Whole Dog Journal Blog

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 (18)

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 (52)

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)

Dealing with Dogs on the 4th of July

July 5, 2018 - Back in my smaller town, it was sounding like the Civil War. As I hurried around, feeding and cleaning up after the foster pups, my friend’s dog started going into his full-blown panic state. My friend was prepared with a veterinarian-prescribed dose of alprazolam (Xanax), and she gave him his first dose then. (The blood levels of the drug take about two hours to peak, and start to wear off in about four hours, so he needed one more dose to get through the night.) Woody was resting on the couch, obviously having experienced some relief from the procedure at the vet, and oblivious to the fireworks sounds, still audible behind the sound of the house fan and the TV.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:42PM Comments (35)

DNA Tests for Dogs: Fun, Interesting, but Probably Not Worth the Money

June 28, 2018 - In the July issue of WDJ, we have an article about the mixed-breed dog DNA tests that are available to dog owners for a fairly hefty price. I have ordered a few of these tests over the years, gathering information about how they work and whether they appear to be all that helpful in identifying the breeds that have gone into a given mixed-breed dog.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:40AM Comments (22)

The 10th Adoptaversary of My Dog, Otto

June 20, 2018 - The fact is, while I have definitely been counting the years that I have shared with Otto, I don’t think I have ever celebrated his “gotcha” date (as other dog owners I know call it). And that’s a shame, since I don’t celebrate his birthday (estimated to be sometime in November), either. And I treasure our time together; I really should be celebrating this date every year – and I’m putting it on my Google calendar so I won’t miss it next year. My sincere thanks to my colleague for the card and the nudge! What’s WRONG with me??
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:23PM Comments (17)

Don’t Put Dogs in the Back of Pick-Up Trucks!

June 13, 2018 - This morning, I saw an obviously lost dog on the road. This isn’t your standard farm or ranch dog – and in case there was any doubt at all, the fact that he was wearing a harness, to which a four-foot leash was attached, ruled out the likelihood that he was a local dog who had roamed off his property. Most likely, in my opinion, was that he was in the back of someone’s truck, and rolled off when the person made the sharp turn onto or off of the nearby highway and onto or off of this bumpy farm-country road.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 05:03PM Comments (29)