Dogs Deserve Better: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week


“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  –  Nelson Mandela

Does the sight of a chained dog break your heart?  Unfortunately winter is a time when horrid living conditions, with dogs frozen in the snow and suffering frostbite, are exacerbated.  To you it may seem cruel, but there are people under the misconception that it is acceptable to chain a dog outside in any kind of weather. 

Dogs Deserve Better is a national award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the practice of perpetually chained dogs.  The group bought Michael Vick’s former Bad Newz Kennels in May 2011.  Every year they sponsor a program for children to make Valentine’s Day cards for dogs.  DDB then sends the valentines and dog food/treat coupons to canines across the country during its Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week in February.  Included is a brochure for the dog’s owners explaining why continuous chaining of animals is a form of abuse.  The material encourages people to bring their dogs into the home or to find better homes for them.  In 2013 valentines were delivered to 19,893 dogs nationwide.  This year the group hopes to reach 21,000 dogs! 

ImageHow can you give some love to chained dogs? 

  1. Make valentinesThis is a great project for kids, teachers, students, scouts and other organizations.  Visit  to see examples of valentines created by past volunteers and check out the deadline for submitting these works of art.  
  2. Clip coupons.  Help out this year by mailing any and all treat or dog food coupons you have to 1915 Moonlight Rd., Smithfield, VA 23430.  Please make sure their expiration dates are after February 20th.
  3. Send addresses.  Do you know of a chained or penned dog that would benefit from a valentine?  Take the time to find out the address of the dog near you.  It takes little effort but is crucial to reaching these animals.   You remain anonymous.  Call 877-636-1408 to report addresses, e-mail them to or better yet fill out the form on their website.
  4. Sponsor valentines.  The cost of this campaign is quite high due to materials and mailing fees, but is the best way to directly reach dogs in need.  You may sponsor valentines for addresses you provide or for others who provide addresses.  Sponsor your valentines at the Dogs Deserve Better website.
  5. Give.  Donate money, time, fencing supplies or anything else you think may be helpful to Dogs Deserve Better or your local humane organization.
  6. AdvocateDownload the Humane Society’s free toolkit “The Guide to a Dog’s Life: Chaining and Your Community,” a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to pass an anti-chaining ordinance in your area.
  7. Report.  If see a dog left outside without food, water or shelter, contact your local animal control, humane society or police.  They will know the local laws and can help.
  8. Educate.  Spread the word by helping to educate people on better solutions than constantly chaining a dog.  Join the Dogs Deserve Better organization or a local group with the same mission.   They offer guidance and temporary assistance to owners who are willing to improve their pet’s quality of life.

Why do owners chain dogs?

Many people initially chained their dogs because the animal had behaviors that frustrated their owners.  The caretakers did not know how to properly train their dogs or have the resources to consult a professional dog trainer for help.  Others feel that a chained dog will protect their property.  Still others grew up with this mindset and do not feel this is cruel.  Many do not realize that an inside dog is more likely to deter a burglar than a backyard dog.

Why Chaining Hurts Dogs

As social animals, dogs need to have regular interactions with their family.  Dogs who are left chained or penned up outdoors suffer physically and mentally.  They often are forgotten and suffer extreme neglect.  Many of these dogs sit, lay, eat, and defecate within the same 10-foot radius their entire life.  The dogs endure constant exposure to the elements and often become entangled in their chains which prevent them from reaching their shelter.  Some animals have choked, or even hung to death, trying to escape. 

They suffer from being denied the companionship of other dogs or people.  Consequentially they become isolated, lonely, fearful, bored and protective of their tiny spaces.  This lack of socialization can lead to territorial and unpredictable behavior. 

Chaining is not only inhumane, but has taken its toll on this nation’s children as well.  A chained dog is 2.5 times more likely to bite.  According to DDB, from October 2003 through today, there were at least 379 children killed or seriously injured by chained dogs across the country.  A toddler or young child who wanders into this space can be attacked and killed before adults can intercede.  An attack in Arkansas left a 2-year-old dead from head and neck wounds.  He was attacked and killed by a chained female dog that had puppies.

Alternatives to Chaining

The Humane Society lists five alternatives to chaining your animal:

  1. If your dog jumps over the existing fence, install a 45-degree inward extension to the top of your fence. 
  2. For a dog that digs under the fence, bury chicken wire to a depth of one foot below where the fence meets the ground.  Bend in the sharp edges. 
  3. If your dog still is an escape artist, use a cable runner or electronic fencing.  These are not perfect options, but will give your dog more freedom.  Only use these options if you also have a fence that protects your dog from other people and animals. 
  4. If your dog digs in the garden or flower bed, put plastic fencing or other barrier around the area.  You can also provide your pup with his own sandbox to dig in.  Bury toys in the sand and use positive reinforcement to teach your pooch it is okay to dig there.
  5. Barking, chewing and digging are behavior problems, often the result of boredom.  Provide proper toys, exercise, people time and positive training. 

No matter what reason is given, it is NOT acceptable to chain a dog for life.  They should not have to exist chained or in small pens as prisoners, yearning for a place in a family, craving acknowledgement, respect, and love. Dogs deserve better.


Dogs Deserve Better website:

Humane Society toolkit:

FIDO (Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside:






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Change a Pet’s Life Day (and Change Your Life Too!)

Change a Pet’s Life Day (and Change Your Life Too!)


“Change a Pet’s Life Day” is January 24, 2014.  It is a day devoted to encouraging animal adoption and spreading awareness of animal welfare issues. There are many things you can do today (and other days) to change the lives of animals for the better.

  • Adopt – Change a dog’s life by adopting from your local shelter or rescue.  If you are rescuing a purebred dog, do your homework on the breed to make sure it fits into your lifestyle. There are many rescue groups dedicated to specific dog breeds.  Adopt from your local shelter; most dogs through no fault of their own are surrendered or strays who will flourish with your love and attention.  Ask the adoption counselors their opinion to help make the perfect match for your family.  If this is a second or third dog, most shelters and rescues encourage an introduction meeting for both pets to make sure they are compatible. 
  • Donate – Make a donation (monetary, food, cleaning supplies, toys, bedding, towels, etc.)  Check your local shelter or rescue’s wish list; some have an account with Amazon set up so you can order needed items online and have them delivered directly to the shelter.  Monetary donations can include a one-time donation, monthly gift or memorial gift. 
  • Volunteer at your local shelter or rescue organization.  If you are not able to adopt at this time or just want to work with dogs, giving your time is fulfilling for the animals and you.  Roles range from walking dogs, socializing them, cleaning cages, photography, providing transportation, and customer service roles.  Volunteering at my local shelter has been one of the best experiences of my life.  Learning more about how shelters and rescues operate, fundraise, and care for dogs is very interesting.  Every bit of time you spend with a dog makes it that much more adoptable.  Interacting with other volunteers and sharing tips about the specific needs of each dog provides consistency of training and development.
  • Image
  • Shop Purchase a product from a company, rescue or shelter that donates a percentage of the cost to dogs.  Amazon, Free Kibble, and the Animal Rescue site are a few examples.
  • Foster – Open your heart and home to prepare a dog to be adopted.  Fostering isn’t a lifetime commitment; it’s a commitment to save one life.  Contact your local rescue or shelter.  It could be the best thing you’ve ever done with your life – to save theirs. 
  • Spay and Neuter – Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized every year.  Don’t contribute to the problem.  Most shelter and rescue dogs are already neutered or offer discounts for the surgery.  If you love them, fix them! 
  • Attend an Event – Local rescues and shelters have fun events that benefit dogs like walks, runs, festivals, fairs and dinners.  For example, the Indianapolis Humane Society has a “Mutt Strutt” fundraiser every year where participants donate and walk with their dog around the Indy 500 track.
  • Create AwarenessPromote local rescues and shelters; share success stories on the organization’s Facebook page; tell someone about your experience with the group.
  • Involve Kids – Help the kids in your life improve the lives of homeless pets.
    • If your local shelter has a Parent and Me program, let your child volunteer or shadow you
    • Sponsor a Contest at School- Which class can bring the most pet food or other items for your shelter’s wish list? Offer the winning class a fun activity, such as a pizza party or lemonade stand.
    • Read to a pet – Some shelters offer programs where children sit outside kennels and spend time reading a book to a pet.  This interaction helps de-stress dogs and helps your child practice reading skills.
    • Start a tradition in your family of giving to a pet food bank . . . not just at Christmas or the holidays, but throughout the year.
    • Birthday party donations – instead of bringing gifts for the birthday boy or girl, have the kids bring an item to donate to the local rescue or shelter.  Plan a field trip to deliver the items.
    • Attend a summer camp – Activities can include time with dogs and cats, training, arts & crafts, games, group bonding activities, cleaning laundry and dishes, kennel/yard cleaning, and many more experiences
  • Report Animal Cruelty – Don’t just talk about your neighbor who mistreats their dog; call your local police or animal control organization to report abusive people.  Most states have laws to prosecute offenders. 
  • Advocate – Help fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by writing letters to politicians, newspapers, or attending a local rescue or shelter event.  The ASPCA provides an advocacy toolkit to help you get started. 

I hope these suggestions provide information on how to change a pet’s life.  It will not only help a dog who cannot speak for himself but enrich your life at the same time.  It is truly a win-win situation. 


Humane Society of the United States –

Indianapolis Humane Society –

Freekibble –

Animal Rescue Site –

Amazon Smile Program –

Petfinder (list of shelter and rescue organizations) –

Animal Protection Laws by state –




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Do Dogs Have Human Emotions?

Are Dogs Like People?

 As golden retriever lovers, we instinctively know our dogs are actually furry people.   However, recent studies finally back up our theory.

In the past, researchers relied on observation to give us an idea what is inside a dog’s head.  Unfortunately because dog’s can’t speak (at least in our language), some in the scientific community have not totally accepted behavioral science.  Many feel it can be subjective and difficult to quantify, making it questionable without actual physical evidence.   However, now that has changed. 

Gregory Berns is a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and the author of “How Dogs Love Us:  A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain.”  Dr. Berns and his colleagues have trained dogs to go in an MRI scanner — completely awake and unrestrained.  The goal was to determine how dogs’ brains work and what they think of us.  Their conclusion:  dogs are people too.  (Hey, we knew that!)

 By looking directly at their brains, MRIs can tell us about dogs’ internal states.  The problem is, if you have ever had an MRI, you know how noisy, confining and absolutely still you must stay during the procedure.  Conventional veterinary practice is to anesthetize animals so they don’t move during a scan.  But brain function such as perception or emotion cannot be studied in an anesthetized animal.   

 Dr. Berns’ rescue dog Callie was the first subject.  With the help of a trainer, Callie was taught to go into an MRI simulator.  She learned to walk up steps into a tube, place her head in a custom-fitted chin rest, and hold still for periods up to 30 seconds.  On top of that, Callie had to learn to wear earmuffs to protect her sensitive hearing.  After months of training in a real MRI scanner, they had the first maps of brain activity.  At the start of the tests researchers measured Callie’s brain response to two hand signals in the scanner.  In later experiments they determined which parts of her brain distinguished the scents of familiar and unfamiliar humans and dogs.  Within a year the researchers assembled a team of twelve dogs who were all “MRI certified”. 

 Although this is just the beginning toward answering basic questions about the canine brain, there is striking similarity between dogs and humans in the structure and function of a key brain region: the caudate nucleus.  The caudate has dopamine receptors which play a key role in things humans enjoy like food, music, love and money.  But can this association infer what a person is thinking just by measuring caudate activity? 

 In dogs the researchers found that activity in the caudate increased in response to hand signals for food, smells of familiar humans, and even the return of an owner who stepped out of view.  Do these findings prove that dogs love us?  Not quite, but the caudate activates positive emotions of humans and it seems there is now evidence that our pups seem to have emotions like us.  Dr. Berns feels this ability suggests we rethink how we treat dogs. 

 Currently the law considers animals as property.  If we were to grant canines the rights of a person, they would be afforded protection again exploitation like puppy mills and dog racing, in addition to current laws regarding inhumane treatment.  Someday maybe a case can be heard arguing for a dog’s rights based on the brain-imaging findings of this study. 


 Berns, Gregory, Professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and author of “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain” and the New York Times October 6, 2013 op-ed “ Dogs are People Too”.

 Psychology Today, “Animal Emotions: Do Animals Think and Feel”, Mark Bekoff


 ABA Journal, “What are the Legal Implications of Animal Emotions?“, Debra Cassens Weiss,

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Indoor Activities for your Golden Retriever

“Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.”  While I admire the U.S. Postal Service, there are times when Mother Nature keeps you and your dog from enjoying that daily walk.  Did you know an adult golden retriever needs at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise plus a good dose of mental stimulation on a daily basis to keep them happy and healthy?  Here are some tips to prevent boredom and exercise the brain. 

#1 – Practice Commands

This is a great time to practice basic or more advanced training.  Keep sessions to 10-15 minutes at a time, depending on your golden’s attention span.  Of course, keep the treats coming when commands are successfully completed!  A great book with tricks that includes photos and training steps is “101 Dog Tricks” by Kyra Sundance.

#2 – Play, Play and More Play

An almost endless amount of fun but still challenging, indoor games exist for you and your pooch to play together.

Fetching, tug of war, running up & down the hallways or stairs (carefully), and “hide and seek” activities provide physical and mental activity.  For hide and seek, you can play with family members or treats.  Your golden retriever can use his nose to find hidden toys, treats or even people.  This can also be a fun activity for bored kids!  Need some ideas? Visit the The Dog Trainer website or read 50 Games to Play with Your Dog to get started.

#3– Shopping

My goldens love to go to the pet store or hardware store.  If the weather is safe to drive in, an outing in the car and walking up and down the store aisles is fun.  Practice training good manners while in the store.  You may also want to pick up one of the interactive toys that challenge your dog’s mind, which is just as important as physical exercise.  Most involve solving a “puzzle” to get a treat or find a scent and are fairly inexpensive. 

#4 – Chew on This

Filling your pooch’s Kong or marrow bone with peanut butter or cheese in a spray can will keep your golden from feeling frustrated.  Our local shelter uses cardboard tubes from paper towel or toilet paper rolls.  Stuff cheese, peanut butter, treats, cut-up hot dogs and kibble inside, fold over the ends, and let your dog tear up the cardboard to find the treats inside.  Of course you will have to pick up the mess, but it will keep your dog occupied and focused.  Most dogs just rip up the cardboard to get at the goodies inside, but you definitely want to avoid the dog swallowing large chunks of paper.  Trade the cardboard for treats. As with all food, supervise your pet.

#5 – Spa Day

Spending an hour grooming your dog is a great way to spend quality time together.  It helps reduce some of the shedding of our golden’s glorious coat.   Simple ideas include:

Brush. Use a soft slicker brush or metal comb. Before bathing, brush your dog’s coat to remove any dead hair and tangles.

Shampoo.  Human shampoos dry out a dog’s coat and skin, so use a brand formulated for pets.  To dry your golden’s hair use a towel, air dry or a hair dryer, if your dog is familiar with it.  Use the dryer with care.  Set the dryer on the lowest possible heat setting.  Keep the nozzle a few inches away from your dog’s fur and the air flow in constant motion to prevent heat from concentrating on any one spot and burning your pet. 

Nail trim. A nail clipper or dremel (a motorized grinder for shortening a pet’s nails) works well. Cut your dog’s nails every three to four weeks, or grind them using a dremel each week.  Forego the nail trim if it makes you feel uncomfortable. 

– Freshening Spray.  Finish with a spray that shines and deodorizes that flowing coat.

– Clean Ears.  Use a canine ear cleaner to gently wash out ears on both the inside flap and inner ear.  Wipe any excess off with a cotton ball and let your pooch give his head a good shake. 

#6 – Indoor Dog Parks

For a fee, your golden can romp with other dogs in a climate-controlled, safe environment.  Most have artificial turf and areas for small or large dogs.  Staff members supervise play time.  This strategy can help socialize your pet while exercising. 

#7 – Downward Dog

Unwind in the afternoon by playing a yoga DVD created for pets and their people.  Doga, as it’s commonly called, has all the same health benefits of yoga: increased flexibility, strength, energy and endurance. You actually share the mat with your pooch.  Expect to help position your pet into poses as well as do your own. Doga DVDs are available for purchase online, and in-person classes are held in dozens of cities nationwide.

Hopefully this is a good start for indoor activities in inclement weather.  If you have other ideas, share them in the comments below.  Stay warm and dry this winter and let’s hope we can get back to walking our goldens soon.


Animal Planet, “Rainy Day DogActivities”

Vet Street, “Is it Safe to Blow Dry my Dog?”

K9 Nose Work, “Tips for Practicing Nose Work at Home”

Dogster, “Rain or Shine: 10 Ways to Engage Your Dog Indoors”

The Humane Society of Indianapolis blog, Connie Swaim, Trainer,”Games When It’s Too Cold to Play Outside” –

101 Dog Tricks, paperback book by Kyra Sundance –

Cesar’s Way –


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Holiday Pet Photography: Golden Moments

Are you an amateur photographer or do you occasionally get the perfect shot of your dog?  With the holidays approaching opportunities abound to capture this festive season with our goldens.  The tips below will help you make the most of your shots. 

To Pose or Not to Pose

A picture of your dog lounging on a chair makes a great photo.  For a more dramatic shot, try getting down to your golden’s eye level.  If you wait long enough, they will get used to you and your camera. 

A dog playing fetch, chasing leaves, sitting in a field of flowers or romping in snow make interesting scenes.  But catching our pups zooming around the yard is difficult.  To capture them it may take a helper to call for the dog while you concentrate on shooting.   Pre-focusing on a particular spot helps; your dog runs to it and there you are, ready to snap the shot.  Experiment with fast and slow shutter speeds to create blur, which exaggerates movement. 

ImageMarley doing the dog paddle

A couple ideas to lure your dog out for indoor action shots is to find something your dog can’t resist like an open bag of dog food, an open screen door, or looking out the window.  Be creative and incorporate your dog’s personality.  Value the innate character of your pup.

 Fill the frame with your pet’s face and fur; close up shots often make beautiful animal portraits.  Unusual portraits featuring individual parts of your dog you love, i.e. feathered tail, expressive eyes or wet nose, is an option.   Try black-and-white shots.  Shoot a lot of pictures; you can select the best later.


Eye level picture of Frank – Sadie & Marley’s Cousin

 Timing is Everything

Wait to take a picture of your golden retriever after a walk or romp in the park.  She will be more relaxed and chances are you will get some great pictures of your dog.  At this point, your pup should be panting and looking up at you with that goofy, golden grin. 

Background Light and Color

Jeannine Frest of Frest Photography in San Francisco has experience taking engagement and wedding pictures of couples with their dogs.  She has some important suggestions for proper lighting. “If you are shooting outdoors, light in the early morning, late afternoon or evening is optimal.  The same goes for indoors, especially if you have a dog that likes to sit or rest in front of a window (anxiously awaiting Santa and his reindeer).”  Different rooms in your house get different light at different times. Make sure the room you use as a backdrop is at its brightest. If your kitchen gets bright morning light, capture photos during the breakfast hour. 

 For maximum detail in your pet’s coat, a bright sky when the sun is gently diffused by high clouds can work well. Also consider the background in relation to your dog’s color in order to create contrast.  A “red” golden shows up best against brighter or lighter colors and vice-versa.  Simple and colorful backgrounds bring your golden retriever into focus.  A blank wall, blanket, colorful rugs and toys will brighten up the photo.

To prevent those eerie glowing eyes, try not to use a flash.   Shoot in daylight or use high ISO, sports mode, and any low-light setting if you need to.

Trick or Treat

So you have considered your background, tired your dog out and are ready to take your best shots.  Still, your golden retriever is not cooperative.  Nothing works better than bribery.  Tease your pup first by giving him a few small treats.  Once he knows you have the tasty treats and you’re giving them out, keep them in your hand and near the camera while you start to photograph.  Holding the camera in one hand and the treat in the other requires practice, but bringing the treat from your golden’s eye level and up to the camera keeps them engaged.  Their expressive eyes make a great photo and capture your dog’s soul.  A squeaky toy also captures your dog’s attention. 

Holiday Greetings

 Whether you send out photo cards or just want some fun photos for the holidays, try these tips. 

  • Place your dog by a wrapped gift box or gift bag.  You can put a treat on top or in the box/bag to make the curious dog’s expression engaging.   
  • Have your dog sit or lie down and drape Christmas tree lights around the dog’s feet or neck.  It goes without saying that the lights should be cool to the touch, untangled and removed after the photo session.
  • Pictures with Santa are always fun.  Our two dogs never pose perfectly but the candid, goofy shots with Santa have given us a good laugh. 
  • If there is snow on the ground, make a “snow dog” or snowman and take a picture of your golden next to it.


Sadie by the Christmas Tree

Bring in the Experts

For times you want a special photograph, consult a professional photographer.  They typically will come to your home or shoot in the studio and are experts at making your dog feel comfortable.  Many donate their time to local humane and rescue groups to promote adoptable pets.   A photographer will capture your golden at a stage of their life that you want to remember and keep forever.  The photographer will work with you to find the ideal location, best time of day, ideal lighting and the ability to capture your pet’s best expressions. 

Now that you have some holiday photography tips, grab that digital camera and start your photo session today.

Happy Holidays from Just Love Goldens!    


Frest Photography:

Modern Dog:

Petfinder Pro:

Digital Photography School:

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Make Thanksgiving Safe for your Pet

It’s almost Turkey Day and that means family, friends and great food.  No doubt your golden retriever will enjoy the attention also.  Those pleading brown eyes make it tempting for you or your guests to be overly generous sharing Thanksgiving dinner with your furry friend.  Sometimes, however, too many treats can lead to illness or injury for our pets. 

Our friends at the ASPCA, PetMD and North Shore Animal League have some important tips to help keep your golden safe this holiday – and to keep the “Happy” in Thanksgiving!



Certain bones, particularly poultry bones, can lacerate or obstruct your golden’s insides.  Save the bones for the broth – not your dog.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage to both dogs and cats.


Chocolate is a well known off-limits indulgence for pets. During the holidays however, baking chocolate is used in recipes and sometimes forgotten about by the time the dishes hit the table. Make sure this holiday season that your golden does not ingest any kind of chocolate.


Alcohol is definitely a big no for dogs. What we people may consider a small amount can be toxic for a smaller animal. Alcohol poisoning can occur in pets from atypical items like fruit cake (the recipe may have called for rum or other liquor).


Alliums such as sage, garlic, onions, leeks and scallions make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression if eaten in large quantities. Onions will destroy your dog’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

Raw Bread Dough 

According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, your golden may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.


If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Xylitol (artificial sweetners)

While you may be making the healthier choice by cooking with artificial sweeteners over the real thing, sweeteners containing Xylitol are poisonous to animals, and potentially deadly to dogs.

Too Much of a Good Thing 

A little cooked turkey, mashed potatoes and fresh green beans are okay.  However, don’t allow your golden retriever to overindulge in fatty, rich or unfamiliar foods, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best to keep dogs on their regular diets during the holidays.

Food Wrappings

Aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction. Make sure to place these items securely in the garbage. Guard against counter surfing, a sport some golden retrievers excel in.

 Now that you know what is harmful, what foods or alternatives are safe? 



If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Cranberry Sauce

Plain cranberry sauce is just fine for pets but watch the amount of sugar in it. It is probably best to only provide a small helping to your pet’s plate.

Mashed or Sweet Potatoes

Plain mashed or sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to share with your pet.  But beware of additional ingredients used to make mashed potatoes.

Fresh Green Beans

Plain green beans are a wonderful treat for pets. If the green beans are included in a casserole, be wary of the other ingredients in it.

A Little Taste

A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best to keep goldens on their regular diet during the holidays.

A Kong Feast

While the humans are chowing down, give your goldens their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Fresh Water

Make sure your pet always has fresh water. When there are more people in the house, there’s more chance to bump into the water bowl leaving your pet dry.

Quiet Time

Make sure your dog has a quiet retreat should the holiday festivities be too much for him. Watch his behavior to make sure he is not stressed.

Diet and Exercise

Maintain your golden’s regular meal and exercise schedule and avoid too many holiday leftovers. A disruption in his dietary routine can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and/or vomiting.  Go for a walk after dinner; it will help your digestion as well.

May you and your golden have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Shop Just Love Goldens for Christmas Gifts

Check out our products that are sure to please any golden retriever lover!  Many have our one-of-a-kind Just Love Goldens logo that was designed by the artist Keith Bratton.

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