behavior with the handler, and a certification from the sponsoring organization. Once the animal and handler have gone through this process, they are assigned for therapy sessions based on an individual’s needs.

What Are the Benefits of PTSD Pet Therapy?

Just like any kind of therapy, there are many benefits to pet therapy. Pet therapy builds on the human-animal bond. For someone with PTSD, interacting with a friendly animal can help soothe many physical and mental issues, including reduction of blood pressure and improvement of overall cardiovascular health. It releases certain endorphins that allow the individual to feel calm and at ease. This helps alleviate pain, improve your overall psychological state and reduce stress.

The Effects of Dog Ownership on Anxiety

Overview of Anxiety and Its Effects

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who unfortunately have to deal with anxiety on a daily basis, you know how it works, how it makes you feel, and everything that’s associated with it. But those that have never had to deal with anxiety may not be as educated on the matter.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 40 million people ages 18 or older. Although anxiety is highly treatable, only about 37 percent of people with anxiety ever seek treatment.

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety and fear over everyday events and activities. Everyone has surely encountered the feeling of anxiety in one way or another during their lives, whether it’s been while trying to meet a strict deadline at work or while trying to study last minute for an important exam in school, but a person who has an anxiety disorder experiences anxiety that is much more excessive than these mild cases. Rather than experiencing anxiety for a short period of time, they deal with it on just about a daily basis. It is even common for someone diagnosed with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression, and vice versa.

Individuals with anxiety have a difficult time controlling their anxiety and the way they feel. They begin to worry about everything, even when there is no real reason to worry. This becomes more and more difficult to control the longer one goes without seeking treatment, and any attempts to control it only makes the problem worse. This is why if you feel like you have anxiety, it’s recommended to seek medical treatment.

Anxiety is capable of producing both physical and emotional symptoms, such as restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and worsening of fear over an extended period of time. Anxiety disorders can be caused by a number of contributing factors, such as trauma, stress buildup, drug or alcohol withdrawal, or a family history of mental health issues.

Dog Breeds that Best Help Anxiety

You’ve probably encountered someone in your life that has what’s called an emotional support dog or a service dog. Believe it or not, these dogs are helpful in more ways than one, but some are used specifically to help control their owners’ anxiety. These dogs can be trained to perform specific tasks depending on an individual’s needs. A few of the tasks these special dogs fulfil are detecting signs of an anxiety attack before it actually happens, grabbing medication or water during an anxiety attack, bringing someone to help the person having an anxiety attack, preventing strangers from approaching their handler, calming a person down through distraction by licking their face during an anxiety attack, retrieving a phone during an anxiety attack, and reminding a person to take their medication.

There are a couple of dogs that are well known to help soothe anxiety in humans, but before we delve into the breeds, it’s worth mentioning some of the traits these dogs have which make them such great dogs for this reason. Dogs known to assist in soothing anxiety are typically very friendly and outgoing, calm, affectionate, confident, loving and loyal. A few dog breeds who share these traits and are good breeds in helping soothe anxiety are Standard Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Huskies, Border Collies, Pugs, Pomeranians, and Corgis.

There are both small dogs and big dogs that are capable of helping humans with anxiety. The size and breed of the dog you choose depend on your preferences. Larger dogs are better for petting and cuddling with, as well as providing you with a feeling of security, but they also are more difficult to take care of and maintain as opposed to smaller dogs. Smaller dogs cost less to maintain and are easier to take on flights, to the store, etc. So each size dog has its benefits that you would have to take into consideration.

How Owning a Dog Helps with Anxiety

If you’ve never had pets, especially dogs, it’s probably difficult for you to understand just how positively they impact our lives on a daily basis. Simply being around dogs provides plenty of benefits, including many of the following:

  • Exercise. Having a dog is a great way to encourage those with anxiety to exercise. Physical activity can improve symptoms of anxiety and other mental health conditions. It is also vital for physical health.
  • Time spent outdoors. Having to walk a dog means having to spend time outdoors, which can sometimes be difficult for people who experience anxiety or depression. Spending time outdoors can boost an individual’s mental health and increase their vitamin D intake, which can drastically improve a person’s mood.
  • Company. Dogs provide unconditional love, affection, and friendship. Having a dog can reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation. Stress relief. Spending time with dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as boost happiness tremendously.

Interacting with dogs helps with reducing depression and improving a person’s mood, encourages more positive interactions with other people, lowers cortisol levels, which are the body’s primary stress hormone, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, as well as results in a lower report of fear and anxiety in people with anxiety disorders. Petting or playing with a dog also releases serotonin and oxytocin, which are important chemical and neurotransmitters in the human body that help regulate mood and social behavior, among other functions. The saying “dogs are a man’s best friend” definitely has some legitimacy behind it.

Learn More About How Dogs Are Helpful

How to Use a Pet Travel Service

If you’re a pet owner, it’s inevitable that you’ve found yourself in a situation at least a couple of times in your life where you’re traveling and you’re required to figure out what to do with your pet. Whether you’ve got a cat or dog, you’re tasked with the responsibility of figuring out what you’re going to do with your pet while you’re gone, which is one of the more challenging tasks when it comes to pet ownership.

Do you leave your pet at home and have someone come over to pet sit? Do you take your pet to a friend’s house? Maybe you’re willing to pay and decide to leave them at an overnight daycare. Probably not, because as we all know, those can start to get a little pricey after a couple of days. If that’s not an option, have you considered using a pet travel service?

What is a Pet Travel Service?

So, you’re picking up and moving your entire family across the country, but what are you supposed to do with Roxy, your beloved 10-year old poodle? She has terrible anxiety and there’s no way she’d be able to sustain the 24-hour drive you’re making. Sounds like you’re in the market for a pet travel service.

Pet travel services are just what they sound like: a travel service for your pet. They allow you to transport your pet to a location of your choosing, just as if you were sending off your luggage. Of course, they’re handled with better care than your suitcase would be, but similar nonetheless. Your pet’s safety and well-being is every agency’s greatest concern and is the key to their success — so you can be assured that your pet will be well taken care of during their trip.

Similarly to human travel agents, pet travel services function as travel agents for your pet. Most pet travel services will provide a customized consultation from start to finish, arranging professional pick up and delivery, which provides you with peace of mind knowing that Roxy will be taken care of and that you’ll see her when you arrive at your destination! It depends on which agency you decide to go with, but some will even ship your furry friends internationally if needed. If you’re moving to a different country, or even just having an extended vacation, this is just the service for your needs.

Pet Travel Service Requirements

When it comes to pet travel, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for your pet to be able to travel. For one, they must meet all rules and regulations when it comes to travel by flight, and especially internationally. For example, there are certain breeds of dogs that are sensitive to air travel and changes in temperature. This is the case for snub-nosed breeds such as English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, or Boston Terriers. Make sure to identify whether your pet is first able to physically handle the demands of traveling long distances before trying to send them on a flight across the country.

Pets need to have all of their updated vaccinations before traveling and need to be deemed “healthy for travel” by an accredited veterinarian. This is an absolute must when it comes to international travel, so it would be helpful to go get this done just to make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel before making any big decisions. For example, if you wanted to send your pet to France, you would require a health certificate with a USDA Accredited Veterinarian signature, as well as an APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer signature that qualifies your pet as healthy.

Remember that while some animals are deemed to be socially accepted as pets, they may not legally qualify as pets, thus disqualifying them from being able to travel. The first step you would need to take is to find out whether there would be any reason your pet may be disqualified from traveling. The friendly benefit of working with a pet travel service is that they can help you fulfill all the necessary requirements needed for your pet to be able to travel and answer any questions that you may have in regards to your pet.

Costs of a Pet Travel Service

When it comes to your pet travel costs, the price will vary on a couple of different things: whether they’re being transported via ground or air, the distance they’re traveling, the time it takes to travel said distance, and if they’re traveling domestic or international. All of these things can quickly add up. Some pet travel services will provide you with an example of their prices for every service they provide you with so you that you’re able to get a ballpark estimate of what it would cost you to ship your pet, whereas other services don’t tell you until you actually submit all of your information to them, which then allows them to calculate the total cost for you.

Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which led to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to dogs are chocolate, Grapes and Raisins and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about other foods such as can dogs eat pineapple.

Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?

Pineapple is a tropical plant that grows 3 to 5 feet tall that contains an edible fruit.  Pineapples are indigenous to South America and have a history dating back to the 1300s and are extremely popular in most parts of the world with the world production being over 26 million ton in 2017.

The answer to the question “Can dogs eat pineapples?” is, “Yes.” Dogs can eat pineapple safely and often love the crunchy texture, sweet taste, and enjoy it as a healthy snack.

Pineapples are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and can help clean plaque from a dog’s teeth and freshen breath. Some believe that feeding pineapple can treat the behavioral problem of coprophagia (dogs that eat their own feces) however this treatment not been studied nor has it had consistent results.  Learn more about Coprophagia in Dogs.

The Dangers of Pineapple to Dogs

When researching the safety and danger of pineapples for dogs, there are a couple of different considerations. They include:

  • First is the potential for gastrointestinal upset from eating pineapple. Although pineapple is not toxic, any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs. What may not bother one dog can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother one person and upset their gastrointestinal tract but not bother another person.
  • Second is the risk of choking when eating large pieces of pineapple. This is more common in small dogs that do not chew their food well.
  • Lastly is the risk of a gastrointestinal foreign body from eating the poorly digestible core, outer peel, stems, and/or leaves.

Do Dogs Need Pineapple?

There is nothing in pineapple that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Pineapple to Dogs

The safest way to give pineapple to your dog is to give small pieces or slices fresh sliced pineapple. The core, skin, and stock should not be given to dogs.

Additional Articles that May be of Interest About Can Dogs Eat Pineapple

Can Dogs Eat Celery?

Dog owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of foods both before and after they feed human foods to their dogs. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that particular foods are toxic which has received a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, and peanut butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about vegetables such as celery.

Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Celery?

Dogs often love the crunchy texture of celery and can enjoy this as a healthy snack. Celery is low in calories and has approximately 94 to 95% water and known for its long green crunchy stalks. Celery is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin A, and other antioxidants. Many human nutritionists highly regard celery for its touted anti-inflammatory benefits.

Celery has been cultivated as a vegetable for centuries. In fact, there is documentation of celery garlands in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut who died 1323 B.C.). There are different types of celery including wild celery, celery root, and leaf celery. Depending on the type, the stalk, leaves, or base may be eaten or used in cooking.

Celery became popular in the United States in the mid-1850s. In North America, the most common celery is primarily the cultivar called Pascal celery.  The stalk can be eaten raw or included in many stews, soups, salads and as a common ingredient in dressing (also known as stuffing).  Celery seeds are used in herbal medicine and to make celery salt. Celery salt is used in seasonings such as Bloody Mary cocktails or in Old Bay Seasoning.

To answer the question, “Can dogs eat celery?” The answer is, “Yes.” Celery can make a very good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs.

Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.

The Dangers of Celery to Dogs 

When researching the safety of celery for dogs, there are three considerations that impact the danger.

  1. Risk of choking from eating large prices of Celery or the very stemmy parts. This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog.  Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.
  2. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in dogs that aren’t used to celery, including celery that is cooked with seasonings and butter.  Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in some dogs.
  3. Toxicity can occur when celery is fed to dogs with peanut butter that contains the toxic ingredient xylitol. Learn more about Peanut Butter Toxicity in Dogs.

However, be aware that just because your dog can eat an occasional small piece of celery, doesn’t suggest it is safe to give him your leftover salad or meal.  For example, salads or chicken salad that includes celery may also include additional ingredients, such as onions, garlic or even raisins, which can be toxic. However, it is generally okay to give your dog a piece of celery.

Do Dogs Need Celery?

There is nothing in Celery that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about what dogs require in their diet with this article: Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Celery to Dogs 

The safest and healthiest way to give celery to your dog is to give small pieces of fresh cut or cooked celery. Make sure the celery is washed thoroughly to remove pesticides, fertilizers and potential contaminates such as E. coli or listeria.  Cooked celery is a healthy option and best when unseasoned and steamed. Excess butter or seasoning can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs.

If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating celery, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Celery?

Although uncommon, dogs can be allergic to celery. In humans, celery allergies can cause severe allergic reactions that can be fatal. It appears that the allergen in celery is not destroyed by cooking. Other food allergies are more common in dogs such as to chicken and beef. Food allergies in dogs can cause skin infections and/or gastrointestinal problems.

Additional Articles that May be of Interest About Can Dogs Eat Celery:

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after various news and press covered the toxicity in them. The most important foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, and peanut butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of other foods such as broccoli.

Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?

The answer to the question, “Can dogs eat broccoli?” The answer is, “Yes.” Dogs often love the crunchy texture of broccoli and can enjoy this as a healthy snack.

Broccoli also makes a good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs. Not only is broccoli low in calories, but it has approximately 91 to 95% water and is a good source of vitamin K and vitamin C.

Broccoli (Daucus carota) dates back to the 6th century B.C. in Europe. It is in the cabbage family and grows as a green plant with a large head and stalk that is eaten. The word broccoli is Italian and comes from the Italian plural of broccoli, meaning flowering cabbage. Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked and is commonly boiled, steamed, microwaved or stir-fried.

Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.

The Dangers of Broccoli to Dogs

When researching the safety of broccoli for dogs, there are two considerations that impact the danger.

  1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to broccoli or broccoli cooked with seasonings and butter.  Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
  2. Risk of choking from eating large pieces of Broccoli or very the stemmy parts. This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog.  Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

However, be aware that just because your dog can eat an occasional small piece of broccoli, doesn’t suggest it is safe to give him your leftover salad or meal.  For example, salads often include additional ingredients, such as onions, garlic or even raisins, which can be toxic. However, it is generally okay to give your dog a piece of broccoli.  Learn more about Grape and Raisin Toxicity in dogs.

Do Dogs Need Broccoli

There is nothing in broccoli that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about what dogs require in their diet with this article: Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Broccoli to Dogs

The safest and healthiest way to give broccoli to your dog is to give small pieces of fresh cut or cooked broccoli. Make sure the broccoli is washed thoroughly to remove pesticides, fertilizers and potential contaminates such as E. coli or listeria.  Cooked broccoli is a healthy option and best when unseasoned and steamed. Excess butter or seasoning can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs.

If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating broccoli, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

Additional Articles that May be of Interest About Can Dogs Eat Broccoli:

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. There was an increase in questions about the safety of different foods after learning that certain ones were toxic which led to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to know are Grapes and Raisins, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate. Exposure to the dangers of these foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the effects other human foods have on dogs, such as blueberries. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in the article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?   

A blueberry is a round shaped sweet soft blue to purple fruit native to North America. Blueberries are grown from a blueberry bush or shrub. The blueberry bush is a low bush in the wild that gets taller when cultivated. They are classified within the genus Vaccinium which also includes cranberries and huckleberries. The berry is generated from a bell-shaped pale flower and when the fruit grows in, it starts as green and then changes color to a dark blue-purple color when ripe. Blueberries are most commonly in season between May and August.

Blueberries are commonly eaten by themselves or prepared in foods such as pies, ice cream, milkshakes, preserves, candy, wine, or enjoyed covered in chocolate. The flavors and aromas are common in candy, perfume, cosmetics, and many more products.

The answer to the question, “Can dogs eat blueberries?” is, “Yes.”

Dogs can eat blueberries but in moderation. Dogs often love the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Blueberries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. They are approximately 84% water, 14% carbohydrate with minuscule amounts of protein and fat.

The Dangers of Blueberries to Dogs 

Ingestion of large amounts of blueberries can cause gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea. Ingestion of blueberry stems and plants can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The leaves and plants, while not toxic, are very difficult to digest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

Please be careful if your dog eats anything blueberry flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. This can be an ingredient in diet or low-calorie pastries, especially those created for people with diabetes.  Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Do Dogs Need Blueberries?

There is nothing in blueberries that dogs require on a regular basis. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Blueberries to Dogs

The safest way to give blueberries to your dog is to give a few clean fresh blueberries. Dogs should never be fed the blueberry stem or leaves.

How Many Blueberries Can You Give a Dog?

One or two medium-sized blueberries is plenty for a small dog, three to four for a medium-sized dog, and five to six blueberries for a large dog.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Blueberries?

While it is possible for a dog to be allergic to anything, dog allergies to blueberries are rare.

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Is Kissing Your Dog Dangerous

Is it Dangerous to Kiss Your Dog?

A question dog owners are asking more frequently is about the safety of kissing your dog or being kissed by your dog. The reason behind this recent line of questioning is because of the press coverage about the kissing bug.

The kissing bug is a beetle-like insect that has been native to South American and is now in the United States. The kissing bug, also known as conenose bugs, assassin bugs, and vampire bugs, is a concern due to is ability spread Trypanosoma cruzi (T.  cruzi) which can infect people and dogs. The kissing bug is named as such because if its propensity to bite around the lips and mouth.  The kissing bug does not kiss you, your dog, nor do they kiss each other.

T. cruzi is a protozoan parasite that infects cells and can cause the deadly Chagas disease in people and in dogs. Learn more – go to Chagas Disease in Dogs.

Kissing bugs are widespread in South America and are becoming more common in the United States. States such as Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Louisiana may have infection rates up to 9% in some dog populations.

Can you Get Chagas Disease From Kissing Your Dog?

You cannot give or get T. cruzi or Chagas disease from kissing your dog. You or your dog can only get Chagas disease by being bit by the insect that transmits the disease.

Areas were dogs are more commonly infected with Chagas disease are also areas where there is an increased incidence of infection in people. This is believed to be due to both human and dog exposure to the kissing bug, not from a dog or person transmitting the T. cruzi to and from each other.

People can acquire T. cruzi from being bit by a kissing bug. Learn more about how to avoid contact with kissing bugs with this article: Top 5 Pet Owner Questions About The Kissing Bug.

Please note: It is possible to get Chagas disease from being exposed to the blood of your dog in an open wound.

The Dangers of Kissing Your Dog

Are there dangers in kissing your dog? It is possible if your dog’s fur or face is contaminated with bacteria to take on that bacteria.

Are there dangers to being kissed by your dog or is it safe? There are old myths about how clean a dog’s mouth is. They are myths. Dogs mouths are dirty. They are full of bacteria. A simple lick or kiss from a dog is unlikely to cause a problem but is possible if the lick or kiss occurs to an open wound or to an individual with an immature or compromised immune system.

How to Protect Yourself From Dog Kisses

A dog kiss here and there probably won’t cause a problem unless you have a compromised immune system or an open wound. The best thing to do is to wash your hands carefully after handling your dog or dogs food. Routinely deworm your dog and pick up his feces in the yard. Discourage your dog from eating his own feces. Learn more about coprophagia (feces eating) in dogs.

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Top 5 Pet Owner Questions About The Kissing Bug

The kissing bug has received a lot of press due to its increased presence and migration to many parts of the United States. The bug can spread a potentially fatal disease to both humans and pets. Below are 5 questions pet owners commonly ask about the kissing bug and their pets.

What is the Kissing Bug?

The kissing bug, also known as conenose bugs, assassin bugs, chinches, and as vampire bugs, is an insect categorized as members of the Triatominae, a subfamily of Reduviidae. They acquired their name as the kissing bug due to their propensity to bite (feed) along the mouths of people. A kissing bug can be recognized by its dark brown to black exterior with orange, yellow or red stripes on its back, and thin antennae, thin legs, and cone-shaped head. They are generally about ¾ to 1 ¼ inch in length.

They are widespread in South America and are becoming more common in the United States now present in 28 states. The kissing bug is a concern due to the ability to spread Trypanosoma cruzi (T.  cruzi) which can cause Chagas disease in people and in dogs. Learn more – go to Chagas Disease in Dogs.

Is the Kissing Bug Dangerous to My Dog or Cat?

The kissing bug is dangerous due to its ability to transmit T. cruzi which can cause a potentially fatal condition called Chagas Disease. Another possible danger to the kissing bug is the possibility of an allergic reaction that results from proteins in the bite. This can cause symptoms that can range from hives and itching to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.  Learn more about allergic reactions in dogs.

What Diseases Can Kissing Bugs Spread to My Dog or Cat?

The most significant disease spread by the kissing bug is Chagas disease from T. cuzi. It can because various symptoms that ultimately cause heart failure.  T. cruzi can infect both dogs and cats, however, Chagas disease is more common in dogs. Cats can be infected but do not get heart failure.

There is no cure for Chagas disease and treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms. There is also no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

How Can I Avoid my Dog or Cat’s Exposure to Kissing Bugs and T. cuzi?

Kissing bugs are attracted to light and live in woodpiles and crevices. Therefore it is believed that most dogs exposed to the kissing bugs spend a lot of time outdoors often near woodpiles, brush and sometimes around lights that attract bugs at night. They also feed at night.

The following are tips to minimize your dog’s exposure to kissing bugs and infection:

  • Keep your dog inside, in a garage, or on a patio especially at night then the kissing bug feeds.
  • Remove woodpiles, rocks, and brush from around your home, yard and where your dog frequents.
  • Avoid outdoor lighting that is on all night because the kissing bugs are attracted to light at night. Consider installing motion lights that only come on with motion.
  • Seal gaps and cracks around your roof, chimney, attic, crawl spaces, walls, windows, screens, and doors to minimize the ability of kissing bugs to get into your home.
  • Use screens on all doors and windows. Routinely inspect screens for holes and repair as needed.
  • Discourage your dog from hunting and eating animals that may be infected. Other animals that may be infected include mice, foxes, skunks, opossums, woodrats, armadillos, and coyotes. If you know your pet was bitten by a kissing bug, wash the bite out with soap and water immediately to clean the wound and minimize the chance of the wound being contaminated with the kissing bug feces. As you clean, gently squeeze the wound to remove any debris such as the feces.
  • The kissing bug can be killed with insecticides. It is possible to treat your yard, home, patios, kennels, and wood piles with insecticides such as synthetic pyrethroids. Examples of active ingredients include permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, esfenvalerate or lambda cyhalothrin.  You can kill the bugs with Fipro Foaming Aerosol. Natural bug deterrents may be helpful such as cedar oil. It is recommended to treat door and window frames, corners, cracks, and edges of rooms.
  • Collars treated with deltamethrin can deter kissing bugs.
  • Ensure blood donor dogs are screened for T. cruzi prior to transfusions.
  • In endemic areas, breeding bitches should be screened for T. cruzi prior to breeding since the infection can be transmitted to the puppies through the placenta.
  • For those in the veterinary profession, it is important to avoid needle sticks from contaminated needles from dogs infected with T. cruzi. Not recapping needles should become a standard of care.

Do Any of My Heartworm Prevention or Flea/Tick Meds Kill Kissing Bugs?

The problem with the kissing bug is there is no prevention to prevent a bug from biting your dog.  The drugs fluralaner and afoxolaner, the active ingredients in common tick prevention medications, have shown effectiveness in repelling the kissing bugs.

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