The Value of Purpose-Bred Dogs

While researching information for my Waterside Kennels series, I’ve learned a lot about dogs in general and about the people associated with breeding and training dogs. Sadly, some of these people are all too often motivated by profit. This has given rise to a veritable cottage industry populated by backyard breeders, puppy mills, and stores who may sell puppies (for hundreds of dollars–or more) from people who have limited or no knowledge of bloodlines, standards, or even breed-specific temperament.

In contrast, responsible breeders work diligently to maintain clean, well-managed facilities, follow industry standards for healthy breeding stock, and work hard to preserve breed characteristics. If you’re interested in finding a responsible breeder, the American Kennel Club (AKC) offers a list of breeders as well as tips to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re not sure which breed might be best for you, you can compare breeds, talk to breeders and owners, and watch the dog in action.

For an example of a purpose-bred dog, check out this story of a coon hound that demonstrated her ability to apply tracking skills in a totally unexpected situation.

Coon Hound tracking

Read more about Billie in an article authored by Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz and published online at akc.org.

Give thanks and be safe!

Find this photo and details about food safety at akc.org

Whatever holidays or special events you celebrate as the year draws to a close, take time to remind yourself what’s safe–and what’s not–for your dogs. Here’s “must know” info straight from writer Mary Keal, whose articles have appeared on the American Kennel Club’s website.

It’s not just humans that overeat at the holidays. Some of us may also be a bit indulgent with our dogs. But it doesn’t have to be the turkey bones or other not-so-great items from the Thanksgiving or Christmas menu. There are healthier choices to share with your dog. From green beans to sweet potatoes, plenty of fall favorites can be tasty (and safe) options for your dog to share in small portions during holiday festivities.

It may be tempting to offer up the turkey bones to include your dog in your family’s celebratory feast. But, because they can potentially cause damage to your pet’s digestive tract, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends keeping them out of reach. However, though turkey bones are off the table, there’s no need for your pet to feel left out.

Safe and satisfying foods that you can share with your dog this holiday season are discussed by Gary Richter, MS, DVM author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide: Breakthrough Nutrition and Integrative Care for Dogs and Cats and Veterinary Health Expert with Rover, Sara Ochoa, DVM and small animal and exotic veterinarian in Texas, and the American Kennel Club’s Jerry Klein, CVO and emergency and critical care veterinarian who has been a valued member of the Chicago veterinary community for over 35 years.

Here’s a quick look at “safe” foods your dog can enjoy. Note: read details and disclaimers in the full article online.

      • Sweet potatoes
      • Potatoes
      • Applies
      • Turkey meat (no bones & no skin)
      • Green beans
      • Peas (plain, not creamed)
      • Pumpkin (plain, not pre-spiced)

Photo courtesy of akc.org

Continuing from the article, Dr. Richter, Dr. Ochoa, Dr. Klein, and the AVMA caution the following foods should NOT be served to dogs:

                  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
                  • Stuffing
                  • Casseroles
                  • Mashed potatoes
                  • Creamed peas
                  • Chocolate, cookies, pies, and sweets (especially anything containing xylitol)
                  • Alcoholic beverages
                  • Raisins and grapes
                  • Onions, scallions, and garlic
                  • Ham
                  • Yeast dough
                  • Fatty foods
                  • Foods containing spices

Read the entire article online at https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/thanksgiving-foods-to-share-with-your-dog-or-avoid/

To read more dog-related articles authored by Mary Kearl, see the list at https://www.akc.org/author/mary-kearl/

A Different Sort of Dog Owner

This week, Sasha went to the groomer for the usual shampoo, trim, and tidy work in addition to a long-overdue blowout. Considering how much hair was left on the groomer’s table and floor, I’m grateful Sasha doesn’t have the super-thick coat commonly seen on Shelties.

The additional time required for a proper blowout meant that Sasha was out of the house much longer than usual, and her absence–and the resulting silence–affected all of us.  (If you’ve ever spent time with a Sheltie, you’ll know that silence is rare.) Perhaps most affected, though, was Buddy The Wonder Cat, who frets whenever his dog is away from home. He prowled and yowled his way through the house, refusing to settle until Sasha was once again safe at home.

Whether he’s supervising the Muffin Tin Game, overseeing meal time, or just hanging out in the backyard, I can always count on Buddy The Wonder Cat taking care of his dog.

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As Seasons Change

Source: Sandra/Fotolia

Today we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox (known as the Fall Festival to some and Mabon to others). I’ve been wondering if/how the season’s change might affect the four-legged family members, and found some answers while wandering through the Internet.

Writing for Romper.com in 2018, Beagle owner Abi Berwager Schreier had apparently wondered much the same. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

So am I a crazy dog lady? Perhaps. But I asked Russell Hartstein, a Los Angeles-based certified dog and cat behaviorist and trainer if the fall equinox affects your dog, secretly hoping I’m really not the crazy dog lady who imagines things about her pups. And it turns out, I’m not super wacky. “Dogs are affected by light cycles more than the position of the sun in the sky. Being crepuscular animals (most active during dusk and dawn), the times of a dog’s increased activities somewhat fluctuate with the amount of daylight,” he explains in an email interview with Romper. So that makes sense why they seem so much more active even at 5 a.m. once the equinox has occurred.

Now, what to do with all that energy? Author Leah Ingram suggests five ways to enjoy the season with your dogs. While you’re online, check out this slideshow of happy dogs compiled by dogtime.com. And finally, keep these Fall grooming tips (courtesy of AKC) in mind.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Dogs Dogs Dogs!

Earlier this week, folks celebrated National Dog Day. In our household, we celebrate dogs–and cats–every day of the year, which might explain how I managed to overlook this one-day salute to canines. In case you thought this was just a day to post photos of your pooch on social media, you might be surprised to know there’s a deeper meaning behind National Dog Day. Here’s what holidayscalendar.com has to say:

Celebrated annually every August 26th, National Dog Day is a day for people to recognize the importance of dogs and how they impact their lives on a daily basis. It is also a day to recognize how hard service dogs work on our behalf and also to draw attention to the plight of abused and abandoned dogs.

This day was founded by author and animal behaviorist, Colleen Paige in 2004. She invented this observational holiday to not only show appreciation for dogs, but to bring attention to the plight of abused dogs, to end puppy mills and to bring an end to breed-specific legislation that regulates, or outright bans, certain breeds in the hope of minimizing dog attacks.

There are a number of different ways to celebrate this day. Some people choose to use this day to spend more time with their dog and to buy him/her new toys or sweaters. Other people take time during this day to volunteer their time and money to various dog welfare organizations.

This day is the perfect time to not only reconnect with your furry family member, but also to consider how you can help society realize the importance of dogs and how their treatment should become more humane.

I can’t bring myself to post images of abused dogs, puppy mills, or abandoned dogs. Instead, I’ll do my part to promote awareness of service dogs. Did you know, for example, that service dogs can be trained to assist individuals with invisible disabilities? Here’s a recorded presentation that can help us all better understand the important kinds of support service dogs can provide:

 I hope you found this as informative and beneficial as I did!