Whole Dog Journal Blog

Puppy Vaccination Protocols Vary

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.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:04AM Comments (9)

When Our Dogs Face Tragic Accidents

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)

Clean Label Project: Lots of Unfulfilled Dog Food Review Promises

February 1, 2018 - Whole Dog Journal has a lot of nits to pick with the Clean Label Project ratings. We donít 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 (22)

The 2018 Approved Dry Dog Foods List Explained: Quality VS. Cost

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.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:01PM Comments (11)

White Bits in Dog Poop*

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)

New House - How Are the Dogs Handling the Move?

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)

The Hazards of Transporting Puppies

December 28, 2017 - I promise to stop talking about my foster puppies soon. Especially since I'm down to just two of them; soon enough, I won't have anything to say. But today's adventure made me yearn for the day they will all be gone. I agreed to transport two puppies to meet with a woman who was adopting one of the pups. She was going to transport the second puppy to the base of the West Coast coordinator of the breed rescue who has sponsored this litter (and their heartworm-positive mom); the pup will catch a ride with yet another volunteer in a few days to her new home in southern California - about a 10-hour drive from my house to the puppyís new home, all in all.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 06:17AM Comments (28)

What's in a name?

December 20, 2017 - The breed rescue Iím fostering for has a policy that they use for naming the dogs in their care: All the dogs rescued in a given year are assigned a name that starts with a certain letter (or, in the case of the letters with few names, a few letters, like X, Y, or Z). In contrast, puppies in a litter (like the ones I have) are assigned names taken from songs from a favorite album. One of the rescue coordinators is a big Jimmy Buffett fan, so all the pups Iím fostering have been given names from a certain Jimmy Buffett record. These are generally temporary names, used just to market the dogs and pups on the rescue website and Facebook page. Most people end up re-naming the dogs once they are adopted.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:34PM Comments (30)

When You Break Your Foster Dog's Heart

December 13, 2017 - Usually, when I foster, I choose a smart and cute wayward adolescent who needs some training and guidance, and I actively participate in the search for an appropriate home for the dog, and then provide guidance and advice to the new owner. Or, I foster a litter of puppies who are going to be adopted lickety-split. Either way, I usually feel great about the whole thing - getting to help a dog become more likely to succeed in his or her happy new home. Today, though, I'm sort of miserable and sad. As you may have read here before, my most recent fostering project is a heartworm-positive mama hound and her seven puppies. The puppies, as ever, are going to fly off the shelves - that is, they are certain to elicit an ample number of applications from the website of the coonhound rescue responsible for taking on the whole mess and finding the family appropriate homes. But the mama - who is going to take the mother hound?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:47PM Comments (37)

A Quick Check-in From Puppies-R-Us

December 6, 2017 - It's simply astonishing how fast puppies grow. Three weeks ago I wrote a post about the then-four-week-old puppies I'm fostering. Three weeks ago, they were just starting to show little bits of grown-up dog behavior: adorable little growls and barks, playing with each other, and running toward me when I call them for a meal or to go outside (or come inside). Today, the seven Treeing Walker Coonhound puppies are seven weeks old and just the most amazing, perfectly formed little dogs. They (unfortunately) remember things they learned days ago - like how exactly they got through the barriers I erected in the kitchen to keep them out of the recycling bin, where there are crushed aluminum cans and plastic bottles just waiting to be strewn about the kitchen (so, for a while, the recycling bin will have to be relocated to a table top). Fortunately, they also remember good things, like how they can get attention and petting if they sit in front of me, rather than jumping up or biting my bare ankles (ouch!).
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:29PM Comments (4)

Elizabethan Collars: There Are Modern Alternatives!

November 30, 2017 - WDJ contributor/freelance writer Barbara Dobbins sent me a text from the waiting room of a busy veterinary practice the other day: "Sitting at the veterinary specialist and watching all the traditional cones go by. Why don't they offer or even discuss alternatives? Sigh." The classic cone offered at most veterinary practices is made of very heavy, stiff , opaque plastic. Most dogs suffer more from the cones than whatever wound they have that is being protected. They are often bigger than they have to be to protect the dogís wound site, and because the plastic is opaque, the wearer often bashes into doorways and table legs, trying to move around his house.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:14AM Comments (21)

Thanksgiving and the Dog Machinations

November 22, 2017 - Ack! As I type these words, it's the day before Thanksgiving, and I have less than an hour to write this. I had a different topic in mind for this week's blog post, but it's going to take more time to write it, and I've run out of time. I overslept this morning. My husband and I were up too late, tidying up the house, getting ready to have houseguests for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Ordinarily, I would put them up at the house where I have my office, two blocks away, where they would probably be more comfortable, with their own bathroom, but the comfort Iím working to preserve is that of - you guessed it - dogs!
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:38PM Comments (5)

Thoughts on Puppy Development

November 16, 2017 - I'm fostering a (heartworm-positive) mama hound and her seven puppies for one of my favorite breed rescues, the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue. It's my first foray back into puppy-fostering since the epic Great Dane mama and litter of 11 fostering experience, which wiped me out in terms of time, energy, and even spare cash for a while. After that litter, which came to me underweight and sickly, and had to undergo treatment for coccidia and giardia, I took a break from fostering puppy litters for a while. But I couldn't resist this bunch: They came from an open-admission shelter north of me by 90 miles or so, and were "pulled" by the ABTCR, whose Western-U.S. coordinator is about 90 miles south of me...I was in the middle, see? I had to help!
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:59AM Comments (4)

Reel It In - Why I Don't Like Retractable Leashes

November 8, 2017 - Thereís an old joke about if thereís one thing that two dog trainers can agree on, itís that the third one is doing it wrong. But if you know me at all, you know I hate online squabbles; I donít participate in digital fights about training methods or tools. That said, I think Iíve found something that very nearly ALL dog trainers agree on, and that I will defend anywhere, anytime, and itís this: Retractable leashes have no place in dog training. It almost reaches the level of a joke: If you go to a dog park or almost any gathering of dog people and their dogs, the worst-behaved dogs will be the ones on retractable leashes. Itís sort of a chicken or the egg thing: What came first, the poorly behaved dog or the leash that teaches him nothing?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:11PM Comments (49)

Cleanliness is Doggyness

November 1, 2017 - A few months ago I was horrified to learn a that my good friend (and frequent model for WDJ articles, Berkeley trainer Sandi Thompson) was giving a dog she has owned for five years the first bath heís had since she rescued him Ė literally rescued him, as a volunteer during the historic floods in Thailand in 2011. This summer, Sam had his first encounter with a good old American skunk, which prompted the bath (and cute photos), but I was incredulous: How can that possibly be his first bath in more than five years??
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:39PM Comments (75)