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Tasty, Healthy, Dog-Worthy Foods



January is a time when many of us think about how we can improve our diet and exercise. While you’re making efforts to incorporate more fresh vegetables and other ingredients into your daily meals, don’t forget about your four-legged family members!

Today’s post on dog-worthy foods is a guest article from writer Ash Stevens.





We may have all grown up with dogs eating kibble, but commercial dog food is a rather recent development. Dog food started being produced in the 1930’s, so those big, heavy bags of kibble haven’t even been around a hundred years. Our growing understanding of canine nutrition and balanced diets has allowed companies to create some premium dog food, but the home kitchen still possesses some alluring tastes and smells that can make a positively drool-worthy treat for the average dog.

The list of of canine-friendly veggies goes on and on. Green beans, peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower are all safe for dogs. Many of them can even be prepared along with our own veggie sides and be grilled or baked. Vegetables like carrots, zucchini, celery, and cucumber can be eaten raw and once grated, sprinkled over their bowl of dinner kibble. Herbs like mint and parsley can also be included, and they happen to make for some colorful breath-freshening treats.

When it comes to fruit, it’s hard to go wrong. Apples, oranges, bananas, melons, and berries make a pleasant addition to just about any dog belly. They pack a blast of sweet flavor that their taste buds are sure to appreciate, and their bodies will enjoy the extra vitamins and minerals. While most dogs may be ready to scarf down fruits in their entirety, please be aware that certain fruit seeds and skins dogs should avoid: apple seeds, stone fruit pits, and banana peels. Stay on the safe side and set aside the fruity extras for the trash or compost pile.

Charlie smileCanine-Worthy Carbs
Brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat breads can be eaten in moderation by many dogs. These foods come with a helpful boost of energy plus fiber and other nutrients, but they should still be kept to a minimum. In general, (safe) human foods should comprise no more than 10% of a dog’s diet*.

Anyone cooking up chicken and beef at home knows the alluring powers meat has over dogs. Dogs may eat commercial dog food thanks to modern life and advanced technology, but before that they were eating scraps. And before they were eating table scraps, they were hunting in packs for animals. Without a doubt, meat is a craving they’re hardwired for.

Many of us already feed our pup leftover morsels of meat, but some people have taken it a step further by adopting a diet of raw meat, organs, and bones for their dogs. There’s debate on both sides concerning the safety, benefits, and nutritional balance with putting a dog on a raw diet but lean cooked meat will generally get a thumbs up from the dog doctor.

If you feed your dog occasional morsels from the kitchen, keep in mind that chocolate isn’t the only food that dogs should avoid. There are potential health risks for dogs who consume grapes, avocados, and macadamia nuts, so avoid handing out these doggie no-no’s**! As always, remember to talk with your vet so that you can learn more about the individual needs of your dog and the human foods that would best fit with their lifestyle. Then you’re all set to prepare some healthful foods for you and your dog!

Happy cooking, everybody!


Ash Stevens guest write


About the Author

Ash Stevens is a mother and writer who loves spending time in the garden, searching for simplicity, and figuring out ways to get the Labrador to parent her children. If she isn’t writing about family and relationships on her blog, then she’s playing badminton with the kids and their furry friends. You can follow her on Twitter at @AshStevens000.




*People Foods Your Dog Can Eat

** Which Foods Are Toxic For Your Pet?

Dog Walking Tips & More from Professional Dog Trainer Lulu Clarke

Lulu Clarke Yellow Brick Dogs_sm


To celebrate National Walk your Dog Week, October 1-7, we talked with a professional dog trainer in our city of Richmond, VA. Lulu Clarke, KPA-CTP, owns Yellow Brick Dogs, a dog training and walking program. 


1. What inspired you to become a dog trainer?

I grew up on a small farm surrounded by all kinds of animals! Horseback riding and horse training were my first passions, but when my family’s German Shepherd developed aggression toward other dogs as well as strangers, I became deeply fascinated with canine behavior. Helping her feel more comfortable and confident was all I could think about. After much studying, and then working with other trainers, I was on the path of becoming a professional dog trainer. My business name, Yellow Brick Dogs, was inspired by how I see dog training: it’s a journey, not a destination, and how you travel the road is important! 

2. What is one of the most common complaints or concerns you have from clients?

Pulling on leash is easily the number one issue my clients have with their dogs. While it’s a complicated issue, a big part of the problem is our expectations. We want to be able to take our dogs out for a stroll in straight lines on concrete, with no pauses for sniffing, barking, or playing. To be perfectly blunt, that’s boring for dogs! When we walk outside, we look around to take in visual stimuli–our dogs do that, too, but they are also receiving a lot more information via their incredible sense of smell! We can’t expect them to just ignore all of that.

Dog walking 150dpi3. What steps can dog owners take to create a better walking experience for both dog and human?

Practice! However, if you practice by taking your dog for a walk, you may be practicing pulling, lunging, and uncontrollable sniffing! Set your dog up for success, and start by teaching your dog to walk next to you in the house. Rewarding is key! Use small pieces of food to let your dog know when he is in the right spot. When your dog can walk next to you in the house, move to the back yard or the front sidewalk, but increase the difficulty gradually or else your dog may revert to prior habits.

Take treats on your walk in a training pouch so you’ll be ready to reward good walking behavior! If you’re really struggling on walks, a front-attach harness or a head halter may be a good idea to keep your dog from practicing pulling. However, equipment is NOT a substitute for training. Also, give your dog opportunities to sniff– the mental stimulation is worth the pause. 

4. What is the best success story you’ve seen in your time as a dog trainer?

Years ago, I was just starting out, and I received an e-mail from a man with a Pit mix named Ruby. Ruby was an athletic, spry, and energetic dog, but she was also highly dog aggressive. Her owner was absolutely terrified to walk her, and she never got out of the house. He had tried methods from TV shows and used a prong collar when it was necessary to take her out (to the vets). I was his last resort, and after working together, Ruby was able to walk around other dogs happily and without special collars. She eventually even learned to swim and play off leash with other dogs. Helping Ruby gain confidence was rewarding, but watching her owner walk her successfully after years of being afraid to so…that was amazing. Ruby recently passed away, at the age of 16, but the last years of her life were full of fun walks at the river.

5. Tell us about your dogs and foster dog!

I have two rescue dogs, Galley and Pinot, both around 3 years old. I adopted Gal, my Border Collie mix, as a puppy; she was practically feral when I brought her home! It’s hard to believe she’s come so far, but she still has more to learn. Pinot, my terrier mix, was a street-wise stray, and is now a Karen Pryor Academy graduate and future agility dog. Simone is my ever so sweet foster dog through Eastern Herding Dog Rescue. She’s a 3 year-old Border Collie mix and is available for adoption! (as of 10/1/15)


Many thanks to Lulu for sharing her story and tips with us!


Lulu Clarke is the owner of Yellow Brick Dogs, a dog training company in Richmond, VA. Yellow Brick Dogs offers private lessons, group workshops, and daytime exercise and training for your dog while you’re at work. Lulu is a Karen Pryor Academy graduate, and all training is based on solid science, positive reinforcement, communication, and fun for both dogs and their owners. To find out more about Lulu, visit and follow Yellow Brick Dogs on social media for free training tips and advice.


5 Ways to Improve your Pup’s Dog Breath

Dog with ToothbrushWe love our dogs: their loyalty, their cuddliness, playfulness, and goofiness. One of their less appealing traits, however, is their dog breath. They can’t help it, but as a savvy, caring dog parent, you can. See the 5 tips below to help your dog’s breath turn from an awful odor to a smell that’s more tolerable!

1. Have your Veterinarian do a Teeth Exam

Dogs’ teeth should be examined once to twice a year, so be sure to bring this up in his or her annual visit. Your vet is an excellent resource to help determine why your dog’s breath may smell more than usual and how you can improve it.

2. Brush Fido’s Teeth Once a Day

While he may not like having a toothbrush stuck in his mouth, fortunately for them and us, dog toothpaste comes in flavors that appeal to dogs, like chicken, vanilla, and more. Plaque tends to build on dogs’ upper teeth first, so it’s wise to start your brushing there. Establishing a daily habit of teeth brushing when your dog is young can increase your dog’s tolerance to it over time.

"<strong3. Provide your Dog with Safe Chew Toys

Chew Toys are not only an excellent way to entertain your dog, they also rub off tar and plaque and massage gums. Best Bully Sticks carries multiple varieties of chew toys for dogs both large and small.

4. Offer Natural Dental Dog Chews

Bully Sticks are an excellent way to really clean all the nooks and crannies in your dogs’ mouth. Chewing on bully sticks generates saliva, which decreases dry mouth, a common cause of bad breath.

Our extensive selection of bully sticks and other natural chews includes 6″ bully sticks, 12″ bully sticks, specialty bully sticks, and more.

12ThickOdorFree no pad5. Give your Dog Fresh, Healthy Snacks

Carrots and green beans are just a few vegetables we can give our dogs in moderation that are not only healthy, they can also help improve breath.

For a list of safe, fresh foods for dogs, see our 20 Pet Friendly People Foods for Dogs.


If your dog is still experiencing unusually bad breath, another visit to the veterinarian may be in order, as it could be the sign of a medical condition. Best Bully Sticks, hopes though, that with a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and a daily bully stick or other natural chew, your dog’s dental hygiene and breath are pawsome!


101 Dog Care Tips: Young Children and Dogs

Kids can be rough. They also have trouble showing empathy. If your child is acting too rough with your dog it is likely that your child does not even realize s/he’s hurting the dog. Young children do not understand how rough and boisterous behavior can aggravate a dog. As a parent it is important to step in and make sure the relationship between your children and dog is functional and happy.

Three common kid behaviors that annoy dogs are:

(1) Shouting

I don't like a rough wake up

 (2) Grabbing

i don't like it when you grab my ears or my tail

 (3) Rough wake ups

i don't like when you shout at me

 To effectively correct this behavior, you should spell out the rules and consequences for your children. You will need to revisit these rules and be consistent in your punishment. It is important to note that you should never threaten to get rid of the dog when punishing your kids for breaking the rules. Instead, use positive reinforcement. Praise and reward your children when they treat the dog in the appropriate way.

Looking for more tips on dog ownership with young children?

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Children

Dogs & Kids: Introducing your Dog and Baby

Dogs & Kids: Introducing your Dog and Baby Part 2

Dogs & Kids: Introducing a New Dog into your Home

How to “Talk Dog”- Learn to Communicate with your Dog

shutterstock_107501672-smMany people know that for companion dogs to understand what we want from them, it is important to communicate differently than we do with one another. Our language, using many words together in full sentences, is not clear or discernible to dogs. We can help dogs learn certain words or commands by making those words meaningful, but simply talking to dogs and expecting them to understand is asking way too much of them. So, how do we learn to “talk dog“ to our best buddies so we can better communicate our needs? To be honest, it’s not that difficult.

Body Language, Facial Expressions and Tone

The old saying, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it” is a really good thing to keep in mind when attempting to communicate with your dog. Dogs are not complex thinkers and simply see the world in terms of “what’s good” and “what’s bad”. A high voice is good, so when the dog does something you like, tell them “great job” in a high pitched, happy sounding voice with a smile on your face.

shutterstock_105853361_smConversely, when the dog does something naughty like counter surfing, or jumping up on you or someone else, simply say “OFF” in a very deep voice with a grimace on your face to communicate clearly that he or she has behaved badly. It is important to note here that the dog’s attention span is very short and can work to your advantage. So, if the unwanted “jump” can be followed quickly with a “sit” command, you may replace the wrong behavior with the right one. To seal the deal, reinforce the correct behavior by popping a treat in the dog’s mouth and change your tone to a happy and high pitched one. Dogs also respond best when we are dramatic, so it is extremely important to pull out the stops and be very expressive about your “likes and dislikes” with respect to their behavior.

By rewarding or reinforcing the right behavior at the right time using the proper tone, body language and facial expressions, you and your dog will start to learn the same language and you will be amazed by the transitions the dog can make once you no longer have a failure to communicate.

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see

5 Ways to Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with your Dog

valentine corgi webAt Best Bully Sticks, we believe every day should be treated like Valentine’s Day!

After all, Fido deserves love, affection, good exercise, chews, and toys to keep him happy year round.

But if you truly want to celebrate, here are 5 ways to make this Valentine’s Day extra special for you and your canine friend:


1. Make some delicious treats in the kitchen. If you enjoy playing in the kitchen, show your dog some love by whipping up treats that he’ll go nuts for!

For some sweet decadence: Valentine’s Day Carob Dipped Dog Biscuits

For a cheesy, easy, gourmet snack: Chock Full of Cheese Cookies

If you don’t have the time to make drool-worthy dog treats for Valentine’s Day, you can show your canine best friend(s) some love in other ways.shutterstock_237411067_web

2. Get some exercise — it will benefit both of you! Take him for a longer than usual walk. Does Fido like to fetch? Get out that squeeze toy, ball, or Frisbee and wear him out — fit, healthy dogs make happy dogs!

3. Give him a new toy. Keeping your dog entertained is vital for his health and happiness.
Best Bully Sticks’ selection of chew, rope, plush, and ball toys

4. Buy some of his favorite dog chews or treats or maybe one he hasn’t had yet. Browse our large supply of bully sticks, chews and treats, and dog bones.

shutterstock_129944051 web


5. And last but not least, cuddle! What better way to spend quality time together than a neck or belly scratch, a massage, or relaxing on the couch together?


From Best Bully Sticks, wishing you and your pooch lots of love this Valentine’s Day!


For tips on how to make more appetizing dog treats, see our Weekly Drool Recipe collection here on our Healthy Dog Blog or Follow our Drool Dog Recipes board on Pinterest.

Does “sit” really mean “sit”? Dog Training Tips by Deborah Rosen

Does “sit” really mean “sit”?


webdog 1There is something that most dog owners don’t know.  Dogs don’t generalize!  I will explain more about that a little later, but before doing so, some background might be helpful.

Although we know dogs are considered highly intelligent animals, they are not deep thinkers.  Their intelligence lies in their senses. Their sense of smell is off the chart and their hearing is extraordinary. So, while we appreciate these characteristics in what makes dogs both smart and special, their senses also help to distract them and make it extremely difficulty to train them at times.

For this reason, it is important to practice training your dog in novel places and at different times during the day.  For companion dogs, outside distractions pose the greatest obstacle in learning and in building attention and focus.  It’s always best to start your training indoors where there are fewer distractions.  Put anything that might pull the dog’s attention away.  Make sure there is no food being cooked or other distracting smells, turn off the television or radio and, if there are other dogs in the house, put them outside or in another room.  In order to build attention and focus with your dog you must be able to give him your undivided attention.

webdog1In our Puppy Kindergarten as we begin the learning process for both the puppy and the owners, I urge dog owners to use a verbal command just once.  If the puppy fails to do what you ask the first time, I urge the owners to simply lure the puppy into place by holding a treat right over the pup’s head until he or she “assumes the sit” position.  By repeating the verbal command over and over, the verbal command becomes meaningless.  At first, only say the word “sit” the moment the pup’s butt hits the ground.  If the puppy breaks out of position to reach for the treat, pull it away with a firm “uh, uh” and take the treat back.  Then, try again and see how well the puppy maintains his or her position. 

You’ll want to do this when teaching any new skill.  By requiring the puppy to maintain the position, you are beginning to teach the puppy “impulse control”.  This is a very important lesson to learn, and the earlier you teach it, the easier it will be to extend this skill to other areas.

web dogDogs, especially puppies, are not terrific at remembering what they’ve done before.  Their very short attention span, along with their amazing senses, creates a world of distraction. This can make training your puppy a challenging and frustrating experience.  Train for only a couple of minutes several times throughout the day and if you’re feeling tired or edgy, the puppy will know it.  If this is the case, stop and begin again later when you are in a better state of mind. 
So, when you ask a puppy to sit, each individual occurrence of that action is a new experience until the pup finally “gets it”You’ll  know when the puppy is able to do a skill in both distracted and non-distracted circumstances, inside and outside, that skill has become generalized! 


Tune in next time for more dog training tips on basic obedience and achieving “peaceful living with your dog”.


Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see

Choosing a Dog Trainer for your Fur-baby

dalmatian puppyMany of you were lucky enough to bring home a new puppy for the holidays. Now your days are filled with the joy of puppy love along with the chore of trying to do what’s best for your new addition.

If you’re a savvy new puppy owner, you’ll go straight to the best trainers in your area and enroll in a reputable puppy kindergarten class. Getting started with training and socializing early will help you mold your puppy into the adult dog that will become a fully integrated family pet —one that can go everywhere with you and receives compliments about his or her behavior.

How do you Choose a Trainer?

Most folks know enough these days to read reviews and ask for referrals from friends with dogs. Go a step further and interview trainers to feel safe that you’ll be receiving the best training with the most current methodology. So many trainers out there are still utilizing old school, aversive training techniques. There is no reason in the world to employ techniques like “yank and pull” using choke or pinch collars. These methods went out long ago and have been replaced with better tools, like front clip harnesses or the head halti. I prefer the harness because dogs often dislike the material around their noses.

Deb Rosen training GR

Many of the aversive trainers complain about having to give puppies treats and try to convince new puppy owners that they do not want their dog’s performing only when there is a treat involved. In this case, know that treats are only required in the beginning, while the puppy is learning. It’s important to reinforce the behaviors you like and most puppies will understand what is expected if a treat is delivered quickly. Once the behaviors that you feel are important are learned, the treats are “faded out” and the puppy learns to perform without them.

While you are doing your research, look at trainer’s websites, and be sure they talk about the science of canine behavior and the use of reward-based and positive methods. Training puppies using anything other than kindness will only create fear and fear may inspire aggression.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more puppy obedience how-to’s and dog training basics!


Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see

Pet Obesity: How to Prevent it

Last week we addressed Pet Obesity– the widespread prevalence of the disease and how it happens. In the second part of this topic by guest contributor Jordan Walker, we want to address prevention, because after all, obesity is highly preventable. 

So how do you prevent obesity in your pet?
While some pets do look cute when fat, owners shouldn’t allow it if they truly love their pets. The excess fat and weight can put tremendous pressure on a pet’s heart, lungs, and joints, thereby lowering their quality of life. On top that, obesity is known shorten the life expectancy of pets. Meow, a cat publicized for his obesity and efforts to slim down, lived only two years before suffering heart failure. Obesity can result in many kinds of health complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, breathing problems, to name a few. No pet owner should put their pet through that kind of suffering.
The main ways pet owners can keep their pets’ weight down include regular exercise and feeding meals in intervals. Human food that is high in fat, fried, and/or processed is generally a no-no for pets. Healthy at-home treats you can give your pet include natural peanut butter and vegetables.

Best Bully Sticks’ blog has many healthy Drool Dog Recipes– be sure to browse through them!


As you and your pooch make plans to be more active, eat leaner, and enjoy more quality time in 2015, be on the lookout for pet obesity– a healthy dog makes a happy dog!

For more on Pet Health, see the following Healthy Dog Blog posts:

 Caring for a Sick Dog

9 Easy Ways to Show your Dog Love

12 Crucial Facts about your Canine’s Canines


Jordan Walker


Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages and other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter.


Pet Obesity: What’s considered Obese for your Pet?

dog on scale cropAs we head into the New Year, many Americans are thinking about what they would like to do differently. These New Year resolutions extend to our pets as well. What, and how much we are feeding, our pets, has a significant impact on their waistline and overall health.

Guest contributor Jordan Walker of Coops And Cages offers insight on the obesity epidemic in pets and what we can do about it!

When it comes to pets, chubbiness can be pretty darn cute. Chubby pets are so fluffy and irresistible, owners and others can’t help but cuddle them! Plump pets may seem excusable and taken to mean a pet is well-loved, cared for, and oozing with cuteness. However, humans have been warned about obesity and the adverse health risks associated with it. Is this also true for pets?

The “Fat Pet Gap”
The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) says that millions of pets in America are too heavy for their own good. 53% of dogs and 57% of cats, a combined total of 179 million pets, are currently overweight or obese. However, many pet parents don’t even realize that their pets are tipping the scales. Pet owners surveyed said their pets were normal weight when they were in fact overweight or obese. APOP founder, Dr. Ernie Ward, refers to this lack of awareness as the “fat pet gap,” where pet parents have normalized pet obesity. This means fat pets have become the new norm. This should not be taken lightly!

What is obesity?
Like in humans, obesity in pets is defined as having excess body fat. If a pet is obese, not only does it weigh more, but it has more fat in its body than considered healthy. Weight is some indicator of obesity. In dogs and cats, being overweight means weighing 10 to 15 percent above the ideal weight. Obesity, on the other hand, is weighing 15 percent or higher than the ideal weight. 10 to 20% over the ideal weight may not mean much on the scale. For example, if a pet’s ideal weight is 20 pounds, it will only need to put on 4 pounds to be considered obese.

shutterstock_113408662Could your pet be obese?
Most pet owners would be hard put to determine whether their bundle of fur is obese. The onset of obesity can be barely noticeable – at least to some – and when it is, the pet may have already grown extra fluffy. Determining the ideal weight for pets and weighing them regularly will help in keeping healthy pets in healthy form.

Experts have also developed a way of determining a pet’s body condition by visual and hand inspection. In order for a pet owner to tell whether their pet is in the ideal range of health, they should feel for their pet’s ribs. In normal dogs and cats, the ribs should easily be felt, but not sharp against the skin. For both animals, when looking from the side, a waist should be defined, and the belly not sag. 

What (or who) causes pets to grow out?
Quite simply, obesity usually results when pets are overfed and under-exercised, have conditions like hyperthyroidism or Cushing Disease, or are neutered/castrated. Overfeeding is the main cause of pet obesity, and pet owners are largely to blame. After all, it is the humans who do the feeding. Free feeding, where food is freely available in the bowl, is one main cause. Pets who are allowed to eat as much as they want, whenever they want, are more likely to become obese. 

Another reason is a lack of exercise. The simple rule of “calories in, calories out” with humans also applies to pets. If pets get more food than exercise, they are more likely to plump up. Treating excessively is yet another contributing factor. Treats should be given in moderation and not replace a dog’s regular meal. Best Bully Sticks natural, single-ingredient dog treats are low in calories and high in protein for a dog chew owners can feel good about.

Check back with us next week as we continue on the topic of Pet Obesity and measures you can take to prevent obesity and undo the extra pounds!

Jordan Walker


Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages and other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter.


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