11 Human Foods Dogs Should Never Eat

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Some human foods may seem harmless to feed our dogs, but they can actually be very dangerous. My two dogs, Bentley and Bailey, are Shih Tzus and I wanted to research what is safe to feed dogs and what is unsafe to give them. I put together a list for you in case you have four-legged puppies like I do.

I went this morning to a local pet store for some new ideas on options for healthier dog food brands and types. I love supporting the locals in every way I can. Natalie owns the store and the staff is so awesome you feel like family when you walk in there. That’s why I keep going back, plus they know tips to keep our dogs healthy. This is Bentley below. I was prompted to do some dog food research and write this blog post today due to the current challenge we have with our puppies and their poops. Generally, things have been great, but for some reason, they are both experiencing some less than solid poops. It hasn’t been fun checking up on things and then having to clean up. Hoping the new food we got today will help. If not, we’ll be off to visit our favorite local vet.


11 Foods Dogs Should Not Eat

1. Chocolate

Dogs and Chocolate

Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which are toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is. If a dog eats chocolate it can cause vomiting, dehydration, elevated body temperatures, seizures, and death. Thank goodness I’m not a dog, I love chocolate.

2. Grapes/Raisins

Dogs and Grapes/Raisins

It’s not entirely known why grapes are toxic to dogs, but the chemicals and compounds toxicity consumed can be pretty devastating. Please be careful with small children who may have some raisins in their lunch boxes or eating as snacks.  The dogs may vomit, have diarrhea, stop eating, become dehydrated, and actually have kidney failure if consumed.

3. Onions

Dogs and Onions

Yikes, these are really dangerous. They make our eyes water, but they can damage the red blood cells of our pets. If they ingest too many pieces of onion they may need a blood transfusion.

4. Avocados

Dogs and Avocados

The skins of avocados, the pits, leaves, and fruit contain persin. They can cause an upset stomach, breathing difficulties, and fluid may build up in their chest. The pit is the most dangerous because dogs may think it’s a ball or toy and can choke on it because it’s slippery from the fruit and can lodge in their throats.

5. Apple Cores

Dogs and Apple Cores

My dogs love small pieces of apples, Mark loves giving them to our puppies. Of course, their tails wag in anticipation of the plate served with a few morsels on it. It’s the core of the apple that is toxic. The seeds contain cyanide. Please watch out for those cores that might be left on the coffee table. To be safe, throw the core out as soon as you eat the apple.

6. Bacon

Dogs and Bacon

Bacon is high in fat and can cause pancreatitis in our four-legged friends. I had heard they couldn’t have bacon, but now I know why. It’s so high in fat content they can’t digest it properly. So, the next time you feel tempted to give your dogs a slice of bacon under the table, think again.

7. Raw Potatoes

Dogs and Raw Potatoes

Potatoes (nightshade veggies) contain solanine which is toxic to animals. I read where if they are boiled or cooked the amount of solanine from the heat diminishes. I know we may be tempted to give those sweet pets a small piece while chopping them on the counter, but it may not be a wise decision.

8. Garlic/Onions

Dogs and Onions/Garlic

Garlic is part of the onion family and is stronger in flavor per ounce and very toxic to dogs. The dog’s urine will become dark colored in a few days and the pet will become tired and lethargic. Onions or garlic may cause a pet to need a blood transfusion because it will disrupt their red blood cells.

9. Corn on the Cob

Dogs and Corn on the Cob

Corn cobs are frequently given to dogs at barbecues. You may not want to give Fido the cob from that yummy corn you finished eating. The cob may get ingested and the results would be devastating as you can imagine. If the dog is heaving or trying to vomit after ingesting a cob, take the pet to your veterinarian ASAP.

10. Tomatoes

Dogs and Tomatoes

This one is interesting because it’s not the red part of the tomato but the green part contains solanine like potatoes. Unripened tomatoes are the most toxic to pets. I can still remember seeing tomato seeds on one of my Shih Tzu’s face, you know the look, like, what??? Those puppies can get into our gardens and eat those cherry tomatoes thinking I won’t see the seeds on their chins, oh my gosh! I giggle every time, but I will make sure they can’t reach my green tomatoes from now on, that’s for sure.

11. Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts & Macadamia Nuts

Dogs and Nuts

I know people who fill dog toys with peanut butter, I have never done that only because I don’t want to clean the rubber toy. Well, it’s not entirely known why, but it’s assumed to be the high-fat content of the nuts. They can cause our dogs to vomit, disrupt their digestion, cause diarrhea, and depression. Wow!

We try to figure out why we get an upset tummy from time to time. Was it something we ate, a flu bug, an allergy, or what? Pets can experience the same uncomfortable feelings. If the pet acts differently, their stool consistency changes or they start to throw up, you may need to make a trip to the pet vet. The hot days ahead can also affect your pet if left out in the hot weather. Good luck with your efforts to help keep these special family members safe and healthy!

You may want to think about putting together an emergency 72-hour kit for your small dogs, cats, or other animals.

72-Hour Kit For Pets

Safety Items for Pets:

Copyright Pictures:

Chocolate: AdobeStock_110607823 by Grafvision, Grapes: AdobeStock_25953124 by Subbotina Anna, Onions: AdobeStock_71659175 by Printemps, Avocados: AdobeStock_79978154 by Nata_Vkusidey, Apple Cores: AdobeStock_87934445 by Hookmedia, Bacon: AdobeStock_82943959 by MSPhotographic, Potatoes: AdobeStock_81391773 by Nblxer, Onions/Garlic: AdobeStock_194630241 by SauravG, Corn on the Cob: AdobeStock_24866279 by 14KTGold, Tomatoes: AdobeStock_69276511 by Mara Zemgaliete, Nuts: AdobeStock_54884259 by dream79

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Book Review: Protection Dogs for You and Your Family

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As I said in the video, Protection Dogs for You and Your Family was one of the first “prepper books” in my library – My definition being books that help me solve problems. At one time I was in the running to purchase a Belgian Malinois protection trained dog, and I needed to know what I was getting into. Obviously if you have dogs, and especially protection dogs, I recommend this book. I am going to risk being a little controversial and recommend it for parents also, not that I am saying your little precious is a dog, but because I

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Kids and Animals: Natural Explorers

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What Is Magical to a Child?

Kids and animals are a magical combination.

Nature holds a fascination for all people, but kids are especially entranced by the natural world. As adults, we are sometimes too busy to “stop and smell the roses,” but kids are always more than willing to explore and discover new things.

Animals, domestic and wild, are also natural explorers. Pairing a child up with a dog, cat, or other furry friend creates a lifelong bond between child and animal.

From plants to bugs to animals, the natural world provides a classroom perfect for learning.

Kids and Animals 1

Perfect Partners

Kids and animals are perfect partners. There are many studies that show the positive effects that pets have on kids, including the following:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Heightened sense of responsibility
  • More physical activity
  • Better social and emotional health

As with people, building trust is key to developing a healthy relationship with all animals. Kids are naturally geared toward succeeding at this. Their small size and soft voices calm and soothe, paving the way to a lasting relationship.

But that is only the beginning. Animals are also key to a healthy ecosystem and provide countless learning opportunities. How can we teach kids that animals are even more than our fluffy friends?

Can We Get a Puppy?

Whether it is a puppy, fish, or kitten, every kid has at some point asked for a pet. They swear they will take care of it, feed it, water it, and play with it … but they quickly lose interest once the novelty has worn off.

One way to ensure that they follow through and stay interested is by showing them how beneficial animals are to the home.

Dogs are normally the first type of pet a child will want.

With their furry faces and playful nature, it’s no wonder that they are a child’s dream pet. But dogs can be so much more than just a cuddly companion.

Dogs can help by guarding chickens and other livestock; by herding cattle and, in some cases, kids to safety; and by protecting their territory against predators and threats.

Most dogs have a natural instinct to protect.

Through proper training and good treatment, that instinct can be honed, making the dog more than just a pet.

Teaching kids that there are some tasks a dog could help with around the homestead and making children a part of the training process, if not responsible for it, will ensure that their interest and enthusiasm stays focused.

The Wow of Meow

Kids love cats. They are playful, soft, and oh-so-cute as kittens. They are also natural hunters and lethal tools for the homestead.

Having a few outdoor cats not only reduces any mice, mole, or vole problems you may have, but also teaches kids how every type of animal and pet has a different purpose.

Kids and Animals: Life Lessons

It is easy to get attached to an animal that you see and spend time with every day. However, it is important for kids to understand not only the purpose of animals, but also the role they play in the food chain.

It is our job to care for and treat well any animal in our care, but we must also remember that any animal we intend to eat is not our pet.

Chickens are a wonderful animal to have on the homestead. They keep weeds down and pests at bay, and they help spread seeds and fertilize the garden.

But, most importantly, they provide us with food.

We have kept chickens on our homestead for four years now, and our boys have been a part of every life stage from freshly hatched chicks to full-grown hens.

Kids and Animals 2

Just like kids should be helpers in the garden from seed to harvest, they need to be a part of the raising and butchering of any livestock that will eventually end up on the table. They need to know and understand that the chicken they see in the grocery store was once a living, breathing bird that someone raised for egg or meat production.

When we butchered our first flock, our boys were a part of the process.

We talked to them about what the chickens had provided for us in life, and what they would be giving with their death.

Get the kids involved, but make sure to tell them why and how the butchering will happen. This will prepare them for the process and make it less scary to witness.

  • Talk about the purpose of the animal on the homestead.
  • Thank the animal for providing labor and food.
  • Tell the kids what will happen when the animal is butchered.

Animals are the messengers of the tree, and trees the gardens of animals. Life depends upon life. All forces, all elements, all life forms are the biomass of the tree. —Bill Mollison

Call of the Wild

Nature provides so much fodder for both the imagination and the mind. Even if you don’t live on a farm or in a remote area, you can likely find an animal to study.

Frogs and fish are a great way to introduce and study life cycles. The boys caught a frog in our swales one day and started asking questions:

  • Where do frogs come from?
  • How do they grow?
  • Why aren’t they bumpy?

Kids and Animals 3

So many great questions, and all stemming from simply capturing a little frog!

These moments of curiosity and wonder can quickly turn into a brief lesson on life cycles and biology that will make a lasting impression on an interested and engaged child.

Dangerous Animals

Talking to kids about animals can also help prepare them for potentially dangerous situations.

Predators are a part of life, and teaching kids how to react when faced with certain predators can prepare them for these situations.

Coyotes and foxes are common animals in our area, and with chickens it becomes even more likely that we will encounter them at some point. We don’t want our kids to fear nature, but we do want them to have a healthy respect for animals and events that are outside of our control.

  • Talk about what certain predators hunt.
  • Discuss ways to be safe around them.
  • Explain what to do when threatened.

Teaching kids about animals and the role they play in a vibrant and robust ecosystem will help ensure that children treat them with care and respect. Kids need to understand that their job is to help by working with these partners nature provides.

Understanding the role animals play in a healthy ecosystem will help kids see the world for what it is—a garden of endless possibility.

The health of soil, plant, animal, and man is one and indivisible. —Sir William Howard







The post Kids and Animals: Natural Explorers appeared first on The Grow Network.

Backpacking with Dogs: The Complete Guide

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Backpacking with Dogs: The Complete Guide There is nothing like a good dog. What other creature has followed us up from the stone age and been by our side. They watch our failings and our misery; they are therapists for it all. These great canines who spend their whole lives at our side, dependent on …

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Dog Survival: 5 Skills You Must Train Your Dog

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Dog Survival: 5 Skills You Must Train Your Dog Training your dog certain techniques is essential for both his protection as well as the protection of your family. While dogs are caring, loving, protective animals, a poorly trained dog can be dangerous and destructive. Your dog can only be of great help if they are …

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Raising Dogs for Hunting and Farm life!

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Raising  Dogs for Hunting and Farm life Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! DO you want a dog for your farm that will not chase and kill chickens, and that will still retrieve birds and track wild game for you? Find out how to get that in this episode of Homesteady Live. Since … Continue reading Raising Dogs for Hunting and Farm life!

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25 Tip All Dog Owners Need to Know

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25 Tip All Dog Owners Need to Know Recently I featured an article on the 9 Best Guard Dogs For Home Defense which was very popular. Who doesn’t love their dog? They are fiercely loyal and your best friend at the same time. They are always excited to see you, and can’t help but make you happy (OK, most of …

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The Signs You Need to Know When Your Dog Is About to Bite!

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4.5 million people are bitten by their dogs each year, and I’m willing to bet that each of those individuals was caught completely off guard. When someone is bitten, they tend to act so surprised as if the bite was totally unprovoked, when in reality it rarely is.

There’s a simple explanation for most dog bite incidents. People desperately want their dogs to understand them, but they aren’t always willing meet their dogs half way by understanding their language. Dog bites only seem unprovoked to people who haven’t bothered to learn what provokes their dogs, and how dogs warn you to back off.

If you want to know the warning signs that dogs display before they bite, then you should really take a look at this video, which was created by a professional trainer.

And those are just a few of the signs that you should look out for. We’re all aware that dogs will also often growl and gnash their teeth, but you should also back off if you see their hair stand up, or if you see the whites of their eyes (also known as “whale eye”). And it’s often the case that in the moment before they bite, (especially if it’s a serious bite, unlike what you see in that video), a dog’s body will become perfectly rigid.

So the next time you encounter a dog, or perhaps play with your own pet, look for these signs. You may have seen them before without being bitten, but that doesn’t mean that your dog isn’t expressing his or her stress, agitation, and fear. The sooner you learn these signs, the sooner you’ll develop a much better relationship with your pet.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Avoid being tracked be the tracker!

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Avoid being tracked be the tracker Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! For a moment, imagine the worst case scenarios. Economic collapse, EMP, war, food shortages, and martial law. The government is now seizing “assets” via executive orders. Only now it’s understood that those assets may include you and your family. … Continue reading Avoid being tracked be the tracker!

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Survival Canines

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Survival Canines James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! Its funny but out of the estimated 8.7 million species on this planet we really have only have one that likes us. Lets be honest. Some people will say they keep birds and other food items as pets but in most cases they are … Continue reading Survival Canines

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Pets in a Post-SHTF World

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Pets in a Post-SHTF World Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Listen in player below! What about owning or maintaining your pet in a post-shtf world? Is having your pet going to be a good thing, a hindrance, or are you somewhere in the middle. There can be some great advantages to pets now and then, … Continue reading Pets in a Post-SHTF World

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Five Strange Things That Can Boost Your Immune System

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tissueNobody likes to get sick, and nearly everyone is open to any trick or habit that will boost their immune system. For most people, this means eating better food and getting more exercise and sleep. Or if someone is already coming down with a cold, they’re quick consume as much vitamin C as they can, or engage in whatever immunity boosting fad is making the rounds on the internet.

However, the human body is an unbelievably sophisticated machine, and improving your immune system isn’t so simple. In fact, there are some rather strange ways of boosting your immunity, which you probably would’ve never guessed are effective, such as:

Cold Showers

You’d probably assume that cold water would make you more susceptible to illness, considering that you’ve been told your whole life to bundle up in cold weather, lest you fall ill. But studies have shown that when you’re drenched in cold water, your body increases immune cell production.

Looking at Images of Sick People

If you’ve ever had an ailment that you couldn’t quite explain, you’ve probably tried to diagnose yourself by looking up your symptoms on the internet. Doing so will inevitably lead you to a Google Image search, where you will scroll through hundreds of ghastly images of sick people as you try to identify what’s bothering you. It turns out that you’re really doing your immune system a favor.

As part of a study in Canada, subjects were told to endure a 10 minute slide show that consisted of images of people who showed visible symptoms of illness. Afterward their blood was tested, and it showed signs that their immune systems had been temporarily boosted. This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. People who could boost their immune systems by simply looking at a sick person probably outlived anyone who lacked that bodily response.


While most trendy cold and flu treatments involve consuming popular superfoods (some of which do have merit) it turns out that abstaining from food can help keep you from getting sick in the first place. Fasting for three days causes your immune system to completely regenerate. It prompts your body to start eliminating damaged immune cells, and to start generating new more efficient cells. After three days without food, your immune system is completely rebuilt from the ground up, which is helpful for anyone with a damaged immune system, such as the elderly or cancer patients.

Physical Contact With Your Pets

If you can believe it, studies have shown that petting your dog can boost your immune system, though an explanation for this effect has never been found. If you happen to be a cat owner, don’t be discouraged. There’s a reason why cats often purr when they’re sick or injured, and it’s because their purring vibrates at a frequency that has a documented healing effect in mammals. It can help heal bones and tissues, and can even boost the immune system. It’s been theorized that holding or petting your cat while he or she purrs could transfer that effect to you.

Get Dirty

And finally, one of the best ways to boost your immune system is also one of the least intuitive. We live in a germaphobic society that has taught many of us from childhood to avoid contact with anything that isn’t sterile, and to constantly wash our hands. But it turns out that kids need to come into contact with dirty substances, so that their immune systems can develop properly. Kids who grow up in uber clean environments tend to have more allergies and autoimmune diseases.

As for adults, it’s not really socially acceptable for us to play in the dirt and eat bugs off the ground anymore. However, we do have our own version of introducing bacteria into our bodies. One of the best things we can do to boost our immune systems, is to consume probiotic foods such as yogurt, raw milk, and fermented vegetables.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

10 Survival Kit Items Every Pet Owner Needs

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10 Survival Kit Items Every Pet Owner Needs

Image source: Pixabay.com


Your family’s safety may be foremost in your disaster preparedness, but remember that your pet is a family member, too — with a different set of needs.

So, make an emergency kit for your pet. The following items should be at the top of the list:

1. Sufficient supply of water

The importance of having sufficient water on board cannot be overstressed, especially with pets around. Since they do not understand the need for conserving water, and cannot express their needs verbally, they may become cranky when the normal amount of water is not available to them. If you usually keep a bowl of water around for the pet to drink at will, the absence of the same can be unsettling for it. Moreover, it’s always more dangerous to ration the drinking water for animals than for people, because the signs of dehydration are less noticeable in them.

2. Pet food

Whether it is a cat, dog, rabbit, etc., your pet should have a good supply of its regular food in the emergency kit. In addition to the regular food, for pet dogs especially, you should stock up on special treats that are reserved for rewarding good behavior during dog training. It will help them adjust to the new situation faster. Also, have a mix of wet and dry food. Wet foods are particularly useful in case you are running low on water, as they will mitigate dehydration to some extent. If your pet is accustomed to canned food, then you should buy single-serve cans to avoid unnecessary food waste. You may have power disruption, or may not even have access to a refrigerator!

3. Veterinary drugs and first-aid

Many drugs meant for people may be safely given in lower doses to pets in an emergency, but it is far from ideal. There’s a high probability of pets getting hurt when natural disasters strike. You should carry a few common drugs, such as analgesics, for relieving pain, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation resulting from minor injuries.

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If your pet is on prescription drugs or if it has conditions requiring regular medication, it goes without saying that you should have a 2-4 weeks’ supply of those drugs. Your veterinarian may help you source them for your emergency kit.

4. Restraints and ropes

When animals are faced with disturbing circumstances, their responses are unpredictable. Even when their owners are around, they feel ill at ease in strange surroundings. After being confined to a room or the basement for long periods, they may run out the moment you open the door, quite unmindful of any dangers outside. You may have to keep them restrained at all times until normalcy is restored, or they may go and hide in inaccessible and dangerous places, or get lost. Leashes, halters or collars should be included in the emergency kit along with a long piece of rope.

5. Pet carriers

10 Survival Kit Items Every Pet Owner Needs

Image source: Pixabay.com

Your pets may have to travel with you on different modes of transportation, including air travel, during an emergency evacuation. Having appropriate pet carriers such as crates or boxes at hand will make transfers smooth. In some cases, the pet may have to be taken to a veterinarian by rescue operators or admitted in a hospital for treatment.

6. ID tags and papers

At times of emergencies, we cannot always have our way. Whether you like it or not, your pet may be separated from you. You may be asked to house the pet in a rescue home with a number of other pets.

It is not rare for pets to get lost during an emergency. An ID tag on the dog and papers proving your ownership, including some pictures of you and the dog together, will greatly improve the chance of reuniting with a lost pet.

7. Medical records

Keeping a copy of your pet’s medical records will help it get the right medical treatment. If the dog has to undergo surgical procedures, a record of its health status is invaluable. Sometimes you may have to admit the pet in a shelter which insists on having all its animals vaccinated. Your assurance will not satisfy them, but the proof of vaccination in the pet’s medical records will.

8. Grooming kit

Whether you are cooped up in your basement or housed in a community shelter or a hotel room, your pet will be happier if you continue with the usual grooming routine. It might be feeling out of sorts with all the recent changes, but your attention can calm it and make it feel at home.

9. Sanitary kit

This kit should have the necessary items to keep the pet and the surroundings clean and sterile. All your housebreaking efforts and potty training are put to severe test at times like these. Even the most well-behaved pet can have plenty of accidents in strange surroundings. If your dog or cat has been trained to relieve themselves outside the home, and now they are cooped up indoors, what else can you expect?

Have a good supply of disposable gloves, poop bags and bins to keep the waste.

10. Bowls for food and water

People can eat and drink directly from tins, cans and pouches when necessary, but animals may not be able to do that. Have a set of bowls to serve your pet food and water. You can pack in collapsible dishes to save space, but ensure they are stable. You don’t want more messes to clean up on top of all other troubles.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

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Bye, Bye Rats: The 7 Best Homestead Dogs For Vermin Control

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Bye, Bye Rats: The 7 Best Homestead Dogs For Vermin Control

Jack Russell terrier. Image source: Pixabay.com


Many breeds of dogs were originally bred to be “ratters” — that is, their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin.

In fact, many of these dogs are terriers. Terrier is from the Latin word “terra,” which means “for earth.” Most terriers “go to ground” after burrowing animals, and these dogs have been used on farmsteads for centuries. Hunting rats is their specialty, but some were bred to hunt foxes and badgers as well as moles and other animals.

When you think of the terrier breeds, words like tenacious, tough and determined come to mind. Now you know why. These guys needed to be feisty and rugged to go into a burrow after vermin, drag them out and kill them.

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These breeds include border terriers, cairn terriers, dachshunds, Jack Russell terriers, miniature schnauzers, rat terriers, west highland white terriers and others. These are short-legged, well-muscled little dogs built for the job at hand. Most have a short, rough coat to shed dirt if left natural, and a short thick tail which was used as a “handle” to pull the dogs out of burrows. Most do not quit easily, so owners would grasp their tail to encourage them to abandoned their quarry.

Let’s take a look at the best seven “vermin-control” dogs:

1. Border terriers – Border terriers originated in the hills between England and Scotland. Like many of the terriers, they have a waterproof coat. They also have a wiry outer coat with a soft undercoat, perfect for working outside in the damp wet weather of their homeland. They average 11 to 16 inches tall and coincidentally are usually 11 to 16 pounds. They can be good family dogs if well socialized.

Bye, Bye Rats: The 7 Best Homestead Dogs For Vermin Control

Cairn terrier. Image source: Pixabay.com

2. Cairn terriers – Cairn terriers get their name from the Scottish Gaelic word “cairn,” which which means a human-made stack of stones – due to their ability to push through these stone fences while going after vermin. They originated in the Isles of Skye around the year 1500. Also a small, stout dog, they range in height from 9 to 13 inches and weigh 13 to 18 pounds.

3. Dachshunds – Dachshunds are a German breed of dog. Their name, translated, means “badger dog.” They were used as a scent hound to locate and chase badgers, flushing them out of burrows. There are now three coat types – wire, smooth and long haired. They are typically 8 to 11 inches tall and 11 to 20 pounds. Most believe the original dogs used to hunt badgers were larger than is typical of modern dachshunds.

4. Jack Russell terriers – Jack Russell terriers were originally bred for fox hunting. They are an English breed named for the Revered John Russell, who enjoyed promoting these little dogs for that task. They are agile and athletic, going anywhere their prey will lead them. They are about 10 to 15 inches tall and 15 to 18 pounds.

Bye, Bye Rats: The 7 Best Homestead Dogs For Vermin Control

Miniature schnauzer. Image source: Pixabay.com

5. Miniature schnauzer – Miniature schnauzers are of German descent. They are said to be a cross of the poodle and standard schnauzers that were bred for as a Jack-of-all-trades-type farm dog, helping with herding as well as vermin. The miniature schnauzers are intelligent versatile dogs with the terrier attitude. They typically range from 10 to 15 inches tall and 10-18 pounds.

6. Rat terriers – Rat terriers are an American breed that was bred for a farm and hunting companion. Traditionally they excelled at squirrel and rabbit hunting due to their speed. They were common during the 20s and 30s on many small farms. They can be 10 to 18 inches and 10 to 25 pounds.

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7. West highland white terriers – Westies, as they are commonly called, originated in Scotland in the mid-1500s. They are a cousin to the cairn terriers and used mainly as ratters. Westies have a wiry outer coat and soft dense undercoat to keep them warm and dry. They range from 9 to 11 inches tall and 15 to 20 pounds.

These are just a few of the most popular breeds that have been used on farmsteads for centuries to help control the rodent population. Many people today have farm cats for that purpose, but the problem lies in the fact that most cats are not as reliable as dogs. Cats seem to hunt when the mood strikes, whereas most dogs find great joy in the adventure.

The terrier group as a whole is independent, smart and rugged. Their personalities reflect their hunting heritage; many people would call them stubborn.

To enjoy a terrier, you need to provide them with plenty work and socialize them with small pets and children. They can be great dogs, alerting you to anything out of the ordinary. Needless to say, they enjoy digging and exploring, even it is in your garden of prized vegetables or flowers. If you are considering a farm companion that barks at anything amiss and can dispatch ground animals in the blink of an eye, then try terriers.

What advice would you add on terriers and dogs who chase after ground varmints? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

hydrogen peroxide report

25 Genius Hacks All Dog Owners Need to Know

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25 Genius Hacks All Dog Owners Need to Know Recently I featured an article on the 9 Best Guard Dogs For Home Defense which was very popular. Who doesn’t love their dog? They are fiercely loyal and your best friend at the same time. They are always excited to see you, and can’t help but make you happy (OK, most …

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Animal Communications: It’s Not Magic

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Communicating with Your Animals

He was running at me full on.  I stopped him at arms length by grabbing his neck.  This was true one on one animal communications.

I then shook him; not hard enough to hurt him, but firm enough that he knew I could break his neck if I wanted to.

My two eyes looked into his one for a long moment and then I slowly released my hand.  The communication between us was absolutely clear and he understood.

Training Male Geese

I have a new young flock of geese and it is almost a rite of passage that the leading male would someday challenge me.  He was almost full grown and the biggest of the flock.  And now he was testing his boundaries and wondering just how much authority he had in the world.

I feed, water, and protect them and I am very clear about our relationship.  And now he and the rest of the flock were clear too.

I will sometimes sit very still and let the geese come and look me over very closely, and even do some exploratory nibbles.  Is that grass on her head edible?  What do her changing feathers feel like?  How does she make the long snake spit water?  They are very curious, but never aggressive.  Especially now that we’ve ‘talked’.

Another reason to raise geese: The Barefoot Friendly Project; Transforming Harsh Land

Animal Communications – More than Just Talking

There are many different levels of communication between species.  And in fact you are communicating with all of the plants and creatures around you all the time.  Although you are probably not as aware of your message as they are.

The phrase “inter species communication” normally conjures up images of specially gifted mystics.  Maybe some one who can hear something we can’t – it’s just out of our frequency range.  Or perhaps it is a magical ability like the psychics who can also conduct seances to talk with loved ones now past into the world of the dead.

But communicating with plants and animals doesn’t have to be supernatural.

I am not discounting the direct ‘knowing’ levels of communication.  And yes, if you were to focus on developing that ability over time, those intuitive levels of communication may very well open to you.  In fact, I think it happens quite naturally for anyone who spends enough time in their garden or working with their livestock.

But most inter species communication is much more practical and easy to understand.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Physical

Have you ever heard the saying “your actions speak louder than words”?  The physical level of communication is extremely effective and is within reach of anyone, without any training.  Not to mention, it is something you are doing all the time anyway.

There are estimates that some 90% of communication is non-verbal. These are studies referring to human to human communications, but it applies to plants and animals too.  Your body posture, the quality or cleanliness of your clothes, your hand gestures, and the expression on your face, the smell your body is emitting – all of this communicates your mood and intentions.

There is also some degree of reality to that “vibe” you put out that others pick up on.

Different Ways of Communication

There really are many ways of communicating.  And this is quite useful since most of the other life forms on this planet don’t quite vocalize the way we do.

For example, once I had shaken that goose, he stepped back quickly with his head slightly tilted expressing a bit of shock.  When he was a few feet away, at a safe distance away from me, he began to compose himself by preening his feathers.

Watching him made me laugh at the recognition of an almost universal response after an altercation; that of grooming.  Embarrass a cat and it will almost immediately start licking its fur.  And humans once separated will start straightening their clothes and smoothing their disheveled hair.  A hen getting up from the rooster’s rough attentions indignantly ruffles her feathers back into shape.

My laugh was not derogatory, but served as a peace offering sound and let everyone know all was well in the world.  The rest of the flock who had been watching this with interest now cackled back in response, and everyone started moving off to find something else to do like nibble at some nearby grass.

Learning from Your Animals

I had learned about the power of laughter between species from two ferrets.

Don’t ask me why we have two ferrets.  We certainly don’t need any ferrets.  And we don’t really want two ferrets.  I can’t honestly think of any good reason to have ferrets.  But I have a young daughter who gets money for working, and she was convinced that buying ferrets was the best use of her hard earned funds.  Sigh.

Since we have the ferrets (ah, the relentless pressure of children), I can’t help but be fascinated by them.  One thing that interests me is that when I let the ferrets run free in a new area where they aren’t normally allowed in, they get so excited.  They jump around and make a funny sound sort of like a cross between a grunt and a gurgle.  That sound is so captivating (I’ve been trying to catch it on video and when I do, I’ll get it to you).  But what was it they were doing?

Then one day it occurred to me they were laughing with joy!  The ferrets definitely share the playfulness of their cousins the otters.  They are amazingly good-natured creatures and love having fun.  “Mommy they exude cuteness,” my daughter explains.  (They exude a few other things too but I won’t go into that here.)

But the ferrets were so happy they would laugh out load as they ran and played.

Sometimes they playfully come up and nip my feet and then bound away – chuckling the whole time.  I stand there dumb founded at the audacity of these eight ounce bundles of silliness daring themselves to play with a giant.  It’s completely disarming.

My daughter is right, they do exude cuteness.

Read about my daughter’s other pet: The Perfect Natural Camouflage

Pay Attention to Signals from Your Animals

The ferrets got me in trouble with the chickens.  One morning I decided to let the ferrets run about with me while I was working in the garden.  And as the ferrets did their jumping and playing and investigating they naturally came across the flock of chickens I keep for eggs.  Although these ferrets are pets and probably would never consider eating anything but the store bought supplies my daughter gives them, they were recognized by the chickens for what they are; carnivores.  And the chickens were upset.

The flock is free range so they moved off to another part of the yard.  But later that day when I saw the chickens again the rooster rushed me.  I easily kicked him back.  But from the way he looked sort of satisfied and did not come at me again, I became ashamed of my earlier annoyance.  The rooster had been trying to get my attention in about the only way a rooster knows how.  I was mystified what he was trying to communicate.  And then it dawned on me, he was letting me know how upset the chickens were at the ferrets being loosed in their space.

Read more: Channel Your Mama-Energy for Healthy Homestead Animals

Tell Pests to Leave Before You Kill Them

Before we built our home, our little family lived in a 20×20 room above the barn.  Mice also had quite an attachment to that room.  My husband whom I don’t normally think much of a big communicator totally shocked me with his solution to the problem.  He started by stomping around growling at the top of his lungs in the meanest bad-ass animal sounds I’ve ever heard come from a man.  He did this for quite a few minutes making sure to visit each corner to insure his message was being received.

Then he set out some traps.  But I think the mice got the message from his growls for we didn’t trap many and generally weren’t bothered by them again.  From then on, if an occasional new mouse showed up my husband would repeat the warning and that usually took care of the problem.

We aren’t always successful with communications.  I’ve tried communicating with fire ants for many years without success.

Dealing with Predators – Livestock Guardian Dogs

As you start to develop systems for producing your own food, you’ll notice that lots of other creatures like your food too.  After years of losses of both livestock and plants I came to the see how extremely useful a pair of good dogs could be.  In no way am I a professional animal trainer, and I had never been a “dog person,” but using dogs to protect your food supply made so much sense I had to learn.

The dogs live to chase off deer, raccoons, squirrels, and other dogs.  They will harass snakes, bark at hawks, and hold off a pack of coyotes until I can get there to help.  They don’t mind working all night while I sleep.  And they consider themselves well rewarded by a bit of praise and the scraps I toss them.

In the Grow Your Own Groceries video set, I have a section that goes into detail of how to work with dogs – and of course, you can pick up a copy at this link: http://growyourowngroceries.com/.

Embracing New Relationships

Opening up my relationships with other living beings beyond humans is one of the many pleasures of growing my own food.  Let me know your interest level and I’ll write more about inter-species communication.  Talking with plants is not quite as direct and requires more sensitivity, but can definitely be developed.  As with animals, learning to communicate on the physical level with plants is the easiest way to get started.

Drop me a note in the comments section below to let me know if you’re interested in communicating with plants.  I’m sure you have some interesting stories to tell…

I am also intrigued with communication on even more subtle levels; working with energetics or nature spirits as was reputably done at Findhorn, for example.

And then there is that other topic to deal with; how can I love the creatures I am raising knowing their fate is that I will kill them and eat them?  It is a difficult question that I struggle with and would be delighted to discuss with you.  Again, let me know your interest by putting a quick comment down below.

3 Part Series about Ethical Meat: Have You Ever Been to a Hog Killin’?


The post Animal Communications: It’s Not Magic appeared first on The Grow Network.

This Is What Your Dog Can and Can’t Eat After the Collapse

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If you’re a dog loving prepper, chances are you probably maintain extra food for your canine, just as you maintain extra food for yourself and your human family members. In an emergency, we want everyone to survive, including our pets. So it’s a good idea to keep extra dog food, not just because dogs are useful to have around in bad situations, but because we also don’t like the idea of eating our pets when society collapses.

But have you thought about how you’re going to take care of your dog if his or her food runs out? If you survive a disaster that lasts longer than a few weeks, you’ll have to start thinking about what else you can feed your dog, because dog food may not available for some time. Even as society is rebuilding itself, it’s safe to assume that everyone’s first priority is going to be figuring out how to restore food production for humans. Food for dogs however, is going to be a little further down the list of our priorities. You and your dog are going to have to manage in the interim.

This means that you need to have a really good idea of what your dog can and can’t eat. Most dog owners like to joke that their pooch can eat anything, but we all know that isn’t exactly true. Having dog food alternatives like the ones suggested in this article will help you use up the less desirable parts of a meat carcasses, utilize some of your food storage preps and keep the unique needs of your furry friend in mind too. Though pretty much everyone is well aware that dogs can’t eat chocolate, there are some additional foods that many of us aren’t aware of. There’s also a few foods your dog can eat, that you probably didn’t know about.

(Full disclaimer, just as there is a lot of debate surrounding human nutrition, so it is with dogs as well. This is a list of what your dog can and can’t survive on, which isn’t necessarily the same as what is healthiest for your dog)

Foods your dog shouldn’t eat:

  • Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine, both of which can make your dog sick. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.
  • For reasons that are have yet to be discovered, macadamia nuts can induce weakness, immobility, vomiting, and hypothermia in your dog.
  • Just like humans who are lactose intolerant, many dogs don’t have the digestive enzymes to break down lactose, so be cautious with dairy products.
  • The pits and cores of peaches, plums, and persimmons (and most fruit in general) can cause digestive obstructions. The consumption of the flesh should be kept to a minimum, due to the vitamin C content. Dogs already produce their vitamin C, and too much can make any mammal sick.
  • Grapes and Raisins can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually kidney failure.
  • Even though they’re pretty carnivorous, dogs have trouble eating animal fats. Regular consumption of bacon or any meat trim can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Every part of the Avavado has a chemical called persin, which can cause breathing problems and nausea.
  • Onions and Garlic will destroy the red blood cells in your dog, leading to anemia.
  • Raw yeast dough can ferment in your dog’s stomach, producing alcohol (which dogs don’t have the same tolerance for that we do). Worst case scenario, it can produce enough gas to rupture your dog’s digestive tract.
  • Remember that dogs can’t devour a bag of potato chips like most humans can, due to their body weight. The sodium content of most snack foods is simply too concentrated for their bodies to handle.

Foods your dog can eat:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Pasta, Rice, Bread, and Oatmeal
  • Chicken, Salmon, and any lean meat in general
  • Most vegetables, with the exception of anything mentioned in the previous list, as well as raw or green potatoes
  • Some cheeses that have very low levels of lactose
  • Eggs, but not on a regular basis

As you can see, there is a lot of crossover between the diets of humans and dogs. After all, we’re both mammals. But it seems like there are also countless human foods that can easily hurt or kill your dog. The lists above certainly aren’t conclusive either. If there’s any type of food that you’re unsure of, check out canigivemydog.com, which has a very comprehensive analysis on the canine health effects of pretty much any food you can imagine.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The 5 Best Dog Breeds For The Homestead?

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The 5 Best Dog Breeds For The Homestead?

Labrador. Image source: Pixabay.com

I didn’t have a dog growing up. My mom hated them, and thought them messy and expensive. Dad didn’t care too much for them, either, and I guess I can’t blame them. Sure, we lived in the country and with several acres it was ideal for a pooch, but alas, my forays into the woods went unaccompanied by man’s best friend.

When I was a farmhand we had a few dogs on the property and I began to realize the importance of a dog on the farm or in the country. They guarded our livestock and warned us of approaching visitors, and made a day in the woods not so lonely. When I met my wife, I was shocked when I found out her parents had not one or two but nine canines. And so, since then, my life has had plenty of four-legged buddies.

If you live in the country, hunt, farm or just want some additional security, I have narrowed down a few breeds that are great for country living. Of course, there are many different opinions out there, but these are my choices.

Before you purchase, consider three things: First, do you require a hunting dog or additional help on the farm? Both avenues require training. Some training you can do yourself, as in the case with a waterfowl dog. However, you throw the idea of cattle school into the equation, the cost can increase dramatically. Also, if you buy a certified puppy you can pay north of $1000 for the pooch.

1. Labrador retriever. These are great dogs if you have a family. Very gentle in nature, relatively easy to train, the Lab is a great dog for anyone who hunts upland birds and waterfowl. They are also a great dog to have around the farm.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth: The Best All-Natural Wormer For Your Lifestock

They do have a tendency to gain weight and develop hip and joint problems, but a healthy animal can live as long as 14 years.

2. Weimaraner. Another good family dog. Weimaraners are very popular with bird hunters across North America. They make a good family pet as well, and are gentle in nature similar to a Lab.

In my humble experience, Weimaraners are better as solitary dogs and I have developed the opinion that they don’t get along with too many other canines.

3. Beagle. Beagles are an excellent breed of scent hounds, and excel at chasing rabbits and can even be used for upland game. They do best when in a pack, and so it is recommended you own at least a few of these dogs together as they are highly social animals.

Kids love them, and often their first experience with a hunting dog will be a beagle circling a rabbits or treeing a raccoon.

4. German shepherd. Known in the U.S. for their work with police and security, German shepherds are prevalent on homesteads in Germany and all through Europe. The German shepherd will protect your children, especially if raised with them from a puppy. It also will protect your livestock if you train them right. Coyotes are no match for a German shepherd or two, although these dogs are vulnerable to wolves and cougars. Though a bit intimidating, a German shepherd can make a very good family dog, and will lay down its life for your kids.

5. Border Collie. Considered the most intelligent of all the domestic dog breeds. One of my personal favorite breeds of dog. The Border Collie is great around children and will quickly become one of the family.

Border Collies do great herding sheep and even cattle. They are the perfect farm hand for the rancher or the farmer with a dozen sheep or a few Black Angus.

What breeds would you add to this list? Share your own list in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

The Best 5 Dog Breeds For Your Personal Protection

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Dogs have been domesticated for millennia now, and ever since they have earned (and rightfully so) the reputation of “man’s best friend”. A family god will get very attached to its owner or owners. And thanks to its territorial nature, will do a great job of protecting the ones he holds dear and his territory (your house and possessions). Throughout the years, dog breeding has become more and more specialized, with different types of breeds particularly good for different types of tasks, like: protection, hunting, seeing guides for the blind, companions etc. If treated well and loved, your dog will reward you being faithful, caring and protective in return. Dogs bred for protection in most cases, can be your best line of defense: they can sense danger from afar (smelling the approaching strangers) and can alert you by barking. But if this fails and you find yourself or youra family under attack, your dog won’t hesitate to retaliate against you attacker. You can always count on your dog’s loyalty when it comes to protecting its master, no matter his size or ability. Next I’m going show you  the best 5 dog breeds for personal protection, on which most experts agree upon.


The German Shepherd

According to most specialists, the German Shepherd is THE guard dog. This breed is rather new, as it was first bred in the 19th century, in Germany (hence the name). It was immediately exported to America, and during the World Wars it was used on the field by pretty much everybody thanks to their keen sense of smell, which made them prefect in land mine detection or enemy tracking. They’re the most common breed used by the police force today, due to their obedience, sense of smell and responsiveness. The German Shepherd is particularly intelligent; they’re very fast learners and very good listeners when they’re given a certain command. Their fur is rather thick, which makes them tolerant to drastic climate change: they are very resistant to cold weather but they will easily shed in warm climate, in order to adapt. They are very aware of their surroundings and do an excellent job in protecting their homes and owners. Their size is considerable, capable of overpowering anybody. but despite their aggressive look, they are very loving by nature, especially with children. They are most effective if properly trained. It’s necessary the dog will have his very own place or quarters to sleep, so that he can understand his role in the family. As mentioned before, they are fast learners and if loved and cared for, you’ll need no better protection for you and your entire family.


The Doberman Pinscher

This breed originated in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. They’ve been brought to the US after the end of World War II and used mostly in military and police situations. Although many races were thrown into the mix, they seem to resemble grayhounds most. Their careful breeding gave them excellent traits for a guard dog, like athleticism, strength and obedience. If trained properly, the Doberman will be very loyal to its master and very obedient to his every command. It’s not what you would call a loving dog, but it’s very aware and protective of its family (at the same time weary of people he doesn’t know) and quick to react if need be. They don’t require much grooming and attention, since their hair is short: regular feeding and exercising will suffice. The breed is rather disease-free; regular vet-checks and ear and tail clippings will avoid complications. They are not easily trained, and need to be dominated from an early age to understand authority. Also its best you they are brought up in a home full of children rather than brought in at an older age.


The Great Dane

The Great Dane (aka. the German Mastiff) has a long lineage that dates to about 3000 B.C. It was originally bred for hunting and protecting the household, but later one they were also put to military purposes, thanks to their innate sense of smell, which makes them excellent trackers. Although this breed is very big and intimidating, they are very gentle in nature, excellent around children or even other dog breeds. Despite their size, they are very well proportioned and have a great sense of balance. In other words, they are usually very size-aware and won’t run around the house, laying everything to waste in their path. It’s better as a guard dog than a protection god, because of its timid nature. It might run away from a confrontation if scared, but their bark is extremely powerful and intimidating. In most cases it’s enough to keep evil doers at bay. You can’t just bring a Great Dane into your house without proper training. He will need constant supervision until he gets familiarized with the house, so they can learn what’s off limits and what’s not. Their size requires a fair amount of exercise, but overdoing it may cause health-related problems. Just limit you Great Dane to just daily walks and he should live a long a healthy life.


The Saint Bernard

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, just remember the movie about a big dog name Beethoven and there you have it. The breed is original from Northern Europe, where they were used on harsh climate conditions to roam and track travelers or lost civilians, mostly in snowy mountain areas. They could be easily followed through safe passage by almost everybody, thanks to their friendly nature. With big size, comes a big heart. Despite the fact that they can grow to about 180 pounds, they are very sociable and lovable, and they do extremely well in a large family setting. Just like the Great Dane, the Saint Bernard is more of a barker than a fighter, but unlike the Dane they aren’t at all aware of their size. So leaving small children unattended in their presence is unadvised, as they could easily sit or trample unknowingly over toddlers. As for training, they aren’t very responsive until they reach adulthood. They’ll eat more than any other breed of dog, require daily exercise and need fur brushing a few times a week. They’re life span is no longer than 10 years due to their massive size, but if you’re looking for a dog that more menacing by look than by nature, than look no further.

The Rottweiler

They go as far back as Antiquity does, when they were used as both guard and attack dogs in the legions of the Roman Empire. In more modern times, they did very well as police dogs or household guard dogs, thanks to their aggressive nature and intelligence. It’s a dog that you absolutely cannot bring into your home without professional training. He can be very aggressive and if not trained properly, a Rottweiler can pose a threat even to children.

They are known to be some of the smartest dogs on the planet, which makes them very responsive to training and obedient.

And after the training session is over the dog is used to its surroundings, you’ll see that he can be extremely loving and friendly towards the whole family. As far as the Rottweiler’s physical condition goes, you’ll have no problems.

They have maybe the best health history out of all domesticated dog breeds, and if fed and exercised regularly they live an average of 10 years.

There are many breeds of dogs to choose from. And when you chose yours, make sure you consult a specialist on the kind of dog would suit you most. A guard dog may be your best ally in a hostile or even SHTF situation, as they can guard and defend alike. However, always keep in mind that a dog is not a tool, nor a weapon. It’s a pet and a companion most of all, which requires time and effort to hold. But if you love and respect your dog, be sure that he’ll have no second thought about putting his life on the line for yours.


By Alec Deacon



The post The Best 5 Dog Breeds For Your Personal Protection appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Dogs for safety, security, and survival

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Man and dog have been best friends for years. For over 30,000 years according to archaeologists. Dogs have been domesticated longer than any other animal, and have evolved and been bred to attune to human behavior. For centuries, humans have used dogs to help them hunt, for protection, and even in battle. Dogs were a part of […]

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Hiking with Dogs: Food and Gear Packing List

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Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

Last month I wrote about transitioning my chocolate lab, and hiking partner, Coco to the Merrick Backcountry raw infused dog food line. That spurred a flurry of emails and questions via social media asking about hiking gear and packing lists for dogs. I was making preparations to take Coco on a short hike right as I was publishing the last blog post, so I figured that I’d use that as an opportunity to pull together a list of what I usually take on a trip with her. To my surprise it was more than I realized.

Carry Weight Considerations for Dogs

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

As a general rule of thumb a dog can comfortably carry approximately 25% of their [ideal] body weight. Coco weighs 86lbs so that would mean that her overall skin out weight would be in the region of 21lbs and would include her backpack which weighs 1lb 12oz. This rule of thumb is based on a gradual ramp up of weight over several trips and also assumes that the weight is evenly distributed. Dogs love to have a sense of purpose and duty, so I try to let her carry as much of her own gear as she can.

Big Things First

I usually start my packing routing by looking at the largest, bulkiest, or heaviest components first. In Coco’s case, and I’m sure this will be true for most dogs, that’s going to mean her backpack and her food. Those are easily the two biggest weight considerations. Dog food is not only a heavy component of a doggie’s packing list, it can also be rather bulky one depending on the type of food they are used to and the duration of the trip. For the latter reason I like to limit the length of the trips I take her on to one or two days.

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

Coco’s Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused dog food is a dry kibble mix that weighs 6.5oz for two cups. She normally eats four cups a day (two in the morning and two in the evening) so that’s 13oz of food per day not accounting for any snacks. For a two-day trip I like to have enough food for two full days even though I know that part of the beginning and end of the trip will be driving to and from the hike – it’s easier for me to factor this way and typically results in a little left over. This is what two days of her dry kibble looks like – I bag it in serving sizes of two cups each and make sure it is all in water tight bags, dogs (especially labradors) LOVE water! In addition to carrying her own food I like to have her be responsible for a few of her other things such as: her tennis ball, furry toy, and her collapsable food bowl. Other than the collar that she wears, I carry pretty much everything else that she needs.

A Typical Dog Packing List

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

If you’re not sure what a packing list for a dog looks like here’s what I typically take with me for a trip with Coco. A few of these are optional or adjustable depending on weather, distance, and duration.

I also make sure that I am the one carrying her treats and I store them in an easy to reach location like my pants pocket or the hip pockets of my backpack. Positive real-time praise followed up by a treat makes for a loyal and well behaved pup! Always make sure that you have a toy for fun, like a tennis ball, and a comforter for sleeping at night.

Hiking with Dogs: Food and Packing List

What Does Your Doggie Packing List Look Like?

I’m always interested to hear feedback on how others do things. My doggie packing list for hikes has evolved over time based on the trips we’ve gone on, yours may be vastly different. If you have tips or tricks to share, leave a comment and/or photo below – I’d love to see. I have a couple of other posts planned related to hiking with dogs, if there is something in particular you’d like to know about be sure to mention that too.

The post Hiking with Dogs: Food and Gear Packing List appeared first on Brian’s Backpacking Blog.

How to DIY your Home Security

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If you’re serious about preparing yourself and your family against unexpected disasters and emergencies, then you ought not to neglect the physical security of your residence. When there’s a breakdown in the normal functioning of things, police and other authorities may be busy and unable to respond. You might therefore be on your own to deal with looters, burglars, and other people who are trying to take advantage of the situation.

By implementing a fully featured security system, you can deter potential criminals from interfering with your life because they might be put off if they realize that you’re protected. Automatic exterior lights are a cost-effective way of letting passers-by know that you have your eye on them and that you’re not leaving your safety up to chance. If you connect your lights to a motion sensor, you’ll not only be able to turn them on instantly when someone suspicious arrives, but you’ll also be notified of where a potential intruder is located.

In order to prevent unauthorized access, you should make sure that your doors and windows are secure. All locks should function properly, and there should be no gaps or imperfections in the frames. Glass doors and windows should be made of a shatterproof material (ones made by Pella have been well reviewed) so that nobody can gain entry to your home by breaking them. Fences and gates can act as obstacles and give you more time to deal with the situation if trouble should develop.

Commercial alarm systems allow you to enlist the aid of security professionals in the event of something untoward happening. Even in the event of a major catastrophe preventing help from arriving, a loud alarm going off may be all that’s needed to send a criminal fleeing. If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option than expertly installed equipment and a long-term service contract, then you may wish to consider a DIY setup. Most of the components for a homebrew alarm system can be sourced from your local home improvement retailer. Now that many smarthome devices are coming on the market, it’s easier than ever before to customize and install your own personalized alarms and related equipment. You should check regularly to make sure all batteries are charged and the components are working as intended.

With a video surveillance system, you can proactively monitor the area around your residence instead of waiting for a trespasser to come to you. As always, the more information and time you have to prepare, the better your responses are likely to be. Be sure to maintain camera coverage in all directions – people with ill intentions may not necessarily waltz right up to your front door.

It’s probably preferable to have a few ways of safeguarding your property that don’t require technology in case you’re confronted with a scenario wherein replacement parts or electricity is hard to come by. By using shrubs with thorns in strategic locations around the premises, you can make it painful for anyone to lurk around where they’re not supposed to be. Traps set up around the grounds can also make things rough for any unauthorized individuals although you may be legally liable for any injuries that result. Finally, a guard dog can ward off intruders, alert you to anything you need to be aware of and help defend you and your family from any threats.

The greatest hazard to humans in this world is probably other humans, and this will most likely become even more true when there’s an emergency or serious upheaval. By taking steps now in advance, you can prepare yourself for the worst. There are plenty of tools at your disposal, and an effective security solution depends upon the skillful and versatile employment of as many of them as possible, acting in concert to thwart perils to your well-being.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a freelance writer with an interest in energy conservation, living off the grid and the outdoors. You can link to her on Twitter at @elizeckhart

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dog Food

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Coco the Wonder Dog

I’ve noticed that as my chocolate lab Coco has gotten older her eating habits have changed. We rescued Coco as a young dog approximately two years old so we never really had her as a puppy. When she was young she would devour any amount of food that we put out for her as soon as the bowl hit the ground. That led to us splitting her food into two servings during the day so that she wouldn’t eat her entire quota of food in the morning and be hungry and begging for food the rest of the day.

Now, as an eight year old “senior” dog Coco has lower energy needs than those of a young pup. She tends to eat when she wants and only as much as she wants. Some days she’ll still eat all two cups of her kibble right away, other times she’ll snack when she feels like it, and sometimes she’ll look at it and look back at me as if to say “The exact same kibble again dad? Really?”, and proceed to wait me out to see if she gets offered something better – she usually wins 🙂

Recently she has slowed down eating her regular kibble and I felt it was time to make a change. I didn’t want to change just for the sake of it or just for a new variety or flavor, I felt it was time to change the quality of her food and toward something that would give a senior dog like her what she needs.

Merrick Backcountry ultimate ancestral canine diet

Merrick Backcountry Dog Food Review

Dogs crave a protein-rich diet the way nature intended. The Merrick Backcountry ultimate ancestral canine diet recipes provide this by combining two quality components. The first is a protein rich kibble that is made with deboned meat as the number one ingredient. It is grain free with no gluten ingredients. The second is freeze-dried real raw meat pieces in a pure state for easy digestion.

This combination is designed to provide dogs with the nutritional benefits of a raw diet they would have discovered in the wild, but in a convenient recipe that’s easy to serve at home or on the move. Furthermore it is made in the USA in Merrick’s own organically certified kitchens. Their foods do not contain any ingredients from China.

Merrick Backcountry Dog Food Review

Transitioning between dog foods

According to our veterinarian it’s never good to transition from one type of dog food to another too quickly. Doing so can result in upset stomachs and unwanted accidents, it’s also just rough on your best four-legged friend. The correct way to transition between dog foods is to slowly mix the new food into your dog’s current food over the course of 5-7 days. You should continuously increase the amount of the new food each day while decreasing the amount of their current food – always maintaining the correct total amount (E.g. 2 cups) that your dog needs to be fed. For example:

  • Day 1-2: 25% new / 75% previous
  • Day 3-4: 50% new / 50% previous
  • Day 5-6: 75% new / 25% previous
  • Day 7: 100% new

How much should you feed your dog?

Based on the recommendation of Coco’s veterinarian I have been feeding her four cups of dry food a day. I break that into two meals, breakfast and dinner each consisting of two cups. That has been working well for several years, but it is always a good idea to know how that was arrived at. If you don’t know how to calculate how much to feed your dog here is an example that shows the math.

Coco currently weighs 88lbs and that is just about right at her ideal weight. Her level of activity is pretty much normal – she is relaxed most of the week with regular walks and the usual ball throwing, then longer hikes and games on weekends. , and the number of calories per cup for her new Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch recipe is 362 kcal. Using an online dog food calculator and entering in her numbers (88 lbs / normal activity level / 362 kcal per cup of food) the estimated amount of food Coco needs each day in order to maintain her weight is 1,750 kcal per day or 4.8 cups of dog food.

Merrick Backcountry Dog Food Review

On the side of the Merrick Backcountry dog food bag there is also a basic feeding guide table. It lists the amount of calories and cups of food your dog needs per day based on the ideal body weight. Using the same numbers (Coco’s weight is 88 lbs) the recommended serving size for Coco based on the Merrick guide is 1,778 kcal per day or five cups. The Merrick Backcountry guide is based on goal weights in ten-pound increments so I used the 90 lb option as it was the closest to 88lbs. So Coco would be slightly under those amounts which means that both the online dog food calculator and the Merrick Backcountry feeding guide provided very similar results.

Note: Online calculators are intended for educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for the expert advice from your veterinarian. Every dog is unique, breeds, age, size, level of activity.

Results so far

I’ve already noticed that Coco seems to be enjoying her food much more again. If it were just because of the change in taste from her old food I’d expect to see her eagerness wain after a week or two, but she seems genuinely ready for her food each morning and evening – and she’s back to finishing what’s in her bowl. Even if she were still snacking, and I expect that time will come as it starts getting hotter during the day, I’m excited about the quality of the ingredients in the Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused line of dog foods. Coco’s coat has an increased shine to it from the omega fatty acid rich formula and her breath (and gas) doesn’t smell as bad as it used to – sorry, but you notice these things when you have a dog sleeping next to you all day in a small home office.

Merrick Backcountry Dog Food Review

We’re also taking Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused kibble with us on hikes so that she can continue to eat the food she is used to over the course of the hike rather than have a sudden change while outside, which can lead to stomach issues. The small size of the kibble definitely makes packing her food in her own backpack much easier.

Disclosure: The author of Brian’s Backpacking Blog was provided with complimentary samples of this product by Merrick Pet Foods for the purpose of evaluation, testing, and review. His thoughts are his own.

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