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The Dog Newsletter

Click on a headline to view the full text; Some links lead to articles below.


What Are
Registration Papers?

Medicating Pets


Victims' Pets

Genetic Testing for
White-footed Herding dogs a must!

Bullwinkle, giving thanks for a festive meal


FOR DOGS AND CATS: Technology Research Corporation (TRC) has just marketed an extension cord that is safe for dogs and cats. This extension cord monitors the flow of electricity and will instantly disconnect power when a dangerous condition is detected. This includes the penetration of the cord by dog and cat teeth. This cord will also prevent fires that result from electrical cords. The cord costs about $10.00. You can find out more about it from TRC at fax: 727-530-7375, email: or This also sounds like a good product for people who have small children. FOR DOGS: A litter box system designed for small dogs is now available in most pet supply stores. It works in the same manner as a litter box for cats. This system allows the small dog owner to teach their dog to relieve themselves in the litter box instead of outside. For more information about litter box training for dogs, see Darlene Arden's book The Irrepressible Toy Dog, listed on this site in the Books section.

    Bullwinkle, then and now  

The Holidays: This is a time of the year that you must be more concerned about your pet's safety. As families celebrate the holiday season sometimes there are more goodies left in places where pets can get them. A dog or cat can eat chocolate left on a coffee table or the floor. Pets can chew and eat the ribbon from packages, the paper, packing "peanuts," cellophane and decorations. Often these items have the scent of food on them and will tempt a pet who otherwise would not pay attention to these things. A dog or cat can get their head stuck in a plastic bag and die.

Be sure to watch your pet carefully during this time of the year. If you pet seems to be "out of sorts" or otherwise sick, do not hesitate to have them looked at by your veterinarian. If your pet shows any sign that it has an upset stomach, trouble eliminating, vomiting, lethargic, or gagging, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.You must be extra careful after the holidays are over and presents, decorations and food are forgotten but still around. If you have children in your home or neighborhood, watch that your pet does not chew and swallow toys or parts of toys and games that a child might leave on the floor or ground.Do not give your pet too many treats, just because it is the holiday season. If you want to give your pet some leftover's, be sure to watch for bones. As you discard the carcass of roasts, be sure to put the bones outside in a trash can that has a solid, secure lid on it. Sometimes the smell of a whole turkey carcass in the kitchen garbage may be too much for even the most well trained pet to ignore. If your dog or cat should eat a bone, call your veterinarian right away. If you cannot get a vet, the main thing to do is encase the bone in a protective mass of food. The best thing to feed your pet is bread and water or if you have it natural psyllium fiber. This creates bulk in the pet's system and will help to prevent the bone from puncturing the animal's intestines. You should still contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.If you buy your pet toys, be careful that they cannot be chewed into small pieces, swallowed or that they are toxic. If you have more than one pet, make sure that the toys are safe for all of them. A dog will take a cat's toy and chew it. I personally do not like to give a dog toys that are edible, such as rawhide, pig ears, cow hooves, etc. Be extra careful with extension cords, decorated trees and window lights. If your dog or cat is used to jumping up on the window ledge to look out, they will not stop doing it because you have put a light in the window. You pet can chew the cord or get tangled in it.

With a little bit of care, you and your pet can have a safe, happy, holiday season.

Lily - A Havanese

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KEEP YOUR DOG WARM: All short-coated dogs need a coat or sweater in the winter. This is especially true if your dog does not have a double coat. The dog coat should cover their underside as much as possible. Most little dogs need a coat because they do not have the body mass to keep warm. Dogs such as Dalmatians and Boxers need coats.

WINTER WARNING: You should be aware of winter and fall hazards. First, always watch that your dog does not drink antifreeze. As people winterize their cars, you may find small amounts of antifreeze on the road, in a puddle or even left out in a container. All it takes are a few laps of antifreeze to kill your dog. The new antifreeze that is supposed to be safe, is not. Another hazard for both you and your dog are deer ticks. The fall and spring are the two most active times for ticks. Because deer ticks are so small, the best thing to do is to put a tick collar on your dog. You can get one from your veterinarian. Your dog should wear the collar until we have a hard freeze. Ticks will become active during the warm spells of winter. If we have a mild winter, you should keep the collar on your dog throughout the winter. It has been my experience that the collars need to be changed every two and one half months. Do not wait for the three-month limit that they have.

Poppy - Celebrating!

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DOG TREATS: According to PET PRODUCT NEWS, pig ears are the largest selling dog treat on the market. Now manufacturers are marketing other animal body parts as treats. They claim that these treats are natural and healthier for dogs. Some of the parts are cows tails and pig snouts. Other treats on the market are the bones made from vegetables and corn starch. I have read one account of a dog eating one of the vegetable bones and having a piece become lodged in the digestive tract. This needed to be surgically removed. The article stated that the product was the same hardness and size as when the dog ate it. As a rule of thumb I do not recommend these types of treats. Rawhide, cow hooves, pig ears and other similar treats can block a dog's digestive tract. While the other body parts may seem like good treats that your dog likes, I would like to see more information on the processing that these treats receive. Often the product is made of good ingredients, (vegetables) but the form and process by which it is made can be dangerous for the dog. I urge dog owners to proceed with caution.

Gus & Pluskat

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DOG FOOD: Many times in my career as a dog trainer and behavior consultant, I have witnessed at times an almost complete turnaround in a dog or cat’s behavior and health, simply by changing the quality of the pet’s food. “Nervous” or “high strung” dogs calmed down, older pets, both dogs and cats seem to get new vitality, in some cases itching stopped, growths disappeared, and on the list of changes goes. In each case there are reasons for the changes, but in all cases it was linked to feeding your dog or cat “junk” pet food. The general rule of thumb is, if you can buy it in the super market, you do not want to feed it to your dog or cat.

Since there are many pet foods on the market, how do you know which one is good? They all claim to be a complete source of nutrition for your pet.

There are a few ways to judge the quality of a pet food.

1. Begin by understanding the terminology and what the law allows regarding pet food. Otherwise the information on the pet food label will not give you a clear understanding of what is in the food.

For example, read the information on the Born Free Animal Protection Institute web site at Also check out the requirements for pet food as explained by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, (AAFCO). The bottom line though, is that each state controls what and how ingredients go into pet food.

2. Pet food manufacturers can use the meat from animals that died other than being slaughtered. This includes diseased animals. Even if they used slaughtered animals, they typically use the parts of the animal that are not fit for human consumption. This is allowable if the meat products are rendered according to the rules set by AAFCO and the individual state feed control laws. It is important to understand that when a pet food states it is made of meat products or meat, it can be any type of meat, including euthanized pets and road kill. Consumers often assume that the word meat means beef, pork, turkey or chicken when in reality it may not be one of those four. The grains used in pet foods are processed so that they are broken down and the various parts of the grain are used; sometimes that will include the hulls. So you will not likely see the term “whole grain” in pet food. If you do it may not be in the same context as used in human foods. For this reason most pet food does not contain any whole ingredients.

3. Most major pet foods are produced by companies that manufacture human food. Often the spoilage and leftovers, such as cereal fines are added to pet food. These could include grains that have been contaminated with mold and other contaminants. Again if they are processed according to the law, the can be added to pet food.

4. Animal, poultry and vegetable fat are a part of almost every pet food. This can include the used fat that is collected from restaurants. This fat is often stored for long periods in 55 gallon drums at all temperatures before it is processed for pet foods. Often the fat is rancid prior to processing.

5. Although the label of the pet food may claim that it has 24% protein, and in reality it does. The protein may not all be digestable.

6. Think carefully about what you read on the label. For example, typically the ingredient which is the largest amount is listed first. Beef may be the first ingredient listed and the consumer thinks that the product is mostly made of beef. But in reality if you add the percentage of all the other ingredients you will be shocked to learn that beef is the least ingredient in the food. For example: beef = 15%; meat by products = 10%; that means that a total of 25% of the product is meat. The rest of the food is made of other things but each one less than 15%. What you have is 25% of some type of meat product and 75% of everything else. Also keep in mind that most canned or semi-moist food could be primarily water. This means that ounce for ounce, canned food has less nutritional value than dried food. This means a pet must eat more canned food in order to gain the nutrition it needs.

7. There are three things that make a good pet food.

a. The ingredients.

b. The processing – high heat kills a lot of the nutritional value of all food so the process should be a low heat process.

c. Packaging – There are three things that will cause a pet food to spoil, light, air and moisture. The longer the food is exposed to these elements, the sooner it will spoil. The pet food is processed, bagged, stored in a warehouse for shipment at the processing plant, transported, often in hot trucks or railroad cars to a distribution center, shipped again to the retail outlet, sits on the shelf of the retail outlet until the pet owner buys it. From there, the bag is opened and may sit for a month or more until the pet consumes the entire bag of food. By the time the bag is half empty, much of the food could have spoiled.

The best foods are packaged in small, vacuum packed bags that protect the food from light, air and moisture. The bags should be small enough that a pet can consume the food quickly.

8. Always keep in mind that how the food looks, advertising, packaging and ad contents are designed to convince the pet owner to buy the food. Your pet does not care what the food looks like as long as it is appealing enough to eat.

What about Lamb and Rice foods?
Most dogs should not be fed a lamb and rice formula. This food was designed for dogs that develop food allergies to other ingredients. If you feed your dog lamb and rice and he develops in intolerance for it, you will be forced to feed your dog very expensive formulas that are not easy to find, such as venison and rice, or some other exotic meat. Many dogs do not like the lamb and rice formulas to being with.

What about human food?
This is a debatable topic. Many people will tell you not to feed your dog human food. But consider that raw fruits and vegetables have the live ammino acids necessary for good health. If given the opportunity, many dogs and cats will seek out and eat plant matter on their own. Dogs cannot store vitamin C and must get it from their food. Feeding your dog or cat raw fruit and vegetables in moderation is not a bad thing to do. Feeding your dog fast food on a regular basis is not a good thing to do. But a small amount of leftover vegetables or salad can be good for your dog or cat. However, you should take the same care in handling these foods as you would for yourself.

Do not Feed: Grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate to your dog or cat. They are poisonous and can make your pet seriously ill or even cause death.

The pet food industry and pet nutrition is a fluid industry. As scientists learn more about the nutritional requirements for pets, as well as what is bad for them, the pet food market will slowly follow. Pet foods that were once independently owned may sell out to a large manufacturer. Often the quality of the food will drop before the sale to show a higher profit margin so that the company can sell the pet food line for more money. In recent years some very good pet foods that had a stellar reputation have become supermarket fodder.

If you see a change in your pets coat, behavior, activity level or new health problems, always check to see if your pet food is still being manufactured at the same level of quality by the same company. And of course take your pet to the veterinarian for a check up. .

Lily & Pluskat

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     PREVENTING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR DOG! Most people have problems with their dogs for four reasons: (1) They do not select the right kind of dog for their lifestyle, (2) They do not select the correct breed, or type of dog. If they do select the correct type of dog, they do not get the right pup from the litter. Getting the right dog is the key to having a dog that will respond favorably to training. The right dog will adapt to your family as well. (3) They do not socialize the puppy or dog correctly; and (4) they do not get the proper training for their dog. All dogs should be formally trained in the basic commands. If one is available near you, your dog should attend a puppy kindergarten class before obedience training.How to select the right breed. Consult a general breed book to see what is out there. Be sure to consider the size of the dog, grooming requirements, activity level, protectiveness, cost and personality. Next contact dog professionals in your area, such as trainers, behaviorists, groomers, veterinarians, and pet sitters.Do not limit yourself to AKC breeds. AKC dogs are no better than other breeds that are registered by other registries.A DOG THAT HAS PAPERS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE DOG IS QUALITY. The AKC or any other registry does not guarantee that the dog you get belongs to the papers issued with the dog. Therefore, a dog that is born and sold through a pet shop, back yard breeder, the neighbor next door or a puppy mill is not a quality dog just because it has papers.The only way you can be SURE that the puppy or dog you purchase is related to the parents listed on the papers is if the puppy and parents have been DNA processed or profiled and registered. The United Kennel Club, the second oldest registry in the United States publishes a list of all dogs that have been DNA processed and who are registered with the United Kennel Club. For information about DNA Profile's contact the United Kennel Club at (616) 343-9020After you have decided on a breed or two that interests you, contact a breed club for references. The place NOT to buy a dog is through the newspaper, the accidental breeding down the block, a pet shop, the farmer down the road who has a handmade sign out front, dog magazines, or a breeder who has many different breeds and litters at once. Be very wary of the large breeding facility that produces one or more litters a week or month.How to select a dog or puppy: If you get your dog from a reputable breeder this should not be a problem. Your breeder should match you and a puppy correctly. You should not look at a litter and select the one you think is the cutest. Your breeder knows the litter and each puppy's personality better than you do. Your breeder should also be experienced enough to know how his or her lines will develop. A general rule of thumb that is successful is to select the puppy that stays with you the longest. NOT the one who reaches you first or stays in the background!Remember, you will own your dog for ten or more years. Throughout your dog's lifetime you will most likely invest over $15,000. Not to mention your time and your heart!

The best way to learn about breeds of dogs is to study breed books, talk to veterinarians, dog trainers, groomers, and breeders of the dogs you are looking for.


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    SPRING AND SUMMER: June brings thoughts of graduation, weddings and other spring and summer activities. Be sure to keep the needs of your dog in mind. If you plan to be away for a long day, have a neighbor or friend check in on your dog. It is amazing how your dog knows that something special is up and decide, while you are away, to do things he would never normally do. Temperature's 50 degrees or over are too hot for your dog to be left in the car, even with the windows opened. Also, it is never a good idea to let your dog ride an open vehicle. Unrestrained he can fall out. Tying your dog by the collar can cause severe injury or break your dog's neck. Even safely restrained, stones, bugs, dust and other debris can injure your dog (this includes hanging out of the window). NEVER allow your dog to ride in the open back of a pickup truck.

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HEAT WARNING: As it becomes hot and humid, you must be sure that your dog always has fresh, cool water. Remember that a dog sweats through the pads of his feet and by panting. If the air is humid your dog will not be able to cool off easily. Some dogs enjoy lying in a child's plastic pool filled with water.


Graduation Treats
1 Cup uncooked oatmeal 1 egg beaten
3/4 cup powdered milk 3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup margarine (optional))
3 cups whole wheat flour 1 can of beetsProcess the beets in a food processor until it is mush. In a large bowl combine the oatmeal and beets, let stand five minutes. Stir in powdered
milk, cornmeal and eggs. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time mixing well. Knead 3 - 4 minutes adding more flour if necessary to make a very stiff dough. Roll dough into thin strips and cut as desired. Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes. Allow to cool and dry until hard.

Cheese Nuggets
1 Cup uncooked oatmeal 1 Cup cornmeal
1/2 cup powdered milk 1 egg beaten
1/4 cup margarine (optional) 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Cups whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup, (4oz) grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup hot water or meat juices

Pour hot liquid over oatmeal and margarine. Let stand 5 min. Stir in powdered milk, cheese, salt and egg. Add cornmeal and wheat germ. Mix well. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead 4 min. Roll and cut. Bake 1 hour at 300 Turn off heat and leave in oven an hour or longer. These treats can be made small and used as training treats for your dog.

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Pet Health Insurance: Although this is not a new concept, health insurance for pets seems to be getting popular. With today's technology and high priced treatments for pets, it makes more sense to consider it then in years past. Also, the policies are more friendly than they used to be. According to an article in PET AGE, May 1999 a number of dog food companies and big chain pet stores are looking into ways to offer pet health insurance for pet owners. The Pet Age article offers these contacts for pet health insurance. Pet Assure, 888-789-7387; Pet Care Plus+, 800-645-2939; Pet Product Inc., 941-403-4100; Petshealth Insurance Agency, Inc., 330-492-3948; Veterinary Centers of America, Inc., 310-392-9599; Veterinary Pet Insurance, 800-872-7387. One word of caution when considering a health care policy for your pet. Read the policy carefully. See exactly what it covers and what it does not cover. Does it cover wellness care? That would include shots and annual visits. How does it handle other visits? What does it offer for elective surgery which could include, spay, neuter, dew claw removal and declawing, docking and cropping? How does it handle illness and major surgery. Does the coverage decrease as the age of the dog increases? Does it terminate after the dog reaches a certain age? How does it handle euthanasia? Is there a discount for a multiple pet household?


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Home Treatment with Natural Products: While natural products are a great way to go, you should not try to vet your pets yourself. Diagnosing the problem is very important and if you are not a veterinarian you could do more harm than good. However, using many of the natural products that are on the market for your pet's care and maintenance is a good thing to do. Products such as natural treats, shampoos, conditioners, etc. can make a difference in your pet's life.

This is a good link:
The Holistic Pet Center:

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The Puppy Mill Issue, Again: In an article in Pet Age, July 1999 the author talks about the different ways a pet shop can overcome the bad press pet shops have received about purchasing puppy mill dogs (this includes cats too, yes, there are cat mills). The article states that some pet shop owners will only buy dogs from local breeders that they can inspect. The pet shop will offer support, make sure the puppies are kept clean. One store owner gives his cell phone number for his customers to call him to all puppies he sells within two weeks of a holiday. Some owners only select puppies from dealers who they felt met their standards. As a result one store in a mall, sells about 800 puppies a year. But never forget that the bottom line is that ethical breeders will not allow their stock to go to a pet shop. Good breeders want to interview the purchaser to insure that it is a correct match. This means that the breeder will want to be sure that their breed is suitable for the purchaser and that the individual dog is the right one for the purchaser. No matter what a pet shop tells you, keep in mind that the dog or cat came from a commercial facility whose main job is to produce livestock for resale. Also, never forget that the pet shop will sell any pet to anybody and the bottom line is that in my experience, most problems develop because people purchased the wrong type of dog or cat for their lifestyle. So no matter what sales pitch you get, a pet shop is not the place to buy a pet!

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How Important is Exercise? If I had to pick the one major cause of behavior problems in dogs, it would be lack of exercise. When a dog has too much energy and no place to vent it, they find ways. Usually those ways involve forms of exercise that are not acceptable. Some of the unacceptable ways dogs vent excess energy is destructive chewing, barking, jumping, dashing around the house and mouthing (not to be confused with aggressive biting). Because these behaviors are self rewarding, they become a very difficult habit to break. So how much exercise is enough? Probably nothing that you think is enough! A dog has had enough exercise when he comes in readily and flops down for a snooze. If your dog comes in from playing with you and looks for more fun, you have only given your dog a warm-up and have not exercised him properly.There are two major factors that determine exercise needs. First is the breed of dog. Some breeds, such as Border Collies, are bred to travel up to 50 - 100 miles a day. Not that these dogs run in a linear mile, but working around the herd of stock to keep them moving and gathered may mean running many miles in a few linear miles. When very active dogs are kept as a pet, their instincts drive them to move a lot. Other breeds are not bred to travel a lot and make better house pets. Larger dogs need more room to exercise since they can cover more ground with fewer steps. Small active dogs may be able to run enough in your house to get the exercise they need. But they still need to run.The second factor that determines your dog's exercise needs is your dog's diet. If you feed your dog junk, he may be getting too much sugar and starch. This would be the same as having children in your house that have eaten nothing but candy and cake. I constantly see dramatic changes in a dog's level of activity by changing the diet. As a general rule of thumb the food should be all human grade ingredients and organic if possible. It should consist mainly of meat. It is not necessary to feed your dog lamb and rice. Actually I do not recommend lamb and rice but prefer chicken. The bottom line is to choose a breed of dog that will fit into your activity schedule. Realize that enough exercise is not what you determine, but what your dog needs. The good news is that most dogs need to exercise two times a day. Dogs are by nature, active in the morning and in the evening. The exception to this is the very active dog such as Border Collies. They may need to exercise up to five times or more a day. That varies from dog to dog. Finally, feed your dog a good wholesome diet of human grade ingredients and organic when available. Raw diets are excellent as well. Check out Wysong products at or check out for information about dog and cat food and raw diets.

A Border Collie, Jib was posthumously awarded
APDT & TFA Nylabone SAR Dog of the Year, 2003

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Mountain Laurel and Deer, Not a Good Mix for Dogs! An article in the US Border Collie Club Newsletter, Fall 2000, Kay Pine recounts a frightening experience with her dogs. About 10:00 p.m., when Kay was ready to let her dogs out for the last time for the evening, she was shocked to find that her one dog Molly was staggering drunkenly, with no apparent control of her hind legs. A trip to the vet, X-rays and blood samples revealed nothing. Molly in the meantime seemed to recover. Then very suddenly, in front of the vet, she collapsed. Still, the vet could not find anything. The next day she was depressed and hid under a table. In a few hours she was fine again. A few years later, another of Kay's Border Collies suffered from the same thing. Again, the dog collapsed with no control over her hind legs. The only thing common to the dogs was that both had been for a walk and had eaten a substantial amount of deer droppings. A few years later, with the mystery still unsolved, Kay was reading a book about wild flowers. She read the following, written by botanist Peter Kalm under mountain Laurel (or Kalmia). "The leaves are poison to some animals and food for others . . . [leaves] form the winter food for stags and if killed during the time of feeding and the entrails given to dogs to eat, they become quite stupid, and, as it were intoxicated, and often fall so sick that they seem to be at the point of death, but the people who have eaten the venison have not felt the least inconvenience." Kay goes on to say that the deer behind her house eat the mountain laurel and she feels that if the entrails are toxic so are the droppings. The lesson learned is: if your dog eats the droppings of deer who have fed on Mountain Laurel, they could show the unusual symptoms mentioned above. Be sure to alert your veterinarian if your dog acts sick and has eaten deer droppings in an area where there is mountain laurel

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[Click and Treat Training: Many of you know that I highly recommend training all animals with the click and treat method of training. This is a positive method of training that allows you to capitalize on behaviors that you might otherwise miss. For example, one of my dogs likes to sneeze when she is happy. By clicking on the sneeze I was able to teach her to sneeze on command. Clicker trained animals thoroughly enjoy the process. This method also encourages your pet to think on his own. I have seen dogs and cats become very happy and excited about learning when taught with this method. The method can be used with any thinking animal. Just to name a few, it has been successfully used with dogs, cats, horses, and birds. For more information about clicker training check out

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Copyright © 2001 Susan Bulanda. All Rights Reserved.