Whole Dog Journal Blog

An Admirable Model: Lotus Pet Foods

October 25, 2011 - I’ve toured half a dozen dry pet food manufacturing plants, and to date, three wet pet food plants. In most cases, to secure the invitation for a tour, I am asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, promising not to disclose anything that may be proprietary in nature for the owner of the plant or any information about which company’s products are made there. This is one of the reasons it was such a pleasure to be invited to a pet food plant with no strings attached. The owner and CEO of Lotus Pet Foods extended an invitation for me to tour their new (launched in February 2011) plant in Torrance, California.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:52AM Comments (4)

When Friends Breed Their Dogs

October 18, 2011 - I’m going to have to ask for forgiveness ahead of time: This post may well offend some of my friends, neighbors, and readers. I’m sorry – and conflicted. I’ve been asked a number of times for my opinion about breeding dogs. Do I know a good male Jack Russell to mate with their female; would I suggest buying a puppy from that breeder who advertises puppies on the billboard by the highway; how long should they wait until they breed their German Shepherd Dog?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:16AM Comments (37)

Rabies Vaccination and The Law

October 10, 2011 - I saw a news item over the weekend announcing that my state’s governor (California’s Jerry Brown) signed “Molly’s Bill” (AB 258), exempting certain dogs from the rabies vaccine requirement. Dogs whose lives would be endangered by the vaccination “due to disease or other considerations that a veterinarian can verify and document” -- as determined by a licensed veterinarian on an annual basis – now have a legal means of avoiding vaccination against rabies. California is the 14th state to sign such a bill into law.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:19PM Comments (25)

I Think I’m Going to Have to Write a Book

October 3, 2011 - The good news: For each of the past two weekends, someone I know has come to my town from hundreds of miles away to adopt a dog from my local shelter. It’s not luck; it’s thanks to my relentless promotion of dogs I’ve met while volunteering – AND because I tell everyone I know who is looking for a dog that if they adopt from my shelter, they receive that dog’s lifetime of FREE “tech support” from me. The challenge: Actually finding the time to provide that promised support to new and somewhat inexperienced dog owners.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:18PM Comments (7)

Life With Canine Cancer – The New Normal

September 26, 2011 - It’s nine o’clock on Tuesday evening. I don’t know what to do with myself. The dishes are done, the dogs are fed. They are quite relaxed for Border Collies; they romped for hours in the warm spring air. I don’t want to sleep. Tomorrow everything will change. But right now my two B&W companions are snoozing happily next me on the bed. I want to hold this moment still for as long as possible. I want it to stretch out and wrap its memories around me forever. Right now, this moment, all is right with the world.
Posted by Barbara Dobbins at 03:00PM Comments (19)

A Good Time for Feedback from You, Our Readers!

September 20, 2011 - In my editorial in the September issue, I mentioned that both my writers and I have endured some various challenging life events this summer, which delayed the appearance of a few articles. Fortunately, other terrific pieces were prepared ahead of schedule, or in a few cases, appeared out of thin air from one of my regular contributors. Despite the drama, we’ve been able to bring you a full 24 pages of information you could immediately put into practice – even if it wasn’t on the topics we hinted at in the “what’s ahead” bar that appears on page 24. Mentioning these difficulties last month accomplished one nice side effect: I received a number of notes or email messages containing suggestions for other articles. It gave me an idea: While regrouping, I should take this opportunity to formally ask all of you about what you’d like to see in WDJ. And so I’ve asked the Web guys at our publishing HQ to add a link to WDJ’s home page (whole-dog-journal.com) for a short survey. Would you please go to the survey and answer just a few questions about what you’d like to see more of, or less of, in WDJ?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:43AM Comments (18)

It’s My Birthday, Make Some Dog Food

September 12, 2011 - Guess what I did for my birthday? I toured a brand-new pet food cannery, one that makes super high-end food. Yippee! It may not be most people’s idea of a good time, but it was actually the most exciting way to spend the day that I can think of. I’ve been working on a review of wet dog foods (including canned and pouched products) and the offer to see this new plant, located in Southern California, was a matter of great timing.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:29PM Comments (5)

Peanut-Sized Dog With a Mastiff-Sized Attitude

September 6, 2011 - Over the years, I’ve received dozens (if not hundreds) of letters from readers saying, “Thank goodness for WDJ; you just published an article on (fill in the blank) the moment that I needed it to help me deal with my dog.” There have been times that I’ve had the same experience – in which a problem crops up with on of the dogs in my life and -- voila! -- one of my writers submits an article that we’ve not previously discussed. Well, here we go again: Last month, WDJ Training Editor Pat Miller asks whether I’d be interested in an article on dogs who guard their “resources” (food, treats, toys, beds, humans, whatever) from other dogs.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:55AM Comments (12)

A Weekend at the Holistic Veterinary Conference

August 30, 2011 - Over the weekend, I attended the annual meeting of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA); I hadn’t been to that particular conference for a few years. One thing hadn’t changed: The number of veterinarians at the meeting whose biography follows this basic pattern: I always loved animals, I went to college and then vet school, I went into practice as a conventional medical practitioner, and after X years of practice, I grew frustrated at the number of cases I couldn’t fix with conventional medicine; I grew interested in complementary or alternative medicine, had some amazing successes with (fill in the blank: acupuncture, chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, herbs, or other), and now I can’t imagine not using these tools as part of my practice.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:46AM Comments (5)

Welcome Peanut!

August 23, 2011 - We just took possession of an extended member of the family: a four-year-old Chihuahua-mix named Peanut. He belongs to my 23-year-old niece, who recently relocated to this coast and is staying with other relatives in the Bay Area while she looks for work and then her own place. Unfortunately, one of the relatives she’s staying with is highly allergic to dogs, and Peanut had to relocate for a time.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:57AM Comments (7)

Grappling with Salmonella

August 12, 2011 - There have been numerous headlines recently regarding Salmonella in various types of pet food. Merrick Pet Care recalled one lot of its Doggie Wishbones -- chews made of dried beef tendons. Two raw food producers – Bravo and Primal – had products recalled for Salmonella. Then there were the pig ear incidents: Bravo, Boss Pet, Blackman Industries, Keys Manufacturing, and Jones Natural Chews all announced recalls of dried pig ear chews due to Salmonella contamination.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:15PM Comments (2)

A Bad Year for Fleas?

August 9, 2011 - Is it just us, or is this the worst year for fleas in a long a time? Or should we say, “best” year for the fleas, and worst year for cats and dogs? Just about everyone we know is suddenly battling flea infestations, and several dogs we know have been tortured by enough bites that they’ve chewed or scratched themselves raw, instigating some awful secondary infections or “hot spots.” And this is in an area not usually plagued by that many fleas.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:00AM Comments (30)

Shelter Puppies: Too Cute for Their Own Good?

July 25, 2011 - The stars backstage at my local shelter are the six Basset puppies (and their doting mama) that the staff saved from coccidiosis (an illness caused by a nasty single-celled parasite). A guy brought the two-week-old litter to the shelter, signing over the whole lot, saying “they were just pooping too much.” Well, they were pooping so much because they had diarrhea; one puppy died within minutes of arrival. But our brilliant vet tech whipped into action and saved those dang puppies – mama, poop, and all. And they have just gotten cuter and cuter and cuter.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:26PM Comments (7)

Preaching to the Choir

July 19, 2011 - I had this thought on Tuesday, July 5, and I’ve been thinking about it on and off since then: Is any progress being made at all in the world of dog ownership? This was prompted by my brief custody of two small stray dogs, the ones I found trotting down my street the morning after fireworks were going off all over town. Fortunately, Otto was with me in the yard as I watered our roses and azaleas, and the dogs came in my gate to greet him; I was able to close the gate behind them. They wouldn’t come to me at first; once they realized the gate was closed, they trotted up and down the fence line a few times, to confirm they were, in fact, trapped in my yard.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:15AM Comments (19)

Intelligent Refusal

July 11, 2011 - I’ve been having a nice dialogue with a reader who objected to my promotion of the word “cue” over “command.” He made some good points – but something Otto did the other day gave me ammunition for one more point in support of why I prefer “cue.” Copying their mama, the last two of my foster kittens (now MY kittens) have developed a classic behavioral response to Otto (and every dog, to be fair to kind, patient Otto): they puff up, spit, growl, and flatten their ears every time they notice him in the room. Frankly, they are often so occupied with play that sometimes this “noticing” happens when they actually run into his sleeping body, but whatever.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:32PM Comments (11)