Letters from Readers: November 2016


I love WDJ; I’ve been getting it for years. But I had to write for the first time. In “Helping Itchy Dogs” (February 2016) the author speaks about the benefits of regular bathing for dogs who are hypersensitive to allergens that are absorbed through the dog’s skin. But she never mentions anything about drying the dogs afterward.

I am a dog groomer, and have seen too many double-coated breeds who are bathed often or swim regularly who are not properly dried. Their skin starts to almost mildew, especially if they live in the humid Northeast, as I do. They just never dry completely. It really benefits all dogs (but especially the double-coated ones) to be positively conditioned to an air dryer, and well dried after every bath or swim.

Just thought I would mention this as an important addition to a great article.

– Nancy Cusumano
The Grooming Room, Ithaca, NY

young girl and dog

Thanks for your contribution! And we’re sorry that it took so long for us to include this important information.

Regarding “Bloating in Dogs Treatable with Gastropexy” (WDJ June 2016), your article on surgery to prevent bloat: I opted for the gastropexy when I had my Mastiff neutered at 2½ years old. I know it’s no guarantee, but I felt a bit more comfortable that if he should bloat, it would prevent torsion of the bowel, the most dangerous part of bloating, and give me more time to get him to the ER (in case I didn’t pick up on the symptoms as quickly as I should).

About eight months later, he ended up in the ER and underwent surgery for an intestinal blockage (ham bone, raw, packed for dogs and sold at local dog supply – another lesson learned!). Thankfully, it was a success, but when the surgeon came out to discuss the surgery, he also told me that my dog’s previous gastropexy had failed! So much for peace of mind! I didn’t even know that was a possibility!

This is by no means a commentary on the gastropexy. As long as I have my big boys I will get this surgery; any chance for help is worth it, because this is one condition that scares me to death! I just want people to know that this can happen! If my boy hadn’t had this horrible blockage, I’d have never known it was even possible for a gastropexy to fail. It’s not like there’s a way to see inside them to doublecheck the vet’s work! I do feel confident that the surgery won’t fail this time, mainly because of the experience of this doctor, who was a surgery specialist, and who assured me with confidence as only a surgeon can, that “this surgery will not fail!”

– Robin Slayton
via email

We had never heard of a gastropexy failing before, either! It’s a good possibility that owners whose dogs had been previously subjected to the procedure might discount the possibility that their dogs were bloating, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because they didn’t know that this “stomach tacking” could fail. Thanks for sharing your story! And best of luck with your dog; you’ve had enough bad luck for his lifetime!

I always enjoy the WDJ! Even as a trainer, I always learn something.

I do have a comment about an article in the August 2016 issue. Pat Miller’s article “Fear Aggression” lists credentials for qualified trainers. Jean Donaldson’s Academy graduates are listed as JDAs, but that is incorrect. Graduates of The Academy for Dog Trainers are identified with the initials CTC, which stands for “Certificate of Training and Counseling.” (I happen to be a student at the Academy, so I caught this.)

– Christine Michaud, PMCT, CPDT-KA
Family Dog Training, LLC, Fairfax Station, VA

We appreciate you for pointing that out. There are a lot of training credentials today, and a lot of initials to keep straight!

First of all, I love your magazine and have subscribed for years. But I was very disappointed that you didn’t include the original Woof Hoof Tret Bags in your review of treat bags (“The Best Dog Treat Bags You Can Buy,” WDJ August 2016). Yes, the product I like is spelled Tret, not treat. With the magnetic closure, sturdy material, and easy cleaning it is a wonderful small, single-pocket treat bag. We have used them for years and love them. They are a top seller in our small retail store within our 30,000 square foot training center. They retail for around $15. They also offer a slightly larger one with a clicker holder. For more information, see Woofhoof.com.

– Kim Sykes, CPDT-KA
Broken Arrow, OK

We’ll have to order one to check out. Dog people are such equipment devotees, and you never know which one will suit you best until you’ve tried several. Thanks for the recommendation.

You are likely done with printing all the interesting behaviors that dogs have taught their owners (“The Cues Our Dogs Learn,” September 2016). But I have to tell you about one more, because it’s so healthy.

My dog has learned to demand having her teeth brushed! I read that coconut oil was very good for dogs. About a year ago, I started using it to brush my dog’s teeth. Every night for the past year, our 2-year-old dog Lila will come to me and paw my leg while staring straight into my eyes, about an hour after her dinner meal. She will not leave me alone until I say, “Ready for your teeth to be brushed?” She looks at me, licks her lips, and runs into the bathroom. I lift her up (she weighs only 18 pounds) to the sink area and dip her brush into the jar of coconut oil. By now, she lets me insert the brush and do the outside of all her teeth surfaces. I know this will keep us from vet bills down the line, and oh my! Her breath smells great! It’s really adorable.

– Michele Smith
via email

That does sound adorable, and healthy! Coconut oil makes a terrific “toothpaste” for dogs, and tastes so good that it reinforces the behavior very nicely. Smart!


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