Health & Wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing
June 19, 2024

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

Ever wondered why dogs have whiskers? These sensitive hairs serve as navigational aids and protect their eyes. Learn more about their vital roles in your dog’s life!


Have you ever wondered about the stiff hairs sprouting from your dog's face? They are whiskers, and they're far from ordinary fur. And understanding why dogs have whiskers shows us how nature smartly designed these sensitive hairs.

Positioned in strategic spots, including the cheeks, chin, and above the eyes, whiskers serve as critical sensory tools for dogs and play a crucial role in how our canine companions perceive their environment.

First things first, whiskers – known scientifically as vibrissae– are technically not hair.1 They are long and stiff filaments composed of keratin, the same protein found in hair, skin, and nails. Unlike regular hair, however, whiskers grow from distinct follicles located deeper within the skin. They are not only thicker but are also connected to a larger number of nerve endings, making them far more sensitive than typical fur.2 

Whiskers on Cheeks and Above Eyes 

The purpose of dog whiskers is truly versatile. Think of them as a tactile GPS, leading dogs on their daily adventures and sharpening their awareness of the environment. They combine sensitivity and functionality to help a dog explore and interact socially.

Whiskers can pick up on subtle changes in air currents and vibrations. This ability equips dogs with an acute sense of spatial awareness, allowing them to detect nearby objects or movements even without direct visual or auditory cues. For a dog maneuvering through thick underbrush or a dim room, whiskers on the cheeks act as navigational aids, preventing collisions and aiding in the hunt or play.

What about why dogs have whiskers above their eyes? This placement might seem odd, but it's all about protection. These over-the-eyes whiskers function as early warning sensors, triggering a blink reflex when objects come too close, safeguarding the eyes from potential harm. Whether it's a branch on a trail or a playful swipe from a fellow pet, these whiskers ensure quick protective responses to protect the cornea from potential damage. 

The Purpose of Dog Whiskers  

Whiskers are not just doggy decor. In addition to protecting the face and eyes, they also serve other purposes. Think of them as supercharged sensors that give dogs a kind of sixth sense, helping them feel their way through the world. This system enables dogs to receive detailed information about their environment, helping them detect even the slightest changes around them.

Sensory and Navigational Functions

Whiskers are packed with nerve endings that make them highly sensitive to touch and changes in air currents. This sensitivity enhances a dog's spatial awareness, providing essential tactile feedback about their surroundings.3

Whiskers act as an early warning system, shielding a dog's eyes and face by detecting dangers or obstacles before they make contact. When a whisker flicks an object or feels the brush of air displaced by moving objects, it sends signals to the dog's brain, helping to map out the space around them.4 This is especially beneficial in low-light conditions where vision is limited, allowing dogs to detect obstacles and navigate safely.

Finally, whiskers also act as a built-in measurement tool, helping dogs avoid tricky situations. Whether it's a tight gap in a fence, a narrow crevice among rocks, or a snug spot between living room chairs, whiskers give dogs a sense of whether they'll make it through without ending up stuck or causing household chaos.


Whiskers also play a subtle yet significant role in canine communication. If you pay attention, you might notice your dog's whiskers twitching during intense moments or spreading out when it is on high alert.5

For example, when a dog encounters a new or potentially threatening animal, its whiskers may stiffen and flare out. And during playtime, their whiskers might twitch rapidly due to excitement and concentration as they engage with their favorite toys. 

Not All Whiskers Are the Same

Variation in whisker length often correlates with breed characteristics and behaviors.6 For example, some dog breeds with long whiskers like the German Wirehaired Pointer, Schnauzer, and Scottish Terrier were specifically developed for hunting or working in dense cover and use their longer whiskers to help navigate through their environment. The connection between whisker length and breed characteristics is a good example of the evolutionary adaptation of dogs to their roles alongside humans.

Dogs with particularly long whiskers can sometimes suffer from whisker fatigue. It occurs when these tactile hairs are overstimulated, often by frequent contact with objects or surfaces, leading to sensory overload and stress. It can manifest as discomfort or disorientation, impacting their day-to-day comfort and exploration.

Can you trim dogs' whiskers above their eyes to help prevent whisker fatigue? The short answer is no.7 Whiskers play a crucial role in a dog’s sensory perception, acting as radar sensors that help them navigate their surroundings. Cutting them could not only dull this sensory input but also affect their emotional well-being. Imagine suddenly losing a sense you’ve relied on all your life—that’s how your dog might feel without its whiskers.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from whisker fatigue, take a look at your living space and see what changes you can make to prevent constant whisker contact. Also, choose toys and feeding bowls designed to minimize unnecessary whisker contact. Wide, shallow bowls are better than deep, narrow ones to prevent their whiskers from brushing against the sides with every bite or drink.

While trimming a dog's whiskers might seem like a harmless grooming choice, it's essential to weigh the potential impacts on their sensory capabilities and overall happiness.  


Whiskers are important tools for dogs’ sensory exploration and emotional communication. They are also essential for navigation and safety and play a critical role in a dog’s daily interactions with the environment.

Just as untrimmed whiskers support a dog’s sensory needs, Cola’s Kitchen's fresh, wholesome meals cater to their nutritional requirements. This commitment to overall wellness and holistic care ensures our dogs lead happy, healthy lives, fully equipped to explore the world around them.

June 1, 2024

Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?

Dogs love squeaky toys for the sound, sensory satisfaction, and mental stimulation. These toys mimic prey sounds, engage their instincts, and provide fun. Choose safe, durable options for happy play.


Have you ever caught your furry friend in the middle of a squeaky toy concert, eagerly biting to produce that high-pitched sound we humans might find less than musical? And have you ever wondered why dogs like squeaky toys so much? 

The truth is that it’s not just about the noise—there are a whole bunch of reasons why dogs love their squeaky toys. From old hunting habits to just having fun playing around, squeaky toys are a big hit with dogs—and we’re here to uncover the layers behind this love affair. 

The Instinctual Appeal of Squeaky Toys  

Exploring why dogs like the sound of squeaky toys reveals fascinating insights into their instinctual love for play and hunt simulations. In the heart of every domesticated dog beats the pulse of ancient, wild ancestors. And while these ancestors didn't have squeaky toys, they had something that sounded quite similar – real, live prey.1

That is where our modern pets' love affair with squeaky toys began. The high-pitched squeals emitted by these toys eerily echo the sounds of small prey animals in distress – and this awakens a dog’s predatory instincts and ignites the thrill of the hunt in even the most pampered pooch.

But it's not all about the primal urge to hunt. The unpredictability of a squeaky toy's sound adds an extra layer of excitement for our four-legged friends. This variability keeps dogs on their paws, so to speak, eagerly anticipating the next squeak. It’s a brain game as much as a physical one, challenging them to figure out just how to bite or paw the toy to produce that satisfying sound again.2 

With every squeak, dogs are rewarded with a burst of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter. It’s similar to solving a puzzle or winning a game for us – a sense of achievement and joy in the moment. This blend of mental stimulation and physical activity enriches a dog’s playtime, making squeaky toys not just fun, but mentally and emotionally fulfilling.

For our canine companions, each squeak is a call to adventure, a reminder of their wild heritage wrapped in the safe, loving confines of home.

The Sensory Experience 

For dogs, every sound tells a story. From the soothing hum of a familiar voice to the exciting rustle of leaves on a windy day, their ears are tuned to a fascinating range of frequencies. Squeaky toys play their own special part in this, offering a unique sound that grabs a dog's attention like no other.3

But the experience doesn’t end with sound. The sensation of gripping a squeaky toy in their jaws adds another layer of satisfaction for dogs. There's something deeply satisfying for dogs about the feel of a squeaky toy between their teeth. The act of squeezing and chewing these toys delivers delightful tactile feedback that they just can't get enough of. Depending on the toy material, it can also be a healthy habit. The chewing action helps to keep their jaws strong and their teeth clean, scraping away plaque with each bite.

Imagine the combined effect of these sensory experiences. The squeaky sound sparks a dog's curiosity and excitement, drawing them into a playful state of mind, while the physical sensation of chewing meets a natural need to engage their mouths and teeth.4 

The Joy of Interaction 

Playing with a squeaky toy is also a golden opportunity for dogs to bond with their humans. These shared moments of play bring dogs and their owners closer, building trust, deepening their connection, and creating joyful memories together.5

Squeaky toys also play a starring role in training and learning. The distinct sound of a squeaky toy can be a powerful motivator for dogs, serving as a joyful reward for a job well done. Whether it's sitting on command, mastering a new trick, or simply coming when called, the promise of a squeaky toy can encourage eagerness and focus. 

Used this way, squeaky toys can be effective tools for building confidence and good behavior, one happy squeak at a time.

Safety Concerns and Choosing the Right Toy 

When it comes to playtime with squeaky toys, keeping a watchful eye is key to avoiding mishaps. Just as a child might, dogs can get a little too enthusiastic, running the risk of ingesting small parts. The trick is to select toys that are as durable as they are fun – toys that can withstand rough play without breaking apart. Always choose toys that match your dog's size and strength, and always supervise their play to step in when things get too rough.

Choosing the right squeaky toy also means paying attention to your dog's unique preferences and needs. A tiny toy might not suit a large, energetic breed, while a small dog could find a big toy intimidating. Observing your dog's chewing habits can guide you to the best choices, ensuring the toys are engaging without being easily destroyed. And variety isn't just the spice of life for humans—dogs love it too! 

If you have a dog who gets easily bored, consider rotating different squeaky toys to keep their interest alive and make each play session as exciting as the first. 


Squeaky toys offer dogs a blend of fun, instinctual satisfaction, and bonding opportunities for you and your furry friend. Plus, paying close attention to how your dog interacts with different toys and sounds can deepen your understanding of their needs and preferences. 

And when playtime wraps up, why not continue the care with a nutritious meal from Cola's Kitchen? Balancing play with a healthy diet is the perfect way to show love for your loyal companion. At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe that every moment with your pet is an opportunity to strengthen your bond, nourish their well-being, and create lasting memories. 

So go ahead and play, laugh, and feed them the kind of healthy, delicious meals that deepen your connection with every bite.

Discover how to protect your dog from the dangers of ticks with our comprehensive guide. Learn where ticks are found, how to check your pet, to remove ticks safely, and the best preventive measures.


Spring is around the corner which means that tick season is upon us. Imagine you're enjoying a sunny day in the park with your furry best friend, unaware that a tiny, uninvited guest might be making its way onto your pet's coat. Yes, we're talking about ticks - those pesky little creatures that can be a significant concern, especially when considering the risks of a tick bite on a dog.

As pet owners, it's important to understand the world of ticks — not just to keep our pets safe, but to ensure our peace of mind too. From understanding what ticks are to what their bites look like and the potential dangers they pose, this guide covers it all.  

Where are ticks found most often?

Ticks are not just your average bugs; they belong to the arachnid family, making them distant cousins to spiders and scorpions. These tiny creatures are ectoparasites, which means they live on the outside of their host, feeding on blood to survive. There are hundreds of tick species, but the ones most commonly encountered by pets are the Ixodes, Dermacentor, and Rhipicephalus species.1

Ticks are masters of survival and are found in dense vegetation, tall grasses, and wooded habitats. They're not picky about geography either — whether it's the humid tropics or cooler temperate regions, ticks can adapt to anything.

While ticks can be a year-round concern, they are particularly active during warmer months (spring through fall). During these times, ticks are always looking for hosts to feed on. Some ticks have a unique method of finding their hosts, known as "questing."2 By clinging to the tips of vegetation with their back legs, they stretch out their front legs, ready to latch onto any passing animal. Others will simply fall on dogs as they’re exploring bushes or long grass.

How Ticks Bite and Attach to Dogs

Wondering how to check a dog for ticks? Ticks are sneaky creatures. When they find a suitable spot on your dog's skin, they cut through the surface and insert their feeding tube, which can have barbs to help them stay firmly attached. Some ticks also secrete a substance that acts like cement, keeping them securely in place while they eat.

Once a tick has latched onto your pet, it begins its meal, which can last anywhere from several hours to several days. During this time, ticks can transmit a variety of pathogens through their saliva, potentially causing diseases like Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 

The bite itself is usually painless, so your pet might not show immediate signs of discomfort. However, the area around the bite can become red and irritated over time, and in some cases, the tick can cause an allergic reaction or secondary infection.

The Tick Check: Finding Ticks on Your Pet

Tick checks should be a regular part of your pet care routine, especially during tick season. With a simple routine, you can catch ticks early and prevent the potential spread of tick-borne diseases. 

  1. How to spot a tick on a dog: To check a dog for ticks, start with a visual check and give them a good once-over. Start by checking their fur for any unusual bumps or dark spots.
  2. Use your hands: Run your fingers through your pet's coat with gentle pressure to feel for any small bumps. 
  3. Take a closer look: If you feel something suspicious, part the fur to get a better look. Ticks can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a grape depending on their feeding stage. To identify them accurately, it's helpful to know what does a tick look like in a dog: usually a tiny, dark, oval-shaped insect embedded in the skin.

Common Hiding Spots for Ticks on Pets:

  • Inside and around the ears
  • Underneath collars
  • Between the toes
  • Under the tail
  • Around the eyelids
  • In the groin area
  • Under the front legs
  • At the base of the tail

How to Remove Ticks From Dogs

Removing a tick from your pet is a delicate process that requires precision to minimize the risk of infection or irritation to your pet's skin. Here’s how to take a tick off a dog safely: 3

  1. Use tweezers: You can get special tweezers and tick removal tools from pet stores or your veterinarian. 
  2. What to do if you find ticks on your dog: Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull upward using steady pressure. Don’t pull too fast, as this can cause the head to break off.
  3. How to get a tick off your dog: No squeezing! Be careful not to crush the tick's body, as this can release bacteria into the body. 
  4. Keep the bite area clean: After removing the tick, clean well with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or iodine. Don’t forget to wash your hands after.
  5. Submerge the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it: You can also flush it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers. 

The Don'ts of Tick Removal

  • Don't use your bare hands: Always use tweezers or a tick removal tool instead.
  • Forget weird home remedies: Using nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to “loosen up” the tick is not only ineffective but can also be dangerous.
  • Don't rush: Incorrect removal can increase the chances of infection.

After removal, remember to monitor the bite site for a few weeks and look for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or warmth. Also watch for symptoms of tick-borne diseases, like fever, lethargy, joint pain, or loss of appetite.

If at any point you are concerned about incomplete removal, infection, or illness, consult your veterinarian. They might recommend bringing your pet in for a check-up or sending the tick for testing.

Preventing Tick Bites: Strategies and Tips

Preventing a tick bite on a dog involves a combination of environmental management and regular grooming practices. Here are the first steps to get you started:

  • Maintain Your Yard: Keep your lawn trimmed and bushes pruned. Ticks thrive in tall grass and dense vegetation, so a well-maintained yard is less inviting to them.
  • Create a Tick-Free Zone: Consider creating barriers between your yard and wooded areas. Use wood chips or gravel as a barrier, as ticks are less likely to cross these.
  • Avoid Tick Hotspots: When walking your pet, steer clear of thick underbrush and long grass. Stick to the center of trails when hiking.
  • Groom Your Dog: Brush your pet's coat regularly. This not only keeps their fur in good condition but also allows you to catch ticks early.
  • Check Your Pet After Outdoor Activities: After spending time outdoors, especially in areas known for ticks, perform a tick check on your pet.

Incorporating certain plants into your garden can be a natural and effective way to deter ticks. Plants like lavender, garlic, and rosemary not only look good but also serve as natural tick repellents, as these plants emit scents that ticks find unappealing.

Another eco-friendly strategy is to attract natural predators of ticks into your garden. Birds and certain types of spiders are known for feeding on ticks, helping to control their population.4 Creating a garden that is welcoming to these natural tick predators can provide a biological defense against these pests.

Products such as sprays made from essential oils, like lemon eucalyptus oil, can be applied to your garden and outdoor spaces to keep ticks at bay too. However, it's crucial to ensure that any natural repellents used are safe for pets, as some essential oils can be harmful to animals. By combining these natural strategies, you can create a more tick-resistant environment that offers peace of mind while keeping your pets safe.

Tick Prevention Medicine

There are a number of options available to protect your pets from ticks, including topical treatments, oral medications, and tick collars. Each method comes with its own set of advantages and considerations, and it’s important to choose the most suitable and effective tick prevention strategy for your pet.5 

Topical Treatments: These are liquids applied to the back of your pet's neck or spine. They are effective at killing and repelling ticks and usually last about a month.

  • Pros: Easy to apply; long-lasting.
  • Cons: Can be messy; needs time to dry; can irritate skin.

Oral Medications: These come in the form of chewable tablets and are given once a month. They work by killing ticks that bite your pet.

  • Pros: No external residue; not affected by bathing.
  • Cons: Can be more expensive; some pets may refuse to take them.

Tick Collars: These collars release a chemical that repels and kills ticks. They can offer long-term protection, up to several months.

  • Pros: Continuous protection; easy to use.
  • Cons: Can lose effectiveness if frequently exposed to water; potential for skin irritation; might not be safe in multiple-dog households where dogs like to play wrestle and could chew on the collar.  

So, do dogs need flea and tick medicine every month? Can dogs get ticks in the winter?  The shortest answer is, “It depends.” Always consult with your veterinarian before starting any tick prevention regimen. They can recommend the best option based on your pet's health, lifestyle, and the prevalence of ticks in your area. Your vet can also provide advice on the proper dosages and how to safely mix different types of preventatives, if necessary.

Risks Associated with Ticks

Can ticks kill dogs? Ticks can not only transmit various serious diseases with long-term effects for your dog, but in some cases, they can also cause death. Common diseases caused by ticks include: 

  • Lyme Disease: Caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, it's one of the most well-known tick-borne illnesses. It can lead to arthritis, neurological problems, and even heart issues in pets.
  • Ehrlichiosis: This disease is caused by the Ehrlichia bacteria and can result in fever, weight loss, and respiratory issues in dogs.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Despite its name, this disease is found across the US and Canada. Caused by the Rickettsia bacteria, it can lead to joint pain, fever, and even kidney failure.
  • Anaplasmosis: Similar to Lyme disease, it's caused by the Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacterium and can result in lameness, joint pain, and fever.
  • Babesiosis: Caused by parasites that infect red blood cells, leading to severe anemia, fever, and weakness.

Early Warning Signs of Tick-Borne Illnesses:

A crucial aspect of pet care involves knowing what do ticks do to dogs. Here are some of the most common issues that might appear after a bite: 

  • Fever and Lethargy: A sudden spike in temperature and unusual tiredness.
  • Joint Swelling and Pain: Difficulty moving or unexplained lameness.
  • Appetite Loss: Refusal to eat or reduced interest in food.
  • Unusual Bruising or Bleeding: Signs of potential blood clotting issues.
  • Neurological Symptoms: Seizures, disorientation, or unusual behavior.

Knowing how to treat a tick bite on a dog —which includes proper removal of the tick and cleaning the bite area — is an essential skill for all pet owners. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, especially after finding a tick, it's crucial to consult your veterinarian immediately. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in the outcome of these diseases. 


Tackling ticks is no small feat, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can ensure your pet lives a happy, healthy life, free from the dangers of these pesky parasites. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and the steps you take today can safeguard your furry friend's tomorrow. Regular grooming, vigilant tick checks, and appropriate preventative medications are your best line of defense against tick-borne diseases.

At Cola's Kitchen, we believe in a holistic approach to pet care, which is why alongside these preventive measures, we emphasize the importance of a healthy diet. Our fresh food diets, crafted with the utmost care and quality ingredients, are designed to bolster your pet's immune system. A strong immune system is your pet's natural defense against many health issues, including complications that can arise from tick bites. By combining our nutritious diets with regular tick prevention strategies, you can provide your pet with a robust shield of health and happiness.

March 6, 2024

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Explore essential strategies for managing separation anxiety in dogs, including understanding its causes, symptoms, and effective treatments. Learn how to create a supportive environment for your pet.


Imagine this: Your furry friend, usually the life of the party, suddenly turns into a bundle of nerves the moment you grab your keys to leave. This is a clear sign of separation anxiety in dogs. 

More common than you might think, separation anxiety can lead to a wide range of behavioral issues, from incessant barking to destructive chewing and more. For dogs, separation anxiety is a severe stress response that can affect their overall well-being.

Understanding and addressing separation anxiety is crucial for any pet owner, but the journey into the canine mind is often tricky. 

History of Separation Anxiety in Dogs 

The history of separation anxiety in dogs is deeply engrained in their evolution and domestication. Like the bond observed in wild canines and their pack members, dogs have developed a strong attachment toward their human “pack members,” including their reliance on human companionship for emotional support.

Separation anxiety in dogs is a complex mix of emotions that appears primarily due to the absence of their owners, but it's also influenced by the dog's temperament, the nature of the dog-owner relationship, and their interactions. In fact, experts believe it has just as much to do with physical separation as it does with how well the dog has been integrated into the household, its temperament, and the quality of the relationship between the dog and its owner.1 

For many dogs, changes in living arrangements, like moving to a new home, can also trigger separation anxiety due to dogs’ strong bonds with their surroundings​​​​.

Because separation anxiety is so complex, it’s also often difficult to diagnose and treat. In most cases, easing your dog’s discomfort will require a mix of things, including creating a stable and secure environment, fostering a positive and supportive relationship, and addressing any underlying health or behavioral issues that may contribute to anxiety.

Causes of Separation Anxiety 

Separation anxiety in dogs is a complex condition influenced by a combination of genetics, environment, and personal history.

Genetics, in fact, is a big part of it. Just as humans inherit traits from their parents, dogs can inherit a tendency toward anxiety. Certain breeds like Border Collies or German Shepherds, known for their deep bonds with humans,, might be more predisposed to feeling anxious when left alone as well. World-renowned pet expert and positive dog trainer Victoria Stilwell also stresses that herding dogs like Border Collies are more prone to separation anxiety because they are both sound and environmentally sensitive, so they’re more likely to experience fears and anxieties. 2

Studies also show that “dogs from a home with a single adult human were approximately 2.5 times as likely to have separation anxiety as dogs from multiple-owner homes.”3 Hyperattachment to the owner also increases the likelihood of a dog developing separation anxiety. 

Then, there are environmental factors. Dogs thrive on routine – their daily walk, meal times, and cuddle sessions are the framework of their world. When there's a shake-up in this routine, such as a move to a new home, a change in work schedules, or even a new family member, it can leave them feeling lost at sea. These changes can be particularly challenging for a dog to navigate, leading to feelings of anxiety when they find themselves alone.

Traumatic events or changes in ownership can also leave a lasting imprint on a dog's psyche. For example, a dog that's been rehomed multiple times might start to worry that each goodbye could lead to another separation. Or, a dog that's experienced a particularly scary incident while alone – like a thunderstorm or fireworks – might associate being alone with those fearful experiences.

By recognizing the signs and underlying reasons for separation anxiety, pet owners can then begin to address their furry friend's needs, creating a sense of security and comfort even when they can't be by their side.

Identifying Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Identifying the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs is crucial for any pet parent looking to understand and support their furry family member. This condition manifests in various behaviors that can be both distressing for your dog and disruptive for your household. 

Here’s a closer look at the most common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs:

  • Destructive Behaviors: Dogs with separation anxiety may express their distress by chewing furniture, digging at doors and windows, or tearing up household items. These behaviors aren't acts of rebellion but desperate attempts to cope with their anxiety, and dogs should never be punished or “told off” for doing this.4
  • Vocalization: Excessive barking, howling, or whining when left alone are classic vocal signs of separation anxiety. While these might sound like a lot of noise to you, to your dog, it’s a way to voice their discomfort and longing for your return.
  • Physiological Signs: Anxiety can also trigger physical reactions in dogs. Look for signs of panting, drooling, or pacing around the house. These symptoms indicate your dog is under stress and struggling to settle down in your absence.
  • Elimination Issues: A house-trained dog urinating or defecating indoors is a significant indicator of separation anxiety. This behavior often occurs in response to the stress of being alone rather than a lapse in house training.

Understanding these symptoms is the first step toward helping your dog overcome their anxiety. By recognizing these behaviors, you can begin to explore solutions tailored to your dog's specific needs, ensuring they feel secure and loved, even when you're apart.

Diagnosing Separation Anxiety 

Diagnosing separation anxiety in dogs involves a collaborative effort between pet owners, veterinarians, and sometimes animal behaviorists. It's essential to distinguish separation anxiety from other behavioral issues, as symptoms can overlap with conditions like boredom, territorial behavior, or medical problems.5

A visit to a veterinarian is always a good first step to rule out medical issues. A vet will start by asking about your dog’s history, including routines, behaviors, and any recent changes in their environment or family structure. This conversation helps to identify potential triggers and whether the behaviors are specific to the owner's absence.

Observation is another key tool. Veterinarians may ask you to monitor and record your dog's behavior when left alone, using video recording if possible. This direct evidence can be invaluable in understanding your dog's anxiety levels and pinpointing specific triggers.

In some cases, the help of an animal behaviorist might be needed to provide a deeper analysis and to come up with behavior modification strategies. Their expertise can offer tailored solutions that address both the symptoms and underlying causes of separation anxiety.

Ultimately, a diagnosis of separation anxiety opens the door to effective treatment plans, so it’s the best way to help your furry friend lead a happier, more relaxed life even when you're apart.

How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs: A Step-by-Step Guide 

Understanding how to help a dog with separation anxiety is a critical first step in ensuring they feel secure and loved, even in your absence. This guide will walk you through practical steps, from gradual desensitization to creating a comforting environment aimed at easing your dog's distress. By addressing the issue with patience and consistency, you'll not only improve your dog's quality of life but also strengthen the bond you share. Let's dive into the methods and strategies that can make a difference.

STEP 1: Prepare in advance

  • Start with gradual desensitization to pre-departure cues: Start by identifying the actions you take before leaving the house that signal your departure to your dog—grabbing your keys, putting on shoes, etc. Begin to perform these actions randomly throughout the day without actually leaving to help your dog stop associating them with being alone. This process should be done gradually, increasing the time your dog is desensitized to these cues.6
  • Create a safe and comforting environment: Ensure your dog has a comfortable space in your home where they can relax while you're away. This could simply be a cozy corner with their bed and favorite toys, or it could be a kennel or soft carrier, but keep the door open. Some dogs find comfort in items that carry their owner's scent, so consider leaving a worn piece of clothing with them.

Step 2: Have a plan for when you’re gone

  • Provide plenty of engaging toys and activities: To keep your dog mentally stimulated and physically occupied while you're away, provide them with engaging toys. Puzzle feeders, treat-dispensing toys, or durable chew toys can help distract them and make time pass more quickly.
  • Consider doggy daycare or pet sitters for longer absences: For longer periods of absence, consider enrolling your dog in a reputable doggy daycare or hiring a trusted pet sitter. This can provide your dog with much-needed socialization and prevent them from feeling isolated.

STEP 3: Look into training and behavior modification techniques

  • Learn about counter-conditioning and put it to use: Counter-conditioning is a powerful method to help dogs overcome separation anxiety. It involves associating the fear-inducing absence of the owner with something positive. Once your dog has become comfortable with you picking up keys or putting on shoes, start by opening the door, walking outside, and walking right back in. Give your dog a treat before you leave and one when you get back in. Gradually introduce slightly longer absences, always ensuring to pair your departure with something positive, like a favorite treat or toy that they only get when you're away.
  • Use obedience training as a way to teach independence and confidence: Commands like "sit," "stay," and "come" can help manage your dog's behavior and make them feel secure even when they're alone. Focus on positive reinforcement techniques, rewarding calm behavior with treats, praise, or playtime. Training sessions also strengthen the bond between you and your pet, reinforcing their trust in you.
  • Implement a predictable routine: Dogs thrive on routine as it gives them a sense of security. Establish a consistent daily schedule for feeding, walks, playtime, and quiet time. This predictability can reduce anxiety by letting your dog know what to expect each day. Ensure the routine includes time spent alone, gradually increasing the duration to help your dog become more comfortable with being by themselves.7
  • Keep things positive: No yelling, no shock collars, no scare tactics. Dogs with separation anxiety shouldn’t be crated either because they can hurt themselves trying to escape when they panic.8 However, you can use crate training (at a very slow pace) under the guidance of an experienced trainer or behaviorist if your dog has already developed separation anxiety. 

STEP 4: Seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist if things don’t get better

  • Consult with a professional if your efforts at home don't seem to alleviate your dog's separation anxiety: A certified dog trainer or animal behaviorist can assess your dog's behavior, identify the root of the anxiety, and develop a customized treatment plan. They can offer more advanced techniques and support to help your dog overcome their fears.
  • Talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medications and behavioral therapy: In severe cases, a veterinarian might recommend anti-anxiety medications as part of the treatment plan. These medications can help reduce the immediate symptoms of anxiety, making it easier for your dog to learn new behaviors and coping mechanisms. It's crucial, however, to use these medications under the guidance of a veterinarian and as part of a broader behavioral therapy plan, as drugs address the symptoms but not the underlying cause of the anxiety.

Remember, overcoming separation anxiety is a process that requires patience, consistency, and sometimes professional help. Each dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. The key is to approach the situation with understanding, empathy, and a willingness to find the best solution for your furry friend.

Preventing Separation Anxiety  

Starting on the right paw with your new dog can help lay a solid foundation to prevent separation anxiety. Puppy separation anxiety can manifest early, so it's crucial to start addressing it as soon as you notice any signs of distress when your puppy is left alone. This condition can be tough on both you and your furry friend, but with some proactive steps, you can greatly reduce the chances of it developing.

Early socialization is key. Introducing your dog to a variety of environments, sounds, people, and other animals early on is crucial. It helps them become more adaptable and less likely to feel anxious when faced with new situations or when they're alone. Think of it as building their confidence in navigating the world without you by their side.

Exercise and mental stimulation also play a huge role in a dog's overall well-being. Regular physical activity will help keep your dog fit, but it will also burn off excess energy that might otherwise fuel anxious behaviors when you're not around. Incorporate activities like walking, playing fetch, or agility training into your daily routine.9

Mental stimulation is equally important. Dogs are intelligent creatures that need regular mental challenges to stay happy and healthy. Puzzle toys, training sessions, and interactive games are great ways to keep their minds engaged. This combination of physical and mental activity helps ensure your dog is content and tired, making them more likely to relax when they're alone.

By focusing on these areas, you can help prevent separation anxiety as well as enhance the quality of life for your dog. A balanced routine can help meet your dog’s needs for socialization, exercise, and mental engagement, and also foster a sense of security and contentment, making your time apart much easier on them.


Dogs with separation anxiety require a supportive and patient approach, as they navigate the stress of being apart from their owners. Remember, recognizing the signs early and taking action can transform your dog's experience of being alone from panic to peace.

If you're navigating this challenge, you're not alone. There's a wealth of support and resources out there, designed to guide you through. At Cola's Kitchen, we believe a healthy, happy dog starts in the kitchen, but we're also committed to supporting you beyond mealtime with advice, tips, and strategies for creating a calm, anxiety-free environment for your dog. 

So, take heart. With the right approach and resources, you and your dog can overcome separation anxiety together, paving the way for a more relaxed and joyful companionship.

March 4, 2024

Why do dogs lick you?

Explore why dogs lick: affection, curiosity, or stress signs. Learn how to interpret and respond to your furry friend's licks for a healthy bond.


Have you ever found yourself giggling and squirming as your pup showers you with slobbery kisses? If you're nodding along, you're not alone. The question of "why do dogs lick" us is as common as it is intriguing – and we’re here to provide you with some answers. 

First things first – think of dog licking as a window into your dog's emotions and instincts. Understanding why your dog feels the urge to lick will give you an insight into some of the mysteries of canine behavior and deepen the bond you share with your four-legged friend. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look into the slobbery world of dog kisses.

Understanding Dog Licking  

Dogs have a language all their own, and licking is a key part of their vocabulary. This behavior, deeply ingrained in their DNA, is much more than a simple slobber fest—it's a window into their emotional and biological wiring. 

Understanding why dogs lick you takes us back to their days in the wild, where puppies licked their mothers' mouths to signal hunger or as a greeting after a hunt. In fact, studies show that, in the wild, young wolves still nip at, lick, and smell the mouth of the adult bringing food home. 1

As domestication bridged the gap between wild canines and couch companions, this behavior evolved. Licking became an expression of affection and even curiosity. Biologically, dogs have scent glands in their mouths, so when they lick you, they're also learning about your day—where you've been, what you've eaten, and who you've met. It's their version of catching up on the latest gossip. 2

This ritual isn't just beneficial for dogs – it also has its perks for humans. When a dog licks you, it releases endorphins in both the licker and the licked, promoting a sense of calm and bonding. 

Signs of Affection  

Your dog’s kisses are one of their most heartfelt expressions of love and affection. This canine kiss, passed down from their earliest days as puppies, is a behavior deeply rooted in their development and social structure. 3

From the moment they enter the world, puppies are introduced to the power of licking by their mothers. It begins with the mother's licks, which are crucial for stimulating her newborns' breathing and encouraging them to feed. 

As puppies grow, they mimic this nurturing gesture, using licking as a way to communicate their needs and establish their place within the family unit. It's their first lesson in affection, care, and the importance of close bonds. 4

When your dog licks you, they're saying, "You're important to me." This simple act serves to strengthen the emotional connection between you and your dog and helps bridge the species divide with a mutual understanding of care and companionship.

So, the next time your furry friend starts licking you, think of it as a way for them to say, "I love you," without words.

Seeking Attention  

Dogs are incredibly attuned to human reactions and quickly learn that licking is a surefire way to engage their owners. Whether it's a gentle nudge for playtime, a plea for those tasty crumbs on your plate, or simply a call for affection, each lick is meant to get  a reaction from you. 

This behavior is rooted in their early puppyhood, where licks served as a mechanism to prompt their mother for food and care. It's a survival tactic that has evolved into a very effective form of communication we reinforce when we respond in a positive way to the licking.

Tasting and Exploring  

Wondering why dogs lick your hands? Dogs, curious by nature, use their tongues much like we use our hands—to touch, feel, and, most importantly, taste everything around them. 

The canine tongue is a powerful tool, equipped with taste buds that can detect various flavors, including the salty taste of human skin. Sweat, lotions, and even the residual taste of what you've eaten can show through your skin. This sensory exploration is a critical part of how dogs process information about their guardians and their surroundings. 5

Licking also allows dogs to pick up on our scent, which is laced with pheromones that carry emotional and physiological information. This olfactory investigation helps them understand how we're feeling —stressed, happy, or anything in between— and strengthens our bond with them.

So, the next time your dog decides you're the most interesting lickable object in the room, remember it's part of their learning process. 

Indicators of Health or Stress  

In some cases, obsessive licking can also be a red flag signaling underlying health issues or stress. 

Excessive licking, particularly when it's directed at you, themselves, or the air, can be a dog's way of coping with discomfort, ranging from physical ailments like allergies to emotional turmoil like anxiety. 6

Understanding the context and frequency of your dog's licking is key to understanding the message it. For example, if your normally reserved dog suddenly becomes obsessive with licking anything (including you), it might be time to pay attention.

Are they trying to soothe an itchy skin caused by allergies? Or perhaps they're dealing with gastrointestinal discomfort that's too complex for them to understand or communicate. Dogs, much like humans, have their own set of worries and fears, and licking can be their go-to stress reliever. It's a self-soothing behavior that releases endorphins, helping them to calm down. 7

However, licking is only a temporary solution. Without addressing the root cause, your dog might resort to licking more frequently as their stress levels rise.

Monitoring your dog's habits will alert you of a sudden increase in licking, especially if it's accompanied by other signs of distress, such as whining, pacing, or hiding. If you notice changes, a visit to the vet is always a good idea to get to the bottom of what's causing this change in behavior, whether it’s a health issue that needs medical care or an emotional problem that requires behavioral therapy or environmental changes. 8

How to Respond to Your Dog's Licking  

Responding to your dog's licks requires a blend of affection, boundaries, and a plan. A lick or two can be a sign of love, and returning the gesture with a pat or a kind word can strengthen your bond. However, indulging excessive licking can sometimes encourage a behavior you might not always want. 9

So, how do you strike the right balance? It's all about context and moderation. Acknowledge their affection, but also teach them alternative ways to seek attention. Simple commands like "sit" or "stay" can redirect their enthusiasm and reinforce good behavior. Treats and toys can also provide a positive outlet for their affectionate energy.

Incorporating basic training techniques and teaching your dog commands like "leave it" or "no lick" can help set clear boundaries. Positive reinforcement, patience, and consistency are key in managing the behavior, ensuring your dog understands when it's okay to express their love in this way and when it's time to show affection differently. 10

Remember, every dog is unique, and finding the right approach might take some time, but it's all part of the journey you share with your furry friend.


So why do dogs lick? Whether it’s a sign of love or a way to explore the world, understanding why dogs lick you can deepen the bond between you and your furry friend. 

It's crucial to recognize when this behavior is just an expression of their natural instincts or a sign of underlying health issues. At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe that incorporating well-balanced, nutrient-rich meals is part of an overall health and well-being plan that can help keep your dog healthy and strong, including mitigating stress factors contributing to excessive licking.

Remember, the key to a happy, healthy relationship with your dog lies in understanding and appropriately responding to their behaviors. Always consult with a veterinarian if you're concerned about your dog's licking habits. 

Explore the mystery of aCRID, a new respiratory illness in dogs, covering symptoms, spread, and prevention. Learn to protect your pet from this puzzling disease.


Over the past few months, an increase in cases of a mysterious respiratory illness among dogs in Canada has sparked a conversation on pet health and safety measures. Known as atypical canine respiratory infectious disease (aCRID), this brand-new and poorly understood condition has raised concerns due to its unusual persistence, potential severity, and lack of a known cure. 

Here's everything you need to know about aCRID, from its symptoms and spread to measures you can take to protect your beloved dog.

What is aCRID?

aCRID is unique among respiratory illnesses because it doesn't seem to be caused by the usual suspects like the canine parainfluenza virus or Bordetella (also known as kennel cough). 

Beginning in the summer of 2022 in New Hampshire, the disease reached its peak between late fall and December 2023. Oregon alone documented over 200 cases during this period. By now, this new illness has been reported in at least 16 American states and has also crossed borders into Canada. 1 

This widespread and somewhat erratic occurrence pattern has only added layers to the mystery, leaving experts in a race against time to understand its origins. But despite the efforts, researchers and veterinarians are still scratching their heads and wondering whether a virus, bacteria, fungus, or a mix of factors is to blame. 2

Symptoms to Watch For

The symptoms of aCRID mimic those of other respiratory infections but are notably persistent. Dogs affected by this illness may exhibit: 3

  • Persistent coughing and sneezing: Unlike typical respiratory infections that resolve within a couple of weeks, aCRID is characterized by a cough and sneeze that are not only persistent but may also intensify over time. The cough can be dry or wet, sometimes producing mucus that can be clear or colored.
  • Difficulty breathing: One of the more alarming symptoms is increased effort or labored breathing. This can manifest as rapid breathing, wheezing, or a noticeable struggle to take breaths. Dogs may extend their necks or open their mouths while trying to breathe, indicating distress.
  • Nasal and eye discharge: Clear or mucus-like discharge from the nose and eyes is common. 
  • Loss of appetite and lethargy: Dogs suffering from this illness often show reduced interest in food and can become noticeably less active. This lethargy may progress to weakness, complicating the dog's recovery.
  • Symptoms that don’t go away: With aCRID, affected dogs can remain ill for six to eight weeks or even longer. This prolonged illness can lead to weight loss and decreased immunity, making dogs more susceptible to other diseases.

In severe cases, dogs may develop acute pneumonia, which can be fatal within one to three days. The severity of the illness doesn't seem to depend on the dog's breed, age, sex, or size, but puppies, older dogs, and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk. 

Transmission and Spread

The mode of transmission for aCRID remains unclear, though respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing, direct contact with infected dogs, or contaminated objects are suspected. Social settings where dogs congregate, such as daycare centers, parks, and kennels, may facilitate the spread of this illness.

Also, the way this illness pops up in different seasons and places suggests that the weather could play a big role in how easily it spreads, making it even trickier for experts to figure out when and where the next outbreak might happen.

The Challenge of Diagnosis and Treatment

One of the most daunting challenges in confronting aCRID is the absence of a clear diagnostic path. Traditional tests that would typically identify well-known pathogens come back negative, leaving veterinarians to rely on a process of elimination.

What makes aCRID particularly alarming is its resistance to conventional treatments. Antibiotics, often a go-to for bacterial infections, barely make a dent in battling this illness. Antibiotics that are usually effective against bacterial infections seem to have minimal to no effect on this disease. This complicates treatment efforts and leads to cases where dogs require intensive care, such as ventilation or even surgical removal of infected lung tissue.

How to Protect Your Dog

The emergence of aCRID has put dog owners and veterinarians on edge, not only because of the disease's severity but also due to the lack of definitive information about its cause and spread.

Keeping your dog safe from the mysterious grip of aCRID means adopting a proactive approach to their health and environment. Here are some strategies to help shield your furry friend from potential harm:

  • Minimize social contact: Crowded places like dog parks, daycare centers, and pet stores can be hotspots for the spread of infections. If you've heard rumors of aCRID in your neighborhood or nearby, it might be wise to keep your dog's social interactions to a minimum.4
  • Stay vigilant: Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of illness, such as persistent coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, or unusual lethargy. 
  • Practice good hygiene: Regularly clean and disinfect objects and areas your dog frequents. Consider wiping your dog's paws and coat with a damp cloth after walks, especially if you've been in areas frequented by other dogs.
  • Boost immune health: A strong immune system can help your dog fend off infections. Ensure your dog is getting a balanced diet, rich in nutrients. Regular exercise and check-ups are also crucial for keeping your dog in top health.
  • Seek veterinary advice: Keep up to date with the latest news on aCRID, including any reports of outbreaks in your area. And if your dog shows signs of respiratory distress, consult your veterinarian immediately for guidance and to discuss treatment.5


The rise of aCRID is a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance in pet health and the need for ongoing research into animal diseases. While the scientific community continues to search for answers, dog owners should take proactive steps to protect their pets from this mysterious illness. The good news? The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association reports that as of February 2024, “cases of canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) around most of the US and Canada seem to be waning.”6

By staying informed and embracing a holistic approach to pet care that incorporates a balanced diet through tailored, wholesome, fresh meals, regular veterinary check-ups, and mindfulness about your dog's environment, you can help keep your furry friend as healthy and happy as possible.  

February 16, 2024

Is Broccoli Good For Dogs?

Discover if broccoli is safe for dogs, exploring its nutritional benefits and potential risks. Perfect for pet owners seeking a balanced diet for their furry friends.


Who hasn't caught those pleading puppy eyes from under the table, especially when you're crunching on something as healthy as broccoli? This might lead you to wonder, "Can dogs have broccoli?" Could you share a bite or would that be a potential health risk?

While we're often cautioned about the dangers of feeding our dogs human food, broccoli stands in a gray area, loved by some for its nutritional benefits but also feared by whispers of risk. 

The question then comes up: Is broccoli good for dogs, or is it best left on our plates alone? And how do you navigate the world of canine nutrition when every choice can potentially impact your furry friend's health? Unpacking the truth requires digging into the science behind this cruciferous vegetable, understanding its nutritional makeup, and balancing its benefits against any potential hazards.

Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli for Dogs 

Broccoli, that tree-like vegetable that divides human opinion, is a powerhouse of nutrients that can offer a health boost to your furry companion. Loaded with vitamins C, K, and A, along with minerals like potassium and calcium, broccoli is a nutritional heavyweight in the vegetable kingdom. But what does this mean for your four-legged friend?

Vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant, can help support a dog's immune system, helping to ward off infections and promote overall health. Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting, ensuring that your adventurous pup can heal quickly from those minor scrapes and cuts. Plus, the calcium in broccoli supports strong bones and teeth, while potassium aids in proper muscle and nerve function, keeping your dog spry and active.

The antioxidants in broccoli also include compounds like sulforaphane, which studies suggest may have anti-cancer properties. While research is still in the early stages, the potential for broccoli to contribute to a cancer-preventative diet is an exciting prospect for pet owners looking to provide the best care for their dogs.

But it's not just about vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is full of fiber, essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber aids in regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and can help manage weight by making your dog feel fuller for longer. This is particularly beneficial for those dogs on a diet or prone to overeating.

Potential Risks and Precautions 

While broccoli is filled with nutrients that are good for both humans and canines, it needs to be fed to dogs carefully. These green florets contain compounds called isothiocyanates, which, despite their many beneficial properties, can also cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs if ingested in significant amounts. And the balance between beneficial and harmful lies in the quantity consumed. 

Understanding portion control is key when it comes to sharing this vegetable with your furry friend. As a general guideline, broccoli should not exceed 10% of a dog's daily food intake. In fact, according to AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, while broccoli is considered safe for dogs when it constitutes less than 10% of their daily food consumption, amounts exceeding 25% are considered toxic. For a small dog, a couple of small florets may be enough, while larger breeds can handle a bit more. 

As a result, the motto "less is more" should be your guiding principle to prevent any adverse effects. This is also true if you wonder, “Can dogs have broccoli stalks?” The answer is yes, but only in moderation due to their high fiber content.

Symptoms of broccoli overindulgence mirror those of general digestive distress. If your dog starts showing signs of abdominal discomfort, such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea, after chomping down on broccoli, it might be time to reassess their greens intake. More severe reactions could include vomiting or a decrease in appetite, a sign that broccoli might not be the best snack for them.

If you’re ready to give broccoli a try, keep in mind that every dog responds differently to fiber, and it’s best to be strict on portion control, mainly when you first introduce this vegetable into their diet. Above all, portions should remain a treat rather than a major diet staple to ensure your dog’s tummy remains in good health. To be on the safe side, start small and monitor your dog's reaction — just as you would with any new food.

Best Ways to Serve Broccoli to Dogs

Let’s now take a closer look into the great broccoli debate: to serve raw or cooked, that is the question. Both methods have their cheerleaders and critics, but when it comes to our canine companions, cooking wins the race. Cooking not only makes this cruciferous veggie easier for dogs to digest but also reduces the risk of choking, as cooked broccoli is soft and breaks apart easily. 

Before you start steaming or boiling, keep in mind that preparation is key. A light steam is all it takes to soften those tough fibers, making them easier on your dog's stomach while preserving those all-important nutrients. Remember, the goal is to soften, not transform it into mush. Overcooking can strip away the very vitamins and minerals you're aiming to provide. And when it comes to seasoning, keep it plain: Dogs don't need the extra salt, garlic, or onions that we humans might enjoy, and in fact, some of these can be harmful.

Now, for the fun part—getting creative with how you serve it. If you're introducing broccoli for the first time, start small, mixing a few finely chopped or pureed florets into their regular food. For the adventurous pet parent, consider making a dog-friendly veggie medley, combining broccoli with other safe vegetables like carrots or pumpkin. Another hit can be homemade dog treats; blend steamed broccoli with a protein (such as chicken or beef) and a little flour to create nutritious bite-sized snacks.

With a bit of culinary creativity, you can turn this nutritional powerhouse into a tasty addition to your dog’s diet. Whether it's a garnish on their dinner or the main ingredient in a homemade treat, broccoli can safely add variety and vital nutrients to your dog's meal plan when served with care.

Broccoli and Dogs with Special Dietary Needs 

For our four-legged friends with special dietary needs, broccoli can be both a hero and a villain. Dogs battling the bulge or tummy troubles require a tailored approach to nutrition, and that's where broccoli either comes in like a winner or doesn’t come in at all. 

Let's start with the pups on a weight management journey. Because broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber, it can work wonders as a natural appetite suppressant. It will help keep your dog feeling fuller for longer without packing on the pounds, making it an excellent addition to a weight-loss diet.  

Broccoli's high fiber content is a double-edged sword for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. On one side, it can aid digestion and keep things moving smoothly. On the flip side, too much can cause gas and irritation. The trick is to introduce broccoli slowly and in small amounts, under the watchful eye of a vet if necessary. 

Now, the big question: When should broccoli be left out of a dog's diet? For starters, dogs with hypothyroidism might need to steer clear, as broccoli can interfere with thyroid hormone production when consumed in large quantities.

In the grand scheme of things, broccoli can be a valuable addition to a dog's diet, especially under veterinary guidance (for dogs with special needs). But it's essential to balance its benefits with its potential drawbacks, always erring on the side of caution and prioritizing your pet's unique health requirements.

Wrapping Up

Broccoli: it's a veggie that brings a lot to the table for our canine companions, from a powerhouse of nutrients to a splash of green in their meals. 

Now that you’ve learned about the nutritional perks, navigated potential pitfalls, and even dished out tips on serving it up safely, you might be ready to give broccoli a starring role in your dog's diet. Just remember that it's all about balance and moderation. 

Before you start steaming up a storm, have a chat with your vet to tailor a menu that suits your furry friend's unique health needs. And when it comes to ensuring your pet enjoys a varied, balanced diet, consider the carefully crafted meals from Cola's Kitchen, designed with your pet's health in mind. So, next time you're chopping broccoli for dinner, set aside a little, vet-approved portion for your pooch, or let Cola's Kitchen take care of the balance for you. After all, sharing is caring—especially when preparing meals that make pets happy and healthy.

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!


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.


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.

February 12, 2024

Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

Thinking of sharing grapes with your dog? 🍇🐕 Hold that thought! Discover why grapes are a no-go for dogs, the risks they pose, and safer treat alternatives to keep your pup healthy and happy.


Imagine you're savoring a juicy grape, and there's your dog, eyeing you with that hopeful gaze. It's a moment every pet owner knows all too well — the dilemma of sharing human food with our canine companions. Unfortunately, the question of “Can dogs eat grapes?” is surrounded by cautionary advice. 

Sadly, although this juicy fruit may be delicious to us, it comes with big red flags for dogs. Join us as we uncover the reasons behind the risks of feeding grapes to pets and why even the most innocent fruits can be a hidden danger to our four-legged family members.

So, Can Dogs Eat Grapes? 

Here's the short and sweet – or rather, the sour truth: No, dogs should not eat grapes. This isn't just a casual suggestion — it's a firm no-go consensus among veterinarians. 

Grapes and raisins, their dried version, pose a serious risk to dogs, potentially causing rapid kidney failure and even death. What's baffling is that scientists haven't pinpointed the exact toxin in grapes responsible for these severe effects. This mystery makes every grape a potential danger, transforming a common fruit into a significant risk for our furry friends.

The final answer? When it comes to grapes and your dog, it's best to err on the side of caution and opt for safer treat alternatives.

Nutritional Profile of Grapes: Benefits and Dangers 

For us humans, grapes are little globes of goodness packed with vitamins C and K, antioxidants, and fiber, all contributing to heart health, hydration, and overall vitality. They're a natural sweet treat, low in calories but rich in nutrients, making them a popular choice for a healthy diet. The antioxidants found in grapes, such as resveratrol, have been celebrated for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, showcasing grapes as more than just a delicious snack.

So if they’re so nutritious for us, have you ever wondered why can't dogs eat grapes? The truth is that despite the nutritional powerhouse that grapes represent for humans, these fruits pose a severe risk to dogs. In fact, the toxicity of grapes to dogs is so serious that even a small amount is capable of causing acute kidney failure. This proves a critical point: what's beneficial for us can be dangerous for our pets. 

Effects of Consumption: Positive and Negative  

Take a closer look into the world of dogs and grapes and one thing becomes crystal clear: there are no positive effects of feeding your dogs grapes. For our furry friends, eating grapes is a gamble with their health, one where the odds are never in their favor. Grapes, whether seeded or seedless, green, or transformed into raisins, carry a mysterious toxicity that does not discriminate by type or form.

The negative impact of grape ingestion in dogs can be both immediate and severe. Even a small quantity can trigger a number of toxic reactions, leading to acute kidney failure—a condition that can be fatal if not addressed promptly. The exact substance within grapes that causes this toxic effect remains unidentified, but the evidence of its danger is undeniable. 

Reports have shown that the adverse effects can vary widely among dogs, with some experiencing toxicity from just a few grapes, while others may only be affected by a larger quantity. The inconsistency of the reaction adds a layer of unpredictability, making grapes a risk not worth taking.

Symptoms of grape or raisin poisoning in dogs can range from vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea to an alarming drop in urine output, which could mean kidney failure is looming. This serious situation underscores why it's crucial to keep these fruits far away from curious snouts. 

Grapes might be a juicy, sweet treat for people, packed with health perks, but for dogs, they carry a big risk. Veterinarians everywhere agree on one consistent piece of advice: don't let dogs have grapes to protect them from the possibly catastrophic consequences of grape poisoning.

Symptoms of Grape Toxicity in Dogs  

Grape toxicity in dogs throws a whole spectrum of warning signs, from mild to downright alarming, sketching a scenario no pet lover ever hopes to see. Picture this: your dog snags a grape or two, and before you know it, they're dealing with a bellyful of trouble. The first clues? Usually vomiting and a sudden burst of energy as their bodies fight to eject the unwelcome guest. But things can take a turn with diarrhea swiftly joining the mix, tipping you off that your furry friend is really struggling inside.

When the bad stuff from grapes starts to hit, dogs go from zoomies to snoozies, dragging their paws in a way that's anything but normal for them. This tiredness can get worse, turning into a full-on slump where even the jingle of a leash or the rustle of a treat bag doesn't get a wag. Then comes the scary part: signs that their kidneys are on the fritz. Maybe they're not urinating as much, or maybe they can't go at all, hinting that their kidneys are throwing in the towel.

This whole grape drama is a big deal because you never know how a dog will react. One pup might get sick from just a grape or two, while another could wolf down a whole bunch and only then start feeling rough. That's why grapes are a no-fly zone for dogs. Even a tiny taste could mean a rush to the vet, making it clear that when it comes to our four-legged friends, it's better to be safe than sorry with what we share from our snack stash.

First Aid and Treatment  

If your dog sneakily snatches a grape or two, the best thing you can do is take quick action. Simply put, don't panic, but don't wait-and-see either. Immediate steps can be the difference between a close call and a crisis. 

First aid starts with a call to your vet or an emergency animal hospital. They might advise you to induce vomiting if the grapes were eaten very recently. However, this should only be attempted under professional guidance to avoid further complications.

Getting your furry friend to a vet as quickly as possible is key to recovery. Even if they seem fine, grape toxicity can escalate unseen and quickly. Your vet may start with decontamination procedures, such as giving your dog activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of the toxins. Treatment often involves supportive care: IV fluids to flush out the kidneys, medications to control symptoms like nausea, and monitoring for signs of kidney damage.

This isn’t the time to try home remedies or wait it out — both can seriously damage your dog's health. It's crucial to understand that kidneys have very limited capacity to regenerate or repair themselves. Once they are damaged, their functionality may be permanently reduced. Early and aggressive treatment is vital to minimize the risk of long-term kidney problems.

Veterinarians have the knowledge and tools to act effectively against grape toxicity, providing the best chance for a full recovery. Remember, when it comes to grapes and dogs, erring on the side of caution and seeking professional help immediately is always the best course of action.


When it comes to canine diets, grapes are a definite no-go. Their toxicity to dogs, regardless of type or form, places them firmly on the list of foods to avoid. It's essential to keep these tempting snacks out of paws' reach to prevent accidental ingestion. Always be mindful of their diet, and when in doubt, turn to a veterinarian for advice on what’s safe and what’s not.

The possibilities for safe, dog-friendly snacks are endless, ranging from crunchy carrots to seedless, juicy apples. For pet owners seeking both convenience and quality in their dog's diet, Cola’s Kitchen offers a range of pet-friendly recipes that are not just safe but also deliciously satisfying. Choosing Cola’s Kitchen is more than just a choice for quality—it's a guarantee against the risks associated with harmful ingredients. 

After all, the greatest treats are those served with peace of mind, knowing our furry friends are enjoying the best, without any hidden dangers.

Is liver the superfood your dog needs? 🐶🍽️ Dive into our comprehensive guide on the nutritional benefits and risks of liver for dogs, plus discover delicious homemade liver treat recipes!


Is beef liver good for dogs? what about Chicken liver? At Cola’s Kitchen, we understand the power of healthy, nutritious food for our canine companions. That's why we're taking a closer look at a topic every dog owner should know about – is liver good for dogs? The truth is that liver packs a punch with its high nutrient content, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every dog.  

This guide will explore not just the incredible nutritional benefits of liver for dogs but also take a critical look at any potential risks involved. Plus, for those who love pampering their pups with homemade treats, we'll be sharing some tail-waggingly good liver treat recipes. 

Whether you're an experienced dog owner or new to the pack, this article is your go-to resource for all things liver in a dog's diet. So, is liver good for dogs? Let's unleash the facts and get cooking on some healthy and delicious treats your furry friend is bound to love!

Nutritional Benefits of Liver for Dogs 

Liver is a powerhouse of nutrition for dogs, boasting a rich array of essential nutrients that are beneficial for your furry friend's health. Packed with high levels of protein and low in calories, liver offers more than just basic nourishment. It's an excellent source of Vitamin A, vital for maintaining healthy vision, immune function, and skin and coat health. The liver also contains a significant amount of D and B vitamins, particularly B12, which play a crucial role in maintaining energy levels and brain function.1

Iron found in liver is highly bioavailable, meaning it's easily absorbed and utilized by your dog's body, supporting healthy blood cells and overall vitality. Unlike some iron supplements, the natural iron in liver is less likely to cause constipation or other digestive issues. Additionally, liver is a great source of essential fatty acids, contributing to joint health and cognitive function.2

When comparing liver to other common dog foods, its nutrient density stands out. While commercial dog foods are formulated to meet basic nutritional needs, liver provides a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals that can enhance your dog's diet. It's especially beneficial for dogs with certain deficiencies or health conditions that require a nutrient boost.

However, it's crucial to balance liver with other foods. Feeding your dog liver exclusively or in large quantities can lead to vitamin A toxicity, which underscores the importance of moderation and variety in your dog's diet. As a part of a balanced diet, liver can be an excellent addition, providing key nutrients that support your dog's overall health and well-being.

Remember, while liver offers significant health benefits, it should complement a well-rounded diet tailored to your dog's specific needs. Always consult with your vet to determine the best dietary plan for your pup.

What type of liver to choose

Liver, beyond being a nutritional powerhouse for dogs, varies in its nutritional profile depending on the type.3 For instance, beef liver is exceptionally high in vitamin A, making it great for your dog's vision and immune system. It also packs a hefty dose of iron, crucial for healthy blood cell formation. What about chicken? Is chicken liver good for dogs? Chicken liver, known for its high nutrient content, is a leaner option and a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, promoting a healthy coat and skin.

Comparatively, lamb liver is rich in zinc, which supports immune function and wound healing, and is a great alternative for dogs that might be allergic to beef or chicken liver.4 Pork liver, while not as common, provides a good balance of these nutrients but should be given in moderation due to its higher fat content.

Each type of liver brings something unique to the table in terms of nutrition. For the best mix of vitamins and minerals, it’s best to rotate between these different types. Remember, regardless of the type, moderation is key to prevent nutrient imbalances. 

Can All Dogs Eat Liver? 

Liver, as a dietary option for dogs, brings a lot to the table in terms of nutrition, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different dogs have varying dietary needs and sensitivities, making it crucial to consider each pet's unique health profile. For example, while liver is packed with essential nutrients, certain dogs, especially those with specific health conditions, may not respond well to it.5

For puppies or older dogs, whose digestive systems are more delicate, introducing liver into their diet requires a careful approach. A gradual introduction, with small portions initially, helps in gauging their body's response. This method is also beneficial for identifying any potential allergies or sensitivities.

Is liver good for dogs every day? Liver can be a great source of protein within a balanced and personalized diet. Incorporating liver into a dog's diet should be done thoughtfully and in moderation. Since liver is high in certain nutrients like vitamin A, overfeeding can lead to health problems. Cooked liver, free of added spices or seasonings, is the best way to serve it, safeguarding against any digestive discomfort or toxicity issues.

By understanding your dog's specific dietary needs and introducing liver cautiously, you can safely add this nutrient-rich food to their diet, enriching their nutritional intake without risking their health.

Potential Risks of Feeding Liver to Dogs 

Feeding liver to dogs, while nutrient-rich, comes with certain risks that pet owners should be aware of. 

While liver is packed with essential nutrients for dogs, it's important to be mindful of the potential risks associated with its consumption. The most significant concern is Vitamin A toxicity. Liver, especially from beef and chicken, is very rich in Vitamin A, and while beneficial in the right amounts, excessive intake can lead to toxicity. Symptoms of Vitamin A overdose include bone deformities, digestive issues, and lethargy. This is especially serious in puppies, where too much vitamin A can lead to developmental problems.

Allergies, though rare, are another risk to consider. Some dogs may have an allergic reaction to liver, leading to symptoms such as itching, redness, or gastrointestinal issues. It's crucial to introduce liver slowly into your dog's diet, watching for any signs of allergic reactions or intolerance.

The liver's source is also a factor. Ideally, the liver should come from organically raised, hormone and antibiotic-free animals. In fact, veterinarians recommend that “if you feed organ meat, this should ALWAYS be organically sourced, especially liver since this organ filters many toxins.”6 

In terms of quantity, moderation is key. Liver should only be a small portion of your dog's overall diet. Generally, organ meats like liver should not make up no more than 5% to 10% of a dog's total dietary intake. This helps avoid imbalances in nutrition and reduces the risk of Vitamin A toxicity. For most dogs, this equates to a few small pieces of liver a couple of times a week.

Given these potential risks, it’s best to always consult with a veterinarian before introducing liver into your dog's diet, especially if your dog has pre-existing health conditions or dietary restrictions. They can provide tailored advice on the appropriate quantity and frequency of liver consumption for your specific dog. Remember, a balanced diet is essential for your dog's overall health and well-being.

Tips for Making Homemade Liver Treats 

Creating homemade liver treats for your furry friend can be both fun and rewarding. Here's how to whip up a batch of these tail-wagging delights:

  • Select the Right Liver: Each type of liver brings its own flavor and nutrition. Beef liver packs a punch with vitamins, while chicken liver is a leaner choice. For variety, try lamb or pork liver too. Each has its unique taste and nutrient profile that your pup will love.
  • Prep and Cook with Care: Start by cleaning the liver and trimming off excess fat. Cooking methods can vary — from boiling for simplicity to baking or dehydrating for a chewy texture. If you're baking, slice the liver into even pieces and cook them slowly in a low-heat oven until they're dry. For a longer shelf life, dehydrating is your best bet. Thinly slice the liver and use a dehydrator until they are crisp.
  • Seasoning Matters: Dogs love liver in its natural state, but feel free to add dog-safe herbs like parsley for an extra health kick. Avoid harmful ingredients like onions, garlic, and excess salt.7
  • Storing Your Treats: Freshly made liver treats can stay in the fridge for about a week. If you've made a large batch, freeze them for up to six months. Dehydrated treats last longer and can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Remember, these treats are just that – treats. They should complement a well-balanced diet, not replace it. Use them as a special reward or for training purposes. Watching your dog enjoy these homemade goodies will be a treat in itself!

Homemade Liver Treat Recipes

Creating homemade liver treats for your dog can be both fun and rewarding. Bring your pup into the kitchen with you, and you can have an afternoon of bonding over yummy (well, at least yummy for your pup!) snacks. 

Here are several recipes to get you started, each offering a unique way to incorporate this nutritious ingredient into your dog's diet.

Simple Baked Liver Treats - Ideal for Training

  • Start by boiling beef liver for about 10-15 minutes until it's no longer pink in the middle.
  • Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
  • Cut the cooked liver into small, bite-sized pieces perfect for training treats.
  • Spread the pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours until they are dry and hard. This low and slow cooking method preserves nutrients while making the treats easy to store.
  • Cool them completely before offering them to your dog.

Liver and Pumpkin Biscuits - Great for Sensitive Stomachs

  • Puree equal parts of cooked chicken liver and canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is gentle on sensitive stomachs and is a great source of fiber.
  • Gradually add whole wheat flour until a workable dough forms.
  • Roll out the dough and cut it into fun shapes with a cookie cutter.
  • Bake the biscuits at 350°F (175°C) for about 20 minutes or until they are crispy.

Liver Jerky - Perfect for Big Chewers

  • Thinly slice raw liver for this chewy treat, ideal for dogs who love to gnaw.
  • Lay the strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Dehydrate in the oven at 200°F (93°C) until they are dry and chewy, typically around 2-3 hours.
  • This method of preparation makes the liver jerky a long-lasting treat.

Grain-Free Liver Cake - Suitable for Dogs with Grain Allergies

  • Blend cooked liver and eggs, then mix in a grain-free flour like coconut or almond flour to create a batter.
  • Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 350°F (175°C) until the cake is firm and springy to the touch.
  • This recipe is especially good for dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities.

Liver and Vegetable Mash - Nutrient-Rich for All Ages

  • Boil liver with dog-friendly vegetables like carrots and peas until soft.
  • Mash or puree the mixture for a nutritious meal or treat, ideal for dogs of all ages.
  • This recipe combines the nutritional benefits of liver with the vitamins and fiber of vegetables.

Liver and Oatmeal Cookies - Ideal for Older Dogs

  • Boil beef or chicken liver, then finely chop or puree it.
  • Mix the liver with oatmeal, a little bit of water, and an egg to create a dough.
  • Roll out the dough and cut it into shapes suitable for your dog's size.
  • Bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes.
  • These cookies are softer, making them perfect for older dogs with sensitive teeth.

Frozen Liver Cubes - Refreshing Summer Treat

  • Puree cooked liver with a bit of water or unsalted chicken broth.
  • Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray.
  • Freeze until solid.
  • These treats are a cool and refreshing snack, especially beneficial during hot weather.

Liver and Rice Balls - For Sensitive Digestion

  • Cook liver and mix it with cooked rice.
  • Form small, bite-sized balls, perfect for dogs with sensitive digestion.
  • These treats are gentle on the stomach and easy to digest.

Liver and Sweet Potato Chews - Rich in Fiber

  • Boil liver and sweet potato separately, then mash them together.
  • Spread the mixture thinly on a baking sheet.
  • Dehydrate in the oven at a low temperature until chewy.
  • These treats combine the nutritional benefits of liver with the fiber-rich goodness of sweet potatoes.

Remember, when introducing new treats to your dog's diet, start with small quantities and watch out for any adverse reactions. Also, consult your vet before making significant changes to your dog's diet, especially if they have specific health issues. 

Summing Up Liver for Dogs

If you’ve ever wondered, “can a dog eat liver?” we hope this article helped put your concerns at ease! Liver has a rich nutritional profile, including high levels of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins — but it must be fed in moderation due to potential risks like vitamin A toxicity and the need to maintain a balanced diet.

If you’re inspired to give liver a try, make sure you consult with your vet. They can provide tailored advice considering your dog's specific dietary requirements.

At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe in the power of healthy, homemade meals to enrich your dog's life. So, why not give these liver treat recipes a try? It's a fun, rewarding way to ensure your furry friend enjoys a healthy, tasty snack!

Health & Wellbeing
February 1, 2024

Mucus in Dog Poop

Is mucus in your dog's stool cause for concern? 🐾🔍 Dive into our guide to understand the role of mucus in canine health, its causes, and when it's time to see a vet. Keep your furry friend healthy!


Mucus, a common but very misunderstood component in dog stool, actually serves a crucial role in your pet's digestive health. Mucus in dog poop isn't a one-size-fits-all issue, however. Changes in its appearance can signal various health issues, especially if those changes are sudden. As a dog owner, recognizing these signs is essential to keeping your pup healthy.

Mucus in dog stool ranges from benign, white mucus to more concerning types like bloody mucus, each indicating different health conditions. Understanding these differences is essential to help you figure out if the mucus is just a minor hiccup in your dog's diet or a sign of something more serious. 

We have put together an article to guide you through the causes of mucus, the implications if you notice it, and when it's time to consult your veterinarian. By staying informed, you can be proactive about your furry friend's health and address potential problems before they escalate.

Understanding Mucus in Dog Poop 

Mucus in dog poop often raises eyebrows, but before you hit the panic button, let's take a closer look at its role in your dog's health. Intestinal mucus is a slimy substance (similar to what you get when you have a runny nose) that plays a surprisingly important role in your dog's digestive system. It's like the body's own brand of lubricant, helping to ease the journey of food through the intestines. Plus, it's a key player in protecting the intestinal lining from harmful bacteria and irritants.

In many cases, seeing mucus in your dog's poop is no cause for alarm. It could simply mean your dog’s digestive system is just working a bit harder than usual. However, the appearance and amount of mucus can vary — and that's when you have to start paying more attention. 

For example, a coating of white mucus often points to a simple case of intestinal irritation – maybe your furry pal snuck a bite of something they shouldn't have.

On the other hand, mucus that has a jelly-like consistency can be a bit more concerning, as it could be a sign that your dog's system is reacting to something more serious, like inflammation or infection. This type of mucus can sometimes completely envelop pieces of stool, giving it a distinctive, almost protective cover.

So, while a bit of mucus here and there can be perfectly normal, significant changes in its appearance or amount are subtle clues that something is not completely fine with your dog's internal health. Paying attention to these signs is a crucial part of your role as a pet parent — it’s the only way to ensure your dog's digestive health is on track.

Causes of Mucus in Dog Stool 

Navigating the reasons behind mucus in your dog's stool can feel like solving a puzzle. But the first, and most important step, is, to learn to distinguish between causes that are no big deal and those that require a vet visit.  

Here are some of the most common causes of mucus: 

Dietary Changes and Food Sensitivities

It's not unusual for dogs to experience a change in their stool after switching foods. If you've recently introduced a new diet or even a new treat, this could be the cause. Many dogs, just like us, can have sensitive stomachs — when they eat something that doesn't agree with them, their digestive system responds by producing more mucus

This is essentially the body's way of protecting the intestinal lining. Keep an eye on how your dog reacts to dietary changes. A temporary increase in mucus is not rare with a sudden change in diet, but if it persists or worsens, you might need to reconsider your dog’s diet.  

Infections and Parasites

Infections, whether bacterial, viral, or fungal, can lead to increased mucus production. Parasites (including whipworms, tapeworms, and giardia) are another common cause, as these can irritate your dog's gut, leading to mucus-covered stools. 

Infections and parasites often come with other symptoms, like diarrhea, vomiting, or a lack of appetite. Regular deworming and maintaining good hygiene can help prevent these issues, but if you suspect an infection or parasites, a vet visit is necessary.

Inflammatory Conditions

Inflammatory conditions such as colitis, where the colon gets inflamed, can lead to mucus in stools. This inflammation can be triggered by stress, infection, or even chronic diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

In these cases, the body's immune response goes into overdrive, causing an increase in mucus production as a protective measure. Inflammatory conditions often require medical attention and, in some cases, long-term management.

Stress-Related Factors

Just like humans, dogs can get stressed too. Moving to a new home, changes in the family dynamic, or even separation anxiety can impact your dog's digestive health. Stress can lead to increased mucus production as part of the body's natural response mechanism. If you think stress might be the cause, consider what's changed in your dog's environment and what you can do to help them feel more secure.

Always consult your vet if you're concerned, especially if the mucus is accompanied by other symptoms like changes in appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, or lethargy. Your vet can help you get to the bottom of the issue and ensure your furry friend stays healthy and happy.

When Mucus is a Concern: Recognizing Alarming Signs

Spotting mucus in your dog's poop can sometimes be a red flag, a sign that something is not right in the health department. It's essential to know when to shift from a casual observer to an alert pet parent. Let’s decode the warning signs that indicate it's time to get your furry friend checked out.

Blood in the Mucus: A Red Alert

Bloody mucus in a dog’s poop is one of the most concerning signs. If you see red streaks or dog poop like jelly with blood, it's not something to take lightly. This can indicate anything from a minor irritation in the lower digestive tract to more serious conditions like ulcers, tumors, or even parvovirus, especially in puppies. Blood in the stool can appear bright red or dark and tarry, each pointing to different areas of concern in the digestive system.

Color Changes: More Than Meets the Eye

Mucus itself can tell a color-coded story. While clear or white mucus in dog poop can be relatively normal, a consistent presence or an increase in the amount should raise some eyebrows. White mucus, especially when it’s more than just a thin layer, could also hint at colitis or other inflammatory bowel issues. On the other hand, yellow or green mucus can suggest a bile duct problem or even a parasite infestation.

Accompanying Symptoms: Piecing the Puzzle

Other symptoms in a dog with mucus in poop can provide vital clues. Is your dog showing signs of discomfort or pain during defecation? Are they constipated or experiencing diarrhea? Have they lost their appetite or seem lethargic? Vomiting, diarrhea, or a sudden change in weight are all pieces of the puzzle that, together with mucus in the stool, paint a picture of your dog’s overall health.

Consistency and Frequency: Ongoing Issues

The consistency of the poop and the frequency of mucus appearance also matter. If the mucus is a one-off occurrence, it might not be a major concern. However, if you start noticing a pattern or if the stool is consistently loose or unusually hard, it's time for a vet visit.

Remember, you know your dog best. Trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to seek veterinary advice if you suspect something’s not right. Prompt action can make all the difference in helping your dog recover. 

Diagnosis and Testing 

When you bring your four-legged pal to the vet with concerns about mucus in their stool, the vet will likely start with a thorough physical examination and review of your pet's medical history, followed by a series of tests. Here's what you can expect:

Comprehensive Check-Up

First things first, your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination. They'll assess your dog's overall health, looking for any signs of discomfort, bloating, or pain that could be related to digestive issues. They'll ask you questions about your dog's diet, recent changes in behavior, and any other symptoms you've noticed. This is one of the most important steps in the diagnosis — it gives the vet valuable clues before moving on to more specific tests.

Fecal Exam

One of the first go-to tests is a fecal examination, where the vet will analyze a sample of your dog's stool under a microscope. They're looking for hidden culprits like parasites, eggs, or even blood that's not visible to the naked eye. This test can also reveal if there's an imbalance in the normal flora of the gut or the presence of pathogens. In some cases, the vet might ask you to collect a larger stool sample over several days to send to a lab for deeper analysis.

Blood Work and More

Blood tests can also tell a lot about your dog's internal health. These tests will check for signs of infection, inflammation, and organ function, all of which can contribute to mucus in the stool. But the investigation doesn't stop there. Depending on the initial findings, your vet might recommend further tests like X-rays or ultrasounds. These imaging tests can spot abnormalities in the abdominal area, like blockages or growths that might be causing the issue.

Specialized Tests

In some cases, more specialized tests may be necessary. This could include endoscopy, where a tiny camera is used to take a closer look inside the gastrointestinal tract, or specific tests for conditions like pancreatitis or IBD.

This thorough approach helps the vet piece together the puzzle and zoom in on any serious concerns. Remember, every test is a step closer to understanding your dog’s health better and finding the right solution to get their tail wagging happily again.

Treatment and Management 

Treating and managing this condition varies, depending on the underlying cause, but here are some general guidelines to help you navigate the problem. 

Dietary Adjustments: The First Line of Defense

The road to recovery begins with what's in your dog's bowl — after all, dietary changes can work wonders to address many health issues. If the mucus is due to a dietary indiscretion, your vet might recommend a bland diet for a few days — think boiled chicken and rice, easy on your dog's digestive system. 

For more serious or chronic conditions, a long-term diet change may be in order. This could mean switching to hypoallergenic or highly digestible foods, like the fresh, nutritionally rich recipes we create here at Cola’s Kitchen. Fiber supplements might also be a good option to help regulate the digestive system. Remember, changes in diet should always be gradual to avoid further upsetting your dog's stomach.

Medication: When Diet Isn't Enough

In cases where an infection or parasites are to blame, your vet will prescribe the appropriate medications. This could range from antibiotics for bacterial infections to dewormers for parasitic infestations. For inflammatory conditions like colitis, anti-inflammatory medications might be necessary. 

If your dog is diagnosed with a chronic condition, long-term medication may be part of their daily routine. Never self-prescribe or use over-the-counter medications without consulting your vet, and make sure you follow the prescribed dosage and schedule.

Probiotics: The Gut's Ally

Probiotics are increasingly becoming a go-to for supporting digestive health. They help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which can be beneficial in managing mucus in the stool. Your vet can recommend a suitable probiotic supplement for your dog.

Stress Management: A Holistic Approach

Never underestimate the impact of stress on your dog's digestive system. Identify and minimize stress triggers in your dog's environment. Regular exercise, playtime, and a stable routine can work wonders in reducing stress.

Regular Monitoring and Follow-Ups

Stay vigilant. Keep an eye on your dog's stool, behavior, and overall health. Regular follow-ups with your vet are important, especially if your dog is on medication or a special diet. These check-ups help ensure that the treatment is working and allow for timely adjustments if needed.

Above all, the key to successfully treating and managing mucus in your dog's poop lies in closely following veterinary advice. Your vet's recommendations are based on a good understanding of your dog's specific health needs. With the right care and attention, you can help your dog bounce back to their healthy self in no time.


Mucus plays a crucial role in a dog's digestive health, but its presence, especially when excessive or changed, can be a signal to pay closer attention.

Understanding the reasons behind mucus in dog poop is key. Whether it's a response to dietary changes, an indication of infections, parasites, inflammatory conditions, or stress-related factors, each scenario requires a unique approach. Recognizing when this symptom shifts from normal to concerning is vital. Alarming signs like bloody mucus or significant changes in color and consistency warrant prompt veterinary consultation.

Diet plays a crucial role in both preventing and helping address mucus in stool. This is where our food can make a difference. Cola’s Kitchen is committed to creating personalized nutritious, balanced dog food that supports overall digestive health, potentially minimizing issues like abnormal mucus production.

Encouraging dog owners to remain vigilant about their pet's digestive health and to share this knowledge with others can elevate the standard of care for dogs everywhere. 

Our focus on high-quality, health-supportive food, aligns perfectly with this mission, offering a practical way to support and enhance canine digestive health. It's about creating a world where dogs thrive, and their owners are equipped with the knowledge to help them do so.

Unravel the mystery behind your dog's white foamy vomit. 🐶🤍 Our guide helps you understand causes, symptoms, and when to seek vet care. Keep your furry friend healthy and happy! #DogHealth #PetCare


Discovering your dog's white foamy throw-up on the kitchen floor can be an alarming experience for any pet owner. While often a benign symptom, vomit of any kind can sometimes be a red flag, signaling health issues that shouldn't be ignored.  

Learning to understand the potential causes and appropriate responses to white foamy vomit can help you provide immediate comfort and make informed decisions about your dog’s health. However, it's crucial to remember that while being informed is beneficial, nothing replaces professional veterinary advice. Consulting a vet ensures that your dog receives a proper diagnosis and the best possible care, keeping them happy and healthy for years to come.

What is White Foam in Dog Vomit? 

White foamy vomit isn't like typical vomit that may contain food or bile — instead, it's usually a mixture of air and stomach fluids, which creates a foamy appearance. 

Unlike the more substantial, chunkier vomit that occurs after eating, this foamy vomit is less about what your dog has ingested and more about what's happening inside their digestive system. It's a clear indicator that something is off balance. 

While it's a common occurrence and often not a major concern, understanding the underlying causes of this particular type of vomit is crucial for keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

Why is my dog vomiting white foam? 

One of the most common reasons for white foamy throw up is an empty stomach. When a dog’s stomach is empty, this can lead to a buildup of stomach acid. This means that the white foam is a mix of saliva and digested fluids, and the vomiting occurs as the result of acid reflux causing irritation or discomfort in the gut. 

But foamy dog vomit can also be traced back to other issues. The digestive system of dogs is quite sensitive, and even minor changes can lead to issues like vomiting.  

Here are some of the most common causes of white foamy throw up in dogs:

Indigestion and Dietary Issues 

Dietary changes are a frequent trigger for white foamy vomit. Switching a new type of food or introducing new treats can upset easily upset your dog’s stomach and cause problems.

Food intolerances or allergies can also lead to digestive upset. Just like humans, dogs can develop sensitivities to certain ingredients in their food, including things like beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, and fish. If you notice your dog repeatedly having episodes of vomiting, it might be worth discussing an elimination diet with your vet to try to discover any potential allergens.

Finally, dogs are naturally curious and often ingest inappropriate substances that can irritate their stomach. This includes everything spoiled food or toxic substances to non-edible items like toys or pieces of clothing. Even grass can cause stomach irritation and result in white foamy vomit. Consumption of toxic plants can be particularly dangerous, so if you suspect your dog has ingested something harmful, it's better to seek veterinary care immediately.

Gastrointestinal Issues  

Gastrointestinal issues are another common cause of white foamy throw up in dogs. Among these, gastritis, pancreatitis, and intestinal parasites are particularly common.

Gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining (often the result of irritation caused by ingesting something inappropriate), can cause your dog to vomit white foam. Pancreatitis is another condition that can lead to vomiting, including white foam sometimes. The pancreas has a crucial role in digestion and regulating blood sugar. When it becomes inflamed, it can cause intense abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and a hunched back. This is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. 

Intestinal parasites, like roundworms, hookworms, and giardia, can also disrupt the digestive system and lead to white foamy dog vomit. Along with vomiting foam, your dog might experience weight loss, a dull coat, and a change in appetite. If you suspect your dog has parasites, a visit to the vet for diagnosis and treatment is crucial. 

Other Health Concerns 

Infectious diseases are a serious concern for dog owners and can be the underlying cause of white foamy throw-up in dogs. These include infections like parvovirus, distemper, and kennel cough.

These viral diseases can affect a dog's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems and can lead to severe vomiting. 

Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a dog's stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, blocking blood flow. It can lead to rapid onset of vomiting white foam, restlessness, abdominal pain, and bloating, and requires emergency veterinary intervention.

Liver disease in dogs can manifest in various forms, from infections and inflammations to obstructions in the bile ducts. Vomiting white foam can occur as the disease progresses and toxins build up in the body due to the liver's inability to filter them out.

Kidney disease, whether acute or chronic, can lead to vomiting and dehydration. As the kidneys fail to filter waste products from the blood effectively, your dog might begin to vomit a white foamy substance, as well as exhibit symptoms like increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lethargy.

Diagnosing the Cause of White Foam Vomit

A professional diagnosis is essential when you notice persistent vomiting of any kind, as it can help guide the treatment plan and prognosis. Self-diagnosis or delay in seeking professional help can lead to worsening of your dog's condition, potentially turning a treatable issue into a life-threatening one.

Common diagnostic tests and procedures

Physical Examination

The first step in the diagnostic process is a thorough physical examination. Your vet will assess your dog's overall condition, checking for signs of dehydration, or other abnormalities that might be contributing to the vomiting. The vet may also check your dog's temperature, listen to their heart and lungs, and palpate various parts of the body to assess for pain or enlargement of organs. This can help provide immediate insights and often guides the direction of further diagnostic testing.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are a window into your dog's health. They can reveal issues such as infections, pancreatitis, or organ dysfunction. Bloodwork can include a complete blood count (CBC), which looks for infections, anemia, and other blood-related conditions, and a biochemistry profile, which evaluates organ function and electrolyte status. The results can help the vet understand the severity of the condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Imaging (X-rays, Ultrasound)

Imaging techniques like X-rays and ultrasound are non-invasive methods that provide a visual understanding of your dog's internal structure. They can reveal issues like blockages, tumors, or structural abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract. 

X-rays offer a two-dimensional image and are particularly useful for spotting abnormalities in bone structure and detecting foreign objects. Ultrasound, on the other hand, provides a real-time, three-dimensional image of your dog's internal organs, allowing for a more detailed assessment of organ shape, size, and texture.


Endoscopy involves the use of a flexible tube with a camera inserted through the mouth into the stomach. This allows the vet to visually inspect the esophagus, stomach, and beginning of the small intestine. It's particularly useful for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or foreign objects that might not show up on X-rays. 

During an endoscopy, the vet can also take biopsy samples from the stomach lining to test for infections, cancer, or other diseases — all in a relatively non-invasive way compared to surgical exploratory procedures.

Each of these diagnostic tools plays a crucial role in unraveling the mystery of your dog’s white, foamy dog vomit. They provide a comprehensive view of your pet's health and are instrumental in formulating an effective treatment plan.

Treatment Options  

When it comes to treating white foamy throw-up in dogs, the approach mostly depends on the underlying cause. Treatment can range from simple home care remedies to more intensive veterinary interventions.

Dietary Management

If the cause is related to dietary indiscretion or mild stomach upset, your vet might recommend a bland diet of boiled chicken or turkey and rice to allow the stomach to rest. Once the vomiting stops, you will be able to reintroduce regular food as long as it’s gradually and in small portions to avoid irritating the stomach again. 

For dogs who seem to vomit due to an empty stomach, changes in the feeding schedule might solve the problem. According to experts at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, two effective methods that often stop or lessen vomiting are serving smaller meals more often and adding a last meal late in the evening to shorten the time the dog goes without food overnight.

Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration, so it’s important that you encourage your dog to drink small amounts of water regularly. If they are severely dehydrated, your vet might recommend electrolyte solutions to restore the balance and prevent complications.

Rest and Monitoring

Your dog should get plenty of rest in a comfortable, quiet space while they recover. Keep a close eye on their behavior, appetite, and any further episodes of vomiting. If their condition doesn't improve or worsens, call your vet.  


Depending on the diagnosis, your vet might prescribe medications such as antiemetics to control vomiting, antibiotics if an infection is present, or other specific drugs tailored to the underlying cause. 

Intravenous Fluids and Supportive Care

In cases of severe dehydration or if your dog is unable to keep down any fluids, they may require hospitalization for intravenous fluid therapy. This ensures they stay hydrated and receive essential nutrients directly into the bloodstream.

Surgery or Other Invasive Procedures

For more severe conditions like obstructions or tumors, surgery might be necessary, but it’s essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your vet in advance. Post-operative care is crucial for a successful recovery.

In all cases, follow-up with your vet to make sure your dog is recovering well and to make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan. Remember, timely intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome, so don't hesitate to seek professional help if your dog is experiencing vomiting, no matter what kind.

Preventive Measures 

Taking proactive steps can significantly reduce the chances of your dog experiencing white foamy throw-up in dogs. Here are some key preventive measures to keep your dog’s tummy healthy.

Dietary Management and Feeding Practices

Stick to a consistent, well-balanced diet suited to your dog's age, breed, and health status. Avoid sudden changes in diet and ensure that your dog doesn't have access to garbage or spoiled food. It's also wise to supervise them during walks to prevent them from ingesting harmful substances.

Regular Health Check-ups and Vaccinations

Routine veterinary check-ups can help catch potential health issues early on. Ensure your dog is up-to-date with vaccinations, especially against infectious diseases like parvovirus and distemper, which can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms.

Parasite Control

Regular deworming and flea control are essential in preventing parasitic infections, which can cause vomiting and other health issues. Consult with your vet about the best parasite control methods for your dog.

Awareness and Avoidance of Potential Toxins

Educate yourself about common household toxins and plants that can be harmful to dogs. Then make sure you keep those items out of your dog's reach and be vigilant about what your dog might find while exploring outdoors.

When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Attention

Continuous vomiting, blood in vomit, lethargy, or abdominal distension can indicate a severe or potentially life-threatening condition. If your dog throws up white foam and also has other symptoms like diarrhea, loss of appetite, or dehydration, seek veterinary care immediately.

Wrapping Up

Understanding the reasons behind white foamy throw-up in dogs is crucial for your pup’s health and well-being. While it's a relatively common issue, you might want to talk to your vet if this happens more than a few times or if your dog shows other symptoms.  

Always remember — a significant part of your dog's health is in your hands. Regular check-ups, preventive measures, and a keen eye for any changes in behavior or appetite are vital. Integrating wholesome, nutritious meals like those from Cola’s Kitchen into your dog’s diet is also essential to support your dog’s well-being and vitality. With love, care, and proper attention, you can make sure your furry friend enjoys a long, happy, healthy life.

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