Whole Dog Journal Blog

A nice vacation turns sour: Pet stores and puppy mills

August 5, 2013 - I took a vacation recently, in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. While there, I got to tour a dog food and treat manufacturing plant, Bio Biscuit, in Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec. That was awesome – great company, great products, made by caring, competent people. Bio Biscuit makes its own line of baked food and treats, Oven Baked Tradition, and co-manufactures products for other companies, too.
Posted at 02:28PM Comments (22)

Going somewhere especially fun for humans? Leave the dog at home!

July 29, 2013 - I love bringing my dog with me – when I go to a place where I know he will be comfortable and have the opportunity to do the kind of things he likes to do: run, swim, pretend-hunt, and greet and interact people he knows and likes. I don’t bring him with me, however, when I’m going to places where I know he will be uncomfortable and can’t do anything that’s fun for him.
Posted at 10:00AM Comments (16)

The Rescue Journey

July 19, 2013 - In my “editor’s note” in the July issue, I mentioned that I recently got to experience the power of a well-organized, energized rescue group. I was at a loss as to how to best help Buddy, a very handsome but very boisterous young hound, who had been in my local shelter for going on two months without finding a home – and whose behavior was deteriorating by the day.
Posted at 12:23PM Comments (6)

Prevention is the better part of valor (With apologies to Shakespeare)

July 12, 2013 - I was at a veterinary clinic recently with a dog I was dog-sitting; he had a foxtail (grass seed awn) in his ear. I overheard someone responding to the vet tech’s questions regarding another patient.
Posted at 10:52AM Comments (1)

Dog Got Skunked? DON’T Use Water (At Least, Not at First)

July 8, 2013 - Chemist Paul Krebaum gets the credit for applying his chemistry knowledge to the age-old need for a substance that can neutralize the smell of skunk spray. He researched the putrid oil (which skunks can shoot out of special glands under their tails as a potent defense mechanism) and determined that the chemical responsible for the distinctive odor was in a class called thiols. The human nose is extremely sensitive to these organosulfur compounds, and can detect them at 10 parts per billion. But if you subject the substance to just the right compound, you can inactivate the chemicals responsible for the odor, as fast as a chemical reaction can occur.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:58PM Comments (13)

What’s your dog like when you’re not there?

June 28, 2013 - I have a guest dog for a few weeks. I’ve known Leila for a few years – she’s about six or seven, and supposed to be a Papillion – but I’ve never hosted her when her family goes on vacation. This year, though, my availability jibed with their vacation plans, and so here she is, one of my pack for a couple weeks. So far, she’s pretty low-maintenance and easy: a tiny bit clingy (appropriate when ditched with people, dogs, and cats you don’t know) but overall well behaved.
Posted at 01:54PM Comments (9)

Good Dog Carly

June 21, 2013 - I stayed with some of my best friends recently, a family whose sons are close to my son, and whose dog Carly has been a part of WDJ since her adoption as an adolescent some 13-plus years ago. Carly has been used as a model for WDJ only sporadically for two reasons: she’s mostly black, which doesn’t always show well in print; and she’s never been all that crazy about the camera – she yawns and looks away a lot (two signs of mild anxiety) when the camera is trained on her.
Posted at 11:07AM Comments (6)

Falling in Love With a Dog, Online

June 14, 2013 - So, one of my friends saw that I “liked” the photos that my former sister-in-law (now divorced) posted of a litter of puppies. My FSIL has a darling Border Collie female, whom she bred to a handsome BC, planning to keep one pup as a companion to the mama dog and sell the rest. My FSIL “tagged” me in the photos, because she remembered my Border Collie Rupert (who died in 2001) and thought maybe I’d be interested in one.
Posted at 02:56PM Comments (21)

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)