Pet Foods – Truth, Lies, and Outright Deception

Evidenced Based Medicine

 Ever hear the saying “you are what you eat?” It is a very simple statement with a lot of truth behind it. It applies, not only to your pet’s physical well being, but to its mental health as well. The pet food industry is an extremely competitive market. It is estimated that Americans spend 17.4 BILLION dollars a year on pet food. With this amount of money being spent, it’s no wonder why companies are trying desperately to convince you that their product is the best. Some of the claims out there are true, some are outright false, and some are purposely meant to deceive you. I will do my best to clear things up. Continue reading

Realistic Expectations

Most of the posts I have on this site are instructional, a collection of “how to’s” if you will.  I’d like to change gears a little with this post and make it mainly an informative one.  I’d like to talk a little about realistic expectations, or maybe unrealistic ones.  Many people get a dog and put very little thought into the decision.  They see a breed that looks cool or appeals to them in some way and that’s about as much thought that goes into the acquisition.  Continue reading

How To Introduce Your Dog To Your Infant

Having a baby is an exciting time for everyone.  There will be lots of changes in your life, especially if this is you first child.  For your dog, it can be more stressful than exciting.  Thankfully, there are many things that can be done to make this transition much easier for your dog.  If you are a person who has had a dog fill the role of a child, and you are having your first human child, you need to start working on this ASAP, pretty much as soon as you find out you are pregnant.  The sooner you institute the following, the better. Continue reading

How To Choose A Doggie Daycare

With the busy lives that a lot of us lead our dogs are often left at home alone for prolonged periods of time.  Also, many people think that because of their work schedule fitting a dog into their life is impossible.  One viable option for those of us in this situation is doggie daycare.  Doggie daycare centers not only provide avenues for socialization and exercise, but many also offer obedience training. So, what are the pros and cons to doggie day care and what should you look for in a daycare center?  A well-run facility will be of benefit to both you and your dog.  Your dog will have the opportunity to socialize with others of his own species, learn important social skills, and become well rounded and balanced.  Your dog will also benefit from mental and physical stimulation, which can help reduce behavior issues at home that stem from boredom and inactivity.  Here is a list of questions you should ask when screening a daycare center:

  1. Does the daycare have a certified trainer on staff?
  2. What is the daycare’s training/behavior management philosophy?
  3. What is the caregiver to dog ratio? (1 to 15 is good)
  4. Does the staff have a dog fight protocol in place?
  5. What steps are taken in the event of a veterinary emergency?
  6. Is the place clean and relatively odor free?
  7. Do indoor facilities have good ventilation?
  8. Does the daycare have adequate fencing and secure areas between access doors?
  9. Does a behaviorist or trainer screen the dogs before acceptance?
  10. Does the daycare require vaccinations (see Table 1), negative fecal tests, and flea treatments/preventatives?
  11. Do staff members receive continuing education and training?
  12. Are the dogs supervised at all times?
  13. What dog-related experience does the daycare owner have?

Daycare centers are great, but they are not without a few drawbacks.  For one, they aren’t free.  Most daycare centers charge between $15-$30 a day for basic services.  Also, disease and parasite transmission can occur in any communal environment; so can dog fights.  However, a well-managed facility has staff that is trained to minimize conflict, including screening newcomers, checking vaccination status, gradual introductions, and monitoring play.       Unfortunately, doggie daycare is not for every dog.  If you have an aggressive dog, this is not the place to teach your dog to be more social.  Dogs with serious behavior issues need behavior modification and should be treated by a behaviorist.

 

If you have any stories about your experience  at a doggie daycare, please share!

 

Pictures provided by insidethemagic, amblebamble39507, and Alex E. Proimos