Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pentagon “Working Dogs” are Powered by CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

Did you know the Pentagon has two dozen highly trained K9 teams that are used to detect explosives, search vehicles, and patrol the premises to keep them safe? I didn’t until recently when Sarah Lagasse, K9 Sergeant at the Pentagon Police Department, contacted CANIDAE customer service. Sarah wrote to ask for some CANIDAE Pet Food banners or posters for their new kennel facility, because she said many of the Pentagon working dogs eat the food and not only that – they really thrive on it! I spoke with her recently to get more information on the Pentagon dogs and their very important jobs. Sarah’s current K9 partner is Aldo, a 4 year old Golden Retriever (soon to be 5) she’s been working with since 2008. Here’s what she had to say:

What is a typical day like for you and Aldo?
Aldo's duties are to detect explosives and be a deterrent. Our normal day usually begins with his exercise (playing ball), then he rides to work with me. We conduct roll call and give out the assignments for the other teams. We sometimes work at the Pentagon Remote Delivery Facility where all delivery vehicles are screened by K9 teams, and we do random patrols all over the Pentagon Reservation. We respond to calls for unattended items, bomb threats and many other types of calls.  We also provide K9 support to visiting dignitaries, often searching their hotel suites and motorcades. We fit exercise, grooming and training in as often as possible.

What is Aldo’s temperament like?
Aldo is a typical Golden Retriever – he is very sweet, playful and loves everyone.

What part of his job does Aldo like most and least?
Aldo likes to search; when he is working, he is happy! When we work the receiving facility a lot, he doesn't seem to care for it much since he is searching a lot of vehicles numerous times a day and I think he gets a little bored. I have to keep his mind in the game, so our trainers will secretly put training aids (explosives) on vehicles so he will find them, get his ball and get excited to work again. We do this with all of the dogs since even as handlers, we get tired of these searches after doing that specific job for many hours straight.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Best Way to Soothe an Agitated Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

While most humans are accustomed to loud noises or crowds of people, dogs can sometimes get pretty agitated. During the summer there are plenty of noises and events that can frighten dogs. Fireworks on the 4th of July, family cookouts, neighborhood gatherings and thunderstorms are just a few of the things which can upset your dog. Some dogs are even scared of water; the things that can frighten and agitate your dog are varied and depend on the personality of the dog and his environment.

Each dog reacts differently when scared, nervous or feeling crowded. Some dogs may get vocal with barking or growling when they feel agitated, while others may retreat when they are frightened. Even well mannered dogs have been known to have potty accidents when they get agitated, or to snap at people when they feel crowded and cornered. Responsible pet owners always try to keep their dog from feeling fear, but there are some things that even the most dedicated doggy mom can’t do anything about.

Our dog Bear is terrified of thunder. She hears it long before we do and begins rounding up the family. She pants and does rounds of the house trying to make sure we are all where we need to be. As the thunder gets closer she begins searching for a safe place. For a dog as big as Bear, it’s amazing that she can squeeze into some really small places when there’s a thunderstorm. She will go under the bed, try to get into the bottom shelf on a bookshelf or the tiniest cubby underneath the desk. She shivers and shakes and pants until I sometimes worry about her having a stroke or a heart attack. Her response to thunder or fireworks seems quite similar to a human having a panic attack. She doesn’t focus on any one thing, and will often roll her eyes in fear.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are Pets Sentient Beings?

By Linda Cole

The general meaning for sentient is “to perceive or feel,” to be aware or have physical sensations. A sentient being is self aware, and some people believe this only applies to humans. We know pets are capable of feeling pain and can suffer, but just how aware are they of their surroundings and of the people they share their life with? There are those who say that pets can't be sentient beings because they have no perception of death, but I'm not so sure that's true. I've had enough experience with pets over the years to believe they know exactly what's going on when their time has come. I do think pets are sentient beings and have an awareness we don't fully understand.

I think my pets know me better than some of my friends. They are very much aware of my moods. They know if I'm angry or in a good mood, but more importantly, they know when I'm sad. And like a good friend who knows a hug can make a difference, pets give us their own special touch to let us know they understand and are there if we need them. This alone tells me they are sentient and are aware of what's going on around them.

We domesticated pets centuries ago because we discovered that if we worked together, it benefited both of us. A dog or cat's instinct and senses will surpass our gut feeling every time. When it comes to the natural world, dogs and cats know exactly what's going on long before we do. My dogs know before I open the door to their pen if there's a wild animal in the pen and exactly where it is. If a possum or coon was in the pen but left hours ago, the dogs still know that the animal had crossed through their territory. A pet's instinct can help them find their way back home, know if a storm is coming and instinct tells them when they need to protect their family from an intruder.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

By Julia Williams

We’ve all succumbed to spur of the moment desires at one time or another. Willpower and our emotional state play a huge part in our ability to resist the lure of an impulse purchase. It may not be life-changing to grab a candy bar at the checkout stand, but there are some things you should never obtain on a whim, and a pet is one of them.

Sadly, many people learn this lesson the hard way, including me. When I was just 18, I fell in love with an adorable poodle mix puppy at my local shelter. I didn’t know anything about raising a dog or being a responsible pet owner, and I wasn’t by any means “settled” in my life or career. My only thought before adopting PJ was that she needed a home and someone to love her. I could provide that, but had I stopped to consider all of the other things a dog needs, I would have let her go to someone who was more capable and prepared for pet ownership. When I had to re-home PJ it broke my heart, but the valuable lesson I learned will stay with me forever, and I’ll never, ever adopt another pet on impulse.

Questions to ask before you get a pet

1. Are you committed to caring for the pet for its entire life, and can you be reasonably sure that you’ll be able to? Life is full of unforeseen changes and calamities, but pets should not be discarded when they become inconvenient or present challenges. If you can’t pledge to take care of a pet through good times and bad, then pet ownership is not for you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dogs in Pickup Truck Beds: Safety First!

By Julia Williams

Many people see nothing wrong with letting their dog ride untethered in the open bed of a pickup truck. I can’t count the times I’ve seen a dog riding loose in the back of a pickup truck, and you probably have too. Sometimes the dog seems to be enjoying this open air experience, while other times the dog looks terrified as he struggles to maintain his balance. Regardless of whether the dog is having fun or is frightened, transporting them untethered in the back of a pickup is placing them in a very unsafe situation. It not only endangers the dog, but other motorists who could have an accident when they swerve to miss the dog if he falls out.  

An untethered dog in a pickup truck bed can easily become a projectile if the driver has to slam on his brakes, swerve to avoid something in the road, or hits an unexpected bump. I know someone who actually saw a dog fly out of an open truck bed onto a busy freeway, and the image haunts them. It’s really not something you want to see happen to any dog, because it can result in broken bones, road rash, bruises and even death if they get hit by another vehicle. Even if the dog manages to survive falling out of an open truck bed, treating his injuries could incur a sizable vet bill.

On winding roads, an untethered dog riding in an open truck bed will get bounced from side to side. Even if they don’t fall out, they can suffer bruises from continually hitting the hard walls of the truck bed. An untethered dog could also jump out of the open truck bed while it’s moving if he happens to see a cat, squirrel, another dog or something else he wants to chase. Many states have laws prohibiting the unsafe practice of transporting dogs unsecured in an open pickup truck bed. Regardless of the law, a responsible dog owner is one that makes sure their canine companion stays safe and healthy, both at home and on the road.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can Your Dog Learn Bad Behavior From Other Dogs?

By Linda Cole

Dogs are social beings that patiently sit and watch us and other pets, observing what we do. I never had a problem with my dogs digging up their pen until one of them dug a hole one summer to lie in the cool dirt. When I found the hole, I filled it in to keep the dogs from hurting themselves if they stepped in it while playing. The next day, the hole was back, so I filled it in again. This went on for about a week and then more holes started to appear. My other dogs had learned from the first dog that digging a hole in the shady areas of the pen would give them a cooler place to lie down in.

A door separates my living room from the dining room, and we built an escape window in it so the cats can move between the two rooms and get away from the dogs if needed. One day my dog Keikei was watching the cats jump through the window and I almost fell over laughing when I saw her fly through the opening behind them. I have to admit, I was amazed with her grace and the athletic ability it took for her to actually jump through a small window in a door. Now, I wouldn't call that bad behavior, but it certainly wasn't something I wanted or expected her to learn just by watching the cats.

Dogs learn by watching, and if one dog gets away with bad behavior, other dogs in the family may follow their example. To them, it's not bad if their behavior isn't corrected. If a dog's behavior changes, that's cause for concern because it could be due to a medical issue or behavioral problems like separation anxiety and food aggression. However, a dog that is copying bad behavior is a completely different situation. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between bad behavior and an actual behavioral change.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Justice for Bow a Huge Success on Facebook!

By Suzanne Alicie

Everyone who uses social networks like Facebook and Twitter is aware of the possibilities of increasing awareness and receiving donations for worthy causes from the caring communities. Fellow RPO blog contributor Linda Cole has written about this phenomenon in her post “How Facebook Helps Pets in Need.” Today I'll tell you how Facebook has been a huge success story for a special kitty. 

A few months ago I saw that a friend of mine had “liked” a page called Justice for Bow; the notification had a picture of a cat so I went to check it out. I was horrified when I saw the pictures of Bow and read the story of what had happened to him.

Poor Kitty

Neighbors near Burton and US131 in Grand Rapids, Michigan often saw and fed a stray cat living in the area. When a few days went by without seeing the kitty, the concerned citizens began to worry. On May 10, 2011 the cat, which has now been named Bow, was found with an arrow through his face. Someone had shot the defenseless cat and left him to suffer or die all alone. The arrow had entered Bow’s left cheek, pierced his esophagus and exited near his right shoulder.

Saving Grace

The wonderful woman who found Bow took him to Michigan Veterinary Specialists, but she only had $200 to put towards his care. The caring staff at MVS removed the arrow and donated the antibiotics and IV fluids to keep Bow alive. Amy Smith Velthouse, a veterinary technician at MVS, also volunteered at Carol’s Ferals, which was the first place she turned for assistance for Bow. Carol Manos of Carol’s Ferals arranged for Bow to be transferred to the Animal Hospital of Lowell where Dr. Bruce Langlois took over his medical care.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Can Dogs Read Minds?

By Linda Cole

After thousands of years of domestication, scientists have finally begun to do more extensive research on dogs to try to better understand man's best friend and how they relate to us. Most of us have already figured out that a positive relationship with our dog depends on how attentive we are to them, and when we do pay attention to them it's amazing to see how tuned in to us they are.

Dogs appear to have us figured out too. They seem to know what we're thinking sometimes before we know. Some people believe their dog can read their mind, but critics claim there's no way a dog knows what we're thinking. However, there is research that says dogs can read our minds. I'm always interested in new studies that come out about dogs because it can give us insight into their behavior and help us understand them better. This new study was done at the University of Florida. Researchers make the claim that dogs can read our minds based on experiments they did using dogs raised in shelters, pet dogs and tamed wolves.

They took two people, one who was attentive to the dog or wolf and one who was reading a book, had their back turned to the animal or had their head covered with a bucket. Each person offered a treat to the dog or wolf to see who they would beg from. The scientists wanted to see if dogs responded better to someone paying attention to them versus the non attentive person.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grow Catnip for Your Kitty – and for You Too!

By Julia Williams

If you have a cat, you’ve probably bought them a nip toy now and then. Some kitties will lick, bite and rabbit kick the toy exuberantly while others may run around like a cat possessed. Some cats will show zero interest in catnip toys, but it has nothing to do with what the toy looks like. Some catnip is more potent than others and will elicit a stronger reaction, which may account for a cat’s interest – or lack thereof –in a particular toy. However, it’s also possible that your cat is among the 10-30% of felines who won’t respond to any catnip toy. That’s because the attraction to catnip is determined by genetics, and their reaction is hereditary. In other words, some cats are genetically programmed to respond to catnip while others are not. Most senior cats and kittens under six months typically aren’t attracted to catnip either.

Although it’s been called “wacky tobacky for cats,” catnip is not a drug. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is an herb in the mint family, and it’s the essential oil in the blossoms, leaves and stems that are the main attractant for cats. But what you may not know is that catnip is not just for cats!

While catnip is a stimulant for cats, it’s actually a relaxant for humans, and it’s been valued for its herbal and medicinal properties for centuries. Combining one part catnip with three parts mint creates a soothing herb tea with a pleasant taste. Catnip tea can help you fall asleep, get relief from cold and flu symptoms or ease digestive upsets and tension headaches. Catnip is an excellent source of vitamin C, and like other mints can be added to salads, soups and other foods.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CANIDAE - A Dog Friendly Company in Every Way!

By Linda Cole

Having pets in the workplace can give an office a more relaxed and friendlier atmosphere. According to the American Pet Products Association, approximately 17% of U.S. businesses allow employees to bring their pets, usually dogs, to work daily. CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company is one of them. At CANIDAE, dogs have been known to be among the “executives” sitting in on meetings. I spoke with CANIDAE employees Diane Matsuura, Sarah DeNunzio and Carl Boley, as well as Anne Prinns who operates a dairy equipment repair company called J & A Enterprises, to get their take on dogs in the workplace.

For many employees, having their dog with them at work helps them feel more relaxed, but depending on someone's workload and responsibilities, it can also create stress if there's not enough time to properly care for a dog while trying to make sure their work gets done. Sarah prefers to leave her dogs at home because “Having my dog here stresses me out! I constantly worry about them getting along with the other office dogs, and I don't have time to take them on potty-walks each hour.”

Working at a pet friendly company can give you more time with your four-legged friend, especially in multiple pet households. When I asked Diane what she liked about the pet-friendly policy at CANIDAE, she said “I spend so much time at work that I enjoy being able to bring one of my dogs with me. I can spend more one-on-one time with them which wouldn't happen at home.” Carl also likes bringing his dog to work because “My buddy gets to hang out with me. Most of the time it is relaxing and a great ground breaker when potential clients come by.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pet Memoirs are Taking the Literary World by Storm!

By Julia Williams

Our pets inspire and enlighten us in so many ways. They teach us important life lessons, and their very presence can help us overcome our struggles and bring about positive changes. Thus it should come as no surprise that countless pet owners with a story to tell have written books about their four legged friends. Moreover, the public is lapping up these heartfelt tales, and pet memoirs are dominating the publishing world like never before.

“The entire book industry has gone to the dogs,” said Diane Herbst in Newsweek. Books supposedly penned by the pets themselves are also barking and meowing their way onto bestseller lists in unprecedented numbers! These first person pet memoirs have effectively created brand new genres – they’re called “dogoirs” and “catoirs.”

How did the pet memoir trend start?

In the past, “dog books didn’t get on national bestseller lists,” said Publishers Weekly senior editor Dick Donahue. “That’s something we can credit Marley with.” He’s referring of course to the dogoir Marley & Me, John Grogan’s account of his family’s relationship with a mischievous yellow lab.

First published in 2005, the book went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. After the popularity of Marley, “People came out of the woodwork with their own dog stories,” said Susan Canavan, executive editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Dog’s Intuition

By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve all seen the stories of heroic canine rescues, and remarkable behavior of loyal and loving pets. We’ve heard of service dogs and rescue dogs, but what about the heroic dogs that aren’t trained in any way but still perform amazing intuitive acts? Some of these may not be newsworthy, but they are evidence of the intuition that dogs have, and how they use it. Dogs are naturally in tune with the weather, their surroundings, and the humans around them.


Dogs can feel and smell the changes in the air when bad weather is brewing, and if the humans pay attention to their dogs they may be better prepared for whatever is coming. Everything from earthquakes to tornados and blizzards cause dogs to adopt a pack mentality of gathering those they feel responsible for and settling in for safety. Our dog Bear can hear or feel thunder before any of us, and she begins to make rounds of the house. We can tell she’s getting nervous because she tucks her tail and constantly runs from person to person almost like she’s herding us. Once we begin to hear thunder as well, we know why she was rounding up the pack. She often hides under the bed or some other protected small space but she keeps an eye on us and will run out to check if one of us is in another room.

People Skills

One thing I’ve always stood by is the belief that if a dog immediately decides not to like someone despite being “introduced” and never having any interaction with that person, there is something about the person that the dog recognizes as a threat in some way. I’ve seen it happen with even the most amiable dogs – someone triggers some sort of defense response in the dog and it simply will not warm up to that person. In all the cases I know of, the dog was right.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why You Should Involve Kids in Dog Training

By Linda Cole

Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, involving the entire family in the dog's training is an important part in the dog's education as well as the child's. Kids like to be included in family things, and training a dog should be a family affair. Having a role in a dog's care and training also helps children learn about being compassionate and how to act around a dog.

Socializing a dog or puppy isn't difficult to do. What's hard is teaching children not to roughhouse with a dog to the point where the dog or puppy becomes agitated or overly excited. That's why kids and adults need to understand a dog's body language to know when the dog has had enough fun for the time being. Involving children in a dog's training helps them learn how to watch what a dog is saying. It helps them become more aware of the dog's movements, and it's one of the best ways to bond and learn who their dog is as an individual.

Understanding breeds compassion, and when children train a dog using positive reinforcement, they are learning a life lesson that teaches them positive techniques which help with their human relationships. They learn they don't have to intimidate or use fear or bullying to get things they want, and they learn that giving respect to a dog returns trust to them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Do Pets Make the World a Better Place?

By Julia Williams

If you’ve ever shared a special bond with a pet, that question probably seems a bit silly. Of course the world is a better place because of pets, you’d say. As a lifelong animal lover, I wholeheartedly agree. However, I also know there are people who have no use for pets. Just as I can’t fathom why anyone would ever want to live without a pet, the non-pet people don’t really understand how humans can form strong bonds with animals, or why they would want to. I suppose the universe is big enough for all kinds, but just between us, I am eternally thankful that I’m a pet person. My world is absolutely a better place because of my pets, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am the polar opposite of the cat-hating boyfriend featured on Must Love Cats, who demanded that the bedroom be a “cat free zone.” I have very few cat free zones in my home. For sanitary reasons, I do try to make the kitchen counters and table cat free zones, but Rocky challenges that notion daily. I don’t have cat free zones because my home is their home too, and they should be allowed to live in it.

I certainly could have been – but sadly wasn’t – the person who came up with the funny saying, “If you don’t want pet hair on your clothes, stay off my furniture!” True, this policy of letting my pets sleep wherever they feel like it does present some moments of embarrassment. I’ll never forgot the day a visitor turned to leave and I discovered he was wearing what amounted to “half a cat” on the seat of his pants. It was mortifying in the moment, but I laugh about it now. I came to realize that if he was a pet person, he’d understand, and if he wasn’t…c’est la vie. I don’t much care.

“I could not imagine my life without pets” was a recurring comment in response to my article “My Best Friends All Wear Fur.” Nor could I imagine life without my cats. Well, actually I can imagine it, and it’s certainly not the life I would want for myself. I find that no matter what might be wrong with my life “in the moment,” a head-bump from my heart cat Annabelle can make it right again in an instant. I think I love her exuberant kitty head-bumps more than anything else on earth, and I simply can’t imagine life without them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Overview of Dog Laws

By Sara Chisnell-Voigt

Animal law as a whole has expanded by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, and as with any growth in a particular field of law comes more creation of laws. While legislatures across the nation have been busy introducing a wide array of new laws affecting dog ownership, plenty of basic dog laws already exist that all dog owners should be aware of. Although the majority of Americans consider their dogs to be family members, under the letter of the law they are considered property, and similar to other property, dog ownership can be regulated by the government. This article discusses some of the most common basic dog laws that apply to most dog owners.

At the most basic level of dog law, and found just about everywhere, are licensing requirements. Dogs must be licensed (typically by county), or owners may face fines. This gives the county a record of dogs under their jurisdiction. Typically, in order to obtain a dog license, the owner must provide proof of a rabies vaccination. Most states require that dogs be vaccinated for rabies. Some places charge a higher license fee for dogs that have not been spayed or neutered. Others offer kennel licenses for people who have over a certain number of dogs. Dog owners benefit from licensing their dogs because it provides another form of identification should they ever need to claim their dog at the animal shelter.

Now why would your dog be at the shelter? Most likely for running at large. Most states have leash and dog-at-large laws. Dogs must be on lead and under control of the owner when off the owner’s private property. Usually these laws authorize animal control to seize dogs running at large. Leash laws are in place to protect citizens from dogs running loose and to protect the dogs themselves. Some cities even have laws that require you to clean up after your dog if they defecate on public property, or you face fines.

There are exceptions to leash laws, such as dog competitions, dog parks, and hunting. States will have specific laws regarding hunting with dogs that outline where dogs may be loose for hunting, what time(s) of year, and what kind of prey they may be used for. Some states even have right to retrieve laws, where hunters have the right to go onto private property to collect a dog that has followed game across property lines.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Feeding Frenzy at the Katnip Lounge

By Julia Williams

The sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, selects one reader every three months to receive a free six month supply of their premium quality pet food. The winner is chosen at random from every new reader who subscribed to the blog via email during the past quarter. The winner gets to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food.

The lucky winner from last quarter is Tricia C. of Henderson, Nevada. Tricia and her husband Scott have a lot of cats – 13 to be exact! As you can imagine, feeding that many hungry felines is no small feat (they go through about 26 pounds of kibble and 275 6-ounce cans every month!), so Tricia was super excited to find out she’d won some free cat food. She spoke with CANIDAE Customer Service to determine which of the five cat formulas would be the best choice for her “Kat Pack” and decided upon the FELIDAE Cat and Kitten formula. I’m positive her kitties will love this great food, because my cats have eaten it for many years, and they all give it two paws up!

Tricia writes a very entertaining daily blog called the Katnip Lounge, which is subtitled “A Baker’s Dozen of Fabulous Cats.” With so many cats on hand (on paw?) there is never a shortage of good material for her blog. Tricia’s Kat Pack includes six girls and seven boys: KonaKitty, The Baby, Grayce, Sweet Pea, May Ling, Salem, Johnny, Felix, Rupert, Scouty, CC, Maui and Sylvester. Oh, and then there is Henry, an outdoor feral kitty they also feed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dog Scouts of America: Dogs are Not Furniture!

By Suzanne Alicie

If you’re a dog lover, there is an organization you simply must check out. I was astounded to realize that we don’t just have Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts organizations, there’s also a Dog Scouts of America (DSA). The Boy Scout and Girl Scout motto is: “Be Prepared!” The Dog Scouts of America’s motto is:

“Our dog’s lives are much shorter than ours – let’s help them enjoy their time with us as much as we can.”

Doesn’t that tell you something wonderful about this non-profit organization that is dedicated to enriching the lives of both dog lovers and dogs?

The founder of DSA, Lonnie Olson, believes that dogs were not meant to be “furniture” or accessories, and that they enjoy learning new things and spending time with their owners. Without a way to work out all the natural energy dogs have, they may get in trouble, be destructive and even develop health problems. The DSA is meant to bring people and their dogs closer together, to teach them to communicate with one another, and to challenge them to learn and do something new and different while working together to improve their communities.

CANIDAE loves the idea that the DSA promotes responsible pet ownership. Through their many publications including free articles, brochures, a manual and newsletter as well as their website, the main theme is being a responsible pet owner and community member. Dog lovers will find many community enrichment ideas, various sporting events and activities, and training information via the DSA.

Lonnie and the DSA want people to stop thinking of dogs as being disposable and recognize the innate intelligence, comfort, companionship and responsibility that are involved with owning a dog, or rather being owned BY a dog. The DSA holds yearly scouting camps where people and dogs come together to learn interactive skills and have a great time together.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Can You Love Your Pet Too Much?

By Linda Cole

Pets give us unconditional love from the moment we form a bond with them, or for some pets, from the moment they enter our home. In return, we shower our pets with toys, good food, great treats like CANIDAE TidNips™, and all the love they deserve. But is there such a thing as giving your pet too much love?

Suzanne Alicie wrote a fun article recently on “The World's Most Expensive Dog Accessories,” and it made me giggle. I looked at one of my dogs sleeping peacefully on an old blanket that has seen better days. It reminded me of when two of my dogs were puppies. They had a disagreement one night over who would get the blanket – the poor blanket was caught in the middle and ended up with a few holes in the middle. Once they finally settled their disagreement, they laid down together on their prize, each one sure they had won the argument. The dogs don't care if it's a ratty old blanket or an expensive throw; as long as it's where I am, everything is right in their world. I love who my pets are as individuals. I love how they want to be with me all the time, and if that's loving them too much – then I'm guilty.

My pets aren't children in fur, but they are my furry kids. I worry about them when they're home alone, I want to keep them safe during a storm and if one gets sick, I fret over them until they're better. If it's chilly, I throw down the tattered blanket because it has comfortable smells on it they love. I enjoy working from home so I can be here to make sure they're alright. When one of the cats wants to spend some time chatting about nothing, I'll stop what I'm doing to listen to them. I like knowing my dogs can roam freely in their dog pen and don't have to be tied up when they're outside, and they all know basic commands and what I expect from them. They aren't perfect, and I don't want them to be perfect. I'm not, and they still love me!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fun YouTube Videos with Dogs & Cats

By Julia Williams

When I’m writing, I like to take a break now and then because it recharges my batteries and allows me to keep working for longer periods than if I just wrote nonstop. I might go for a short walk, play with my cats or see what’s shakin’ on Facebook or Twitter. My favorite online “break room” though, is YouTube. Founded in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees, YouTube has grown tremendously since then and now claims that 48 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute. It’s also estimated that more than 2 billion videos are viewed every day. Isn’t that astounding?

Some of the most popular videos on YouTube feature dogs and cats. With approximately 75 million pet dogs and 94 million pet cats in the U.S. alone, it’s easy to see why. But did you know that the very first YouTube video posted featured an animal? It wasn’t a dog or cat, however – it was elephants. The “Me at the Zoo” video featured founder Jawed Karim in front of the elephants at the San Diego Zoo. There are so many dog and cat videos on YouTube that I could watch dozens every day and never come close to seeing them all. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Singing and Talking Dogs

Huskies are the paw’s down winner in the Singing Dogs category, because of their natural inclination to sing and howl. A singing Siberian Husky named Mishka has dozens of entertaining videos on YouTube, and “Mishka’s Song” is now also available on iTunes! Mishka has appeared on TV commercials and talk shows, including LIVE! with Kelly Rippa and Bette Midler. Mishka is also famous for her talking ability, and the video of her saying “I love you” is great. It kind of sounds like “I ruv roo” but still…

Ultimate Dog Tease” is a hilarious conversation between a guy and his dog about the different kinds of meat that’s in his fridge, and what he does with it that causes the dog to howl in dismay. Cute videos of dogs singing are in abundance on YouTube. One of my favorites is “Corgis Singing Happy Birthday,” which was supposedly made for the Queen Mum’s 100th birthday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life on the Road with Spirit, a CANIDAE Special Achiever

A few months ago, Linda Cole wrote a great article about Ara Gureghian and his dog Spirit, who have been touring the U.S. together (by motorcycle!) for five years. Ara & Spirit’s inspiring story captured our attention, and I’m happy to report they’re now part of the CANIDAE Special Achievers sponsorship program. We asked Ara to write a guest post for us about their travels, and he graciously agreed.


What if the video camera had been rolling 24/7 for these past 5 years full time on the road camping with my buddy Spirit? How about if he would do the commentaries? Goggles and helmet on, sitting in his own sidecar, nice four season tent with four motel nights a month, his CANIDAE dog food twice a day for better health than I could wish even for myself, some serious clowning and loving, and teaching me. Yes, Spirit has taught me the true values and priorities of Life. I have not heard a single complaint. He has not stopped glancing at me every 10 seconds while we ride, has not quit wagging his tail – what more can I ask or deserve from such a companion?

It is a funny thing the unfortunate dog-less are missing out throughout this Life of ours, which all too often is thought of as a rehearsal…but trust me, it is not. One Life to live and what better path than with such a mate when on these present occasions we are of each other’s help. I have had the tragedy of losing my only child, my son Lance, just over 7 years ago. Spirit himself had the misfortune of being badly abused for his first year, and while walking through the shelter, when our eyes crossed 3 days before his due send off to the other side, it was a mutual understanding within that split second look, the one imploring to save the other.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What’s In Your Home That Could Harm Your Pet?

By Julia Williams

As responsible pet owners, we all want to do everything we can to keep our furry best friends safe so they can live a long and healthy life. Because our pets can’t discern whether something is good or bad for them, they rely on us to keep the dangerous stuff out of the house, or at least out of their reach. Because knowledge is power, today I want to share with you some of the most common causes of pet poisoning.

A pet insurance company in California analyzed data from approximately half a million insured pets to compile a list of toxic substances that pose a danger to them. Common pet poisons found in the home (in order based on the number of claims) include medicine, chocolate/caffeine, plants, cleaning supplies, pest control products, antifreeze, walnuts and alcohol. Depending on the substance ingested, pet poisoning can occur quickly and can be fatal.

Once you know what’s in your home that could harm your pet, you can take preventative safety measures. Even so, you should be prepared in case of an accidental poisoning. Keep the number for your regular veterinarian and the closest emergency vet hospital handy, as well as a pet poison hotline.  As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Many human medications can be quite dangerous for dogs and cats even in small doses. Pets have been known to sample pills they find on the floor, so be sure to keep all prescription drugs and over-the-counter pills like painkillers, cold and allergy meds, vitamins and supplements stored in your medicine cabinet. Poisoning can also occur with pet medicines and nutritional supplements if they are misapplied or stored where your pet can get to them and subsequently consume more than they should.

Chocolate and caffeine both contain a substance called methylxanthine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures. See “Chocolate Toxicity in Pets” for more information.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Does Your Dog’s Name Fit Their Personality?

By Suzanne Alicie

Pet names are kind of funny sometimes. Most dogs get their names when they are puppies, and once they grow up the name may or may not fit their personality. The same is true for cats. I once named a kitten Chicken because she was scared of everything, but after she got used to the family there was no fear in her! So how do you choose a dog name that your puppy can grow into? It’s a guessing game really, and the idea is mainly to pick a name that he will understand, that you like and that rolls off your tongue easily! Julia Williams has offered up some great suggestions in “How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your New Pet.”

Do you have a really big dog that maneuvers about as well as a bull in a china shop? Was he the runt of the litter and you despaired of him every growing big and strong? If so, he may have a name like Tiny or Baby. You can’t change his name after he grows big so his name may be a bit of a misnomer, but it’ll make a great story when people ask!

Some dogs have such a strong personality when they are puppies that the name you give them based on their personality will fit even when they are grown. Bruiser may be the moniker tacked onto the biggest pup in the litter as he tramples the others to get to his CANIDAE dog food. That “leader of the pack” mentality tends to stick with a dog, and he’ll likely have a personality that matches his size.

Dog owners sometimes name their dogs based on physical appearance, but this can change a great deal as the dog ages. I recall a Pit Bull puppy we had years ago – at 8 weeks of age he hadn’t grown into his feet or his coat, and when he sat down it looked like his pants were wrinkling around his butt! Luckily I didn’t name him Saggy or Clumsy, because although he always ran a bit sideways, he grew into his feet and his coat, and there was nothing saggy about him. His name was Max, and he was loyal, loving and very fit.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Teach Your Pet Not to Beg for Food

By Linda Cole

I had a cat that was so insistent with begging that she would jump up on my right side and wrap her claws around my right arm. That was the hand holding the fork. She usually came from under the table in one of her stealthy cat attacks and before I knew it, my arm was locked in combat with her claws. She was so quick that sometimes she actually stole my fork on its way to my mouth! She did learn not to beg, but it took a few boxes of bandages before I finally won the battle. It is possible to teach your pet not to beg for food. After all, we're the ones who taught them to beg in the first place, and it's more a matter of us breaking our bad habit.

It's hard to look into our pet's pleading eyes and not give them a treat from our plate. Yes, I know they like it, but it's not good for them and it can cause health problems that can turn into life threatening conditions. Cooked bones can splinter, causing mouth and stomach lacerations. Round bones can become caught on a tooth and any bone can get lodged between the teeth or in their throat, causing them to choke. Spicy and fatty foods can cause intestinal problems and hyperactivity. Accidental poisonings from pets’ consuming the wrong foods – like raisins, chocolate, candy and walnuts – go up during the holidays, when there’s more food around and more people to beg from. Not only that, table scraps add unnecessary pounds onto pets, and it's just as important for them to maintain a healthy body weight as it is for us. A quality pet food like CANIDAE and FELIDAE is all our four-legged friends really need for optimum health.

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