Urine Marking in Dogs: Why They Do it and how to Clean it

White dog sitting in corner of home.

We’ve all seen a dog lift its leg on a tree or fire hydrant, or sniff endlessly at a rock or patch of grass only to dribble a few drops of urine over the area. For dogs, urinating marking is an important means of communication and “scent marking”. Urine communicates a dog’s age, sex, whether a female is in heat, and so much more. It’s also a way of marking territory.

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Question of the Week: Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

A white Elmhurst dog licking peanut butter off of its mouth.

A handful of salty cashews. A piece of toasted sourdough smeared with a thick slab of peanut butter. Sweet, slightly spicy candied walnuts in the holiday snack bowl. Have we made you hungry yet?

Indeed, nuts are a ubiquitous, delicious, and (mostly) nutritious part of life for many of us, and it’s understandable to want to slip your sweet, begging pooch a tasty morsel or two. But can dogs eat nuts?

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Let’s face it, most dogs eat nuts along with any other food item that happens to fall on the floor or be offered by human hands. Fortunately nuts are, for the most part, safe enough for dogs, but that doesn’t mean they should be eaten on a regular basis. Nuts are high in fat and calories, and can lead to weight gain, pancreatitis, and other complications.

The occasional nut tossed your dog’s way is probably fine, but there are certain nuts that should be avoided, including:

  • Macadamia nuts – These nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause weakness, vomiting, and/or tremors if ingested.
  • Chocolate covered nuts – All chocolate is toxic to dogs.
  • Salted nuts – Just like with humans, too much salt can cause water retention and bloating in dogs. 
  • Candied nuts – Sugary, candy coating adds too many extra calories and no nutritional value. Sugar-free candy coating may contain Xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.
  • Whole nuts – Larger nuts such as almonds or walnuts can pose a choking hazard if eaten in whole form.
  • Unshelled nuts – Nut shells can cause serious problems for dogs. Nut shells are indigestible, and eating too many can lead to intestinal blockage (a serious emergency requiring surgery to repair). Hard shells such as pistachios can splinter, causing lacerations to the mouth, throat, and digestive tract.

What About Nut Butters?

Nut butters are safe for dogs in general, but like nuts they add a lot of calories to a dog’s diet and should be used sparingly. A little peanut butter smeared inside a Kong or other toy is a safe and yummy option (peanuts are in the legume family which is safe for dogs), just make sure to avoid peanut butter sweetened with Xylitol. 

Alternatives to Nuts

Although most nuts are safe for dogs, there are plenty of healthier, lower-calorie options to choose from for an occasional treat. Many dogs enjoy steamed, plain veggies like green beans, pumpkin, and cauliflower. Berries, apples, bananas, and other fresh fruits make great treats as well, although these tend to be higher in calories due to the sugar content. 

Elmhurst Dog Veterinarians


If you have any further questions regarding dogs and nuts or other people food, The Pet Experts are here for you! Contact our dog veterinarians at Elmhurst Animal Care Center for more information, or to schedule an appointment for your furry friend.

Pocket Pet Mental Health: Yes, It’s a Real Thing

A hamster peeking out of a little log.

Imagine a hamster on a wheel; spinning and spinning… Repeating the same thing over and over and over again and still getting nowhere. This is a feeling that we can all identify with at some point in our lives and one that tends to drive us all a little batty. 

The same can be true for our pets and our pocket pets, in particular. While dogs and cats can definitely get a little stir crazy, at least they have the house to roam in, pets and loves, and the chance to get outside. Pocket pets, however, don’t always have these advantages, resulting in a myriad of health and behavioral problems, including those stemming from mental health issues.

The pocket pet veterinarians at Elmhurst Animal Care Center know that our clients love their animals big and small. With that in mind, considering pocket pet mental health is an important way to show your tiny friend healthy and happy and, most of all, that you care.

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Bush Dweller or Tree Dweller: How to Figure Out the Best Environment for Your Cat

Despite our desire to understand what’s going on inside a cat’s adorable head, we humans occasionally miss the mark. 

But why?

Your cat responds to various instincts and behaviors that were inherited from generations of felines over the millennia. Even though the modern cat is far removed from their earliest ancestors, today’s house cats have retained similarly distinct body language and corresponding preferences. 

As odd as it may seem, one of the driving behavioral factors inherited from their ancestors is whether they like to perch on high surfaces or prefer to be close to the ground. 

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The History of Cat Ownership Is Full of Surprises

A gray cat in Elmhurst relaxing on green pillow

It’s hard to imagine a culture that doesn’t celebrate and support our feline friends, but it took a long time for cats to take their rightful place at the top of the pet podium. 

In fact, their entire species has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride over thousands of years. Ancient people loved them for ridding agricultural storage of rodents, but then in the Middle Ages their fates took a turn. A dive into the fascinating history of cat ownership should foster a deeper appreciation of our feline friends.

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Celebrating the Small Dog!

The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center love dogs of all kinds. Long-haired, short-haired, athletic, couch potatoes, they all have a special place in our hearts. 

When one pictures (wo)man’s best friend, often images of doting Labradors or protective Shepherds come to mind. We know through personal experience, though, that small dogs earn just as much love as their more massive counterparts.

The small dog has earned respect and love from dog lovers everywhere, and they deserve to be recognized, too. 

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What’s the Deal With Your Dog’s Dewclaws?

When we watch our dogs stalk and chase “prey”, we are reminded of their wild wolfish ancestors. Behaviors aside, there are other links to their interesting past. 

Dewclaws offer a glimpse into the canine evolutionary process. Millions of years ago, they were necessary for climbing trees and rough terrain. Over time, dew claws changed to accommodate more speed while running and hunting. 

Thumbs Up?

You’re likely well aware that your dog has a little toe that sits up a little higher than the other digits. The dew claws are attached to these toes, don’t touch the ground, and are referred to as “thumbs”.

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5 Ways to Pamper your Cat

Most cat owners are keenly aware of their fluffy friend’s likes and dislikes and work hard to either provide an abundance of these things, or eliminate them altogether. 

Cats are anything but subtle. However, sometimes we don’t always know exactly how to spoil them. A little tuna juice from the can? An extra catnip mouse or two? These ideas may sometimes fall a little flat. Not to worry, the Pet Experts have brainstormed 5 ways you can pamper your cat. And why not? They deserve it.

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It’s a Mad World: Pet Separation Anxiety and “The New Normal”

There may have been some adjustments in the beginning of stay-at-home orders, but most pets have gotten used to their owners being around all day, every day. 

However, many pet owners that previously sheltered in place are getting back to work, or heading to school for stretches of time their pets have likely forgotten about. Plus, many pets adopted right before or during quarantine haven’t fully experienced alone time. As a result, pet separation anxiety is a real threat facing our four-legged friends.

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Pet Safe Pesticides That You Can Feel Good About

We all are a little more wary about the chemicals that exist around us in the world. As science advances we have learned more and more about how they can affect us and those we love.

Pesticides in the home are no different, yet there is some line where we just have to use something to protect our property from unwanted invaders.

Thankfully, pet safe pesticides do exist, and The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center know all about them.

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