Whole Dog Journal Blog

Pat Miller Honored with APDT’s Lifetime Achievement Award

October 18, 2018 - I felt strongly compelled to make the journey to Memphis to see Pat honored in this way, because she’s been extremely important to WDJ from day one and remains so today. You can read more about her professional accomplishments in this press release from the APDT, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you about why I appreciate Pat Miller.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:16AM Comments (9)

National Association of Professional Petsitters

October 11, 2018 - The “professional” dog walkers have all but taken over all of the dog parks in the area, too – so much so that many of the cities that host these parks have had to pass local ordinances capping the number of dogs that any one person can bring at one time to the parks. And I have to say that for people who seem to have a full-time occupation, none of the folks I saw were being all that professional.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:37AM Comments (10)

Any Bright Ideas for Encouraging Spay/Neuter?

October 4, 2018 - I live in a low-income rural town in a low-income rural county in far northern California. It’s only about three hours from the affluent communities in the San Francisco Bay area, but it may as well be an entirely different country, for all the differences in how dogs are commonly kept and treated here.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:12AM Comments (23)

Hold Off on Those Oral Flea-Killing Medications

September 27, 2018 - On September 20, the FDA issued a communication for pet owners and veterinarians, warning about the potential for neurologic adverse events following the administration of certain flea and tick products to dogs and cats. The products named in the release are oral products, available by veterinary prescription only, that contain isoxazoline-based ingredients. These include Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard, and Simparica.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:45AM Comments (23)

Fostering Puppies Who Are Just Too Young

September 20, 2018 - Yes, puppies again. My local shelter called yesterday to ask if I could foster a litter of 10 pit/German Shepherd/who-knows-what-mix puppies. Well, sure, of course; I will always say yes if I am not on my way out of town or something. But this group is seriously challenging. Why? They are too young to be separated from their mom.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:03AM Comments (19)

Zero Tolerance for Choke Chains?

September 12, 2018 - I did notice that the dog had been wearing a choke chain when I took the picture. I take pains to avoid using pictures of dogs who are wearing choke chains, pinch collars, or shock collars in Whole Dog Journal. I firmly believe that dogs can be trained without these tools, and I want to show our readers well-behaved, well-trained dogs wearing flat collars in the magazine. I want our models to, for the lack of a better word, “model” the kind of training that we promote.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:30PM Comments (54)

What is the Best Source of Puppies?

September 6, 2018 - Responsible breeders are more concerned about placing their puppies in the right home, where they will thrive and be a blessing to their new families, than they are with making money. If it’s not a little bit difficult to find someone to sell you a puppy – to prove you are up to their standards – then you probably don’t want that puppy. Puppies bred specifically for sale, like produce, with the goal of bringing income to a family – you don’t want that puppy!
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:37AM Comments (18)

Puppies Don't Belong on Craigslist or Facebook

August 30, 2018 - Overrepresented in particular on Craigslist are puppies for sale from pitbull-type dogs of every description. The ads try to make them sound exotic and special – so-called red-noses and blue-noses and dogs of bizarre dimensions, large and small. The fact is, far more of these “bully breeds” are being bred than anyone can find homes for, and these sorts of dogs are also represented out of all proportion in probably every shelter in this country – and every freezer full of euthanized dogs at the shelters that still take on this unthinkable task.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:16AM Comments (18)

Ten Safe Feeding Tips for Dog Owners

August 23, 2018 - We recommend that dog owners switch foods frequently. Many food makers suggest switching foods slowly, by replacing a small amount of the dog’s old food with a new food and slowly increasing the percentage of new food over a week or two. If you feed more than one type of food per day to your dog, and switch frequently, you will likely find that these “slow switch” schedules are completely unnecessary. Why? Because dogs who eat a varied diet are already accustomed to a variety of foods; their bodies are already making a nice mélange of digestive enzymes that support the sort of mixed population of microbes needed to break down all sorts of foods. It’s only when you have been feeding only one type of food for a long time that you need to be so slow in introducing a new type of food.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:56AM Comments (15)

Skunked Again! But Maybe He's Learned His Lesson?

August 16, 2018 - On May 23, 2018, my young dog Woody got skunked for what I think (and hope) will be the last time. Late in the evening, both of my dogs ran out of the house barking (we have a curtain screen door that allows them to do this). I got up to call them back indoors – and as I approached the kitchen door, that classic skunk stench was already wafting into the house.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:24AM Comments (21)

Choosing Dog Foods After the Grain-Free Scare

August 9, 2018 - A warning from the FDA about a recently reported spike in the number of dogs developing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) (linked here again) and a possible connection between DCM and the inclusion of peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes in the diets of a majority (not all) of the dogs means we are going to be talking about diet a lot for a while.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:10AM Comments (51)

Please Don’t Panic About the “Grain-Free Thing”

August 2, 2018 - Please note that the FDA’s headline did not say anything about “grain-free diets” causing heart problems – though almost all the blog posts and articles in other publications have been saying exactly that. If you read the FDA’s statement, you will see that they said there may be a link between some grain-free diets and canine DCM, but there are also many other things going on that may be responsible for an observed rise in cases of canine DCM.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:33PM Comments (48)

Coping with the Heat with My Dogs (and Grandson)

July 25, 2018 - My senior dog Otto has great survival techniques for coping with the heat. He finds the shadiest places in the yard, and digs holes under plants that are watered daily by the sprinkler system, planting himself into these holes and laying low. My younger dog mostly pants and scratches at the door to come inside. “Help! It’s hot!”
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:48PM Comments (14)

Free-Roaming Dogs in India, and One of Their Biggest Supporters

July 19, 2018 - One of the most astounding things that Aditi told me is that all healthy street dogs have a “right to life” in India. It is estimated that Mumbai is home to about a quarter million street dogs. As long as they are apparently healthy and have been sterilized and vaccinated against rabies (indicated by a notch made in one of their ears), they cannot be detained (except to provide care) or culled. Government agencies and non-governmental welfare organizations that capture dogs in order to vaccinate and sterilize free-roaming dogs are required to release the dogs in the same location they were captured from.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:55AM Comments (5)

The Dogs We Love: Too Little Time Together

July 10, 2018 - It’s been said before, but every time I have experienced the loss of one of my dogs, or have witnessed someone else’s, I think to myself: That this is the price of all that love we have for our dogs, and all the love and joy we’ve received from our dogs. If it seems too much to bear, well, remember that the amount of pain we are going to feel is directly related to the love. Those “heart dogs” – the companions we love as much as life itself? Well, their loss is going to hurt the most, the deepest, and the longest. Keep it in mind as you hurt; this is the price of all the happiness we had together.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:40PM Comments (40)