The Dangers of Dog Waste

To most, dog waste is just an inconvenient part of being a pet owner. No one enjoys having to pick up after his or her dog, but leaving pet waste unattended in your yard could put you, your family and your pet in danger.

Let’s outline the dangers of pet waste, and why scooping your pets poop is always the best option!

1. Stool Eating

At one point or another, we’ve all witnessed our pets eating their own stool. Dogs are natural scavengers, and while it may be hard to fathom, it’s natural for them to taste the stool they find in your yard. The habit is known as coprophagia and is especially common in young animals.

While the practice is mostly harmless, and usually only requires a begrudgingly clean up, it can be dangerous for your pets. The stool your dog eats can cause stomach aches, vomiting and gastroenteritis. In extreme situations it can cause a parasite to infect your precious pooch.

2. The Deadly Parvovirus

Most dog owners should be aware of parvovirus. This devastating illness can kill dogs in a matter of days and is almost 80% fatal when contracted. The virus is spread easily when your dog comes into contact with contaminated feces, but can also be passed along from dog to dog contact.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Fever


The good news is, there is a vaccination to prevent your puppy from contracting this devastating disease. However, if your dog is behind in shots, parvo can be extremely easy for them to pick up.

3. Worms, Worms, Worms!

Dog waste that has been left out for long periods of time can also affect the lives of humans. When water enters the environment, it can accelerate the bacteria and viruses that live naturally in waste.

Think about all the adorable puppy kisses your dog has given you. Now think about the millions of bacteria that mouth has come into contact with, especially if you have waste in your home environment.

Hookworms, ringworms and tapeworms all thrive in moist environments and can be passed easily with dog to human contact. Children are more likely to contact these parasites, especially if they are playing in the same environment where your dog poops.

Common symptoms of these parasites include:

  • Itchy rashes
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss


To avoid passing these parasites onto your dog or your family, eliminating your pet’s waste from the living environment is a must.

While picking up poop is hardly glamorous, it is one of the most important aspects of being a responsible pet owner.

Dog waste is the third biggest cause of water contamination in the world, and shockingly, almost half of American dog owners admit that they don’t regularly pick up their dog’s waste.

Time to start scooping!

By: Louise Armstrong

Louise Armstrong is a writer and pet lover based in Houston, Texas. When she’s not working at her regular job, she can be found as the blog author at Scoop Doggie Doo.

How to Help Dogs in Need

It’s hard not to want to help those adorable, furry faces and wagging tails. For some of us, however, it can be difficult to help out pups in need due to lack of funds or an inability to adopt a pet. Thankfully there are so many other ways to help dogs in need from the local to international level without committing to something that you are unable to fulfill. There are dogs all over the world that are in need and every little gesture helps. If you are looking for a way to help, here are a few options to put a smile on a pup’s face.

Help Dogs in Need


Many animal shelters cannot stay afloat without volunteers. Volunteering at your local shelter is a great way to help out dogs in need and you only have to sacrifice your time. Shelters need dog walkers, room cleaners, event help, dog socialization, and even dog cuddlers. Even one hour on a Saturday taking dogs for a walk can mean a huge difference for that dog. It’s one more time spending time away from their kennel, more experience on a leash, and more socialization to help them become a more desirable candidate for adoption. Just be sure that you understand what is required of you before deciding to become a volunteer. As if you needed any other reason than spending some time with pups in need, there are also resume benefits to becoming a volunteer. It’s a win win for all.

Help Dogs in Need


Fostering is a great form of volunteering but requires a ton more commitment and hard work. This is why the need for fosters is so great. Dogs that require more socialization, have behavioral issues, health problems, or aren’t emotionally stable enough for a shelter environment tend to be in the care of fosters until they are adopted. Many foster families take on tasks to help the dog with behavioral and fear issues in order to help them become better candidates for adoption. Other fosters keep dogs if there isn’t enough room at the shelter or house puppies until they are old enough to be fixed and vaccinated. Many seniors have discovered that they are great candidates for dog foster homes due to them being home with the animal, gaining just as much from the social interaction, and the dogs helping them remain active.


Donating can mean a ton of different things from donating money, blankets, food, or your time. Many shelters and organizations rely solely on the donations of others for many of the things that the dogs need every day. Something as simple as buying a can of dog food every time you grocery store or donating an old comforter can mean a ton to your local shelter. Make it a tradition to donate some money to your favorite animal charity every Christmas, donate an hour of your time on Saturday a month, or bring old dog toys to your local shelter. Every donation matters for shelters that are completely non-profit and rely on donations from the community.

Help Dogs in Need

Spreading Awareness

If you are unable to spend any money, donate anything, sacrifice any time, or foster an animal, you can always take part in spreading awareness for the cause. The power of social media is astounding and you can do a great deal for your local shelter, favorite charity, or a dog with medical needs by sharing their story on social media. Tell your friends about an event that your local shelter is hosting, share a GoFundMe page for an animal in need, or post the website for the animal charity that means the most to you. The more eyes on these issues the more help you will do.


Fundraising is a great way to raise money and awareness. Whether you are fundraising for locally, nationally, or internationally, you’ll be aiding that organization in a great way. If you need an idea for a fundraiser you can ask your local shelter for ideas or come up with an idea on your own. You can make your own dog treats, sell them, and give the proceeds to dogs in need. Start a blanket drive to donate blankets to your local shelter, set up coin cans, or do dog walking for donations. You and a few volunteers can do an animal shelter scavenger hunt going door to door requesting an item from your list that will benefit your shelter like a blanket, jar of peanut butter, an old dog toy, a can of food, etc.
For those that would love to help a dog in need but can’t adopt or donate a lot of money, there are many ways to provide aid to our furry friends in need. Those that volunteer their time and energy are just as important as those that volunteer money, so don’t let a lack of funds keep you from helping. Your local shelter is always available to help you discover which way of helping makes the most sense for you. So volunteer your time, open your home to foster, donate what you can, spread awareness, or fundraise in order to get slobbery kisses, see tails wagging, and feel wet noses.

By: Chelsy Ranard

Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is passionate about animal welfare, is the proud mom of a German Shepherd named Titan and a sassy cat named Kitten, and spends her Fridays volunteering at Simply Cats.

Help Dogs in Need - Author

Oral Care Program for Your Puppy

Healthy gums and teeth are an important part of your dog’s overall health. Today, oral disease is actually the #1 health problem diagnosed in dogs. Therefore, it is important to understand your dog’s oral physical makeup and associated warning signs of gum disease or unhealthy teeth. Almost all oral problems are caused by bacteria build up in the mouth; it leads not only to bad breath but also periodontal disease, loose teeth, fatal heart, liver, and kidney disease.


Simple inexpensive procedures can be taken at home to prevent oral problems, determine if problems are already started, or treat and heal them. A dissertation of the dog’s teeth and mouth is first given before these actions are discussed in detail. Except for wisdom teeth, dogs have the same teeth types as humans: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars but their mouth, jaw, and saliva are dissimilar.

The incisors are located in the front and are the smallest of the set. There are 6 each in the upper and lower jaw. They are used for scraping and picking up things. Canine also nibbles at himself with the incisors at skin irritations caused by allergies and parasites such as fleas, mites, and lice.

The canines are the largest and used to grab and puncture whatever the dog is trying to hold such as bones, junks of meat or a foe’s flesh. There are 4 canines, one on each side of the upper and lower jaw.

The premolars number the most at 16 with four on each side of both upper and lower jaws. They are used for the general chewing of the food; as opposed to the 10 molars that are used for heavier grinding. There are 2 on the back of each side of the upper jaw with 3 beneath them on each side of the lower jaw.

Dogs are natural carnivores and therefore their mouth, jaw, and facial structure are different from humans whom are omnivorous. The dog’s mouth and jaw are much larger percentage wise to the overall head and facial size than a human’s. This allowed canine ancestors, including the wolf, to grasp, kill, and tear apart their prey. The upper and lower jaw basically only move up and down with very little forward/backward or side motion, the relative placement and shape of the teeth produce the shearing, tearing, and cutting motions necessary to efficiently consume the meat and bones that are their natural diet.

A dog’s saliva does not contain any digestive enzymes as human saliva; this attribute will become critical when we discuss procedures to promote canine healthy teeth and gums. Dogs do not need the digestive system to start in the mouth as humans since they “wolf their food down”; that is they grasp it, tear it, and swallow it quickly before their prey (mountain lions, bears, larger wolf pack, etc) or their family canine companions arrive to “share” the food. The salvia being very slimy acts as a lubricant to facilitate swallowing the un-chewed, undigested food.

With this background of the dogs’ oral characteristics let’s now discuss how to promote healthy teeth and gums which is so important to the dog’s overall health, longevity, wellbeing, and happiness.

First and foremost, you have to learn how to recognize that your dog and best friend is not feeling well and has some sort of health problem. This is much more difficult for dogs than your children, spouse, or close friends. Unlike most humans, dogs hide or do not display pain or discomfort because they feel it is an indication of weakness. The most common and recognizable symptoms of health problems in your dog’s mouth are bad breath, discolored teeth, tarter-plaque deposits on the teeth, red and swollen gums, loose teeth, and ultimately the unwillingness to chew and eat.

Bacteria buildup on the teeth and gums is almost always the cause of these disorders. It starts by growing on food trapped in the mouth after eating. This bacteria growth is the first kind of plaque that starts forming. It commonly forms in between the teeth, in the pits and grooves of the teeth but mostly along the gum line of bacteria now living in and under the gums. A biofilm forms on the surfaces of the teeth that is literally a mass of the bacteria. The mouth supplies a perfect ecosystem for the fast growth of the biofilm; it is moist, warm, has correct PH of 6 to 7, and contains nutrients that provide the necessary nourishment for fast bacteria growth. Early detection of plaque is difficult since it starts as a slime layer that is clear or white turning to a pale yellow only after an extended time. This is a very natural process and starts so quickly that it cannot be avoided or stopped from happening, but instead it must be constantly removed. This includes the layer on the surfaces of the teeth and bacteria that start growing in and under the gums. The bacteria can be variants of the strong and dangerous streptococcus strain, if left to accumulate it can reach a concentration that becomes extremely harmful to the overall health of the dog.

If the plaque biofilm is not removed it starts to mix with minerals in the saliva and calcifies becoming extremely hard turning into tartar; once this happens it is impossible to remove it by brushing. If not removed, this tartar layer which starts growing along the gum line forms pockets under the gums. These pockets provide an environment that promotes even more rapid growth of the bacteria leading to bad breath, red swollen and receding gums, periodontal disease, loose teeth, and very expensive veterinary dental bills. At this stage, the bacteria enter the dog’s bloodstream and can start life threatening diseases in the heart, liver, and kidneys. Eventually the dog will experience enough discomfort that they will quit eating and even change behavior towards other dogs and humans.

Fortunately all these oral problems are preventable. The key is to start early with a thorough and continuous oral care program. If you don’t begin early and problems are already present it is never too late to start. We have seen dogs as old as 10-12 years greatly benefit from starting an oral care program. “Rescue” dogs are notorious for having oral problems at an advanced stage benefit greatly from initiating a thoroughgoing systematic program. The fundamental principle is to achieve and maintain a clean bacteria free mouth, this can be facilitated by proper diet, brushing, oral sprays, or veterinarian cleaning with special instruments and procedures.

A good oral care program starts with visual inspections of your dog’s mouth. This should be daily but several times a week is sufficient. These inspections need not be an imposition, upsetting or unwelcome time for you and your dog. If possible start when they are a puppy but even older grouchy snappish dogs can be won over. Take play time or petting and bonding times to get your dog accustomed to you having your fingers near or in their mouth. Gently rub the gums for a few seconds that will set the stage for brushing.


By making sure your dog’s daily diet contains some sort of hard biscuits, dog dental chews, or raw bones you can help prevent and remove plaque and tartar formation. All natural and grain free products are the best. Chew toys can also help clean the teeth but make sure they are toxin-free and cannot be broken apart and consumed causing digestive problems.

As in humans brushing the teeth and gums is an effective means of combating plaque and tartar. Brushing is problematic for many dogs. As mentioned above you must be able to easily and comfortably work with your dog’s mouth. It has to be done at least once or even twice daily to be effective. Use as small as possible brush with soft or medium bristles. Do not use human toothpaste. Use plain water, commercial dog toothpastes, or make your own toothpaste. An effective mixture is baking soda, propolis, strawberries, & distilled water. If the taste isn’t suitable you can eliminate strawberries and add a little honey. Propolis is a very effective antibacterial agent (its health benefits are discussed in more detail below), strawberries supply malic acid to help whiten and also lowers PH that enters bacteria growth, and honey is good natural sweetener and amplifies all the great properties of the propolis.

The better solution is to use a dog oral spray that is formulated to eliminate the bacteria, soften the hard-calcified plaque layer, and work both above and below the gum line. An oral spray is much easier to administer than brushing and since the dog’s saliva does not contain digestive enzymes, once sprayed into the mouth it assimilates with the saliva and tends to work over long periods of time, especially if applied before bedtime. Ingredients to look for in these sprays are the following: peppermint, thyme, neem, grapefruit seed extract, grape seed extract, propolis, and chlorophyll. Make sure they are natural ingredients and “Made in the USA” is always a plus.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is well known for its very potent and effective antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It was used by the ancient Greeks (1000 BC) and the Romans for its therapeutic and health benefits. England and the United States started commercial development in the 18th century. Peppermint contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. This makes it one of the most utilized ingredients in commercial mouthwashes, breath mints, and toothpastes. Clinical studies and controlled tests have found it is extremely effective at killing anaerobic bacteria, the type of bacteria that thrive in a low oxygen environment such as the mouth causing bad breath, plaque, tartar, and gum disease leading to the loosing and loss of teeth.

Grape Seed Extract

Although grapes and wine made from grapes have been in existent since ancient times Grape Seed Extract (GSE) and its antioxidants properties were only discovered in the 20th century. GSE contains powerful antioxidants that recent clinical studies have shown to be effective in breaking down the biofilm formed by plaque. These antioxidants are 20 times more powerful than vitamin C or E and have been shown to be very effective in stopping the growth of streptococcus bacteria that is prevalent in oral periodontal diseases.

Thyme Oil

Thyme oil is one of the oldest known herbs being documented in the oldest existing Egyptian medical text dated 1550 BC. Its anti-microbial, antiseptic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties have been used by ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Jamaicans, Romans, and middle ages Europeans for treating bad breath, gingivitis, plaque and tooth decay. Thyme oil is up to 54% thymol which is a very strong effective and well documented antiseptic. Today it occurs in many well known toothpastes, mouthwashes like Listerine, oral cleansers and hand sanitizers which do not rely on alcohol. With recent concern about over use of antibiotics, thyme oil has been proven to be effective against staphylococcus bacterias including the potent and dangerous MRSA strain while not aiding in creating new resistant strains of microbes and bacteria.

Neem Oil

Neem oil, also being one of the oldest medicinal oils, has been used by ancient civilizations for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. It has potent antimicrobial and antifungal attributes. Multiple clinical studies have shown neem oil to reduce the bacterial level in the mount and eliminate or reduce the effects of oral diseases such as gingivitis, bleeding gums, and bad breath. A noteworthy benefit is its long history of no meaningful side effects.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GFE) has powerful natural antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial properties, and does not decrease levels of beneficial internal flora. Compared to other plants and herbs it is relatively new being developed in the seventeenth century. In addition to its medicinal properties, GFE lowers the PH levels in the mouth disrupting the bacterial ecosystem slowing its growth.


Honeybees manufacture propolis by mixing resin from local plants with beeswax and pollen. It not only provides structural and sealing properties to the beehive but also provides protection from funguses, bacteria, and diseases from parasites. It has been used for therapeutic purposes for millenniums by ancient societies such as the Greeks and Eastern Indian cultures. Propolis has a wide range of antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties in addition to helping the body absorb calcium promoting healthier teeth and bones such as the jaw. Propolis is being used more and more by the dental industry to fight cavities and oral diseases caused by bacteria. Propolis from New Zealand created by honeybees using the resin of the Manuka Brush has 60% higher concentration of the antiviral and antibacterial compounds than that from other regions of the world. This is one situation where it is recommended to use a non-USA product.


Chlorophyll is an essential biomolecule that creates the critical photosynthesis process in all plant life. It promotes improved health in many ways, including preventing infections helping wounds heal quicker, helps digestion, enhances the immune system, and helps cleanse and detoxify the body. It enriches the hemoglobin in the blood that in turn improves circulation and increases oxygen content improving overall vitality and health. As a key ingredient to an oral spray it helps move and absorb the spray into and under the gum line where it is critical to eliminate existing bacteria.

The best oral sprays will contain all or some combination of these ingredients. Even though they are all effective against oral problems they all work in unique ways, using different mechanisms, and at different rates. The oils enhance each other’s performance blending well forming a very homogeneous solution.

If after being on a good diet containing oral chews, daily brushing, and or use of an oral spray, the dog stills has bad breath, red swollen gums, and teeth with plaque and tartar, a visit to a veterinarian is required. They will usually anesthetize the dog and use ultrasonic means to remove the plaque and tartar. This is more of a ‘cosmetic” solution since it does not eliminate the root cause of the problem which is bacteria free healthy gums. Make sure they also treat the mouth with appropriate antimicrobial solutions. Once the teeth are cleaned a good oral program as outline above should be started.

By: Bruce Harte

Bruce Harte is a Partner and Head of the Research Staff at . He has always been a devoted dog owner with his companions over the last 60+ years ranging from mongrels, to beagles to golden and black labs. They have always been raised naturally not only with diet and dog supplements but also with their environment including their adobe home on 13 acres in the high Sonoran Desert or rustic cabins high in the Pines of the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. Receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1968 Bruce has over 50 years experience in technical and scientific research. Bruce’s love of gardening, natural herbs and remedies combined with extensive knowledge of Native American culture has enabled the VitaHound site to become a robust source of dog supplement and nutrition information.

Superior Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids (n-3) are so healthy for dogs that every major pet brand is adding the essential fats to their foods, treats, and supplements. The n-3 fatty acids make up a family of essential fats that dogs are unable to synthesize, the label essential indicates the nutrient needs to be obtained in the diet. As with most nutrients the compounds used to insert the nutrient into the diet determine the bioavailability and efficacy of the substance. There are 3 sources of n-3 acids, plant based, marine based, and synthetic based.

Plant based sources provide the precursor ALA that is metabolically converted to EPA and DHA primarily in the liver, marine based contain EPA and DHA eliminating the need for conversion, and synthetic based are chemically manufactured highly concentrated source of EPA and DHA.

However, enzymatic conversion efficiencies of ALA to EPA & DHA vary considerably among species and appear to be relatively inefficient in dogs, pet food companies distort this inefficiency as the reason for using fish oils to supplement n-3 acids in their formulations. Fish oil contains DHA & EPA, therefore the dog’s body does not have to convert the EFA’s however the process of converting ALA to DHA & EPA provides several benefits to the dog’s physiology.

The meaningfully lower cost of using fish oil has motivated pet food companies to market fish oil as the top source of omega-3 fatty acids however flax seed is scientifically proven to be a superior substance for dogs (Peer Reviewed Study). Although flax is cost prohibitive for the highly price sensitive dog food industry, dog supplement purveyors are far less restrained. Superior dog supplements take it a step further and utilize specific strains of flax that yield a linseed that is highly compatible with the canine digestive process. Since dogs are highly responsive to the anti-inflammatory aspects of n-3 acids at the cellular level, the inclusion of ALA substance in their diet should not be conceded to less expensive dog foods, treats, and supplements.

By: Brent Harte
We are dog lovers, in the business of developing superior canine health care products.

Allergies in Dogs and How to Treat Them

Dogs suffer from allergic reactions due to low immunity, just as people do. Although allergies are fairly harmless under normal circumstances, dogs tend to have more extreme reactions compared to other animals. Regardless of the breed or age of your dog, dog allergies can cause a wide variety of symptoms including digestive, respiratory, and skin reactions.

Allergies in Dogs_treat

Symptoms of Dog Allergies

If you suspect your pet may have allergies, you’ll want to watch for the following symptoms of dog allergies:

  • Scabbed skin or moist, itchy, and red skin
  • Unusual vomiting
  • Unusual sneezing
  • Ear infections or itchy ears
  • Constant licking
  • Paw chewing

Be aware that a dog with allergies may also develop a secondary skin infection (either yeast or bacterial), which may result in hair loss, crusty skin, scabs, and other irritations.

What Causes Dog Allergies?

There are some common substances (allergens) that can trigger dog allergies. These include:

  • Food allergens
  • Mold, dust and dander
  • Fleas and mites
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning agents
  • Pollens like weeds, trees, and grass
  • Tick and flea preventive treatments


Types of Allergies

Flea Allergies: Flea allergies occur when your pet reacts to the saliva of flea deposited through fleabites. A flea allergy is one of the most common allergies in dogs. Itching with extreme discomfort is one of the first signs, and which can be aggravated with warm weather. In severe cases, your dog may even develop an unpleasant odor or experience hair loss. Flea allergies require your prompt attention to physically remove the fleas from your dog’s environment, as well as to apply the appropriate flea control product suggested by your vet.

Environmental Allergies: Seasonal and environmental allergens like molds, grass, pollens, dust mites, ragweed, etc., provoke allergies in dogs just as they do in many humans. Look for signs such as any type of oozing or odor coming from your dog’s ears, itchiness of his skin, and paw-chewing behavior. Serum testing and intradermal skin testing are some effective ways to diagnose allergies triggered by environmental and seasonal factors.

Food Allergies: Providing proper nutrition to your dog is essential for good skin condition. Many dogs can develop allergies to their food over time. Over 10% of dog allergies are determined to be food allergy cases, and they are marked by food intolerances. Common symptoms that indicate food allergies include gastrointestinal issues, ear inflammation, chronic gas, and diarrhea.

Allergies in Dogs

How to Treat Your Dog’s Allergies

After you identify the type of allergy your dog has, you will want to remove the cause from its environment, as well as seek immediate medical attention for your pet.

Targets and Triggers: For flea allergies, your veterinarian might suggest one or more drugs—possibly both oral and topical, based on the stage of the dog’s allergy. The most effective way to control fleas and to prevent them from recurring is to change or thoroughly clean your dog’s bed and environment. Keep the entire area free of dust and smoke, in addition to using air filters, wherever possible.

Bring on the Baths: Some dog owners avoid frequent shampooing of their pets because they fear it may damage their pets’ skin. However, vets these days recommend weekly shampooing, and at times, even daily bathing for severe skin allergies.

Try Stronger Treatments

Even when you’ve taken steps for flea control and increased your dog’s bathing frequency to fight allergies, you may still have to consider stronger treatments if your dog’s itching persists. Veterinarians offer diverse remedies to handle more complex allergies. Some of these include minor doses of injections, antibiotics, immunology, and testing.

For allergy-induced behaviors like paw chewing and repeated scratching, preventive medications such as prescription drugs or steroid shots may be recommended. Some vets may even let you administer the shots at home to avoid upsetting your daily schedule.

Beware of the Food Dish

Since pets often suffer from food allergies, take care to feed your pet in clean bowls. Frequently food allergies are caused by protein-rich food like beef, milk, eggs, cheese, fish, and even soy. For these reasons, it’s wise to follow the guidance of your veterinarian and eliminate foods one by one to identify the precise allergen that troubles your pet. In some cases, protein substitutes may be suggested by the vet to compensate for a lack of protein intake.

There’s Hope for Dogs with Allergies

With tremendous advancement in the medical field and technology, there is a solution or cure for almost all types of allergies in dogs these days. You just need to be alert to spot the symptoms or notice your pet’s distress or discomfort and seek medical attention to help your dog enjoy a healthy and happy life.

By: Craig DavisCraig is the founder of Vet Organics, where he shares additional pet-related articles on the company’s blog. Vet Organics markets and produces their flagship product, EcoEars, along with a growing array of premium products dedicated to the health and wellness of pets.