Behavior

Health & Wellbeing
February 14, 2024

Why is My Dog Breathing Fast? 

Worried about why your dog is breathing fast? 🐾💨 Dive into our guide to understand when panting is normal and when it signals health issues. Learn how to keep your furry friend healthy and safe!

5 MIN READ

When pet owners notice their furry companions breathing faster than usual, it's understandable why alarm bells might start ringing, leading them to wonder, "Why is my dog breathing fast?" 

Rapid breathing or panting in dogs can be as benign as a response to a hot day or as concerning as a sign of underlying health issues. 

Because of the many potential causes, it’s crucial for pet owners to understand the difference between a dog's normal panting—a natural mechanism for cooling down and processing emotions—and signs that suggest something more serious. 

The Science of Canine Panting 

Unlike humans, who regulate their body temperature through sweating across the skin, dogs rely heavily on panting to cool down. Rapid breathing allows them to expel heat by evaporating water from the mouth, tongue, and upper respiratory tract. As they pant, air circulates through these areas, significantly cooling them down and helping maintain a safe body temperature.

But thermoregulation is just the tip of the iceberg. Panting also plays a crucial role in a dog's emotional expression. Ever noticed your furry friend panting during a thrilling game of fetch or during a stressful vet visit? That's because panting can also be a response to excitement, stress, or fear, serving as a release valve for heightened emotional states. 

Panting also contributes to a dog's olfactory experience. Each breath in brings new scents, enhancing their sense of smell—a critical aspect of your dog’s interaction with the world.  

Normal vs. Abnormal Fast Breathing  

Normal fast breathing is common after vigorous play, during the hot days of summer, or when your dog is overexcited —like when they realize they’re going to get a treat or it’s time for a walk. This type of panting is generally short-lived and it disappears as the dog cools down or calms down.

However, when panting becomes excessive without a clear reason, or if it's accompanied by additional symptoms such as lethargy, coughing, or an inability to settle, it’s time to pay attention. 

Abnormal panting appears more labored and might indicate underlying health issues ranging from heatstroke to respiratory or cardiovascular problems. Recognizing these differences allows you to respond appropriately—whether it means offering a cool drink of water and rest after a fun park visit or seeking veterinary care when panting feels concerning. 

Common Causes of Fast Breathing in Dogs

Understanding the answer to “Why is my dog breathing so fast” can help you pinpoint when something isn’t right. After all, fast breathing in dogs can be a red flag, signalling everything from temporary stress to serious health conditions.  

Stress or Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can hyperventilate due to stress or anxiety. Signs include fast, shallow breaths and might be accompanied by whining or pacing. Situations triggering this response can range from loud noises, such as fireworks, to changes in their environment.

Heatstroke

A critical condition, heatstroke, occurs when a dog's body temperature rises dangerously high, often due to hot weather or overexertion. Symptoms extend beyond fast breathing to include excessive drooling, lethargy, and even collapse. You can help prevent heatstroke by making sure your dog has access to shade and water on hot days, and never leaving them in a parked car.

Pain or Discomfort

Dogs in pain may breathe rapidly as a response to discomfort. This can be due to injuries, inflammation, or diseases. Observing other signs of pain, such as reluctance to move or decreased appetite, can help identify this issue.

Respiratory Disorders

Conditions like pneumonia, bronchitis, or even lung tumors can lead to increased breathing rates. Dogs may struggle to breathe, exhibiting efforts like flared nostrils or extended necks to ease air passage.

Heart Disease

Cardiovascular issues can affect the heart's efficiency, leading to faster breathing as the body attempts to oxygenate the blood adequately. Symptoms might include coughing, especially at night or after lying down, alongside reduced stamina.

Breed-Specific Breathing Patterns

Certain breeds, especially those with brachycephalic syndrome such as French Bulldogs, naturally exhibit faster, more labored breathing due to their short snouts. If your Frenchie is breathing fast, monitoring for the worsening of these symptoms is crucial, as these breeds are at higher risk for respiratory complications.

Why Is My Dog Breathing So Fast While Sleeping?

Observing your puppy hyperventilating while sleeping can be a scary thing. But while it’s common for puppies to breathe rapidly during sleep—often a result of their adventurous dreams—consistent fast breathing in resting adult dogs should make you pay attention. This rapid breath, especially when resting or sleeping, can sometimes point to deeper health issues rather than just an active sleep phase.

Puppies, with their boundless energy, may also hyperventilate in their sleep due to rapid growth phases and high metabolic rates. It's usually harmless and often mimics their playful daytime activities. However, when adult dogs exhibit similar breathing patterns, it might be a sign of discomfort and pain or the onset of respiratory or cardiovascular conditions. Unlike puppies, where it's part of their developmental process, in adult dogs, it could indicate that their body is working harder to ensure adequate oxygen flow.

Monitoring your dog’s breathing patterns during these quiet moments is crucial. A significant change in their normal resting respiratory rate can serve as an early warning system. It’s a subtle but important sign that it might be time to pay your vet a visit so any underlying issues can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Warning Signs and Symptoms to Watch For 

While fast breathing can be benign, certain red flags should cause immediate concern. Excessive panting without an evident reason—such as heat or exercise—deserves a closer look. It's not just the speed but the context that matters. If your dog is panting rapidly in a cool, calm environment, it's time to dig deeper.

This is also important if fast breathing is accompanied by coughing, wheezing, or gagging, which can indicate respiratory distress. These symptoms suggest that not only is the breathing rate affected, but the quality of each breath is compromised, potentially pointing to conditions like pneumonia or heart disease.

Another critical sign is a change in the color of your dog's gums. Healthy gums should be pink, not pale, blue, or grey. Discoloration could indicate oxygenation issues, a serious concern that requires immediate veterinary evaluation.

Finally, look for signs of distress or discomfort when your dog breathes. Struggling to breathe, changing positions frequently to find comfort, or reluctance to lie down are all indicators that breathing is not as effortless as it should be. These symptoms, especially when seen together, suggest a visit to the vet is needed to ensure your dog's health and wellbeing.

Treatment and Management 

When faced with a dog displaying fast breathing, the first step is identifying the cause. For situations like overheating or after strenuous activity, moving your dog to a cooler, shaded area and providing fresh water can help normalize their breathing. On the other hand, if the fast breathing is due to anxiety, creating a calm environment and offering reassurance can be beneficial.

First aid becomes critical if you suspect heatstroke—a true emergency. Lowering your dog's body temperature gradually is key. You can start by applying cool (not cold) water to their body, especially around the neck and under the armpits, and ensure they are in a well-ventilated area, encouraging airflow with fans.

In most cases, these measures are just the beginning. Professional veterinary care is indispensable for diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of fast breathing. A vet can offer comprehensive care, from oxygen therapy for respiratory distress to medication for heart conditions. Follow-up care is equally crucial, ensuring your dog's recovery and adjustment to any treatment regimen.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

Immediate veterinary attention is needed if you observe signs of heatstroke or any distressing respiratory symptoms. Don't wait for symptoms to escalate. Early intervention can be life-saving, especially in cases of suspected poisoning, severe allergic reactions, or any abrupt onset of fast, labored breathing. 

Remember, your prompt action combined with professional veterinary intervention can make all the difference in your dog's health and recovery trajectory.

Final Thoughts 

Understanding why your dog is breathing fast is more than just a matter of curiosity—and it starts with understanding the many reasons that could cause rapid breathing and the importance of discerning between harmless panting and potential health red flags.

At Cola's Kitchen, we believe that high-quality, nutritious meals are just as important for your pet's health as vigilant monitoring and prompt veterinary care. A balanced diet is fundamental to maintaining your dog's vitality, and we encourage pet owners to prioritize nutrition as part of their comprehensive approach to pet care.

As dedicated guardians of our furry friends, let's commit to providing them with the attentive care they deserve—whether that means feeding them high-quality, nutritious meals from Cola's Kitchen or monitoring their health and breathing patterns for any signs of distress.

Behavior
January 4, 2024

How to Potty Train a Puppy 

Step into the world of puppy potty training with ease! Our guide offers simple, effective tips for a mess-free home. Say goodbye to accidents and hello to a well-trained pup! 🐶 #PottyTraining

5 MIN READ

Welcome to the delightful yet daunting world of puppy parenting! It’s all fun, wagging tails, and lots of kisses — plus the difficulties of learning how to potty train a puppy!

Don’t worry — we know it’s a task that can test the patience of even the most seasoned pet owners. At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe in helping pups every step of the way, so we put together a guide to help you navigate the highs and lows of teaching your furry friend where and when to do their business. 

Understanding the Potty Training Process

Learning how to potty train a puppy is not so different from teaching a young child — it's a fundamental step in their early development. The process sits on two basic pillars: teaching your canine companion the appropriate places for elimination and establishing a clear, consistent routine that your puppy can understand and follow.  

Puppies thrive on repetition and clear expectations. Being patient means understanding that accidents are part of the learning curve and not reasons for punishment. Remember, successful potty training is not just about a well-trained puppy — it’s about creating a lasting bond of trust and understanding between you and your new companion.

How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Puppy?  

The journey to a fully potty-trained puppy varies from dog to dog, and it can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months depending on the puppy's age, breed, and individual learning capacity. Typically, puppies begin to understand the concept of potty training concepts around 12 to 16 weeks of age. At this stage, their bladder control start to develop, enabling them to hold it for longer periods. Still, achieving full potty training might take up to six months or more.

Breed differences play a significant role in this timeframe. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas or Dachshunds, often take longer due to their smaller bladders and faster metabolisms, making frequent outings necessary. On the other hand, larger breeds, such as Labradors or German Shepherds, might learn quicker due to their ability to hold it in for longer durations. Some breeds are also naturally more eager to please and may pick up on training cues more rapidly, while independent breeds might require more patience and consistent reinforcement.

Other factors that can slow down the potty training process include: 

  • Inconsistent schedules that make it harder for them to understand what you want them to learn
  • Lack of consistency in timing, cueing, and location 
  • Lack of positive reinforcement. Puppies respond best to rewards and praise, helping them understand what behaviors are expected of them
  • Previous negative experiences, especially for rescue or shelter dogs. These puppies might need extra patience and positive reinforcement to overcome any past trauma associated with potty training
  • Medical issues, such as urinary tract infections, can also affect a puppy’s ability to control their bladder 

It's important to note that methods promising to teach you how to potty train a puppy in 7 days are usually exaggerated. While some initial progress can be made in a week, fully training your puppy typically requires a longer commitment to ensure lasting results and a solid understanding of potty routines.

The Step-by-Step Guide on How to Potty Train a Puppy

The key to success during potty training is a structured approach and understanding your puppy's needs. 

Preparation: Setting Up for Success  

Getting your home ready for potty training is just as important as the training itself. As a first step, you need to limit your puppy's access to the whole house. Use baby gates, a crate, or closed doors to restrict them to a specific area where you can keep an eye on them. This way, they won't sneak off to a corner of another room when you're not watching.

Next up, decide where you'll place the puppy pads, if you choose to use them. A good spot is usually in the bathroom or near a door leading outside. Keep in mind that many trainers don’t recommend using pee pads because they can sometimes make it harder to teach your puppy that going to the bathroom inside isn't okay. If you go the pee pad route, you might want to lay something on top of it, like a piece of fake grass, to mimic the outdoors. This can help make the eventual transition to going outside a bit smoother.

Establishing a Routine 

Routine is the backbone of effective potty training. Consistency in feeding, playing, and potty breaks helps your puppy understand what is expected. Set specific times for meals and avoid free-feeding, as this will regulate their digestion and consequently, their potty schedule. Post-meal, wait about 15 to 30 minutes before taking them to their potty spot. 

Young puppies generally need to relieve themselves frequently — usually after waking up, after playing, and after eating. In the beginning, be prepared for some late-night bathroom trips with your puppy too. Try to keep these outings calm and fuss-free to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere. Keeping a routine helps your puppy learn faster and reduces the likelihood of accidents. 

Supervision and Cue Recognition 

Keeping a close watch on your puppy is key during potty training. Look out for signs that they need a bathroom break, like a sudden pause in play, sniffing around more than usual, or even heading to a corner. Once you spot these cues, quickly but gently, guide your puppy to their designated potty spot. 

This is also the perfect moment to introduce specific cues like “go potty.” Consistency in using these words creates a linguistic link for your puppy, making the connection between the command and the action clearer with each repetition. 

Positive Reinforcement  

Each time your puppy successfully uses their potty spot, celebrate it like a mini festival! Shower them with treats, burst into praise, or engage in a brief play session. These joyful reactions create a strong association of good feelings with the act of using the potty spot correctly. 

This method is far more effective than any form of punishment, which can lead to fear or confusion. When accidents happen – and they will – stay calm and avoid displaying frustration or anger.

Handling Accidents  

When accidents happen, quietly clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate any lingering scents that could attract them back to the same spot. If you catch your puppy in the act, don’t yell — simply interrupt them with a gentle, “Oops!” and guide them to their potty area. Remember, every accident is a chance to reinforce the right behavior in a positive and supportive way. 

Progress and Patience 

Potty training is not a linear process, and there will be good days and challenging ones. More than anything, it’s important to understand that each puppy learns at their own pace, and setbacks are just part of the journey. Instead of getting discouraged, use these moments as cues to adjust your approach or schedule. 

Consistent encouragement and patience build a trusting relationship, making your puppy more eager to please and learn.

The Don’ts of Potty Training

Navigating the do's of potty training is crucial, but being aware of the don'ts is equally important. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Don’t Rely on Punishment: A major misconception in puppy training is the effectiveness of punishment. Scolding or punishing your puppy for accidents can lead to fear, anxiety, and even secrecy in their bathroom habits. It can also damage the trust between you and your puppy, making the training process longer and more challenging. Remember, positive reinforcement is the key to effective learning.
  • Don’t Skip Supervision: Leaving a puppy unsupervised during the early stages of potty training is asking for accidents. Puppies often need sudden bathroom breaks, and without supervision, they can’t communicate their needs. Always keep an eye on your puppy, or if that’s not possible, consider using a crate or a puppy-proofed area to limit their space.
  • Don’t Rush the Process: While you may come across methods claiming to teach how to toilet train a puppy in 7 days, it's important to understand that expecting your puppy to be fully potty trained within such a specific, short timeframe is unrealistic and can lead to frustration for both of you. 
  • Don’t Neglect a Schedule: Inconsistency in feeding and potty break schedules can confuse your puppy, making it harder for them to understand what’s expected. Stick to a regular routine to help them learn faster.
  • Don’t Ignore Medical Issues: Sometimes, frequent accidents can be a sign of underlying medical issues, such as a urinary tract infection. If you notice persistent problems, consult your vet to rule out any health concerns.
  • Don’t Forget to Clean Properly: Inadequate cleaning of accidents can leave scents that attract your puppy back to the same spot.  

Conclusion 

Remember, when it comes to how to potty train a puppy, there’s no set timeline because every pup is unique. 

Cola's Kitchen is here to support you through this journey, not just with our comprehensive potty training guide but also with our specially crafted puppy food, designed to keep your furry friend healthy and energetic for each new day of learning. As you go through the highs and lows of training, remember that your hard work now is creating a strong bond and understanding with your puppy for years to come. Happy training and happy feeding with Cola's Kitchen!

Unlock the secrets of crate training 📦🐶! Our easy guide helps you create a safe, cozy space for your puppy, setting them up for a lifetime of good habits. Get started now! #CrateTraining #PuppyLove

5 MIN READ

Learning how to crate train a puppy successfully can set the stage for a lifetime of positive behaviors.

Crate training isn't just about giving your puppy their own space but also about shaping their world for success. Imagine creating a cozy corner where your pup feels safe, a personal retreat that aids tremendously in house training. Puppies, by instinct, avoid going to the bathroom where they sleep, so a crate becomes an invaluable tool in teaching bathroom habits. 

According to PetMD, having a crate-trained puppy can be handy in many situations: having to stay overnight at the vet, during an emergency evacuation due to a natural disaster, or if your dog needs strict rest after an injury or surgery.

Plus, a crate can be your secret weapon against those mischievous moments when puppies decide that furniture tastes surprisingly good! Introducing a crate means you're setting up your pup for a life of confidence and good behavior, teaching them that alone time can be both safe and enjoyable. A crate can protect your shoes from mischievous chews, but it will also prevent your curious pup from getting into potentially dangerous situations when unsupervised. 

Choosing a Crate Your Puppy Will Love

Understanding how to crate train a puppy starts with choosing the right type of crate that suits your puppy's size and comfort. You have three main choices to consider: the classic wire crate (offering great ventilation and a clear view of the world), the cozy plastic crate (ideal for travel and a snug hideaway), and the soft-sided crate — lightweight and comfy, perfect for well-behaved pups who won't attempt a Houdini escape.

Choosing the right crate type depends on your puppy's needs and your lifestyle. Opt for a wire crate if you want durability and a view for your puppy, along with better airflow. Plastic crates are a go-to for frequent travelers, offering a cozy, enclosed space. If you've got a calm pup and prioritize portability, the soft-sided crate is your match. Each type serves a unique purpose, so consider your puppy’s temperament and your routine before you buy a crate.

Size matters in crate land too. A crate should be roomy enough for your puppy to stand, turn around, and stretch out, but not so spacious that they could use one corner as their bathroom. Think snug, not cavernous.

Step-by-Step Guide on Crate Training 

Embarking on crate training your puppy is like setting the foundation for a lifetime of good habits. It's a journey that requires patience, consistency, and a sprinkle of love. This step-by-step guide will walk you through creating a positive association with the crate and gently introducing your furry friend to their new personal space.

STEP 1: Find a good location

Choose a spot that’s part of the family action but not smack in the middle of chaos. Ideally, you should place the crate in a living area where the family spends time, like a quiet corner of the living room. This allows your puppy to feel part of the family activities without being overwhelmed by noise and commotion. 

Ensure it's away from direct sunlight and drafts, and not too close to heating sources. A location with a view of the room is ideal, as it allows your puppy to observe while feeling secure. The goal is to make the crate an accessible, safe, and peaceful retreat for your puppy.

STEP 2: Make the crate a fun place to be

A key aspect of how to crate train a puppy is making the crate a rewarding and positive space. Place comfortable bedding, their favorite toys, and occasional treats inside. Let your puppy discover and explore the crate on their own, without pressure. It's about building trust and comfort, not forcing confinement. The crate should feel like a rewarding place to be, filled with pleasant surprises.

STEP 3: Introduce the crate slowly

The initial introductions to the crate are crucial. Encourage your puppy to step in by using treats and gentle praise. Use a cheerful voice to make the experience positive. If they enter the crate, even if just for a moment, reward them. This phase is about baby steps and celebrating small victories. Gradually, your puppy will start associating the crate with these happy moments and rewards, laying the groundwork for successful crate training.

STEP 4: Increase crate time slowly 

For gradual adjustments, it's important to ease your puppy into spending time in the crate. Begin with intervals as short as 5-10 minutes while you're present in the room, gradually increasing this time as your puppy shows signs of comfort. This approach helps build their confidence, ensuring they don't associate the crate with isolation or abandonment. As they get used to the crate, extend the periods to include times when you're out of the room, and eventually when you leave the house.

STEP 5: Introduce nighttime at the crate

Wondering how to crate train a puppy at night? Nighttime crate training is a key step in ensuring your puppy feels comfortable and secure in their crate during the darker hours. Begin by establishing a calming pre-crate routine such as a gentle play session or a short walk, followed by a bathroom break. 

Place the crate in a quiet area of your bedroom or next to the bed, so your puppy doesn't feel isolated. As they settle in for the night, provide a soft bed and a safe chew toy inside the crate. If they whine, wait for a brief quiet moment before reassuring them calmly without overstimulating them. Gradually, your puppy will learn that night-time crate time is just a normal, peaceful part of their routine.

STEP 6: Be consistent

In teaching commands and rewards, consistency is key. Use a specific word like “crate” or “bed” each time you direct your puppy to enter the crate. Accompany this command with a gesture or point toward the crate. When your puppy follows the command, immediately reward them with a treat, praise, or their favorite toy. 

This consistent positive reinforcement helps your puppy understand that following commands leads to good things, making the crate training process a positive and enjoyable experience for them.

STEP 7: Stick to a schedule

Establish a routine for crate time, like during naps or when you’re away. Designate specific times for them to be in the crate, such as during their nap times or when you are unable to supervise them. This helps your puppy anticipate and feel secure about crate time. Gradually increase the duration in the crate, starting with short periods and extending them as your puppy becomes more comfortable. 

While experts recommend ignoring a puppy whining to be let out, you need to make sure your pup isn’t panicking or truly distressed while in the cage. This could lead to intense anxiety or stress in the future and to your puppy seeing the crate as a horrible place rather than a relaxing one.

STEP 8: Balance time in and out of the crate

Make sure your puppy has a healthy balance of crate time and freedom. Too much time in the crate isn’t beneficial. Balancing time in and out of the crate is essential. While the crate is a valuable training tool, your puppy also needs ample time outside for socialization, play, and exploration. Monitor your puppy's behavior to figure out the right balance. 

Puppies who spend too much time in a crate may exhibit signs of distress or anxiety. Integrating regular playtimes, walks, and interaction with both humans and other dogs ensures a well-rounded development for your puppy.

Health and Safety Considerations

When considering health and safety in crate training, veterinary advice is invaluable. A vet can offer tailored guidance on how crate training aligns with your puppy's health, including any breed-specific considerations or existing medical conditions. They can also advise on appropriate crate time to avoid physical or mental stress.

Recognizing signs of stress or discomfort in your puppy is crucial too. Look for behaviors like excessive barking, chewing on the crate, or attempts to escape. If these behaviors occur, it's important to reassess your approach. Solutions include reducing time spent in the crate, providing more exercise and mental stimulation, and using calming techniques. In some cases, consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist may be beneficial to ensure a positive crate training experience.

Wrapping It Up

Mastering how to crate train a puppy, much like perfecting a recipe at Cola's Kitchen, requires a blend of the right elements — patience, love, and understanding. In Cola's Kitchen, each ingredient is chosen with care to create a delightful dish, mirroring how each step in crate training contributes to the growth of a happy, well-adjusted puppy. 

Through this training, your puppy learns not just about the safety and comfort of their crate, but also important lessons in trust and self-control. A well-crate-trained puppy grows up to be a confident and content dog, ready to face the world with assurance. 

Remember, the effort and time invested in crate training now will pay off in your puppy's lifelong well-being and happiness.

New to puppy parenting? Our latest blog navigates the essential vaccinations your furry friend needs for a healthy start. Protect your pup right from the start! 🐾💉 #PuppyVaccines

5 MIN READ

Welcoming a new puppy into your home isn't just about cuddles and playtime — it's a commitment to their health and well-being, too. A crucial part of this responsibility is making sure your furry friend gets the right vaccinations. 

Vaccines have dramatically reduced the number of cases of canine diseases. For example, before the widespread use of the parvovirus vaccine, outbreaks were common and often fatal. Now, thanks to vaccines, we see fewer cases and those we do are often less severe.

But what exactly does your puppy need, and why? Let’s take a closer look into the world of puppy vaccines, what they are, the illnesses they prevent, and how much are puppy vaccinations. 

The Basics: Understanding Puppy Vaccines

Vaccines for puppies work much like they do in humans. They train your puppy's immune system to recognize and combat viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases. Think of them as a boot camp for your pup's immune system, preparing it to fight the real enemies. 

Core Vaccines: The Non-Negotiables

Core vaccines are essential for all puppies, regardless of where they live or their lifestyle. They are the frontline defence against some of the most dangerous and widespread canine diseases.1 Wondering how much do puppy shots cost at Petsmart?2 Here’s a breakdown of the most important vaccines and an overview of costs. 

Distemper Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Canine distemper, a virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Highly contagious and often fatal. Without vaccination, the mortality rate can be as high as 50% in adults and 80% in puppies.
  • Cost of Puppy Vaccinations: Approximately $25-$35 per dose.

Parvovirus Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious virus affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Extremely common and can be deadly, especially in puppies. The mortality rate can reach up to 91% if untreated.
  • Cost: Around $20-$30 per dose.

Adenovirus Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Canine hepatitis. This disease primarily affects the liver but can also impact the kidneys and eyes.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Less common but can be severe or fatal. It’s particularly dangerous due to its ability to spread rapidly in kennel environments.
  • Cost: Generally $20-$40 per dose.

Rabies Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Rabies, a fatal viral disease affecting the brain and nervous system.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Rare in domestic pets in the U.S. due to vaccination laws, but almost always fatal once symptoms appear. 
  • Cost: Typically $20-$30 per dose.

Pet parents can also opt for the DA2PP Vaccine (also known as DHPP or DAPP vaccine), a combination vaccine that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis (Adenovirus) I & II, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza.3 This combination simplifies the vaccination process, ensuring broad protection with fewer injections. The DA2PP vaccine generally costs between $30-$50 per dose, which can be more cost-effective compared to administering each vaccine separately.

Non-Core Vaccines: Tailored to Your Pup’s Lifestyle

Non-core vaccines add an extra layer of protection and are recommended based on your puppy’s risk of exposure to certain diseases. They are specifically tailored to match the lifestyle, environment, and unique exposure risks your puppy may encounter. 

Leptospirosis Vaccine

  • What it Fights: A bacterial disease that can affect the kidneys and liver.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Leptospirosis is more prevalent in wet, rural areas but can also be found in urban environments, particularly in areas with standing water or frequented by wildlife. Can be fatal but is treatable if caught early.
  • Cost of Puppy Vaccinations: About $20-$30 per dose.

Bordetella Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Very common, especially in dogs that frequent kennels or dog parks.
  • Cost: Around $30 per dose.

Lyme Disease Vaccine

  • What it Fights: Lyme disease, caused by tick bites.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Common in areas with high tick populations. Can lead to severe joint pain and kidney problems.
  • Cost: Approximately $30-$40 per dose.

Canine Influenza Vaccine

  • What it Fights: The canine influenza virus, which causes respiratory illness.
  • Prevalence & Risk: Increasingly prevalent, particularly in shelters and boarding facilities. Although not all dogs are at risk, those frequently interacting with other dogs may benefit from this vaccine.
  • Cost: Typically between $40-$50 per dose, but can vary based on regional prevalence.

So how much are puppy shots? The cost of vaccinating your puppy can vary based on your location, the vet clinic, and the specific vaccines. On average, the complete series of puppy vaccinations can cost between $75 and $100, with annual boosters ranging from $50 to $100. Remember, this is an investment in your puppy's long-term health, potentially saving you from costly treatments for preventable diseases. 

To find out how much puppy shots cost in Canada, you might need to contact your local vet and search for pop-up clinics at pet stores or local shelters. Costs might vary depending on location and the offers around you. 

The Puppy Vaccination Schedule: Timing is Everything

Your puppy’s vaccination schedule is crucial. Generally, puppies receive a series of vaccines starting at 6-8 weeks of age, with boosters every 3-4 weeks until they're about 16 weeks old. After this initial series, most vaccines are given annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine type. Your vet will help you navigate the vaccination schedule, advise on the best time to switch from puppy to adult vaccines, and monitor for any adverse reactions. 

Here's a table covering vaccines for puppies of various ages: 4

Puppy’s Age Core Vaccines Optional Vaccines
6 to 8 weeks Distemper, parvovirus Bordetella, parainfluenza
10 to 12 weeks DA2PP Influenza, leptospirosis, Lyme
14 to 16 weeks DA2PP, rabies Influenza, leptospirosis, Lyme
Annual (varies depending on state laws and risks) DA2PP, rabies Bordetella, leptospirosis, Lyme, influenza

While the cost of vaccinations can add up, many veterinarians offer wellness plans or packages that can make vaccinations more affordable. Additionally, some animal shelters or non-profit organizations hold low-cost vaccination clinics, and some pet insurance plans may cover vaccines as well. It's worth exploring these options to ensure your puppy gets the necessary protection without breaking the bank.

Vaccines, a Small Step for a Lifetime of Joy

A well-planned puppy vaccination schedule is just one part of your puppy's health puzzle. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine health check-ups are equally important. Vaccines lay the foundation for a healthy start, but ongoing care and attention are what truly allow your puppy to thrive. 

At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe that a healthy diet is key to a healthy life. Our fresh food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppies at every stage of their development. Made with high-quality ingredients and free from artificial preservatives and fillers, our recipes are designed to promote optimal growth, boost immunity, and ensure overall well-being. 

In the grand adventure of raising a puppy, vaccinations are a small but crucial step. They protect not just your furry friend but also contribute to a healthier dog community. Remember, each vaccine is a step towards a long, happy, and healthy life with your beloved companion. 

Behavior
November 30, 2023

Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Unravel the mystery behind your dog's licks! Learn what each lick means in our insightful blog. Decode this special canine language. 🐾👅 #DogBehavior

5 MIN READ

Welcome to the world of dogs - our loyal, furry companions known for their wagging tails, enthusiastic barks, and, of course, those slobbery licks. Licking is a lot more than just a wet greeting — for dogs, it’s a complex language where each lick can tell a different story.

Licking is a natural animal behavior — cats groom themselves, deer lick their young, and even primates use licking for social bonding. Dogs, however, seem to use licking a lot more to express their feelings, show affection, and communicate. 

The Science Behind Licking

From the moment puppies are born, they rely heavily on their sense of touch to navigate their environment — and licking is a big part of it. Mother dogs lick their puppies not only to clean them but also to stimulate their bodily functions, such as digestion and excretion. This early mother-puppy interaction establishes an important form of communication and bonding — and as puppies grow, they mimic this behavior, using licking to explore the world and express affection and care with those around them.1

Licking in dogs also plays a role in their communication and social bonding. In a pack, dogs use licking to show respect to more dominant members. And at home, licking works the same way — it strengthens the bond between dogs and their human companions. When a dog licks its human, it can be a sign of trust and comfort, reinforcing the emotional connection between the dog and its owner.

Biological Factors Influencing Licking

Dogs experience the world through a complex sensory system, with their nose and tongue doing much of the work. Scientific studies have shown that a dog's sense of smell is between 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than humans, thanks to their more than 300 million olfactory receptors, compared to about six million in humans.2 Their tongue is just as powerful, allowing them to gather information about food sources, the emotional state of other animals, or even the presence of potential threats in their environment. 

Licking also plays a significant role in a dog’s emotional well-being. Similar to human behaviors such as nail-biting or fidgeting, licking can be a self-soothing activity that releases endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones — and these endorphins can improve your dog's mood and reduce stress and anxiety levels. Studies have also found that licking could act as a coping mechanism in stressful situations. The act of licking, especially repetitive licking of themselves or their owners, can create a calming, almost meditative state for dogs, helping them to manage anxiety and stress.3

Behavioral and Psychological Aspects

Not all licks are created equal. While loving licking is perfectly fine, excessive licking can be a red flag indicating underlying anxiety or stress. For example, a dog might excessively lick its paws due to stress, boredom, or even underlying health issues like allergies. Compulsive licking can also be a symptom of separation anxiety or a response to environmental stressors.

To manage and train dogs exhibiting excessive licking, a combination of positive reinforcement and behavior modification techniques is often effective. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding desirable behavior (such as calmness or playing with toys) to encourage its recurrence while ignoring the unwanted licking behavior. 

Behavior modification might include providing mental stimulation through puzzle toys, increasing physical activity, or creating a structured routine that gives the dog a sense of security. In some cases, intervention from a professional dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist might be necessary.4 

Affectionate vs. Attention-Seeking Licking

Figuring out whether your dog is licking you to show affection or as a plea for attention can sometimes be challenging, but there are some clues that can help you figure it out. Affectionate licking tends to be gentle and is often accompanied by other signs of relaxation, such as a wagging tail or a relaxed body posture. This type of licking is a dog's way of showing love — think of it as a hug or a kiss in human terms.5 

On the other hand, attention-seeking licking often comes with more persistent and insistent behavior. Your dog might lick you non-stop while also pawing or nudging you. This usually means your dog wants something and is trying to communicate with you — maybe he’s hungry, wants to play catch, or just wants your attention. This behavior often indicates that the dog wants something, be it food, play, or simply more interaction with its owner. 

Something else to keep in mind is that licking behaviors can vary among dog breeds. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Boxers are known for their affectionate nature and may be more prone to licking as a sign of love and bonding. In contrast, more independent breeds like Shiba Inus or Chow Chows may lick less simply because they’re not used to showing much affection. A dog's genetics, early experiences, training, and socialization can all impact how and when they use licking as a form of communication. 

Health and Hygiene Considerations

Remember ever hearing that your dog’s saliva can help heal a wound? Well, studies show there’s truth to this — at least partially.6 Dog saliva contains proteins and other beneficial chemicals that have antimicrobial properties. These proteins can help in fighting off some bacteria and fungi and can aid in wound healing — which is why dogs instinctively would lick a wound. 

On the other hand, a dog's mouth can also carry various bacteria and parasites, some of which can be transmitted from animals to humans. These microorganisms can be particularly harmful if they come into contact with open wounds or the mucous membranes of the face, leading to infections, especially in people with weakened immune systems.

Conclusion

At Cola’s Kitchen, we do more than just provide top-notch fresh food for your furry companions. We're also committed to enhancing the understanding and communication between you and your pets.

By trying to understand why our dogs lick us, we can become more attuned to their needs and find a better way to communicate. It's a quirky yet fundamental aspect of the bond we share with our canine friends. So, the next time your dog offers you a wet, sloppy kiss, remember there's more to that lick than meets the eye.

Health & Wellbeing
November 28, 2023

How Dogs See 

Explore how dogs see the world! Learn about their color vision, night eyesight, and how to enhance their environment. 🐶👀 #DogVision

5 MIN READ

Have you ever wondered how dogs see the world around them? The way our pooches perceive their environment significantly influences their behavior and reactions. This means that when we understand how our dogs experience the world, it becomes easier to connect with them. 

Let’s take a closer look at the various aspects of how dogs see and how this knowledge can enhance our relationship with them. By understanding your dog’s visual abilities, you can better cater to their needs, choose activities they'll enjoy, and create an environment that's both stimulating and comforting for them.  

Can Dogs See Color?

Perhaps the most common myth out there is that dogs only see in black and white. While this was a common belief decades ago, scientists now know that dogs can see colors — just not in the way we do. 

This is because humans have three types of color receptors (cones) in their eyes to capture red, green, and blue. Dogs, however, only have two types of cones. This means they can see colors, but only within a spectrum of blues and yellows. 1

Reds and greens don't stand out well to dogs, appearing more like greys or a shade of blue or yellow. This color vision is similar to what humans with red-green color blindness experience.

Is Their Eyesight Better Than Ours?

When it comes to sharpness of vision, dogs don't see the world as clearly as we do. In fact, studies show that most dogs have 20/75 vision on average, compared to the typical human 20/20 vision.2 This means what we can see clearly at 75 feet, a dog can only see clearly at 20 feet. However, this doesn't mean their vision is poor; it's just different and adapted to their needs as a species. Fun fact? Some breeds do have better vision than the average. Labrador retrievers, for example, have much better long-distance sight.

One area where dogs truly excel is their ability to see in low-light conditions. Their eyes have a higher concentration of rods, the receptors that detect light and motion, which are essential for night vision.3 Dogs also have a reflective layer behind their retina that acts like a mirror, reflecting light back and enhancing vision in dim light. This is why dogs' eyes sometimes glow in the dark. It's this adaptation that makes them excellent at navigating during dusk and dawn.

Other Unique Characteristics of Their Eyesight

Dogs' vision is uniquely adapted to their environment and lifestyle — and it’s much better than ours in several ways:

  • Field of Vision: Dogs have a wider field of vision compared to humans. While humans have an approximate field of vision of about 180 degrees, dogs can see up to 240-280 degrees around them.4 This is because, for most breeds, the eyes are positioned in a way that allows a panoramic view of their surroundings — something essential for their survival instincts as it allows them to detect potential threats coming from different directions.
  • Motion Detection: Dogs are significantly better at picking up subtle movements than humans, something that comes from their evolutionary background as hunters. This enhanced motion detection is a testament to their hunting lineage and an integral part of their survival instinct. Their acute motion detection is particularly beneficial when playing games like fetch or when they are tracking small animals in nature. Do you have a dog who’s easily distracted by flying birds or running squirrels? That’s because dogs can identify objects moving at high speeds which might appear blurred to a human observer. In fact, a fascinating recent study found that dogs are so good at tracking fast-moving things, they can easily track a moving object on a screen and anticipate its destination.5

Dogs’ unique vision allows them to engage with their environment in unique ways, including watching TV. Because dogs have high flicker sensitivity (which is how they detect fast motion), they might see TV as jumpy and less realistic — but this isn’t true for every dog. In fact, some breeds (and just some particular dogs) have incredible sight and as a result, might be able to engage with the sounds and movements on the TV much more easily.6 

In addition to these characteristics, dogs also have other visual adaptations. For example, while dogs’ dichromatic vision —meaning they only see two primary colors– results in some limitations, dogs can still discern variations in shades of blue and yellow well enough to differentiate certain objects and environments.

Dogs also have eyes that are very sensitive to light changes. This adaptation is particularly noticeable during dusk and dawn, where their night vision comes into play. On the negative side, this means their eyes are also a lot more sensitive to sunlight and bright lights, which is why some dogs may squint or seem uncomfortable in intense light. 

Final Thoughts

Understanding how dogs see the world can help us provide better care and create a more stimulating environment for our canine companions. For example, understanding that dogs are attracted to fast movement can help you select toys and games that are more appealing to dogs (toys that move or can be chased are more stimulating than those that rely on color distinction). The same is true when you’re training or playing with dogs — using high-contrast colors they can distinguish, like blues and yellows, can be more engaging for them.

Dogs may not see the world in the rich color and detail that we do, but their vision is perfectly attuned to their needs. So the next time you play fetch at twilight or notice your dog's eyes shining in the dark, remember that their world is vivid and rich in ways that we can only imagine.  

You can help protect your dog’s eyes by providing a healthy diet rich in vitamins (especially antioxidants) and essential minerals. These nutrients can help protect their vision and support overall eye health. At Cola's Kitchen, we specialize in providing healthy, well-balanced meals, ensuring your furry friend receives all the necessary nutrition for optimal health, including their vision.

Behavior
November 21, 2023

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?  

Ever wondered why your dog loves munching on grass? Our latest post dives into the surprising reasons behind this quirky habit. Unearth the secrets of your canine's grass appetite! 🌿🐕 #DogBehaviors

5 MIN READ

"Is my dog turning into a cow?" This question has probably crossed your mind once or twice when you see your pooch happily grazing on your lawn. We get it, dogs’ passion for grass-eating is a bit of a head-scratcher. After all, why do our canine pals, known for their meat-loving tendencies, suddenly decide to snack on greenery?

Turns out that grass-eating is actually very common. A survey conducted by the University of California, Davis, found that out of 1,000 dog owners, 79% claimed their dogs ate grass at some point.1 This makes the behavior quite common and “normal” rather than suggesting nutritional or behavioral problems. 

So why does a dog eat grass? Let’s take a closer look into the world of canine science to figure out why our dogs have become the cutest 'lawnmowers' we've ever encountered.

Tracing the Roots: The Evolutionary Story Behind Dogs Eating Grass

Would you be surprised to hear that when dogs eat grass, it's often due to their wild ancestors? Well, that’s exactly how it is — while dogs are primarily known for their carnivorous diet, their ancestors had a more varied diet. 

Studies looking into canine ancestry have found that ancient dogs were a mix of hunters, scavengers, and foragers before humans came into the picture.2 The behavior, still observed in wolves today, is not just about filling a gap in their diet but also about seeking medicinal benefits. For example, wild canids are known to consume certain plants and grasses to aid in digestion or expel intestinal parasites.3 While your dog likely doesn’t need to eat grass anymore to get rid of parasites if he’s regularly dewormed, they might have retained this trait from their wolf ancestors.  

So while the sight of a dog eating grass can be puzzling, it's often just a normal part of canine behavior — a reminder of their rich and wild heritage.  

Other Reasons Behind Dogs Eating Grass

While evolutionary habits play a significant role in why dogs eat grass, there are also other reasons such as health issues, nutritional needs, or psychological factors. More importantly, the reasons why dogs eat grass may vary from dog to dog, ranging from boredom to dietary deficiencies.  

For example, you might have noticed that when dogs eat grass, they sometimes do it to induce vomiting if they're feeling unwell — especially if they have eaten something that doesn’t agree with their stomach.4 However, this reason may not be as common as you think. In fact, experts point out that less than 25% of dogs that eat grass actually vomit afterward and only 10% “seem to be sick before eating grass” — which suggests that nausea might not be the primary reason why dogs eat grass.5

If you notice your dog eating grass frequently, it might also be a good idea to check their diet for any nutritional deficiencies. Studies suggest that some dogs might be eating grass to supplement their diet, particularly to fulfill a need for fiber.6 Fiber is essential for digestive health, and grass is an easy-to-access source. While commercial dog foods are designed to provide balanced nutrition, some contain a low amount of fiber, which might lead to your pooch hunting for some extra in your yard. 

Finally, boredom or anxiety can also lead your dog to nibble on grass — especially in dogs that are left alone for extended periods, lack sufficient mental and physical stimulation, or experience anxiety. For many dogs, the act of eating grass can become a distraction or even a self-soothing behavior.  

The Effects of Grass Eating on Canine Health 

So is it okay for dogs to eat grass? The short answer, according to experts, is that grass, in its natural state, is not harmful to dogs. However, lawns that have been treated with chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers can pose a significant risk to dogs. Many of these substances can be toxic if ingested, causing everything from mild gastrointestinal upset to more severe poisoning symptoms. 

While untreated grass is generally safe, it could potentially cause stomach irritation, gastrointestinal upset or blockage if consumed in large amounts or too quickly. Plus, there’s always the risk your dog might ingest intestinal parasites that can be present in soil or on grass. 

Finally, it's important to keep in mind that eating grass could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as gastrointestinal distress or a nutritional imbalance, which might require attention from a veterinarian. Veterinarians will examine behavioral patterns to understand why dogs eat grass, considering both psychological and physical health aspects. 

Managing Your Dog’s Grass-Eating Habit

Observing your dog munching on grass can be a peculiar sight, but as pet owners, it’s crucial to know how to manage and respond to this behavior. This includes recognizing when to be concerned, making dietary adjustments if necessary, and providing environmental enrichment to prevent boredom-induced grass eating.  

If the grass-eating behavior is something new (and it appeared suddenly), a veterinary check-up can help rule out or diagnose any medical concerns. Additionally, if your dog shows signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, along with increased grass eating, you should contact your vet right away.

Other changes you can make: 

  • Dietary Adjustments. If you suspect your dog is eating grass due to a lack of certain nutrients, a diet change or supplement might be a good idea. Any big diet changes should be made under the guidance of a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to ensure it's appropriate and safe for your pet.
  • Environmental Enrichment. The AKC recommends increasing exercise and interactive playtime to keep your dog mentally and physically engaged. Activities like long walks, fetch, agility training, or puzzle toys can significantly enrich your dog's environment and help fight boredom and anxiety. These activities might prevent grass eating but also contribute to your dog's overall health and happiness. 

Conclusion 

While grass-eating is generally harmless, staying vigilant about your dog’s overall behavior and health is key. Remember, when in doubt, a vet’s insight can help keep your grass-munching buddy healthy and happy! 

At Cola's Kitchen, we provide nutritionally balanced, high-quality food that caters to the specific needs of dogs. Our recipes are crafted to provide a well-balanced diet that minimizes the need for dogs to seek out supplementary nutrients from sources like grass.  

Discover how to delight your picky dog's palate! Our blog offers practical tips, creative feeding strategies, and the wonders of fresh food. Turn mealtime into a joyous occasion! 🐶🍽️

5 MIN READ

Finding the best dog food for picky eaters can test the patience of even the most dedicated pet parents. But when faced with a dog who snubs their nose at what's in their bowl, it's not just a matter of frustration – it could impact their health. 

So how do you win your picky dog over? And how do you choose the best food to feed your dog? In this guide, we’ll look into practical solutions to encourage better eating habits. From exploring different food options to establishing a disciplined feeding routine, these changes can make a world of difference for picky eaters.

Understanding What Motivates Dogs to Eat

Dogs’ eating behaviors are primarily influenced by their senses. Smell, taste, and texture all play a role in how much your dog is attracted to a meal — and for picky dog eaters, it’s the right combination of these things that motivates them to eat.  

A dog's sense of smell is about 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as ours, 1 making aroma a very important factor in their willingness to eat. Surprisingly, dogs have fewer taste buds than we do — 1,700 taste buds compared to humans’ 9,000. Still, taste tests have shown that “they also prefer warm, moist foods over cold, dry foods,” according to the American Kennel Club

Texture also contributes to a dog's eating preferences. For example, dogs are more likely to enjoy the moist texture of fresh food over the dry, duller taste of dry kibble. Keep in mind that every dog is different, and understanding these differences is key to addressing the challenges of feeding a picky eater.

Strategies for Picky Dog Eaters

When dealing with a picky dog eater, creativity can make all the difference. To make mealtime more appealing and nutritious for your picky canine companion, take a look at the following ingredients and techniques.  

Following a Feeding Plan

A bit of discipline will go a long way at feeding time — and establishing a regular feeding schedule can be a game-changer for picky dog eaters. The key is to serve your dog’s meals at consistent times each day, allowing about 15-30 minutes for them to eat. If they haven’t finished in this time, remove the food until the next mealtime.2 If you’re feeding wet or fresh food, it's best to discard any uneaten portions to prevent potential health risks. You can minimize waste by starting with smaller meal portions, gradually increasing as your dog begins to eat more consistently.

At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe in the importance of a distraction-free feeding environment. Avoid giving treats or table scraps between these structured meals, especially when working to resolve feeding issues. This approach has been successful for many of our canine customers, but keep in mind that it might take a few days for your dog to get used to it.  

Using Bone Broth

Bone broth’s savory aroma and taste are often irresistible to dogs. Just mix it with regular food or moisten dry kibble with it and you likely have a winner. In addition, bone broth is rich in minerals and nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and can be beneficial for dogs' joint health and digestion. According to the American Kennel Club, incorporating bone broth into a dog's diet can also improve hydration and appetite. 3

Incorporating Treats

Treats can be a powerful motivator for picky eaters but should be used carefully. In fact, experts agree that treats should not exceed 10% of a dog’s total daily calories.4 For healthier treat options, try lean meats, carrots, or apples. You can crumble these treats over your dog’s regular food to enhance flavor and texture, encouraging them to eat their meals.

Using Puzzles

Always give your picky eater dog options when it comes to their food, including different ways to eat. Puzzle feeders can turn mealtime into a stimulating game, which can be especially beneficial for dogs that need mental stimulation to eat. Choosing the right puzzle depends on your dog’s size, intelligence level, and eating habits — from slider puzzles to treat balls to snuffle mats, there’s plenty to keep your dog entertained. 

Adding Fish Oil

Fish oil is an excellent supplement for dogs, offering benefits like improved coat quality and reduced inflammation. Plus, its strong smell can make food more appealing to picky dogs. The American Kennel Club points out that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are beneficial for canine health, plus “research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help to treat canine arthritis and chronic kidney disease.”5 When adding fish oil to your dog’s diet, always start with a small amount and increase slowly. Stop if you notice signs of gastrointestinal upset. At Cola’s Kitchen, we include high-quality organic Salmon Oil in all of our recipes. 

Why Fresh Food is Ideal for Picky Eaters

Selecting the right dog food for picky eaters can significantly improve their appetite and overall health. Among the many options, fresh food stands out as an ideal choice for picky eaters for several reasons: it’s usually tastier, has a more appealing smell, offers variety, and provides significant nutritional benefits. 

Tastier Than Traditional Kibble

When it comes to flavor, fresh food holds a significant edge over traditional kibble. Many dogs have a distinct preference for meats and fats, which are easier to taste in fresh foods. The processing of kibble often involves high temperatures, which can degrade the natural flavors and nutrients found in the raw ingredients. Fresh foods, on the other hand, retain their natural flavor and smell, making them more appealing to dogs. For picky eaters who might be turned off by artificial flavors or the boredom of dry kibble, the enhanced flavor of real fresh food might be all they need to start eating. 

More Attractive Smell

Smell plays a major role in a dog's eating behavior. Dogs have an olfactory system that is incredibly sophisticated, allowing them to detect very specific details in the food they’re eating. Because fresh foods have strong smells, they are more likely to stimulate a dog’s appetite than the more subtle scent of kibble. This might be all a picky eater needs to decide whether the food is worth eating. 

Hydration Boost

The moisture content in fresh dog food is a game-changer for taste and hydration, especially for picky eaters out there. Dry kibble has a moisture content of only about 10%, while fresh food can contain up to 70-80% moisture.6 Because of this, fresh food not only tastes better due to its natural moisture but also helps keep your dog well-hydrated, protecting kidneys and supporting overall digestive health.

Offering Variety

Variety is not just the spice of life for humans – it's essential for dogs too. Fresh food diets allow for an easy rotation of protein sources (like chicken, beef, and fish) and a wide range of vegetables, offering different textures and flavors in each meal. This variety can combat mealtime boredom and keep picky eaters interested in their food. 

Nutritional Benefits

If your dog is a picky eater, finding the right balance of nutrients and taste is essential. Fresh dog food diets provide superior nutrition compared to traditional kibble, and a recent study on human-grade dog food confirmed that by noting that whole, fresh food is highly digestible and can offer higher levels of essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which are vital for a dog’s health.7 These diets are less likely to contain preservatives, colorants, and fillers, which are common in commercial kibble. In addition, fresh food diets can be tailored to a dog's specific nutritional needs, including age, weight, activity level, and health conditions. This personalized approach ensures that dogs are not only enjoying their meals but also receiving the nutrition they need for optimal health.

Conclusion

Fresh food, often considered the best dog food for picky eaters, offers a blend of flavor, variety, and health benefits, making it an excellent choice for those with a finicky palate. Add to that a few strategies – whether it’s bone broth, treats, puzzles, or fish oil – and you can make mealtime both enjoyable and nutritious. 

At Cola’s Kitchen, we work hard to provide you with the best dog food for picky eaters in Canada. Our range of fresh food options is designed to appeal to picky eaters, ensuring your dog not only enjoys their meals but also receives the nutritional benefits they need.  

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