Whole Dog Journal Blog

Staying on the Trail

February 13, 2012 - Usually, I can count on my dog, Otto, being one of the best-behaved and best-trained dogs in the pack when I go out for off-leash hikes with friends and their dogs. When we hike solo, I keep the walk lively by frequently asking him to do “trail agility” – jumping over logs, jumping up on boulders, and even running through culverts. I also frequently ask him to perform spontaneous recalls; he can expect to be asked to do one at any moment, and he enjoys the game. His recalls are impeccable. All of this solo training really pays off when we walk with friends and their dogs are all over the place.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 03:22PM Comments (12)

Super Bowl Ads Staring Canine Actors

February 6, 2012 - Last week on our Facebook page we posted links for Volkswagen’s two Super Bowl commercials featuring talented canine actors. Dogs are almost always popular in Super Bowl ads – but there are potential hazards to the advertiser if the dogs or their depictions are not handled with sensitivity. Last night, shoe makers Skechers premiered a commercial that featured Greyhound racing – not something most dog lovers want to see, even if it includes a comical and darling French Bulldog wearing tiny Skechers who wins the race, moonwalking across the finish line. Comedy or not, media reports say Skechers is taking heat about the racing Greyhounds.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:36PM Comments (13)

What Do You Do With Jealous Pets?

January 30, 2012 - A year ago, the only pets in my house were Otto and my ancient cat, Shadow; she passed away last summer, in the middle of an invasion of new pets. A niece’s dog, a Chihuahua we call Tito has come to live with us indefinitely, and we kept the last two kittens of a litter we rescued from abandonment by a former neighbor. So, now there are two adolescent cats and two dogs fighting for petting and lap time.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 12:32PM Comments (12)

Rain Dogs

January 23, 2012 - I can’t complain in any way about the rain. We’ve had a freakishly dry winter so far; the last rain we had, until just a few days ago, was around Thanksgiving. But it’s pouring now and has been, on and off for a few days. Which impacts the dogs’ daily plans and our exercise schedules. My dogs are used to spending anywhere from two to five or so hours outside during the day (ever since Tito the Chihuahua moved in with us, and Tito sleeps indoors, Otto has decided that sleeping indoors every night is for him, too). They patrol for stray cats and UPS drivers, they investigate all alarms sounded by the neighbor dogs and our three hens, they keep a sharp eye peeled for their friend Max, who walks by with his owners once or twice a day and visits through the fence, they doze in the sun (if there is any), and they accompany my husband on his travels from our back door to the door to his office, about 40 feet away.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:20AM Comments (11)

1,100 Pounds of Premium Dog Food Donated to Northwest SPCA

January 17, 2012 - Thanks to the companies who sent samples for WDJ’s annual dry dog food review. Since 1998, the Whole Dog Journal has published a review of dry dog food in its February issue. This timing causes some difficulties, as I need to receive samples and literature about pet food companies and their products during the holiday season in order to complete the review in time to be printed in the February issue. Lots of company employees take annual vacations at this time, and they or their replacements are difficult to reach.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 09:05AM Comments (5)

Novartis Suspends Production of Interceptor and Sentinel

January 9, 2012 - It seems like every time I turn around these days, I hear about another drug shortage (more on that topic in an upcoming WDJ article). This time, it’s Novartis Animal Health announcing in late December that it has suspended production of Interceptor, Sentinel, and other drugs while its manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Nebraska, undergoes “voluntary” improvements. Numerous human and animal over-the-counter drugs are manufactured at this plant. According to reports, the company hopes to know in January when production will be resumed.
Posted by Mary Straus at 12:06PM Comments (14)

It’s Always Tick Season Somewhere…

January 3, 2012 - And it’s peak tick season where I live right now. The ticks are so bad in some of the areas where I typically walk Otto and Tito (formerly Peanut) that I just have to avoid those trails for a few months. Otherwise, even with the dogs wearing a fresh application of Advantix and me spending a feverish hour when we get home going over them with a fine-toothed comb (literally – I use a flea comb), I end up finding one or two latched onto Otto, engorged with blood. It’s always Otto, too; Tito is small and his coat is short; I can find even the tiny deer ticks on him easily. But Otto is large and his coat is thick and wiry; the ticks can hide from even my flea comb rather easily.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:51PM Comments (18)

Photos and Updates are the Best Part of an Online Community

December 27, 2011 - You can ask the powers-that-be at our publishing headquarters: I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to posting on Facebook and writing blog posts. But one thing keeps me coming back to check the blog and the WDJ Facebook page: I really enjoy seeing posts that show or describe the progress that our readers have made with their dogs.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:44AM Comments (0)

Rabies is Still a Deadly Threat

December 19, 2011 - Headline news over the weekend: South Caroline woman contracts rabies; first human case in that state in 50 years. This comes on the heels of hearing news from East Coast animal shelters that they’ve been seeing cases of rabies in cats. All in all, pretty alarming news. Today and in the U.S., most people take it for granted that rabies is a distant, old-timey threat, sort of like smallpox. But rabies has not been eradicated – far from it. It’s still common in wildlife, and a threat to any unvaccinated mammal who comes into contact with an infected species.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 04:50PM Comments (4)

Holiday Wishes

December 13, 2011 - If you could have ONE holiday wish granted that would benefit your dog or dogs, what would it be? If you could have ONE holiday wish granted that would benefit all dogs, what would that be? I’ll go first: For my dog Otto, I’d wish that an agility club, fully outfitted with obstacles and populated by fun dog people, started in my town.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:46AM Comments (17)

Make a Gift of Your Dog-Friendly Recommendations

December 6, 2011 - What if all of my dog-loving friends and relatives sent each other a “gift” of a list of beloved and trusted dog professionals with whom they’ve had personal experience? If someone sent me such a list, you can bet I’d post it on the wall near my computer, just in case I needed a referral for a good emergency clinic, rehabilitation practitioner, acupuncturist, nutrition expert, cardiologist – whatever! My friends contain a wealth of information; why not mine them for that information before I even need it (like now)?
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:52AM Comments (7)

A Dilemma – An Appointment vs. A Roadside Puppy Seller

November 28, 2011 - On Saturday afternoon, I was driving to meet a friend for a hike with our dogs. (She has two and so do I). I was running a few minutes late. I was on the busiest thoroughfare in town when I saw a truck parked on a wide pullout on the other side of the street with a large hand-painted sign on the side: “Golden Retriever puppies for sale, with a phone number.” There were several large dog crates in the back of the truck and I could see (as I slowed as much as I could without getting rear-ended) that there were at least a half a dozen pups in the crates.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:20PM Comments (20)

The Healing Power of Dogs (and cats)

November 21, 2011 - I woke up with a headache on Sunday morning – a migraine. I get a couple per month; they are not completely unpredictable. But I had planned one getting a lot of things done, so I was a bit stubborn. I got dressed, took some medication, and tried to start the day anyway. I fed the dogs, cats, and chickens, had a little breakfast . . . and then had to go back to bed.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 02:39PM Comments (7)

How do you decide which animal-related charities to support?

November 15, 2011 - At this time of year, we are all besieged with pleas for charitable contributions of every kind. Chances are, if you have ever given money to even one animal-related charity, the following year, you found yourself receiving solicitations from dozens of them. Then you have to choose which organizations deserve – or can do the most – with your donations.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 08:47AM Comments (34)

Record Flooding in Thailand Means Epic Disaster for Dogs and Cats

November 7, 2011 - When most of us hear about animal caught in natural disasters, we sigh and fret – and then move on. One close friend of Whole Dog Journal has done more. Rain has been falling relentlessly in Thailand since July, and many parts of the country are experiencing the worst flooding reported since World War II. Bangkok, the capital and the most densely populated city in the country (with more than 9 million residents) is suffering from particularly severe flooding. Bangkok is also known as a city with one of the largest populations of stray dogs in the world. It’s been estimated that as many as 300,000 stray dogs roam the city’s streets at any given time.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 11:20AM Comments (0)