Whole Dog Journal Blog

Soaking Dry Dog Food in Water

March 21, 2019 - If you’ve ever soaked your dog’s food, you’re aware of how much dry dog food expands when immersed in water. It’s a little horrifying, actually, to realize how much more space a certain amount of food will require in a dog’s stomach and gut once the dog’s digestive juices hydrate the individual kibbles. It nearly doubles in volume. The kibbles are like little sponges – some more than others. I’ve noticed when soaking food for various foster puppies that some kibble is more resistant to soaking than others.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:55AM Comments (37)

Odin's Eye, Otto's Kidneys, and Natural Disaster Training

March 14, 2019 - On Saturday, I attended a training session conducted by the North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG), as part of my increased interest in improving any future local disaster response. This session was about handling dogs and cats in an emergency – something I got a lot of experience with when volunteering in the emergency evacuation shelters during the Camp Fire disaster. And it was held at the shelter where I have been volunteering for the past decade, so that was fun.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:32PM Comments (9)

Mastering On-Leash Dog Walking for Off-Leash Security

March 7, 2019 - One thing I don’t do very much of is walking my dogs on leash. I am super lucky; I live in an area with any number of safe, interesting places to walk my dogs off-leash. However, I actually credit all this time OFF-leash with my dogs’ good ON-leash behavior.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:36AM Comments (15)

Puppy Odin's Eye Problems: An Update

February 27, 2019 - The eye looked even more blue with edema and he was still moaning in pain when the gabapentin wore off. I called my local veterinary hospital, but the one veterinarian who deals with eyes and who has seen Odin before was not on duty for days. So I resolved to take him back to the VMTH first thing on Friday.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:48AM Comments (25)

A Second Recall of Dog Foods with Toxic Levels of Vitamin D

February 21, 2019 - In late January, Hills Pet Nutrition announced its own vitamin D-related recall – in this case, involving some of its canned dog foods. According to Hill’s, only canned dog foods (no treats, dry dog foods, or cat foods) are involved, and there is no connection between the earlier recalls of other companies’ dry dog foods and the Hill’s recall.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:21AM Comments (18)

WDJ Article Wins Dog Writers Association of America Award

February 13, 2019 - The Dog Writers Association of America was established in 1935. The organization describes itself as “the most recognized professional writing association devoted to dogs,” and its annual writing competition recognizes excellent dog-related journalism in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, website, books, photos, illustrations and more.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:49PM Comments (5)

Dog Trainers Save Lives

February 7, 2019 - Annie had a number of things working against her. The most significant were these: She could be highly reactive to other dogs. She would seem fine, and then suddenly explode in a frenzy of barking and try to attack every other dog she saw. And she appeared to have serious physical problems; she moved like she had bad hips and torn ligaments in her knees. Adding to the unattractiveness of her total “package,” she had chronic, explosive diarrhea.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:13PM Comments (14)

Getting Your Dog to Potty in Winter

January 31, 2019 - When temperatures hit near- or below-zero, you may need to strongly encourage your dog to potty – actually, insist on it! Veterinarians see spikes in the number of cases of urinary tract infections in winter, when dogs tend to “hold it” for as long as possible, declining invitations to go outside at their usual potty times, and failing to take the time to empty their bladders fully when they do go outside. The longer urine is held in the body, the more bacteria can grow in that urine; when the population of bacteria tips past a level that the dog’s immune system can control, discomfort and systemic illness can result.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:46AM Comments (18)

Dry Dog Food Lists, Puppy Adoptions and Complications Along the Way

January 24, 2019 - The February issue, the one containing our annual discussion and review of dry dog foods, has been published, and as is often the case, we missed a company or two that should have been included on our list of approved foods. WHEN will we be perfect? Not this year, sadly. We will update the online version of the list as errors or omissions are detected and include corrections in the March issue.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:22AM Comments (9)

Want to Help Animals? There Are Many Ways You Can

January 11, 2019 - It may be that when someone talks about volunteering to help animals in a shelter, that the average person imagines herself walking dogs or cleaning cat boxes in a shelter facility. Those are tasks that shelters can often use! But there is literally no end to the ways that people can help homeless animals.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:45PM Comments (8)

Lessons From the Camp Fire Aftermath

January 10, 2019 - At the peak of the Camp Fire emergency, over 2,000 animals were in temporary shelters in a number of locations. This included large animals – horses, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and llamas – who were all taken to a local fairgrounds, where they were held in pens much like any they had ever been held in. I’m sure they experienced some anxiety, but given that their feed and housing was not much different than what most of them had experienced before, I would hazard a guess that they were more or less none the worse for wear. I’d guess the same could be said for the barnyard poultry: hundreds of geese, ducks, and chickens who were also evacuated or rescued from the fires. Lots of these birds were held temporarily at the shelter where I spent the most time volunteering, and they all seemed mentally and physically just fine, even the ones being held in crates in the medical treatment rooms while under treatment for injuries or illness.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:19AM Comments (12)

Foster Puppy Update: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

January 3, 2019 - When I last told you about the puppies, I was at the U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) with the largest pup, who has something going on with one of his eyes.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:00AM Comments (13)

New Year’s Resolutions for Dog Caretakers

December 27, 2018 - I had to check last year’s blog posts to see if I had published any New Year’s resolutions last year; I didn’t, so I don’t have to admit how much or even whether I met any of my resolutions. But this year, I want to give public resolutions a go, to see if it will help me get any of them done.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:19AM Comments (9)

Thoughts from a UC Davis Veterinary Hospital Waiting Room

December 20, 2018 - I am back at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital [VMTH] at UC Davis, just a week after my last visit. Last week, I was here with a dying puppy. This week, I’m here for an emergency ophthalmology consult for another puppy from the same foster litter. Not quite three weeks ago, the biggest, strongest pup in the litter suddenly developed a big swollen eye.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:26AM Comments (49)

Frustration and Heartbreak on the Road to Saving Sick Puppies

December 13, 2018 - I wasn’t certain the pup would make it through the night, but she did. And while she had, as the vet put it, “reduced mentation,” not responding like a well puppy, when I spoke to her and praised her, she would wag her tail and brighten. She lapped weakly at water and broth and watered/down canned A/D (food for debilitated dogs) that I syringed into her mouth or held in a spoon on her lips, but would get a little panicky if too much went into her mouth at once.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:11PM Comments (24)