Whole Dog Journal Blog

Sometimes, stuff suddenly happens

June 7, 2013 - Last week, the dog blogs and all of my dog-owning friends were upset about a column in the New York Times, written by a mother whose then-two-year-old got badly bitten by a dog. In the column, the mother recounts the incident, which happened three years ago. Long story short, the dog involved used to be her dog, but proved to be uncomfortable around kids, so she rehomed him with her father; and then some months later, when visiting her father’s house, the dog bit the child – badly, and in the face.
Posted at 11:11AM Comments (14)

Not Always Fun

May 31, 2013 - I’ve had relatively trouble-free dogs for a while. Long enough to forget how bad an owner can feel when one of our pets puts us between a rock and a hard place. I have a friend who owns three dogs: a senior Chihuahua; a middle-aged probable Lab/Cattle Dog-mix; and 5-year-old Lena, a tall, lanky, who-knows-what-mix. Lena used to be (my dog) Otto’s BFF. They are still friends, but don’t get to see each other a lot, ever since Lena tore her ACL and had surgery
Posted at 03:03PM Comments (16)

WDJ on the Road in Wisconsin

May 23, 2013 - Over the next few days, I’m going to see a half-dozen manufacturing facilities that produce raw frozen and/or raw dehydrated canine diets. Some of these are produced in human food manufacturing plants. This gives me a great opportunity to compare their HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) plans with those of the various dog food plants I’ve seen.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:09PM Comments (7)

Foxtail season is in full swing

May 16, 2013 - The other day, I took a walk with my two dogs, and a friend and her two dogs (one of whom is Chaco, a Kelpie, one of my former fosters from my local shelter). We hiked on a trail next to the Feather River, which flows through my town. It’s hot here already, and the dogs jumped in the river and drank and swam frequently as we walked. About a mile from the trailhead, I, too, took the opportunity to clamber down an embankment and take a quick swim (the water is like ice).
Posted at 03:41PM Comments (8)

It’s already time to plan for your dog’s vacation!

May 8, 2013 - Lots of dog owners I know are making plans for summer travel – and negotiating with friends to dog-sit. I had agreed to care for a lovely young Border Collie for a friend’s parents while they traveled to their native Germany for a month, but they’ve decided to “award” her custody to their next-door neighbor, who owns her favorite playmate, a young Boxer. I’m hideously disappointed; I have a crush on that dog! But maybe it’s for the best. I don’t know if Otto could handle my ardor for the BC, or a month of playing patient Uncle Otto to a pushy canine “teenage” girl.
Posted at 03:48PM Comments (5)

Dog-walking snob?

April 26, 2013 - Almost all of my friends have dogs. And I like almost every one of those dogs -- but that doesn't mean I want to walk with all of them. I actually really enjoy walking with just a few of them.One reason has more to do with our walking styles. I really like to walk fast. Most dogs I know like to get out and really cover some miles, too. The one exception to this was a female dog I knew who was the most persistent urine-marker I've ever known.
Posted at 01:49PM Comments (11)

Especially Embarrassing When Your Good Dog Is Bad

April 18, 2013 - I think of my dog Otto as a really well-behaved dog. And he is, mostly. But not dog is perfect. And he definitely has some flaws. One is that, if an unnamed husband leaves one of the gates on the side of our house open, or even just unlatched, Otto will wander out to the front yard, and eventually, if he’s left out there unsupervised long enough, he’ll do something naughty.
Posted at 03:25PM Comments (5)

The cure for burnout, heartbreak, and every other malady I know

April 12, 2013 - I’m exhausted. I’ve been dealing with a challenging family situation for the past couple of months, a home construction project for the past few weeks, and oh look! We owe more than we thought we would on our taxes. (Both my husband and I are independent contractors and pay quarterly taxes, but somehow we always at least a bit more than the estimates.) And I just shipped the May issue of WDJ to the printer, a few hours late, even after putting in 14-hour days for the past week, solid.
Posted at 03:49PM Comments (0)

A Proactive Use for Your Dog’s Health Calendar

April 5, 2013 - I have calendars that are dedicated for noting things about my pets’ health. Time and time again they have come in handy when trying to investigate an abnormal condition. In recent months, notes on the calendar (and the clipped-out ingredients lists from their food labels, taped to the dates that I opened the bags of food) helped me put it together that Tito’s stool get loose every time I feed him a food that contains lamb, and that Otto is reluctant to eat foods that contain any fish or fish oil (probably due to oxidation in the fragile fish oils). Someday, I hope to be smart enough to use them to ANTICIPATE problems that arise annually.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:00PM Comments (4)

An Avoidable Horror

March 26, 2013 - I’ve heard of it happening, but have never witnessed it before tonight: the horror of a dog getting his jaw twisted in another dog’s collar. May I never witness it again.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:45PM Comments (34)

Unsocialized, Intact Male, Pit-Mix, No Collar

March 21, 2013 - Not how I like to start my day: With a dog of the above description in my front yard. There are two gates in my front yard – one leading up the front path to my door, and a double set in the driveway. There are also gates on either side of my house leading to the backyard. Just this morning, I came through one of the side gates into the driveway with Tito (the…
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:57PM Comments (16)

The Pavlov Dog Monitor Application

March 8, 2013 - I was dismayed to open the link to what sounded like an interesting new dog training product – the Pavlov Dog Monitor from the Apple App Store. The application is intended for pets at home barking and suffering with separation anxiety problems as a result of their owners being gone for long workdays.
Posted by Pat Miller at 03:45PM Comments (5)

Shhh! Don’t tell Otto I’m falling in love with another dog

March 7, 2013 - Otto is my heart dog/canine soul mate, my mixed-breed wonder dog. His first six or seven months are shrouded in mystery, as he was brought into my local shelter at about five months old, after being caught in a chicken coop by an irate owner of formerly living chickens. (I love him so much, I’m willing to suggest that he might have been framed; he’s never tried to kill MY chickens!) Otto sometimes resembles a miniature Irish Wolfhound, or a gigantic Norwich Terrier; he’s right in between the two in shape and size and coat quality. He could be anything, though his behavior suggests a little something “birdy” -- when he spots or hears birds, he points. Flushing quail or pheasants or wild turkeys (in that order) score an 8, 9, and 10 on Otto’s fun list. But chasing rabbits and deer (briefly) also score 10s – and he is not interested in waterfowl in the least. So much for his behavior informing us as to his breed.
Posted at 02:28PM Comments (7)

Vaccine Titer Tests: What They Can and Can’t Do

March 4, 2013 - Titer test cost is the primary argument against getting titer testing for dogs, but on the other hand titer tests can save you lots of money in vaccination fees and vet bills. One of the tests I asked for at Otto’s annual wellness exam last week was a vaccine titer test. These blood tests are able to detect antibodies that the dog has produced in response to a vaccination. Such positive results can confirm that the dog responded in the desired manner to the vaccination and is now protected against the diseases he was vaccinated for.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:44PM Comments (26)

Pet health insurance

February 22, 2013 - I took Otto and Tito to the veterinarian yesterday for wellness exams (and heartworm tests and blood tests) and spent $500. I had priced things beforehand, and knew what I was in for, but it’s still quite a bite.
Posted at 02:09PM Comments (22)