Monday, February 28, 2011

Lifesaving Dog Ceili Gets Nominated for an Award!

By Julia Williams

A few months ago I shared the touching story of a devoted dog named Ceili who became a hero when she saved her owner’s life. Ceili’s “dogged” determination prevented Danny from going upstairs to bed, and when he suffered a massive heart attack a few minutes later, she ran to alert Danny’s wife Gayle. Well, I’ve just received some exciting news about Ceili that I wanted to share. Because of Ceili’s lifesaving actions that night, she is a Top 10 Finalist for a national award given to dogs that have shown extraordinary courage or resolve to help a person in need!

I really hope Ceili wins, because she is a true canine hero and definitely deserves this wonderful award. But what I find most intriguing about this story is that several very important things had to happen before Ceili could save her owner’s life. I’m always fascinated by miracle stories that illustrate how things could have turned out differently “if not for X.” The “X” is always different, but the end result is pretty much the same. 

So what needed to happen in order for Ceili to be able to help Danny? First, a great man named Larry Chusid had to have both a dream and unwavering resolve to see it become a reality. Larry wanted to open a pet food bank in Portland, Oregon, and his passion and vision for achieving this dream attracted the attention of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company. CANIDAE donated $125,000 of their pet food to Larry’s nonprofit organization to get the ball rolling, and the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in November of 2009.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A “Pointing Bird Dog” Training Overview

By Lynn Taylor

Training a pointing hunting dog can be a very simple process in some cases, and a long and complicated process in others. However, most people who wish to hunt with their dog, either for leisure or competitively, will find training a hunting dog to be somewhere in between those two extremes. Most hunting enthusiasts will agree the training process is greatly simplified if the chosen dog comes from strong hunting lines. Breeders who are seriously dedicated to promoting the dogs in their breeding lines as hunting dogs will take special care to ensure the litters they produce have traits which make them ideal for hunting. This is done through a process of selective breeding.

In searching for a good hunting dog of a particular breed, potential owners should look for kennels that breed specifically for hunting ability. Additionally, they should visit the parents of the puppy, and learn as much as possible about these dogs including the hunting abilities of the parents. However, even the best bred dogs will still require some degree of training. Many folks see a fine, trained gun dog in action and assume they could never accomplish that kind of performance with their own dog. If you devote some time every day to working with your pup on three basic commands – "whoa," "come" and "heel" – and work toward getting to the point where the dog will unfailingly obey those three commands, you will have a fine bird dog.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Why is the American Kennel Club Important?

By Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club (AKC) was established on September 17, 1884, with the adoption of a constitution and by-laws. One delegate from each of the 12 active dog clubs that had recently held a bench dog show or field trials, met in Philadelphia to discuss forming a sort of “club of clubs.” The National American Kennel Club had already been established in 1876. With a need for a reliable stud book in the U.S., the AKC combined their records with The National American Kennel Club's Stud Book, which was published in 1878 for a complete and thorough record of a dog's pedigree (male and female) for all registered purebred dogs in America. Westminster Kennel Club was the first dog club to join the AKC and is the only remaining member of the original 12 dog clubs that established the club. The AKC has been responsible for maintaining written documentation of purebred dogs in this country ever since; however, the AKC does more than just keep records.

The American Kennel Club is a nonprofit organization with the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, and is responsible for the rules and regulations for more than 20,000 AKC-sponsored events every year. The Westminster Dog Show is one of the AKC’s more famous events, but they also oversee events in other conformation dog shows, rally, lure coursing, hunting tests, field trials, agility, herding, tracking, obedience, coonhound events, and earthdog tests. The AKC’s mission is to be an advocate for purebred dogs as family companions, to advance dog health, to be a champion for the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership. The AKC is responsible for the integrity of the Stud Book, and promotes dog sports and dog breeding to make sure breed standards are maintained.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How to Make Your Human Do What You Want

By Rocky Williams

I am ecstaticat that my “Warden” is letting me write another guest post here. Well, actually I demanded it, and since I have her wrapped around my little paw, she had to say yes. So today I want to offer a sort of “public service” post for the cats of the world. First things first – all human beans need to click away now – this information is not for you! Don’t make me hunt you down and claw you up, because I will.

Okay…onward. As a cat, I’ve learned many things about how to get my way. Once you understand a few simple rules, your Warden will be putty in your paws, and you’ll be able to do anything you want to.

Rule #1: Be Persistent

When my Warden is lying on her back in bed, her plump tummy makes a very comfy pillow. I climb onto it. “Ooof, Rocky! You’re too heavy,” she says, pushing me off (yes, I am a BIG boy!). Undeterred, I climb back on. She pushes me off, again and again. But here’s the thing: a determined cat will always be able to outlast a human bean. Guaranteed! All you have to do is be persistent, and eventually they will give up. I use this technique for when I want to counter surf too. The Warden knows it’s fruitless to make me get down, because I’ll just get right back up there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What are the Benefits of Grain Free Pet Food?

By Suzanne Alicie

When I found out that CANIDAE offered a grain free line of pet food, it piqued my curiosity. Until then the only reference I had concerning grain free food was when I had gone to a small feed store to pick up a bag of dog food. Limited funds at the time had me inquiring about the least expensive brand they had, so I could get through a few weeks and go back to my regular dog food.

The man at the feed store told me what the price was and mentioned that my dogs might appear to love it more than what I usually fed them, but that would be because they needed to eat more to be full or gain energy since it was mostly grain and rice. I had never given any real thought to what dog food was made of; I always assumed every brand was rich in protein and contained meat. My dogs did eat the inexpensive food as if they were ravenous, and an amount of food that normally would last three weeks was gone in about two weeks. I went back to my regular dog food and didn’t give it another thought.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Qualities of a Good Search and Rescue Dog

By Linda Cole

Some dogs are just naturals at searching for people who have become lost in the wilderness or buried under rubble or snow. In London during WW II, dogs that had never been trained in search and rescue (SAR) found people buried in debris after bombing raids destroyed their city. Dogs have been by our side for centuries helping us locate those in need. However, along with proper training, there are specific qualities a good SAR dog needs to reliably aid his human handler. Like people, some dogs aren't suited for rescue work.

Last year, Suzanne Alicie introduced us to Scout, an avalanche rescue dog in the CANIDAE Special Achievers program. Like all search and rescue dogs, Scout has the training and qualities needed to locate his victims. Scout is a purebred Chocolate Labrador retriever, but a good search and rescue dog can be any breed – purebred or mixed breed. The pedigree of a dog isn't important, but their character is.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pets for Vets Heals Hearts and Saves Lives

By Julia Williams

Last month, Linda Cole wrote about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, a wonderful organization that helps U.S. servicemen and women by providing temporary foster homes for their pets while they’re deployed overseas. Today I want to tell you about another important nonprofit organization that not only helps our military veterans, but countless shelter animals too! The Pets for Vets program brings together two wounded souls, so each can have a second chance at life.

Pets for Vets is a nonprofit organization created by 27-year old animal trainer Clarissa Black, in connection with local Veterans Affairs Hospitals. Their stated mission is “to heal wounds through friendship.” They do this by placing homeless shelter pets with veterans who need the special love and companionship an animal can provide. The Pets for Vets program is a way to give back to those who serve our country, while also giving shelter pets the opportunity to live in a loving forever home. It’s a win-win situation for humans and animals alike!

Many veterans suffer from physical and emotional injuries that make it hard for them to return to civilian life after military duty. As a result of their time in a war zone, many returning soldiers struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, addiction, nightmares, anxiety, anger management and other ailments. Pets for Vets believes that companion animals can provide the life-saving “therapy” these men and women so desperately need to turn their life around. In return, the veterans provide the pets with the friendship, affection and permanent home environment they deserve. In essence, together they help each other heal!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Can Computer Games Teach Kids about Pet Care?

By Tamara L. Waters

Computer games have become a way of life for kids and adults alike. When it comes to pet-related games, do any of them actually teach skills or instill learning that will help a kid become a responsible pet owner? My own children have enjoyed computer games that involve caring for pets and while some are silly and useless entertainment, a few can actually introduce responsible pet care to children who have never owned a pet.

Pet Vet 3D: Animal Hospital

With this game, the player becomes a veterinarian who takes care of an assorted variety of animals – from horses and ponies, to cats, dogs, bunnies and even piglets. My daughter really enjoyed this game as she learned facts about the animals “she” was treating, and it piqued her interest to learn more about these animals and their care.

There are other similar computer games that allow the player to “become” a veterinarian and provide care for furry patients. There is Paws & Claws Pet Vet, Paws & Claws Pet Vet 2, Pet Vet 3D: Wild Animal Hospital, and Happy Tails: Animal Shelter which allows you to care for animals and find them a forever home.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Help Surf Dog Ricochet Take a Bite out of Breast Cancer!

By Julia Williams

When I first wrote about Surf Dog Ricochet early last year, I knew she was incredibly special and destined to do great work during her lifetime. CANIDAE knew it too, because not long after that article ran, they honored Ricochet with a coveted spot in their Special Achievers program. CANIDAE created this sponsorship program as a way to support exemplary pets and their owners, and Ricochet and her amazing “Mom” Judy, certainly qualify.

What makes these two so extraordinary in my eyes is not that Ricochet can surf (which is admittedly very cool) and that Judy found a unique way to use her dog’s talent and pawsome personality to help others. It’s not even that Surf Dog Ricochet has become a famous fundraising “Super Dog” who supports a variety of worthwhile causes for humans and animals alike, or that Ricochet received the AKC Award for Canine Excellence last year, a national award given to only five dogs every year.

Don’t get me wrong. All of those are inspiring accomplishments, and Ricochet and Judy deserve to be commended for all of the wonderful work they do. But what makes these two so special in my eyes is something not everyone has – the right attitude. Despite the disappointments, setbacks and challenges they encounter, Surf Dog Ricochet and Judy display great courage, heart, hopefulness, and a positive CAN DO attitude unlike any I’ve ever seen. And they never miss an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Imagine what this world would be like, if everyone could embrace this philosophy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Periodontal (Dental) Disease in Dogs and Cats

By Linda Cole

Like us, dogs and cats have a variety of diseases and conditions we need to be on the lookout for. The American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) says 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will show signs of periodontal disease by the time they turn three years old. Proper dental care is as important for our dogs and cats as it is for us. To bring awareness to the importance of dental care for pets, the AVDS has declared February as National Pet Dental Health Month. Periodontal disease is one of the most common for pets, and it can be a serious problem if left untreated.

What is periodontal disease?

It's a buildup of tartar, also called calculus, and untreated gingivitis which causes damage to the ligaments and other tissue that holds the teeth in place. In the very early stages of the disease, cleaning the teeth and prevention will likely be enough to prevent more damage and save the teeth. By the time the disease has progressed to a moderate condition, however, permanent damage has already been done to the teeth. Periodontal disease isn't always easy to see or diagnose, and even vets can miss it during regular checkups.

The word “periodontal” means the tissue (peri) around the tooth (dontal) that keeps the tooth in its socket. Periodontal disease can affect the ligaments and cementum (a layer of calcified tissue covering the root of a tooth) that hold the teeth in place, and if they are damaged by disease, then the tooth becomes loose and can fall out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to Select the Perfect Pet from an Animal Shelter

By Suzanne Alicie

While many pet lovers choose to rescue an animal from the shelter, it is important to know certain things about the ones you are considering to ensure that you make a perfect match. Taking the time to select a perfectly matched pet will enable you to be sure you can provide a forever home with a pet that will fit into your family and schedule.

Strays and animals picked up by animal control will have less information provided, but after an examination by the vet and time spent at the shelter, the workers and volunteers will have a good idea about the behavior and personality of each animal. Animals that are turned in by their owners for whatever reason often have a lot of information for potential adopters. This may include notes such as “Scruffy loves other dogs but does not get along with cats.” Just a simple note such as that will help out in the decision making if you have a household with cats.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Do We Love Some Pets More than Others?

By Julia Williams

I’m not fond of all of the hoopla that surrounds Valentine’s Day. I ignore the stores’ nonstop pleas to “spend, spend, spend” to show my love, because I know I’ve already done that, many times throughout the year. This day does, however, inspire me to reflect on the love I feel for my three Furry Valentines (Annabelle, Mickey and Rocky) and for the others who’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the special bonds that take place between people and their pets – specifically, what is it that makes us bond more strongly with some pets than others? I’ve genuinely loved all of the eleven cats and one dog that have shared my home, but I’ve bonded with three of them on a much deeper level.

I can think of several reasons why a certain pet might capture our heart so profoundly. A strong bond can develop as a result of how they interact with us, or grow deeper because of how they positively impact our life. Sometimes, though, a strong bond is there from the moment we lay eyes upon an animal. I can completely understand the first two; it’s the last one I grapple with, because “love at first sight” defies rational explanation. I’ve had this phenomenon happen with both a person and a cat, and it’s difficult to put into words. There’s a feeling of familiarity, as though you’ve known them your entire life. Like steel is drawn to a magnet or a moth is drawn to the flame, there’s a forceful pull that’s hard to resist.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun Songs for Cat Lovers

By Julia Williams

When we posted Fun Songs for Dog Lovers a few weeks ago, some kitties got their knickers twisted because they were feeling left out. How dare we compile a list of must-listen songs about dogs, yet not mention any songs about cats. Well...okay, I lied. Everyone knows kitties don’t wear knickers so they can’t very well get them twisted. But some feline fanatics did want to see a list of cat songs. Never one to deny the kitties their due, herewith I present a few of my favorite songs about cats. Enjoy!

Kitty Cat Dance is one of the funniest videos I have ever seen. It’s a compilation of great cat photos and video snippets, accompanied by a “song” that basically consists of “Cat. I'm a kitty cat, and I dance dance dance, and I dance dance dance” followed by “Cat. I'm a kitty cat, and I meow meow meow, and I meow meow meow.” There are quite a few different versions of this song on Youtube, but I think (not 100% sure) the original one was Kitty Cat Song by Steve Ibsen. It’s also very amusing, but in my opinion the Kitty Cat Dance video is better. Another version I like is Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat. It doesn’t really matter to me who made the first one – they’re all funny, and I laugh my butt off every time I watch them.

I Love the Cat Life is another hilarious gem of a song about cats that I like to watch when I need a little laugh pick-me-up. Cat lovers will surely see the humor in the video of the naughty kitty doing things like scratching on the brand new couch. I crack up when the cute cat sings “I make you feed me, when I go Meoooooow, Meow…” and “I love the cat life, cuz’ when it’s raining you make the dog stay out.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How a Dog Show Helps You Find the Right Breed

By Linda Cole

Finding the right dog for your lifestyle is difficult if you don't know what a specific breed's characteristics are. We see well trained dogs in movies and TV commercials, and think maybe that dog breed would be a great pet, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's the right breed for you. A dog show gives you the opportunity to see different breeds up close and personal, making a difficult and important decision a little less of a gamble.

Dog shows give you a venue where you can talk with responsible breeders who raise purebred dogs. They know their dog breed inside and out, and are your best source of information. Breeders can tell you about a dog's personality and breed characteristics which helps you decide if a dog breed will fit into a certain lifestyle. A Border Collie, Pointer or any dog from the working group is perfect for an active family who loves getting outside with their dog, but they may not fit into a lifestyle that includes small children or small pets, like cats. Someone looking for a small dog thinking the dog's smaller size would be perfect can be surprised by a Terrier who digs up their flower garden or spends the day yapping at the neighbor's outside cat.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Using Pets as a Teaching Tool

By Suzanne Alicie

As a pet owner, you know that animals are entertaining, comforting and fun to have around, but did you realize that a pet is also a great teaching tool? There are several ways you can use your pet to help teach your children, either as a home schooling parent or just basic behavioral lessons.

Pets can be used to teach your children responsibility. Knowing that they are responsible for feeding, watering and giving attention to the pet will help your child establish a routine, and maintain day-to-day chores.

Pets can be used to teach children how to be kind, to protect those who are weaker than others, and basic empathy and compassion. Many times children who are used to playing with adults and other kids their age may not have any idea how gentle they need to be when playing with their pet. Sure, some dogs can take being tackled, but most run the risk of being harmed if a child plays too rough. Teaching your child to adapt their behavior in order to accommodate and respect the difference in stature, ability and personality will carry over to their interactions with other children and adults.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are Treats the Cat’s Meow? Or a Dog’s Delight?

By Julia Williams

Does your pet go bonkers for treats? When the treats come out, do they immediately transform into half-starved wild beasts that practically maul you to get at the goods? Does the sight of the treats make them act like their last meal was at least a century ago, and they need those treats RIGHT NOW and not a moment later? Do you not dare offer the treats with your bare hand, lest you find it missing a finger? Do treats make your pets prance madly around you and implore with soulful eyes that could melt the hardest heart, let alone an animal lover like yourself?

Well…do they? Or are my cats the only creatures who exhibit such “to die for” love for their treats? I sure hope not. That would make me feel odder than I already do as the Crazy Cat Lady (CCL) who prefers feline friends over many of the two-leggers I know. Please tell me I’m not the only pet owner who gets a kick out of doling out the treats, precisely because of the over-the-top reaction this elicits.

My cats love their treats so much, sometimes it seems as though if they didn’t get them, they’d throw their sparkle balls and catnip toys into their little kitty suitcases and go live at the neighbor’s house. I feed my cats two square meals a day, and although they do make quite a racket when I’m dishing out their FELIDAE canned food, it’s nothing compared to the wake-the-dead meowing that ensues at treat time. I was talking on the phone one time while getting out the treat canister, and the person on the other end thought I had turned my home into a cat sanctuary because it sounded like 300 cats instead of just three!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What is the Cost of Pet Care?

By Linda Cole

Owning a pet is a responsibility in more ways than one, and pet care cost will depend on whether you have a cat or dog, more than one pet, or certain breeds of dogs. The cost is not only financial, but emotional as well. It's important to make sure you can afford to share your home with a pet because it can be costly, especially during times of economic downturns or emergency vet visits. Both are examples of unexpected circumstances that can wreck a household budget. For some, getting a pet can turn into an expense they aren't prepared for.

Food costs will vary depending on if you're feeding a dog, cat or multiple pets. The breed and size of a dog will make a difference on a household budget too. But just because a dog is big doesn't necessarily mean he has a big appetite. Siberian Huskies, for example, are very thrifty eaters. I had two Huskies at the same time, and my little Terrier mixes ate more than my Huskies. When it comes to food, it's been my experience that choosing a premium quality pet food like CANIDAE or FELIDAE is a wise investment. This is partly because the pet won’t need to eat as much food to be full and get adequate nutrition. Also, a healthier diet means a healthier pet overall.

Friday, February 4, 2011

5 Things Every Kid Should Know About Their Pet

By Tamara L. Waters

Learning to become a responsible pet owner can start at an early age. Children can begin by learning important things about their pets. Here are five things every kid should know about their pet.

1. Your pet isn't a toy. A pet is a living creature and is nothing like a stuffed animal. Your pet cannot be forgotten about or ignored, or simply taken out to play when you feel like it.

2. A pet needs to be cared for even when you don't feel like it. Even if you are sick, your pet will still be hungry and need to be fed. Just as you can't ignore your pet, you also can't make your pet understand when you feel too tired or busy to take care of him. Just think of how it is when your parents are sick – they still take care of you even when they don't feel good. See yourself as your pet's parent, and remember that your job never ends (just like Mom and Dad's job as a parent!).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Advantages of Belonging to a Dog Club

By Linda Cole

Dog events are held around the country every year, and they are all sponsored by a dog club. Whether it's an event in obedience, a conformation dog show, agility or field trials – it was organized by a dog club. Even if you have never participated in a sponsored event, joining a dog club is to your advantage and may even inspire you to enter your dog in one of their events.

Before joining any dog club, you must first decide what it is you want from one. You can find a variety of dog clubs, each with their own area of interest, and not all dog clubs are AKC sponsored. Clubs are for people and their dogs who share a love for a specific breed, or an enthusiasm for hiking, surfing, field trials, agility, obedience and many other interests. The one thing they all have in common is a love for dogs and an activity the members are interested in. Some dog clubs have a relaxed atmosphere while others are more demanding and want the dogs to be well behaved. It depends on the individual club, so you need to understand what's expected before joining one. However, all clubs expect dogs to be socialized with other dogs and people.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Guido the Italian Kitty is a Therapy Cat Extraordinaire!

By Julia Williams

In the last few years, I’ve come across a lot of really cool cats who are making this world a better place. I’ve profiled many of them here, including two wonderful therapy cats, Tabitha and Henry. It still blows my mind that any cat has the temperament to become certified for therapy work, but I’m just so proud of those who do. Today I am delighted to introduce you to another therapy cat extraordinaire – Guido the Italian Kitty. This handsome brown tabby is so incredibly PURRsonable that I’m positive he could charm the pants off of even the most anti-cat curmudgeon. The spunky 4-year old feline must also have an Energizer Bunny battery implant, because he does more in a typical week than most cats do their entire lives!

Truly, Guido has to be the busiest Celebricat on the planet. When he’s not “on the job” visiting his special friends, Guido is busy writing his own newsletter (the Guido Gazette), posing for an award-winning pet photographer, competing on a TV game show for cats (and hanging with Chuck Woolery!), and getting featured on not one but TWO months of the Morris & Friends 2011 Cat Calendar. Guido the Italian Kitty is also very active on, a.k.a. “The Facebook for Felines” where he's received multiple honors and won several fun contests. Whew!  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Real Heroic Pets

By Suzanne Alicie

As pet owners we all think our own animals are wonderful and even heroic critters. After all, they save us from being lonely; they provide exercise and companionship, comfort and entertainment. But there are some pets that are a step above when it comes to loving and caring for their families and even strangers.

There are dogs that are trained as therapy animals and do an amazing job of being heroes for the people they encounter. CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods sponsors many heroic pets through their Special Achievers program, including Therapy Dogs Stitch, Riley, Sophie, Dexter, Barker and Sadie; Avalanche Rescue Dog Scout; and Surf Dog Ricochet, the SURFice dog who raises funds and awareness for a variety of human and animal causes. The people of CANIDAE feel that these wonderful dogs deserve some recognition, which is why we make a point to share their stories here.

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