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Shopping For a Veterinarian

When shopping for a veterinarian, how can you tell whether one doctor or another will be the best practitioner for your pet? Well, it’s a trick question; there isn’t any way to guarantee that any particular individual is the best. The emphasis should be on the first part of the question: shopping. Only through rigorous research can we possibly find the best-equipped facilities, with the most receptive staff, and the most communicative and skilled veterinarians. It may be possible to luck into finding the ideal veterinary practice by picking a name out of the yellow pages, but with your dog’s health (and sometimes, his life) depending on your decision, it’s best not to leave your choice to chance.

Dog Friendly Home Set-Ups

Twenty-five years ago, a friend of mine found two abandoned black-and-tan coonhound pups by the side of the road. He took them home and immediately called a real estate broker, thus beginning his search for a house with a fenced yard and ending his years as an apartment dweller. This same dog owner recently purchased the car of his dreams, only to discover that his dog's crate wouldn't fit in the back seat. He returned the car the next day.

Best Dog Winter Coats

The weather is just starting to turn brisk, but many short-haired dogs are already shivering. The time to order your dog’s winter coat is now, so you have a cozy coat standing by for the season of the most serious cold snaps. Whole Dog Journal tested a number of dog-warming coats, sweaters, blankets, what have you – for warmth, fit, and ease of application. We also washed and dried the blankets per the manufacturers’ recommendations. To test how the coats fit and stayed in place, we put them on dogs and threw balls for them so that they’d run and jump.

Microchip Your Dog to Get Him Home Safe

Two stunning standard poodles, one pure white, the other charcoal gray, were wandering loose on Santa Cruz’s Seacliff Beach in early June, not far from a busy road. Jeff, the concerned citizen who corralled the dogs, was dismayed to find they had no tags, so he was unable to return them to their home. He put a “Dogs Found” ad in the newspaper and kept the dogs for three days, sure that someone would be looking for such wonderful animals, but no one called. With some ambivalence, he loaded them into his car and delivered them to the nearby Santa Cruz SPCA. They are obviously well-loved dogs, he reassured himself. They will be safe; the owner will come for them.

Best Dog Training and Care Equipment

Each issue, Whole Dog Journal brings you reviews of dog products we have tested on real dogs and dog lovers. As 1998 rapidly draws to a close, we’re looking back at the year’s best bets and a couple of great new ones, to help you decide which products you might want to add to your holiday shopping list for your dogs and your dog-loving friends.

Hand-Held Heating Pads

Warmth relaxes humans and dogs alike, for physical and emotional reasons. Heat on the skin causes an increase in circulation. Blood flows to the area and tense muscles under the skin begin to relax. A warm touch might also recall the lazy enjoyment of a nap in the sun, or the comfort of a companion on a cold winter night. Reusable heating pads are a wonderful way to bring the benefits of gentle heat to a dog. The pads I use are portable, liquid-filled plastic envelopes that, with just a push of my thumb, radiate soothing warmth for a few minutes or a few hours.

Is Your Dog Hiding a Talent?

All of our dogs are capable of far more than we ever ask of them. Their senses, especially their hearing and ability to smell, are so highly developed that they can perform feats that appear miraculous to us. Their physical abilities can cause us to gape in awe, as demonstrated by the prowess of highly-skilled Frisbee and Agility dogs. And they have all kinds of talents that, unless we look for them, we may never notice; hidden talents that reveal their versatility and breadth of their potential to think, reason and learn.

Readers Add to Product Reviews

I have to tell you that your article on apple cider vinegar was excellent. I raise and show English Cockers, and one of the persistent problems we have with this breed is lip fold infections. Other English Cocker owners have used Listerine, antibiotic creams, and medicated powders (which I have also used). Although they seem to work for a while, the infections come back rather quickly. I always hate to use antibiotics unless there is no other way of fixing a problem, so I decided to try a 50-50 apple cider vinegar/water solution to clean the lip fold area.

Dog Water Dispensers

We all need it to survive. Most states have laws requiring us to provide “adequate” supplies of it to our dogs. If we don’t provide it we could be prosecuted for animal cruelty and our dogs could suffer, even die, of thirst. “It,” of course, is water. With all of my dogs I sometimes feel like I spend half of my day cleaning and refilling water bowls, both indoors and out. Isn’t there a better way? Whole Dog Journal thought so. We searched high and low for watering systems that would provide a larger, if not constant, supply of fresh water to our dogs.

Speaking Up For Showing

Sure there are a small percentage of people out there who want to win no matter what the cost. But for the most part the people that I meet at shows love and care about their dogs. In fact some of them care so much about their dogs, they forget about the breed! In 15 years of showing dogs, my dogs are always pets first, then show dogs. We compete in obedience, conformation, agility, tracking and field. I would never consider hurting some one else’s dog to help my dog win, nor illegally alter my dog.

Dog Gear of the Year – 1999

Each issue, Whole Dog Journal brings you reviews of dog products we have tested on real dogs and real dog lovers. As we look ahead to the new year, we’re looking back at our Top Picks of 1999 to help you select stocking stuffers and presents for your dogs and your dog-loving friends. Most of these products described below were our top selections from our reviews – published earlier in the year – of that type of product. But in a couple of cases, we found a new favorite some time after we published our review.

A Few Dog Product Reviews We Missed

Although we usually review several similar products each month, new products regularly come on the market in one or more categories that we have already reviewed. This month we have collected several such products and decided it was time to play catch up.

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Most of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight, their owners don’t know it, and their veterinarians don’t feel comfortable talking to their clients about it.