Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dogs That Made Our Presidents Smile

By Linda Cole

Running the country is probably the most stressful job anyone can have. Beginning with our first president, George Washington, to President Obama, many different pets have lived in the White House. Most of the men who have held the highest office in the land had a dog by their side. There have even been some famous “first cats” too. As a pet lover and a lover of history, I ran across some interesting facts about a few of our presidents and the dogs that made them smile.

George Washington

We know what he did for our country, but did you know Washington is considered the father of the American Foxhound? He imported a pack of young Foxhounds from England before the start of the War of Independence. During the war, the Marquis de Lafayette became friends with Washington and presented him with a gift of three French Foxhounds. Washington bred his English Foxhounds with his French Foxhounds to produce the American Foxhound. Washington loved dogs and he often talked about them in his diaries. He fondly mentions one who kept his wife Martha up in arms because the dog had a knack for breaking in and stealing whole Virginia hams from her pantry.

One story that shows Washington’s character as a man and as a dog lover recounts the Battle of Germantown, which wasn’t going in Washington’s favor. The American troops were camped at Pennibecker’s Mill when a little Terrier was spotted roaming the battlefield between the American and British lines. It was discovered the dog belonged to the British commander General Howe and had gotten lost between enemy lines. Ignoring the advice of his officers who wanted to use the dog to demoralize Howe, Washington surprised everyone when he took Howe’s dog to his tent, fed him, made sure he was cleaned up and then ordered a cease fire. After the shooting stopped everyone on both sides watched as an aid to Washington walked across the battlefield under a flag of truce and returned the dog to his grateful owner.

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Attending an International Dog Show

By Lynn Taylor

Most people have heard of the traditional AKC Dog Conformation show, but have you ever heard of the International Dog Show that takes place in the U.S.? The International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA) is an independent organization that offers the same ring procedures as the other organizations but with the European-style flavor of providing all dogs with a written critique against the breed standard. There are both American (AKC) and International judges at every show, including judges from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Puerto Rico and Sweden.

The IABCA began more than twenty years ago with the intent of making the International Title available to the American public without having to expose dogs to the dangers and inconvenience of international travel.

I attended my first show recently and was very pleased with it. The show runs as a typical dog show with the same ring process. However in addition, during each show personalized attention is given to each exhibitor by the judge and a full written critique of your dog is received encompassing 12 different parts of his body and movement. The judges take time to explain what they see in each dog. It provides a nice relaxed atmosphere too.

When working toward an International or National Title, the dog is judged against the breed standard and rated. The rating of each show will count towards the title. In turn the rating will determine the title your dog will receive. There are both puppy and adult titles available. During each show there are Class winners and a Best of Breed winner that moves on to Best in Show.

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Tips for Combating Doggie Breath

By Suzanne Alicie

We all love our dogs, but one thing that seems to be a common complaint for all owners is doggie breath. Sure, little baby pups might have sweet smelling puppy breath, but in general when your dog gets in your face your first instinct is often to push him away. There are several ways you can combat doggie breath, and of course the first step is to talk to your vet.

Most veterinary offices offer doggie dental care which can help address any sort of infection, buildup or decay that may be making your dog’s breath worse than usual. Keeping your pooch’s choppers clean and healthy is part of being a responsible pet owner; you should do it for the health of your dog, not just for your sensitive nose!

You can even brush your dog’s teeth at home if you’re brave enough or if your dog is well behaved enough to allow it. Actually, if you start brushing their teeth regularly from puppyhood, most dogs will tolerate it – just be sure to use toothpaste made for dogs! It may be tempting to use some sort of human toothpaste or mouthwash to combat offensive doggie breath, but these things can be very harmful to your dog.

Some dog treats can help clear away plaque and leave your dog with fresher breath, such as Snap Biscuit and Snap Bits treats from CANIDAE. These treats include all natural peppermint as well as other healthy ingredients that will help keep your dog’s mouth fresh and clean! Doggie breath is as much a part of being a dog as barking, and it doesn’t seem to bother them at all, but the poor people who own the smelly critters are always looking for ways to defeat bad dog breath.

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Tips to Help a Senior Pet Stay Active

By Linda Cole

I have several dogs that are getting along in years. They move slower and are more content to sleep away the hours, but a lack of exercise and stimulation isn’t a healthy way for them to spend their senior years. Older pets can develop arthritis and other joint related problems that may keep them from enjoying activities, but it’s still important to keep them as active as possible. If you have a senior pet, here are some tips to help them stay active.

By the time a pet turns a year old, they are already a teenager in human years. The senior years for small dogs 20 pounds or less begin at the age of 7 to 9, and larger dogs are considered seniors at 6 to 7 years. Cats are actually living longer because of advances in veterinary medicine. An indoor cat can easily live up to 18 years or longer and are considered senior at around 9 years. Outdoor cats have shorter life spans, around 4 to 5 years.

How to Keep Senior Dogs Active

As dogs age, they may not be able to keep up a rigorous exercise schedule. That doesn’t mean you have to stop running, biking, hiking or any other activity you enjoy doing with your dog, but it does mean you may need to slow things down for your senior dog’s sake. Swimming and slower walks for senior dogs, especially one with arthritis, keep their muscles strong. Exercise helps keep joints limber, keeps their bowels functioning normally, digestive system working and helps your dog maintain a healthy body weight.

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Rituals Can Help You Bond with Your Pet

By Julia Williams

Like humans, dogs and cats are very much creatures of habit. They are perhaps even more dependent upon routines than we are, and sometimes the slightest deviation can upset them. On the flip side, sticking to a schedule with your pet can help with behavior problems. Daily rituals are also beneficial to pets and owners because they can help forge a strong bond. And isn’t that what we all want, to have a meaningful relationship with our four legged friends?

Personally, if I didn’t want to form a close bond with my cats I would just stick to pet rocks. But as an animal lover, I do want to have a great relationship with my pets, and I’ve found that daily rituals are a wonderful way to strengthen our connection. Rituals build trust, enhance my cats’ lives, and make them feel loved and wanted. It’s hard to say who enjoys our little rituals more, me or the cats, but what matters most is that they bring us closer day by day. 

Rituals don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be worthwhile, either. Even the simplest things – like always having a dog biscuit in your pocket when you arrive home from work, or grooming them every day at a certain time. These are two rituals I’ve employed for years with great results. Well no, I don’t actually use dog biscuits because my cats wouldn’t appreciate those, but they get FELIDAE TidNips treats every night before bedtime, and it has become a ritual they all look forward to. In fact, if I’m working late on the computer, Mickey will come in and loudly announce that it’s time for treats. If that doesn’t immediately produce results, he hops onto my desk and obscures my view with the classic “butt in the face” stance until I surrender. Mickey takes his treat ritual very seriously! 

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The Sled Dogs of Denali National Park

By Linda Cole

Photo by NPS

Sled dogs have always had a place in the wilds of Alaska. Snowmobiles may have replaced dogs in Alaska for the most part, but mushing is still a good way to get around in winter, and it’s the only mode of transportation allowed in Denali National Park’s inner two million acres of designated wilderness. The National Park Service maintains their own kennel and still uses sled dogs to patrol the wilds of one of the most awe inspiring national parks we have. And this year, the Park Service has installed a puppy cam so we can watch their newest pups as they grow!

The word Denali means “the high one” and comes from the Athabascan Indian vocabulary, Alaska’s largest native inhabitants. Mt. McKinley, located in the park and known as Denali by Alaskan residents, is 20,320 feet above sea level and is the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali National Park, which includes a preserve, was set aside as a national park in 1917 in an effort to protect wildlife. The park covers 9,492 square miles – six million acres of awesome and stunning wild lands that draw visitors from all over the world.

Dog sleds have always been the most reliable way to travel the wilderness of Alaska. Charles Sheldon was a naturalist who studied Dall sheep around Denali during the 1907-1908 winter, and he hired a dog musher by the name of Harry Karstens as a guide. Sheldon was so impressed with the beauty of the land and wildlife, that when he returned to his home on the east coast he began lobbying Congress to establish the land as a national park and preserve. Because of his efforts, Mount McKinley National Park was established in 1917. In 1921, Harry Karstens was named the first park ranger and was tasked with the job of getting pouching under control. Karstens understood the important role dogs played in the wilds of Alaska, and he was the person who built the first kennel to make sure he had healthy and well-trained dogs he could depend on to effectively do his job.

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