Monthly Archives: January 2010

What Does Your Dog Breed Say About You?


By Linda Cole

We each have our own unique personality that reflects who we are and how we view life. As dog owners, our choice in breeds is a reflection of our personality. With all the different breeds available, why do we choose one breed over another? And what does your preference in a particular dog breed say about you?

Every dog owner has their reasons for adopting a certain breed. Your choice in a specific dog breed may depend on if you are partial to lap dogs, family friendly dogs or working dogs to help out with livestock or guard possessions. The breed of dog you end up with does reveal aspects of your personality, and can say a lot about you and your lifestyle. I’ve had the pleasure of being a human parent to three purebred dogs over the years. One was an American Eskimo, and two were Siberian Huskies, which says I like sports and winter activities.

People who are fun loving, social and easygoing have a tendency to pick a dog breed like a Golden Retriever or a Lab. This breed says you have a focus on family and have an active lifestyle. People who choose a Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel or Labradoodle usually love being outside and may spend their free time volunteering and donating to causes they are passionate about. Owners of these breeds tend to be low keyed, even tempered, honest, and like being around others.

People who favor Pointers, Weimaraners, Griffons or Setters are passionate with a motivated energy behind everything they do. They like the good things in life and enjoy spending a day out on a trail with their best friend by their side. There’s no dog more determined and focused than a bloodhound hot on a trail. A Beagle is relentless and can be extremely intense as she yaps at a small bug or earthworm she found on the ground. Those who love the scent hound group are fun loving people who are much like this breed of dog – they’re go-getters who won’t let any obstacle slow them down. They are curious and loyal, with a bit of a stubborn streak.

The Greyhound, Whippet, Saluki and Basenji are just a few of the breeds that belong to the sight hound group. This breed finds and keeps their prey intently in their line of sight. People who share their home with any of the sight hounds are organized, and typically quieter than other dog owners. They are relaxed and love having a small gathering of close friends and family around them.

Terriers were named aptly as a breed. They are terrors when it comes to digging out rodents underground. A terrier owner tends to be fun loving and energetic like their dog. Funny, flexible and focused on the task at hand, an owner of this dog breed can easily carry on a conversation with a friend or a stranger. They aren’t afraid to jump in feet first and can have a competitive tenacity.

People who own the dog breeds in the toy group like Chihuahuas and Poodles are fun loving, sincere, compassionate and loyal. They are usually very neat and will do anything for their favorite people. Owners of dogs like the Maltese or Shih Tzu tend to be more sophisticated and love a good leisurely lunch with friends. Spending a day at the mall in search of the perfect outfit makes for a day well spent for them. This person is friendly and would be the perfect person to tell a secret to.

Your choice of a specific dog breed says more about you than you may realize, even if the dog isn’t a purebred. We pick a dog based on our lifestyle and even a mixed breed can reflect our personality when we choose a lab mix that will go hiking with us or a smaller lap dog mix that would be happy residing on the couch beside us.

It’s important to remember that regardless of which breeds interest you, the process of picking out a puppy should be done carefully. You need to consider what you are looking for in a dog, the unique qualities in a specific pup, and how he will fit into your home. You might be surprised to discover just how much your preference in a specific dog breed matches your lifestyle and personality, and what your dog breed says about you.

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.

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Skijoring: A Fun Sport for You and Your Dog


By Suzanne Alicie

They say curiosity killed the cat. In my case, curiosity only bruised my hind parts. Thanks to the recent snowfall on the East Coast I had a chance to try out skijoring with my dog. A Samoyed breed, she loves the snow and cold. I on the other hand, would rather be in the warm house. Having read up a little bit on skijoring, I decided I had to give it a try.

For those who haven’t heard of skijoring, it is a sport for a person and a dog. The person straps on skis and has their ski poles while the dog is placed in a harness which is attached to the person’s waist. I didn’t go out and get any special equipment just to test this. I used our walking harness and attached the leash to my belt with a clip.

So I wrapped up and got us both all hitched together, then let her pull me along the driveway. Everything went well, as long as we were moving. Once she stopped I kept right on going, ending up in a pile of snow with my big white dog looking at me like I had lost my mind. I am blaming that on the icy surface of the snow, not myself or the dog.

Skijoring is not an experience I will be repeating; however, many people spend hours every day honing their skill and forming a bond with their skijoring partner. Skijoring requires a great deal of skill, training and trust between the person and the dog.

Skijoring is a very popular sport for dog owners in the colder climates, where it is a competitive sport including slalom, obstacles and both sprint and long runs. Of course, skijoring is aimed at cross country skiing, and not downhill! There are several companies that specialize in skijoring equipment, dog training and tournaments. Skijoring is also done with horses, and motor vehicles such as snowmobiles. The name skijoring is from a Norwegian word that means ski driving. Some variations of skijoring include snowboarding with a dog to pull you, and even skijoring on grassy fields instead of snow.

The most common dogs for skijoring are athletic and herding breeds such as pointers and setters. All the northern breeds such as Samoyeds, Huskies and Malamutes are naturally inclined and enjoy this sport. But if you are interested in skijoring, pretty much any mid to large sized energetic breed will be capable of pulling you. The dogs that compete in skijoring competitions are trained with the person on foot initially. To be a successful skijoring dog, the animals must learn to pass another dog without stopping to greet them.

If you are in a cold climate and enjoy cross country skiing, you may appreciate the sport of skijoring as a way to spend more time with your dog and to form a closer bond with him as well. Skijoring is excellent exercise for your dog as well as a way to expend excess energy and advance your dog’s trained behavior. The training learned for skijoring will carry over in your dog’s everyday living, much the same as the military bearing of a soldier is noticeable even when he isn’t in uniform.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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.

What Does Responsible Pet Ownership Really Mean?


By Julia Williams

When you think about the term “responsible pet ownership,” what things come to mind? For some people, it might be something general, such as just taking good care of their pet. For others, it might mean something more specific, like making sure their dog is well trained, or taking their cat in for yearly vet checkups. Although there is no single “right way” to define responsible pet ownership, I do think there are several key components to it.

Are you capable of meeting their needs?

Adopting a pet is not all that dissimilar to adopting a baby. You are taking in a living being that will depend upon you for every single thing. One major difference between a baby and a pet is that a child usually becomes self sufficient in adulthood, whereas a pet requires you to take care of it forever. Thus, pet ownership is a serious commitment that should never be entered into on a whim. If your children are begging you to get a dog or a cat, consider whether your family is ready to accept the responsibilities this brings. If not, perhaps you could ease them into pet ownership with a fish or a hamster. These pets still require care and feeding, but the responsibilities are less involved.

Do Your Homework!

The time to ponder what responsible pet ownership entails is not after you’ve succumbed to those cute “puppy dog eyes” and adopted a dog, only to discover that the challenges of raising it are beyond your emotional, physical or financial capabilities. Those dogs often end up in animal shelters or worse, living in a home where they are neglected or unwanted.

Before adopting any potential pet, you need to understand what it takes to keep the animal safe, healthy and happy. You need to know what its habits, tendencies and social behaviors are, and whether or not they will mesh with your everyday life. If you’re ready to adopt a dog, you need to research the different breeds to make sure you select one that’s a good fit for your family and your lifestyle.

Can you afford a pet?

Food is only one small part of the financial responsibility of having a pet. If you adopt a puppy or kitten, they will need to be spayed/neutered, and immunized to protect them from diseases. Beyond routine vet care such as annual “checkups,” there may be emergencies and accidents that require extensive care and quite often, considerable expense. Will you be able to pay these unexpected vet bills? The additional expense of caring for a senior pet is one that most people don’t think about when adopting a puppy or kitten, but they grow old just like the rest of us, and may require special care.

Do you have time to spend with your pet?

It breaks my heart to see a pet living with people who rarely pay it any attention. Animals need interaction, companionship and love every bit as much, if not more, than food and water. These are the things that feed its soul, and although they may not be as obvious as a lack of food, going without these emotional needs does a pet just as much harm.

Responsible pet ownership means never adopting an animal during times of major stress or life changes. It also means that when these things invariably occur, we need to find ways to help our pets have stability. Depending on the circumstances, that might mean enlisting the aid of family or friends, dog walkers, pet sitters or a doggie daycare facility.

Exercise, socialization and obedience training

These are three essential components of responsible dog ownership that no canine companion should ever go without. To a lesser extent, felines need exercise and socialization too – and I’m sure many people would enroll their counter-surfing cats in obedience school, if only it existed.

Feed them a high-quality pet food

Good food is the cornerstone of good health, for humans and pets alike. This may be the easiest of all aspects of responsible pet ownership to provide for our animal companions. Because of caring companies like CANIDAE, we can feed our dogs and cats high quality pet food that we trust, food that provides the essential nutrients and ingredients they need to stay healthy.

Commit to your pet for life

“You become responsible forever, for what you have tamed,” said the fox in The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Very often, when a couple starts a family they decide to “get rid of the pet.” I’ve heard people say that their pet was only filling in until they could have a “real” child, and once the baby arrived they had no need for a pet. I’ve never understood this mindset, nor how anyone could bring a pet into their home only to dispose of it when something they considered better came along.

Before getting a pet, people who don’t yet have children need to consider their future plans. If having kids is a part of those plans, they need to decide if they’ll be able to care for, train and interact with a pet once they start a family. If the answer is no or even maybe/maybe not, then it would be extremely irresponsible to adopt a pet.

Every pet deserves to have a responsible owner. If we choose to adopt a pet, then it is our duty to properly care for them and to make sure they have everything they need to be healthy, happy and safe. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a responsible pet owner, because the joy that my beloved cats add to my life is immeasurable… and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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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.

Winter Fun With Your Dog


By Linda Cole

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year. The air has a fresh crispness, and the beauty of a new snow dressing bare trees in a coat of white is awesome. In the cold night sky, stars twinkle brighter than at any other time of the year. It may be cold, but that doesn’t mean you and your canine buddy can’t enjoy the outdoors. Bundle up and have some winter fun with your dog. Here are some winter activities to help keep you both from putting on extra pounds.

Play fetch in the snow

Just remember to pick a color of ball other than white! One winter, I tossed a white ball (the only one that still had air in it) into a clump of snow and we didn’t find it until spring. Most dogs love to run and hop through snow. Playing fetch with a ball or Frisbee is great exercise for dogs any time of the year, but there’s just something about a good game of fetch in the snow that makes this winter activity special.

Go for a walk

Snow provides plenty of winter fun for your dog, even during a simple walk around the block. Walking in deeper snow provides a great workout for you and your dog. A soft fluffy snow is best because it’s usually a drier snow, and your dog won’t get as wet. The merriment can end quickly if hypothermia sets in however, so it’s important to make sure he doesn’t get too wet. A waterproof dog coat can help keep him drier, and booties will keep salt, sand, chemicals or ice from collecting on his paws.

Hiking

For those who want something more stimulating than a walk, hiking is a great winter activity as long as you and your dog are in good shape. However, winter hikes require extra cautions and preparations. If the ground is covered with snow, even your favorite trail can be confusing to a dog with few familiar smells he can pick up through the snow. It’s best to keep your dog on a leash to prevent any rabbit chasing that could cause him to become lost or disorientated. A length of sturdy rope firmly attached to his leash will allow your dog to romp through the snow while staying safely tethered to you.

When hiking in winter, make sure to carry a backpack with emergency supplies that include a first aid kit, wooden matches, hunting knife, extra clothes, compass, flashlight and extra batteries, and extra food and water for both you and your dog, just to be on the safe side. Don’t forget a waterproof/windproof coat and boots for your dog. It’s best to stick to trails used regularly by other people and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Check for up-to-date weather conditions before you leave. With proper precautions, hiking on a snowy trail provides a great workout and plenty of winter fun for your dog.

Indoor activities for dogs and owners

For those who prefer the great indoors during winter, try scheduling play dates with other owners. It’s a nice way to pass away an afternoon over coffee (or tea) and cookies for you, and gives your dog a chance to romp with familiar friends.

Work on basic commands

Winter fun with your dog can include teaching him basic commands every canine companion should know. Our dogs are eager to please us, and spending time working on commands like sit, stay, lie down, heel, and come helps you bond with your dog.

Of course the ultimate indoor winter activity that may suit you and your dog perfectly is sitting by a warm cozy fire with a good book or a favorite movie on TV, with your dog sleeping peacefully beside you.

Before engaging in strenuous activity, it’s always a good idea to schedule a vet checkup for your dog. When outdoors, make sure they stay dry and watch them for any signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Dogs get cold too – consider proper coats or sweaters and boots for them whether they are outside for an afternoon or just for a short time.

Outside winter activities aren’t for everyone or every dog, but if you and your canine companion enjoy getting outdoors, there are lots of things you can do together. If you take extra precautions and prepare for the unexpected, playing outdoors with your dog can help you both beat the cold weather blues.

(Photo by Seigo Nohara)

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.

Trucking “Tails” From the Open Road


By Julia Williams

When Bill Taylor tells you that his German Shepherd dog, Hannah, goes everywhere with him, he isn’t exaggerating. That’s because Bill and his wife Robyn are long-haul truck drivers, and Hannah accompanies them on all of their cross-country travels. I recently had a chance to chat with Bill and Robyn (while they were on the road, naturally) and thought our readers might enjoy getting to know them too. Bill had many interesting stories to tell about Hannah, who he says enjoys the nomadic life very much. Hannah also loves meeting new people everywhere they go, and strangers (especially children) get a kick out of seeing a dog riding in the front seat of the truck cab.

Five-year-old Hannah was just eight weeks old when the Taylors added her to their family and began taking her on road trips. Although this inseparable trio is away from home for several months at a time now, they were doing local deliveries when they adopted Hannah, which made it easier to get her adjusted to life on the road. Still, Bill says Hannah did just fine from the start, and travels well. Even more impressive, Hannah has not had a single “accident” in the truck, unless you count the time she upchucked. Bill is quick to point out, however, that even this minor transgression was not on the carpeted section of their cab. Smart dog indeed!

Many people think of their pets as more human than cat or dog, and the Taylors would agree. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Hannah said ‘Hello’ sometime,” says Bill. Hannah knows many words, among them cookie, squirrel, food, leash, walk, rabbit and cow. It doesn’t take more than a minute or two of talking with Bill to see that he loves his dog very much, and that he and his wife both really enjoy having her with them on their trips.

It’s also quite clear that Hannah, whose nickname is “Pupkus,” rules the roost… or the cab, I should say. According to Bill, Hannah doesn’t have her own dog bed in the cab because she prefers to sleep on their bed. Moreover, she carves out her space on the bed first, and he and his wife squeeze into the space that’s left. Bill says Hannah likes to curl up on her blanket and snooze away while the miles tick by, but she’s more than happy to get out and get some exercise when they pull into a rest stop. After her walk, Hannah heads straight to the cupboard where her cookies are kept, and waits to receive her treat.

Like any canine, Hannah has her share of quirks that make her all the more endearing. For instance, Hannah won’t drink water out of a dog dish – instead, she prefers to drink the melted ice-water out of a cooler Bill and Robyn keep in the cab. They know when she’s thirsty, Bill says, because she scratches on the side of the cooler until they open it for her. Another of Hannah’s idiosyncrasies is the uncanny ability to smell cows well before she can see them. The Taylors always know when they are about to drive past a herd of cows, because Hanna sticks her nose into the truck’s vents.

Of course, life on the road with a canine companion is not without challenges. For one thing, Hannah sheds profusely. Or as Bill puts it, “We just about build a new dog every day with the amount of hair she sheds.” Another issue is the amount of dog food they need to carry with them. Hannah eats CANIDAE dog food (the grain-free kibble is her favorite) and as anyone who feeds this premium pet food knows, it’s not available at the local supermarket or pet superstore. This means that the Taylors always bring along a large supply of dog food – Bill jokes that “Hannah has more food in the truck than we do”—and they also know which feed stores and independent pet stores along their route carry CANIDAE pet food so they can buy more if need be. (If you need to find CANIDAE pet food while traveling, be sure to check out the easy-to-use CANIDAE Store Locator designed for mobile phones.)

But Bill says without a doubt the worst experience he and Robyn have endured thanks to Hannah was the time she got sprayed by a skunk at a rest stop. Hannah was on a 30-foot leash so she could run around and burn off some excess energy, when she encountered the skunk. Luckily, Bill called a trucker friend, who knew of a place down the road that had a pet wash facility located next to a truckstop. They were able to get the truck and the dog washed at the same time, and Bill says the place did such a good job of removing the skunk odor that they now make a point to stop there whenever it’s on their route. Still, Bill says “That was the longest hundred miles I have ever driven.” Knowing all too well how sickening the smell of skunk is, I can only imagine!

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.

Are Prosthetics for Dogs a Good Idea?


By Ruthie Bently

Most of us have heard about or seen dogs with physical impairments. Some happen through accidents, some through a birth defect, and some happen as the dog ages. Some dogs do perfectly fine after the loss of a limb, while others need assistance of some kind. My first dog Nimber had an accident and lost his right front foot, but after he healed he never had a problem getting around. Some dogs even do well after losing two legs. But what about dogs that might need some help?

Did you know there are now companies that make prosthetics for dogs? I remember seeing carts in the 1970s that were made for pets who had lost the use of their back legs, and now there are companies that make prosthetics for dogs who have had other injuries. Several of them began making prosthetics for people and because of the owner’s love of animals either amended their business to include prosthetics for animals or changed their focus and began making prosthetics for animals exclusively.

A dog that may need a prosthesis is first evaluated to determine what kind of device is best. The dog is appraised using information about any deformity they may have, and the aspects specific to the injury if they received one. Their physical activities and living environment are also taken into consideration. After the evaluation, a cast is made of the part of the body the prosthesis will be used for. The time it takes to manufacture a prosthetic device is typically about five to ten business days. The time can vary depending on which joints of the dog’s body need to be considered, as well as the type of prosthetic and the chosen material it will be manufactured from. As each dog is different, so is the device made for them.

Prosthetics are not intended to be worn 24/7; the dog will need a break from time to time. Because of the materials they’re made from, a prosthetic device will not change its shape or break down over time. To ensure a good fit, the dog needs to use the prosthesis for several weeks. Owners need to watch the prominent bone involved and the dog’s hair and skin for any signs of wear, which will help to determine how well the prosthesis is fitting the dog. By watching the dog use the prosthetic device on a daily basis during regular activities, owners can also determine if it is the proper device for their dog. Adjustments and repairs may need to be made from time to time to make sure the prosthesis keeps doing what it was constructed to do in the proper manner.

Do you think your dog needs a prosthetic device? Have you considered the pros and cons of such a decision? While researching this article I read about a dog that, after being fitted with a device, was miserable when they were forced to wear it. The dog’s owner, while trying to do what they felt was best for the dog (in my opinion) may have made the wrong decision. The dog in question ran away when the device was brought out and once the device was on would chew on it to try and remove it.

There are several things to consider when looking into a prosthetic device for a dog (or a pet of any kind). First and foremost is whether or not the pet would benefit from it both physically and emotionally, and is it in their best interest, or is it to assuage feelings of guilt you may have? Will it add fulfillment and quality to their daily life? The cost of the device and subsequent fittings should also be considered, and whether or not you can afford it.

When Nimber lost his foot I suppose I could have gotten him some kind of prosthesis but never honestly considered it. He didn’t have any physical or emotional issues after his accident; he got on with living and enjoyed his life even with his handicap. I did, however, gain valuable insight from Nimber’s accident. I had many handicapped clients who owned pets and while I always treated them with respect and consideration when helping them find things for their pets, I realized there was something lacking in myself. They dealt with their handicaps in the best way they could, just as Nimber did with his, and I gained even more respect for their handicaps because I lived with a handicapped dog.

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.