October 2010

Get Your Dog Involved In Some Form of Sporting Activity

Subscribers Only — We have had great fun over the past year and a half, taking a look at 16 different canine sports. The breadth and diversity of activities people undertake with their dogs is truly amazing. Activities that started out simply as something fun to do with your dog have been turned into formal sports complete with rules, regulations, and ribbons. You can swim to boaters’ rescue, pull a load of freight, toss plastic discs high into the air for your buddy to catch or, if the mood strikes, dance with your dog. Some sports involve dogs and humans working closely together toward a mutual goal while others provide the dog an opportunity to work independently.   More...

Getting the Most Out of Puppy Kindergarten

You’ve got a new puppy and are about to start puppy classes (or are planning ahead for your new pup – even better!). You know good puppy classes are an integral part of helping you and your dog invest in a long and harmonious future. Puppy classes aren’t magic. Just signing up, paying, and attending aren’t enough. You have to train and practice and build your relationship with your puppy. It will last a lifetime and the effort you put in now will pay off multifold. But keep in mind that the bad habits that you and your puppy develop now will also give you payback many times over! So let’s assume you have really committed yourself to rearing a puppy well, and talk about how to get the most out of your puppy classes   More...

Understanding Aggression in Dogs

Aggression. It’s a natural, normal dog behavior, but it’s also a scary word that evokes images of maulings and dog-related fatalities. The term “aggression” actually encompasses a long continuum of behaviors, some of them very appropriate and critically important to successful canine communication. If your dog has ever displayed the slightest sign of aggressive behavior, it is incumbent on you as a responsible owner to learn as much as possible about the causes of – and of course, solutions for – canine aggression.   More...

Carbohydrates and Your Dog's Digestive System

Grain-free dry dog food has become wildly popular in the past few years. More and more companies are rolling out a grain-free kibble, as demand for this type of food keeps growing. Why are they so popular? We’ve found that many dog owners who feed grain-free foods don’t know why they are spending a small fortune on these foods. Or, we should say, they often have their reason, but only rarely are the reasons valid! As the most common example, some people say they’ve switched to grain-free foods “because dogs don’t need carbs.” Well, they are partly right; dogs don’t require carbohydrates in their diet. But grain-free dry dog foods do contain carbs! In fact, many grain-free foods contain a fair amount of carbohydrates in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca, or peas. Grain-free foods perform really well when fed to some dogs, but may be inappropriate for others, for example, when a high-fat or high-protein diet is contraindicated.   More...

It’s Not Your Imagination: Dogs Do Mimic Their Owners

Does your dog copy you?

Subscribers Only — Behavioral scientists have long questioned whether dogs are capable of mimicking each other or people. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences has shown that dogs are not only capable of mimicking their owners, they do so automatically. In fact, their drive to copy our head and hand (paw) movements is so strong that they tend to do so even when it is not in their best interests.   More...

Bone Marrow Transplants Offer a Promising Treatment for Canine Lymphoma

Dr. Steven Suter performs a stem cell harvesting procedure on “Maverick the Weim,” the first dog with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Maverick lived just three months after the procedure, but his case helped advance treatment strategies. His owners donated $10,000 and are fundraising to help buy a new leukapheresis machine at NCSU. See mavericktheweim.com for more information.

Subscribers Only — Exciting news regarding bone marrow transplants for dogs with lymphoma has recently emerged. North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh is the first university in the world to open a canine clinical bone marrow transplant (BMT) unit. Dr. Steven Suter, assistant professor of veterinary oncology at NCSU, is about to perform his 30th transplant, all done over the past two years. Lymphoma, also called lymphosarcoma, is one of the most common cancers to occur in dogs. While it used to be considered a disease of middle-aged and older dogs, those demographics have changed in the past 5 to 10 years, with more and more young dogs being diagnosed. Golden Retrievers have a particularly high risk for this type of cancer.   More...

Has Your Senior Dog Started to Lose His Hearing?

If we’re fortunate enough to have them live to old age, at some point, most of our canine companions begin to lose their hearing and may eventually be, for all intents and purposes, deaf. It’s painful to watch a beloved dog become less and less responsive to his environment because he’s unaware of what’s going on around him, and even more so when it limits your ability to communicate with him. The thought of a hearing-impaired dog wandering off and not being able to hear your calls is frightening. Here are five things you can do if your dog’s hearing isn’t what it used to be.   More...

Can’t or Won’t

It’s always interesting to call pet food companies to ask for information about their products. Some have answering machines and ask you to leave a message; some of these companies return those calls, but others don’t. Of course, it’s most rewarding for us consumers when a person answers the phone. But even then, there is a lot of variation in what can happen next. Pet food makers are required by law to share only a small amount of information about their products – the ingredients in the food, listed in order of weight; and the minimum percentage of protein and fat, and the maximum percentage of moisture and fiber that their foods contain. But what about those of us who want more?   More...