April 25, 2018 - One of the funniest things is watching similarly devoted dog owners miss their dogs. Everyone today has photos and videos of their dogs on their phones, and we all try to behave well and say nice things about our friends’ dogs, so they will give us equal time and admire OUR dog photos. And of course when a spouse at home sends a new photo or video of the left-behind dogs, it’s acceptable to tap the person sitting next to you (even though you are in the middle of a session, and listening to a riveting speaker) and angle your phone so as to show off the cute photo. Your neighbor smiles, or mimes “Cute!” and you make a little sad face, to show how much you miss your dog . . . and after several of these exchanges, you miss your dog more, not less!
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April 13, 2018 - As I said in last week’s blog post, Otto was vaccinated a lot when he was brought to the shelter from which I later adopted him. He was brought into the shelter as a stray pup on May 7, 2008. He was estimated to be from four to six months old, and, like all shelter dogs, was vaccinated upon admission. He was given a five-way vaccination (distemper, adenovirus-type 2, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and a separate three-way vaccination (adenovirus-type 2, parainfluenza, and bordetella) made by a different company.
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April 12, 2018 - Otto was vaccinated several more times with the five-way vaccines before I adopted him, but I’m not going to talk about those vaccines right now; I want to focus on the rabies vaccine – the only vaccine that dog owners are legally required to give their dogs in most states. Rabies vaccination earned this “special” legal status due to the historical threat that rabies poses to humans; as recently as my childhood in the 1960s, domestic dogs and cats were still common vectors for spreading this deadly disease to humans. Thanks to vaccination laws, this is no longer the case. Today, the most common vectors for rabies are bats, raccoons, and skunks.
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April 4, 2018 - In the April issue of WDJ, I wrote an editorial about an exchange I had with a trainer friend regarding the word "biddable," which a breeder had used in conversation with her about dogs from the breeder's kennel. Both my trainer friend and I were not used to hearing that word used to describe dogs, but apparently, we are in the minority.
I received a number of very thoughtful responses to the editorial, and have learned something from each. Because they would take up a lot of space in the magazine itself if I ran them as "letters to the editor," I'm going to post a few of them here, with the writers' permission.
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March 28, 2018 - It took only a minute to trace the blood to its source: the backs of Woody’s hind legs. In horses, we’d call this area his pasterns: between his paws and the knobby hock joints – the place where he skids when he’s sliding to a halt from a run. On one of those three throws into the field, he obviously skidded into something sharp in the ground. He had two ugly, deep cuts, one on each pastern, with mud packed into each wound. I took him outside, hosed off all of the mud, brought him back inside, and started cleaning the wounds. It took only a few minutes to conclude they were deep enough that they should be stitched or stapled closed (not to mention cleaned more deeply than I felt comfortable doing). So off to the emergency clinic we went.
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March 22, 2018 - The other day a photo of a beautiful young German Shepherd Dog caught my eye. The photo had been shared by a number of my local dog-loving friends on Facebook. The caption explained that the young dog, obviously a purebred and about six months old, had been found on a rural road in my area, and that the rescuer was trying to find the owner. The rescuer asked everyone locally if they could please share the photo, because she couldn’t keep the dog for long at her own house, and didn’t want to take the dog to the shelter.
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March 14, 2018 - Puppies and young adolescent dogs certainly benefit from the opportunity to run, socialize, and play with other playful dogs. But taking an inexperienced adolescent to a dog park is something else I would never recommend. There are too many playground bullies at dog parks – dogs who get a little charge out of creaming “new kids” at the park.
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March 7, 2018 - We've probably all seen it - dogs who don't seem to recognize obviously familiar people until they get a good sniff of them. Why is that?
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February 21, 2018 - Two-year-old Woody is the one who is THRILLED with the house. Every morning when I get up and let the dogs outside, he takes off at a swift gallop into the two-acre-field behind the house, running, it seems, for the sheer joy of running. Within the first minute, he will stop and pee, and then run over to a tree in the field that has a hollow trunk. He sniffs around its base, and stands on his hind legs to sniff the inside. There must be SOME animal living in there, or going in there on a regular basis.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:37PM Comments (10)
February 15, 2018 - There is no universal vaccination protocol for dogs because of differing opinion among veterinarians, and also because of the ways in which "DIY" vaccinations are marketed and distributed to pet owners. The truth about vaccinations is there is no puppy vaccination protocol! Whole Dog Journal editor Nancy Kerns covers puppy vaccinations in this week's blog.
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February 7, 2018 - The fact remains, that bad things can happen even to good dog owners. And my family members are some of the best dog owners I know: generous, kind, educated, and deeply devoted to their own dogs and to their breed rescue.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 05:44PM Comments (24)
February 1, 2018 - Whole Dog Journal has a lot of nits to pick with the Clean Label Project ratings. We don’t usually comment on other sites or individuals who rate or review dog food, but we were compelled to do so in this case out of sheer disappointment. When we first heard of the Clean Label Project, we hoped that the organization had somehow managed to fund a significant number of validated, independent lab tests of dog food, searching for contaminants and nutrient levels that were out of spec, and plainly report the results.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:03PM Comments (15)
January 22, 2018 - WDJ's review of dry dog food appears in the February issue, every year. And, every February, we try to share new information with WDJ's readers about how to differentiate between dry dog foods of varying quality, and how to go about selecting the best foods for their dogs. Some of our readers have been with us for a long time; we don't want to repeat the same information year after year, but strive to share information that is new and interesting, even to people who know a LOT about canine nutrition. But neither do we want to "lose" dog owners who are new to the publication by assuming a level of knowledge of the pet food industry that they don't yet have.
In the February 2018 dry food review, now available to paid subscribers online and in print form, the emphasis is on the cost of quality: what you are paying for with the highest-priced foods, especially as compared to the moderately priced and low-priced foods.
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January 17, 2018 - Warning: This post talks about dog poop. If you are sensitive regarding discussions about dog poop...maybe you don't actually have a dog, and shouldn't be reading this blog at all! Just kidding. Not about the poop, just about the dog-owning part.
Have you ever found a dog poop that has been out in the rain for a while, and observed (as you were picking it up) that it looked like it was full of what looked like bits of white sand? Only, the "grains of sand" were slightly bigger than actual grains of sand? It might take a good week or so of rain, or a poop that started out on the soft side, for you to see this. I found a few in this condition the other day, and it surprised me, because I hadn't seen it for a while - but I knew why that was.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:52PM Comments (9)
January 10, 2018 - As I described in the editorial in the January issue of WDJ, my husband and I recently bought a new house, about four miles from where we currently live. Before, we were living in the center of a little 1850s Gold Rush-era town; now we live on its outskirts, in a 1950s ranch house on two acres.
In the category of loving the new house are three of the four voting members of the family (me, my husband, 10-year-old mixed-breed Otto and two-year-old pit/Lab Woody; cats and chickens don't vote).
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:15PM Comments (27)