Whole Dog Journal Blog

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 petsí 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 Titoís 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 - Iíve heard of it happening, but have never witnessed it before tonight: the horror of a dog getting his jaw twisted in another dogís collar. May I never witness it again.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:45PM Comments (35)

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 Ottoís 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)

No more noise, no more fun

February 15, 2013 - One of my favorite things about my dog, Otto, is that he loves and apparently cherishes his squeaky toys. Unlike dogs I’ve known who feel that the only good squeaker is a dead squeaker, Otto has had squeaky toys that have lasted for years with nary a squeak-ending puncture. Sadly, this trend seems to have ended.
Posted at 10:04AM Comments (6)

At a Dog Show

February 7, 2013 - I went to a very large benched dog show recently. I haven’t been to one for five or six years, so it was slightly overwhelming. So many dogs, so many people, so much stress! But it was interesting to observe the event in a neutral way; I didn’t know anyone there, and wasn’t attending with a specific task in mind. I took my camera, took some pictures (to use as stock photos for potential use in WDJ), and took my time with whatever I wanted.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:56PM Comments (18)

Making Sense

February 3, 2013 - I was recently in the San Francisco Bay area for a few days, attending a couple of dog-related events. I stayed at some friends’ house – the same friends who adopted Mickey, a dog who had lingered in my local shelter for months without finding a home.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:40AM Comments (4)

Low Confidence in “Mixed Breed” DNA Tests

January 27, 2013 - Recently, a couple ordered a Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed Identification Test – a DNA test that purports to offer insights as to a mixed-breed dog’s origin. The results indicated that their is at least half Poodle, with Borzoi detected with “low confidence.” Hmmm.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:33PM Comments (31)

WDJ’s Food Review Help a Local Shelter

January 20, 2013 - Pet food labels can tell you a lot about a company. Of course, it’s my mission to educate dog owners to read the ingredients list and the guaranteed analysis, and understand those parts of the label well. But it’s also informative to see what OTHER text companies include on the label. Is it instructive? Accurate? Or just marketing crap, full of fuzzy logic and euphemisms? Also, is it easy to find the company’s contact information, and is there a toll-free phone number and website included? Or just a city and state? Is there a date/code that lists the date of the food’s production, or just a “best by” date (which indicates the food’s suggested expiration date – but without a date of production or the knowledge of how many months the maker suggests the food is good for, this is “soft” information). So, even if I have had all my questions answered about “what’s in the bag” by the company’s website and representatives, seeing the bag is helpful, too.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:50AM Comments (4)

Spay/Neuter: The Third Rail of the Dog World?

January 14, 2013 - An article that discusses the health effects of spay/neuter surgery appears In the February issue of WDJ. Itís a topic thatís overdue for discussion in WDJ, but one that can get people upset, for different reasons. From the perspective of those of us involved with shelters or rescue, any discussion of delaying or foregoing sterilization for all but the best individual dogs from impeccable bloodlines is practically verboten. Some of these people verbally attack anyone who questions the wisdom of pediatric spay/neuter, and insult anyone with an intact male dog who is not a conformational and behavioral paragon of his breed standard.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:54AM Comments (19)

Crate-Training for the Whole Family

January 6, 2013 - My sister-in-law and I were talking on the phone a day after our whole family had been together for a holiday event at my house. She said, “The funniest thing from my view in the living room was seeing you repeatedly scoop up your sister’s dogs and lock them in the big cage in the bedroom, and seeing your sister repeatedly come through and let them back out!”
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:00PM Comments (9)