This is Default Slide Title

You can completely customize Slide Background Image, Title, Text, Link URL and Text.

Read more

This is Default Slide Title

You can completely customize Slide Background Image, Title, Text, Link URL and Text.

Read more

This is Default Slide Title

You can completely customize Slide Background Image, Title, Text, Link URL and Text.

Read more

The Best Food for Dogs

No Comments

The Best Food for Dogs


By T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM
“What is the best food to feed a dog?” Every day veterinarians are asked that question by dog owners. It’s a sincere question because most dog owners want to feed the very best to their furry friends. Good health begins with proper nutrition, regardless of price or convenience of acquisition.
Please understand that the entire discussion on this page relates to healthy dogs with no kidney, thyroid, food allergy or other abnormal conditions. Also, the content of this page is my opinion regarding the “best” dry food and how to determine what you think is “best” to feed dogs.
A big reason why it i is strictly an opinion, there is no single answer to the question “What is the best diet to feed a dog?” Or if there is an answer it is, “It depends”.
Over the past 37 years I have been examining dogs and cats in my practices I have made it a point to ask the owner “What diet are you feeding?” I have gotten all sorts of answers but in every case I relate the owner’s response to what I am seeing in the patient. And over the years my suggestions regarding what to feed have changed.
Originally I took the pet food manufacturer’s declarations as fact — that an assortment of “Complete and Balanced” pet foods were perfectly nourishing because that wording was not legally permitted on pet food labels unless feeding trials demonstrated its veracity. I eventually discovered I was mistaken in the belief that any “Complete and Balanced” dog food was appropriate to feed.
It was in 1978 that I had an awakening. A number of clients were presenting dogs to me that had coarse hair coats and slightly greasy and flaky skin; and often these dogs (and cats!) had chronic itchy skin, hot spots, ear infections and seemed overweight.
So, they were over-caloried but under-nourished. Their calorie intake was up but the food they were consuming simply — no matter that the pet food label indicated “Complete and Balanced” –was not providing a proper nutrient spectrum to the dog. Sometimes I would simply say that some fatty acid supplements “might help”. I was a believer in those “Complete and Balanced” diets. One of the reasons I couldn’t see what was going on regarding these dogs with poor health signals relating to diets was that some of the “Complete and Balanced” diets were resulting in well nourished dogs, partly because the owners were feeding table scraps as well.
I’ll jump ahead a bit and tell you the defining element that separated the good “Complete and Balanced” diets from the poor ones was this: The poor diets were based on corn — meaning, corn was listed as the first ingredient in the ingredient list on the label — and the good diets were based on chicken or some other meat source — lamb, beef.
I was always instructed, and learned in the few nutrition courses in veterinary school (nutrition is much better covered in veterinary school these days) that an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in a dog’s diet would lead to health disasters. This holds true today, too.
I was instructed that “since meat is high in phosphorus and lower in calcium, too much meat is not good for dogs over long periods of time”. (Many people still confuse the disastrous all meat diets with meat-based diets; one is not good the other is ideal.) Grain-based diets for dogs, and even more so for cats, do not make nutritional sense and that was exactly why I was seeing those patients with the dry and flaky, sometimes greasy skin and coarse hair coats. They were eating “Complete and Balanced” grain-based diets with nothing else added. Why add anything when it is “Complete and Balanced” already?
Further confirmation came when I saw another litter owned by a local Bloodhound breeder. This fellow seemed to me to be quiet and a healthy ten-year-old dog with a shiny coat.
When I’d ask him what he was feeding his dogs we would get into our annual nutritional discussion and I’d keep warning him about the home-made recipe and all that meat he had been feeding his dogs for years.
Funny thing was, his dogs were among the very best I had ever seen. All his litters, and adult dogs, were robust, had perfect skin and coats even at six weeks of age, and never had to come in for skin problems, skeletal dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems or oral health issues. This breeder was sending his pups all over the country and there I was trying to tell him to be careful about “feeding too much meat” and I’d talk about such things as “a ‘Complete and Balanced’ commercial dog food would be best, make sure you don’t get skeletal problems”. I wondered why I felt rather foolish instructing him because I honestly thought his dogs were in optimum health.
By Michelle Liew

Once a fence is installed, spend some time teaching your dog to respect his new boundaries.View larger image
Containing your dog in the yard is one of themost important safeguards you can provide foryour pet to keep him safe. When your pet hasthe protection of a fenced yard or area, youreduce the number of hazards and accidentssignificantly. When dogs roam, the possibility forinjury and illness increases. Dogs are often hit byvehicles, are attacked by other animals orunfriendly neighbors, consume toxic and foreignmaterial or just get lost.

And let’s not forget that it may be your dog that is the neighborhoodtroublemaker, eliminating in your neighbors yard, getting into trash, frightening people who don’t know your dog. A fenced dog is safer     

                             and protected within the confines of your property.

Several different types of fencing options are available. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Kennels

A dog kennel is a smaller version of a fenced yard for people who have limited space or want to devote only a portion of their yard to containing their pet. Kennels can be constructed to any size or height and can be built with almost any type of foundation from resting directly on the ground to having a concrete pad. If you keep your pet kenneled, be sure to give him plenty of time and attention for his physical and mental well being. All kennels should have a shelter, food and water available.

Electronic Containment

Many people prefer the look of an open yard without the restrictions and maintenance of fencing. Now widely used, electronic buried hidden methods are available to contain your pet within your yard. A buried cable defines a specific area, which can be large or small and in an irregular shape. The fencing system works by creating an electrical barrier that your dog learns to recognize with a combination of visual and auditory cues. When the fence is installed, a series of flags is placed to outline the new yard boundaries. Your dog wears a special collar that gives a series of beeps as he approaches the fence line. If he gets too close to the fence, he feels a mild electrical impulse. Most pets only need a few reminders before they come to learn their new boundaries. The flags are removed a few at a time until your dog has completely learned the yard. This system also works well for people who may want to keep their pets within a specific area of the yard, out of flower or vegetable garden, ponds or plays areas.

Now that you’ve fenced your yard you may decide to let your dog stay outside while you’re gone. No matter what system you choose, food, water and shelter are essential for your pet’s well being if he stays outside. Make sure your pet is not exposed to heat and cold extremes for long periods of time. A collar and ID tags should be worn at all times.

By Michelle Liew

Is your dog part of your family?

No Comments

By Lisa Spector, Juilliard Graduate, Canine Music Expert and co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear. A recent article in Pshychology Today by Stanley Coren, PhD referred to a recent online survey by Kelton Research. Of 1,000 people tested, more people are considering their dogs as part of their family and are also referring to them as children. Here are some of the results: Nearly 60 percent say that their dogs play a different role than the dogs of their childhood 54 percent call themselves “pet parents” instead of “pet owners” 58 percent have nicknames for themselves, such as “mommy” and “daddy” 35 percent call their dog their “son” or “daughter” 62 percent of the dogs have their own chair, sofa, or bed 81 percent of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays 77 percent have celebrated their pets’ birthday by buying him or her a birthday present 23 percent of pet parents have a photo album dedicated to only pictures of their dogs 16 percent have started scrapbooks for their pets 71 percent of pet owners admit that they have at least one picture of their dog that they carry with them (although the convenience of storing photos on mobile devices may have added to this percentage) Personally, even though I do consider my dogs as part of my family, I’ve never called myself a pet parent or referred to myself as mommy. However, Sanchez and Gina do have their own dog beds, I celebrate their birthdays (you are invited to a virtual party for Sanchez’s 8th birthday), have scrapbooks dedicated to them, and a picture of my dogs is both my screen saver on my laptop and on my iPhone.

By Michelle Liew

How to Manage a Hyperactive Dog

No Comments

A Hyper Dog can be a Real Handful!

Some dog owners may say that their four legged family member has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder!
He never sits still, and is constantly on the move. As much as you love them, these dogs can be difficult to live with. Is there really such a thing as a hyperactive dog? There certainly is, but it’s very uncommon.Hyperactivity in dogs is a genuine medical condition which is ultimately a diagnosis of exclusion: every other possible cause of your dog’s symptoms needs to be eliminated before you can say your dog is hyperactive.
hyper dog

Many people confuse the term “hyperactive” with “overactive”. It’s quite normal for some dogs to be overactive. Herding breeds and other working dogs are very active and require heaps of exercise and mental stimulation. They will walk for hours and still want to play ball. Other dogs are overactive because they’ve never learned good behavior. Theyjumpbark and are generally difficult to control. Adolescent dogs are full of mischief and can appear to have excessive levels of activity, but this is to be expected for their age.
A hyper dog is almost frantic in his activity. He pants constantly, and his heart rate is always above normal. He often doesn’t stop his abnormal behavior until he is completely worn out.

Other Causes of Overactive/Hyperactive Behavior

There are other reasons that your dog may appear to be hyperactive, both medical and behavioral.

The most common cause is that your dog just isn’t getting enough exercise, and has pent up energy he needs to release. This often leads to behavioral problems such as digging which can be a nuisance. It also can make him restless, and he will find it hard to relax and settle down.
Another reason is lack of training. We’re all guilty of giving our dog attention when he’s being naughty; we tell him to stop barking, or jumping, or pulling at the corner of the carpet. It shouldn’t be surprising then when he repeats what he was doing, because he likes it when we do pay attention to him. Our busy lifestyles can also make it hard for us to keep up with our dog’s basic training, and he may have learned some bad manners.
Some dogs suffer from anxiety and are constantly stressed. They often pace the floor and pant heavily. Similarly, dogs may have a compulsive disorder and can repeat the same behavior over and over again, and can’t be distracted from what they’re doing. These dogs aren’t hyperactive; they just need help to settle down.
Less frequently, dogs have periods of frantic behavior as part of a seizure disorder. When the appropriate treatment is started, lo and behold, you no longer have a hyperactive dog.

Treating Your Hyperactive Dog

To get to the bottom of your dog’s behavior problems, you firstly need to visit your veterinarian. It’s a great help if you can videotape your dog’s behavior; a picture paints a thousand words, and she can see exactly what’s happening rather than having to rely on a verbal description.

Based on your conversation and a full examination of your seemingly hyper dog, she can come to a conclusion about the reason for his excess activity levels. She may prescribe medication to treat any medical causes of his behavior.
You may need to exercise your dog more, and teach him to settle on a mat or a crate. There is no need for medication. It can take time to see any change in his activity level. Behavior problems in dogs don’t get better without a dedicated owner who is willing to put the time and effort into their pet’s treatment.
If your vet thinks your dog may really have a hyperactivity disorder, she will refer you to a board certified behaviorist for further evaluation and possibly a trial of stimulant medication such as Ritalin.
If you own a dog that is always active, it can really wear you down. Fortunately, there is help at hand, and with some time and effort, you can restore calm to your home.


To read more, please go to this link.
By Michelle Liew

Attention Seeking Dogs

No Comments


Attention-seeking behaviour in dogs are often shown in puppyhood initially, when care soliciting from a parent and the need to play and interact with littermates is quite normal of course.
But once they are grown up more and have established more adult relationships with their owners, as well as other dogs, jumping up, pawing, barking or dropping a toy into a lap uninvited and other demands for interaction are not always seen as being cute or fun all the time. However, such demands are often nonetheless inevitably rewarded with the owner’s full attention – a cuddle, a game, and verbal chat in that voice we reserve for babies and puppies and so these behaviours are reinforced, learned and maintained perhaps long after they should have naturally been lost or used more sparingly in social encounters by dogs when older!
Dogs value human attention throughout their lives – especially from their owners, on whom they dote, but clearly also need to learn to become more functionally independent and less constantly dependent on us. There’s nothing wrong with giving attention to our dogs, of course. After all, what’s the point of having a dog if you’re going to spend the entire time ignoring your best friend?! But if you reward behaviour in a puppy continuously and don’t help him to learn to be less dependent on direct contact when he is in your company and to develop his own independent interests, all that attention demanding can become a real nuisance when he’s fully grown, and does nothing to help him develop into a more restrained and contented adult.
For example, if an eight-week-old Newfoundland pup jumps up at you for attention or when you feed him, it’s all pretty harmless. But if that same dog as a three-year-old heavy hairy monster jumps up, he could easily dangerously floor a child or elderly person, or even a strong adult. Equally in a smaller dog, nudging or pawing for your attention as a pup can start off as being very cute but if your adult dog does it over and over again, whenever you are busy and unable to give him attention, it can become very annoying indeed.
In all cases, giving the demanding dog the attention he’s seeking will stop the behaviour only briefly. The moment you turn your focus to something else, it will be repeated again… and again. Pushing your dog away or giving any other negative response, even telling him off, will be equally unsuccessful, as it all still involves giving him some attention. From a dog’s viewpoint, anything is better than nothing, so even such negative attention is valued.
The key, then, is to ignore the attention-seeking, and to reward good manners instead. So if he nudges you for a pat or uses another attention-seeking behaviour, ignore him. Don’t look at him, speak to him or touch him. Completely ignore him and get up calmly and walk away if he persists (as he often will, initially). Instead, when he is quietly undemanding – perhaps busy with a chew toy, or watching the world go by in his bed, call him to you and give him a fuss. This establishes that lots of attention is available but mainly at your behest, not his.
Safety must come first, of course. If your dog’s attention-seeking involves stealing something forbidden and running off with it, assess any dangers. Dogs learn what will quickly get us leaping from our seats, eager to chase them for their prize. Generally, the more prized or dangerous the object, the more intense our reaction – and the dog will soon learn seek out such objects again in the future! If your dog has run off with something that could harm him, you have to remove the item from him. But make sure it doesn’t happen again by keeping all scissors, remote controls, shoes and other ‘stealable’ items out of reach if your dog seeks attention through theft! That way, you won’t reinforce the behaviour by ‘playing’ chase!
Do be aware that nuisance attention-seeking will generally get worse before it gets better when you try to treat it. If you ignore your dog when previously you’ve given him your attention for a particular behaviour, your dog will become frustrated as to why he is no longer able to elicit what he thought was a predictable response from you. So he’ll do what he knows more intensively and nudge harder, or bark louder, or jump higher to get your attention. Be strong and ignore all his attempts, or walk away as required or you’ll soon be back to square one!
If the nuisance attention seeking continues despite your best efforts, do seek professional help from a behaviourist via a veterinary referral. It could be that there is an underlying reason for the behaviour, such as intense insecurity, which will need delicate handling and a broader approach to your dog’s social husbandry.

By Michelle Liew

Hamsters are mammals that belong to the rodent family having large incisor teeth that are continually growing necessitating gnawing to prevent the teeth from overgrowing. The word ‘rodent’ is derived from the latin word ‘rodere’ which means ‘to gnaw’.
Hamsters form the Family Cricetidae which is broken down into different Genera (including Cricetulus, Phodopus and Calomyscus). Within each Genera are various species of hamster. There are many differentspecies of hamsters throughout the world and most hamsters inhabit semi-desert areas where they live in burrows. These burrows consist of many tunnels and separate chambers including chambers where the hamster will store food and sleep. Hamsters are nocturnal, sleeping during the hot days and waking in the cooler evenings. They have very poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and excellent hearing.
Most species of hamsters have expandable cheek pouches in which they can carry food and bedding back to their burrow where they will store food. The word ‘hamster’ comes from the German word ‘hamstern’ which means ‘to hoard’.
Only a few hamster species are widely kept as pets but the hamster is the most popular of the smaller rodents kept as a pet in many countries today.
By Michelle Liew