Raw Natural Diets

I am starting to find that a raw natural diet is best for dogs and cats. The reason that I see is that is more closely matches the primal diet that they have eaten before they were domesticated.

Much of the dry, barely tasteful kibble that you feed your pets is highly processed and has fillers along with rancid oils for flavoring. I certainly don’t want to feed my pets that.

As a scientist, my hesitation is that dogs and cats have been bred on the commercial diets and are no longer fit to digest the raw natural meals as they ate before any longer.

On the other hand, they still are able to find and eat rodents and birds in the back yard with no adverse effects. In fact, many people claim that their pets are much healthier and happier on the raw natural diet. In that case, I am for the raw natural diets.

While I contemplate the benefits of a raw natural diet vs. cooked, I am feeding my pets a home cooked diet. Soon, I will be making that available to pet owners in my area.

In the meantime, tell me your thoughts on the raw natural diet.

Best to you and your pets.

Animal Abuse Registry

It is well known that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit a violent crime against a human. If we can keep track of those who commit these atrocities, we may be better prepared to keep our family safe.

A bill has been presented to the California legislature to require felony animal abusers to register with the local law enforcement and be entered into a public registry, very similar to the sex offender registry. Other states are considering similar movements.

Funding is a concern to some government officials, saying that the fines imposed would not be able to support it. Conversely, the cost would be well worth it if we were able to prevent more costly crimes in the future.

A private organization has created an animal abuse registry, Pet-Abuse.com. It currently tracks about 16,000 accused or convicted animal abusers. Not only is this database keeping people aware of the risks in their own neighborhood, it is making people aware of how widespread animal cruelty is.

It is hard to look at, but it is a real eye opener. You can find ongoing cases and even subscribe to receive updates at Pet-Abuse.com.

Feeding Your Dog

There are many different products available to feed your dogs. You can pay a lot for some of them, and some can be very cheap. But, even the most expensive foods can be bad for your dog. Since the dog food industry is not regulated very well, you may be feeding something that will eventually be detrimental to the health of your beloved family member.

Even the premium pet brands don’t always have a lot of control over the meats and other products that they get to put into their food. They may be unknowingly be putting euthanized and diseased animal meat into their food. Even road kill. It depends on the company that they are getting their meat from.

What is a dog parent to do? Well, research is the first step. There is plenty of information available. Many people move to making dog food at home. It is certainly a good option. You know what your best friend is getting, and you can customize it to your dog’s needs. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming to making dinner for your human family members and your dog too.

I would love to know what you feed your dog and why. Please complete the survey below. I want gather as much information as possible to educate all dog owners on the proper feeding of their furry kids.

A Destructive Dog, But Selective

Those puppies are so cute, but they love to chew. Well our hound isn’t exactly a puppy, but she sure acts like one sometimes. She doesn’t just chew on anything; she finds things when you least expect it. She chewed up one of my favorite hats when I left it on the coffee table. Then she chewed up a roll of paper towels. She looked awfully proud of herself after that one.

Florabelle proud of her accomplishment

Destructive dogs can make a cute dog picture at times, but it can also be a real problem. If it isn’t a big problem, the best thing to do is to catch them in the act and redirect their behavior to something else. Puppies like to chew things, which is perfectly natural. But, that is the time to make sure that they chew on the right things. I would not give them an old shoe to chew on. They may think that it’s OK to chew on shoes. Instead, give them a dog toy to chew on.

If there are larger problems, you will see other issues such as aggressiveness, depression, house training issues, and health problems. This will require more aggressive management. Of course, one of the first things you should do is talk to your veterinarian. You can also hire a professional dog trainer. Many problems may be solved with training at home with the proper guidance.

If you find that your dog is chewing your favorite hats, or shoes, or couch, you may want to evaluate your dogs behavior further to determine if there are more underlying problems. A good training program at home is a good start.

It isn’t hard to train dogs to fit well into your pack. You just need the right tools for training your dogs. Learn how to train your dogs to do more than sit, stay, and fetch at Pro Dog Training Now.

Become A Better Horse Owner

This was sent to me today. I found it very appropriate. All the horse owners out there will certainly understand.

Top 10 Exercises to Become A Better Equestrian/Horse Owner

    10.Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don’t pick it up right away. Shout, “Get off, Stupid, GET OFF!”

    9. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice “relaxing into the fall.” Roll lithely into a ball and spring to your feet.

    8. Learn to grab your checkbook out of your purse and write out a $500 check without even looking down.

    7. Jog long distances carrying a halter and a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbors what you are doing – they might as well know now.

    6. Affix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling to a halt. Smile as if you are having fun.

    5. Hone your fibbing skills: “See hon, moving hay bales is FUN!” and “No, really, I’m glad your lucky performance and multimillion dollar horse won the blue ribbon. I am just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place.”

    4. Practice dialing your chiropractor’s number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.

    3. Borrow the US Army’s slogan: Be All That You Can Be –bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled, frozen…

    2. Lie face down in a puddle of mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself, “This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience, this is …”


Swine Flu Is Now Available To Even More Mammals

You’ve heard the news over and over about the pandemic of the H1N1 virus, and how many humans are infected with it. Yesterday, a 13-year-old house cat was reported as the first confirmed case in a household animal.

The cat had a loss of appetite, lethargy, coughing, and sneezing. The owners experienced the same symptoms earlier. This led professionals to believe that the cat had contracted the illness from contact with the humans. The cat was treated with fluids for dehydration and antibiotics.

There have been cases of avian flu in household and zoo cats, as well as a similar flu in dogs. But, none have been confirmed as having the human virus. As with any viral infections, the virus mutates rapidly, making it tougher to combat over time. But, that doesn’t mean we should worry. It just means the professionals will be studying yet another strain as usual.

This means that you should limit contact with your pets as well as your other mammals in the house to help slow the spread. No more wiping your nose in the nice soft coat of the smaller mammals in your household.

Pet Euthanasia

Some people would say that euthanasia is wrong, some would say that it is the most humane solution. I am an advocate of euthanasia in many situations. It is never easy, but sometimes it is best.

The decision

We have the option of releasing our friends from their pain and misery. Some may say that their pet is telling them “it’s time.” I don’t necessarily think that is the case. Animals, humans as well, have a survival instinct despite what they may be going through. They don’t want to die, but I am very sure that they do not want to suffer either. It is up to us as caregivers to make that decision. Of course, this can be the most difficult decision a person can make. Reasons for euthanasia vary from severe behavioral issues to terminal disease. The best way to make your decision is discuss it with your veterinarian.

After the decision is made, you will have to decide on how to handle the remains. For your house pet cremation is usually the next step. You may have the option to get the ashes back, which can be expensive. For many, this is the preferred choice.

Most veterinarians will have you sign the legal forms and make payment before the procedure is done. This is mostly a compassionate gesture. After the procedure is done, you probably will want to leave immediately to begin your grieving. At some clinics, you may be able to leave through a private door.

How animals are euthanized

Euthanasia is an overdose of a barbiturate anesthetic which is injected into a vein. The animal will first become unconscious, and will be unaware of anything that follows. Shortly followed will be respiratory arrest, and finally cardiac arrest. Generally, it will all occur within one minute. It may take larger animals longer to achieve cardiac arrest.

Be prepared for that day

The day that you bring your animal to the veterinarian for euthanasia, you will already be very emotional. But, you must be aware of what you may see if you decide to be in the same room as it happens.

After the animal stops breathing and before or after cardiac arrest, it is common to see what appears to be a gasp for breath, twitching, urination, and defecation. These signs should not be taken as suffering in any way. Occasionally, it may be required to give another dose. Anytime I have seen this done, the animal is already unconscious and is not aware of it.

I have been present for many of these procedures (my own animals and other owners), and have hated every one of them. Nearly all of them have gone smoothly, but a couple have been worse than it should be. I have seen an animal fight hard to avoid the procedure, and we were forced to take the animal into another room away from the owner to complete it. This is very stressful for the animal, and not a good way to go. A solution to this may be to give the animal a sedative. You may want to discuss this with your veterinarian if your animal is usually resistant to normal procedures.

Grieving for the loss of your animal

Everyone grieves differently. But, no matter how tough you think you are, your emotions will still show through at some point. Hiding your emotions is not the best option. Your animal has become a part of your life, and grieving for that loss is important. For some people, having a cry in an empty room is enough. Others may need more help. There are forums, hotlines, friends, and family. Your veterinarian may have some suggestions for you. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Best wishes to you and your pets

Foal Imprinting

As a personal opinion, I think that imprinting newborn foals is helpful if done in a moderate amount, not full imprinting such as Dr. Robert M. Miller, DVM – who developed the technique – instructs. I have done imprinting on foals myself, and have seen the effects on them. Granted, they are great when you are halter breaking them, but they are entirely too interactive. They can act like big lap dogs. A little respect of humans would be good. I think there can be a happy medium met between imprinting and plain old every day training and interaction with the foal to socialize them properly. It is up to you to decide what degree to implement the training.

If you don’t know much about imprinting, it is a very simple and logical process. By giving stimuli to all parts of the foal’s body, until they relax (or get used to it), you eliminate the fear to be touched there. This way, you can do whatever you need to in that area later on in their life. For example, by putting your finger into their nostrils to moving it around inside, it trains the foal not to be so resistant to invasive procedures such as passing a tube if necessary.

The important thing in imprinting is to not let up if the foal is resisting. If you do, that teaches them that by struggling, they can get away, or get what they want. You want them to learn to submit to you, the human. You need to provide the stimuli until the foal is completely relaxed and just lets you do it. This may get very frustrating when working with a strong willed foal, but you need to be stronger willed.

Another good application is to train them not to spook so easily to certain items such as a plastic bag blowing by. To do this by imprinting, you will rub the foal all over with plastic. You are stimulating various senses – sight, sound, and touch – by rubbing the plastic all over the foal. Using the same application with clippers is a big plus.

Overall, I think that Dr. Miller’s book or video, “Imprint Training” is a great thing to read or see to get a good idea how it is done. You can choose to follow his instructions step by step, or combine parts of it with other training. Any way you use it, I think it is definitely worth some consideration.

Found By A Hound

It’s only been two weeks since we said goodbye to our boy. After only a few days, a stray showed up where our horse is boarded. The barn owner thought of us immediately. Of course, she understood our loss. But, she called us right away with the news of this wonderful girl. I decided I wasn’t ready. Although I have been very resistant to the idea, I have also been selling myself on it while trying to find her a home. As I tell people about what a wonderful girl she is, I find myself wanting to take her in more and more.

She is a cute hound mix. She looks like a cross between a Beagle and Basset Hound with long legs. When she sits and stretches her head back to look at you standing behind her, you just melt. I guess I am a sucker for a cute face. She would definitely need some work on the leash, but that is an easy task. We don’t know about her inside habits, as she is living in a goat pen because the barn owner’s dog hates her unfortunately.

My family brought her to our house the other day to see how our other dog and her get along. It seemed to go pretty well. I know it would work out if we took her in. We have already named her Florabelle. I guess that makes it even tougher for us to find her a home besides our own.

When we were in the process of adopting Douglas in 2005, we had to let our Doberman go. We postponed the adoption for a little while, but continued. Now he is gone, and we are in a similar situation. Everyone has his or her own “rules” on how long we should wait. But, it is funny how things just happen. Finding a family companion just happens. You don’t always go looking for it.

Retired Greyhound Racer To Family’s Best Friend

Douglas started his life April 5, 2001 as Zam Lenny Go, offspring of the sire Molotov (record breaking racer in the US Hall of Fame) and dam Lenny Lumina. He raced from August 2002 until July 2004. 2003 was the highlight of his career, when he won half of his races, and retired from racing in 2004.

He found his way to Arizona Greyhound Rescue in Tucson, AZ. That is where we found him in December 2004. He was a standout dog that was very handsome. We couldn’t help but be drawn to him and took him home. AGR renamed him Douglas after an Arizona City, which we chose to keep. It was a fine name for such a fine animal. “Doug the Dog.”

Douglas spent much of his time “roaching” (lying on his back) on his bed. He seemed to enjoy just lying around with us. But he did enjoy occasionally showing off his speed. We would take him in the back yard and get him going. Boy was he fast! Then he would go back inside and sleep until it was time to go to bed. Sometimes it seemed like he was more of a cat than a dog.

He loved people. Everyone that came in the door was met with great enthusiasm, sometimes too much. He would quiver with excitement and jump up on people. Not good for an 80 pound dog to be jumping up on you and stepping on your feet. Once you starting giving him some loving, he would calm down and just enjoy it.

Douglas and I were the only ones in the house who liked cheese crackers. So, I would open a bag, he would come running, and I would “accidentally” drop some on the floor as I ate them. He would happily clean them up for me. Those were some of our greatest bonding moments.

In 2009, he started showing signs of lameness in his right front leg. We thought it might have been a thorn in his paw from a mesquite tree at some point. It persisted and we took him to the vet to investigate it further. We eventually found out that it was bone cancer.

There were a few options, which included amputation, that didn’t really give him great longevity that was worth the treatment. So we decided to just manage the pain that he had in his leg. After a while, the pain medications that we were giving him just weren’t enough. He would still wake up in the middle of the night growling and whining. We would give him even more, but then he was just intoxicated from the medication most of the time. It was time to say good-bye to Douglas.

On September 12, 2009, we said our final good-byes to him. He was the first animal that I have been so close to since I was a child. His funny moments and his quirks were what made him Douglas.

I miss my boy.