A Guide to Safely Sharing Food with Your Dog

Both humans and dogs love to snack, so it’s easy to feel guilty enjoying a treat in front of your dog, who is suddenly looking extra cute and very hungry. It’s okay to give in to those puppy-dog eyes and share your food with your dog. How could you resist? However, it’s important to keep in mind that sharing food with your dog should be done safely and in moderation. Some foods that are harmless to humans can be toxic to dogs. Here are a few tips to keep your pet safe from harmful snacks.

Keep it Under 10%

When feeding your dog treats in addition to their regular meals, it’s important to not overdo it. The dog food you feed your pet contains all the proper nutrients to maintain a healthy diet. By feeding your dog too many treats, they may not be hungry enough to eat their regular food, and won’t get those nutrients. As a rule of thumb, make sure treats make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. 

Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Safe?

Fruits and vegetables can be great, healthy alternatives to store-bought treats, but not all fruits and vegetables are dog-friendly. Here is a brief list of what is safe to give your dog, and what should be avoided:

Safe: Apples, bananas, blueberries, pears, watermelon, 

strawberries, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers, celery, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, red peppers

Unsafe: Grapes, raisins, avocado, onions, lemons, peaches and 

plums (because of their pits)

These lists do not include every fruit and vegetable, so if you’re not sure, be sure to do a quick internet search before giving food to your dog.

Nuts and Peanut Butter

Nuts are something that can be safe for your dog but are best to avoid. Nuts like peanuts, almonds, and cashews are okay, but if you do decide to give these to your pet, try to make sure the nuts are unsalted. Too much salt in your dog’s diet can make them overly thirsty and even cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death. 

Nuts that should be avoided altogether are macadamia nuts and black walnuts because they contain substances that are toxic and deadly to dogs.

We have all seen the funny videos of dogs who are licking the roof of their mouth trying to eat peanut butter, and you’ve probably tried it on your own dog. Don’t worry; giving your dog peanut butter is okay! However, make sure to only give them a little bit. Also, avoid peanut butter that contains the artificial sweetener called xylitol, which can cause liver failure and low blood sugar for your dog.

Milk and Dairy

It’s a good idea to avoid giving your dog milk and dairy products altogether. Dairy is known to cause dogs to have digestive issues and diarrhea. It can also cause an allergic reaction in some dogs, causing them to itch.


It’s a well-known fact that dogs should not eat chocolate, but it’s still worth reiterating the dangers. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, tremors, seizures, and death. All chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate contain even higher levels of theobromine and are more dangerous. Be sure to keep all of your chocolate out of reach of your dog.

Sharing food with your dog is great, but if you are feeding your dog a regular and healthy diet of dog food, you don’t need to feed them between meals. Your dog will be perfectly happy and healthy without a snack. However, it’s nearly impossible to always resist feeding our dog an extra treat. If you do feed your dog some of your food, keep these tips in mind, and never hesitate to consult the internet before giving your pet a new food. Safe snacking!

Need a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker?

Contact All Creatures Great and Small Petsitters:
Phone: (630) 234-2063
ACGS Petsitters
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4 Tips for Leaving Your Pet Home Alone

As much as we all would like to, we can’t bring our pets with us everywhere we go. Most of us have to leave our pets at home during the day while we’re at work. And sometimes, we have to leave our pets for longer stretches, like when we go on vacation. Whatever the reason, these tips can help make leaving your pet at home easier for both of you.

1. Hire a Pet Sitter and/or Dog Walker

Whether you’re leaving your pet(s) just for the day or for a week, it’s a good idea to hire a professional pet care provider. Dogs especially need extra attention and exercise on a regular basis for fresh air, exercise and loving attention.
If you are leaving your pet for any length of time, be sure that you have someone you trust to take care of your pet. Hiring an experienced pet care professional, like an ACGS Petsitter, will ensure that your pet is in good hands. Our pet sitters are Pet Sitters International accredited thus they can be trusted with giving your pets the care you have instructed including following through with their feeding schedule, freshwater, medication, exercise, and loving attention.

2. Give Detailed Instructions

Each pet has unique needs according to their health and personality, so make sure to let your pet sitter know everything. Leave food and medication instructions with your sitter so that they can refer back to them after you’re gone. If your pet cannot eat a certain food or treat, make that very clear. Also, tell your sitter about any personality quirks your pet might have. Some animals become anxious when they hear loud noises. Others only feel comfortable eating in a specific location. If your pet is slow to warm up to strangers, tell your pet caregiver to take things slow and give your pet space. The more detailed your instructions, the better your pet’s time is when away from you.

3. Leave Toys, Treats, and Other Comforts

It’s okay to spoil your pet a bit before you go on an extended trip. Get your pet a new toy or treat before you leave. If your pet gets anxious when you leave, put an article of clothing on or near their bed so that they can still smell you when you are gone.
Technology is a great way to comfort your pet from afar. Leave the radio on or ask your pet sitter to turn on the TV during the day. There are also several pet-related gadgets that let you interact with your pet remotely. Dog nanny-cams let you check-in on your pet from your computer or phone, and some of these cameras even dispense treats for your pet at the push of a button.
Automated food bowls are also a great tool. However, make sure you test the food dispenser before you leave, some pets can find their way into the machine which could harm them, or cause them to overeat. If you do choose to use an automated feeder, know that it does not replace human interaction and even a cat needs frequent attention.

4. Leave Calmly

If you draw a lot of attention to your leaving, it can induce anxiety in your pet. If you usually leave your pet while you go to work, when you are leaving for vacation, treat your departure the same as if it were any other day. Your pet is going to miss you and you are going to miss them, but reducing your pet’s anxiety when you leave is more important than extra pets and cuddles.
By following these tips, you can make sure your pet stays happy while you are gone. It’s hard to leave your pet alone for a day, let alone for an entire vacation, but you shouldn’t spend your entire trip worrying about your pet. Taking the proper steps before leaving will ease your anxiety and your pet’s.

Need a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker?

Contact All Creatures Great and Small Petsitters:
Phone: (630) 234-2063
ACGS Petsitters
Lisle Il, 60532

5 Tips for Walking Your Dog Better

Taking your dog for a walk is not always as simple as it seems. A good walk requires patience, preparation, and mindfulness. These five dog walking tips will help you to improve you and your dog’s walks and make the most of your experiences.

1. Let Your Dog Stop and Sniff

Walking your dog is not just about walking—it’s about exploring, too. For your dog, going for a walk is a chance for them to experience the world. That includes sniffing trees, grass, or whatever else they may be drawn to. It also includes marking their territory, so let your dog stop, sniff, and go to the bathroom frequently.
If you think these stops are becoming too frequent, train your dog by rewarding them when they walk for a distance undistracted. Consider using commands to let your dog know when and where it is okay to go to the bathroom so that they do not see every tree as a place they need to make their mark.
Keep in mind that walking your dog is not just for you; it’s for them. A good walk allows your dog to take in the world around them while also getting some good exercise.

2. Use the Leash Properly

A mistake that a lot of dog walkers make is pulling on their dog’s leash too often. Your dog’s leash should not control the walk. That’s up to you and your dog.
Leashes keep your dog safe from traffic and help control them from approaching strangers or other dogs. However, for most of the walk, the leash should be used sparingly. A gentle pull on the leash will remind your dog that you are there and influence them to keep following you. Constantly pulling on the leash does neither of those things. Instead, the constant pulling becomes normal to your dog and they will continue to strain against you for the entire walk.
If you have a dog who wants to go fast and, as a result, continually pulls you forward, consider purchasing a front-harness leash. These leashes discourage your dog from pulling and make it so you do not have to constantly pull them back.
Some dogs, especially those new to walking, will stop walking or walk in the wrong direction. Instead of pulling on their leash, wait for your dog to walk toward you and then reward them. Continue to reward your dog when they walk forward and stick by your side. Soon, your dog will learn the correct walking behavior making your leash-pulling far less frequent and the walk more enjoyable for both you and your pet.
Your dog might be able to walk with you without a leash, but be sure to leash your dog as a safety precaution.

3. Customize Your Walk

No two dogs are alike and their walks shouldn’t be either. It is important to keep in mind your pet’s age, breed, and medical needs when planning your walks. Some breeds will benefit from short walks while others need to spend a lot more time outside being active.
If you have an older dog, make sure you ask your vet if they’re still up for the same kind of walks you used to go on. As they get older, many dogs develop medical conditions, such as arthritis, which may shorten the length and frequency of their walks. If you have a puppy, keep your walks short. Puppies are easily excited and their high energy will tire them out quickly.

4. Be Prepared

Always be sure you are prepared before going on a walk with your dog. Even short walks require some form of preparation.
If you take your dog hiking or if the weather is especially warm, always bring water with you. Dogs get dehydrated just like we do and need to stop for water breaks often. If the weather is warm, protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement using protective dog mittens or drive your dog to a shaded, grassy park.
Making sure your dog has proper identification before going on a walk is important for their safety. Accidents happen, so be sure to have proper identification tags and consider getting a microchip implant for your dog.
Lastly, be mindful of others when taking your dog out in public. Always be prepared with poop bags to clean up after your pet and always ask permission before approaching other dogs or people.
5. Hire a Dog Walker
Most dogs need to go on walks regularly. Keeping up with exercise is important to your pet’s health. However, you’re busy, and going on walks with your dog every day isn’t always an option. Dog walkers are a great solution.
Hiring a dog walker is a great way to keep your dog on a schedule, even when you can’t be there. You can hire dog walking services a few nights a week, or even every day depending on your needs. Consider hiring a trusted ACGS dog walker. ACGS pet sitters and walkers are insured, bonded and Pet Sitters International accredited so you can be sure your dog will be given the best care.
Remember that walking your dog should be centered around your pet and their experience.
Keep these tips in mind on your next walk, but, more importantly, have FUN! If you’re having a good time, so is your dog.

Need a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker?

Contact All Creatures Great and Small Petsitters:
Phone: (630) 234-2063
ACGS Petsitters
Lisle Il, 60532