Sunday, May 31, 2009

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Noah's Wish - Tails from the Ark

Posted: 30 May 2009 06:46 AM PDT

CarmiePortraitSmall If you aren't familiar with Noah's Wish, I'd like to introduce you today. I first came across this site during the Katrina Hurricane disaster. As many pet people, I was worried about what was happening to all the animals - who, I wondered, was gathering up lost dogs and cats, and what were they going to do with them?

Well, someone introduced ME to Noah's Wish and I immediately donated to the fund. As it says on their website, their mission is, " save animals during disasters with our rescue and recovering services and to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals through our educational outreach programs."

I really like the way Noah's Wish has grown.

They now have Volunteer In-Field Training, a pet photo contest, disaster preparedness info (similar to our own info over at the PurinaCare pet health insurance blog), and they are holding an Art and Book Auction from May 22nd (little late announcing it, sorry), through June 1st. So, you still have time to get in on it. It's all happening on eBay. Ain't technology grand?Cutest puppy

One of the most amazing parts of Noah's Wish is the links to all the places they've been - in their efforts to rescue animals during major disasters, including the Souther California Fires. On their Disaster Drills page it says, "The purpose of the conference was to bring together emergency responders and disaster preparedness workers from across the nation to network and learn from each other - [using] the new best practices, in real-time and real-world response."

Maybe you'd like to join Noah's Wish and train to be a Disaster Coordinator or rescue person? Maybe you have a few bucks to help support the work they're doing to help keep our pets safe during very difficult time. Maybe you could just spread the word - more eyeballs certainly means more -much needed- attention.

All the Creatures

All the Creatures
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Potty training the puppy

Posted: 31 May 2009 05:06 PM PDT

One of the most daunting tasks of the new puppy owner is of course teaching the pup not to pee or poop on your favorite area rugs or manage to stain your carpet in the most noticeable area of your home. Sure you can clean it up and spend lots of money removing the odor [...]


Saturday, May 30, 2009

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The Skinny on BARF Diets

Posted: 28 May 2009 12:16 PM PDT

Dr.-Larry-with-Miles There has been a lot of interest in BARF diets over the last decade and lots of confusion too. BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food and the proponents of this type of feeding think it's a healthier alternative to ready made kibble type pet foods. Fresh meat like beef or chicken are often combined with uncooked bones and various vegetables in a BARF diet.

The thinking on uncooked bones is that these bones are less likely to splinter than cooked bones and are therefore safer for dogs. BARF proponents believe that fresh, unprocessed ingredients contain more enzymes and available nutrients than commercially prepared products. In short, they believe that it's a healthier, more natural way to feed. 

On the other hand there are several legitimate nutritional and food safety issues with BARF diets. Some nutritionists are concerned with potential nutritional deficiencies...
or imbalances with BARF diets. Others point to the food safety problems inherent in handling raw food, especially raw meat. 
Raw meat and poultry can become contaminated with disease causing microorganisms at any stage of processing from slaughter through storage. Testing has confirmed the presence of many disease causing bacteria in raw meat. E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens are just a few of the pathogens that have been detected during testing. 
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration developed guidelines for making and labeling raw meat pet foods. Included in these guidelines was the following warning: "The FDA states that it 'does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the gaol of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and used to feed domestic pets.'"
Raw eggs that are sometimes added to BARF diets can also be a source of Salmonella, even after cleaning and disinfecting. Salmonella is capable of contaminating an egg during ovulation prior to the formation of the shell. 
Uncooked bones can cause injuries in both dogs and cats. Jagged edges or points can lead to oral trauma and small pieces can be swallowed leading to intestinal obstruction or even perforation.Cutest-button-puppy-Miles
The microorganisms in BARF diets may also be a public health concern for pet owners. Household members that handle or prepare these products are at risk for bacterial infections if proper handling procedures are not followed. Even raw meat labeled for human consumption can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. We know this from handling raw chicken. BARF feeders should wash their hands and any surfaces or any pet bowls used in preparation and feeding. 
You also have to be careful when handling the feces of pets fed BARF diets. Pets fed BARF diets may retain and shed pathogenic organisms in their feces. A recent study looking at bacterial contamination in both diets and feces was troubling. All commercial diets and the feces of dogs fed these diets tested negative for Salmonella while 8 of 10 BARF diets and 3 or 10 fecal samples in dogs fed these diets tested positive for Salmonella.
So what do I think, and for those of you that care, what would I recommend?
I can understand why feeding BARF diets appeal to certain people. Except for all the meat, it's the way I like to eat. I disagree with the idea that commercially prepared foods are lacking in nutrition. After all, there is an awful lot of testing with actual feeding trials that confirm the nutritional performance of commercial foods. Purina, for instance, tests all their formulas in compliance with regulatory bodies to insure that a given product will support all life stages, adult maintenance, growth or whatever the product is designed to do. I'm sure it's possible to formulate BARF diets adequately for the changing needs of pets too and I'm sure BARF diet manufacturers test their products. At least I hope they do.
I also know that commercially prepared foods are safe and that there are numerous quality control regulations and hurdles that manufacturers are required to follow. Bizarre incidents like the melamine contamination tragedy are definitely the exception. Frankly, I would worry more about contamination in human food than commercially prepared pet food.
In the end you have to make the decision yourself. If you are careful in the handling and preparation of raw food you can certainly minimize the chances that you or your pets will get sick. I'd be particularly careful with small children, older folks or immune compromised individuals in any event. For me though there are enough interesting, thoroughly tested and safe commercially prepared products out there to chose from. After all, Darcie ate either Pro Plan or Purina ONE all her life and she made it to almost nineteen years.       

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!
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Agility warm up?

Posted: 29 May 2009 11:55 AM PDT

If you need any ideas on a nice dog/handler agility warm up, check this out :)! Bet that pup has some abs on him/her, that's major core strengthening work going on, not to mention the legs!


Friday, May 29, 2009

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Puppy Poems: Of Malemutes and Heaven

Posted: 29 May 2009 02:00 AM PDT

It's been said that most pet people don't want to go to a Heaven without dogs, or cats. I'm one of them. I happened to find this great poem in an old, treasured book of mine, that tells it like it is.

A Malemute Dog

You can't tell me God would have Heaven
So a man couldn't mix with his friends --
That we are doomed to meet disappointmentPuppy-needs-a-walk
When we come to the place the trail ends.

That would be a low-grade sort of Heaven,
And I'd never regret a damned sin
If I rush up to the gates white and pearly
And they don't let my malemute in.

For I know it would never be homelike,
No matter how golden the strand,
If I lose out that pal-loving feeling
Of a malemute's nose on my hand.

Pat O'Cotter (yes, I know the pic isn't a malemute - which is s'posed to be 'malamute', but it just looks so precious - how could anyone want to go to Heaven, if they couldn't take their dog - or cat?)

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!
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Great weekend!

Posted: 28 May 2009 07:29 AM PDT

Don't think we could have planned a better Memorial Day weekend if we had actually tried!

We didn't have anything specifically planned, except some hiking, agility and watching the race.

It was hot the first couple of days, so we help Mum with work around the house during the day, like laundry and cleaning. We were able to get in some backyard agility practice later in the evening, and all our neighbors came to watch us and cheer us on. That was fun!!!

You can see I got kinda hot, not used to the humidity yet!

Then on Monday it was cooler and we got in a nice hike and more agility. Video to come later in the week. We grilled out and Gracie and I got some hamburger, lettuce and watermelon, so yummy!!!!

We also helped Mum do some yard work, after she mowed the front, back and our back forty hill. That hill just about kills her it's so difficult to mow, but she's getting in shape, fur sure! Better for our agility huh?

After Mum mowed, she sprayed the lawn with organic fish emulsion, our standard fertilizer. Of course after it dried we had to go and roll around in it. It was like having a full yard of yucky stuff!! Of course Mum loved the fact that we had a sweet aroma of dead fish on us for a few days, BOL!!

Here's Gracie enjoying a good roll...

Gracie and I were sniffing each other all afternoon, so good!!!!

Then I helped Mum gather up all the sticks after she trimmed some dead wood out of our Magnolia...

Gracie enjoyed the sticks too...

Then I had to get in a little bird herding of course! What kinda day would it be without bird herding, don't even want to imagine....

Mum picked a few flowers to enjoy in our office this week. Here are some of our Iris. Gorgeous! Some day we'd like to get more varieties, like our friend Ellen...

And here are some of the peonies she picked, so fragrant!!!

It was just about the best doggone weekend, ever!!!! Thanks Mum, for making my days super fun!