September 2018

Features

Your Dog's Behavior: When to Manage, When to Train

How do I stop my dog from stealing food? How do I get my dog to stop drinking toilet water? Why does my dog run off all the time? These are just a few of the countless things dogs do that make their guardians run to professional trainers for help. The reality of dog behavior modification is that often the solution to a dog's bad habit is not through training the dog, but through carefully managing every opportunity the dog has to practice unwanted behaviors.

How to Teach A Dog to "Leave It"

There are many times in your dog’s life when she needs to be able to control her impulse to engage in a behavior. Last month, we discussed “Wait” and “Stay” – but impulse control goes far beyond these “don’t move” cues. “Leave it” is another impulse-control behavior that is very useful for your dog to know. The cue means, “Whatever you are focused on at this moment, I need you to leave it alone.”

Clicker Training 101

If you use a clicker as your marker, you would create this association initially by clicking the clicker and then immediately feeding the dog a treat. You repeat this a number of times – click, treat; click, treat; click, treat – until your dog’s eyes light up when she hears the click and she looks for the treat. We sometimes refer to this process as “charging” the clicker; we’ve given the click significance, and the dog understands that the click means a reward is coming.

Houseguest Etiquette for Dogs

Those of us who love dogs tend to assume that everyone else in our circle of friends and family does, too. Sadly, that’s not always the case. In fact, even those who do share our passion for canine companions don’t always appreciate the over-enthusiastic attentions of a happy hound, especially when they are trying to enjoy the company of human friends in the comfort of a private home. Whether you are a visitor bringing your own beloved dog with you to someone else’s house, or a host greeting friends at your own front door with your canine family members milling about your feet, here are some tips to help you make sure your dog/human visits go well.

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the more common problems seen in small-animal veterinary practice. The definition of a UTI is a colonization of pathological bacteria in the normally sterile environment within the urinary tract. There are many medical conditions that make a dog prone to urinary tract infections, some of which can be prevented. Knowing how to recognize the problem is the first step to getting the proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your dog.

Fresh Dog Food: A Review of Refrigerated Dog Food Sold in Stores

Today, more and more passionate, educated, dog-loving entrepreneurs are turning their attention to improving the health of their dogs and innovating new ways to feed quality dog foods. As they do, it’s getting more and more difficult to slot the resulting products into categories for review. This is just one of the reasons we’ve never before reviewed dog foods in this category – for short, we’ll call it “fresh cooked foods.” When you start drilling down into how all these products are made, there is so much variety that the category really should be considered as a group with several sub-categories. Some of the products are essentially pureed; others look more like a meatloaf before it’s cooked, complete with chunks of vegetables mixed in; still others present more like those non-refrigerated preserved foods that are sold in plastic tubes.

Physical Exams for Senior Dogs

There are a number of ways that we can stay on top of health issues that creep up on our dogs with age. Annual veterinary visits are a staple in every healthy pet’s life. A comprehensive physical exam from nose to tail is step one in picking up clues to underlying concerns at every age, but it becomes even more important in the senior years.

Dogs and Carbs: It’s Complicated

The question of how best to feed dogs stimulates great debate and evokes strong emotions among dog folks. (Yes, this an intended understatement.) One of the most contentiously defended viewpoints in recent years is that dogs should not be fed diets that contain digestible carbohydrate (starch). Two primary arguments are used to defend this position.

Fecal Transplants for Dogs

A healthy microbiome destroys harmful pathogens, including disease-causing viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. As a result, the microbiome is the immune system’s first line of defense. Differences in microbiomes help explain why some dogs exposed to diseases like parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, canine flu, heartworm, or kennel cough get sick while others remain symptom-free.

The Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Foods of 2018

Most of the ingredients in freeze-dried diets are raw and/or very lightly processed. All the freeze-dried raw diets we reviewed are grain-free – not because we think grains are inappropriate in these foods; it’s the food manufacturers who seem to have decided that raw feeders won’t buy a product that contains any grain. Many people who feed home-prepared or commercial raw diets to their dogs when they are home replace this diet with a freeze-dried raw food when they travel, or when the dog is left with a sitter who doesn’t want to deal with a fresh or frozen raw diet.

Free-Ranging Dogs Give Us Insight on Canine Protein Preferences

Anyone who lives with dogs is aware that dogs are almost universally attracted to meaty foods and treats. Trainers use these preferences to select different levels of “treat value” for dogs and almost invariably, the treats that are of highest value to a dog are those that have a meaty texture, smell, and (we assume) taste. Are these preferences a vestige of the dog’s predatory past? If so, are such preferences something that dogs are born with, or is there a strong influence of learning and environment on our dogs’ apparent taste for meat?

Food Bloat in Dogs

Luckily for your canine friend, food bloat is relatively simple to treat and rarely results in long-term consequences. Your veterinarian will likely x-ray your dog’s abdomen to ensure that this is just gastric dilatation and not a GDV, which calls for immediate surgery to untwist the twisted stomach and/or bowel and perhaps surgically remove damaged intestine.

Cloudy Eyes in Dogs

There are many possible ways in a which a dog’s eyes can look clouded. Often, you are seeing the cloudiness in the lens of the eye – an elastic, transparent structure that lies behind the iris (the pigmented part of the eye) and the pupil (the opening in the center of the eye). Tiny muscle fibers inside the eye contract and relax to makes the lens change thickness and shape; these movements help the dog change focus. As dogs age, certain changes cause the lens to turn white and become visible. When this ordinarily transparent structure develops a cloudy spot or section, the dog’s vision is compromised.

The Trail Runner System: Whole Dog Journal's Review

The Trail Runner System allows you to walk or run with a natural arm and shoulder motion – something that is perhaps most appreciated by older athletes who exercise through the aches of age and former injuries – while maintaining control of your dog. You can even drink from the water bottle, take photos with your cell phone, or pick up dog poop without losing control of your dog or getting tangled in the leash.

Dog Has Bad Breath?

The odor was there. Not overpowering, but “off” and definitely not normal. My six-year-old Bouvier Atle’s breath simply never, ever stank. Yet here it was. Some kind of skanky odor emanating from his sweet little face. Was it time for a dental cleaning?