Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Let Food Be Thy Medicine, Thy Medicine Shall Be Thy Food.

The majority of dog owners don't really know exactly what's in the food they're feeding their dogs. I was part of that majority when I first adopted Kylie. She started off on Science Diet, per the vet's recommendation. FYI - your veterinarian most likely gets a kickback for selling certain foods, so make sure you do your research and make an informed decision about what to feed Spot. Amy and I noticed after a while that she had really smelly breath. That's when i decided to do some research on the subject and quickly switched up her diet.

Since then, I have done a lot more reading about what actually goes into the run of the mill dog food and quite frankly, it's scary. Pet food can contain:

  • Animal scraps
  • Grocery store expired meat (Styrofoam wrapping intact)
  • Road kill
  • Diseased and disabled (and dead) cattle
  • Even euthanized pets, just to name a few

I am still learning new things every day and I am not at the top of Dr. Karen Becker's list of "Best to Worst Foods," so don't beat yourself up if you are not at number one either. Not everyone can afford a raw, homemade diet for their dogs. Your goal here should be to figure out where you are on the list, and make it a priority to move higher up.

On some level, I can't blame dog owners, we live in a world today where the marketing of products has become overwhelming and it's harder to find good information, especially about dog food. Luckily, over the past few years a lot of information has come to life via the internet. Check out what Dr. Karen Becker has to say here

I currently have Kylie on Orijen Adult, grain-free, dry kibble, along with some wet food from Nature's Variety.

What are you feeding your pups?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Perfect Walks

Who has had these walks? If you have, you know what I am talking about. For me, I dont get them often, which is probably a good thing because then I wouldn't appreciate them as much as I do. My perfect walk was on Monday night.

The weather gave me thoughts of the crisp fall evenings that we get here in New England, I had to remind myself it was the middle of June. I dont know about you, but I love walking at night. The noise of the past day has dissipated along with the daylight and you can just stroll. Walks like this let you relax and ponder all the things that you couldn't devote time to because of your hectic day. I come home feeling like I really got to unwind, its great! Here is a quick pic I snapped of Ky with her safety jacket on!

Tell me about your perfect walks? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Does it get any better than this?

Great time walking along the Merrimack with Kylie today!

Who else loves being near the water with mans best friend?

Scent Work

Remember my post a couple days ago where I mentioned the first thing I saw Kylie doing when we met was sniffing away happily at the ground? If I only knew how good she was, or how much fun she has doing it, I would have started working with her a lot earlier. After surfing the internet about training and keeping your dog’s mind at work, I came across a scent training course here.

I said to my Amy (my wife), I think Kylie would do great in this class and it would really be fun for her. So we signed her up. Check out Kylie at her scent work class below:


In the beginning of the first section of classes, unique scented oil, birch in our case, is placed on a Q-tip and paired with your dog’s favorite treats. For Ky, it’s anything under the sun, doesn’t matter if it were nuclear waste, she would give it a try! I usually used hot dogs or leftover chicken or turkey. I used a treat that was highly valued to her so that she would work harder to get the reward.

The Q-tip and treat are placed inside one box, about the size of a shoe box. In the beginning, each dog would go down a row of identical boxes and see if they could find the box that contained the scent paired with the food. It was great fun to see all the dogs in the class go bananas trying to uncover the box and get the treat! After the dogs figured out that picking the box with that strange scent would get them food, they picked it up very quickly.

In the second section we moved on to hiding just the scented Q-tip underneath boxes, inside bags, on tables, basically hiding it anywhere in a large room. I know what you’re thinking, how could they find a scent on a Q-tip in a large room but they do and they do it very quickly and efficiently when trained well.

What's also great about this class is it makes you pay attention to your dog’s body language – we all know how important that is!! By the end of the two classes Kylie and I participated in, I was still lacking in this department; typical right? I also entered her into a mock trial competition where she excelled, but I failed to notice her body language telling me where the scent was. I can just imagine her screaming at me, “it’s right here DAD!!!!”

What do you guys do for fun with your pup?

Friday, June 15, 2012

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

When I first got Kylie I was under the impression that getting her vaccinated on a regular basis was just part of being a responsible pet owner, boy was I wrong. After reading loads of material on the subject I have made the decision to drastically limit her vaccinations.

Over-vaccination can lead to anything from skin problems to autoimmune disease and in severe cases even death. Six years later Kylie hasn't received a vaccination in years. More about over-vaccination here.

What have you guys decided to do regarding vaccinations?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

First Impressions

How many of you remember the first time your pup walked into your life? I know I do. It was a crisp January night when my wife and I were on our way to the shelter to finally meet our puppy! Getting out of the car I was nervous, but excited at the same time. So many things were running through my head. Will she like us? Will I be a good dad to her? Will she be healthy?

That's when I saw her, nose to the ground sniffing away. Little did I know how adept she would become at finding any morsel of food ANYWHERE!!! It's funny how the first thing I saw her doing has become such a large part of her life today...more on that later.

After our initial meeting I felt relieved, she was such a sweetie pie. As we were leaving the parking lot, Kylie (thats what we named her!), settled into a little ball on my wife's lap...out cold. Below is a picture of Kylie on the 1st night at home with us.

Because of Kylie, my life has changed for the better in so many ways I have lost count.

Tell me your experience when you met your dog for the first time. What do you remember most about that day? How has your dog changed your life?