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From The Vet: 3 Simple Hacks That Might Save Your Dog’s Life

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Dog owners make lots of decisions for their dogs, from what they eat to how much they sleep. We all have the same joys and the same concerns. We are also all human and we love to find out the “easy way” to do things. We want to know secrets and tips and that is how the term “hack” was born. There are a few easy hacks that you can do to make your dog’s life easier and better…maybe even save it!

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1. Filter their water

This seems a little bit excessive. (Trust me, I know, my husband thinks I am crazy), but tap water in some areas and bottled water that is stored in plastic can contain endocrine disruptors. The endocrine system is the body system comprised of glands that produce hormones to help balance many metabolic processes. Anything that affects the normal processes of the endocrine system is an endocrine disruptor.

For example, hypothyroidism is a common disease among dogs (and people). It is thought to be a genetic predisposition, but having things in one’s environment that can further disrupt a hormone system seems risky. You can minimize risk from tap and bottled water by buying a water filter. Mine sits on my counter top and I refill it daily as I offer it to my pets. The filters must be changed every few months or so. Here are some options (Pur water filters), but there are many brands. Find the size and type that makes life easy for you.

2. Boil and freeze (make your own treats)

When training, the best rewards for you dog are the ones that are valued more than the behavior you are trying to replace. The trouble with high-value treats is that, like the ones we love (French fries or ice cream, for me), they are not usually very good for them.

If you read the labels of some treats that dogs like, you might find that they are packed with long words that you have never seen before. I don’t know about you, but I like simple ingredients with names I recognize. So, I boil chicken – no spices, just chicken and filtered water.  Then, I let it cool and shred it into tiny pieces. The pieces go into my freezer in a resealable container. When I am ready to work on training with my dog, I set some of them out. She loves them and gets a lean protein source in very small quantities, while I get a dog that is ready to learn.

3. Teach your dog to wait

Too many dogs die when they are struck by cars. Dogs do not know the dangers of cars. I have lost many patients who, in their excitement to “go,” raced out of safety and under an oncoming car when they arrived at a destination.

One of the best things that you can do for your dog is to train him (maybe using the chicken you froze) to stop and wait. This is especially important for him to do before exiting your car (or any time you open your front door – it can prevent him from bolting). When you’ve arrived in an unfamiliar place, you can attach a leash on a dog who’s patiently waiting, and check out the surroundings before you both exit the car. You will be able to see if there are other dogs that might pose a risk to yours and can assess the situation completely while your dog waits patiently and safely.

Take time to make these simple changes. You may never know the trouble that these three easy hacks might save you and your dog.

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