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Can Dogs Eat Turkey? (And Other Dog-Safe Foods)

St. Charles, MO, November 24, 2020 – With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to get Fido in on the fun and share some of your family meal. But can dogs eat turkey, sweet potatoes, and other holiday staples?

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

The short answer is yes, dogs can eat turkey, but the turkey you’re eating at Thanksgiving is most likely not safe for your pup. Extra salt and spices can upset your dog’s digestive system, so avoid feeding them seasoned meat. Instead, give your dog cooked, unseasoned turkey with the skin removed. Turkey is an excellent source of digestible protein, and it might actually be better for your pup than chicken or beef. In fact, many commercial dog foods are made with turkey meal. So as long as the meat is cooked, unseasoned, and deboned, it’s safe for your dog to eat turkey in small quantities.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Our dogs here at Petropolis LOVE sweet potatoes. In fact, they’re in some of the treats we give them and many commercial dog foods. Unseasoned, baked sweet potatoes make a great low-fat, high-fiber snack for your furry friend. For small or older dogs, we suggest peeling and mashing them.

Can Dogs Eat Bones?

It’s tempting to toss your dog the bones from your ham or turkey after dinner, but it is actually very unsafe to give dogs cooked bones. When they are roasted, the bones become brittle and splinter easily. This can be dangerous for your pet.

Raw bones, however, are completely safe for dogs (and cats!), and they contain essential nutrients and minerals that your pet might not get elsewhere. Small bones can be a choking hazard, but large raw bones are the perfect scrap to feed your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Letting your pup take a bite out of your jack-o-lantern after Halloween might seem like a fun Instagram opportunity, but it’s definitely not safe. Those pumpkins could be full of mold and bacteria from sitting on the porch for days.

Instead, feed your dog fresh or canned pumpkin, either cooked or uncooked. As long as it’s unseasoned and unsweetened, pumpkin is perfectly safe for dogs. We love feeding canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling) to our dogs. It’s quick and easy, and dogs love it.

Food That Is Dangerous For Dogs

There are far more dangerous than safe foods for your dog on your holiday table. Avoid feeding these foods to your dog this holiday season:

  • Onion, garlic, and spices
  • Xylitol and other artificial sweeteners
  • Salt
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Walnuts and macadamia nuts
  • Pitted fruits like peaches and persimmons
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Dairy products
  • Fat trimmings
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate

When in doubt, ask your vet what is safe for your pet to eat. It’s fun to share our food with our dogs, but their health and safety is the most important thing.

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How to Protect Your Pet From Predators

Chesterfield, MO, November 18, 2020 – With winter on its way, predators like coyotes are becoming more desperate for food and encroaching on neighborhoods. Though this is especially a concern for cats and small dogs, even larger pets can be targets for predators. Here are just a few tips to protect your pets from predators like coyotes and birds of prey.

Tips on How to Protect Your Pets From Predators

Supervise outside time.

While it might be more convenient to let your dog stay outside alone, it definitely isn’t the safest option. Supervise your pets while they are outdoors. This is especially important around dawn and dusk when predators are most active. If a predator were to attack, you might be able to scare it away before any serious damage is done.

Make your yard less appealing to predators.

Coyotes are scavengers, so they will eat just about anything they can find. Remove anything from around your house that might be tempting to a coyote – like trash, barbeque grill drippings, and fruits or nuts that have fallen from trees on your property. It is also a good idea to remove bird feeders. These attract small birds and mice, which attract birds of prey. Also, move bowls of water or food indoors.

Keep cats inside.

While indoor-outdoor cats have long been the standard, there has been a recent push in the animal welfare community to have people keep their pet cats indoors. Unlike dogs, cats are hard to contain with a fence or garden wall, so you have very little control over where your cat goes when outdoors. Cats are often prey to coyotes, birds of prey, and even stray dogs, so it’s best to keep your cats indoors where they are safe.

Invest in body armor.

There are several companies that make suits for dogs specifically designed to protect them from wild animal attacks. CoyoteVest designs suits for dogs and cats of all sizes. They feature metal spikes strategically placed to protect your pet from teeth and claws. The owner started the company after his own dog was killed by a coyote in a dog park. The CoyoteVest recently saved a Jack Russell Terrier mix in Ohio who was charged by a coyote; the predator got close, but the spikes and spines on the vest scared it away. It might look silly, but your pet’s chances of surviving an attack greatly increase when they are wearing body armor.

Know what to do in case of an attack.

In the event of an attack, your best bet is to scare the animal away. Keep pepper spray or an air horn nearby so you can startle a predator from a safe distance, and use a broom or baseball bat to separate your pet and the predator if need be. It is also a good idea to read about wildlife laws in your area; it is rare, but you might be charged or fined if you harm a protected wild animal while protecting your pet.

Losing your pet to a wild animal attack is a pet parent’s worst nightmare, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to avoid such a tragedy. Predators like coyotes and birds of prey can be a threat even in urban areas, so educate yourself, your family, and your neighbors on the best ways to protect your pets from predators.


Hiking With Your Dog: How to Be Safe and Have Fun

St. Charles, MO, November 4, 2020 – It’s finally that time of year when everyone starts dusting off their hiking boots and hitting the trails! Hiking with your dog can be a fun and rewarding bonding experience. Plus, it’s a great way for both of you to get some exercise and fresh air. Before you head out, though, remember to prepare your pet for a safe, stress-free hike by following these tips.

What To Consider When Hiking With Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is properly vaccinated and treated.

    Before you even think about hiking with your dog, make sure their vaccines and parasite preventatives are up-to-date. Even if you don’t encounter other dogs on your hike, there’s a chance your pup could get into wild animal feces or urine. Keeping your dog’s vaccines up-to-date can help prevent any complications from these run-ins. Ticks are also extremely common in most of the United States, and they can cause disease and even death if untreated. It’s best to make sure your pup is on a proper flea and tick preventative long before you hit the trail.

  • Decide whether or not your dog is physically fit enough to hike.

    Chances are your couch potato dachshund won’t be able to keep up on a five-mile hike over rough terrain, especially if it’s their first time. Before undertaking any long or strenuous trails, take your pup on some shorter, easier hikes to increase their stamina. These practice hikes will also help toughen up their paw pads, meaning your pup will be less likely to get held up with foot discomfort.

  • Pack the necessary food and water.

    Like humans, dogs require more food and water during intense exercise than they do on a lazy day at home. Make sure you bring plenty of water for both you and your pup. Don’t count on your dog drinking from a stream or lake to stay hydrated. These water sources can carry pathogens and bacteria like giardia, coccidian, and Leptospirosis. Always provide clean, treated water for your dog just as you would for yourself. Also, it’s a good idea to bring a snack for your pup on longer trails. Consider jerky treats or calorie-dense dog energy bars for a low-mess, easy-to-pack snack.

  • Know the signs of overheating and how to treat it.

    In the summer, it’s easy for dogs to overheat even just sitting outside. When they’re hiking, that risk is even greater. If your dog is panting excessively, breathing erratically, drooling more than usual, or has pale gums, they may be overheating. Soak a washcloth in cool water and apply it to their paw pads, between their toes, and their belly/groin area. Find shade, and allow your dog to rest and cool off.

  • Gather your first aid kit.

    Hiking trails are full of dangers – from parasites to wildlife to steep drops. Always pack a doggy first aid kit in case of emergencies. You can purchase pet first aid kits from online pet retailers and big box stores, or you can build your own!

  • Know the rules, and follow them!

    Many national and state parks do not allow pets on their trails at all, and most of the others require dogs to be leashed at all times. No matter how well you think your pet behaves, always respect the rules of the trail when hiking with your dog. They are in place not only for the safety of others but also for the safety of you and your pet. Plus, these rules help protect wildlife from your pet – and your pet from dangerous wildlife. If the trails forbid dogs, leave Fido at home. If they require a leash, use a leash. Period.

  • And our most important tip: TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN.

    A public hiking trail is no place to test an untrained dog’s tolerance. Be honest with yourself about your dog’s training, and prepare ahead of time. You and your dog should be comfortable with leash-walking skills and etiquette; socialized to people, dogs, and wildlife; and confident in your recalls. You don’t want your pup charging another dog or person on the trail or darting after a squirrel or deer. Accidents can occur on- and off-leash, so practice these life-saving skills far in advance of your hike. If you plan on hiking with your dog off-leash, make absolutely sure that your dog is ready for that challenge. If you struggle to keep your dog in eyesight, they’re reactive to other animals, or they don’t always come when you call, they’re not ready to be off-leash. And there’s nothing wrong with that! You can have just as much fun and adventure hiking with your dog on a leash, and you’ll probably find that it makes both you and your pup more comfortable and less nervous.

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as an adventure with your furry best friend when you’re both prepared and up for the challenge. If you practice and plan before hiking with your dog, you’ll be set for a fun and safe experience!