Monthly Archives: September 2009

Breed Profile: Airedale Terrier


By Ruthie Bently

I have met many of the AKC recognized breeds in my long and varied career, and one of the most interesting is the Airedale Terrier. The Airedale should not be confused with the Welsh Terrier, which is also black and tan, but quite a bit smaller and looks like a version of its larger cousin.

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the recognized terrier breeds. Males stand between 22 and 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 50 to 65 pounds. Females are 22 and 23 inches at the shoulder and should tip the scales between 40 and 45 pounds. Airedales have a life span of about twelve years of age. They can be prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, skin infections and degenerative eye conditions.

The Airedale’s coat is medium length and consists of a harsh, wiry top coat with a soft shorter undercoat. They should be tan in color with a black saddle, or have a saddle of black mixed with gray and white, which is called a dark grizzle saddle. Grooming is done with a stripping comb, which is used to remove loose hair and can be very time consuming. When regularly groomed the Airedale may shed very little, but they are not a shed-less breed and do blow their coat with the seasonal weather changes.

The Airedale Terrier has boundless energy and is very alert. Because it was bred as a working dog, it needs plenty of daily exercise. They are good swimmers and love to retrieve objects thrown for them. They are a good breed for agility training, competitive obedience and Schutzhund, and work well as hunters. Before German Shepherds became commonly used as police dogs, many police departments in England and Germany used Airedale Terriers. They have also been used for hunting and rodent control. They can be used for herding livestock, but need proper training, as they have a propensity for chasing things. They need to be kept busy lest they become bored and restless. Like most of the larger breeds, they don’t become adults until the age of about two, so you could have your hands full until then.

Airedales are independent, strong-willed, intelligent, loyal and tenacious. They are loving, and like to be in the middle of any activity. They can be stubborn like many other terrier breeds, so obedience training is a must. While doing research for this article, I learned that they also have a sense of humor. This breed needs a mix of play along with their training regimen, or you will not get the results you desire.

Albert Payson Terhune wrote this about the Airedale: “He is swift, formidable, graceful, big of brain, and ideal chum and guard. To his master he is an adoring pal, to marauders he is a destructive lightning bolt.” Among their other fans are three presidents: Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, all of whom owned Airedales. Two Airedales were among the casualties of the Titanic’s sinking. The author John Steinbeck also owned an Airedale. Perhaps the most famous Airedale owner was movie star John Wayne who reportedly had one named “Little Duke.” Since he didn’t like his own first name (Marion), the story goes that he became “Big Duke” and eventually just “Duke” when making movies.

The Airedale breed came to North America in the 1880’s. The first Airedale to win the Terrier class in New York was named Bruce, and that was around 1881. They were accepted into the Canadian stud book and were recorded in the year of 1888-1889. The Airedale Terrier was developed by working class people in the West Riding of Yorkshire in an area called Aire, which was a valley between the Wharfe and Aire Rivers during the mid-nineteenth century. They were also used by British miners in the area of the Aire River for working in the mines. They crossed the Otterhound with a dog called the English rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier, which we know today as the Welsh Terrier. The Kennel Club of England formally recognized the Airedale Terrier name in 1886. The breed was shown at a dog show sponsored by the Airedale Agricultural Society for the first time in 1864, and were known by many different names including the Waterside Terrier, Bingley and Rough Coated.

During World War I, Airedales were used for mail delivery and carrying messages to soldiers behind enemy lines. They were also used as wartime guard dogs and by the Red Cross for finding soldiers wounded on the battlefields. One story tells of an Airedale named Jack with a message attached to his collar that traversed half a mile of enemy fire to reach headquarters. Even with one leg severely injured and a broken jaw, he got through and delivered his message. There are many such stories of heroism for those four-legged warriors, which protect our troops in times of war. There was even a War Dog Training School established by Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Hautenville Richardson for use with the British Army.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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The Best Lap Dogs


By Anna Lee

When I was a little girl I wanted a dog that would sit on my lap while I watched TV or read a book. We didn’t get a small dog; we got a Chesapeake Bay Retriever instead. As an adult I wound up with an 80 pound lab that ‘thinks’ she is a lap dog. I have the room for a large dog, both inside and outside, and am a fan of large dogs. Many people, however, would prefer a small dog, and in particular a lap dog.

According to Wikipedia, “A lapdog is a dog that is small enough to be held in the arms or lay comfortably on a person’s lap. Lapdogs are not a specific breed, but a generic term for a type of dog of small size and friendly disposition.”

Following are some suggestions for the best lap dogs. If you want your pooch to curl up with you and relax, to keep you company, these dogs will do the trick.

The Pug is affectionate, loving, and has a happy disposition with a wonderful personality. They are sensitive to the tone of your voice. Pugs are very devoted dogs. You do need to let them know that you are the boss as they have a mind of their own. They weigh anywhere from 13 to 20 pounds.

The American Cocker Spaniel is a great choice and a versatile dog that fares well as a gun dog or a house dog. They do need discipline and daily exercise. They respect their master. They are a little difficult to housebreak, but they get along well with other dogs. The Cocker Spaniel can weigh anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds, which is a good weight for lap sitting!

The Toy Poodle is said to be the breed that is the easiest to train. They like to be with people and are perky and lively. Toy Poodles love to run around outside, but once inside they are very calm. They weigh about 6-9 pounds. They need frequent baths, and they need to be clipped every 6 weeks. All that cuteness requires more grooming!

The Whippet looks similar to the Greyhound and is slender but hardy. This breed is intelligent, lively, affectionate, sweet, and docile. This devoted companion is quiet and calm in the home and willing to sit with you. Whippes should never be roughly trained, for they are extremely sensitive both physically and mentally. They are good with children, odor free and extremely clean dogs. At 25-40 pounds, the Whippet is a little bigger than the other lap dogs.

The Lhasa Apso is another adorable little lap dog who is very affectionate with its owners. They have excellent hearing and make wonderful guard dogs for their size! Lhasa Apsos are generally suspicious of strangers and not very well suited to kids, and tend to fight with other dogs. They weigh about 13-15 pounds.

If you are more of a non-exercise type person who enjoys relaxing, then get yourself a cute little lap-lover, curl up while reading a book or watching TV, and while away the time!

Read more articles by Anna Lee

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Are All Dogs Descendants of Wolves?


By Linda Cole

Through responsible breeding and centuries of domestication, dogs are certainly man’s best friend. But how much of their ancestral instincts have dogs maintained even with continued breeding that has calmed ancient instincts? I sometimes wonder as my dogs lay sleeping if there is a quiet and secret wolf at my side. Are wolves and dogs close relatives?

Scientists have discovered that the DNA of wolves and dogs are identical. They share certain traits as well as a knowledge of pack hierarchy which provides each animal with a place in the pack along with protection and defense of the pack and their territory. Although scientists are uncertain whether man domesticated the dog or they tamed themselves, we do have evidence that dogs have been living with humans for centuries. What is known is that dogs have an instinctive knowledge of their wild counterpart, the wolf.

Wolves and dogs belong to the same family, Canidae, and come from the same species, Canis lupus. All dogs from the tiniest Chihuahua to the massive English Mastiff are related to wolves. Although most dogs look nothing like their wild ancestors, they do share a few qualities that have not been completely lost through responsible breeding.

Like wolves, dogs are loyal, protective of their pack and home, and they want to be near their pack leader. Both dogs and wolves are social animals who want to please the one in charge. But that is where similarities end. Shy and recluse, a wolf’s instincts tell him to avoid humans. They would not make a good or safe pet, especially if children are involved. Wolf sightings are rare in the wild and if you are ever blessed with an encounter, you will be among a privileged group.

A pack of wild dogs, on the other hand, are more dangerous than a wolf pack as far as humans are concerned. Wolves prefer the secluded safety of the forests, but wild dogs have no fear of man and are more likely to invade our space as they search for food. Where a wolf pack is stable and more predictable, the wild dogs roaming in packs usually have no clear leader and can be erratic in temperament and reaction to situations they encounter — including encounters with people.

I’ve always admired the resilience of wolves, their intensity and intellect to function together as one for the common good of the pack. However, a wolf is not a pet and belongs in the shadow of the mountains and forests. My dogs are pets and in reality, no longer share much of their ancient past. Breeding has removed most wolf tendencies and my sweet dogs have the ability to protect those who make up their pack and give us their loyalty and trust, but have very little in common with today’s wolf.

Wolves also differ from dogs in that our pets would not be successful on a hunt. They have lost the concept of working together for the take down. Like wolves, dogs are scavengers if necessity dictates, but most dogs would have a difficult time trying to survive on their own. A dog is described by some animal behaviorists as being similar to an adolescent wolf because our dogs exhibit the same maturity as a young wolf by playing and licking our faces.

In the long run, it doesn’t really matter. Even though wolves and dogs belong to the same family, the few traits dogs have retained from their early ancestor is what makes dogs unique in their own right. As I watch my dogs sleeping at my feet with one beside me resting her head on my leg, I know they share the DNA of a wolf, but if there is a wolf hiding inside, they aren’t aware of it, and only their dreams hold secrets to an ancestor they no longer know.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Is Your Cat a Tuna Junkie?


By Ruthie Bently

My boyfriend Steven loves to go fishing. We usually eat fish several times a week when the fishing is good. I sometimes give our cats the cooked leftovers of fish, like the skins or heads when we have baked trout, as they love them so much. But did you know tuna fish is dangerous to feed to your cat? Have you ever heard of a “tuna junkie?” That is what a cat that gets addicted to tuna fish is called. Yes, your cat can become addicted to tuna fish, and this addiction can lead to more serious health issues.

The first time I ever heard that a cat could get addicted to tuna fish, I thought it was a joke. Then one of my customers came in with a cat that was a tuna junkie and had to go to the vet hospital because of it. I had to help her get her cat off the tuna fish. This was about twenty years ago, and FELIDAE® Grain Free Salmon cat food hadn’t been invented yet, which would have made my customer’s life a lot easier.

A cat addicted to tuna fish usually will turn down any other food offered. You should never feed any undercooked or raw fish to your cat, as they contain an enzyme called thiaminase. This enzyme can destroy the thiamin in your cat’s body, which can lead to a thiamin deficiency. This can cause neurological problems if left unchecked. Their addiction to tuna fish can also make them nervous or aggressive to their owners or other pets in the household.

Tuna fish is high in mineral salts, which can lead to bladder stones in your cat. If you are only feeding your cat canned tuna fish, it can also lead to a Vitamin E deficiency, which in turn can lead to a health issue known as steatitis – also known as Yellow Fat Disease. This inflammatory disease causes the fat in a cat’s body to harden, and can be extremely painful.

A little tuna treat once in a great while will not harm your cat. Just make sure that canned tuna is not a staple of their diet. You can help your cat stay healthy and address their craving for fish at the same time by feeding them the new formula of FELIDAE Grain Free Salmon cat food. They’ll get to enjoy the taste of fish that most cats seem to really love, but in a premium cat food that is good for them. You can buy this cat food at your local independent pet shop, and I’m certain that you and your cat will be glad you did!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

For 9/11: A Special Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs


By Julia Williams

September 11, 2001 will always be remembered as the day two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. When the Twin Towers collapsed, they created a mountainous heap of smoldering rubble that burned for months. Countless firefighters and rescue workers risked their lives to search for survivors in the Ground Zero wreckage. Among them were an estimated 250 to 300 K-9 search and rescue dogs and their handlers.

I thought it fitting that on this fateful day, we take a moment to pay tribute to the heroic efforts of these amazing canines that have helped humankind for so many years. Beyond the 9/11 disaster, search and rescue (SAR) dogs have come to our aid during hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other calamities. Although most of the handlers maintain that their search and rescue dogs are just doing the job they were trained to do, many people – dog lovers and the general public alike – regard them as extraordinary.

Disaster response dogs are called upon to work under the most extreme conditions, in highly dangerous and often toxic environments. Most of the K-9 teams at the World Trade Center disaster site rotated on 12 hour work shifts. The SAR dogs bravely dug in the fiery rubble at Ground Zero despite getting their feet singed by white-hot debris. They courageously nosed through the noxious smoke and dust despite its potential to harm their lungs. Who among us mere mortals could withstand such an ordeal? Not I, which is why I consider these dogs to be heroes of the highest order.

Many different dog breeds are used in search and rescue operations, but they typically come from the herding, hunting or working breeds. Some of the more common SAR dogs are German Shepherds, Bloodhounds, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies and the Belgian Malinois. More important than the specific breed, however, is the dog’s disposition. Each search and rescue dog has its own unique set of skills and endurance abilities, but all are hard-working and focused on the task at hand.

I recently came across a wonderful book on this subject, titled DOG HEROES of September 11th:A Tribute to America’s Search and Rescue Dogs. Written by Nona Kilgore Bauer and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, this oversized pictorial book is a riveting account of search and rescue work, and the dogs that play such a vital part in it. Profiles of various SAR teams show them hard at work at Ground Zero and the Pentagon, accompanied by descriptions of what they are doing. This is a very moving book, and a must-read for all dog lovers.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 and based in Ojai, California. According to their website, their mission is to “strengthen disaster response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters.” There are currently 69 SDF-trained search teams located in California, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah. SDF offers the professionally trained canines at no cost to fire departments, and they ensure lifetime care for every dog in their program. If you would like to support on-going search canine efforts, contact the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation at 888-4-K9-HERO.

In memory of 9/11, please join me as I pay homage to all the remarkable search and rescue dogs that help us when disaster strikes. These dogs provide an invaluable service that saves lives, and they deserve our utmost respect.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Why Donate to the ASPCA and Local Shelters?


By Linda Cole

Pet owners understand the cost associated with caring for their pet or pets. Food, vaccinations, flea control, toys, beds and medical assistance when needed – it all adds up far too quickly sometimes. Shelters deal with financial challenges every day. Regardless of whether our economy is up or down, abandoned and lost pets who have found their way to any shelter need the continued generosity of others for food, shelter and medical care. “No kill” shelters are located in most states, and costs can be staggering. Fortunately, pet food companies like CANIDAE donate food to shelters to help out. However, most shelters still rely on the generosity of individuals who can donate money to help pay for everyday expenses, medical treatments and medications for those animals who are sick.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866 to fight for the rights of animals, both domesticated and wild. It is the oldest and first organization of its kind that gives animals a voice and has continued to fight for stricter laws against abuse and cruelty against all animals. They also share their resources with shelters throughout the United States.

We have a small local shelter that no longer accepts unwanted or stray pets simply because of a small yearly budget and not enough space. Our shelter helps local residents pay for spaying and neutering so money is extremely tight for them. They do receive donations of food, which is a big help, and they are passionate about promoting spaying and neutering to help reduce the number of kittens and puppies born that may become the next generation of homeless pets. Most no kill shelters and the ASPCA actively promote and educate the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership to help people understand why they should alter their pet. In order to help our shelter, which is at full capacity, a handful of us try to take in pets needing a home. Sometimes it’s only for a short period until that pet can be placed in a new home, but usually we become their new caretakers. So I understand the cost associated with caring for multiple pets.

Money isn’t the only way you can donate to the ASPCA or local shelters. You can help out by giving your local shelter time. You could be asked to help with office work, organize donation campaigns, groom pets, unload donations of pet food, exercise dogs, play with pets, clean cages or even be a foster parent for a pet needing some TLC after an illness or surgery. Time is just as important and appreciated as money if you can’t make a cash donation. Shelters depend on volunteers to help stretch their yearly budgets.

The ASPCA is at the forefront in the fight against animal cruelty. Stricter laws imposed on those who are found guilty of being cruel to pets are largely due to the work done by the ASPCA and other organizations. Shutting down puppy mills is a never ending fight and the ASPCA is doing everything in their power to educate people on how to spot a puppy mill and help get them shut down.

Why donate to the ASPCA and local shelters? Because they need as much help as they can get to give lost or abandoned pets a temporary home until a responsible and loving home can be found. The work these organizations perform on a daily basis has saved the lives of countless pets and will continue to do so as long as we continue to support them in their passionate cause of saving as many lives as possible. Cats and dogs don’t ask us for a lot. Yet they give us everything they have in the form of unconditional love. The least we can do for them is help out the organizations who have dedicated their lives to help unwanted and abandoned pets have a safe, warm home of their own, whether it be temporary or permanent.

Please donate what you can, whenever you can –money, your time or both if possible. The life that you save with a donation could be your own pet if he/she were to ever become lost. Visit the ASPCA website for more information or to make a donation.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.