November 2011

Features

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.

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.

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.

The Allure of the Lure

Luring means using something the dog wants, most often a food treat, to draw her or guide her into doing what you want her to do. With her nose glued to the treat like a magnet, you can lure her to sit, lie down, jump up on a surface, spin or twirl, and perform a very long list of additional behaviors by slowly moving the treat in the appropriate direction. Hence the “allure of the lure” – you can use this training technique to easily entice your dog to perform a behavior that you can then reward and reinforce.

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?

Canine Influenza: Is Dog Flu Something to Worry About?

Symptoms of dog flu include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. About 80 percent of the dogs who are infected with the virus will have only mild symptoms, with about 20 percent of infected dogs showing no symptoms whatsoever (these dogs, however, are still able to spread the virus). Most dogs recover in two to three weeks.

How to Potty Train A Dog

Preventing your dog from pottying in the wrong place is the first and most important housetraining task. Since most of us cannot keep our eyes on our dogs every minute, having a safe, comfortable confinement area is key to housetraining success. Most dogs naturally avoid going potty in their sleeping areas, so confining your dog in a small enough area that is more bed-like than room-like not only prevents unwanted accidents but also will help him develop bowel and bladder control.

How Long is Too Long to Leave A Dog Alone?

Few people today would admit to leaving their dogs home alone for 24 or 48 hours or more, but leaving the dog home for 10 to 12 hours is not at all uncommon – and questioning this practice can sometimes lead to social ridicule. If an owner decides that after being gone all day, she’d rather not confine her dog or leave him alone for an additional few hours in the evening, she might be met with less-than-understanding responses. “You’re not coming out because you want to be home with your dog? That’s crazy! You’re letting your dog control your life!”

Dog DNA Tests: Mixed Results

While some of the early mixed-breed identification tests used a blood sample, all of the products on the market today extract DNA from cells swabbed by the dog’s owner from the inside of the dog’s cheek. The swab is sealed in a container provided by the company and mailed off to the company’s lab. There, technicians extract your dog’s DNA from the swab, and use computers to identify and compare specific bits of it to bits taken from dogs of known lineage.

Dog Paw Cuts and Scrapes: How to Treat a Paw Injury

Your dog’s paw pads act much like the soles of sneakers, protecting your dog’s foot and cushioning each step. Paw pads are tough, but they can still be cut by sharp objects or worn off if your dog runs hard on rough terrain. What should you do when your dog cuts or tears a pad?

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.

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.

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.

12 Tips to Avoiding Trips to the Emergency Vet

Every year, thousands of dogs are treated in emergency veterinary hospitals across the country. I know; I spent nearly a decade as an emergency-room veterinarian. I always found it interesting that many of the most common injuries and illnesses I saw in emergency practice were also some of the easiest to prevent! Many of these problems can be avoided with a little common sense and preventative medicine.

Foxtail Grass: Awns of Destruction for Western Dogs

The seeds of the nasty foxtail grass seem to have a special affinity for invading dogs’ bodies. The three most common hazards of foxtails to dogs are these: They get sniffed into dog noses, work their way into dog ears, and lodge between dog toes. Each of these sites is a mere port of entry for these sturdy seeds; once inside, they start a relentless crawl forward, traveling deeper into a dog’s tissue with every passing hour. They are sometimes found in exploratory surgeries years afterward; the durable seed and awn fibers resist breaking down in the body as if they were made of plastic.