Letters and Corrections – April 2013


I am writing to express my concern at seeing the photograph on the cover of the April 2013 Whole Dog Journal that depicts a man running with a dog who is wearing a restrictive harness. As a specialist in canine sports medicine, I have significant concerns about the use of harnesses that wrap around the front of dog’s forelegs, particularly in circumstances like this, where a dog is exercising using a gait that requires forelimb extension.

I have studied the effect of restrictive harnesses using a well-validated gait analysis system and demonstrated that there are significant alterations in a dog’s gait (both the amount of forward extension of the legs and even the amount of weight borne on the front legs) when wearing the harness, even without a leash attached.

I would hope that Whole Dog Journal, which has been a leader in so many areas of dog care, would be a leader in canine sports medicine as well. I hope that you will consider correcting the record by publishing a photograph of a dog with a non-restrictive harness and providing an explanation of why the use of such a harness is important, particularly in dogs who are exercising.

M. Christine Zink, DVM, PhD; Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists; ACVP, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Baltimore, MD

We will be interested to see research on this topic, as well as learn more about what sort of harnesses don’t present risk of injury to exercising dogs.

Regarding WDJ’s food reviews: Not only do I research quality, I like to price compare.
Kristen Michalski
Via email

Kristen, we do, too. We don’t report on the prices of the food in our reviews for several reasons. The first is that the prices vary so widely from store to store and geographic region to region. The prices I pay here in California tend to be quite high!

Also, cost is relative. If an owner is accustomed to buying Ol’ Roy, for $10 per 30 pounds on sale at Walmart, they may well regard a $30/30-pound bag of food as wickedly expensive – while other owners are ready and willing to pay $70 for the same-sized bag of super high-end stuff. We know that not everyone can afford the best stuff on the shelves. We prefer to let consumers find a food that meets their own criteria for price and availability.

I truly appreciate what you have done to educate me about dog food. I believe I can now make much more informed decisions. I just read the criticism in the Letters column in the March issue. It would wear on me to have yahoos criticizing my well-balanced, objective work. Please know those of us who value your contributions vastly outnumber the sourpusses. We just don’t get motivated to write as often.
Doug Bell
Via email

Thank you! I do really appreciate hearing positive feedback! The only problem is, sometimes the sourpusses (sourpie?) have legitimate criticism or concerns. When they do, I genuinely appreciate that, too, even if it’s not very nice.
That said, I often wonder why people who are concerned about whether a company ever had a recall, or who equate corn, wheat, or soy with poison, or who don’t like any companies that are “too big,” would even consider feeding any dry food to their dogs. Even the best dry foods are not the healthiest diet, after all; no processed food can compete with fresh foods.

I have a problem that you push extra-cost publications and don’t put information on such subjects as flea control in the Whole Dog Journal. I may consider letting my subscription lapse.
Robert Anderson
Via email

I’m sorry we haven’t had an article on flea control in WDJ lately;

I think you are correct in observing that a new one is overdue, and we’ll get something rolling. In the meantime, remember that all of our back articles are available for no charge to current subscribers on our website. If you are a current subscriber, all you need to do is register a user name and password on the site. Have a current issue with the address label at hand; you will be asked for your subscriber number.