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The Health Benefits of Spirulina

Three French Bulldogs by the river

Have you heard about Spirulina? Do you know what it is? Do you know the many benefits that come from Spirulina which has been proclaimed a “super food”? If not, keep reading as I’m going to cover what Spirulina is along with its plethora of health benefits not only to humans but to dogs.

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae which can be found free floating in many fresh and saltwater systems. At first mention, Spirulina may not seem all that impressive. However, once you understand how it works and the plethora of vitamins and minerals it provides, it becomes apparent how special this alga really is. Let us start with what Spirulina provides. Spirulina provides several vitamins such as Vitamin A which is important for eye health and healthy immune systems. Spirulina is also a great source of Vitamin B. Vitamin B supports healthy cells and let’s face it, that’s pretty darn important. Every part of the body is made up of cells including but certainly not limited to our brains, our blood, and our nerves. Spirulina also contains Vitamin E which is an important antioxidant protecting tissues in the body. Tissues also make up organs and vitamin E is important for the proper functioning of organs. In addition to Vitamins A, B and E, Spirulina also contains several minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.

Health Benefits of Spirulina for Humans

As you may have already deduced, Spirulina has many health benefits due to the vast array of vitamins and minerals it contains. First and foremost, it supports healthy cells. If our cells are healthy, we are healthy and conversely if our cells are not healthy, we are not healthy. Spirulina aids in the regulation of metabolism which is of course important for converting our food into the energy we need. Spirulina protects the tissues in your body. There are different types of tissues in the body all of which are important and carry out functions such as body movement and organ protection. Spirulina supports a healthy immune system in a variety of ways and is said to contain anti-cancer properties. It supports healthy bones and teeth. It supports healthy blood vessels and aids in keeping blood pressure in a normal range. It aids in muscle function and increases oxygen and energy. As you can see, there are many health benefits for humans from Spirulina, but what about our canine companions? Does it help them in the same manner?

Health Benefits of Spirulina for Dogs          

Spirulina is not only proclaimed to be a superfood for humans, but also a superfood for dogs. Just as it supports a healthy immune system in humans, it also supports a healthy immune system in dogs. The antioxidants present in Spirulina provide an anti-inflammatory response. Due to the immune system aid and anti-inflammatory responses, Spirulina is said to be helpful for dogs with allergies providing allergy relief. In addition to its main benefit to dogs of supporting a healthy immune system, Spirulina is good for digestion, supports organ health, and removes toxins from the body. Spirulina supports brain function, nervous system function, and aids in creating healthy skin and coat. Last, but certainly not least, Spirulina can be beneficial to dogs with heart disease. Heart disease in dogs is becoming more prevalent so any help in this area is more than welcome.

If you did not already know the MANY benefits of Spirulina, now you do! Why not try these Minty Breath Treats that also contain…. you guessed it….. SPIRULINA!!

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Canine Food Aggression

Food aggression in our pets can be frustrating. However, it is important to remember that it is normal canine behavior. Food aggression is also called food guarding. Guarding resources comes naturally to dogs since, in the wild, they have a higher chance of survival if they guard their resources such as food. Although food guarding is not abnormal, it is also not a desirable behavior and definitely not a behavior we want to encourage or worsen since a person or another pet could get harmed.

Most of the discussions about food aggression I have seen focus on aggression towards humans. However, your pet could only be guarding food from the other dogs in the house which was what was happening in my case. Dozer and Molly always ate together simply fine. When Harley came into the household, feeding time changed a bit. If you recall from earlier posts, I raised both Dozer and Molly since they were ten weeks old. Harley did not come into our household until she was six months old. Therefore, I am not sure where the behavior of food guarding started with her. The first sign of food aggression I noticed in Harley was her blocking Molly from eating. She would run over to the bowl and stand between Molly and the food bowl. In the beginning, there were a couple of small altercations between Molly and Harley over the food, so I started feeding them separately. I will get more into this later. First, let us talk about the signs of food aggression.

What are the signs of food aggression?

The signs of food aggression can be mild or severe. Harley shows mild signs of food aggression. For example, when she is guarding her food from Dozer and Molly, she will stiffen her body and walk in front of the food to block Dozer and Molly from eating. Food aggression can cause dogs to lunge, growl, or even bite. Biting, of course, is the most severe form of food aggression. Thank goodness I caught the early signs from Harley, and we didn’t get to that point. Some of the less severe warning signs are stiffening of the body, holding the ears back, and hovering over the food bowl. Since I immediately noticed these less severe signs early on in Harley, we never really had an incident and I have been able to work to reduce her mild guarding behaviors.

What causes food aggression?

Food aggression can be caused by a dog being territorial, showing dominance, or resource guarding. In dog packs, the alpha always eats first so if a dog is dominant, they will guard the food so the others do not get to eat first. As I mentioned earlier, it benefits dogs in the wild to guard their resources. Food aggression can also be caused by anxiety, so it is important to watch your dog’s body language to see if they seem anxious. If they do, you need to figure out what is causing the anxiety and work to turn whatever is causing their anxiety into a pleasant experience.

It is believed that food aggression may start as puppies when they all eat out of one bowl and compete for the food. Some puppies may eat more than others and the puppies that are left with less food may grow up to feel they need to guard their food if they are going to get their fair share. From what I’ve seen, it seems that most breeders do feed their litters out of one bowl. I am sure this is done out of convenience. However, I would love to see a shift in this practice to feeding all the puppies from separate bowls. So, what can you do when your dog is showing signs of food aggression or food guarding?

What can I do about food aggression?

It is always important to secure your position as the pack leader. This does not mean that you take food away or punish them in any way. As a matter of a fact, it is quite the opposite. You want to make the dinner time experience a better, more enjoyable, and welcoming experience. When I say you need to secure your position as pack leader, this means that you eat first. In the wild, the alpha always eats first.

Your next steps are going to include behavioral modifications. Be sure to read my blog post on behavioral modifications using operant conditioning for more information on the subject. For the purposes of this post, we are only discussing modifying the behaviors associated with food guarding.

If you have a mild case of food aggression and it is easy to feed your dogs separately, that is your answer. I did have a mild case myself. However, I have four dogs and to feed them all in separate rooms, while not impossible, would make things a bit difficult. So, I decided to take the behavioral modification route.

Before modifying a behavior, it is important to figure out the reason for the behavior. Are they defending their territory, are they attempting to assert dominance, are they fearful that they may not get to eat? Do they run over to the bowl when another dog goes near it like my girl does? Or are they more aggressive, growling, lunging, or maybe even biting? If they are guarding the food from humans, you need to create a positive association with humans being near their food. If they are guarding the food from other dogs like Harley is, you will need to begin creating a positive association with the other dogs nearing the bowl.

I started by feeding Harley in a separate room but where she could still see the other dogs. I sat next to her while giving her positive affirmations. After about a week of this, I started feeding Molly in the same room as Harley since Molly was who she was guarding the food from the most. I would hand feed them at the same time while continuing positive affirmations (telling them they were good girls). Placing their favorite treats in the bowl is a good positive reinforcement method helping them to relate feeding time as a positive experience. You may want to place several treats in the bowl a few seconds apart while the dogs are eating calmly together and not displaying any of the guarding behaviors. If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, make sure to reward when the other dogs are near the bowl and your dog is remaining calm. It is important to only provide that positive reinforcement when she is calm. Don’t reward her if her body language is stiff or guarding in any way. If you do, you will be reinforcing the guarding behavior.

Just like consistency is important in training, consistency is also important in feeding. If the reasoning for the food aggression is anxiety over when the next meal is coming, then feeding the meals at the same times every day is of the utmost importance.

Another tip in addressing the food guarding issue is having your dog perform a certain behavior to earn the food. For example, have them sit and stay until you say it is okay to eat the food. If you must leash her to sit and stay at first, that is okay. Just make sure they understand that they have to sit and stay before they can eat their meal. This helps them to view the meal as more of a reward.

Be sure to provide plenty of food so your dog feels less of a need to guard it. However, do not free feed. Free feeding is not good for dogs with food aggression. Take it slow when using any of these methods and do not punish your dog or take her food away. If the reason for the guarding is fear of not being fed, you will only be reinforcing the guarding behavior. Remember frenchies are very smart and it is up to us to teach them what we expect from them.

Modifying the behaviors associated with food aggression is just like modifying other behaviors. You will get the most productive results from using positive reinforcement methods.

Lastly, if the food guarding behaviors are extremely aggressive, it is a good idea to consult with a dog behaviorist.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Frenchie parents are continually looking for recommendations on products other frenchie parents use so I am dedicating this post solely to listing and providing the links to some of the products I use on a regular basis and that have worked well for me.

So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things:

Favorite toys:

KONG 41938 Classic Dog Toy, Large, Red, KONG Classic Large #ad

KONG KP24 Puppy Toy – Natural Teething Rubber – Fun to Chew, Chase and Fetch (Colors May Vary), 035585131214, Medium, Assorted Pink or Blue #ad

EASTBLUE Dog Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers: Nearly Indestructible Natural Rubber Puppy Toy Durable and Tough for Medium and Large Dog #ad

KONG Floppy Knots Fox, Dog Toy, Medium/Large #ad

Kong Wild Knots Bears Durable Dog Toys Size:Small/Med Pack of 2 #ad

My frenchies all love stuffed animals. However, it is usually only a matter of minutes until they rip them open and I have to pull the stuffing out. I have found that the Kong Knots are the only stuffed animals that last any amount of time and all three of my frenchies love them.

Favorite treats:

Tylee’s Freeze-Dried 100% Salmon treats #ad

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Wild Bits Grain Free Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats, Duck Recipe 4-oz bag, Model:800068 #ad

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Wild Bits High Protein Grain Free Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats, Salmon Recipe 10-oz bag #ad

Minty Breath Bones

From this list of treats, the Tylee salmon treats are my favorite. All three of my frenchies love them and it is a single ingredient treat. They also love the Blue Buffalo treats and they do not upset my Dozer’s sensitive stomach. However, they do have ingredients that are not on my preferred list making them my second favorite dog treat. In addition to these treats, my frenchies love carrots, watermelon, and bananas. There are many fruits and veggies that are healthy choices for occasional treats. Make sure you research first though because there are some fruits and veggies that are toxic to dogs.

Favorite care products:

For weekly cleaning of face wrinkles: Natural Dog Company – Wrinkle Balm

For weekly cleaning of the tail pocket: Squishface Wrinkle Paste – Cleans Wrinkles, Tear Stains and Tail Pockets – 2 Oz, Anti-Itch, Great for Bulldogs, Pugs and Frenchies #ad

For daily cleaning of the face, bum, and girly areas: Baby Wipes, Pampers Aqua Pure Sensitive Water Baby Diaper Wipes, Hypoallergenic and Unscented, 12x Pop-Top Packs, 672 Count #ad

For bathing: TropiClean Hypo Allergenic Puppy Shampoo 2 Pack, Gentle Coconut, 20 fl. oz. or Natural Dog Company Sensitive Skin Oatmeal Shampoo

For ear cleansing after bathing: Animal Pharmaceuticals Sweet Pea

Favorite toothpaste: Well & Good Dental Health Kit for Dogs, Chicken Flavor #ad

Favorite all natural tooth powder: Keep Your Dogs Teeth Healthy, Try a Sample of 100% Natural Toothpowder! #ad

Favorite nail trimmer: Dog Nail Grinder, 2-Speed Electric Dog Nail Clippers Trimmer Grinder, Portable Rechargeable Low Noise Pet Nail Grinder for Small Medium Large Dogs Cats Pets Painless Paws Grooming, 2 Grinding Wheels #ad

Favorite bedding:

MIXJOY Orthopedic Dog Bed Comfortable Donut Cuddler Round Dog Bed Ultra Soft Washable Dog and Cat Cushion Bed (36” x 36”) (Brown) #ad (the small size works for me)

Extra Softness and Fluffy 350 GSM Lightweight Microplush Fleece Throw Blanket for Small, Medium and Large Dogs, Puppies, Cats and Kittens, Multi-Colored, 40 x 32 Inches #ad

Favorite products for walks:

Adjustable Dog Harness, No Pull Dog Harness Outdoor Vest with Easy Control Handle, Hook and Front Reflective Straps – No More Pulling, Tugging or Choking for Small Medium Large Dogs #ad

Max and Neo Reflective Nylon Dog Leash – We Donate a Leash to a Dog Rescue for Every Leash Sold (Orange, 6×1) #ad

Favorite life jacket:

Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket with Superior Buoyancy & Rescue Handle, Camo Blue, S #ad

Favorite doggy cam:

TOOGE Pet Dog Camera Wireless Home Security Camera FHD WiFi Indoor Camera Pet Monitor Cat Camera Night Vision 2 Way Audio and Motion Detection #ad

Favorite pet trailer:

Schwinn Rascal Bike Pet Trailer, For Small and Large Dogs, Small, Green #ad

Favorite pill wrap:

Wrap a pill

Favorite supplement:

Natural Dog Company – Skin & Coat Supplement

This supplement is a must have for allergy prone frenchies. It treats allergies and overall health from the inside out!

Favorite probiotics:

Purina pro plan FortiFlora

Zesty paws probiotic bites #ad

I sprinkle Zesty paws on their food daily and use the Purina Pro Plan as needed to firm up their stool.

As the title of this post suggests, these are a few of my favorite things. I hope this list and the links help you in your search for the perfect products for your frenchie. As we know, not all frenchies are made alike. However, after testing many products, these are the ones that have worked best for me.

If this post helped you out, I would be honored if you would give it a like.

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My Crazy Wonderful Life as a Frenchie Mama

Why I started this blog

Hello Fellow French Bulldog Fanatics! My name is Becki Leggett and while I have always been passionate about dogs, there is something particularly special about French Bulldogs. If you have owned them , you already know what I am talking about. If you have not yet had the pleasure, I hope to give you plenty of insight. I created this blog to be about all things frenchie, for other seasoned Frenchie mamas, for brand new Frenchie mamas, and for those of you who are not yet Frenchies mamas (but want to be). We also can not forget the Frenchie Daddy’s out there. Frenchie dads love these little bulldogs just as much as their Frenchie Mamas (well……almost!). New Frenchie parents are rarely prepared for the crazy wonderful life that comes along with owning a French Bulldog (or two or three). Why two or three you ask? Well, quite frankly French Bulldog ownership can be addictive. I currently have three myself: one boy and two girls. They are huge cuddlers, but can be very independent at times. They love you with all they have, but can be extremely stubborn. They are very smart and easily trained, but their stubborn streak can make training seem hard at times. They can be going 100 miles per hour one second and passed out and snoring the next second. You will hear people say they are lazy, and while they definitely can be lazy, in my experience they can go, go and go some more. This is especially true of french bulldog puppies. There is a term endearingly named “The Zoomies” that you will learn about in later blog posts. Seasoned French Bulldog owners know this term well. French bulldogs are more than dogs to their owners, they are their kids, their babies, and they require very special care and have varying special needs. Because of this, new (and even seasoned) Frenchie parents have many questions about French Bulldog ownership. I will dedicate all my early posts to answering as many of the frequently asked questions by new Frenchies owners that I can. This includes questions about puppy training, quality food, quality treats, frenchie care, toys, biting, chewing, gender differences, breeding, rescue groups, frenchie colors, litter mate syndrome, and so much more!

A little about my frenchie babies

How did it all start, you ask? Well, I came home from work one day and the first words out of my husband’s mouth were “I want a French Bulldog and his name WILL BE Dozer.” I wasn’t even sure what a French Bulldog was. Even when I researched the breed (because that’s the type of person I am, I research the heck out of everything), I was not 100 percent sold. But, he wanted one, so I started on the search for our new french bulldog puppy. I made several appointments in the closest big city (At the time, I couldn’t find any close to me) to meet some of our potential future “children”. Dozer was the very first frenchie puppy we met and I was in love! To this day, my husband will tell you he (Dozer) is the love of my life and…. I can’t disagree. One thing about male frenchies is they fall in love with you and you can not help falling in love with them. I loved him so much, I wanted a girl so I went on my search for the perfect little girl frenchie. Boy did I find the perfect girl. She is Blue fawn, has beautiful green eyes and she is a perfect mix of doll baby and evilness! I named her Molly. Molly had a merle sister that my husband preferred. Well, fast forward a few months later and we are the proud owners of sisters and as I’ll discuss in another blog, sibling rivalry definitely exists in dogs too! All my babies have many quirky frenchie traits in common, but just like human babies, they all have their own distinct personalities. Dozer is a mommy’s boy for sure, but loves everyone (furry and not). He is a big lover and loves to play with his toys. Molly is my little diva. She is gorgeous and she knows it! Harley (Molly’s sister) loves belly rubs and whenever you place your hand near her to pet her, she rolls on her back to get belly rubs. She is a daddy’s girl, but also loves her mama and she is weary of other people. I will talk more about my babies in future blogs. For now, just know they are very loved and very spoiled!

Topics to be covered in upcoming blogs

One of the most common questions I hear about french bulldogs puppies is: Why are they so hard to potty train? This will be answered along with potty training do’s and dont’s in an upcoming post.

The second most common question I see new Frenchie owners asking is what food they should feed their Frenchie. It can be daunting finding the right food for these sensitive dogs so I will discuss this extensively in another upcoming post. I will also include information on how to choose quality treats.

French bulldogs require a little more care than other breeds of dogs, but it is so worth it. I will write another blog post about proper frenchie care including cleaning their folds, bathing, ear health, teeth cleaning, and more.

Frenchies are ferocious chewers which can frustrate owners when, for example, they chew up their mama’s baseboards so I will dedicate a blog post to toys: do’s and don’t and longest lasting toys.

People often ask whether they should get a boy or girl frenchie so I will dedicate an entire blog post to this subject, including litter mate syndrome and why you should be careful choosing litter mates.

Another hot topic is breeding. I will delve into breeding, differing breeders, and rescue groups in a future blog post.

Ever wonder about all the frenchie colors? My Dozer is Red Fawn, Molly is Blue Fawn, and Harley’s coloring is called Merle. I will explain all the colors, what is standard, and the genetics behind all the differing color patterns produced in french bulldogs.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I am beyond passionate about Frenchies and I hope you find my blog posts helpful whether you are a seasoned Frenchie owner or a new Frenchie owner.