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5 reasons to get a dog and give them a nice home

What to consider before getting a dog? Let’s list the benefits of owning a dog as well as some caveats in an organized list. We know, it’s a strange topic for a blog dedicated to helping existing dog owners with their pets’ diet and nutrition. However, this is the post to which you can direct would-be dog owners with doubts.

Reasons to get a dog

Let’s start with the 5 good reasons first:

  • Companionship
  • Fitness and activity
  • Responsibility and patience
  • Purpose
  • Protection

Companionship

Humans are sociable beings that need companionship. A dog can be that furry friend for you, just like you must then be their companion. People with dogs (and pets in general) tend to live longer and report less stress – that has something to do with dopamine and serotonin (wellbeing and happiness hormones) being released when you’re happy. Studies show that man’s best friend really does improve your mental health; because dogs are great. 

Study sponsored by University of Arizona show that in addition to previously mentioned reducing of stress, dogs can also improve children’s immune system.  

Fitness and activity

It’s not only our loneliness that gets lessened but due to having to take care of your dog you also get some benefits from the physical activity involved. Dog owners have lower blood pressure.  That probably has something to do with the fact, that dogs are great companions in your daily exercise. Walking your dog is almost like a fitness routine. And yes, walking your dog is a must.

Responsibility, patience and purpose

Taking care of your dog also teaches you responsibility and patience. A dog can’t clean after itself, a dog can’t go on a walk alone (actually it can, but that tends to end with the dog’s picture on the missing poster), can’t pour their own water or put dog food in their bowl. You must do that; day after day – every day.

Purpose

For some elderly people having pets actually gives them purpose – they can be their reason to get up in the morning. Seeing a dog happily wagging its tail makes you feel good and can also teach you a lot about yourself and how you can be better.

Protection

And finally, there is the reason of protection; and we don’t just mean physical protection. Dogs can improve a person’s emotional stability and keep some of the bad things at bay. Think of therapy dogs, guide dogs, rescue dogs, or dogs that help the physically impaired. Protection that goes beyond big teeth and loud bark.


Then there are the 5 absolutely wrong reasons to get a dog:

  • Fashion and fads
  • Impulse buy
  • Because the kids want one
  • A living being as a gift
  • Avoiding Corona Virus lockdown restrictions

Fashion and fads

The worst possible reason to get a dog is to get one as a fashion accessory. Getting a living being simply as a fashion statement is cruel to the dog because these owners then tend to get bored of the dog… Especially if the trends start to shift.

Impulse buy

Getting a dog should always be well planned and researched and never an impulse buy. While dogs (and cats) might not live for as long as humans do, they do have considerable life spans and will be around for years to come. If you get one on an impulse and then decide you hate having them, you’ll be ruining a portion of your life and the entirety of theirs.

Because the kids want one

Similarly, you shouldn’t get a dog just because the kids want one. Children can be fickle and have perfect images, with no problems. Sometimes it works out, the other times you, rather than the children, will become the dog’s provider; so be prepared for that.

A living being as a gift

Giving a dog to someone as a gift without discussing it with the person is decidedly less than a wise thing to do. While people may say they want a dog, they might not mean it; also when people are mourning their previous dog, they might not want another puppy. So just – don’t.

Avoiding lockdown restrictions

This last one is a more recent addition… Don’t get a dog to avoid corona lockdown restrictions. We’ll get over the restrictions eventually, but your dog will remain and they will need unconditional love. So if you’re not a dog lover, just don’t. 

Where to get a dog?

  • Dog shelter
  • Dog Breeder
  • Ads
  • By asking people

There are several places where one may procure their canine companion. It’s important to note here that different countries have different laws and different ways of doing things. For example, answering a post on social media and getting a dog that comes from a puppy mill here in Slovenia is not something that you’d expect to happen. But in some places, it might be an issue.

Dog shelter

Generally speaking the best place (ethically speaking) to get your dog is a dog shelter. Getting a dog from a shelter means a better life for the dog you rescued, and better conditions for other dogs in the shelter. It can also be less expensive as this way usually involves just small administrative fees that help run the shelter.

Dog Breeder

Another way is to get a dog from a dog breeder. It tends to be the best way if you want a purebred dog with a documented pedigree. This way of obtaining a dog tends to be quite costly and you should be cautious and check carefully to get a dog from a reputable breeder (in the USA, you might want to check the American Kennel Club breeder referral for example) to avoid getting a dog from a puppy mill.

Ads

Ads online and printed ones are also an option in getting a dog, but the chance of stumbling on a dog from a puppy mill rises exponentially. [Yes, we really dislike puppy mills.]

By asking people

Finally, you get hints on exactly where to get a dog by asking other dog owners, your friends and acquaintances, and people in your social media reach. These dogs are often headed towards kennels, cost nothing, and are in greatest need of homes.

Presentation of main Pawsm mobile app features.
PAWSM is a dog nutrition mobile app


Finally, are you really the dog owner type

Can you deal with the additional hassle?

Getting a canine companion comes with great rewards, but also involves a lot of work and inconveniences. A dog companion is another member of the family; one that can’t simply be left behind alone for long amounts of time. If you want to go on a vacation, you will also need to consider what to do with the dog; take them with you or get someone to look after them. And if there are fireworks going off outside and your doggo is petrified what do you do?

PS: We have a blog post dealing with fireworks and big bangs 

Can you deal with the unpleasant part?

Dogs also come in a common package with dog poop, dog pee, dog barf, chewed and scratched furniture and clothes, destroyed items of importance, midnight howls, and own temperament that sometimes rivals that of a 4-year-old.

Can you deal with the daily grind?

Then there are the daily responsibilities. Dogs don’t come with an off or a mute button. They need to be taken on walks (even in bad weather), their bowls need to be cleaned and refilled, and quite simply put, their needs of you – will be bigger than your need of them.

Dogs are a part of your world, you are the entirety of theirs. They need you to be there to play with them, to hug them, to be the recipient of their licks and every other form of endearment they have for you. And you have to love them back. You have to be there for them, and you have to be there with them.

PS: We have a blog post dealing with bowls

Talk to a dog owner in person

PAWSM is ultimately a dog nutrition and dieting app’s blog; and not really a group dealing with each individual aspect of dog ownership. We cannot imagine or convey every single possible benefit and issue that an individual might have within being a dog owner.

To help YOU decide you should find a dog owner to talk to in person. They might be better able to convey all these things to you in your specific situation. If this blog post scared you, then it did its purpose; being a dog owner is not something that should be taken lightly, if not for your sake, then for the good of the dog.

We did our best to scare you and showed you as many bad parts as we could imagine. If you’re still here with us, and still feel that you’re up to the task of dog ownership, then the next blog article will help guide you on what kind of a dog to get. If you wish to be notified when we post the new blog, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

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How to correctly weigh your dog and measure their height

Ideal weight of your dog

  • Extends their lifespan
  • Helps your dog stay healthy and active during added years
  • Correct dog diet helps your dog to be one happy pupster

While a cute little chubby puppy looks stinking adorable, keeping them close to their ideal weight is much healthier for them and can extend their lifespan – in some cases even up to two years. It is also important that they stay healthy and active during those added years.

Dog obesity adds serious health risks, such as the development of sugar diabetes that can require regular treatment with insulin, digestive disorders, increased risk of heart disease, blood pressure (hypertension), cancer and surgical and anesthetic risk, decreased liver, kidney and immune function as well skin and hair coat issues.

On top of all that, the added weight also causes decreased stamina, difficulty breathing and a higher risk of damage to joints, bones and ligaments. It should be noted, that although obesity is a more common issue, dogs being underweight are at health risk as well. Quite scary, but a correct dog diet coupled with regular exercise will help them grow from a healthy and happy pupster to a big and loving dog!

Main goal of Pawsm mobile app

  • monitors food intake
  • monitors daily activity
  • nutrient calculator for optimal daily meal
  • helps you reach optimal dog weight

Keeping dogs healthy by monitoring their food intake and exercise, was our main goal when making the PAWSM mobile dog app. We made a special nutrient calculator for optimal feeding based on established veterinarian formulas, that take your chosen dog food (which you can pick out in our dog food database, or add your own if it’s not yet logged, or even do a range search of desired ingredients each dog food contains), their daily exercise and of course their basic data such as breed, sex, weight, age, height, etc.

Some measurements, most commonly their height, are also needed to determine a dog’s ideal weight and weighing them periodically is needed to determine their starting point and progress made. While the mobile app helps with choosing the food and logging in their daily exercise and some of the basic data, it can’t (yet ^^) help with weighing your dog or measuring their height. No worries though, we have you covered there as well with a short tutorial that will help you gather your dog’s data correctly.

Measuring your dog’s height

Dog’s height is the distance between the dog’s withers and the floor. The withers on a dog is the highest point of their shoulder blades (at the base of the neck). The easiest way is to place your dog next to a wall, make sure the dog is standing up straight, and place a long ruler on top of your dog’s withers perpendicular to the wall. Then simply measure the distance between that perpendicular point on the wall and the floor.

Weighing your dog

Weighing your dog is simple when it comes to small dogs (put him on a home scale and keep them steady for as long as the scale needs). But it gets progressively harder with the weight and size of the dog.

The next trick is to weigh yourself and then weigh yourself while holding the dog; the difference between the two is the dog’s weight.

XL sized breeds, that are rather heavy to hold in hand, require some improvisation. The usual trick is to place a board on the home scale to enlarge the platform (remember to take the weight of the board into account). If that however doesn’t work for you, you can try going to the vet where they have scales with larger platforms. Buying a large platform scale is of course also an option.

Voila! Your dog has been weighed and measured. Now you just have to insert the data in the PAWSM app and you’re done!

Stay PAWSM, be awesome 😉

How does Pawsm mobile app work?

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Awesome Homemade Dog Food Preparation and Recipes

Sometimes simply buying store-bought dog food doesn’t really cut it. There are plenty of reasons why that happens, ranging from very good reasons to unfounded fears. However, if you decide to go down that route, you have to first inform yourself of the dangers and pitfalls of making dog food at home.

While buying “complete and balanced” dog food is the safer and in most cases a better option, this article is not meant to persuade or dissuade you from preparing your own dog food, but it will try to shed some light on the reality of dog food preparation.

Reasons why people make homemade dog food

The best reason for making your own dog food is of course if the dog food that your dog requires, does not exist in stores. Occasionally the dog requires special diets, which would look contradictory or unnecessarily difficult to make in store-bought foods. For example, a diet for a dog with a deficiency in digestible enzymes (as little fiber as possible) and diabetes (high-fiber, low-fat diet).

Another reason is wanting to do something for your dog. Perhaps your dog is allergic to an ingredient, but you don’t know which? Elimination trial is the way to go.

Some people consider preparing food for their dog to be a type of bonding experience. Others, in an attempt to make food more natural, want the dog to eat what they eat; in forms of either table scraps or foods similar to theirs.

Then there is the growing group that tries to make vegetarian or vegan food for their dog (it is recommended that a veterinarian is consulted before making the switch). 

And people who, due to misunderstanding the food label, wish to avoid “chemicals” in prepared dog foods. Commercial dog food additives and vitamins such as thiamin mononitrate (provides B1 Vitamin) or sodium selenite (provides sodium and selenite) are often misunderstood as unnecessary chemistry.

Before deciding to make your own dog food

  • Consult a veterinarian.
  • Get good recipes.
  • Familiarize yourself with dog food preparation.
  • Find a good source of ingredients and supplements (don’t swap recipe ingredients on your own).
  • Get a food scale.

Dangers of making homemade dog food

  • Getting the dietary requirements wrong. Dog diets and human diets are quite different. So feeding a dog with the human “low fat” diet doesn’t work.
  • Getting the ratios wrong. Feeding the dog an all-meat diet might feel like a good idea, but they also need other nutrients. Refer to the table near the end of this article: http://pawsm.si/2019/09/25/guaranteed-analysis-the-perfect-dog-meal-and-what-does-pawsm-do-for-you/
  • Getting bad recipes. Sometimes well-meaning fellow dog owners give less than good advice, and the internet is not to be believed. Get good recipes from nutritionists and trusted sources.
  • Not following the recipes. Sometimes cooking the meat with or without the bone makes a difference in the end result. Using substitute ingredients, or ignoring supplements can and most likely will result in a significantly different end result.
  • Accidentally adding contaminants. Commercially prepared dog foods can sometimes be contaminated (but there are checks in place). The ingredients you use are no exception – use trusted sources of food (avoiding pesticides, herbicides, meat from medicated animals, etc.).

A good recipe and preparation guideline (for a regular diet)

  • A good recipe requires a good balance of food groups (carbs/fiber from cooked cereal, protein source, fat source, minerals, vitamin).
  • Protein: 15-30 %
    Fats: 5+ %
    Carbohydrates: 40-50 %
    Fiber: under 5 %
    Calcium: 0,5-0,8 %
    Potassium: 0,6 %
    (Calcium: Phosphorus): 1:1 / 2:1
  • Cooked vegetables and fruits are easier to digest.
  • Washing grains before cooking is recommended (pesticides).
  • Cook carbs and meats (protein) separately as protein coagulate at lower temperatures and are thus less digestible.
  • Use vitamin and mineral supplements.

Pawsm treat for every pupper

Pawsm Peanut Crunchies
 
Treats are not a mandatory part of a dog’s diet, however most of us can’t help but give additional treats to our dogs. Treats are a reward or a motivation to our dogs, used both in play and in teaching/learning. And they can’t resist them. 
 
To make crunchies we need:
• 500 grams of wholegrain flour
• 200 grams of oatmeal (porridge)
• 5 grams of cinnamon
• 200 grams of peanut butter
• 2 dcl of water
• 2 dcl of chicken soup
 
Mix the first three listed (dry) ingredients. Mix the last three listed (wet) ingredients and heat them in a microwave for 15-30 seconds – which should turn it into a smooth fluid. Mix the two batches by pouring the wet ingredients into the dry ones and then knead it into dough. Take care that the liquids are not too hot to handle!
 
Separate the dough into small balls which you then flatten into cookies. If you want to you can also use bone shaped biscuit molds. Place the future cookies onto a baking tray (use of baking paper sheets is recommended) and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 160°C. After 15 minutes turn the oven off and let the cookies slowly cool in the oven.
 
Peanut crunchies are a healthy and delicious treat for your dog. However be aware that they are packed with fats, so we shouldn’t give too many (1-2/day) to overweight dogs.
 
In addition we need to be alert if the dog is allergic to any of the ingredients.  If the dog ever had any reaction to any of the listed ingredients, you need to leave that one out and replace it with something else. If we are uncertain how the dog will handle the treat, we first offer only a small piece of the cookie and watch for any reaction. 
 
As an example, 10g cookie according to this recipe has approximate:
 
  • Caloric value: 30 kcal 
  • Fat: 0,90g
  • Carbohydrates: 3,80g
  • Protein: 1,4g 
 
Save the treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
 
Bone appetit!
 
 
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