Grain Free. Friend or Foe? Keeping Your Pet Safe This Winter Winter Training Tips Celebrate Walk Your Dog Month
Northern VT & NH Winter 2020
Inside this issue of 4 Legs & a Tail
2. 4 Legs & a Tail Dateline Pet and animal news from around the world 4. Celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month 5. Stop Smoking For Your Health and Your Pets' Health Need a reason to quit? Consider the dangers of second hand smoke to your pet 6. Wassail Parade Sue Miller A look at this South Woodstock, Vermont tradition 8. The Best of Both Worlds Marti Eagle Should you keep your cat inside or let it out to roam? 9. Big Love Cathy White Life with five Newfoundlands!
Pg. 4 10. An Introduction to Therapy Dogs Deb Helfrich The benefits your dog may bring to others 12. Training in the Winter Time Maria Karunungan Expert tips of indoor and outdoor training and exercise 13. Good For You. Good For Your Dog? Pat Jauch Keeping your pet safe this winter 14. Fat or Fluffy Is your pet overweight? 16. Going The Distance Cathy White One local rescue goes to extraordinary lengths to save Asian Sighthounds from a tragic fate 18. UTI Ingrid Braulini Looking for Urinary Tract infections
20. Alternatively Speaking: Grain Free Diets Friend or Foe? Anne Carroll, DVM 23. February is National Pet Dental Health Month Erin Forbes, DVM There is a 70% chance that your pet will have periodontal disease. Have their teeth checked this winter! 24. When Things Go Wrong, Sometimes They Go Really Wrong, Part 2 Sandra Waugh, VMD, MS 26. Hansey and Pogo Tanya Sousa A retelling of a classic fairy tale 27. Helen Keller's Dogs Kate Kelly The canine involvement of this legendary figure will surprise you 4 Legs & a Tail Volume N.419 P.O. Box 841 Lebanon, NH 03766
Publishers: Tim Goodwin, Tim Hoehn Office Manager: Beth Hoehn
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If you have a tale about a tail or a photo that will make us smile, weâ€™d like to hear from you. 4 Legs & a Tail is published quarterly and distributed free of charge throughout Northern VT & NH. 4 Legs & a Tail, Inc. is locally owned and operated and acts as a moderator without approving, disapproving or guaranteeing the validity or accuracy of any data or claim. Any reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.
THAILAND - In this photo, the female green turtle nicknamed “Bank” swims in a pool at Sea Turtle Conservation Center n Chonburi Province, Thailand. Veterinarians operated on “Bank,” removing less than 1,000 coins from the endangered animal. Her indigestible diet was a result of many tourists seeking good fortune tossing coins into her pool over many years in the eastern town of Sri Racha.
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MONGOLIA - Runner Dion Leonard and the stray dog who ran with him through the Gobi desert as part of the 2016 Gobi March race. The dog, named for the desert, later went missing in China, but Leonard was able to find it after a search using new and old media. Leonard has written a book about the experience, and their story has been sold to 21st Century Fox for a movie.
IDAHO - This photo provided by Adam Pearl shows Pearl with his pet squirrel Joey in Meridian, Idaho. Joey made headlines in 2017, when police nabbed a burglary suspect who reported fleeing a home after being attacked by a squirrel. Pearl says Joey was so young he still had his eyes closed when friends found him on the ground in the summer of 2016 after he fell out of his nest. Pearl says Joey climbed onto his shoulder for an affectionate goodbye earlier in June 2017, then scampered up a backyard apple tree at his Meridian home and hasn’t been seen since.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Fluffy the cat almost froze to death when her owners found her in a snowbank, snow crusted in chunks around her fur. The 3-year-old cat, whose temperature didn’t register on the clinic’ thermometers when she was first bought in, later made a miraculous recovery. The temperature outside where she was found was just below freezing.
MAINE - A dog in Maine shifted a car into gear, rolling it into a lake. The local police department thanked a local towing company for their help retrieving some submerged property after “a dog took a truck for a wild ride.”
NEW YORK - A couple of NYPD cops paid $40 of their own money to bail out a goat that escaped a slaughterhouse in Jan. 2016, taking the gruff former fugitive to a Long Island sanctuary. “He fought crime with us,” Sgt. Mary Humburg said. “Best $40 I’ve spent.
CA L IFOR N I A The U.S. Nav y found a missing puppy that fell off a fishing boat nearly five weeks ago in the waters off Souther n California. Luna, a German Shepherd puppy, was presumed to be lost at sea after falling overboard on February 10. She was reunited with her surprised family.
TENNESSEE A coyote made its way into a bathroom at Nashville’s Music City Center Sunday, Jan. 12, 2019, police said. The animal, which police said was scared, was safely trapped and released in a wooded area.
History of Walk Your Dog Month HOW TO OBSERVE WALK YOUR DOG MONTH
Ce l e bra t e N a t i on a l r Wal k You t h Dog Mon J
anuary is Walk Your Dog Month. Get up, get moving and don’t let the plummeting winter temperatures slow you down. Dogs need plenty of exercise throughout the year and, the best way to keep them active in winter is to take them for regular walks. Even a short walk around the block on a cold day can make a big difference. So, begin this year with a pledge — better health for you and your dog!
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Shake things up Change your walking route so that your dog has something new to sniff at. Dogs learn by discovering their surroundings and need some excitement every now and then. Get some company Get a friend with a dog to walk with you. Not only will you enjoy a good chat, you can also keep each other motivated to walk in the winter! Throw a dog sweater party in the park Now, that’s another reason to walk all the way to the park! Make sure you have plenty of treats.
WHY WALK YOUR DOG MONTH IS IMPORTANT
2011 - Walking Strong The largest dog walk, “The Great North Dog Walk” was organized in the U.K. 22,742 dogs took part in it. 1964 - New York’s First Dog Walker In New York, Jim Buck started out walking an acquaintance’s dog. Later he went on to employ assistants that were walking hundreds of dogs. He also opened a training school for dogs. 1929 - Service with a Walk The first school for training service dogs in Nashville, TN, started training dogs to become intelligent walking companions for the visually impaired.
Walking is in their genes Most dog breeds have been selectively developed for herding, sporting, or working. Which means they need to stay 7000 B.C. - The First Strong Walkers active, or they will become hyper and resort to In north-eastern Siberia, dogs excessive chewing, digging, and scratching. were getting trained to pull sleds Your dog’s health depends on it To stay in the snow and go to places that healthy and live long, dogs need plenty of exerwere inaccessible to humans. cise, even in winter. Besides, a walk is good for your health too! It’s a great way to bond Spending quality time walking and bonding with your dog is the best way to beat the gloomy and lonely winters!
Stop Smoking For Your Health and Your Pets’ Health
ou don’t need us to tell you the harm that smoking can do to your body, or the risks posed to children and others from secondhand smoke. But perhaps you’re unaware of the harm it can be doing to your pets. Because pets share our environments, they also share our environmental exposures – including tobacco smoke. Dogs living in homes with smokers have significantly higher levels of cotinine (a breakdown product of nicotine) in their blood, indicating exposure to nicotine through secondhand smoke. A 1998
"To quit smoking" is one of the top New Year's Resolutions
study found that environmental exposure to tobacco smoke resulted in an increased risk of cancer of the nasal cavity and sinuses of dogs, particularly those with longer snouts (such as collies, greyhounds and many other popular breeds); and the more packs the smoker smoked, the higher the dog’s risk of cancer. This is likely because their longer nasal passages accumulate the cancer-causing toxins. A 1992 study found that dogs with short- and medium-length noses were more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer if a smoker lived in the home, most likely because shorterlength nasal passages don’t accumulate the cancer-causing toxins, allowing them to enter the dog’s lungs instead. Pet cats living in smoking households are more than twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma (a type of cancer) compared to cats in nonsmoking households. The risk increased with the duration Winter 2020
and amount of exposure, and cats with five or more years of exposure to secondhand smoke were more than three times as likely to develop malignant lymphoma. Have you ever had anyone tell you that your clothes smell like smoke? Well, it’s not the just the smell that can linger – it’s the potential toxins, too. If you smell smoke on your pet, consider the toxins that may be on your pet’s fur. Chances are, they’re ingesting them when they lick the toxins off during grooming. Birds’ respiratory systems are particu-
If you smoke, please consider quitting – if not for your health, t h e n f o r you r fa mi l y ’s h ea lt h and your pets’ health. Looking for inspiration or resources to help you make the commitment to quit? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have great resources for you and the American Cancer Society also provides resources to assist you in your effort to quit smoking. What about e-cigs and vaping? Although vaporizers, e-cigarettes, e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookahs and e-cigars don’t contain tobacco or emit smoke like traditional cigarettes, cigars and pipes, they still pose significant risk to pets because of the nicotine levels. Regular cartridges can contain nicotine levels equivalent to 2 or 3 cigarettes, and concentrated refill cartridges contain 10 times as much nicotine or more; if a pet ingests the contents of the cartridge, potentially fatal nicotine toxicity can occur within 15-30 minutes of exposure. The scents and flavors of the liquid may be attractive to pets, increasing their risk of ingestion. Signs of nicotine toxicity include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, increased respiratory rate, disorientation, tremors, seizures, heart abnormalities, paralysis, coma and death. If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested a cartridge, seek immediate veterinary care. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (a charge may apply).
If you choose to use these products, take precautions to keep your pet safe: • Keep all cartridges and nicotine devices away from pets and children. • Don’t use the devices around your pets if possible; if you do, make sure there is proper ventilation. • If you suspect or know that your pet has larly susceptible to airborne contaminants. been exposed to the liquid, contact your Significantly higher concentrations of cotiveterinarian or Animal Poison Control nine were found in the blood of birds living immediately. Do not wait for signs of in smoking households compared to birds toxicity to develop. in nonsmoking households. Birds with exposure to secondhand smoke can develop pneumonia, lung cancer, and problems with their eyes, skin, heart and fertility. Smoking outside the home reduces the concentration of environmental tobacco smoke in the house, but doesn’t eliminate it. A 2005 study found that environmental tobacco levels in homes of smokers who smoked outdoors were still five to seven times higher than in households of nonsmokers. And it’s not just the secondhand smoke that poses a risk for your pets: discarded cigarette butts or other tobacco products left within reach of pets can cause gastrointestinal problems or even nicotine toxicity if your pet finds and eats them. www.4LegsAndATail.com 5
High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program has been hosting the parade since 2010.
Wassail Parade Sue Miller
hat is a wassail parade you ask? Well Wassailing is an ancient tradition that dates back centuries where folk would go from house to house singing, now replaced with caroling, sometimes exchanging gifts and drinking from a wassail bowl that held warming ambrosia of mulled cider to keep everyone
warm and merry. The tradition of wassail was for marking the end of harvesting season where a community would share their good will and wish everyone good health into the new year. Here in Vermont the tradition of the Wassail Parade in South Woodstock Vermont has become a tradition in and of itself.
Therapy horse UVM Worthy in the parade
Therapy horse Bart with instructor Diana
The parade began 35 years ago with the help of Antoinette Matlins the first parade had about 50 participants horseback or in carriage dressed in traditional Currier and Ives holiday attire. The Green Mountain Horse Association hosted the event for several years and has encouraged the parade to grow while the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce has developed an eventpacked Wassail Weekend, making it a destination for locals and visitors from all around the world. Sue Miller is a PATH Registered Instructor & ESMHL, PATH Vermont State Chair and President of the Vermont Horse Council.
This year's Wassail Weekend is December 13-15 6 4 Legs & a Tail
Hoofin’ It for High Horses Let me tell you just how valu- Donors like you help make our able riding a horse can be to a child therapeutic riding programs poswith cognitive or physical challenges. A young rider who had never said a word suddenly said “Walk on!” to their horse. Because she built her confidence by riding, one little girl is no longer afraid to be on the playground swings & in fact was delighted to go to a water park with her family this summer. A young child was able to speak louder in the classroom because they had become stronger and their respiration is better from riding the horse. One little boy with severe cerebral palsy is working hard on his posture and sitting tall. He walks better after his time riding and is more determined to do things for himself after. Although these victories may seem small to the average person, you & I know that they are not. That’s why your donation in any amount is so valuable. The riders and I are full of gratitude for your generosity.
sible, ensure that our horses are well fed, housed, trained, and guarantee that we can offer scholarships to children and their families who could not, otherwise, afford these life-enhancing activities. I want you to be an active member of our community too. Please visit our website at www.highhorses. org to sign up for our emails and newsletters under the Join Our List! Tab at the top of the page in the right hand corner. Do watch for invitations to our events such as the High Horses Magic in Motion Gala and all the other educational equine events we offer all year round. You can send a donation through the Hoofin’ It page, http://www. hoofinit.org/participant/1080373 or send a check to: High Horses PO Box 278, Sharon, VT 05065. Thank you for your generous donation.
The Best of Both Worlds Marti Eagle - Corinth, VT
t’s a question most cat owners will ask themselves: “Should I keep my cat indoors or let it roam outside?”. Many factors will need to be considered. Will the cat be in an urban or suburban environment where cars or neighborhood cats pose a threat to their safety? Or is the cat in a rural environment where natural predators abound? When we lived in a more suburban environment, my husband and I allowed our cats to go outside. Although both our previous cats survived to old age, they both suffered wounds from fights with other cats and “went missing” for a day or more, causing us great emotional distress! After the death of our last “indoor/outdoor” cat and our move to a much more rural area, we decided that our next cat or cats would stay indoors. Nine years ago we adopted two cats (brother and sister) from a local shelter who were 9 months old at the time. At first, we stuck to our guns and kept Darcy and Lizzy inside, although there was a part of us that felt they should be able to
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experience the sights, sounds and smells of being outside. But fear of them being attacked and killed by a predator, or going off to explore and not returning home strengthened our resolve to keep them inside and safe. Our vet had told us shortly after we adopted them that the average age of an indoor cat in Vermont is 15 years, but an outdoor cat is only 2! Friends and fellow cat-owners told us: “You know what they’re missing, but they don’t!”. Two years ago I began to wonder if it might be possible to teach our cats how to walk on a leash. Most websites I visited said that the older the cat, the more difficult it is! Our cats were over 7 years old at the time so it didn’t seem very promising. Many pet stores offer nylon harnesses but they looked pretty flimsy and I thought our big Norwegian Forest cats would be able to escape pretty easily. Then one day I found a website that sold what’s called “The Kitty Holster”. This is a soft vest with super-strong velcro closures that fasten under the neck and belly. There is an “O” ring on top where you attach your lead. We decided to give it a try and ordered a tiger print vest for Darcy, our male cat
(to match his beautiful orange and white fur) and a grey vest for Lizzy, who is grey, black and white. Hey, if we’re going to take our cats outside, we want them to look stylish! We started by laying the vests on the floor so the cats could inspect them. Next came laying the vests on them, but both cats would immediately lay down on the floor. Finally, we decided to just do it and while I held Darcy, my husband got the vest on him. We attached the lead, carried him outside and put him down on the grass. He loved it but as he began to pull on the lead I was afraid that somehow he would get out of the vest. That first walk was pretty short, but we began to take him out each day and as time went on, he became accustomed to the feel of the lead (we use extending leads so we have some control over how far we let them go). Meanwhile, Lizzy seemed interested and would watch from the window but resisted the vest for a while. Eventually, she indicated that she wanted to go outside, too, so we followed the same procedure with her. She was not as adventurous at first, wanting to stay very close to the house, but over time she also has come to love her walks. In fact, it has become a daily routine to take them out as soon as we get home from work. During the summer, they like to find a spot to watch for chipmunks, so my husband and I carry portable camp stools and will sit while they patiently wait and watch. Lizzy has actually caught two chipmunks while out for her walk and has quickly released them, not being sure of what to do with them! Things will change soon when winter comes when both cats prefer to stay in their cat beds by the woodstove. But next spring we expect to be outside with them again. We feel that they truly are getting the best of both worlds - experiencing the outdoors and getting some exercise, all while remaining safe.
Cassie, Poppy and Seamus lead the good life as therapy dogs
BIG LOVE I
Cathy White - Walpole, NH
magine that your beloved dog weighs a whopping 150 pounds, devours two pounds of raw food daily, sheds his thick black coat yearlong, and has some issues with drool. Now imagine that you live with five of him! That’s life for Rob and Deb, childhood sweethearts who went their separate ways, but reconnected and married in 2003. They live in a sleepy rural town near Keene and share their modest cape-style home with five enormous Newfoundlands. “Newfies” to aficionados of the breed, (who are many - they rank 38th in AKC registrations) are massive dogs. Living with one can present challenges. Living with a pack of five is an adventure! Let’s meet this weighty bunch: Cassie and Rosie, 10, are littermates. Poppy, 8, is next in the hierarchy, and then come “the boys”, Seamus, 7, and the baby of the group, Boom, 3. That’s approximately six hundred pounds of Newfoundland. How did they end up with these five behemoths? The couple isn’t quite certain themselves. Obviously, they adore the breed; well-known for its friendliness, devotion and huge heart as well as its huge physique. (Seamus is even a registered Therapy Dog and Boom is about to become one.) They were friends with the various breeders of their dogs, and started out by helping to care for each litter...and walking away with a puppy every time. (Two, in the case of littermates Cassie and Rosie.) Deb felt that three was “enough.” But when Seamus and Rob met, an unbreakable bond was forged; and who could say no to Boom? Deb’s love of Newfies began with her uncle’s dog, Sam, who stole her heart when she was only eight. Twenty seven years later, she finally had her own Newfoundland. Named Arlo, he was the Winter 2020
and chair arms are often covered with toweling. This is more for any potentially squeamish visitors than for the couple themselves. And of course, there are Newfie-sized bibs. Having five Newfoundlands randomly splayed about the house requires some agility on the couple’s part; especially during meal preparation. “I have to high step over dogs every time I work in the kitchen”, says Deb, adding “They are my cardiovascular workout.” There’s always a party at the door when either returns from work (he’s a nurse, she’s a data analyst), with a canine crowd busy vying for attention. All dogs have some health issues and the Newfoundland is no exception. As with all large breeds, bloat and orthopedic issues can be concerns. But there’s a specific condition common in this breed that Deb wants people to be aware of; especially if they are considering ownership. Newfies can suffer from a congenital heart defect called subaortic stenosis (SAS). This life threatening problem cannot be detected in puppies younger than ten weeks; thus it is vital that puppies be tested, checked and cleared no earlier than that before being placed in a home. Logistics aside, it’s evident that this couple wouldn’t have things any other way. Deb states that what she loves most about this breed are “Their hearts.” They are “devoted, loving, sweet animals.” Would they add any more of these plussize sweeties to their family? Maybe. While they know Newfie owners who have “downsized” to smaller breeds, Rob and Deb don’t know what they’d do without these wonderful giants in their lives.
first in a total of twelve thus far. Rob, interestingly enough, brought two Cockapoos to the relationship; but he’s been sold on Newfies since Rosie and Cassie came into the couple’s lives in 2006. What’s daily life like with a houseful of giants? There’s no apparent pecking order. All the dogs get along and have a comfortable dynamic. “Wrestling” play may start indoors, but is soon encouraged to continue outside, where the dogs have two appropriately large, enclosed play areas. Anywhere near the woodstove is a coveted spot in cold weather; while central AC keeps these heavycoated dogs cool in the summer. All have indoor/outdoor access through what must be the world’s largest dog door. When asked where they all sleep, Deb’s answer comes swiftly, “Wherever they want!” Cathy White lives in Walpole with The dogs consume a LOT of food. But her husband, Jeff. They have been due to its raw nature, it’s very efficiently used, resulting in surprisingly little owned by Labradors of every color waste. There are no mealtime squabbles, for almost 30 years. Cathy is a Boston University alum, with a degree in as the dogs are all fed in separate crates. print communications. Feeding time finds them filing into their individual spaces in an orderly manner; a sight perhaps reminiscent of dairy cows coming into the milking barn. Life with Newfies is not for the neat freak. Drooling, and shedding what appear to be smaller versions of themselves are typical. How do you keep the house clean? “I don’t!”, Deb laughs, adding that she’d have to vacuum twice a day to keep their home fur-free. When the upright does makes an appearance, the dogs choose to remove themselves from the room; though Rosie very much enjoys a good grooming with the shop-vac. Newfies don’t drool constantly, so it’s really only with food and when it’s hot outside. None-the-less, walls will periodically require a wipe down, and sofa
An Introduction to Therapy Dogs Deb Helfrich - Therapy Dogs of Vermont
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t’s been a dreadful day. The pants. The boss moved your deadline car wouldn’t start. Traffic made you UP by a week. Full of frustration, late. You spilled coffee on your new you throw the front door open…and there is YOUR dog. Her entire body wags. She rolls on her back for a tummy rub. You can’t help but smile. As you touch her soft fur and feel the warmth of her body, thoughts of stained pants and looming deadlines slip away. Think about the capacity our own pets have to ease stress, make us happy, offer comfort. Apply this to elders in nursing homes, patients in hospitals, children in day cares—this is the heart of canine therapy. Canine therapy works toward the emotional health of people in a wide variety of settings. In fact, elder care facilities may be one of the most frequented types of places for therapy dog vis its. Visiting with elders can be a wonderful experience for both dog and handler! For example, the highlight of my week is visiting my friends at Starr Farm Nursing Center. I’m sure any of our TDV members can tell you a heartwarming story or two about the places they visit and the people they meet. It is a joy to me when my dog lights up the face of an elder who perhaps doesn’t get many visitors, and I enjoy listening to the wonderful stories elders carry with them. And, the special moments when I can comfort an elder who may be depressed, disoriented, anxious, afraid, or ill are ones that simply make everything worth while; these are the moments when the magical interaction between animal and human is unmistakable. Tears dry. Frow ns become smiles. Inactive hands caress soft fur. Silence becomes a conversation whispered softly in a dog’s ear. During visits, dogs may play ball with a patient, sit to be patted, do a few tricks, or take walks with those who are able. For a bedridden patient, a dog might hop on the bed and rest quietly with him or her. Sometimes, all a dog can do is be there for someone to look at. There are all sorts of activities and levels of interaction possible—based on whatever the person needs at the time. Winter 2020
Dogs can have a profound ability to touch and engage people. For example, during their visits, therapy dogs routinely: • Bring joy and laughter to institutions that might feel sterile, cold, and frightening. • Give something to do, talk, and think about other than the illness, difficulty, or problem. • Help people cope with illness, loss, depression, and loneliness.
• Encourage communication and break the ice. • Stimulate the senses, facilitating exercise and activity. • Provide a source of touch and affiliation. • Boost morale and lower stress levels.
Therapy Dogs of Vermont (TDV) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization of well-mannered, sweet tempered, people-loving dogs and their handlers. Our handler/canine teams work toward the emotional health of people in a variety of settings such as hospitals and other health-related venues, nursing and retirement homes, child and adult day care centers, correctional facilities, and schools. All dogs are certified and insured. For more information about becoming a certified therapy dog team, to request therapy dog visits, or to make a donation, please email us at email@example.com or visit our website: therapydogs.org
Training in the Winter Time
tired dog is a good dog.” This age-old saying is a well-known adage for good reason. As winter approaches and daylight time decreases, many young, healthy dogs may find their outdoor time constrained. This in turn can lead to excess energy which translates into a slew of common behavior complaints such as barking, jumping and chewing. Training and exercising your dog can be a tremendous challenge when it’s bitterly cold outside. Here are some ways to maximize the time spent outdoors and make the most of the more limited opportunities to train outdoors. Firstly, if you can, emphasize cardio exercise, rather than taking long wintry strolls. For example, visit off-leash trails or beaches where your dog can run. One way to encourage this, while also practicing the highly desirable behavior of coming when called, is to train your dog to come running toward you at the sound of a magical recall word or whistle. Say the word or blow the whistle, and teach them that this wonderful new sound translates into uncommonly good treats, such as a
Maria Karunungan - Burlington, VT
small jar of baby food that isn’t normally available. Try this up close at first, so your dog easily learns what’s in store for them, and then gradually make attempts from slightly longer distances or more interesting distractions. Avoid calling your dog if you wouldn’t bet $500 that your dog will come (for instance, if you know your dog’s nemesis is the local Vermont squirrel and an irresistible version of this appears in your dog’s line of sight). Instead, focus on winning propositions and always reward generously. The day may come when it’s a real emergency and you want your dog to have a well-rehearsed history of success and a solid understanding of the high quality of snack-itude that awaits when they do exactly what you want, as speedily as you want! If you are doing leashed walks, use a front-clipping harness to gently deter pulling and to minimize your chances of slipping on the ice. It is also a good idea to have your dog practice automatically sitting at curbs when the light is low and there might be black ice. To do this, first train the sit indoors, then start practicing outdoors, increasing the value of the treats you are using as needed to compete with distractions outside. If needed, a rewardbased training class will help you learn how to train your dog to be immediately responsive to you, and to practice doing these common behaviors with distractions, such as other dogs, nearby. Some additional quick tips for outdoor training and exercise: • If your dog loves to play with other dogs, consider trips to a dog park to see who else might happen to need a good romp; or set up a doggie play date with known friends, somewhere where there’s enough room to run. This is a great way to provide your dog with access to other dogs and keep up social skills during the wintertime.
If there is an active storm out and there’s nothing to do but cozy up with some hot cocoa by the warm fire, you might let your dog work for his or her meal out of a fun work-to-eat toy such as a stuffed Kong, a tricky treat ball, or similar toy where your dog sleuths out every bit of food. Two ways to train and entertain your dog indoors, while getting some physical exercise, can include games of tug, or chasing a flirtpole. Ask your dog to sit first, before releasing them to grab the tug or chase the toy at the end of the pole. Once they’ve had a good rousing round of tug or chase, allow them to have the toy to themselves for a moment, then ask them to drop it, then request a sit to resume the game. Rinse and repeat as many times as desired! This turns into a good mental workout in addition to inducing good vigorous fun, and helps your dog learn impulse control in the bargain. An additional way to keep your dog mentally on track is to take a fun group class in a warm indoor space. This comes with the added bonus that you’ll likely have some “homework” in the form of training exercises that you can practice inside your living room on those cold blustery evenings. Some examples of fun classes might be a tricks class or a course where your dog learns how to find things by smell. Even basic obedience or more advanced obedience can be fun for your dog! If you’re one of those people who needs a group class format or other similar weekly meeting to stay motivated to work with your dog, this is typically a great option to beat the wintertime blues. Lastly, you might mix it up and try different activities and routines to see what seems to keep both you and your dog happiest. Most dogs are up for anything so long as they get to do it with you.
• When spending time outdoors with your dog, stay close enough to a place where you can warm up in case you find the wind bites harder than you were prepared for, or in case your dog suddenly starts to feel the chill. Avoid finding yourself trapped 10 miles up the trail away from your parked car or the nearest indoor place to shelter. • Have your dog wear a coat for warmth so he can stay out longer. • Wear thin gloves inside your mittens for handing out treats; or use a food tube (sometimes when it’s super cold, a food tube will also freeze). 12 4 Legs & a Tail
GOOD FOR YOU
GOOD FOR YOUR DOG? Pat Jauch - Caledonia Animal Rescue, Inc.
elebrations bring out varied menus that delight dog owners, but due to delicate doggie digestive systems, may wreak havoc on your holidays. Be aware of your dog’s diet to maintain good health. Baked goods are abundant now, but their ingredients can harm dogs. Salt upsets electrolyte balance. Yeast dough can expand in a dog’s digestive tract. Cookies bring out Mom’s best peanut butter or chocolate chip recipes, complete with macadamia nuts or walnuts. Yet chocolate contains theobromine, capable of affecting the nervous system and eliciting tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, panting, and a rapid and elevated heart rate in dogs. Nuts are choking hazards also high in fat content. Allergy or pancreatitis may result. To avoid extra calories you might switch to chewing sugar-free gum. What could be wrong with a natural product that tastes good but does not tip the scale? Plenty. Xylitol has been shown to prevent tooth decay in humans, but our canine counterparts can suffer liver damage within 24 hours because of the disruption of blood sugar levels from too much xylitol. Symptoms include weakness, seizures, and a loss of coordination. Okay, so what about those fruits and veggies? Frozen grapes are a dieter’s delight, as are raisins, their shriveled and dried form. Yet, dogs can develop kidney failure from them and without proper kidney function toxins cannot be filtered from the body. Potatoes and tomatoes, particularly green ones, trigger abnormalities in the nervous system, manifested as tremors, seizures and arrhythmias of the heart. Rhubarb also falls into this group. Mushrooms and onions, found in stuffing and gravies, affect the brain, liver and kidneys, and may result in seizures, vomiting, and coma in dogs. Keep your pet away from alcoholic beverages that can cause intoxication and even coma, as well as coffee and tea that contain caffeine. Milk can cause diarrhea for dogs with lactose intolerance. If you think processed foods are okay, think again. Even baby foods often contain onion or garlic powder, leading to canine anemia. Since it is designed for babies, it is nutritionally deficient for dogs. So is cat food with its high fat content, along with ham, bacon and turkey skin. Pancreatitis can result from too much. In short, when it comes to holiday eating, many things acceptable for people are toxic for dogs. Avoid overindulging. Be mindful that appealing foods that serve your nutritional needs may not be appropriate for Fido. Feeding your canine its usual diet is the best way to enjoy a healthy holiday for all. Winter 2020
FAT OR FLUFFY? T
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he exploding number of obese humans in the US is mirrored by the exploding number of obese pets. We want to show our pets that we love them, but sometimes we are loving them into shorter and less fulfilling lives. Before we even talk about food and treats let’s establish if our pet is fat or fluffy. We see photos of clearly overweight animals and think…my pet is not that fat! So maybe your pet is not obese…but are they overweight? Dogs and cats with longer hair make it that much harder to detect if your pet is car r ying a bit too much weight. It can be a slight difference and in smaller pets it can be something as small as a pound. What should you look for? Here is a transition of a dog or cat from underweight to overweight. If your pet is furry then I would suggest you go by feel. If you feel your pet’s mid-section softly you should be able to feel their rib cage without fat covering them. Their ribs should feel like the back of your hand. Your pet should have visible a waist (which is most easily judged from looking down over them). This can be a delicate subject. In general people do tend to over feed their pets and it is more common than not that pets are slightly over-weight. Did you know that a pet that maintains a healthy weight averages 1.8 years longer life? The consideration of quality not just quantity of life is important too. Healthy weight will lower the risk that your dog will have pain in their joints etc., reduce risk of injury, but also research tells us they suffer lower amounts of anxiety and have more general well-being. Winter 2020
Body Condition Score
1 Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
2 Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominences. Minimal loss of muscle mass.
3 Ribs easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bones becoming prominent. Obvious waist and abdominal tuck.
German A, et al. Comparison of a bioimpedance monitor with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry for noninvasive estimation of percentage body fat in dogs. AJVR 2010;71:393-398. Jeusette I, et al. Effect of breed on body composition and comparison between various methods to estimate body composition in dogs. Res Vet Sci 2010;88:227-232. Kealy RD, et al. Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. JAVMA 2002;220:1315-1320. Laflamme DP. Development and validation of a body condition score system for dogs. Canine Pract 1997;22:10-15.
4 Ribs easily palpable, with
minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident.
5 Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from side.
7 OVER IDEAL
6 Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernible viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent.
7 Ribs palpable with difficulty; heavy fat cover. Noticeable fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent or barely visible. Abdominal tuck may be present.
8 Ribs not palpable under very heavy fat cover, or palpable only with significant pressure. Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent. No abdominal tuck. Obvious abdominal distention may be present.
9 Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail. Waist and abdominal tuck absent. Fat deposits on neck and limbs. Obvious abdominal distention.
©2013. All rights reserved.
OK, so my pet might be a little pudgy…. and calorie intake is a great idea. Choose what next? Here are some tips to getting a food that uses good quality ingredients with high digestibility, so they are getting your baby in tip top shape: the most nutrition from their calories and #1 - Portion Size. This is a more stay satisfied. complex question than you might think. Every food has general feeding instruc- #2 - Feeding Schedule. If you are tions for a pet based on weight, but this still free feeding your pet this is a great can vary drastically based on the activity place to start. Control the amount of level of your pet and frankly the quality their daily intake at scheduled times of the food. Every pet can also have a dif- throughout the day. Once you have idenferent metabolism, so one 40-pound dog tified their portion size divide that into may need a different portion than another at least 2 meals. If your schedule allows 40-pound dog. The best thing to do is to for 3 per day even better. start with what the current portion is and reduce it from there. If you are going to keep the same food start with a 15-20 percent reduction in portion and see if their weight changes in 1-2 weeks. If you have not seen a difference then you will want to cut their portions by another 10%, until you can find a portion that causes weight loss. When the ideal weight is reached, increase 5% at a time to determine a portion that maintains their current weight. The goal is to see a gradual reduction, not a sudden swing. A 5% change in weight in a two-week period is good progress. Premium pet foods with higher quality ingredients will tend to have smaller portions prescribed for the pet to receive balanced nutrition. A high-quality food designed for limiting fat Winter 2020
#3 - Reduce/Discontinue Snacks. Who doesn’t want to show our pet we love them by giving them a treat…right? Food rewards will only perpetuate their weight problem. Especially difficult to gauge the calorie consumption for their proportional size are the human foods. You must realize a 1 oz. cube of cheese given to a 25 lb. dog is the equivalent of a human eating 2 cheeseburgers! One single potato chip is like us eating an entire chocolate bar. So even if you have a 25-pound dog on a strict diet of 2/3 cup twice a day, that can all be ruined with an ounce or two of cheese. If you must give an occasional human treat try a small piece of apple, banana or a bite of carrot. Remember our pets most valuable reward in the world is our attention.
Reward your pet with love, hugs, kisses and snuggles. Our undivided attention and praise are just as valuable to them as food. #4 - Increase Activity. The same principles apply with pet fitness as with humans…increase the burn and reduce the intake. Adding some exercise will make a huge difference. Start with a short walk and increase gradually. Maybe your schedule does not allow long walks. Get a ball and have your pet chase the ball even if it is while you sit on the couch watching TV. Also practice obedience, the mental exercise can provide increased calorie burn. Be strong for your loved one. They may act like they are starving all the time, begging etc. Their stomach will begin to adjust to their new plan. Once you see them in ideal physical condition you will realize what a great thing you have done for them. Let your pet be their best…. overweight pets really are not to blame for their condition, we are the hand that feeds them and exercise them. It is worth repeating- maintaining a healthy weight will prolong their life and will reduce their likelihood of painful injury. Always review your pet’s fitness plan with their vet. www.4LegsAndATail.com 15
GOING THE DISTANCE
One Local Rescue Goes to Extraordinary Lengths to Save Asian Sighthounds from a Tragic Fate Cathy White - Walpole, NH
hile most Americans on a twelve plus hour journey to find the idea of consuming vast slaughterhouses near the dog meat repulsive, in many Korean border. nations, it’s commonplace. In Chinese shelters, dogs China and Korea are aren’t spayed or neutered. the largest consumers They live in large, open of dog. Sur prisingly, pens, fending for themany breed, from Golden selves. The strongest get Retriever to mutt will food, the weakest don’t. suffice, their meat value Few are adopted. And determined solely by their they all breed. weight. Canines can and So what hope do these do come from anywhere. dogs have? For some forAlfie Street strays are snatched, tunate dogs, that’s where pets (despite collars and tags) Fast Friends Greyhound are stolen, “breeders” raise dogs Rescue (FF) in Swanzey, NH specifically for meat. Dogs over a comes in. certain height are even seized by the FF has previously worked with intergovernment. Greyhound racing exists in national adoptions; initially importing the margins of legality, particularly near Irish racing greyhounds and Spanish “galBeijing; but when dogs have outlived their gos” (rabbit-hunting sighthounds closely usefulness as racers/ breeders, they land, related to greys). But rescuing greyhounds at best, in overfull shelters. At worst, they from Asia was a unique challenge. are jammed onto trucks with other dogs It began when Sharron Thomas, FF’s
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director, became aware of and reached out to a British sighthound organization, Candy Cane Rescue (CCR), who had established ties in Beijing. Bringing dogs from China to New Hampshire is no small feat. Numerous volunteer organizations need to work cohesively to make this long-distance rescue possible. Given the horrific circumstances dogs were suffering in Asia, Sharron couldn’t look the other way and began to examine what it would take to get greyhounds here. Turns out, it takes an awful lot. CCR works with other organizations, chief among them Plush Bear in China, which physically intercepts canine transport trucks en route to the slaughterhouses and purchases dogs on the spot. The stats are horrific: In a country with a population of 1.4 billion, 25% consume dog meat (that’s not including other Asian nations). Ten million dogs in China alone are butchered yearly for
meat. Additionally, according to Plush Bear, “...there is currently not a single animal protection law that exists in China.” CCR pulls sighthounds from Plush Bear’s interceptive missions. Not all are greyhounds; lately, FF has also been rescuing Borzois. (Think “feathery” greyhounds.) The process of getting them here is a logistical marathon. Once the dogs are obtained from Plush Bear, they are then housed and cared for by CCR in Beijing. They go to a variety of global sighthound rescues from there, with CCR determining the best fits for each organization. The number of rescues, governments, customs, airlines, layovers, quarantines, facilitators and ultimately even the USDA that must necessarily be involved are mind-numbing. Without a veritable army of volunteers and devoted FF staff, none of this would be possible; even a human “air patron” is required for every five dogs exiting China. While dogs travel in a climate controlled cargo hold, that doesn’t make their journey any less grueling. Four hours are spent flying from Beijing to Taipei, where they then endure a three-hour layover. Sixteen hours aloft again lands them at Chicago’s O’Hare. Their day in the air is followed by a road-trip, manned by two FF staff/volunteers who drive the dogs to Swanzey in the relative comfort of a special van. The dogs, who are anywhere from 7 months to 5 years old, have a bit of freedom in the back of their transport for this leg of the trip, but it’s still another endurance test. Upon arrival, the dogs are fed, bathed (which they don’t always appreciate), and quarantined (voluntarily by FF). They are checked over thoroughly by one of two local veterinarians, who inspect them head to toe and also perform cultures, swabs, and checks for canine influenza as part of their physicals. The dogs don’t know a word of English, only Mandarin; and they have had very little socialization with people or other dogs. But the staff at FF make it a priority to work extensively with them. Sharron Winter 2020
says that “Our mantra here is never set them up to fail”, which means heaps of love, individual attention, snuggles, and socialization for these exhausted pups. Sharron adds: “Our staff is everything. Every staff member loves every dog that comes through these doors.” Personifying that sentiment is Amy Roy, FF’s development director, who most recently shepherded their latest transport (a litter of Borzoi puppies, so neglected by their Asian “breeder” that he surrendered them to CCR) through the seemingly endless maze required to bring these Asian immigrants to their loving forever homes. She’s been
to China on rescue missions five times this year! It’s this dedication that sets FF apart. They’re now the model that other sighthound rescues countrywide look to in the hope of saving Asian dogs from the meat market. Their absolute commitment is reflected by their fantastic success rate in placing these beautiful dogs in happy homes. Keep flying, Fast Friends! Cathy White lives in Walpole with her husband Jeff and Labradors Harry and Pippa. Cathy is a Boston University alum, with a degree in Journalism.
hile you are away, two key components of cat care are to make sure your cat’s health is optimal and their stress level remains as low as possible. Oftentimes, it is thought that cats do not need the same support, frequency, or quality of care that dogs need. Nothing could be further from the truth. All reputable pet sitters will insist, at the very minimum, to care of your cat once a day. Cats tend to get into trouble due to their innate desire to study every nook and cranny as well as to get into mischief…just because. So, anything less than every day care is not appropriate. Cats need to be fed and have their litter cleaned. They need to be checked and coddled, or at the very least, not made to feel abandoned. When I first started pet sitting I let clients tell me how many times I should visit their cats, but as I began studying and learning more about the care and wellness of animals and managing my own pet care business, I learned that if a pet parent insists on less than a visit a day, they are probably not suitable for my company. Cats need more than that obligatory feed and scoop.
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UTI Ingrid Braulini - Grantham, NH
Health issues can abound for any pet. Some seem not only connected to food and water but also stress and boredom. Two of these dangers that pet or cat sitters keep an eye out for are Urinary Blockages or Urinary Tract infections (UTI). These are emergencies that necessitate an immediate vet visit. When sitters assess a cat, we look for signs that could point us to a blockage or a UTI. Signs that could include unusual
crying, straining in the litter box, bloody urine, dribbling urine, loss of appetite, vomiting (not of the hair ball variety), not grooming, moping and/or urinating outside the litter box. Distress from the inability to urinate is an emergency. A UTI occurs when bacteria travel up the urethra and into the bladder. Urine in the bladder is supposed to be sterile, but once bacteria reach the bladder, the bacteria can grow and reproduce, causing the UTI. A blockage is caused when poisons (chemicals), that are normally excreted in the urine, accumulate in the cat’s system. This blockage can cause severe illness, organ damage, coma and death. More than half the cats (such as my cat, Pharo) have recurring urinary tract issues. Avoiding stress for him such as fear, loneliness, or travel can help. Increasing his water intake by adding an extra bit of water to his wet food helps control UTI events. A processed, dry food diet can increase water excretion into a cat’s colon. So, little or no dry food in addition to a grain-free, wet diet (especially excluding sugars, corn and wheat which can cause high alkaline urine) are all ways to help reduce UTIs. Since switching Pharo’s lifestyle to more stimulation and better food choices, we have been able to avoid any more issues. In order to diagnose UTI’s and blockages, blood work and a urinalysis will need to be done to rule out any other potential health conditions that could be causing the problem. X-rays will also be ordered to rule out kidney stones, and a cystoscopy may be performed to check for polyps, cysts, or stones in the urinary tract. After examining your cat, a vet may recommend antibiotics, raising his fluid intake and changing your pet’s diet. It may be necessary to surgically remove any bladder stones, place a urinary catheter, or surgically remove the blockage. Professional pet sitters are an important resource for you when you are away. They are trained in caring for your pet and being mentored by and mentoring other professionals. Belonging to organizations such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and the Upper Valley Pet Sitter’s Association help them network with other like-minded professionals. Ingrid Braulini is the owner of Pet First Aid & Wellness. She is a Certified Pet Tech and Wellness Instructor, a NAPPS Board Member and NAPPS Certified. For more information, visit www. PetAidClasses.com. Winter 2020
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Alternatively Speaking: Grain Free Diets – Friend or Foe? Dr. Anne Carroll DVM, CVA - Chelsea, VT
he choice of what to feed dogs has always been a challenge, especially for those trying to use nutrition to promote health. The variety of pet food brands grows all the time with store shelves lined with flashy packaging, all saying they are better than the bag next to it. Even in our office, we are looking up new pet foods on a daily basis. The advent of grain-free (GF) diets has further complicated the choice especially with recent fears about nutritional links to heart disease in dogs, so it is no wonder that many shoppers feel uncertain in making food decisions for their furry family members. What is best is not an easy question to answer since the perfect ingredients or food type varies from dog to dog. We will try to tackle this universal issue in this first part of a two-part series. First, we will look at the history of dry foods for dogs, and how to read labels to know what you are buying. In the next edition, we will look at how to balance dry foods with fresh to minimize the effects of processed foods, and how to tell if what you are feeding is the ‘best’ for your dog. Let’s begin with how we got so many food choices to begin with. Years ago there were a handful of dry foods to pick from at the store. But as reliance on dry foods increased, pets ate less fresh meats and 20 4 Legs & a Tail
prey on the farm and inflammatory issues associated with processed diets started to be linked to medical issues. At first, new dry foods appeared in the veterinary office with special ingredients for allergies and digestive problems - lamb and rice! Changing ingredients helped many pets, so these foods were popular and pet food companies quickly started using similar ingredients. As a result, after a few decades, we have run out of ‘new’ proteins to use medically and vets use hydrolyzed (pre-digested) diets for patients, while stores have foods with bison and trout and just about everything imaginable. However using novel ingredients was not a cure for many pets, and the starch content in dry foods became suspect. Raw and dehydrated foods were not new but were starting to grow in popularity due to their lack of processed starches. Other small companies had a similar intent, to mimic a dog’s natural diet but wanted to keep the convenience of dry food. It is hard to make a cookie without a flour binder, but they developed an all-meat dry dog food, and ‘grain free’ (GF) dog food was born. Right or wrong, this feeding philosophy resonated with consumers and suddenly grains became taboo. Dog food makers scrambled to create their own GF diets and in some
cases, bought up the original smaller companies to eliminate the competition. But to make GF food profitable in grocery aisles, they had to minimize the meat content and suddenly potatoes and all kinds of beans became a staple in dog food with the GF label. This shift in ingredients was not based on any nutritional wisdom to improve pet health, it was to preserve the bottom line. Now my goal is not to demonize the pet food industry. I do not doubt that diet formulators from the start thought we could achieve convenience and good nutritional using more profitable ingredients, just like we have done with production animals that eat corn instead of grass. Some still think that is true. But holistic opinion, supported by science and what we see in our medical offices, disagrees. Processing food alters its physical structure and nutrient content and changes how available it is to the body compared to fresh foods. Changing to atypical ingredients and processing them adds another layer of unpredictability. While Mother Nature may have things all figured out, we are still novices in understanding the intricacies of nutrition and how some foods enhance or interfere with digestion and absorption of nutrients. This has never been more evident Winter 2020
since this February when the FDA issued a warning that GF diets may be involved in some cases of heart disease in dogs. We now know that the role of diet is less certain (see the links below for details) and the FDA’s most recent statement this July said this was a “complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors”. Using beans in dog food is relatively new and studies are ongoing to tell if anything in GF diets can impact heart health, it may not. But we do know that certain breeds can struggle to make or get taurine, cysteine, and methionine from their food, so it is possible that diets foreign to a dog’s natural menu may impact these nutrients and affect dogs with genetic risk for heart disease. Inflammation also plays a role in heart disease, and diet clearly impacts all of these factors. While we wait for answers, if you have a breed prone to heart disease, talk to your veterinarian about screening tests or nutritional supplementation no matter what food they are eating. So here we are back in the store, trying to pick a pet food. Many dogs do see a benefit from avoiding certain grains or meats, but you may want a diet with rice or potatoes and limited beans. So step one is to read the ingredient panel so you know what you are feeding. Remember, the bag is all advertising, and labeling rules allow them to say misleading things.
For instance, you see fresh veggies, but on the list, there is more sugar than carrots. Or the name says “turkey and sweet potato” but the ingredient list has chicken, beef, and fish too. Remember to read the whole list! Companies know that if the first ingredients are meat, they can often get away with less desirable things lower on the list. In GF diets, look for multiple beans like chickpeas, lentils, or peas, which when added up could mean the bag is half beans. Ideally, limit one bean and potato in the top 8 ingredients, and look for multiples such as pea fiber, peameal, peas, and dried peas. Each of those will be lower down on the list but together make peas a top ingredient. As for the panel that shows the percent of protein, fats, etc. these values tend to stay within set standards, and only a special medical diet would be dramatically different. We used to gauge the meat vs carbohydrate content of foods by adding up the fat, protein and moisture on the label – the remainder is carbs. But with GF foods, beans have protein too so they may be replacing meat content more than a grain would. Lastly, and more important for canned and raw foods, make sure the label says the diet is complete and meets AAFCO standards, and that it is appropriate for the breed and age of dog you are feeding. If you still need help deciding what
is best for your dog, talking to your veterinarian is a good place to start. In our practice, dietary goals are based on your dog’s constitution, which dictates what foods may be most helpful to keep him or her healthy. We will always try to include some fresh feeding, but dry foods are here to stay and are a good match for many dogs as part of their meal plan. Unfortunately we can’t help with the number of bags of food you will have to choose from, but armed with a little information hopefully you can now tell that you are getting what you intended to, and will have more time to go outside and play with your pup rather than be paralyzed in the pet food aisle! https://www.hemopet.org/fdaupdates-heart-disease-dogs/ https://www.hemopet.org/dcm-heartdisease-dogs-exotic-ingredients/ Dr. Anne Carroll is the owner of the Chelsea Animal Hospital where she and her associates practice conventional medicine and surgery as well as several alternative modalities including traditional Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. For more information on alternative veterinary medicine visit their website at www.chelseaanimalhospital.com .
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February is National Pet Dental Health Month Erin Forbes, DVM - Mountain View Animal Hospital
he Vermont Veterinary Medical Association would like to remind all pet owners that February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), National Pet Dental Health Month message reminds pet owners that dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Veterinary dentistry includes the scaling, polishing, extraction, or repair of your pet’s teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures must be performed by a veterinarian and begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth. If there is dental disease present, dental work will be recommended. Most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, so dental work is all performed under anesthesia in order to be safe and effective. Signs of dental disease include bad breath, broken or loose teeth, abnormal chewing or drooling. One may also notice bleeding from the mouth, reduced appetite, and swelling around the mouth. If you notice any of these signs, schedule an exam for your pet. Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats, in fact by the time your pet is 3 years old there is an estimated 70 percent chance they will have periodontal disease. The earlier it is detected, the faster treatment can be recommended, which is important as advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition of the gum and bone support (periodontal tissues) surround-
ing the teeth. It starts with plaque that hardens into calculus. Calculus above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but below the gumline it is damaging and can cause infections and damage to the tissues or bone. This can cause loose teeth, bone loss, pain around the tooth, and fractured teeth. Prevention of periodontal disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental calculus that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important. There are
many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Look for a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and make sure to discuss any dental products/diets you are considering with your veterinarian. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s dental health, please contact your veterinarian. The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 370 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine.
When Things Go Wrong, Sometimes They Really Go Wrong, Part 2 Sandra L Waugh VMD, MS
hen we last saw the Portuguese Water Dog he was 24 weeks and 1 day old and had managed, with some help, to have 5 upper incisors and 2 lower incisors appear. He still had 4 baby canine teeth. There were more incisors to uncover and the adult canine teeth still needed to appear. He was still growing, of course, and it was time for the molars to appear as well. When he was 27 weeks and 3 days old, he had lost all but the upper right baby canine tooth. There were bulges and holes in the gum over the adult canine teeth, but it seemed that these teeth would also need some help. In addition, the lower molars were also covered with a thick covering of gum.
The last remaining baby canine
The pink spot was a small hole in the gum over the lower canine tooth.
There was thickened gum covering the lower first molar.
After the surgery. The top of the crown of the first molar is now visible. 24 4 Legs & a Tail
It doesnâ€™t look like much, but the top of the crowns of the canine teeth were also visible (Blue arrows).
Dental X-ray of the lower incisors and canine teeth. The lower incisors had moved into a more normal position but were still covered by thick gum tissue (Yellow arrows). Winter 2020
The blue arrows point to the newly uncovered lower canine teeth. The gum which had to be cut open and away from these teeth is quite a bit thicker than normal. (Yellow arrow).
Unfortunately the lower corner incisors that were visible in the last article had to be extracted because they were preventing the canine teeth from erupting. The other lower incisor teeth had moved up towards the top of the jaw and were uncovered.
Dental x-rays of the lower right first molar (Red arrows). On the left is the tooth at 27 weeks and 3 days old. After removing the thick covering of gum, the tooth could erupt into a more normal position. The second x-ray was taken at 31 weeks and 6 days old and the tooth is in a normal position. A tooth has the potential to erupt as long as the bottom of the root is not fully formed, or is open. All of the teeth in the above x-ray still have open roots (Yellow arrow)
Dr. Waugh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She also holds a Masters Degree from Washington State University of Veterinary Medicine and is owner of Windsor Pet Dental, PLC.
31 weeks and 6 days old. The blue arrows point to the adult canine teeth. The gum around the incisors had healed. The lower left canine is hidden by the upper incisors in the middle and far right photographs. The upper canine teeth were erupting nicely but the lower canine teeth were impacting with the upper incisors. In the next issue of 4LT you will see the final outcome. Winter 2020 www.4LegsAndATail.com 25
y e s n a H and Pogo Part 3 of Tanya Sousa’s retelling of Classic Fairy Tales
nce upon a time, a dog and her daughter lived near a great forest. The daughter was called Little Pogo because she bounced into adventures. Little Pogo’s grandmother stayed on the other side of the forest. Pogo’s mother often said, “You are just like your grandmother!” Little Pogo thought it wasn’t true. Grandmother was old and smelled like mold sometimes. She couldn’t eat kibble because her teeth weren’t strong anymore. She didn’t run and jump. One day, Little Pogo’s mother made a basket of goodies and said, “ Bring this to
26 4 Legs & a Tail
your grandmother. She can’t wag her tail well because her bones ache. This happens sometimes when dogs get old. Company and treats will make her happier.” Pogo wasn’t afraid and was willing to go even if it meant seeing Grandmother. “I’ll take the shortcut,” she said. Her mother trembled and shook her head. “NEVER take the shortcut. There are dangers there.” Little Pogo took the basket and bounced away, but her paws soon tired and she started sniffing things off the main path. She put the basket down. “This is silly!” She said. “I am not afraid, and going to Grandmother’s this way will take forever.” So, against her mother’s wishes, Pogo pranced down the narrow shortcut. There were interesting noises and smells. Sometimes she sniffed where wild animals had been -- she was sniffing when she heard a voice like deep running water. “What do you have there? It smells very good and I am very hungry.” Pogo leaped and there was a laugh like river water bubbling over boulders. There, standing in front of her, was an enormous wolf with silver-gray hair and eyes yellow as the sun. Pogo was afraid for one moment, but then she wiggled her tail. “Hello Big Wolf! My name is Little Pogo. I’m on my way to Grandmother’s house with these goodies and can’t share them since they are for her. She’s old.” The wolf lowered his head and stared at Little Pogo. His head was almost the size of Pogo’s whole body. “Old, you say?” “Yes! I would rather play in the woods than go to an old dog’s house, but my mother says I need to bring goodies and make her happy.” The wolf yawned and showed enormous teeth. “Yes, old dogs are no fun!” “I don’t want to get old and boring,” Little Pogo lifted her nose. “Well no! I’m sure you don’t want that!” The wolf’s voice rumbled like a distant thunderstorm. “Surely it would be better not to get old and boring. Well, my new friend, I should eat dinner since you are not able to share your goodies.” He stalked away. Little Pogo thought how silly her mother was to warn her about the shortcut! She met a very nice wolf! She picked up the basket and trotted down the narrow path. The trip was long because she stopped and sniffed and rolled in leaves. She even chased a squirrel! Finally, she saw Grandmother’s doghouse. Little Pogo walked in and heard deep breathing. “Grandmother,” Little Pogo called. “Is that you, Little Pogo,” a voice asked from another room. Pogo went into Grandmother’s bedroom and saw Grandmother’s dog bed. She saw dog toys and the old wool socks she liked to sleep with. The shape on the dog bed did not
look like Grandmother though. “Come closer, sweet Little Pogo so I can see you better,” the voice, that sounded deeper than grandmother’s, said. “You don’t sound like Grandmother.” Pogo did not wag her tail. “I’m raspy from barking at Persons on our road,” the deeper voice said. “Now, sweet Little Pogo, come closer! That way, I can hear you better too.” Pogo didn’t move. “You don’t look, sound or smell like Grandmother.” She sniffed. She could smell Grandmother, but there was an imposter on the old dog’s bed. She sniffed again – how did she know that scent? The wolf! “You’re the wolf I met! You ate Grandmother, didn’t you? And now you mean to eat me for dessert!” Pogo thought of her poor grandmother being eaten because she went off the path, met the wolf, and lead him to the helpless old dog. She shook from the inside out until another voice cried, “Surprise!” Grandmother crawled stiffly from under the bed. The wolf laughed like a waterfall crashing in a pool. “Grandmother!” Little Pogo yipped. “I knew you’d take the shortcut despite your mother’s warning, so I sent Boris to meet you. Pretty good joke for an old dog?” Grandmother winked and wagged her tail. It was slower than Pogo’s tail wagged, but it wagged. Little Pogo bounced up on the dog bed and so did Grandmother, although more stiffly. Boris the wolf (who, Grandmother said, was a distant relative), Pogo and Grandmother took goodies from the basket. There were chopped meats and cheeses and soft breads; it was all delicious. Pogo would never think old dogs were boring again.
The End Tanya Sousa is a published author of many magazine articles and several children’s picture books. Most recently, her environmental novel, The Starling God, made the short-list for the national “Green Earth Book Awards,” in the Young Adult Fiction category. www.RadiantHen.com www.forestrypress.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Keller’s Dogs Kate Kelly
elen Keller’s life was filled with dogs. Though she was born before dogs were being trained as guide dogs for the blind, Keller knew what dog lovers around the world know—dogs are great companions. “A dog never let me down,” she once wrote.
Sullivan knew that if there was a way to build more advanced communication between the two of them, then she needed to teach Helen sign language. Because Helen could not see the signing, Anne would teach by making the signs in the palm of Helen’s hand.
head on her knee. Efforts to entice him away were in vain. “Since that time, the blind girl [sic] often expressed a wish to own Sir Thomas [identified as a Boston terrier], but without any expectation of doing so. Her college friends took up a collection and purchased the dog to present to her.” The Breakthrough As they worked together, Sullivan signed Helen was thrilled when she received various words in Helen’s palm over and the little dog as a gift. At some point, Sir over again. Helen learned to mimic some Thomas Belvedere became known as “Phiz.” of the spellings but did not understand the Phiz was with Helen on campus at all times, patiently sleeping through college lectures. purpose of what she was doing. As correctly depicted in The Miracle Worker, it was Sullivan’s spelling of the word “water” followed by putting Helen’s hand under cold running water that opened the world to Helen. Once Helen understood that the hand movements provided information on specific objects, she was hungry for knowledge. She eagerly went from object to object for Sullivan to provide her with the name. Within a matter of days, Helen learned more than a hundred words.
Helen Keller’s Childhood Helen Keller was born to a well-to-do family in Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was just 19 months, she became ill with what was probably scarlet fever. When she recovered from the illness, she was deaf and blind. The family looked for solutions, consulting doctors and other advisors. For Helen, they hired an aide to be with her at all times. Helen encountered much frustration and vented her emotions by having tantrums. By necessity, she and her companion devised a personal form of sign language so that Helen could make her basic wants known, but she was young, and the process was imperfect. Her calmest, happiest moments were with the family dogs. Anne Sullivan Arrives Helen was almost 7 when the family connected with Anne Sullivan who was recommended by the staff of the Perkins School for the Blind. Sullivan could identify with some of what Helen experienced as she had low vision, even after several surgeries on her own eyes. Sullivan’s early work with Helen required patience. Helen was accustomed to getting what she wanted, and she fought and kicked if she was not satisfied. Sullivan asked that she and Helen be permitted to live alone in a small cottage elsewhere on the property so that Helen would learn to trust and rely on her. Winter 2020
Life Continues After receiving her college degree, Helen Keller lived with Anne Sullivan Macy and her husband John Macy, who was now part of Helen’s support team. During this time, Keller devoted herself to writing and campaigning for what she believed. She stood up for worker rights, women’s suffrage, and became involved in the newly-formed American Civil Liberties Union. However, her primary focus was camFamily Dogs Numerous photographs of Helen paigning for funds to help the blind. She Keller depict her with various dogs. became the official representative of When Helen was a girl, her dog Belle the American Foundation for the Blind and was a particular favorite. She writes that traveled the world for the cause. she tried to teach Belle sign language, During the Depression, administrators but Belle was utterly bored by the pro- with the AFB established a trust for Helen to take care of her financial needs for the cess and napped instead. The family also had a dog named Jumbo rest of her life. She continued to travel and that may have been a Chesapeake Bay speak on their behalf until she suffered a Retriever, and there was a bull mastiff stroke in 1961 and had to curtain her work. named Lioness. People and Dogs in Her Life Anne Sullivan Macy’s devotion to Helen Teaching Continues The Kellers managed to work out a plan was life-long. Though she and John Macy where Anne Sullivan remained with their eventually divorced, Helen continued to daughter for the rest of her schooling and live with Anne, and John remained part beyond. Sullivan accompanied her to of their support system. boarding school, and Helen fulfilled her Later when Anne Sullivan Macy sufdream of being accepted to attend Radcliffe. fered health problems, Helen and Anne During this time, Sullivan married a fel- added an assistant to their team. Polly low named John Macy who also became Thompson became an important figure in the household and traveled frequently a part of Helen’s life. with the women. Dog at Radcliffe As an adult, Helen always kept dogs with By the time, Helen Keller entered her. One dog was named Stubby, and a Radcliffe, newspaper reporters often French bull terrier was called Kaiser. Helen took note of her whereabouts and her described Sieglinde, a Great Dane, as the activities. One story that became synmost beautiful and intelligent of her dogs. dicated concerned a visit Helen and (More on Sieglinde in a moment.) classmates made to a dog kennel in nearby Newton, Massachusetts: First To Bring Akita to U.S. “Last October the group visited the In the late 1930s, Helen Keller visNewton Kennels. One of the keepers ited Japan on behalf of the American released the dog, Sir Thomas. Though the Foundation for the Blind. She was enordog was said to be averse to strangers, he mously popular with the Japanese, and deliberately looked over the group of girls she loved her experiences there. and walked over to Miss Keller and laid his During her trip, she heard the story of www.4LegsAndATail.com 27
Hachiko, a loyal Akita (a medium-sized Japanese breed). Hachiko lived with his owner near Shibuya (the business center of Tokyo). One day the man left on a business trip for Hong Kong, leaving the dog with others. The fellow died during his travels, but for the rest of his life, Hachiko met the train that should have brought his owner home. At the Shibuya train station, there is a bronze statue honoring Hachiko. Keller loved meeting other Akita dogs while there, and the story of Hachiko’s devotion truly touched her. She asked if she could have an Akita to take back to the United States. A few months later, a well-known Japanese Akita breeder sent a staff member to the United States by ship with a gift for Keller… an Akita named Kamikaze-Go.
Teaching the Dog to Talk Sieglinde lived in the household for a few years, and the women were impressed by her intelligence. One day Mrs. Macy announced that she thought the dog could be taught to talk. She used cakes for training and started with the word “mama.” Though Helen learned to voice sound by feeling the vibrations in Sullivan’s throat, the women felt Sieglinde could be taught to imitate sound by hearing it. Work with the dog became a pleasant entertainment for the women, but when nothing happened, Helen asked them to to behold, I would without question pray stop. She felt Sieglinde was unsettled by not that my eyes portray of all things beautibeing able to learn what was being taught. ful, first a child and then a dog.” “Mama” And More About Sieglinde Then Thompson explained: “A couple of Sieglinde, the Great Dane, was to make months later we were all in the study when New Akita Arrives headlines later for learning to talk. In 1926, Sieglinde suddenly sat up and said “Mama!" Only months after the dog’s arrival to live a reporter named Virginia Swain visited “We all startled at the noise.” with his new mistress, he died of distemthe Keller household to learn more about Over time, Mrs. Macy worked with per. (There was no commercially available this amazing feat. her further to refine the sound, and now vaccine for the disease until 1950.) When The sub-headline to her resulting story Sieglinde very clearly says “Mama!” Swain the breeder heard what happened, he sent read: “Virginia Swain Hears Canine, Taught verified that the dog really did say the word. Kenzan-Go, a younger brother of Kamikaze Like Blind Girl, Say Mama.” She concluded the article with: as a replacement. The article is priceless on many levels, “The dog now knows that’s her trump card." Kenzan lived many years with Keller. She but from the beginning, Swain realizes “We are quite accustomed, when the meat referred to the breed as “angels in fur—genthis is no ordinary pet. She is let in by platter passes, to hear a pathetic voice calltle, companionable, and trusty.” Kenzan-Go, a houseman and Swain writes: ”A great ing ‘mama from Sieglinde’s side of the however, must have been a bit of a wantawny animal catapulted against me and table,” says Miss Thompson. derer. There are two separate mentions I staggered.” “If anybody questions the story, we are in Connecticut newspapers (Keller and “Sieglinde won’t hurt you,” the housealways ready to prove it.” Sullivan Macy lived in Easton, Connecticut man reassured her about the animal Swain Thompson noted that they had not for a time) noting that the police received describes as “the color of honey and “smallshared this story before was “because we a call about the fact that “Helen Keller’s er than a pony.” should have to carry Sieglinde around Japanese dog” was missing. Swain is then joined by Helen Keller’s country with us to prove the story. And The dog was always found, but the assistant, Miss Polly Thompson. Thompson she is too heavy to travel with.” household members must have been enters the room and speaks to the dog. One presumes Sieglinde got to travel a very worried. Swain: “Sieglinde ceased her gyrations and little more than before. climbed upon the davenport.” “If I Could Choose but Two Items…” In late 1929, Helen Keller was in As Thompson talks of the dog, she The Love of a Dog Paterson, New Jersey, where her purebred explained to Swain that Sieglinde never gets “Nobody, who is not blind, as much as Great Dane, Sieglinde, was to be shown in a out of anyone’s way—except for Helen’s. they may love their pet, can know what a dog show. While there, she visited a school, “If we stumble over her, she considers it dog’s love really means,” Helen Keller once and a local columnist named Arthur Dean our own affair.” But when Helen enters the told an interviewer. Even without sight room, Sieglinde steps aside and watches or hearing, she could feel the inquisitive reported on her visit with the children: She told them: “Were my Maker to grant her master until she is settled. Once Miss nudge of a dog’s wet nose and sense the me but a single glance through these sight- Keller sits down, Sieglinde runs to her puts love from a canine as he rested his head in her lap. less eyes, and I could choose but two objects her head in her lap to be petted. While any lover of dogs will feel that they, too, understand the importance of the love of a pet, no one will disagree with the fact that Helen Keller set a stellar example of human spirit and potential. If she achieved what she did with a dog by her side, so much the better for her and for the world.
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This article first appeared on the website, www.americacomesalive.com America Comes Alive publishes more stories about American dogs and other animals. Visit the website and sign up for “American Dogs” to receive the stories in your In Box. Or email Kate Kelly at email@example.com Winter 2020
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