CANIDAE and The Pongo Fund Help Portland's Homeless

Two years ago Larry Chusid of Portland, Oregon saw some homeless men together with their dogs. Larry had just lost his dog, Pongo, and decided to donate some food and supplies to these men so they could take care of their pets. Since then, Larry's efforts have evolved into a complete charitable organization (non-profit status pending) dedicated to helping Portland's homeless and low-income people feed quality food to their pets.

Our own Jon Tingle, Sales Manager for CANIDAE in the Pacific Northwest, met with Larry recently to discuss how CANIDAE could help. "Larry called me one day and explained he was looking for some food and why. We met for a cup of coffee, and I put faith in his heart. We love helping him."

When Larry was asked what others can do to help, he replied, "Buy a bag of CANIDAE, because without them none of this would be possible!"

The Oregonian newspaper sent a reporter out to interview Larry and Jon while Larry distributed free food to those in need. For the complete article please visit The Oregonian website.

Visit The Pongo Fund website for donation information.

More Chewable, Playable, Durable Dog Toys

It's all about the toys! Your dog probably loves to play just as much as Kelly loves to eat...uh, I mean play. Recently, she was invited to test some amazing toys from

When the toys arrived, she immediately selected her favorite: an organic, half-moon-shaped canvas dumpling. It was difficult getting her to let go long enough to test the other toys.

Yummy Organic Cotton Tug Toy
This long, braided rope is so soft! But don't let that fool you. It's also durable. Kelly's razor sharp teeth have ripped apart almost every toy within their reach. Yet, this toy has experienced hours of play without significant damage (yet!). It's great for tugging too!

Wool Ball
Okay, I have to admit, at first we thought this was a cat toy. I mean wool...ball. But after browsing through Purrfectplay's website and seeing the many pictures of dogs enjoying the wool ball, we were convinced.

From the website:
"Wool balls smell of sheep and meadow air, reminding your pets of the great outdoors."
I don't know how they do it, but it must be true! Kelly definitely finds something attractive in the smell and taste of these toys!

I highly recommend the toys we tested. They rate extremely high for quality, durability and play value. Although all the toys are great, here you can see, the dumpling is still clearly Kelly's favorite.

Breed Profile: Labrador Retriever

By Ruthie Bently

Labrador Retrievers are a special breed, as anyone that has owned one or been involved with one can tell you. I didn’t grow up with a Lab, but one of my favorite books was “The Dog In My Life” by Kurt Unkelbach. It was about a young lady named Cary and her dog Thumper of Walden, and the adventures they had on and off the dog show circuit. Another of my favorite books was “The Incredible Journey” about a Labrador, a Bull Terrier and a Siamese cat and the journey they undertake when their owner leaves them with a friend for safekeeping.

The Labrador Retriever is a member of the Sporting Group and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917. Their outgoing personality and versatility makes them ideal as either a family pet or a sporting dog. They excel in tracking, agility, obedience and service work. It is because of their trainability that they are used for rescue work as well as guide dogs. The height for a male should be between 22-1/2 inches to 24-1/2 inches at the shoulder, and his weight should be between 65 to 80 pounds. A female’s height should be between 21-1/2 inches to 23-1/2 inches and her weight should be between 55 and 70 pounds. There are three colors that are acceptable for showing: yellow, black and chocolate. Additionally, in Britain a Labrador needs to have a working certificate or it cannot become a bench show champion.

The Labrador actually originated in Newfoundland not Labrador. The original Labrador breed died out in Newfoundland, due to a heavy dog tax and the restrictions on importing the breed into England. The original Labrador breed traces its history back to a dog known as the St. John’s Water Dog, which came from a cross between small water dogs and Newfoundlands. The Duke of Malmesbury was the one credited with naming the breed, after he admitted that he had always called his dogs Labradors. Accurate pedigrees of the Labradors of today can be traced back as far as 1878, to two dogs “Peter of Faskally” and “Flappe.”

Labradors were used by fishermen in Newfoundland to help pull in nets and catch escaping fish that got away from the fishing lines. A Labrador Retriever has a dense short coat that is weather resistant. Their tail is known as an “otter” tail and they should have eyes that are friendly and “kind.” They should have a good temperament and be intelligent, and since they are primarily bred as a working gun dog, their soundness and structure are very important. Because they are a “working” dog, Labs need a job so they do not get bored. I used to tell my customers that a Labrador needed the equivalent of a five mile walk every day. If you choose a Lab make sure you have the time to spend with them so they get the exercise or workout they need. They are also a dog that uses their mouth, and they tend to chew more than some of other breeds.

My personal experience with Labrador Retrievers is that they are very intelligent, loving, family oriented dogs. My brother-in-law has a lab mix, though she looks more like a Lab to me than the other half. Her name is Wings, and she gets into all sorts of things; she has even followed my boyfriend Steve home from my brother-in-law’s house and will sit in our yard at night guarding it from what she perceives as danger. Once you own a Lab, they will own you. They really want to please and in turn, they wiggle their way into your heart.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

CANIDAE is Now on Facebook – Join Us!

By Linda Cole

Facebook is a social networking site that helps users connect with family, friends and like-minded people who want a place where they can share their stories and photos with one another.

CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods is excited to announce the creation of their own Facebook page for people just like you – people who love animals as much as they do. If you don't have a Facebook page yet, go to and sign in. Create your profile, send invitations to family and friends, play games and send out interesting challenges to others to ponder and enjoy. Have fun with quizzes that test your brain power or find out which dog species you are most like. Facebook has something for everyone and new friends to meet and interact with.

The CANIDAE Facebook page is the perfect place to learn about proper pet care, CANIDAE product updates, and important information on their product line. It’s also a place to meet other pet owners who are as passionate about the care and well being of their pets as you are. You can even find and connect with other pet owners in your area.

The folks at CANIDAE would love to see photos of your pets and read your stories and comments. Feel free to post to their wall as much as you like. Please post any special videos, photos or links that help show how people have embraced responsible pet ownership.

Join the many fans who use the CANIDAE Facebook page for pet lovers, to read their ideas and share your stories about how we all can give our pets the best care possible. Learn how premium, all natural pet food from CANIDAE can help your pet live a long and healthy life.

Their Facebook page is the perfect place to communicate on a more personal level with CANIDAE. It gives you an opportunity to meet and interact with one of the most experienced and dedicated staff around – people like you and me who want to make sure our pets get what they need to stay healthy and happy.

Become a fan and follow Rocco the dog's progress as he recovers from his life on the street, lost and hungry. Because of the generosity of a stranger, this little dog now has a new home and plenty of healthy food to help him along. The folks at CANIDAE are helping to care for Rocco by donating food to his adopted mom. You can visit their Facebook page for updates to this heartwarming story of the little dog who needed (and got) a helping hand.

You can also find updates and uplifting stories on how CANIDAE supports green energy in a new state-of- the-art plant in Oklahoma that has created badly needed jobs for Americans, and is environmentally friendly in its design.

Responsible pet ownership starts with love. Add in a dash of respect and a spoonful of kindness sprinkled with lots of attention for each of your pets. Come join the CANIDAE team today on Facebook to learn more about the joys and benefits you receive from your pet by being a responsible pet owner.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Getting Started in Dock Diving

Are you looking for a dog sport that your entire family, canine included, can enjoy? Dock diving may be just what you're looking for! In this sport, dogs jump from a dock that is usually 40 feet long into a pool set up with distance markers that is also 40 feet long. Dogs run down the dock and into the pool to retrieve a toy that was tossed by the dog's handler.

Both dogs and people can enjoy dock diving without a lengthy training regimen. Some teams – handler and dog – have become accomplished jumpers after just a few attempts at their first event. In dock diving, success is not measured by the distance jumped but by how much fun you and your dog had. Dogs have as much fun jumping 3 feet as they do jumping 23 feet.

Participants at these events are often asked by spectators how to get started in dock diving. First, you need a dog that is not afraid of the water. The more they love to swim the better. Your dog needs to be leash controlled in an unfamiliar environment and non-aggressive to other dogs at the event. Another important factor is "toy drive," and the greater the drive in the dog, the easier it will be to overcome any hurdles they may encounter.

Remember, you are asking your dog to do something that most dogs are not familiar with – to run down an open dock and jump into a pool of clear water that is probably located somewhere the dog has never been before. The dock diving platform usually consists of a 6 foot high scaffolding/trailer dock that they must climb up stairs to access. It may be located in the parking lot of a sports store, or in the middle of your local state fair. It may be complete with spectators surrounding the sides of the pool and the hum of the upbeat music and pulsing voice of the announcer that stirs the crowd (and some teams) into excitement. Sounds intimidating, but most dogs overcome these distractions within minutes as they place their trust in their handler.

If you find yourself and your canine companion at a dock diving event without the benefit of practicing at a local lake or pool, there are a few things to remember. First always make it a positive experience with your dog. Remember, having fun with your dog is paramount, even if he does not jump. There will be many other handlers at the event that were once in your shoes, so use them as a tool to help you and your dog. They will be more than willing. At every step praise your dog and remember it's his first time too so he will be just as nervous as you.

The next thing is often the hardest for handlers to do – leave your ego in the car. It is not important for a first time dog to jump a great distance. What is important is that the dog has a positive experience and they figure out what you want them to do. As you walk them up the stairs to the dock, remember to praise and assure them. They trust you. Familiarize them with the dock and lead them up and down the dock a couple of times. Confidence is building with every step and it is that confidence that will allow your dog to improve with every jump.

Take your dog to the pool end of the dock and let them take a look at the pool and its surroundings. Let the dog examine the two foot drop into the water. This is one of the biggest hurdles. Have your dog's favorite toy (floatable & non-edible) ready and get your dog enthused about fetching it for you. Return to the edge of the dock and toss the toy 7-10 feet out onto the surface of the water. No closer as it becomes a downward dive when you want the dog to jump out. Too far and the dog realizes they cannot get that far, causing some dogs to try to run outside of the pool to get it.

Remember when you took your first dive in a swimming pool? You did not do it from the 20 meter board but rather from the side of the pool. Take your dog 5-10 feet back on the dock allowing the dog to maintain eyesight with the toy. Encourage your dog to retrieve their toy then take them off lead and let them go, all the time encouraging and praising. First time dogs will usually take a couple of strides, hesitate, then jump. If the dog jumps you are on your way!

Don't be afraid of getting wet; give them an affectionate hug as they exit the pool, praising them on what an outstanding job they just did. Do this immediately – don't wait until you get out of the staging area. If the dog does not jump, reset the dog and try again while keeping the positive reinforcement flowing. If he stops the second time, go to the edge of the dock and encourage him from there. If you feel your dog is not going to jump, allow them to go down the exit ramp into the pool and swim out to retrieve the toy. This helps ensure a positive experience for the dog.

Remember, you must take small steps before you take larger ones. With your help and encouragement your dog will build confidence and you will both succeed. Again, the unwritten law for all dock diving participants is “keep it fun.”

By Dan Jacobs of Team Missy
Sponsored by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods

5 Ways to Ease Separation Anxiety

I was just visiting back home, and enjoyed spending time not only with friends and family, but also their dogs. It was interesting to see the different personalities, and how their different lifestyles affected their pets. Just like I recognize how my pampering has made my dog Kelly, uh...a bit spoiled. (Okay, so we'll work on that!)

My brother's dog, Lawrence, loves company. This big lab/akita/? mix welcomes anyone into his home. But try to leave--forget it! The minute you head for the front door, Lawrence starts barking frantically. After observing this behavior a few times, I could see that Lawrence actually started to get anxious the moment we got up and moved to say goodbye. It seems he becomes nervous when people leave, fearing being left home alone.

Separation anxiety is a common problem among dogs. Helping an anxious dog takes consistent work. Depending on the degree of the problem, you may need to consult with your veterinarian or a dog behaviorist. Here are a few tips to try to see how your dog responds. Not everything will work for every dog. Try to be aware of what sets your dog off, and what helps him feel secure.

Don't Make a Fuss- If you hug and kiss your dog whenever you leave, and say "Oh, poor baby, you have to stay home all alone," your dog is likely to pick up on your anxiousness. Try to get out the door without the fanfare, even if you're feeling guilty for leaving your dog alone.

Change Your Routine- Maybe there's something about your present routine that isn't working. If getting ready and out the door in the morning is a busy and stressful time, your dog will sense that. Try setting out clothes or packing lunches the night before, or getting up a few minutes earlier, and see if the stress level reduces--for everyone.

Provide a Lovey- Before you leave, be sure you've given your dog a security object. An old t-shirt maybe, with your scent on it. This may help her feel you're close.

Distract- If your dog loves to play, use that to your advantage. Toss him an engaging toy just before you leave. Keep the toys fresh and fun by rotating the supply.

Practice- Consider a helpful routine for your departure. Put your dog on a down somewhere out of view of the door. Spend a few moments calmly giving him attention. Give him a toy or a carrot to chew on. I wouldn't command your dog to "Stay" because you won't be home to release him from the stay. If he follows you to the door (and he will!) just calmly continue your routine. Practice the same calm routine every day and it may become familiar and comforting to your dog.

Separation anxiety is difficult to get over, but when both you and your dog feel secure, the process will become easier. Good luck. You can do it!

Fear of Cats: Ailurophobia Symptoms, Causes and Cures

By Julia Williams

It’s been said that when it comes to cats, people either love them or hate them. But there is actually a third feeling many people have for felines: they fear them. The clinical name for Fear of Cats is Ailurophobia. Although it’s difficult for most cat lovers to understand why anyone would be afraid of cats, Ailurophobia is very real, and can be a genuine problem for people who suffer from it.

A phobia is defined as an extreme, irrational and persistent fear of a particular object, activity or situation. Phobias are considered to be a type of anxiety disorder, wherein exposure to the feared stimulus can cause sweating, shaking, heart palpitations, loss of breath, dry mouth, the inability to think or speak clearly, and even a full blown panic attack. Ailurophobia then, is not simply a strong dislike of cats; it’s an intense feeling of fear at the sight of one – even if it’s just on TV.

Sometimes, just the thought of coming into contact with a cat is enough to get an Ailurophobics heart racing. They may understand intellectually that a cat poses no real danger to them, but it doesn’t change their involuntary reaction. Ailurophobics may fear physical contact with a cat, such as bites and scratches, or they might fear the perceived supernatural nature of cats. Ailurophobics often associate cats with black magic, witchcraft, sadism and evil–especially black cats, thanks to Halloween legends, superstitions and countless literary works.

What Causes Ailurophobia?

Like all fears and phobias, Ailurophobia is a protective mechanism created by the unconscious mind. Quite often, the phobic individual can't even tell you exactly what they fear about cats, or where their fear might have originated. Sometimes all they know is that they've been afraid of cats for as long as they can remember.

They might have had a frightening experience with a cat as a baby or young child, but have forgotten it. Toddlers often aren’t taught how to properly pick up cats and may also prod, poke or pet them roughly. This could result in children getting scratched, bitten, and emotionally traumatized. Ailurophobia could also be caused by seeing someone else have a negative experience with a cat. Further, parents can sometimes transfer their own fear of cats on to their children.

Treatments for Ailurophobia

With professional help, the fear of cats can usually be overcome. Of course, for any phobia treatment plan to succeed, the person must first have a desire to overcome the fear. Ailurophobics often avoid seeking treatment because they’re embarrassed about fearing an animal that is generally regarded as cute, cuddly and harmless. It doesn’t help matters if they get teased after confessing their fear of cats to people who don’t understand phobias.

There are many different treatments for Ailurophobia. Like other phobias, Ailurophobia responds well to cognitive-behavior therapy (a form of psychotherapy which stipulates that the way we think about things affects how we feel emotionally). Cognitive therapy focuses on problem solving and present thinking rather than on past experiences, and often includes a desensitization component.

The Ailurophobic individual is taught to use relaxation and visualization techniques when experiencing anxiety about cats. Gradual exposure to cats is introduced in a systematic, structured way while the person concentrates on remaining calm. This might include looking at photos of cats, watching videos about cats, seeing a cat through a window, and eventually, being in the same room with a cat or kitten.

Hypnotherapy is another form of treatment for Ailurophobia. Hypnotherapy helps to reprogram the subconscious thoughts that may be linked to the phobia. When the subconscious is reprogrammed, the phobia symptoms are often minimized.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how individuals create their reality. From the NLP viewpoint, phobias are the result of faulty “programs” that a person has created. With NLP, these programs are revealed and "re-programmed" so that the phobia is minimized or eliminated. Energy Psychology is similar to acupuncture, except that no needles are used. Energy Psychology is emerging as a safe and effective and way to change phobic behaviors and thought patterns.

I am eternally grateful that I don’t have a fear of cats. After writing this, I’m ready to engage in some serious snuggling with my three feline friends, Annabelle, Rocky and Mickey.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

What Does a Dog Need?

By Ruthie Bently

According to noted dog trainer Tamar Geller, every dog has seven basic needs. It doesn’t matter if you have a Yorkie, a Chihuahua, an AmStaff or a Labrador retriever. Their needs are all the same. She goes on to define a need as something a dog cannot do without, and misbehavior can happen from only one of their seven needs being neglected. Sounds like several people I know.

A dog’s seven basic needs are: a sense of security, companionship, understanding the hierarchy, surprise/excitement, food and exercise, mental stimulation, and love and connection. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Dogs need to know that their human companion will be there to give them a toy, treat, hug or some love when they do what we want them to do. Just as we need structure and a certainty of how our lives are going to progress, so do our dogs.

Dogs are pack animals and need to be social; only in this way and by using cooperation with others can any canine (wild or domesticated) hope to survive. It doesn’t matter whether I am inside or outside the house with my dog, she won’t be too many feet from me. And if she walks away she will be back within a few minutes after she has gone potty or checked out something that she feels the need to investigate.

Dogs also need to know who the pack leader is. You need to be the alpha dog and make sure that your dog knows it as well. The alpha dog gets the best parts of the kill, the best sleeping spot. Everything comes to the alpha dog first, and your dog needs to know that is you. If this is not done, you could find yourself fighting with your dog for your rightful place in your own bed. It’s OK for your dog to sleep with you, they just have to know that it is by your invitation only, and it can be rescinded at any time.

Dogs need stimulation and change in their lives, so surprises and excitement will help keep your dog from getting bored. A surprise could be a trip in the car, a day at the beach, a walk or even a simple game of catch the ball. Skye loves to go for rides in my truck; she never knows when I am going to travel but she loves to go when I invite her. Ms. Geller suggests giving your dog at least one surprise a day. Put yourself in your dog’s shoes – wouldn’t you love a surprise every day from your significant other?

Every living creature needs food and water to survive. Exercise is a great way to let your dog blow off steam and get rid of excess energy that could be used in a more destructive manner if not dealt with. I can’t tell you how much destructive chewing I helped my customers cure, just by giving their dogs a different focus for their energy. I try to get Skye to exercise with me at least fifteen minutes every day. It may not sound like much, but it does her a world of good, even if I do have to call a halt in this summer weather to keep her from overheating.

The next item on the list of a dog’s seven needs is mental stimulation. Every time Skye is in the truck with me, her nose goes right to the air vents. It makes me wonder what exotic things she smells that I can’t even begin to decipher. I actually taught Nimber to fetch my “Gremlin” slippers (a huge pair of stuffed slippers with a “gremlin” head and big ears). I used to tell him to go get my “Mogwais” and he knew what I was talking about. I even made a game where I would hide them in different places (instead of my closet floor where they were kept). Nimber never chewed them up, but he had a blast trying to find out where I put them. Games help keep your dog stimulated and help keep them from getting bored. Teaching them words can help stimulate them as well. Like us, dogs are capable of learning until the day they pass on.

Last but not least is love and connection. Your dog needs to know he is loved and has a connection to you as the alpha member of your pack. I remember moving vehicles in the driveway where I used to live when I owned Nimber. I parked my car, got out and went into the garage. Nimber had jumped into my friend’s truck and when my friend started backing his truck down the driveway prior to parking it, Nimber almost went through the windshield to get out of the truck. He thought he was being taken away from me. We loved each other and were lucky enough to have a connection to each other as well. I would take him visiting with me and if I went into the bathroom, it was a sure bet I would trip over Nimber when I came out. Skye is the same way and I am blessed, though her devotion is sometimes a bit overwhelming.

By being willing to meet our dogs’ seven basic needs, we can have a wonderful life with a loving, fun companion for many years to come. I will see you soon – Skye and I are going outside and test out her new glow-in-the-dark ball.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Buyer Beware When Purchasing Fish

This is such a pet peeve (pardon the pun) of mine, but why does Wal-Mart sell live fish? Everytime I go to any Wal-Mart with tropical fish, they look sick, many having ich (white spot disease) or even worse - dead floating in the tank.

But still, they always have rows of tanks full of dying fish. And they keep buying more from distributors since the tanks are always full of semi-alive fish covered with ich or fungus.

Adding unhealthy fish to your community tank can effectively wipe-out all the other fish in you have. Before adding any fish to your tank, inspect it closely for torn fins, fungus, and white spots. Make sure the fish is alert, active, and swimming around while not at the surface gasping for air.

Most likely, you won't find any fish like this at Wal-Mart. And even adding one unhealthy fish to your aquarium can introduce diseases that can destroy your community.

The Best Dogs for Allergic People

By Anna Lee

A lot of focus was placed on hypoallergenic dog breeds when President elect Obama promised his daughters, Sasha and Malia, that a new puppy would be moving into the White House with them. The cause of so much attention on their choice of dog (which ended up being a Portuguese Water Dog) was due to the fact that young Malia is allergic to dogs.

Many families face a similar problem as more and more people develop allergies but still want the responsibility (and the joy) of becoming dog owners. Here are some breeds that are considered good for families with allergies.

Schnauzers: the Miniature Schnauzer is an adorable little dog that loves kids, but requires discipline and socializing with other dogs. This little guy doesn’t think he is small and will try to take on larger dogs. Schnauzers tend to bark a lot, and make good guard dogs because of this. They weigh anywhere from 10-15 pounds and have a 15 year life expectancy.

If you want a larger dog, the Giant Schnauzer is a good choice. They are quick to learn but need discipline as they will try to take over. They can weigh up to 80 pounds and require exercise to release some energy. Life expectancy is 12-15 years.

Bichon Frise: If you want a small hypoallergenic dog, try the Bichon. They are adorable little dogs, requiring grooming every 4 weeks. They are small enough to carry around with you! Bichons are extremely intelligent and have a happy temperament. They prefer to be with people and are great with kids. Housebreaking might take a little longer than usual with this breed. They weigh from 7 to 12 pounds; life expectancy is about 15 years.

Designer Dogs: Cockapoo, Labradoodle and Schnoodle

These hypoallergenic Designer Dogs (i.e., a cross between two purebred dogs) take on the traits of each breed.

* The Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Sizes range from teacup weighing less than 6 pounds to maxi at 19 pounds. They are playful dogs and they love everyone. If you want a small, fun-loving dog that would fit well into any lifestyle, this is a perfect choice. They are fast learners, and you need to stay one step ahead of them.

* The Labradoodle is a mixture of a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. A yellow Labradoodle looks like a Yellow Lab with a soft perm! A Lab mixed with just about any breed with result in a wonderful, loving dog. It is the ‘poodle’ part of the mix that makes the designer Labradoodle hypoallergenic. Depending upon the breeder, the dog can have smooth hair like a Lab, or wavy hair.

* The Schnoodle is a Schnauzer Poodle mix, and they are a great family dog. Because both breeds are hypoallergenic, this dog is very allergy friendly. They are loyal, affectionate, obedient and loving, and have lots of personality. Whether you live in an apartment or a farm, they will fit in fine as long as they are with people. They love to ride in the car, so plan your family vacations with them in mind.

The Portuguese Water Dog is classified as a gun dog by the United Kennel Club. Its original job was to herd fish into nets and to retrieve broken nets and lost tackle. They have a wavy coat and do not shed. These are not low maintenance dogs, as they require a lot of grooming. Although basically a quiet breed, they do have a loud bark. They have strong wills so discipline and obedience training is necessary. If you’ve seen any news segments on the “First Dog,” you may have noticed he is extremely playful! Life expectancy is 10-14 years.

More hypoallergenic breeds to consider: most Terriers, the Chinese Hairless, Irish Water Spaniel and Spanish Water Dog.

You can be a dog owner even if you or your family members have allergies. Get a dog from the above list and enjoy responsible pet ownership! It is suggested that once you decide on a particular breed, you spend some time with one in order to properly determine that you are not allergic to it. A small investment of time will pay off big time in the end.

Read more articles by Anna Lee

Caturday funnies


Is My Old Dog Still Breathing?

By Lexiann Grant

The weather turns warm. Or humid. Wylie pants, laboring to draw a deep breath of cool air. It scares me the way his sides quiver when he inhales. At night, when it’s finally cooler, I often find him awake, lying down, but with his head up, his breathing rapid. There is nothing I can do that settles him or eases his shallow respirations. In the morning, if he is down, I rush to check – is he still breathing?

Wylie is an old dog, ambling slowly around the bend of 14 into 15. He was a wild puppy, one of those dogs who probably thought his name was, “no,” “stop,” “don’t,” or “enough.” We couldn’t wait for him to mature and settle down. But several years into the senior range, Wylie still chased cats, ate toilet paper and stole food from the counter. (Yes, we did take him to obedience, each of us...twice.)

One winter night he came inside, from barking and chasing a creature invisible to me. Suddenly he staggered, his back end sinking, legs lurching like a drunk’s. His eyes rolled to me, wide with panic, and down he went. No seizure, but Wylie was obviously ill. As I was about to take him to the emergency vet, he just as suddenly regained use of his legs. Within a few seconds he ran to the kitchen, wagging his tail and barking for dinner. Back to normal, back to wild.

That was three-and-a-half years ago. According to medical literature, Wylie should have been dead less than 12 months after the first appearance of his symptoms. There is no definitive diagnosis. Maybe he has atypical seizures, maybe degenerative myelopathy, or possibly laryngeal paralysis, also a degenerative neurological disease of the entire body despite its particular name.

Wylie’s personality changed with the collapse, and what used to intrigue him now stressed him to the point of danger. Although I would have gladly spent the money for specialty treatment, Wylie couldn’t be tested. The stress and discomfort of the tests necessary for a diagnosis could aggravate his symptoms, accelerating the disease. And even with an answer, there was – is – no cure.

Now my wild child sleeps his days away. Cats that used to scatter at his appearance, sniff his ears and step over his outstretched legs, legs that quiver and paddle as he dreams. But when dark falls, sleep slips into the shadows as Wylie worries through the nights, his stress magnified by hearing that has faded. Bewilderment is plain on his face as he agonizes over intruders he may miss if he rests.

Some days his symptoms are worse. He cannot arise without help. His feet turn in of their own accord, toes and nails drag, or he turns in circles and walks in diagonal lines on some unmappable path. Or he forgets how to get from the yard to the door that brings him back to food and his bed. The once proudly curled tail hangs unfurled, and he no longer lifts his leg to mark the world as his own.

And yet I keep this old dog near to my heart and bedside, even though he doesn’t smell so good anymore. Just as I worry that tomorrow will be the awful moment when I must decide to let him go painlessly, he revives himself and makes it through another day, not in discomfort or anxiety, but in that joyously simple state natural to dogs. He barks for breakfast, plays with his treat cube and runs, not so fast or gracefully, to see the deer pass through the woods.

So I breathe a sigh of relief and wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Will Wylie be there – lost? wild? staggering? happy? I’ve learned to love the new form of crazy, the new-old Wylie. One day, his bed and bowl, they’ll both be empty (and his bed will still smell like him). Today he’s here, breathing, and that’s enough.

Read more articles by Lexiann Grant


We recently took Kelso, our male Lhasa Apso, to get, as they say, altered. The term struck me as funny, but I guess in the long run, that is exactly what they are doing to him, altering. I remember growing up, and we used to always say the dog was being "Fixed." But when you say fixed, in a lot of ways you are saying that maybe there was something broken to begin with?

I would have thought the term of spayed or neutered would be used by our vet, but when the paperwork came to us, it stated the surgery as our dog being altered.

There really isn't an easy way to describe what is being done to dog...especially if you're a guy!! But the good news is, no matter what you call it, Kelso did fine, and is now recovering. He's been whining a bit since the surgery, and I'm sure he's still a bit uncomfortable, but in a few weeks, it will all be a distant memory.

Protect Your Dog From Ticks

By Ruthie Bently

The different seasons come with different challenges for our pets. Here in Minnesota during spring and summer we have to deal with ticks. We're told they are heaviest in the months of May, June and July, but we have seen them later and earlier in the year depending on the weather. It is funny that I can watch a gory monster movie, but I get absolutely creeped out by ticks.

Ticks are a member of the arachnid family and, like spiders, have eight legs when they are adults. Ticks are an external parasite that lives on the blood of their host. They are usually found on birds and mammals, though there are reports of them appearing on amphibians and reptiles. There are many varieties of ticks, but the three that should concern you if you live in the United States are the deer tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick.

While ticks can neither fly nor hop, they can drop on their host from a tree or just crawl up a leg or tail. They are abundant near water sources where animals might come to drink. The pets most at risk are the ones that are ill, senior citizens or weak, though any pet can be assaulted by a tick. Ticks can be found in most forests or areas where there are woodlands. They tend to frequent trails and paths that have been made by either humans or animals. They’re usually found more in taller meadow grass that will have shrubs and trees rather than clipped grass. It has even been hypothesized that ticks can respond to scents animals leave behind, and that is why they are found around trails and paths. Ticks are also able to sense the heat and carbon dioxide emissions from a potential host.

Deer ticks are especially dangerous, as they can be carriers of Lyme disease. This debilitating disease can strike down humans and their pets alike. The western variety of deer tick can transmit Lyme disease as well as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to their host. A deer tick is about the size of the head of a straight pin.

The American dog tick, also known as a wood tick, is found mostly east of the Rocky Mountains. They have also been found in parts of Mexico, Canada and the Pacific Northwest. They prefer dogs as their host and can be found on a dog as an adult tick. The dog tick is about an eighth of an inch long as an adult. These ticks winter in the soil and can be active between mid-April to early September, depending on your particular climate. The dog tick is primarily known for passing on Rocky Mountain spotted fever to its host, though it can also pass on the vector of tularemia, which can cause canine tick paralysis.

The brown dog tick is an oddity in that it can live its entire life indoors. This means you can have an infestation in your house, since this tick does not have to develop outside. They are found throughout the world, primarily in warmer climates. They are about the size of the American dog tick. They can be found on pets, inside houses, kennels, and sometimes on wildlife.

Grooming your dog frequently can help you find a tick and prevent an infestation in your house. A tick can cause itchiness around the site of the bite, infection and sometimes even paralysis and death. Often, a tick can be removed fairly easily, by using a tweezers and grasping the head of the tick and pulling gently. Don’t try to remove the tick with your bare hands; if the tick you are removing is infected, you could transfer it to yourself. You don’t want to leave the mouth parts in the wound, as they can cause a secondary infection.

If you are not experienced at proper tick removal, consult with your veterinarian first to learn how to remove them properly and safely. Your vet can also offer various tick treatments and preventative choices that are appropriate for your dog.

One method some vets recommend is to take a swab with rubbing alcohol on it and dab it on the tick to try and get it to let go. Make sure after removing a tick from your dog to bathe the area well with an antiseptic wash. Keep an eye on the area in case there are further complications, and contact your veterinarian if you notice any changes at the site of the bite.

It isn’t hard to be aware and check your dog each time you come in the house. By being diligent you can safeguard your pets, your family and yourself. Your dog will love the extra attention even if they don’t know why they’re getting it.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Rusty and Mr. Goldman

"Rusty" was about 9 months old when his owner became our patient. Mrs. Goldman had terminal cancer and her husband had brought her a puppy to cheer her up while she was undergoing a final and difficult round of chemotherapy. While she loved the little dog, it was Mr. Goldman who clung to Rusty through the grief of watching his wife of 52 years decline, despite the attempts to manage her symptoms. Rusty provided comic relief from the sadness and pain they both felt and he slept beside Mr. Goldman as he watched over his wife at night. When hospice took over her care, we provided support for her, for him and the Pet Peace of Mind program provided for Rusty, too. We provided his food and delivered it to the home, as well as transportation to the vet and funding for his second and third set of vaccinations and neutering. We also provided flea and tick preventative and heartworm preventative for Rusty, so taking care of him during this time would be easier for Mr. Goldman. The family photos taken toward the end of Mrs. Goldman's life show Rusty in Mr. Goldman's arms. His place in the family was secure. When we asked Mr. Goldman if we could take a picture of Rusty, he was only too happy to comply. As a gift, we presented him with a copy framed in a pet themed frame. He displayed it at his wife's funeral two weeks later.

Training Dogs with Kindness

By Ruthie Bently

I grew up with a saying “You can get more flies with honey than vinegar.” Did you know that you can train a dog with kindness and compassion and get better results than when you try to browbeat them? I got my first American Staffordshire Terrier as a Christmas present on December 27th, 1981. He was a great dog and he is gone now, but he taught me several valuable lessons. One of them was to go with my own instincts as to how I trained my dog.

Growing up, I was familiar with dogs and choke chains. I was bothered with the “choking” factor, but it was an accepted way to train dogs in the 1960s and 1970s. With Nimber I learned that AmStaffs, though stubborn as a donkey (this is the polite word), were also capable of being sensitive. Sounds funny doesn’t it? I never knew the dog I got could be a prima donna.

Nimber and I got through his puppy training class and he was pretty well behaved when I gave him commands, so I wasn’t sure about continuing on with training classes. I wanted a companion who paid attention to what I told him and did what I asked him to do. Nimber did about 75% of the time, and I wasn’t really looking forward to going back to class. Nimber didn’t really like school and I couldn’t blame him; I hated school when I was young, why should he be any different.

Nimber and I were going along fine, and I found I needed to go out of town and couldn’t take him with me. OK, not a big deal; I had a great kennel. They would feed his regular food, supplements and give him biscuits for being good. When I scheduled his stay, I was asked if I wanted training time. They explained that it would be a refresher course for Nimber and wouldn’t cost extra. So I said “Sure, why not?” What a jerk I was. The owner of the kennel was a trainer, but unfortunately not Nimber’s trainer. Her husband who was used to dealing with police canine units was Nimber’s trainer. That was my mistake.

I went to pick Nimber up when I got home, and interrupted a training session. My four-legged child, who knew my vehicle by its sight and sound, my smell and all the canine triggers a dog has at their disposal, knew I was there before he could see me, and he reacted. So did the trainer, he grabbed Nimber’s ear and pinched it between his finger and the chain of the choke collar Nimber was wearing for the training session. I was out of the car by this point and saw Nimber yelping, blood beginning to seep from his ear, and a masochist trainer still holding Nimber’s ear in a pinch. I very politely went over to him and got my dog before he could do any more damage to my dog’s body or spirit. I paid my bill, took my poor dog home and never went back.

What this taught me was to check into whose care I am putting my beloved pets, no matter how well I think I know them. It also made me look for alternative forms of training for subsequent dogs. I have read numerous books on training since then and have used the techniques I found within. Through this process, I also learned that you don’t have to bully a dog into doing what you want them to do. When you treat them with kindness and respect, they will give you back the moon.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

A Dog + a Dumpling= Great Fun!

Kelly didn’t know the toy was organic. She didn’t really care if it was safe and quality-made. But she knew it was fun. That’s what Kelly discovered recently when she tested Purrfectplay’s “dumpling” pet toy.

A few weeks ago, Purrfectplay owner Pam Wheelock asked if Kelly would mind sampling a few of her toys. Of course, Kelly was eager to oblige. When the box came in the mail, Kelly instantly sensed it was for her. She stuck her nose in my way as I anxiously ripped open the flaps. Three toys were packaged in neat paper bags, stamped with the Purrfectplay logo.

What I noticed instantly was that these weren’t your typical, gaudy glitzy pet shop toys. They were shades of beige and brown; simple and attractive. All Purrfectplay toys are free of plastics and chemical dyes.

Why Dye Free?
From Purrfect Play website:
Why we use only dye-free organic natural fibers.
Toys spend a lot of time in your pets' mouths. Toys are sucked on, chewed on, and licked. You are concerned about your pets' food-- you should also be concerned about what their toys are made of. We are!

I soon discovered that I could believe what was said on the website. As I was reading “Organic dye-free fibers are naturally attractive to your pets.” Kelly was trying desperately to tug the “dumpling” –a crescent shaped heavy fabric chew toy-- out of my hand. Before I pulled the toy out of its brown paper bag, she was clamoring to get it into her mouth.

The website explains:
“Dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell and are sensitive to chemicals. They love the fresh softness of natural dye-free fibers. Dogs and cats see less color than we do-so why buy them a bright orange or purple toy, especially if it smells and tastes funny to them?”

Well, Kelly has spent hours and hours playing with this toy, and it’s one I can highly recommend.

Our observations:
Playability: This toy instantly rose to Kelly’s favorite. She carried it around for days (still does!) and even lugs it up to bed with her. Something about the shape is very appealing to her. When she carries it in her mouth, it looks like a giant smile!
Durability: Most pet shop toys last about 15 minutes around Kelly. Even ones marked “most durable” are shredded, de-squeaked and abandoned in no time. This toy was especially durable. After day one, (and a lot of play!) it was still intact. On day two Kelly managed to rip a hole in one side. This hole has gradually become larger but, guess what? No stuffing is strewn across my carpet! That’s because the stuffing is cleverly contained inside a second, smaller pouch. Kelly has not broken into that yet. And the squeaker still squeaks!

Drawbacks: The color, a light beige, shows the dirt—a lot! After only a few minutes it looked pretty yucky. Owner Pam Wheelock explains that the natural fibers don’t repel dirt like synthetics. She also explains that the toy should wash up just fine. I can’t get it away from Kelly long enough to wash it, though!

If you like what you’ve read, visit Pam’s site and check out her line of dog toys and cat toys. The company is members of Co-op America and the Organic Trade Association, and they donate 5% of each sale to no-kill and rescue organizations. Purrfectplay is “a young company following our hearts and joyfully engaged. That makes all the difference.”
I agree.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the wool ball.

What I Learned From my Dog: Organic fibers just feel better! And, maybe you can tell if a product is made with TLC.

Fact or Fallacy: Most Cats Are Aloof

By Julia Williams

The biggest misconception about cats, in my opinion, is that most of them are aloof. The feline is thought to be a haughty creature that doesn’t show any outward signs of love for their owners. Many people also believe that cats abhor human companionship, and only tolerate us because it’s the easiest way to get food. Some even say cats think they’re superior to humans, and that if we don’t cater to their every whim, the cat will promptly pee on something to remind us who is in charge.

My experience with cats, on the other hand, has proven otherwise. In fact, after many decades of living with, loving, and being loved by dozens of cats, I’m convinced that only aloof people have aloof cats. Cats are highly social animals, and many aloof cats were simply taught to be that way. Quite often, the typical “aloof” cat is one who was raised by people who weren’t home very much, and when they were, they paid little attention to the cat. Any pet raised this way – including dogs, bunnies, horses and hamsters – would come to regard humans as largely food providers and not much else.

My cats have never been aloof, and yours don’t need to be either. I’m not some sort of miracle cat whisperer; I just understand cats, and I know how to raise them to be trusting, friendly, happy and affectionate creatures.

The most important thing I’ve learned about cats is that you have to respect their individuality. When you stop buying into the labels and treat cats as the unique creatures they are, a meaningful relationship can unfold. Also, you can’t expect a cat to be as outwardly demonstrative of their feelings as a dog. The cat isn’t being aloof – it’s simply not in a feline’s nature to jump all over you and feverishly lick you to pieces when you come home. But my cats DO meet me at the door, and they meow and purr, and prance around me looking for attention.

The other major aspect of raising a non-aloof cat is that you have to respect its likes and dislikes. For example, my cat Mickey doesn’t really like to be held. If I try to hold him for very long he will squirm and kick to let me know he wants no part of this. He will also turn his face away if I try to kiss him. But Mickey absolutely loves to sit on my lap, and will let me pet him and brush him for hours; he generally only jumps down when I need to get up for something. So if a person’s definition of aloof requires the cat to let them hold him or kiss him, then Mickey would be aloof in their eyes. When you give him affection in a way that he is comfortable with, he can’t get enough of it.

By contrast, Annabelle and Rocky love being hugged and kissed but won’t sit on my lap for more than a few minutes. Are they being aloof? No, they’re simply being animals who have very clearly defined likes and dislikes, and they’re not about to let humans force them into doing something they find objectionable. People are no different, by the way. When you respect them and accept their individual preferences (which might differ from your own), they’re much more likely to want to be around you.

Further, cats that are raised by people who make no attempt to understand their nature and/or show them affection, will take a long time to let their guard down. They will be “aloof” because their survival instincts demand it. Even so, most of these felines can eventually learn to love. The key is patiently demonstrating that you can be trusted and that you respect their individuality.

My cats almost always come when I call them, and they generally want to be in whatever room I am in. I remember one night I wasn’t feeling well and was tossing and turning in bed. The cats were lying next to me, and their warmth and proximity (which I normally love) added to my discomfort. Frustrated, I grabbed my pillow and went to lie down on the couch by myself. It wasn’t more than five minutes before all three cats had come into the living room to lie down beside me on the couch. I just had to laugh. My cats are definitely not aloof – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Excess Calcium Isn’t Good for Dogs

By Lexiann Grant

When you think of essential minerals your dog requires in his diet, calcium probably comes to mind first.

Because bones and teeth are formed and maintained with calcium, the body requires this nutrient in greater quantity than any other dietary mineral. Calcium is also critical in nerve impulse transmission, contraction of muscles and heart rhythm regulation.

Excess calcium causes numerous health problems, including kidney disease and some urinary stones. Parathyroid hormones influenced by dietary calcium levels, can disrupt dynamics in the gastrointestinal tract.

Feeding insufficient calcium also undermines health. Puppies may have poor bone growth and inadequate dental development. Bones in deficient adults can soften or fracture, and tooth loss or accelerated tooth decay occur.

Because of this, some owners feel their dog or puppy – particularly if he is a large breed – should be given extra calcium. But too much calcium can have the opposite effect: excess calcium can slow bone and cartilage development, even stunt growth.

One Cornell University study found an increased incidence of skeletal problems including hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD), osteochondritis dissecans or osteochondrosis (OCD) and hip dysplasia when dietary calcium was excessive.

In HOD part of the bone over-grows causing pain, fever, enlarged joints, and possibly hunched spine or bowed legs. With OCD, fluid accumulates in affected joints or connective tissue separates resulting in inflammation and pain. By the time symptoms of lameness, pain, or swelling are present, the damage is done.

Young pups fed certain commercial foods, and dogs eating homemade diets, may not be getting enough calcium. Table foods naturally high in calcium, such as broccoli or dairy products, can increase levels.

Balanced dog foods like CANIDAE® All Life Stages supply the correct amount of calcium without guessing. This amount is based on AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) and National Research Council guidelines. Formulas are tested to assure nutritional adequacy.

The minimum requirement is 1.0% and the maximum is 2.5% for a dry product basis. Growth formulas average 1.6% with maintenance formulas around 1.4%.

Calcium must also be balanced against phosphorous intake. The ideal range recommended by AAFCO is between 1-to-1 and 2-to-1 parts calcium to phosphorous. With improper ratios, phosphorous and zinc levels may become deficient.

Check with the manufacturer for calcium levels and ratios in your dog’s food. Nutritional information is usually available online as well. Your veterinarian can advise you if your dog or puppy requires extra calcium, but healthy dogs on a balanced, premium food shouldn’t need supplementation.

Read more articles by Lexiann Grant

Over Feeding Fish Could Lead to Problems

Fish always see hungry in a home aquarium. They are always going to the top of the tank whenever you walk by, hoping you'll drop some goodies in the tank. But when it comes to fish feeding, overfeeding is one of the hardest mistakes to avoid.

It can be directly harmful to both the health of the fish and the quality of their water. All that uneaten food will be broken down into ammonia and nitrite, both of which are extremely toxic to fish. As uneaten food decays, it can also cause a variety of other problems, including cloudy water, algae blooms, in addition to low PH and low oxygen levels in the tank.

Poor water quality leads to poor fish health. There is always debate as to how often to feed your fish. Some people suggest 2 or 3 small meals a day, while others suggest once a day is fine. A lot of times it also depends on the type of fish. Regardless of how often, always feed your fish about as much as they will consume in about 2 - 3 minutes. Any more could lead to problems.

Skin Disorders in Dogs: “Ringworm”

By Anna Lee

You have probably heard of ringworm, and you most likely associate it with kids. I always did too, until recently. Contrary to what its name implies, ringworm is not caused by a worm. It’s caused by a type of microscopic fungi that live and spread on the top layer of the skin and on the hair. They prefer to live in warm, moist areas such as swimming pools and in skin folds. Athlete’s foot is a form of ringworm; between the toes is warm and moist skin where the fungus grows.

You may not know this, but it’s not uncommon for a dog to get ringworm. This fungal organism attacks the skin, then invades the hair shaft and feeds on the protein in the hair and skin. It will initially show up as dry flaky skin, broken hair and bald patches, typically on the ears and front legs. Abby had a few on her front leg, several around her neck and more down her back. According to my vet, cats do not show signs of ringworm, but they are carriers. Here is how I learned about ringworm.

Not long ago I noticed Abby had a large spot where hair was missing and it happened overnight. The skin was not raw or red, rather it was dry and was a perfect round circle. My first and immediate thought was another hot spot. I got out the container of formula that I used during the hot spot episode last summer. I kept her out of the pool, which was heartbreaking for her! After a few days the spots started to multiply. Naturally the worst of it happened over the weekend as more and more areas became hairless.

First thing Monday morning I called the vet for an appointment for that afternoon. I remained calm until we got there, assuming she just had a rather bad case of hot spots. After he examined Abby he said there were not hot spots, but ringworm. He then explained the causes, symptoms, and treatment for ringworm.

We were instructed to:
1. Cut away the hair from each area to allow air to get to the spots.
2. Bath her twice the first week with a special medicated shampoo made especially for ringworm (the vet sells the shampoo).
3. Give her one anti-fungal pill a day for 7 days. This is the same compound used for ringworm in humans.
4. Return to the vet in a week for further evaluation.

We decided to get her first bath at their facility the following morning. They shaved the spots, bathed her and dried her thoroughly; it was well worth the $15 charge.

The vet explained that when these round areas begin to heal they do so from the inside out. That causes a “ring” to form, thus the name ringworm. Two days later the rings started to form and I felt like we were making good progress. The next step was for us to give her the second bath at home.

We bathed her according to instructions: wet her down, lathered her up well, left the lather on for 10 minutes then rinsed well and repeated all steps. The next step is important: dry the dog thoroughly.

We returned to the vet in a week, and he said she was healing nicely. He also said that since ringworm is slow to get started, it is also slow to get rid of. He ordered more pills for us, a month’s worth this time. But the good news is that she could swim, as this will not hurt her or slow the healing. We were told to continue with the baths twice a week and to return in three weeks.

The vet’s assistant called us three days later to let us know that the hair sample taken previously proved it was officially ringworm. We were glad to know our vet was right with his diagnosis. Unfortunately, new rings have formed since that visit. After speaking with the vet on the phone we increased the baths to every other day. She was also put back on her allergy meds to help keep the skin calm. The original spots look like they are healing. The newest spots do not appear as severe as the original spots were when they started. We don’t have a clipper but I did manage to cut the hair away from the spots so that the air can get to them.

The vet reiterated that this is a long process and we have to be diligent. We are maintaining the bath schedule and making sure she gets her meds. Other than that her life hasn’t changed much. She is still a happy-go- lucky lab despite her outward appearance! She’s also not lost her appetite for CANIDAE® Snap-Biscuits dog treats. Our next appointment isn’t for a few weeks, and hopefully by then the worst will be behind us.

Read more articles by Anna Lee

Caturday Funnies

"I Knew it was Going to Work Wonders for Poor Rocco"

This special letter was sent recently to the CANIDAE Customer Support department. It's about a very lucky dog named "Rocco." We hope you enjoy it.

In late June, my neighbor found a small dog hiding behind a dumpster and barely alive. The first picture shows how malnourished he was. My neighbor rescued this little guy and took him to the vet. He had a very high fever, was far too thin, and was infested with ants. It didn't look good.

I told my neighbor I would foster him until a home could be found. With two other big dogs that are a huge part of my life, and because I had just started a new business, I didn't think I needed another dog. Shortly after bringing him home though I knew the fostering idea had gone out the window. By his second day with me I had already named him "Rocco."

A few days after bringing him home, Rocco and I were lucky enough to have a CANIDAE employee come into my place of work. As soon as I found out she worked for CANIDAE, I told her Rocco’s story and the condition he was in. After hearing our story, she told me CANIDAE would give me free food to help bring him back to health and that they had the perfect formula to feed him.

CANIDAE sent me some of their new Grain Free Salmon formula and told me about its benefits. After hearing about all of the healthy ingredients I gladly accepted their offer. I knew it was going to work wonders for poor Rocco.

About a week later I could tell Rocco was looking and feeling better. The second picture shows how he had already started to gain some weight back!

The people at CANIDAE were a huge part of nurturing Rocco back to being the playful lovable dog he was meant to be. I've been feeding him the Grain Free Salmon formula, which he can't get enough of, for almost a month now. In the first week and half he went from 9 to 14 pounds and he is just about back to the weight the vet says he should be. I am so happy!

The third picture was taken a few days ago. See how great he looks! His energy level has increased, making him the perfect playmate for my Retriever and other Boxer. Rocco and I want to thank that people at CANIDAE for all they have done. They truly care about the well being of your animal and I can't thank them enough for helping to save my Rocco.

from Peggy M., Norco, CA

We've created a special page on our website so we can share stories of Rocco's continued progress. Rocco's page at

Smile, it's Friday!

Should You Adopt a Puppy or an Adult Dog?

By Ruthie Bently

You have decided to get a dog and a question comes up: which is better, a puppy or an adult dog? To find the answer, you should ask yourself some questions. What is your lifestyle like? What kind of sports and hobby activities do you like to participate in? Do you have the time to train a puppy? Remember that puppies require housebreaking, teething, vet visits, training and socializing. Would you rather have a companion that is grown up, theoretically better behaved, and possibly calmer?

Both puppies and adult dogs will need to be exercised every day; you need to make time in your schedule for at least 15 minutes of daily exercise along with at least two potty breaks for an adult dog and about six for a puppy.

Usually a puppy will have a higher activity level than an adult dog, but you will find certain breeds of dogs can have a high energy level even as adults (i.e., terriers, herding or working dogs). Adult dogs are usually easier to settle into a daily routine. As puppies grow their needs change, and they will be teething, which an adult dog is usually through with by the age of one. Though an adult dog is done teething, they are never done chewing, so you will have to purchase chewing toys to help keep them occupied when you aren’t able to play with them.

A puppy is a pliable being that you can train, so they learn the rules and regulations of your house as they grow. An adult dog may have habits you might need to change: for example counter surfing or tipping over the garbage container. You should realize that even a puppy can develop bad habits. If you have other pets in the household, either a puppy or adult dog can be integrated with a little patience and love. Nimber slept with one of the cats he lived with, and Skye had to learn to live with cats, chickens and geese, which she had never had any contact with. I have had two litters of kittens born on my bed, right under Skye’s nose, and their mothers consider Skye a 59-pound babysitter.

I have raised two puppies and had two adult dogs in my life. I adopted Katie as a puppy and she was not socialized enough, so she didn’t like any dog other than an American Staffordshire Terrier. Nimber was also raised as a puppy, and he was a phenomenal dog who bonded to me like glue. He loved everyone and later in life when he had to spend time at the vet’s during my work day, they would take him out and play with him because he was so friendly.

Smokey Bear was an adult when I adopted him and he was so laid back, I could sit him on my lap on his back and rub his tummy. He had no issues with people or other dogs and loved everybody; he even had a cat of his own, Munchkin, who would follow him around on the property and sleep on top of him when she needed a nap. Skye is my other adult dog adoptee, and she is constantly thinking up new games and things to get into because she is so smart, so I am constantly on my toes to try and outthink her.

Whichever you choose, puppy or adult dog, do your research and homework. This way you can seamlessly add a new canine companion to your household. Don’t forget to check your local shelter – there are many wonderful dogs waiting for homes there!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Weddings Are Going to the Dogs

As if worrying about the potential for the little flower girls and ring boys weren't enough to you stress at a wedding, more and more dogs are getting into the act.

The craze seemed to get going a few years back when Adam Sandler dressed up his dogs in little tuxedos. But according to this article from Chronicle Books, it is a trend that may continue to grown. Check out the guest article and as always, we enjoy your thoughts

How to Keep Pets Safe When You Move

By Julia Williams

Moving is one of the most stressful things we humans have to endure. Whether it’s just across town or thousands of miles, moving is no picnic. Oh sure, it can be exciting and fun after the move, when you’re finally settled into your new home. But the actual move, with all the packing, hauling and unpacking? Ugh.

When you add pets into the mix, moving can get downright chaotic. Just like humans, pets get stressed out from the process of moving too. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the tension for all involved, and keep your pets safe during this traumatic time.

Before the Move

Planning ahead is the most important thing you can do to help make this transition go as smoothly as possible. As soon as you know that a move is coming, start making arrangements for your belongings and your pets – and write everything down so you don’t forget something important. If possible, pack up your things a little at a time so your pet’s routine can be kept as normal as possible until moving day arrives.

All cats (and some dogs) will need to be safely confined in a sturdy pet carrier on the day of your move, so buy one beforehand if you don’t already have one. If you have multiple cats, you may need a carrier for each of them. I assumed my two cats, a brother and sister who got along great in my home, would be fine sharing a pet carrier. When I tried to take them to the vet in one carrier, I found out just how wrong I was! Luckily I discovered this before my cross-country move, and thus had separate pet carriers on hand for each of my three cats.

Purchase a new pet ID tag as soon as you know your new address. If you don’t know your new phone number yet, put your cell phone number on it instead. If your pet is micro-chipped, get the information changed before you move.

If you're traveling by car and will need lodging along the way, plan ahead to be sure there is a pet-friendly hotel or motel room waiting for you. You can find pet-friendly lodging online at a site such as, but should also confirm it with your motel directly when you make your reservation.

If your pet doesn't travel well by car, consult your vet about medication that might help. My friends gave their cat a veterinary-prescribed sedative during and after their move. Although it’s not something I personally would do, your vet can advise you if it’s something you are considering. Your vet can also inform you of any vaccinations or health certificates your pet may need before the move.

Air travel with pets is a little more difficult. Not all airlines accept pets, either in the cabin or cargo hold; those that do have their own pet transportation policies. Contact your airline directly when making travel plans for your pets. Also, the Air Transport Association has comprehensive information online that is a must-read for anyone traveling by air with pets.

During the Move

On moving day, your front door will be open a lot, and people will be constantly coming and going. The safest and least stressful place for your pet during all of this chaos is somewhere off-site. Consider having your pet stay with a trusted friend, the vet or a kennel. They won’t be underfoot, and they won’t get lost outdoors should they slip out unnoticed. Not having them there on moving day is one less thing for you to worry about as well.

If taking your pet off-site is not an option, it’s imperative to confine them to a safe place, such as the bathroom. Place a DO NOT ENTER sign on the door, and be sure friends and movers know that the room is off-limits.

Make your car trip safe for both people and pets. Cats should never be allowed to ride loose in the car – that is just an accident waiting to happen. Cats should always be transported in a sturdy and well-ventilated pet carrier. If your dog will be riding in your car, consider getting them a harness that secures them to the seat. Never let your dog ride loose in the open bed of a pickup truck. Put them in a sturdy crate that’s securely tied down, or on a properly installed cross tether.

After the Move

Take with you (rather than pack in a box) everything your pet will need in your new home: food, water, leash, medications, pet bed, litter box, dishes, and health records. Also, carry a recent photo of your pet in your wallet, in case your pet becomes lost.

You’ll want to get a recommendation from someone you trust for a new veterinarian; in the meantime, know the location of the closest vet and after-hours animal hospital in case of an emergency.

When you get to your new home, it’s best to put your pet in a quiet room with the door closed until everything’s been moved inside. Besides the chaos of moving, your pet now has the stress of being in a strange new place with no familiar smells. Cats especially need to be safely confined indoors for several weeks (more is better), to ensure that they don’t become lost or injured outdoors.

I hope these tips will help keep your four-legged friend safe and sound on your next move.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Awkward and Lovely Blog Book Tour

I was delighted to meet up recently on Twitter with Quinn Cummings--partly because I remember her as the precociously adorable child actress in The Goodbye Girl (and also in the TV series, Family). Then I discovered her blog The QC Report and realized that she’s also an interesting, witty and compelling writer. Best of all, she now has a book NOTES FROM THE UNDERWIRE: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life (Hyperion/July 7, 2009).

And best, best of all, she’s joining us here, as a stop on her Blog Book Tour, to talk about her new book! Check out her answers here, and then go to visit her blog, and then run to the book store to buy her book! When you’re relaxing at home or sitting on the beach, laughing, sniffling, and nodding your head in recognition as you turn the pages, you’ll be glad you did.

Me: Congratulations on your book release! If I was holding a Book Group discussion about Notes From The Underwire, what is one good question I should bring up to discuss?

Quinn: Nice question! I think everyone imagines themselves to be a good person. My entire book and, arguably, my life is predicated on my being a good person, a responsible person, all the while knowing I'm really just a big screw-up most of the time. Maybe the question is, what makes a good person to you, the reader? Are you being that person? Has your definition of goodness changed in your life? Are you still being a good person if, like me (Quinn), you hardly ever reach it?

Me: The subtitle for your book is “Adventures from my Awkward and Lovely Life.” What is an example of something awkward that’s happened to you? Okay, and now--something lovely?

Quinn: Well, in the book I ran into a plate-glass window. If that's not awkward, how about the time I fell up a flight of stairs and landed on my own fencing foil, taking out a chunk of shinbone? I think the "Awkward and lovely" subtitle comes from the fact that I know it looks cobbled-together from random objects one would find in her purse, but my life gives me great pleasure. Any night I can go in and watch my sleeping child, being guarded by her watchcat, is a lovely night, even if I have been to the ER that day.

Me: My dog Kelly notices that you have a picture of a cat on your Twitter page. Do you prefer cats to dogs, and if so, what can I tell Kelly to make her feel better?

Quinn: Tell Kelly that I'm all about the dogs. Just spent a half-hour introducing a friend and her family to a lovely dog I hope they adopt. It's just that I love the picture of Clementine my former foster cat so much that I'm loathe to change it. Truly, though, and never tell Kelly this, I fractionally prefer cats to dogs because I'm a maschocist and I love an animal which usually ignores me and makes me use my inhaler.

Me: You’ve been blogging for a while. Do you ever feel stumped about what to write in a blog entry?

Quinn: Luckily, I'm not under contract to write the blog. If I'm truly flummoxed and out of material, I either put up a rerun or I miss a week. Yes, I feel guilty but I'm Quinn; guilt is my default emotion. Usually, though, I manage to say or do something stupid by Sunday which becomes a blog by Tuesday.

Me: I also discovered recently that you invented the Hip Hugger baby sling, obviously intended to comfortably carry a baby. Has anyone ever mentioned a creative alternate use for your sling?

Quinn: I heard tell of some women using it to carry their small dogs. For liability reasons, I cannot encourage that usage but am pleased that a Peke owner or two has been able to make their lives easier.

Me: Do you really prefer underwire? Because I find it bites into my ribs.

Quinn: It was actually a meaningless phrase which pleased my ear. But, without getting too far into the details here, I've been pregnant and nursed a child. My feelings about an underwire bra are something along the lines of "Thank you. No, really."

Me: I always end my blog post with What I Learned from My Dog. What is one lesson you’ve learned from your dog?

Quinn: He's the most congenial being I've ever owned. If I were to learn anything from him, it would be "Choose to be happy. When the bad stuff comes, hide under the bed, then forget it, and then choose to be happy again."

Which Dog Toys are the Best?

By Linda Cole

Pet toys dangle from prominent displays in pet stores, supermarkets and drugstores in every city. There are balls of different sizes and colors; some that light up when they bounce, and some that are florescent and glow in the dark. There are stuffed chew toys to delight and entertain even persistent and aggressive chewers, and tough rubber “treat” toys to keep your dog from becoming bored and attacking the couch while you are away. With the multitude of different types and sizes of dog toys available today, how do you choose the best ones for your pet? Trial and error, mostly.

My first dog was a polite American Eskimo named Jack. He never got on the furniture or bed and turned his nose up at every toy I gave him. He wanted to wrestle and didn't have time for some stupid toy. He would fetch a ball if he was in the mood, but that game only lasted for a couple of throws.

Thinking he would like some pals to play with while I was at work, I made a decision to adopt Bear and Mindy, a brother and sister Irish Setter/Collie/Great Dane mix. I quickly discovered they loved playing with dog toys. As it turned out, their favorite toy was the throw pillows on my couch. I came home from work shortly after they came to live with us, and walked into pillow stuffing covering the living room floor with the pillow carcasses buried in the middle of the mess. Jack wandered out of the kitchen and gave me a disgusted look. Bear and Mindy scampered out of the bedroom, through the pillow debris with smiling faces and eager eyes. All I could do was laugh as a vision of pillow stuffing flying through the air filled my head. It became obvious I needed some dog toys, and I needed them now.

My dogs like tug-of-war type toys and “treat” toys that bounce erratically when they toss them in the air. Not only do they get the fun of cleaning out the peanut butter treat on the inside, they can attack the odd shaped rubber toy afterwards. Balls are always a favorite as are Frisbees, but some dogs do have to be taught how to play with these.

A collection of brightly colored stuffed dog toys have come and gone over the years. Most of them were ignored and I finally gave up buying the cute little squeaker toys. My dogs are a lively group and the ones not ignored were quickly destroyed as they dismantled the poor thing to find that annoying little squeaker hidden inside.

Dogs are a bit like kids when it comes to toys – sometimes it's the packaging that's the most fun! An empty plastic pop bottle can give dogs hours of enjoyment. Just make sure to remove the cap, the ring around the top and the label before letting your dog play with an empty bottle. However, if your dog wants to eat it, don't let them play with a bottle.

Some dogs love playing with dog toys and balls and haul them around like security blankets, while others scoff at the notion of playing fetch. One reaction I've gotten is a look that says, “You threw it, you go get it.”

Chew bones and tough rubber toys serve a need that allows your dog a way to satisfy his need to chew without destroying the couch or table leg. Dog toys also give your pet a way to entertain themselves or find comfort when home alone. Finding the right toy may take some time, but it's worth the effort if it can save even one couch pillow from going to that great pillow factory in the sky.

Read more articles by Linda Cole