Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Savvy Tips- Part 1

With summer having officially arrived, it’s time to start thinking about hot weather and outdoor safety. I am going to mention several areas that you should pay particular attention to during the hotter months. For the purposes of this blog I am using product examples from Outward Hound by the Kyjen Company simply because I own several of their products, and have been extremely happy with them. There are many great manufacturers of pet products to choose from.

General Outdoor Safety: If you dog is outside on a regular basis or lives outside, you must provide him with shade and plenty of clean water at all times. A doghouse does not provide sufficient shade. While a doghouse may provide protection from the sun, it can quickly heat up inside. Remember that dogs, just like people can get sunburned and can even get skin cancer.

If your dog likes the water, you may want to provide him with a baby pool filled with cool water. Some dogs like to lie in the water to cool them selves off. Weylin likes to play in the pool, but will not lay in it. Maggie wants nothing to do with the pool, no matter how warm it is out.

You need to monitor your dog during the hot days of summer for heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Both can result in brain damage, heart failure or even death in a short period of time. Over-working your dog during hot weather can cause heat exhaustion. During the summer you should walk your dog in the early morning or in the evening, and you should always carry water with you. If your dog becomes overheated, offer him plenty of water and wet his body and paws with cool water. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if he is experiencing heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

If you are traveling with your dog, hiking, boating, or just walking around the neighborhood, you need to make sure that you keep him hydrated. In the last few years, manufacturers have come out with some great options that make it easy to provide water on the go. Two of my favorites are the Port-A-Bowl and the Fold-A-Bowl made by Outward Hound (Kyjen Company). The Port-A-Bowl folds flat and the Fold-A-Bowl folds into it’s own pocket and has a clip that you can attached to a belt loop or clothing. When you are on the go, they are a simple, yet effective way to give your dog a bowl of water. They are lightweight and take up very little space. Wulfgar (my wolf hybrid) would drink out of a water bottle that had a squirt top on it or out of a water fountain. My big boy was very self sufficient, and he was tall enough to drink directly out of a lot of sinks. I have tried in vain to get Weylin to drink out of a water bottle or even a fountain. Apparently he’s just too spoiled; he prefers his water out of a bowl. Of course Maggie, like many dogs is not big enough to drink out of a water fountain, so the portable bowls are a great option. There are many other manufacturers that make different portable items for both water and food. Below I have given web addresses for three pet supply catalogs that I order from on a regular basis. All three have great websites and you can also request a paper catalog. One plus with KV Vet is that with orders of $50.00, they ship many items for free.

Water Safety: If your dog is going to be in or around the water, you should really consider purchasing a life jacket for him or her. I think that a lot of people automatically assume that all dogs can swim, which is not true. Not all dogs like to swim either, but even if your dog is a good swimmer you should still consider buying a life jacket. Many people like to take their dogs boating, but in the even of an accident a life jacket protects your dog. If the dog is injured or can’t make it to shore, a life jacket will help him to stay afloat until rescue arrives. Even if you are just playing along the river, or running along the beach, you never know when your dog might head into the water. Your dog may end getting in over his head so to speak, and if he ends up farther out in the river or ocean that you intended, a life jacket may literally be a lifesaver. Most of the larger pet catalogs offer several different styles of life jackets. I have included pictures of two different life jackets from Outward Hound (Kyjen Company). Please note that you should never leave your dog unattended in or around water. Dogs and puppies can fall into a swimming pool just like children and drown.

Auto Safety: Dogs are unable to sweat the way that humans do to keep themselves cool. If it has been said once, it has been said a million times, don’t leave your dog alone in a parked car. The temperature inside can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Parking in the shade or cracking the windows does little to alleviate the high temperatures. Both dogs and children have died from being left inside hot vehicles. Also your dog is in danger of being stolen if left unattended in a parked car.

Dogs should be properly secured in a vehicle at all times. Not only is it extremely dangerous for your dog to ride unsecured in the back of a pickup truck it is also illegal in some states. You can purchase a specially padded harness and tethers that secure your dog in the bed of a truck. However, you need to be aware that the sun can heat up the metal in the truck bed and burn your dog’s paws. Some states also have laws that say your dog must be secured inside a vehicle as well. A dog that is loose inside a vehicle risks being injured in a crash or even in the event of a sudden stop. A loose dog is also a danger to the driver of the vehicle. You can buy padded harnesses that are specifically made for auto travel that are secured by a seatbelt. For smaller dogs you can also buy car seats, but even when using one of these your dog needs to be secured by a harness. You should not let your dog hang his head out of the window because bugs, rocks, or other road debris can hit him. There is also the danger of the dog falling or jumping out of the window.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Maggie Introduces Herself

Hi, I'm Maggie, and I'm not a pain in the butt. Mom says I'm a Border Collie mix. Weylin just likes to exaggerate things. I like livings with these new people, and Weylin's alright too most of the time. I was really scared and hungry when mom found me in the parking lot, and I had something around my neck that cut me. Mom felt really bad for me, and she found some bread and donuts to feed me. It took me awhile to get close enough to eat anything, because I didn't know what this strange lady would do to me. I finally worked up the courage to run up and wolf down a few bites. After awhile mom lured me into her office. It was nice to be inside where it was warm and dry. I guess November's not a very good month to be living on the streets. Mom left for a few minutes, and she came back with a little red collar and leash. Even though my neck was sore, I let mom put the collar on me. Then we went for ride. I couldn't figure out why this nice lady was crying. Then we got to the animal shelter. The woman that worked there wasn't crying and she wasn't very nice. She scared me a lot, and I peed myself. She grabbed me and wrapped something around my mouth. Let's just say that wasn't a very good day for me or my soon-to-be new mom. I try not to remember too much about the shelter. I just know mom is very sorry she ever took me there. There was a big explosion one day, and suddenly someone was letting all of us dogs out of our cages. Most of us got out ok, but a lot of the cats weren't so lucky. There were a lot of lights and sirens, and finally a lot of us dogs went to a building next door. I was running around with some of the other dogs when all of a sudden that nice lady was scooping me up in her arms. Before I knew it, I was on my way home with mom and dad.

Weylin Introduces Himself

I would like to introduce myself: I am Weylin, and I am a four-year-old Alaskan Malamute. My mom says that I am very mouthy, so she thought I should have a place to express my thoughts. Of course I have to share my blog with my adopted sister Maggie. She can be really annoying sometimes, but I guess I like her anyway. She's a pain in the butt, and I have to watch her all the time to keep her out of trouble. My mom found her as a stray where she works, and she had to take Maggie to the animal shelter. I don't really know what an animal shelter is, but mom was all torn up about it. Mom and dad talked it over a lot, and mom kept asking me if I would like a little sister. I wasn't really sure about this at all. I’m mom's baby, even though I'm grown up now. Anyway mom and dad decided they would try to adopt Maggie, but the people at the animal shelter said we couldn’t have her because I’m not neutered. (I’m not really sure what that means, but I don’t think I want to be neutered.) Mom says it’s ok that I’m not neutered because I live in the house (Where else would I live???), and I never run loose. To make a long story short, there was an explosion at the animal shelter, and it caught on fire. This was a very bad thing. Dad went and got mom at work and they rushed up to the shelter to see if they could find Maggie. Well she was there, and she was just fine. Mom and dad brought her home as a foster dog, and she’s been here every since. P.S. Did I mention that I really love to lay on the couch and snooze?

Are Your Dog’s Toys Putting His Health at Risk?

I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the massive toy recalls for toys made in China. There were different reasons for different recalls, but it really got me thinking. Many of the children’s toys were recalled because of unsafe amounts of lead in the paint. If children’s toys are unsafe, then dog toys are probably unsafe as well. If you walk into any store that sells dog toys and look at the labels, most of them are made in China. As it turns out there are problems with dog toys, but they don’t necessarily have to do with being made in China. During the time the children’s toy recalls were in the news, I searched the internet to see if I could find any information about the safety of dog toys. At the time, I couldn’t find anything, but low and behold in the April 2008 issue of “The Whole Dog Journal” there was an article called ‘Why Vinyl Stinks’. After reading the article, I gathered up all the vinyl dog toys in the house and threw them in the trash.

The problems with vinyl toys are chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates are used to make vinyl flexible, and the dangers are not just in toys. Vinyl is everywhere. You and your dog most likely encounter vinyl products on a daily basis. All kinds of things are made from vinyl including toys, dog clothing, leashes, collars, carriers, dog beds, shower curtains, flooring, window blinds, backpacks, ponchos, and even your shoes. The list goes on and on. Phthalates are dangerous to everyone: you, your kids, and your animals. One characteristic of vinyl dog toys is the smell. If you’ve ever bought one of these toys, you know what I’m talking about. The problem with vinyl is that the chemical molecules of phthalates move not only within the vinyl, but they also move out of the vinyl. So if your dog is chewing on a vinyl dog toy, the phthalates are moving out of the toy and into your dog’s body. Phthalates can wreak havoc on your dog’s health. They can cause toxicity and biochemical changes in the kidneys and liver and they can have profoundly effect the reproductive system. There are also other additives in vinyl, including lead that can have a negative effect on your dog’s health. Lead can also be in other painted dog toys.

I’ll be the first to admit that my dogs have a ridiculous amount of toys, but they no longer have any vinyl toys. Yet, I still have to wonder what hidden dangers are lurking in other toys, most of them made in China. Weylin and Maggie have a veratible zoo of stuffed animals, as well as rubber balls and other rubber toys. Weylin’s favorites are the Kong squeaky tennis balls, and Maggie simply adores the small stuffed animals that ‘talk’. Until dog toys have to adhere to the same standards as children’s toys, we must be ever vigilant.

To learn more about the dangers of vinyl check out the April 2008 edition of “The Whole Dog Journal” ( or read this article:

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Dog Food Dilemma – Part 2

With so many manufacturers making poor quality dog food, what’s a conscientious pet parent to do? Believe it or not, you do have options. Your first option is to feed your dog a home made diet, whether it be cooked or raw. From the time Weylin was 7 weeks old, he has eaten only human grade food. I started out using variations of recipes from Richard Pitcairn’s book: Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Weylin did well on the diet, but off and on he would have diarrhea. I did some research on feeding a raw diet, but I was not yet comfortable with the idea. When Maggie joined our family, I continued to feed both dogs a home cooked diet. Maggie had no problems with the cooked diet, but in the back of my mind, I still felt that the ultimate diet for my dogs would be a raw diet. I did more research on feeding raw, but my options to buy decent meat were few. I tried giving both dogs raw chicken wings. Weylin ate his whole, and Maggie was not interested. Before Weylin ate his wing, he managed to carry it around the house and get it all over the carpet. I could see that this was not for us.

Eventually I discovered that a pet store in a neighboring town carried Nature’s Variety raw food. I checked out the Nature’s Variety web site and liked what I saw. Here was a meat based raw diet that was grain free and once thawed was ready to serve. Weylin’s gastrointestinal problems seemed to stem from grain intolerance, and I believed that the raw food would end his problems. So, cooler in tow, I made the 45-minute drive to the pet store. I started feeding raw in March of 2007 and have never looked back. Both dogs are thriving, and Weylin no longer has problems with diarrhea. My husband and I eventually bought a second chest freezer so that we wouldn’t have to make the drive as often. I make a trip to get food about once every six weeks. Feeding the Nature’s Variety raw diet is actually much less work than cooking a home made diet.
If you are interested in making your own home made diet, there are several books that may be useful to you. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats gives you several feeding options. If you are feeding a high quality kibble and want to add to it, Dr. Pitcairn provides recipes for a fresh meat supplement, a cottage cheese supplement, and a fresh egg supplement. There are also many recipes for both dogs and cats that provide a full meal. You can use raw or cooked meat, and if you want to make larger batches of food, you can freeze the extras. There are also diets for special needs animals (such as puppies or high energy dogs).
A second book with a wealth of information is Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard. The book puts the emphasis on a raw diet, but you may cook the meat in the recipes. One thing that I really like about this book is that it goes into detail about each ingredient in the diet and why it is good for the dog. It covers different supplements as well that you might want to add to your dog’s food even if you are not using these recipes.
Another book that you might be interested in checking out is Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy R. Schultze. This book is strictly about feeding a raw diet, and it explains the theory behind feeding raw. It offers a good bit of information, however there are no specific recipes. I would recommend this book as a companion to other books rather than as a stand alone guide, especially if you are new to feeding a home made diet.
If you are looking for more recipes, you can find them in Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann M. Martin. I really believe every pet owner should read this book. There are some very sobering facts in it, and at times some of the information in the book made me ill just to think about it. However, after exposing the seedier side of the pet food industry, Ann. Martin devotes the last third of her book to what you should feed your pet. There are recipes as well as information on supplements.
This is by no means a complete list of resources. These are books that I own and have found helpful for my particular situation. There are many ideas and variations on homemade diets, raw or cooked. Many of the recipes include cooked grains. Some animals seem to do well eating grains, while others do not. I personally believe that the majority of the diet should be composed of meats. If you start researching raw diets, you will find that there are many different views on the subject. One name you are sure to come across in your search is Dr. Ian Billinghurst. I believe that he is from Australia, and he promotes the BARF diet (bones and raw food). He has written several books and also has a web site: If you do decide to feed a homemade raw diet, many times you can find groups on the internet who go together and buy meat in bulk. This helps to save each member of the group money.
Your second option is to feed a high quality dog food made from only human grade ingredients. There are many brands of foods to choose from whether you decide to feed raw or not. As I said before, I feed my dogs Nature’s Variety raw food (I also add some supplements, fruits, and veggies, but I will get into this in a later post.) Their website ( gives great information about each of their products. Not only do they make frozen raw food (which is a complete diet), they also make grain-free kibble and canned food (Nature’s Variety Instinct), as well as kibble and canned food that contains “whole hearty grains, and wholesome fruits and vegetables” (Nature’s Variety Prairie). Nature’s Variety also makes cat food.

I am going to give you a short list of other foods that I know to be healthy food for your dog. This is not a complete list, and it is not in any particular order.

Merrick Pet Food: Merrick makes both dry and canned foods for dogs and cats. They also make a variety of different treats. I have fed my dogs the canned food, and they love it. Sometimes I mix it in with the raw food for a little variety.
Solid Gold: Solid Gold offers a variety of items for both dogs and cats. They make dry and canned food, biscuits and treats, and supplements.
Halo: Halo has been known for it’s Spot’s Stew canned food, but they also offer dry food, treats, and supplements for dogs and cats.
Bravo: Bravo offers raw food for dogs and cats.
Primal Pet Foods: Primal offers raw, frozen diets for dogs and cats, as well as some treats.
Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul: They offer dry and canned food and treats for dogs and cats

Again, I will say that this is not a complete list of healthy dog food. There are more and more manufacturers providing wholesome feeding options for both dogs and cat. If you want to find unbiased dog food reviews, you really need to order back issues of “The Whole Dog Journal” ( WDJ is a monthly guide to natural dog care and training. It’s looks a bit thin when you first pick it up, but then you realize that there are no ads at all. WDJ does not accept advertising so that they may provide completely unbiased information. They review different types of foods each year. The June 2008 issue, which I have in hand, reviews commercially produced frozen raw diets. I have been subscribing to WDJ for a couple of years and have never been disappointed. Each issue is three-hole punch so they are easy to store in a binder.

Another great source of information is “Animal Wellness Magazine” ( This magazine is also well worth the subscription price. They always have great articles on both dogs and cats and sometimes other animals as well. If you are looking for different foods, their ads are a great place to start. From what I have seen, the pet food ads are only for high quality foods. Just by thumbing through an issue, you can get an idea of what brands of dog food are available to you.
Whether you decide on dry, canned, raw, homemade, etc. food for your dog, the key is to do your research. Be suspicious of any web site where you have a hard time finding ingredient lists. All the foods mentioned above have each ingredient listed, and you don’t have to search for the list. You can also refer to for information on different foods, but you should check the manufacturers web site for the most up-to-date information. What you feed to your dog will ultimately determine the state of his health over his lifetime. It is sad to say, but my dogs each a much healthier diet than my husband and me probably ever will.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Dog Food Dilemma – Part 1

What do you feed your dog? Many people do not give it much thought. They pick up a bag at the grocery store labeled “Dog Food”. It is food for dogs; therefore it must be good for them. It must be all they need. Why would someone sell food for dogs that is not good for them? Why indeed?

For too long, dogs have been treated as second class citizens. After all, they are only dogs. Mere animals. Man took the independent wolf, an animal that could fend for himself and feed himself and turned him into a house pet that depends on us for his every need. Humans are responsible for providing dogs with food that is healthy and safe for them to eat.

Most of us are not well versed in canine nutrition. For years I fed Wulf Pro Plan on the recommendation of a veterinarian. Surely a veterinarian wouldn’t steer me wrong. Has a vet ever told you that it is not good for you to feed your dog “people food”? Is people food really that different from dog food? Have you ever seen a wolf at the grocery store buying a bag of dog food? Wolves ate meat; wolves did not eat meat by-products. Wolves most certainly didn’t fill up on corn and other grains every day. Wolves and dogs are meant to eat mainly meat. Another common myth is that dogs should eat the same thing all the time. If you don’t feed them the same thing all the time, dogs will become finicky. Would you want to eat the same thing all the time?

If you really want to know what has traditionally gone into dog foods then you must read "Food Pets Die for: Shocking Facts about Pet Food" by Ann M. Martin. The pet food industry has been keeping awful secrets from the general public. Ann M. Martin has been investigating the pet food industry since 1990, and she has exposed the horrors of this industry. Many major pet food companies fund ongoing animal research in the name of so-called nutritious pet food. Ann Martin was the first to expose the fact that euthanized cats and dogs are common ingredients in many commercial pet foods as are diseased cattle, contaminated meat, moldy grain, road kill, and rancid fats from restaurants. I won’t go into more detail here, because I don’t want you to stop reading. Some things in the book made my physically ill. I was appalled and outraged at what I may have fed to Wulf. I think the bottom line is this: If it is not safe for you to eat, why would it be safe for your dog to eat?

I am going to give a few examples of low quality dog food ingredients in popular brands of dog foods (As reported by:

Alpo Lamb Meal, Rice & Barley Dog Food - Ground Yellow Corn, Digest of Chicken By-Products, Poultry By-Product Meal, Animal Fat(stabilized with BHA), Lamb Meal, Brewer's Rice, Ground Barley, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Chicory Root, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E, A, B12 & D3 Supplements, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamin Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin.

Pedigree Complete Nutrition (adult dog food): Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, animal fat (preserved with bha/bht), wheat mill run, natural poultry flavor, rice, salt, potassium chloride, caramel color, wheat flour, wheat gluten, vegetable oil, vitamins (choline chloride, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin e], l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate [source of vitamin c*], vitamin a supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin b1], biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement [vitamin b2], vitamin d3 supplement, vitamin b12 supplement), trace minerals (zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide).

Nestle Purina Beneful Healthy Harvest: Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soy protein concentrate, soybean meal, pearled barley, brewers rice, tricalcium phosphate, sugar, water, animal digest, sorbitol, phosphoric acid, salt, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, calcium carbonate, sorbic acid (a preservative), dried spinach, dried sweet potatoes, dried apples, dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, calcium propionate (a preservative), DL-Methionine, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, niacin, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, biotin, garlic oil, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, sodium selenite.

Diamond Hi-Energy Sporting Dog Formula: Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, ground corn, rice bran, wheat flour, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), meat meal, beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, fish meal, vitamins and minerals.

Hill's Science Diet Advanced Protection Canine Adult: Corn meal, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), flaxseed, chicken liver flavor, dried egg product, dried carrots, dried spinach, dried grape pomace, dried tomato pomace, dried citrus pulp, vegetable oil, oat fiber, taurine, L-carnitine, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid, minerals (salt, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), alpha-lipoic acid, rosemary extract, beta-carotene, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), niacin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement).

Do you see the trend here? The following analysis of some of the ingredients listed in the foods above come directly from

Corn is a problematic grain that is difficult for dogs to digest and thought to be the cause of a great many allergy and yeast infection problems.

The AAFCO definition of corn gluten meal is “the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm”. In plain English, that which remains after all the nutritious bits have been removed.

It is impossible to ascertain the quality of by-products and these are usually products that are of such low quality as to be rejected for use in the human food chain, or else are those parts that have so little value that they cannot be used elsewhere in either the human or pet food industries. The AAFCO definition of chicken by-product meal is “a meal consisting of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.”

Soy is a poor quality source of protein in dog food, and a common cause of allergy problems. Some believe that it is the number 1 cause of food allergies in dogs (outstripping even wheat).

Rice bran is a grain fragment, whilst wheat is believed by many to be the leading cause of food allergies in dog food. In flour form (in dog food, commonly a byproduct of human food production) this is a grain fragment we consider primarily filler.

Animal fat is a further low quality ingredient and is impossible to determine the source. Unidentified ingredients are usually very low quality. AAFCO define this as "obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the words "used as a preservative". It is a concern to see a fat as the fourth ingredient. Research at Purdue University has identified fat in the top four ingredients of a dry food as a factor that increases the risk of bloat in large breed dogs. Smaller breeds are untested.

Beet pulp
is controversial filler. It is a by-product, being dried residue from sugar beets which has been cleaned and extracted in the process of manufacturing sugar. It is a controversial ingredient in dog food, claimed by some manufacturers to be a good source of fiber, and derided by others as an ingredient added to slow down the transition of rancid animal fats and causing stress to kidney and liver in the process. We note that beet pulp is an ingredient that commonly causes problems for dogs, including allergies and ear infections, and prefer not to see it used in dog food.

Meat and bone meal is a low quality meat product for which it is impossible to determine the source.

Some foods use chemical preservatives (BHA, BHT) which is believed to be carcinogenic, and is banned from use in human food. It also uses artificial colorants.

What it all boils down to is that your dog should be eating meat. Not meat by-products, not corn, not wheat, but mainly meat. Many dog food labels are intentionally vague so the consumer doesn’t really know what they are feeding to their poor unsuspecting dog. In my next blog entry I will give of examples of what dog foods you should be feeding your pets.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Dog With A Purpose

To understand where I am coming from on all issues having to with dogs, I am going to give you a little background information. I grew up with wire-haired Fox Terriers. We always had a dog, so of course when I was out on my own I wanted a dog. My now ex-husband I did the worst thing you can possibly do when getting a dog. I don’t know how it happened, but we found an ad in a paper for wolf hybrid puppies. Alaskan Malamute/Tundra Wolf cross. If you don’t know anything about wolves, a Tundra Wolf is a very large wolf. I am not going to get into the wolf hybrid thing here. That’s a whole other blog. My ex and I know nothing about wolf hybrids. We go to this house at 9 or 10 o’clock at night. According the “breeders” the mother was 75% Alaskan Malamute/ 25% Tundra Wolf. The father was 75% Tundra Wolf/25% Alaskan Malamute. They billed the puppies as being 50/50 hybrid. If you are familiar with genetics, you know it just doesn’t work that way. The mother dog walked up to me, and her head was almost as chest level. I am almost 5’ 7”. Warning bells should have gone off, but they didn’t. The owners said that the mother weighed 175lbs and had lost weight nursing. Hello…were there red flags? Yes. But did I see them? No. That night eight week old Wulfgar came home to live with us. He was the most adorable creature on four legs. Eight week old Wulfgar weighed 17 lbs. That’s a lot of puppy. At the time, we lived in an apartment where you weren’t allowed to have pets. Good plan, huh? We were looking for a place to move, and eventually rented a small house. At the time we both worked, and the plan was to allow Wulf to have run of the basement during the day. The basement wasn’t fully submerged, there were windows, and it was nice and cool during the day. Wulf wasn’t having any of it. He was not interested in being inside whether it was cooler or not. So my ex-husband built him a dog house out of ¾” plywood, complete with green paint and a shingled roof. After a year we moved to another small house. After a few more years my ex-husband was gone. Wulf was a handful. I had taken him to obedience school, and he had done very well, but I have since come to the conclusion that he only let me think I was in charge. Wulf weighed in at 145lbs and looked like he weighed about 180lbs. Wulf and I went where we wanted, when we wanted, day or night. I had a Ford Ranger, and he rode in the back in a large wire dog crate. We had quite a few adventures together. I had people following me off the interstate to see him. One guy made me wait in McDonald’s parking lot until his wife could get there to see Wulf. We would go to Baskin Robbins for ice cream and people would gather around to watch. As he got older, it got to the point that it was annoying. I supposed he learned if from, but he eventually got to where he would just ignore most people. I would put on my invisible sunglasses, and away we would go. Unless someone was very insistent, we just ignored them most of the time.
My ex and I had made it a point to socialize Wulf. I had bought a book about raising a wolf hybrid and realized that I had a lot to learn. At the time there was also a magazine called the Wolf Hybrid Times that I subscribed to for a time. It came in a brown paper wrapper so the neighbors couldn’t see what it was. If you don’t know, it is illegal to give a wolf hybrid a rabies vaccine which is just asinine. Therefore if a wolf hybrid were to bite some, he would be quarantined and his head cut off. This is the only to tell if an animal has rabies. I had vets tell me that they didn’t want to know that he was a hybrid, and they gave him the rabies vaccine. So thus began Wulf’s life as an Alaskan Malamute or Alaskan Malamute mix. Most people didn’t know what a Malamute was to begin with.
When my ex-husband left, Wulf and I lived at the end of a dead end street with no other houses around. I was never afraid. Where Wulf’s coat was so thick, it was too hot to do anything during the day in the summer time. So we would go out after dark. We haunted many a park in the midnight hours, and I had no fear. I have no doubt that Wulf would have protected me if there had ever been a need to, but no one was ever stupid enough to try. Wulf was with me when I need him most, when I was out on my own for the first time. Was I the pack leader? Probably not. We were what we were. I loved him, and I thought I was doing to best that I could for him. I would have done what I had to do if anyone had ever tried to hurt him. I would have given anything to save him, but in the end we could not beat cancer. In December of 2003 my current husband and I found out that Wulf had bone cancer. I am not going to go into the whole story here. If you are interested in more details, you can check out my web page: Wulf ultimately lost his battle with bone cancer on April 4, 2004. The vet that diagnosed Wulf gave us two options: either amputate his leg or don’t wait too long to put him to sleep. This was not acceptable to me, so I began doing tons of research at the library and online. There were so many things that I did not know, and it might have cost Wulf his life. The two dogs that I have now, Weylin ( 4yr old Alaskan Malamute) and Maggie (4 Yr old Border Collie/Hound mix) have benefited greatly from what I have learned, but the price was so high.

The Mission of The Distinguished Dog

I decided to start writing this blog after reading pet questions that people ask on Yahoo! Answers. It is almost incomprehensible to me how ignorant some people are when it comes to caring for a dog. First of all, let me say that DOGS ARE NOT DISPOSABLE! People need to understand that when you get a dog, it is for life. You are committed to taking care of this animal the same way you are committed to taking care of your children. If you are not prepared to do this, then don’t get a dog. Getting a dog is not like buying something at Wal Mart. You can’t just decide that you don't like it after all, and return it. If you are going to have a dog, you should be ready and willing to take care of this animal in every way. If you can’t afford proper health care or do not want to pay for proper health care, then don’t get a dog.
A dog is one of God’s creatures. This animal is trusting you to feed him, shelter him, care for him, love him, play with him, and train him. I don’t have any tolerance for people who mistreat their dogs or any other animal, for that matter. I find it hard to believe that there isn’t something inherently wrong with someone who abuses animals.
That being said, I am not perfect. Have I made mistakes with my dogs? Of course. Are my dogs the most well trained dogs in the world? No they are not, but they are very well cared for and well loved. Most people would consider my dogs to be spoiled by any standard. I do not have human children, but Weylin and Maggie are my children and I take care of them to the best of my ability.
I will be writing blog entries about different topics, but many of the entries will have to do with canine health and nutrition. I am not an expert, I am merely expressing my opinions based upon research that I have done over the last five years. Where applicable, I will provide sources for my information. Occasionally Weylin or Maggie might have something to add. It’s always good to have a dog’s point of view