READERS’ DOGGONE CUTE PHOTOS!
PET GUIDE SPRING/SUMMER 2017
5 CITIES CATER TO POOCHES
Apps, Toys for Summer
FRESH FOOD DEBATE CHARITIES WITH A BITE CANNABIS FOR CANINES?
‘Fur-ever’ Soul Mates
TASTES LIKE HAPPY
®/™ Trademarks © Mars, Incorporated 2017. Westie image is a trademark.
New CESAR Dry made with meat-ﬁrst recipes ®
Love them back
Don’t let your best friend get sick. Canine ﬂu is a highly contagious respiratory disease for dogs* • Possible symptoms: coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever • Spreads directly from dog to dog and via sneeze droplets through the air • Can be transmitted indirectly (water bowls, toys, collars, leashes, hands, shoes, and clothing)
Social dogs are most at risk • Dog parks • Boarding facilities
• Kennels • Doggie day care
• Pet shows/sporting events • Groomers
Other facts • Unlike human ﬂu, canine ﬂu can strike all-year round • Dogs can spread canine ﬂu before showing any symptoms • Can cause pneumonia, with the potential to be fatal
DON’T WAIT, VACCINATE WWW.DOGINFLUENZA.COM ASK YOUR VET TODAY! *Canine ﬂu is not infectious to humans.
Copyright © 2017 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. US/NCI/0216/0008
PET GUIDE SPRING/SUMMER 2017
Is fostering a pet right for you?
RITA EARL PHOTOGRAPHY
QUEST FOR FRESH FOOD Natural diets for dogs abound
Bellamy Young pours her heart into saving animals
CELEBRITY VET Jeff Werber provides care for A-list pets
ARTISTIC INSPIRATION Cities pay tribute to manâ€™s best friend
PET GUIDE UP FRONT
Our staff’s top product picks
Equipped to stay fit
Keeping boredom at bay
Annoying human habits
Readers share photos of their furry friends
TECH 22 Tools to help owners locate lost pets
Apps that solve everyday issues
Dog-friendly U.S. cities
Cost of owning a dog
DEPARTMENTS HEALTHY DOG 70 Help your dog Dental Buddy Bristle Bone toy, $18.06, walmart.com
Treating ailing canines with cannabis
Creative ways to keep your dog’s brain sharp
Golden retriever study yields promising findings
GOOD DOG 88 Meet six great dogs with purposeful careers
Living sustainably with your furry friend
BACK PAGE 96 Little Kids and
Their Big Dogs
ON THE COVER:
Actress Bellamy Young and her rescue dog, Bean PHOTOGRAPHER: Dan MacMedan
PET GUIDE 2017
Read about several U.S. cities that welcome dogs with open paws.
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PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL
DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes firstname.lastname@example.org
Roberts-Grey has interviewed hundreds of actors, athletes, politicians and more, and her work has appeared in publications including Family Circle, Glamour, Essence and Live Happy. She shares a love of dogs with Scandal star Bellamy Young, whom she interviewed for our cover story (page 42). “Her love of animals rings through every word and her deep-rooted passion inspires you to support rescue animal efforts,” Roberts-Grey says. The writer and her family share their Syracuse, N.Y., home with three bichon frises who she says, “have us all wrapped around their paws!”
Barth’s writing on food, health and the environment has been published in numerous national magazines, including Modern Farmer, Pacific Standard and Discover. The Toronto-based writer is always looking for connections between what we eat and the impact on the planet. Recent health problems with his 10-years-young beagle-Australian shepherd mix, Mitzi, prompted a deeper look at what’s really in kibble (page 34). “Mitzi had an incredible turnaround after a year of health troubles,” he says. “The vet was unable to help her, but an upgrade in her diet sure did.”
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORS Patricia Kime, Elizabeth Neus, Sara Schwartz, Tracy L. Scott, Debbie Williams DESIGNERS Miranda Pellicano, Lisa M. Zilka, Gina Toole Saunders INTERNS Antoinette D’Addario Rosalie Haizlett CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Alderton, Brian Barth, Lisa Beach, Mary Helen Berg, Hollie Deese, Nancy Dunham, Stacey Freed, Lambeth Hochwald, Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Diana Lambdin Meyer, Nancy Monson, Peggy J. Noonan, Gina Roberts-Grey, Adam Stone, Debbie Swanson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Dan MacMedan
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Swanson has been writing about dogs for more than a decade, and also enjoys covering topics relevant to home and family. She resides north of Boston with her family and two dogs, each of which has their own idea of stimulation (page 78): One prefers to fill his day with treats, naps and belly rubs, while the other focuses on seeking a partner in a constant game of fetch. “Part of the fun of dogs is learning their personalities, and figuring out what makes them tick,” Debbie says. “At the end of the day, it’s refreshing to see your dog contently relaxed and satisfied, snoozing in your living room.”
Based in New York City, Hochwald covers celebrities, trends and stories that aim to inspire readers, like her profile of celebrity veterinarian Jeff Werber (page 62). “During my interview with Dr. Jeff, I could just tell that he loves his job, even though he’s been working hard for over three decades,” she says. “I also got such a kick out of the fact that he makes house calls to pets who can’t make it to his office. Right now, my husband, son and I are searching for a dog to adopt but you can bet I’d love to find a vet who makes house calls!”
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UP FRONT PET GUIDE
PHOTO PROVIDED BY SOPHIE GAMAND
TRENDS 8 | TECH 22 | TRAVEL 28 | MONEY 30
During the month of May, contribute to a Kickstarter campaign to help Sophie Gamand fund a Flower Power coffeetable book.
Sophie Gamand is a New York-based award-winning photographer and animal advocate who has photographed more than 300 pit bull-type dogs wearing flower crowns (like Ivy, shown here) for her Flower Power series. Through her popular Instagram account, many of the dogs have found homes. @SophieGamand |
@sophiegamand | #PitBullFlowerPower 1
What We Love The USA TODAY team shares products that get their dogs’ tails wagging
The CHI soft-grip Palm Curry dog brush lets Director Jeanette Barrett-Stokes massage the skin of Max, a Maltese, stimulating circulation while working out tangles and restoring shine to his coat. $14.99, petsmart.com
Ellie, 2 1/2
Designer Miranda Pellicano’s Labrador mix, Ellie, loves to get Prairie Dog Pet Products’ Grassland Lamb Smokehouse jerky treats when she performs a trick or when she’s being extra sweet. $17.99 for a 15-ounce bag, amazon.com
The Bayer Seresto flea and tick collar protects intern Antoinette D’Addario’s cardigan corgi, Lucy, as she roams the family’s property and plays with her horse friends. Available in small and large sizes. $54.99, amazon.com
Special Sections Editor Debbie Williams’ “American Brown” (the family’s name for mutt) loves mealtime. The Neater Feeder Deluxe, which comes in three sizes, keeps Cocoa’s spills contained. $34.99 to $65.98, neaterfeeder.com
An amputee with bone cancer, Lego, a Labrador-golden retriever mix, takes many medications, and Greenies Pill Pockets ease dosing time. Copy Editor Patricia Kime enjoys giving him these natural U.S.-made pouches. $9.99, petco.com
PET GUIDE 2017
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES AND THE PET OWNERS
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Average annual gross sales per store of the top 1/3rd franchised stores1
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Call 734.793.6532 or visit pspfranchise.com PSP Franchising, LLC, 17197 N. Laurel Park Drive, Suite 402, Livonia, MI 48152. This advertisement is not an offer to buy a franchise. An offer to buy a franchise can be made by prospectus only. ©2017 Pet Supplies Plus. All rights reserved.
1 Item 19 of PSP Franchising, LLC’s 2016 FDD provides that $3,187,100 is the average annual gross sales achieved by the “top third” of PSP franchisees (measured by gross sales), which consists of 55 reporting franchised stores during the measurement period beginning 1/4/15 and ending 1/2/16. Your results as a new franchisee may differ. Of the 55 “top third” franchise stores, 9 reporting stores or 16% achieved exceeded the average “top third” annual gross sales. 2 Item 19 of PSP Franchising, LLC’s 2016 FDD provides that of the 55 reporting franchised stores, 5 reporting franchised stores (9%) achieved an Annual EBITDA that exceeded the $392,295 “top third” Average Annual EBITDA during the measurement period of 1/4/15 and ending 1/2/16. 3 As reported by APPA: http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp.
UP FRONT T R E N D S
Doggy Drills When the weatherâ€™s not ideal, bring the workout indoors
ith spring showers lingering and scorching temperatures looming on the horizon, getting your pooch outdoors for some much-needed exercise might not always be a feasible task. Thankfully, you can still keep him physically and mentally stimulated indoors with these toys and tools:
Available in two sizes, the FitPAWS Wobble Board helps improve dogsâ€™ balance, motor skills and strength.
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANY
$65.95 to $186.95, fitpawsusa.com
PET GUIDE 2017
UP FRONT T R E N D S
Place treats in the various compartments of the TRIXIE level 2 flip board and let your canine figure out how to get them out.
Made for dogs up to 179 pounds, the foldable Dog Pacer LF 3.1 treadmill features customized running programs.
The Chuckit! indoor launcher will have your dog burning energy in no time.
Improve your palâ€™s core strength with the FitPAWS Peanut exercise ball. Comes in multiple sizes.
$54.95 to $109.95, bostonterriergifts. com
PET GUIDE 2017
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
Place the base of the indoor Tether Tug under a piece of heavy furniture and let Fido play tug of war to his heartâ€™s content.
DOGS WON’T QUIT
AND NEITHER WILL
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GO FOR THE GOLD 1. Data on file at Merial. ®FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2017 Merial Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. Merial is now part of Boehringer Ingelheim. FrontlineGold_2016Print (07/2016)
Beating Boredom Gadgets, creativity can keep your pooch entertained BY ADAM STONE
CHEW TIME. Kong is king for those who need to gnaw. Fill this tough rubber cylinder with treats or peanut butter, then stick it in the freezer for extra staying power. Comes in six sizes. $3.87 to $18.32, amazon.com
PET GUIDE 2017
RIDDLE ME THIS. An interactive puzzle like the Seek a Treat Shuffle Bone from Ethical Pet can turn your bloodhound into a super sleuth. Dogs will be eager to sniff out the snack, “but make it a good treat, something meaty,” Parks says. “That’s what gets them motivated.” $10.83, chewy.com
FIND A FRIEND. Maybe all your pal needs is ... a pal. Shelters and rescue groups have an endless supply available. “A lot of dogs crave companionship,” says Kathy Thomas, president of Chesapeake Cats and Dogs in Queenstown, Md. “They are social animals to begin with. They need to play and interact. If they are going to be alone for a long time during the day, another dog can help with boredom and generally improve their quality of life.”
HIGH TECH. Gizmos like iFetch will play toss-andretrieve for hours, even when you are not there to reload. If you have a fenced yard, this can give your best friend a real workout. Three versions for small to large dogs. $37.99 to $198.01, goifetch.com
CHILL OUT. Freeze a favorite treat in a block of ice. Most dogs will obliterate a mere cube in minutes. To keep him licking even longer, use a quart-size freezer storage bag to float some chicken in water.
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elly Parks knew something was wrong when she pulled into her driveway and spotted a mangled window screen on the second story of her house hanging halfway out of its frame. Her mixed-breed dog, Henry, had literally gone out the window in search of adventure. He was OK, but Parks had a theory about his daring escape. “I think he just got bored,” she says. “Usually I would have exercised him madly ahead of time, but I was in a hurry that day.” As co-owner of Waggin’ Tails pet care services in Annapolis, Md., Parks has a host of remedies for doggy boredom. Here are some ways to keep your canine cohort content while you’re out for a few hours or an entire day:
Speaking in baby talk. Your dog finds it confusing and it hurts his ears. “Respect that your dog is a dog,” says author and pet advocate Donna Chicone. “Use your normal voice.”
10 things you do that set Fido on edge BY NANCY DUNHAM
ere’s a message your dog wants you to know: He loves you, but sometimes you get under his skin. That’s why he occasionally acts out — shreds the newspaper, rips a hole in the couch or barks until your ears bleed. “Dogs have a different social structure than humans and get annoyed when we treat them like human children,” says veterinarian Jeff Levy, who operates House Call Vet NYC, an in-home pet care service. “It also produces unintended negative consequences, including bad behavior and even aggression.” Here are 10 things you do that more than likely annoy your dog:
PET GUIDE 2017
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because your lawn has many enemies.
For more information, visit BlackFlag.com
Being inconsistent. “Dogs thrive on schedules,” says Taylor Truitt, founder of The Vet Set in New York City. “If you let them on the furniture one day and don’t the next, that’s confusing. If you aren’t consistent, a dog will act out.”
Imitating a dog bark. A key to being a successful pet owner is setting clear distinctions between your behavior and that of your pooch, says Levy. When you bark during play, it confuses the dog. Leave the barking to him.
Abandoning him. If you work many hours a day and have to leave a dog alone, rethink the decision to have one, says Truitt. Dogs without stimulation can become anxious and depressed.
Yelling. “When you raise your voice to your dog, you are basically barking,” says Sheryl Green, author of Paws and Reflect: Tales of Tails and director of communications at Hearts Alive Village, a nonprofit rescue group in Las Vegas. “Your (pups) won’t
understand why you are allowed to bark at them, but they can’t bark at you. If you need to convey disapproval to your pup, lower your voice.”
Forcing him into a dog park. Truitt says she’s seen many owners try to force a shivering, sad dog to play in a dog park. “Some dogs are happy just to be with their people,” she says. “That’s fine.”
Petting his head. This puts you in a position of authority. That’s upsetting, especially if the dog doesn’t know you. “That’s why a lot of people get bit,” says Truitt. “Let them smell you and then reach around to pet (their) back or rear.”
Preventing him from sniffing. “We get impatient when they’re smelling and jerk them along,” says Chicone. “When dogs sniff a lawn, it’s like reading the newspaper for them. Let them enjoy it.”
Showing excessive affection. A report in Psychology Today showed that hugging and kissing a dog may increase his stress level. “Again, that behavior humanizes a dog,” says Chicone. “Give him positive verbal praise instead.”
Being an alpha owner. Your dogs know you’re dominant so don’t poke, tease or bully. “That causes them sadness,” says Chicone, whose books include Being a Super Pet Parent: Everything You Need to Know to Foster a Long, Loving Relationship with Your Dog. “When you try to dominate them, it confuses them because they respect you.”
PET GUIDE 2017
Pawsome Personality Readers show off their fashion-forward furry friends
Bichon frise-toy poodle mix (bichpoo) Owner: Allyn Walker-Bey, Atlanta
We asked USA TODAY readers to tell us about their dogs’ star qualities and fashion sense. When it comes to the total package — looks, likeability and lovableness — these pooches check all the boxes!
“Weighing in at about 5 pounds, Kaidynn is a very social pup who gets along with the biggest of the dogs and the smallest! He is fiercely devoted to his dad and loves to be loved. He and his signature bandana brighten any room they skip into.”
Teacup Yorkshire terrier Owner: Alexa Rogers, Sterling, Va. “Madison likes long walks and playing ‘Maddie in the Middle.’ She likes to dress seasonally, opting for cozy knit sweaters in the winter and bright patterned dresses in the summer. Her best friends (her owners) say she’s sweet but sassy.”
Workin’ that red!
TOOTSIE, 8 MONTHS
“Nina is known as our ‘diva dog.’ She is a happily spoiled, lovable, affectionate, somewhat obedient terrier with the spirit and personality of a puppy, even though she’s almost 64 human years old. Anyone who pets her is a friend and anyone who rubs her belly is a friend for life.”
“Tootsie will instantly roll over at your feet to say hi and gladly accept belly rubs. Everyone who meets her just falls in love with what a sweetheart she is. Tootsie loves dressing up and has a drawerful of her own clothes.”
Yorkshire terrier Owner: Tonya Grier, Jonesboro, Ga.
Poodle-Chihuahua mix Owners: Alyssa Belden and Ruben Clark, Ventura, Calif.
Lhasa apso Owners: Nate, Sandra and Isabel Zilka, Chaska, Minn. “Lucy is a little dog but has a big personality (and bark)! Whether she is in a plaid sweater and scarf in the winter or in a bathing suit and shades poolside in the summer, she turns heads wherever she goes.”
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PET GUIDE 2017
PROVIDED BY THE OWNERS
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UP FRONT T E CH
Finding Fido Tracking systems keep tabs on your canine companion BY HOLLIE DEESE
he office dogs at Chicago engineering consulting firm DMC really brighten the staff’s day, so when employees had the opportunity to include the pooches in a project, they jumped at the chance. As part of the company’s annual one-day, in-office engineering project, employees created an application to track their dogs’ locations in the 10,000-square-foot office space throughout the workday. Owners clipped a tracker tile on their pet when they got to work, and anyone in the office
could log into the company’s internal website to see where the dogs are at any time. “So if you want to know where they are and want to get some love during the day, you can go find them,” says senior project engineer Alex Krejcie, owner of Daisy, a bichon frise puppy. “We consider our office dogs to be a highlight of the company and part of the culture we have here. So, it was a great thing for one of our projects to include them.” While the DMC project was just for fun, tracking dogs is serious business, especially if the beloved family pet goes missing.
The Nuzzle app tracks information from the GPS collar.
PET GUIDE 2017
NUZZLE The Nuzzle GPS collar tracks a pet’s location in real time, monitors activity, alerts owners of any extreme temperatures or an accident, and even stores medical records and pet insurance information. With no monthly fee, the collar works with the free Nuzzle app. $189.99, hellonuzzle.com
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GPS trackers have been helping reunite lost dogs with their frantic owners for years. Here are five that will help you know where your four-legged friend is at all times:
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
Veterinarian James Andrews, founder of pet technology company Felcana, says tracking pets has become an expensive business and is very challenging. Many dogs that disappear are actually stolen, and the first thing a thief will do is remove the collar, especially if he notices a GPS tracker. “The best solution would be an embedded chip with GPS technology,” Andrews says. “We already have microchips, which at least help us reunite ‘found’ pets with their owners. But these can’t help us locate the missing pet.” Microchips store all the pet’s and owner’s information, helping reunite pets, but they do not emit a signal, he adds.
Andrews says there are efforts underway to develop embeddable sensors for animals, but for now, they are not feasible because the size is too bulky and the technology requires constant recharging. Currently, the only option is on-collar GPS trackers. “But we urge owners to be careful — these devices are not known for their reliability,” Andrews says. “Pets’ locations are often only depicted within a certain radius, which would perhaps help you locate your dog in a field, but in an urban area, we need to be able to pinpoint exact locations to keep our pets safe. Secondly, GPS trackers are bulky and heavy, and it is especially uncomfortable for smaller
dogs to have large devices attached to their necks.” Jackie Bay, founder of Strategic Pet, a marketing agency in Mountain Lakes, N.J., that helps launch new products in the pet tech space, agrees that owners need to be cautious. “The truth is that no product on the market fully lives up to its promise for remotely tracking a lost dog,” says Bay. “They’re either too underpowered; they can only check in on the dog every few minutes; or they are too imprecise, meaning, they will show you where the dog is within a very large area.” Still, a tool that can locate your canine companion if he wanders from your side can provide peace of mind.
A HomeAgain microchip is a pet’s permanent ID. Each one comes packaged with a collar tag imprinted with the owners’ phone number and the pet’s unique ID number. The chips are implanted by veternarians in their offices; the cost varies depending on the vet, but generally runs $40 to $60. Chip scanners and collars are sold separately. Tags range from $8 to $23, homeagain.com
The PetHub offers an external digital ID tag, a free online profile, a 24/7 Found Pet hotline, instant tag scan notifications with GPS mapping and a nationwide alert system. The PetHub SIT Kit helps owners prepare for emergencies like natural disasters by bundling identification products in case they get separated from their pets. Bundle kit, $24.95, pethub.com
With the LINK AKC smart collar, owners can track their dog’s location with the push of a button and set custom notification alerts if the dog is off its leash. Owners can also monitor and track their dogs’ daily activity levels to help ensure their pets are getting the right amounts for their specific breed, age and size. Plans start at $6.95; collar, $179, linkakc.com
A GPS tracking system for dog walkers or pet sitters, the Handlr mobile app technology reassures pet parents that their pet sitter has arrived at their home while the GPS tracks their dog during the walk. Upon completion of the visit, the pet sitter checks out and the owner is notified via app with details. Free, myhandlr.com
T E CH
Smart Solutions From tracking to training tips, there’s an app for everything BY ANTOINETTE D’ADDARIO
W Puppy Coach 101 helps you teach your precocious pup manners and tricks. This app features more than 30 video clips and allows successful trainees to get a digital certificate once all training is completed.
hether you’re an experienced owner or a newbie pet parent, these apps will help you navigate any curves your four-legged companion might throw your way. The answers you need are just a click away.
Founded in Seattle, Rover covers more than 10,000 cities and connects pet owners to more than 85,000 sitters and walkers annually. All Rover-approved providers undergo a thorough background check before joining the site. Every visit is covered by Rover’s premium insurance, valid for injuries to your pet or sitter. There are minimal service fees, ensuring your sitter takes home 80 percent of the payment Free, rover.com and iTunes
The Red Cross Pet First Aid app equips you with life-saving information to provide step-by-step emergency care for your pet until you can get the animal to a veterinarian. Learn how to treat wounds, burns, bleeding and cardiac emergencies. Also use it to find the nearest vet or animal hospital and customize your pet’s profile. The app also tells you how to include your pooch in your family’s emergency preparedness plan. Free, iTunes and Google Play
PET GUIDE 2017
GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
T E CH
Can’t bear the thought of leaving your beloved pooch at home when you travel? Tired of getting to your hotel only to find out dogs aren’t allowed? Never face this dilemma again with the Bring Fido app, which shows you pet-friendly hotels, attractions and restaurants in your area. You can even book a hotel reservation from the app and add new locations to it. Free, iTunes
Have a pet question but no time to go to the vet? Just open Pet Coach and ask an expert for advice, whether it be medical or behavioral. Mark your preferred experts and get answers on your pet questions day or night. Free, iTunes and Google Play
Start your search for a new best friend at PetFinder, a database of more than 370,000 adoptable pets. Narrow your search by age, gender, breed and size, and view details on the website.
With Whistle 3, you will never have to worry about your adventure-seeking canine companion again. Simply attach the GPS tracker to your dog’s collar, download the free app and you’re off and running. Set your dog’s safe zone and receive notifications when he leaves it, track his activity and health trends and log his meals. The device is shock- and water-resistant and only needs to be charged once a week. Compatible with Apple and Android devices. Monthly subscriptions start at $6.95 to $9.95. Tracker $79.95, whistle.com
PET GUIDE 2017
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Free, iTunes, Google Play and petfinder.com
T R AV E L
America Goes to the Dogs BY MATT ALDERTON ILLUSTRATION BY ROSALIE HAIZLETT
Your pooch has the run of your home. And if you travel to one of these five pet-friendly places, he’ll have the run of the city, too.
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, CALIF. Carmel-by-the-Sea is home to legendary singer, actress and animal activist Doris Day, who co-owns the dogfriendly Cypress Inn, known for amenities like in-room pet blankets and dog beds. Day’s example permeates the community, according to Kelly E. Carter, author of The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel. There are doggy menus at upscale restaurants; there’s a dogs-only drinking fountain at Carmel Plaza, the city’s outdoor shopping center; and dogs can frolic off-leash at Carmel Beach anytime.
Not only is the city’s Main Street flush with shop owners who line their pockets with treats, but there also are designated areas throughout town where owners can “park” their pups while they shop. Dogs can join you for a hike on wilderness trails, play Frisbee with you at Town Park and even sit next to you on public transportation: Leashed dogs can ride with their owners on the Galloping Goose, a free public bus, while the TellurideMountain Village Gondola has pet-friendly cabins.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the puppy love, according to Carter, who says Austin — the country’s largest no-kill city — has “oodles of canine-loving bars, pubs and coffee houses, plus plenty of places to take active pooches for exercise.” The city has 12 off-leash dog parks, including one at Zilker Park, home to the Austin City Limits music festival. Dogs can even partake in Austin’s famous food-truck culture thanks to Bow Wow Bones, Texas’ first mobile food truck for dogs. 2
PETS GUIDE 2016 PET GUIDE 2017
ST. LOUIS The travel website Reward Expert gave St. Louis a spot on its 2017 “best cities” list because of its 81 pet-inclusive tourist activities — including the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, which has more than 700 original works of art. Take your pup to Purina Farms, a 300-acre farm featuring canine performances and events like the annual Petapalooza fair with activities for families and pets.
CHARLESTON, S.C. When Peter and Lori Nebel left corporate careers in Boston to start their own business, the owners of two Pet Supplies Plus retail stores chose the Charleston area because dogs are welcome almost everywhere. The city’s best assets, Peter says, are its dog-friendly beaches — including Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, which allow dogs to roam off-leash during designated hours — and King Street, where dogs are welcome inside stores and at restaurants with outdoor seating. During the summer, check out Yappy Hour, a pet-inclusive happy hour with live music and drinks, at James Island County Park. 3
MON E Y
Dogs and Dollars Here’s how much it really costs to care for a canine BY MARK GRANDSTAFF
wning a dog can lower stress and teach families lessons in responsibility — but it also carries fiscal obligations. Before you choose the dog of your dreams, it might be helpful to know that the first year of dog ownership can typically cost $1,314 for smaller dogs and up to $1,843 for the largest breeds, according to the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That includes one-time expenses such as spaying, neutering, training, initial medical fees and a crate. After the first year, ASPCA figures a dog’s annual cost at anywhere from $580 for smaller dogs to $875 for big breeds, which gobble more food. Meanwhile, Rover.com, a Seattle-based pet-sitting company, figures the yearly average at
HOW TO CUT PET CARE COSTS Here are a few tips to help you save money on your pet’s health care and reduce your chances of getting hit with a huge bill: uGet regular checkups. It’s less expensive to prevent illness, or catch it early, than treat it later. uBrush those teeth. Dental disease can lead to complications with a dog’s heart and kidneys. Use toothpaste made for dogs. uKeep fleas and ticks at bay. Infestations can cause everything from lingering skin irritation to life-threatening illnesses. Use a topical flea and tick solution designed for dogs.
Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 30
PET GUIDE 2017
uSpay or neuter your pet. Surgical sterilization can prevent serious health problems, including uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers. Check local shelters for resources for low- or no-cost surgeries.
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t Source: Among retail brands. Survey conducted in February 2016 of small animal veterinarians who recommended oral joint health supplements.
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MON E Y
ANNUAL COST OF DOG OWNERSHIP
LARGE DOGS — American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 32
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$2,858, factoring in pet sitting ($25 per night), dog training ($40 per hour), teeth cleaning (at least $400) and emergency medical bills (from zero to more than $3,000). “Unexpected veterinary bills are the most common and most costly variables in dog ownership,” says Kathryn Lisko, education specialist at Rover.com. Healthy habits like regular exercise and teeth brushing can curb those expenses, but dog owners should be prepared for the unexpected. Some breeds are more prone to those emergencies than others. A PetBreeds.com study of the most medically expensive dog breeds found that the top five — Bernese mountain dogs, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, English cocker spaniels and Doberman pinschers — need more than $1,000 a year in care, with the Bernese mountain dog topping the list at an average of $1,361. Adopting a mixed-breed dog can limit medical costs, says Julie Meadows, a veterinarian and assistant professor at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, as long as both parents aren’t from breeds known for issues. Her solutions to limit medical costs: Buy pet insurance, which the ASPCA estimates costs $225 per year, and take dogs in for annual checkups. “We know from both human medicine and veterinary experience that preventative health care and early intervention decrease all other expenditures,” Meadows says. “We prevent heartworm disease; we find tumors when they’re small and can be removed with relatively minor surgeries instead of a huge excision or amputation.”
Depending on the breed, dog owners can spend from $1,314 to $1,843 in the first year.
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FOOD BOWL Many pet owners are turning to natural selections to feed Fido
BY BRIAN BARTH
“THE SAYING, ‘YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT,’ APPLIES TO OUR PETS JUST AS MUCH AS IT DOES TO PEOPLE.” — GARY TASHJIAN, founder of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
the vet sent me home with a bunch of recipes to make my own fresh dog food. I was desperate, so I said I’d try it for a month and see.” Out went the dry kibble, and into Max’s food bowl went a combination of locally sourced raw chicken necks, beef livers, duck hearts, flaxseed oil, sweet potatoes, zucchini, parsley and a powdered nutrient blend. Tashjian learned to mix the ingredients by weight based on a 4-to-1 ratio of meats
to vegetables — what his vet termed the “biologically appropriate” diet for dogs. Grains, which constitute more than 50 percent of many conventional dog foods, are not part of a canine’s “ancestral diet,” Tashjian learned, and were strictly forbidden. Not only was Max eating better than most people, he was walking normally again within a month. Tashjian tried the same foods for Casey, his other Old English sheepdog, who had long suffered from severe skin irritation. It cleared up almost immediately. “It seemed like a miracle to me at the time, but now I realize that the saying, ‘You are what you eat,’ applies to our pets just as much as it does to people,” Tashjian says. This was in the early 2000s. A short time after Max’s “miracle,” Tashjian quit his corporate job to launch Darwin’s Natural
or humans, fresh, natural ingredients are the biggest food trend since sliced bread. It was only a matter of time before pet food companies caught on. Holistic veterinarians and other pet experts extol the virtues of a fresh-food diet for dogs. Take the saga of Seattle businessman Gary Tashjian’s Old English sheepdog, Max, who stopped bounding about the yard long before his 10th birthday. Soon Max was so crippled with arthritis he could barely walk. When steroids and other antiinflammatory treatments proved fruitless, Tashjian found himself seeking alternative medical advice from a holistic vet. “The vet asked me what I was feeding (him),” recalls Tashjian. “I was giving Max what I thought was a good quality dry dog food, but
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and vegetables. Most of the vegetables come from certified organic farms; free-range beef is grass-fed, poultry is cage-free. All Darwin’s meats are hormoneand antibiotic-free, and Tashjian says company representatives visit farms to see how suppliers treat their livestock. “We pay a lot of attention to the conditions under which the animals are raised to make sure that they have good lives — how much space they have to walk around, what they are being fed, what the slaughtering practices are,” he says. “I like to say that we’re as concerned about the chicken as we are about the dog.” According to a recent survey, half of all pet owners feel that natural and organic products are safer for their furry friends than regular pet foods. In fact, natural pet food sales were expected to reach more than $8 billion in 2016, according to estimates by
PROVIDED BY DARWIN’S NATURAL PET PRODUCTS
Pet Products (darwinspet.com), which specializes in raw farmGary Tashjian created sourced all-natural Darwin’s Natural Pet ingredients. What Products after two previous started as a local dog dogs had health problems. food delivery service has now grown into an online business serving all 50 states. Similar to meal kit delivery services for people, such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, the food is shipped frozen and vacuum-packed and is delivered fresh to customers’ doorsteps overnight. Also similar to many of the meal kit companies popping up across the country, and in line with human food trends generally, is Darwin’s commitment to use sustainably produced meats
RAW VS. COOKED: THE GREAT PET FOOD DEBATE Dogs and cats are predators, of course, and have evolved over eons eating fresh raw meat. But Karen Becker, a holistic vet in Chicago, notes that modern pet foods aren’t simply cooked in the way we would roast a chicken or grill a burger. They are “rendered” — pressure-cooked at high temperatures for long periods — which destroys the living enzymes in the food, degrading the nutrients to the point where they are not easily absorbed by the body. Furthermore, pet foods may legally include a host of slaughterhouse byproducts, moldy grains and other foods deemed unfit for human consumption, Becker says. Holistic vets argue that the meat content of many conventional pet foods is far too low for animals that evolved as hunters. Cheap, calorie-rich fillers like corn and soy, which are not easily digested by carnivores, are prevalent in commercial dry food, as are chemical preservatives, which may give the food a longer shelf life but can cause allergic reactions in some pets. Raw pet foods, which are typically purchased frozen, include primarily natural meats, often with added vegetables, fruits and mineral supplements, to ensure a nutritionally complete diet. “If you’re not feeding a species-appropriate diet, then you’re not providing your pet with the raw materials they need for a strong and resilient body that will have the innate biological defenses needed to protect against illness and disease,” says Becker.
“PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO QUESTION WHETHER THESE LITTLE DEHYDRATED NUGGETS ... ARE REALLY THE OPTIMAL FOODS FOR THEIR PETS.” — KAREN BECKER, a holistic veterinarian
There is scant scientific evidence confirming that natural, whole-food diets lead to better health — though that may change as pet food manufacturers and veterinarians respond to the increasing number of pet owners who are making the switch. Becker points to a small 2005 study at Purdue University that found that adding leafy green vegetables to the diet of Scottish terriers three times a week helped to reduce or prevent the likelihood of bladder cancer by 88 percent. At the very least, she says most owners find that their pets
have shinier fur, brighter eyes, more energy and firmer stools upon switching over to natural foods. “People are starting to question whether these little dehydrated nuggets with a two-year shelf life ... are really the optimal foods for their pets.” Many pet owners hesitate to feed raw foods to their pets out of fear of bacterial contamination. But Becker assures her clients that, like any wild carnivore, dogs have evolved to eat carrion and other less-than-fresh meats without adverse effects. “They do things that would kill us if we ate that way,” she says.
PET GUIDE 2017
distributors, especially among the smaller local and regional pet food purveyors. Back when Tashjian cooked up his first batch of fresh meat and vegetables for Max, there were few options for such pet foods other than homemade. Today, many veterinarians caution against homemade food, unless pet owners are willing to dedicate themselves to the nuances of making safe, nutritionally balanced meals. A better bet is to utilize one of the many products and services popping up to take the guesswork out of the picture. Many pet stores also carry fresh dehydrated foods from companies such as the Honest Kitchen (thehonestkitchen.com) and NRG Pet Company (nrgdogproducts.com) — just add warm water to rehydrate and serve. And one can’t walk into a pet store these days and not notice the freezers and refrigerated cases of fresh pet food, which make it
FRESHPET; GETTY IMAGES
Packaged Facts, a market research publisher. Raw foods, an even more specialized niche, are also booming: Sales in the U.S. jumped 42 percent from $77 million to IN $109 million from 2014 to 2015. Another niche, fresh-cooked pet owners pet foods — such as the tubes feel that of ground meat and vegetables organic offered by companies like Freshpet products in stores such as Walmart, Target are safer and PetSmart — are also on the for their rise. animals Data crunchers aren’t yet tracking the farm-fresh category of pet foods, but many of the raw, natural, organic and “fresh” pet foods now include ingredients sourced directly from farmers rather than wholesale
FRESHNESS DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR Subscription meal kit companies such as Blue Apron, Plated and HelloFresh have made a splash in the human food world. And now a handful of pet food companies focused on natural, farmsourced foods have also made the plunge. These companies offer national delivery service.
THE FARMER’S DOG
uDarwin’s Pet Products uses organic vegetables and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats; special food blends are available for dogs with specific health issues. darwinspet.com
even easier to switch to an all-natural diet. Companies like Freshpet, But Karen Becker, a holistic vet in Chicago, offers a word of left, and The advice before you waltz in and pick up the product with the Farmer’s Dog, flashiest package and lowest price. For starters, low prices are above, offer usually a sign that the ingredients are not sourced from the fresh foods as healthier most sustainable, humane producers. The package may have alternatives to a picture of happy-looking cows munching fresh green grass, dry kibble. but you may have to do some sleuthing to find out whether the meat is actually produced under such idyllic conditions. And while Becker says almost any fresh pet food is better quality than kibble, she urges health-conscious pet parents to look for “humangrade” products, the only pet foods in which every ingredient meets criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration for human-quality food. Becker estimates that less than 1 percent of the pet foods currently on the market are humangrade. The rest are considered “feed-grade,” which denotes manufacturing processes and ingredients that would make most humans’ stomachs turn. “Foodstuffs that fail the human food inspection process have to go somewhere, and they often end up in pet food,” she explains. “You can blend
uThe Farmer’s Dog is known for its freshcooked canine meals made with human-grade meats; a DIY option includes delivery of nutrient packs and instructions for making your own nutritionally balanced dog food. thefarmersdog.com uPetPlate’s beef- and turkey-based options are bolstered with eggs, sweet potatoes, salmon oil and a vegetable medley. petplate.com
HEALTHY TREATS Most fresh fruits, vegetables and meats are OK to give your pets at least occasionally.
PET GUIDE 2017
bird feathers and rancid restaurant grease together with rotten and diseased meats and still meet feed-grade standards, which is why human-grade pet food is usually double the cost of feed-grade.” Becker says that to date, the only way to obtain human-grade pet food currently is through mail-order companies or at independent boutique pet stores. But she notes that because of the tremendous demand, pet owners can expect to see the first human-grade pet foods at national chain stores by the end of the year. Not everyone can afford to spend twice as much on their pet food, but everyone can at least share healthy snacks with their pets from time to time. Almost any vegetable, fruit or animal product in your refrigerator is suitable as a dog treat. Macadamia nuts, onions, grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs, but carrots, blueberries, melons, cooked whole eggs, fish — and, of course, raw or cooked meat — are fair game. Small amounts of whole grains are OK, says Becker, but avoid bread and any processed foods with sauces or other ingredients that are not pure, plain and natural. Tashjian was astounded to find that Max enjoyed such foods — not just the meats, but the fruits and vegetables — even more than kibble. And the change in diet allowed Tashjian and Max to enjoy many more years of romping around together. The average lifespan of Old English sheepdogs is 10 to 12 years, but after Max recovered from arthritis, Tashjian says he was bounding about happily to the ripe age of 15. “Pet owners are coming to the realization that if real food is better for me and my kids, maybe it is better for my dog and cat also,” he says. l
VET KAREN BECKER SAYS ALMOST ANY FRESH PET FOOD IS BETTER THAN KIBBLE.
G R AC E Scandal’s Bellamy Young has a soft spot in her heart for rescue animals BY GINA ROBERTS-GREY
Starring on ABC’s megahit drama series Scandal, Bellamy Young plays a tough-as-nails, scheming first lady of the United States who often appears to have ice water flowing through her veins. “It’s hard to imagine her a dog lover,” jokes Young of her alter ego, her North Carolina accent peeping through ever so slightly. But as soon as the cameras stop rolling and Young steps out of character, the actress’ passion for animals can’t be suppressed.
on her couch with her Chihuahua mix, Bean, on her lap, and two cats, Button XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
and Sadie, tucked in next to her.
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GETTY IMAGES; DAN MACMEDAN
“These sweet, furry little critters make a house a home,” she says, curled up
Bellamy Young, who plays the president’s ex-wife, Mellie Grant, on ABC’s Scandal, snuggles with Bean, whom she rescued from a shelter.
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wanted to give another sweetheart a home for Bellamy Young, the holidays.” second from right in After selecting a terrier mix that was front row, discusses scheduled to be euthanized because of how the uber-popular hit long he’d been at the shelter, Young saw Scandal with other members of the another dog looking terrified in a cage, and show’s cast. instantly contemplated fostering both dogs. “The second one had a collar and the shelter employees said they were hoping to reunite her with her family. So I didn’t bring her home,” she says. “Then I saw this tiny, beautiful creature in the same cage who looked at me with big eyes (that) she blinked ever so deliberately. I was drawn in by her and asked the shelter to please call me before they put that dog (Pixie, later renamed Bean) down.” Days later, Young received the call that Pixie’s time at the shelter was drawing to an end. Without hesitation, she raced to bring her home. Having already found a home for the terrier mix, Young and
Bean came into Young’s life as Pixie, a tiny, forgotten dog who found her way to the Carson Animal Care Center in Gardena, Calif. Young, who won a Critics Choice Award in 2014 for best supporting actress in a drama series for her portrayal of Mellie Grant on Scandal, was no stranger to the shelter. “I’ve pulled several dogs from there to foster and eventually find ‘furever’ homes,” she says. And a November 2009 visit was no exception. Young was planning a trip from Los Angeles back to her North Carolina hometown to visit her mother (her father died of lung cancer in 1984) for the holidays. “I had just placed a one-eyed pit bull I was fostering and felt invincible, so I quickly
her new pal hopped a plane to her native Asheville, N.C., just 36 hours after leaving the shelter together. “I was going to give her to my mom because she wanted a dog, but she took one look at the two of us together and said ‘that’s your dog!’ I renamed her Bean and we’ve been together ever since!”
companion animals in the U.S. enter animal shelters
of those shelter animals are dogs
ADOPTING IS A WAY OF LIFE Animal causes and welfare have always remained close to Young’s heart. In her sophomore year at Yale, concern for animals prompted Young to adopt a vegetarian, and later vegan, lifestyle. “That day in 1988 I was handed a piece of chicken in the dining hall. It was a little undercooked and the way it was plated, that poor piece of chicken reminded me of my mother’s little dog. In an instant, I knew I could no longer eat another animal.” Despite being a strict vegan, Young says she doesn’t judge others’ diets or lifestyles. “I wasn’t meant to eat animal products. But I’m not dogmatic and run in the street saying everyone should be vegan. This is simply how I choose to live to try and make my corner of the world a better place for everyone.” Living in New York City after college, Young was an avid supporter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the pet-rescue organization Best Friends Animal Society and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), offering financial support and lending her time whenever possible. Then, a change in coasts helped Young take an additional step on her journey of championing animals. “When I moved from New York to Los Angeles, I purposely planned my route to go by Best Friends Animal Society headquarters in Utah, to stop in and see the work they’re doing and make a donation,” she says. Once in Los Angeles, Young says she found the space and self-confidence to
ADOPTION BY THE NUMBERS Although she supports many projects that enhance the lives of shelter and rescue animals, Bellamy Young frequently works with shelters in her area that have to make the unfortunate choice of euthanizing animals that find themselves as long-term residents.
dogs are adopted from shelters each year
that enter a shelter are adopted
Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
begin fostering. “To give an animal the room to find a second or third chance is such a blessing. It’s amazing to be the conduit for one soul to find another soul.” But sharing her life with dogs was already a lifestyle for Young. Her childhood home was always shared with pets, she says: “My parents had a Chihuahua mix named Tippy, who they said would snuggle me in my crib.”
“Helping and loving an animal is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Every time you save them, you save yourself a little bit, too.”
Young, who was adopted as an infant, — home for rescue dogs, Young used her has a deep-rooted admiration and respect star status for good when she competed The number of for all animals regardless of their breed on — and won — Celebrity Jeopardy! in May dogs and cats or species, but as an adoptee herself, she 2015. She donated her $50,000 winnings euthanized in U.S. shelters has says rescues in particular are her kindred to Operation Blankets of Love, an animaldropped by 42 spirits. welfare organization that improves percent since “I think my experience as an adoptee the well-being of homeless animals. In 2011, a decline the who was given beautiful, loving parents, January 2015, she and her rescues also ASPCA attributes makes me sympathetic to the plight of the filmed a public service announcement to increases in adoptions and voiceless and those who are disregarded for The Shelter Pet Project, a collaborative successful returns or tossed away or thought to not have effort between HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and of lost pets to value in a society. I feel like no one is the Ad Council, to encourage adoption families. expendable because it’s convenient. So from shelters and rescue groups as a first many animals out there without homes choice for families considering a pet. have so much love to give, and I want to do all I can to Young says she’s frequently asked how she can get them in forever homes so they can give that love.” hand a dog over to his or her new parents after an In addition to sharing her home with her forever adoption is completed. She concedes that while Bean furry family members and her fosters, Young works was “a beautiful foster fail that was meant to be,” she tirelessly to reduce the population at local shelters. typically rejoices placing a dog with a permanent “I’ll snap photos of dogs there and send them out family. in email blasts to family and friends to share with “I think you know when they’re meant to be their networks and so on. I know some people aren’t yours. You feel that connection in your soul. That’s comfortable going to a shelter, so I try to bring it to how it was with Bean; I knew she was meant to be them.” mine,” she explains. “With fostering, you feel a part Along with providing a loving — albeit temporary of the furry baby’s path, but know you’re not the
PET GUIDE 2017
— BELLAMY YOUNG
GETTY IMAGES; DAN MACMEDAN
Bean became Youngâ€™s forever friend in 2009 when Young visited a Los Angeles-area shelter and learned Bean might be euthanized.
PARTNERING FOR PETS
It was the first companion animals campaign in the Ad Council’s 70-plus year history as the country’s leading producer of public service announcements. Since then, Bellamy Young has been an avid supporter of the cause, lending her voice and celebrity to promote it.
“Celebrities like Bellamy are critical to raising awareness about the plight of homeless animals and showing the public just how extraordinary saving the life of a shelter pet is,” says Michelle Cho, HSUS’ vice president of celebrity and entertainment outreach. “Inviting her fans into such an intimate, meaningful area of her life with her two rescues undoubtedly inspired countless people who might be thinking of getting a dog or cat to visit shelterpetproject.org or visit their local shelter or rescue group. We’re thrilled to have partnered with her.”
destination. I always feel so lucky to be part of that process.”
INFORMING ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE The unconditional love experienced from sharing space with animals motivates Young to help place her fosters — or those waiting in shelters — in homes. “That kind of love is such a gift, and it’s one you can’t ever get from humans. We’re not capable of that sort of caring without strings, pretenses or judgment. And I hope that all these babies waiting for homes can find someone to bestow that love upon.” But she acknowledges accepting that type of love wasn’t always easy. “I went from mostly having cats post-college to being on my own
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Cho says the organization provides online resources and a free, easy way to search for pets awaiting adoption. “There have been more than 426,000 searches for adoptable pets and pet adoption groups on the Shelter Pet Project website in the past year, demonstrating a clear interest in learning more about the dogs and cats available for adoption at local animal shelters and rescue groups.” — Gina Roberts-Grey
in L.A. and bringing home a dog, too. That required me to learn how to accept unconditional love,” she confides. “Once I did, oh my goodness! How glorious and enriching it was once I surrendered.” Young says Bean and her cats have helped her define an emotional identification that’s informed her point of view. “Having always lived with animals, I see how much more purely they love. That kind of
In 2009, The Shelter Pet Project, the first national public service campaign to promote the adoption of shelter pets, was formed as a partnership between three nonprofits: Maddie’s Fund, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)and the Ad Council.
GETTY IMAGES; CAROL KAELSON/THE AD COUNCIL; JEOPARDY PRODUCTIONS INC.
Young uses her time and celebrity status to benefit multiple pet causes, including the Humane Society, top left, The Shelter Project, above, and in 2015, she donated her $50,000 winnings as a Celebrity Jeopardy! contestant to Operation Blankets of Love, an animal welfare organization.
perspective is my goal. I want to be able to transcend the pettiness of politics, fear and ego and love in a pure state.” That doesn’t mean she walks around wearing rose-colored glasses or positions herself from a point of vulnerability. “I’ve learned to listen with my heart, not only my eyes, ears and brains. And having my furries has helped me learn to show up for people in my life, much less animals, with the full power of heart and soul.” Her pets also help Young stay focused on the present. “As humans, we get stuck in the past and future. We worry about what we’re doing tomorrow or didn’t do yesterday. By being happy you’re home, wanting to play or have a belly rub, or love you each and every second just because you’re you, animals keep you present and
grounded in heart.” Her work with shelter and rescue animals has also provided some spiritual clarity. “Fostering a little life is so humbling and sacred. It reminds you we’re all here to help each other and that you’re not the central character in the story of life. You’re a supporting role and your hands are meant to help get someone or something where they should be,” she says. “Helping and loving an animal is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Every time you save them, you save yourself a little bit, too.” l
ALEX DEFOREST/ARIZONA HUMANE SOCIETY
SHELDON “SKI” KOBYLANSKI + OLIVE
PET GUIDE 2017
Fostering an animal is a win-win for parents, pets BY MARY HELEN BERG
ying side by side on a cozy couch in West Hollywood, Calif., Dirk and Penny make an odd couple. Dirk, a Corgi mix with a hangdog look, is older and four times the size of Penny, a tiny, social Chihuahua-pug hybrid. The two strays met in an animal rescue and fell nose over tail for each other. On a recent morning, as part of an affectionate ritual, Dirk stays stock-still while Penny licks his ear. Their love may be everlasting, but their home is temporary. Theyâ€™re foster dogs, waiting to be adopted into a forever home. Instead of idling in a shelter cage, they lounge in the comfortable apartment of Karen Stevens, 51, a publicist whoâ€™s fostered 40 dogs over the past six years. >
â€” KAREN STEVENS, publicist and foster pet parent
PET GUIDE 2017
RITA EARL PHOTOGRAPHY
ADDIE DADDIO + SWEET PEA
SKI + IN DUNK
SEASONED SENIORS Older dogs still have a lot of life, love to give BY LISA A. BEACH
SKI KOBYLANSKI; GETTY IMAGES
SKI EGG + BERT
Foster pet parents like Stevens work with rescue groups or shelters to provide temporary homes for dogs until they’re ready for adoption. Some homeless animals are placed in foster care because a shelter is too crowded, or because they’re too young, or they need medical attention, socialization or basic behavioral training. Some animals need temporary placement because of a family emergency or military deployment. Many of them have one thing in common, Stevens says. “These animals will love you unconditionally,” she says. “They’ve been abused, they’ve been in the most horrific situations, and if you
give them just a cup of kindness, you have a friend for life.” About 3.3 million dogs end up in U.S. shelters each year and 670,000 of them will be euthanized, according to Alyssa Fleck, spokeswoman for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Put simply, foster parents help shelters save more dogs. “Fostering a dog frees up critical space and resources to help other animals who may need them more,” says Joey Teixeira, senior manager of customer relations and communications at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City. “The shelter also gets vital information about >
With an irresistible “cuteness factor,” puppies easily draw in adoptive families. But what about a dog in his golden years? Elizabeth Berliner, director of shelter medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, highlights some benefits of adopting older dogs: ♥ Older dogs often come with training and socialization. They’ve acquired manners and a routine, so you’re starting with a solid behavioral foundation. ♥ Generally, they tend to be less active, which might be a good option for pet owners with limited mobility. ♥ You’ve got a better sense of what you’re getting in terms of behavior and personality. It takes the guesswork out of predicting what the dogs might be like “when they grow up.” ♥ You often get some medical and behavioral history, which helps pets adjust to a new home. Kimberly May, a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, knows firsthand about the joys of adopting older pets, having taken in several senior dogs over the years. Her advice? Don’t focus on the quantity of time, focus on the quality. As for the transition? “Seniors are plug and play. They adapt very well to a new home, and this speaks to their level of gratitude,” she notes. “They seem more appreciative and are just so happy to be with you.“ Want to learn more about adopting older pets? Check with your local shelter as well as these resources: OLD FRIENDS SENIOR DOG SANCTUARY
Mount Juliet, Tenn.
ofsds.org MUTTVILLE SENIOR DOG RESCUE
muttville.org BONAPARTE’S RETREAT
OLD DOG HAVEN
Lake Stevens, Wash.
olddoghaven.org THE GREY MUZZLE ORGANIZATION
greymuzzle.org THE SENIOR DOG PROJECT
operates in the U.S. and Canada
PET GUIDE 2017
HOW TO FOSTER Rules for fostering are as fuzzy as a newborn puppy. Most shelters require that foster parents be at least 18 years old, but otherwise, foster protocols vary. Fill out an application at your local shelter or rescue organization. You may need to attend an orientation, take an online course or obtain a license, which requires a fee. Some rescue groups check an applicant’s police records or conduct a home visit before approval. This is less common than it once was because such strict requirements can deter potential fosters, rescue groups say. Let your shelter know what kind of placement is right for you. Some rescue animals only need homes for a weekend but most fosters need longer placements — from a few weeks to several months. Check your email. Shelters send email blasts or post on social media when dogs are ready for a temporary home; others may contact you directly. Communicate openly and ask for advice when you need it. Be honest when assessing the dog. If the animal isn’t a good fit for your lifestyle or you’re not comfortable with its temperament, return it to the shelter and try again, says Kinsella. “We tell our foster parents that bringing a dog back is completely OK,” she says. “We’ll find a better match for them.” >
GETTY IMAGES; SKI KOBYLANSKI
SKI EGG + BER T
how the animal acts in a home environment, which can then help place that animal with the right adopter.” At the Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix, the foster program is one of many efforts that have helped decrease euthanasia by 84 percent since 2013, says Sharon Kinsella, director of volunteer engagement. One thousand dogs were fostered there in 2016. Sheldon “Ski” Kobylanski, of nearby Laveen, is one of the shelter’s most prolific foster parents. Although he has four dogs of his own, since 2010 he’s brought more than 100 other animals to stay at his home he calls a “Disneyland for dogs,” where they paddle freely in the backyard pool. His voice breaks as he recalls some of the pups that have passed through his doggie doors: Lana, a pit bull puppy with a broken leg (“I’ll never forget her face.”); Eggbert, a Chihuahua so tiny he fit in Kobylanski’s palm; Bruno, an emaciated pit bull he nursed through the potentially deadly canine parvovirus; and Zeus, a pit bull mix whose aggressive cancer diagnosis broke Kobylanski’s heart. And so many more. With pet adoption you save only one dog, Kobylanski says, but fostering provides a chance to save many dogs every year. All it takes is time, space and love. “If you can expand the walls of the shelter by providing love, a safe place and a warm bed for an animal — any animal — you can be a foster parent,” he says. So, how do you know whether fostering is right for you? Maybe you love dogs but aren’t ready to commit. You can live with a foster dog temporarily to give the lifestyle a try. If you travel a lot but spend some weeks at home, you can foster in between trips. If your kids want a puppy and you’d like them to learn about responsibility before taking on a new family member, foster a puppy — or a litter. “We can pretty much find a fit for almost any lifestyle,” says Kate Meghji, executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society in Lawrence, Kansas. And don’t worry if you’ve never walked a dog or shaken a paw. You don’t need experience to be a foster parent.
PENNY + DIRK
RESPONSIBILITIES You’ll be responsible for the daily care and comfort of your pup, providing food and water, exercise and plenty of cuddle time. You may need to handle the cost of food, a leash and collar and a carrier or crate, but many foster programs will cover these expenses. They’ll also pay for veterinary care, including spaying or neutering, vaccines and medications. You might have to handle simple medical tasks like administering medication or changing bandages. And if a dog needs basic training, you can teach sit-stay and beyond. Your pup’s adoptive family will thank you.
RISKS If your foster carries a contagious disease like kennel cough or parvovirus, your other dogs may get sick. Quarantine your new arrival and separate her from other dogs for two weeks. This gives her time to settle into her new surroundings and keeps her away from other animals while she’s contagious. Bites happen. Find out whether you, or the shelter, will be liable for damages or medical bills if your foster bites someone while in your care. Research the rescue organization to make sure it’s
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Love That Dog Hollywood, says Addie Daddio, founder of the animal rescue program and nonprofit Daddio Collective, both located in Los Angeles. Even experienced foster parents have trouble letting go. “It is painful,”concedes longtime foster mom Stevens. “It’s like a breakup every time. But it feels good to know that they’re going to be completely loved and adored.”
REWARDS Your good deed is tax-deductible, says Daddio. Keep receipts and detailed records of what you spend on caring for your foster — the IRS considers it a charitable contribution. But by far, the greatest benefit to fostering is the chance to create a fairytale ending for a canine Cinderella. “It’s just so rewarding,” says Kobylanski. “We’ve taken dogs that should’ve died and they’re adopted out happy and healthy. It’s like they beat the odds. I learn from every one of them.” l
RITA EARL PHOTOGRAPHY
ADDIE + BONNIE + CLYDE
reputable and right for you, adds Kobylanski. Groups vary widely in their policies and approach to fostering. The greatest risk: falling for those big brown eyes. If you decide your temporary pet should be a permanent addition to your home, you’re not alone. “Foster fail” happens with 90 percent of foster families at
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PET PROJECTS Retailers are dedicated to helping animals through charitable activities BY NANCY MONSON
he change you’ve tossed and reduce euthanasia rates. Jointly, TO DONATE into the containers at the the companies have helped 12.5 ONLINE register as you check out million cats and dogs find homes, of Petco and PetSmart a preferred alternative to meeting a stores — close to half a less-fortunate fate. billion dollars during the past 20 years “For every 30 seconds a PetSmart — have transformed the lives of pets store is open, a pet’s life is saved,” says PETCO FOUNDATION and their people nationwide. David Haworth, president of PetSmart petcofoundation. “We turn these small donations ... Charities, “totaling 1,400 pets saved org into grants that make a big impact,” each day.” says Petco Foundation executive Among other activities, the chains PETSMART director Susanne Kogut. fund spay-and-neuter programs and CHARITIES petsmartcharities. Both chains’ charitable arms efforts involving dogs that assist in org are, first and foremost, dedicated post-disaster situations; they also to protecting the lives of homeless provide food and medical supplies to pets. They don’t sell dogs or cats, but instead needy animal welfare groups and pet food banks encourage the adoption of shelter animals, around the country. hosting multiple events in stores each year Take the $2.5 million grant the Petco and working with 3,000 animal welfare groups Foundation gave in 2015 to the National Disaster around the country to raise adoption awareness Search Dog Foundation (SDF), located on a > 58
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SEARCH DOG FOUNDATION; GETTY IMAGES
George, Noah, Chief and Lilly are Search Dog Foundationtrained members of the Nebraska Task Force 1 searchand-rescue unit based in Lincoln, Neb.
together, we’re making big things happen. Since 1999, the Petco Foundation has invested more than $175 million in lifesaving animal welfare work all across the country. Front Street Animal Shelter (Sacramento, Calif.) creates loving relationships.
LifeLine Animal Project cares for the 16,000 animals at Atlanta’s oldest sheltering facilities.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter saves lives enthusiastically.
Kansas City Pet Project inspires others by showing what’s possible.
At the Petco Foundation, we invest wisely because animal lives are at stake.
join us & put your love for animals into action! Learn more: petcofoundation.org
125-acre complex in Santa Paula, Calif. Bold, high-energy dogs at least 1 year old are recruited by SDF to be trained as rescuers after being recruited themselves from shelters, where SDF officials said they could face not being adopted due to the same personality traits — intensity, focus and perseverance — that make them suitable as search dogs. The dogs work with SDF handlers for eight to 10 months — combing through the rubble of simulated plane crash sites, collapsed freeways and other disasters — and then are placed with first responders nationwide to be deployed for search-andrescue missions. “By saving shelter dogs and transforming them into national heroes, the Search Dog Foundation highlights the capabilities of shelter dogs for all types of service programs,” says Kogut. In a completely different vein, the Petco Foundation invested $525,000 in a University of Pennsylvania veterinary program that treats shelter dogs with mammary tumors. Information gathered by researchers from the dogs may be used to learn more about breast cancer in humans, which is a similar disease. “It’s a win-win for all,” says Kogut. “They’re saving shelter dogs and helping them get
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UPCOMING NATIONAL ADOPTION WEEKENDS
AY ART: M PETSM
: MAY PETCO
6 4 5 2 3 12 13 10 11 9 20 7 8 18 19 16 17 15 27 14 25 26 23 24 22 21 30 31 28 29
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AMY SUSSMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS FOR PETSMART; GETTY IMAGES
The McKenzie family's addition of Daisy, a nearly 2-year-old fox terrierfox hound mix, to their Staten Island, N.Y., home in 2016 marked PetSmart’s 7 millionth adoption.
adopted, and using the research to help both pets and people.” PetSmart Charities is also doing big things to help animals and their human caretakers. “Our mission is to find life-long, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together,” says Haworth. Among the projects it funds, it gave $60,000 to Project Active Duty, an Arizona Humane Society program that enables pet owners in the military to leave their pets in the care of foster homes found by the group while they are deployed. Another grant of $280,000 went to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for the purchase of a customized spayand-neuter trailer for the school’s Veterinary Community Outreach Program. The so-called VCOP Mobile is staffed by veterinary students who get practice performing surgical procedures while providing free pet care services to underserved communities. The list of grant recipients and programs that benefit are long and varied, so whether you shop at Petco or PetSmart, be sure to donate — you can be certain your dollars are going to a good cause. “The focus of everything we do is based on our love for animals,” says Kogut. “We’re working to create a better world for them.” l
VIP Veterinarian Jeff Werber is the pet doctor many celebrities turn to for top-notch care BY LAMBETH HOCHWALD
PET GUIDE 2017
recalls. “He rested his head on my chest all night long. It was almost like he was sorry.” The incident shaped Werber, now president and chief veterinarian of Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles and a veterinary medical journalist who says he’s been bitten only two other times by pet patients over his 33-year career. Dubbed “Celebrity Vet” by The Hollywood Reporter, he provides pet care for some of Tinseltown’s biggest stars, including actresses Eva Longoria, Demi Moore, Drea de Matteo and Emmy Rossum, NBA legend Magic Johnson and musical superstar Nick Jonas.
THE PATH TO VET It took some time for Werber to get to where he is today. In fact, he says he was rejected three times from the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine before he was finally admitted, later graduating at the top of his class.
GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY JEFF WERBER
sk Jeff Werber and he’ll tell you that his dream of becoming a veterinarian began when he was 5 years old, living on Long Island, N.Y. And that dream endured even after he ended up in the emergency room that same year when one of the family dogs — an 11-month-old Doberman pinscher — bit his cheek. The details of exactly what provoked the bite remain unclear even to this day. “I must have stepped on him while he was sleeping, but he jumped up and literally grabbed me by the face,” says Werber. “He opened up my whole cheek. I’m just lucky that the surgeon did a magnificent job stitching me.” When Werber returned home after the attack, his face wrapped like a mummy, something truly magical happened. “The dog nudged his head underneath my limp arm at my side and he advanced forward,” Werber
PET GUIDE 2017
and offered to write public service announcements. When they declined the offer, he wrote one himself and was “90 percent done” when a client brought in a pet for a checkup. That client turned out to be an educational video editor and Werber mentioned his video idea to him. “We ended up doing nine videos together that covered the top nine pet-shop breeds,” he says, referring to
dogs sold in pet stores, not those raised by breeders or found in shelters.
CELEBRITY START Those educational videos were distributed at schools and libraries, and Werber’s media career started to take off. Before long, he was invited to appear on TV shows and talk radio. “Producers would go to different stations and bring me along,” he says. “It was a
PROVIDED BY JEFF WERBER
Soon after he opened his own practice, Werber made an interesting discovery. He realized that many of his clients — most of them Hollywood agents and actors — knew little about how to care for their dogs or cats. “They had no idea, for example, that their 6-monthold puppy should have been vaccinated starting at eight weeks,” he says. So he approached one of the veterinary associations
1,3 AND 5: PROVIDED BY JEFF WERBER; 2: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES; 4: DAVID PARKER/WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES; 6: LISA BLUMENFELD/GETTY IMAGES
snowball effect.” Werber hosted Animal Planet Network’s popular show Petcetera from 1996 to 1999 and PBS’ Lassie’s Pet Vet in 2007. During much of the past 17 years, he has served as an expert guest on The Dr. Oz Show, The Rachael Ray Show, CBS’ The Early Show, Good Morning America, CNN and Fox News. He has also conducted satellite tours for pet food brands, including Mars and Iams and an upcoming media tour to promote Apoquel by Zoetis, an anti-itch drug for dogs. Werber won an Emmy award as a member of the KCBS-TV morning news team for the Los Angeles station’s pet coverage. His goal: to educate pet parents about issues that include basic pet care, nutrition, how to deal with abnormal behavior and preventing disease. All the while, he was practicing full time, dedicating his time to several animal welfare and rescue organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society, Last Chance for Animals, Hounds and Heroes, Angel City Pit Bulls, Furry Friends, Eloise and the Bill Foundation, and building up his big-name client list.
JODI LYN O’KEEFE ACTRESS
NICK JONAS SINGER
MY GOAL IS TO DO GOOD THINGS FOR ANIMALS
NEAL MCDONOUGH ACTOR
AND HELP PET PARENTS.” — JEFF WERBER, head of Century Veterinary Group
ROD STEWART SINGER
RILEY KEOUGH ACTRESS
LOVE FOR PETS For Werber, all of his clients — celebrities and everyday pet parents — have one thing in common: true affection for
their pets. “I’ll hear stories of this or that star being obnoxious, but I don’t see that,” he says. “I see people who love their pets, and it’s a totally different relationship. I call them; they call me on my cellphone. I’m like a pediatrician with their kids.”
MAGIC JOHNSON NBA LEGEND
When necessary, he goes right to the client’s home. “I’m not going to say no if Rod Stewart needs me,” he says. “Magic Johnson has been a client for years. But mostly I do house calls if my clients have a large number of pets. One has nine pets. For her to come in with all nine — it’s easier for me to bring the vaccines with me and examine them at her house.” And he keeps up his media gigs. “If I can help one
person, that’s all that matters to me,” he says. “My goal is to do good things for animals and help pet parents. If I do that, then I’m accomplishing that goal.” Werber, who has three adult children and two grandchildren, concedes to being a “crazy fanatic” about keeping in shape, fitting in time for snowboarding and playing basketball every Tuesday night, says his work brings him joy every day. “From the very first words he speaks, you know immediately that he has never lost his passion for his work and is continually motivated to do more,” says Catherine Haskins, founder of Chicago-based marketing and communications firm Haskins Consulting Inc., who has worked with Werber since 2008. It’s also clear that he understands that the pet owner is just as important as the patient. “He uses their bond to help both the pet and the pet owner get through whatever is needed,” Haskins says. “And to be honest, he makes everyone want to be a veterinarian. He has so much energy for the profession.” Energetic is definitely a good word to describe Werber, who says he has no plans to stop practicing. “They’re going to have to pull me away kicking and screaming,” he says. “My practice is my vocation and avocation.” l 65
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eloquent closing argument addressed the human-dog relationship and included the words: “The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous,
is his dog.” The man won the case, and his words were reprinted in newspapers across the country. Numerous other U.S. cities use art to celebrate the strong bond that we share with our canine friends. Here are a few:
Canines in Long Beach, Calif., love playing in the sand and Pacific Ocean at Rosie’s Dog Beach. The Arts Council for Long Beach commissioned Karena Massengill to highlight the boundaries of this 4-acre playground with 19 colorful silhouettes of several dog breeds having fun in the sun.
PET GUIDE 2017
ARTS COUNCIL FOR LONG BEACH; CITY OF WARRENSBURG
THE PHRASE “Man’s Best Friend” can be traced to the small central Missouri community of Warrensburg and the year 1869. Old Drum, a cherished hunting dog, was killed by a neighbor. The distraught owner took the matter to court. His
In Warrensburg, Mo., a statue of Old Drum graces the courthouse grounds, and nearly three dozen smaller â€œBurg dogsâ€? can be found in businesses around the community. An Old Drum Dog Fest celebrates furry friends each April.
The people of Des Moines have a little fun with their best friends in the form of creative bicycle racks. This one, called Spotted Dog by Matthew Kargol, captures a dog in an all-too-common pose. It is located at Fifth and Locust streets in the city’s historic East Village.
PET GUIDE 2017
A dog park at the corner of Cass Avenue and West Canfield Street in midtown Detroit includes two unusual and adorable topiaries in the shape of dogs. The life-size figures are covered in creeping sedum, which are easy-to-grow perennials, and must be watered in the hot months and trimmed at least twice a year — otherwise they get a little shaggy.
ARTWORKS/J. MILES WOLF; MATTHEW KARGOL; MIDTOWN DETROIT INC.
In Cincinnati, where more than 130 murals tell the story of the city and its people, this one titled Philosopher’s Bone by Elizabeth Hatchett on Kellogg Road, in the neighborhood of Anderson Township, incorporates images of actual pooches that have lived here and played in this dog park.
CENTRAL PARK CONSERVANCY; BRUCE N. MEYER
In New York’s Central Park near the children’s zoo is a statue of Balto, a Siberian husky that, in February 1925, was the leader of a sled team that delivered life-saving diphtheria serum to the people of Nome, Alaska. Although a dozen or more dog teams participated in the relay, Balto’s leg of the run took place completely in the dark. This run is now re-enacted each year in the form of the Iditarod trail sled dog race. Appropriately, another statue of Balto resides in downtown Anchorage on Fourth Avenue at the starting point of the Iditarod Trail.
Perhaps the most famous of our many canine friends to serve the U.S. military was a Newfoundland named Seaman, who accompanied his best friend, Meriwether Lewis, on the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1804 to 1806. Journals from the expedition note that Seaman helped catch squirrels and deer for the men to eat and warned the crew of approaching grizzly bears and charging buffalo. Dozens of sculptures, murals and other art along the 3,700-mile National Historic Trail include Seaman, underscoring his valued service on this epic journey. This sculpture, featuring the explorers with Native-American guide Sacagawea, overlooks the Missouri River at Clark’s Point in Case Park in Kansas City, Mo.
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Coming of Age Knowing what to watch for and do can improve your dog’s golden years
ging is inevitable. Our furry friends transition from puppyhood to old age in what seems like a blink of an eye. Although we can’t slow their passing years, we can do a lot to help our aging canines navigate the golden years. “The geriatric stage is about the last 10 percent of a dog’s life, which is really about the last year,” 70
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according to Mary Gardner, a veterinarian and cofounder of Lap of Love, a nationwide practice devoted to veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia.
WHEN IS A DOG OLD? “We used to say that age 7 was considered middleaged,” but aging depends on breed, says Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant and author of more than 30 pet-care
books, including her newly updated Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. Giant breeds such as Great Danes and mastiffs begin experiencing agerelated changes at about 5 and may be “really ancient” by 10 or 12 compared with Chihuahuas and toy breeds, which Shojai has seen reach age 21. “If you have a dark-furred dog, chances are you’re going to see some graying
around the muzzle, perhaps the rims of the ears,” says Shojai. Your dog’s eyes may look a little cloudy, but it’s not necessarily cataracts, says Shojai. It’s just a problem of middle age, akin to human near-vision changes. “It’s called nuclear sclerosis,” she explains. “It’s just a little cloudiness that will not really affect much of anything as far as function goes.” “Really old dogs (also) can
BY PEGGY J. NOONAN
develop cognitive disorder issues that are similar to the behavior changes of Alzheimer’s in people,” Shojai notes. They may “forget” commands, lose their housebreaking training, even forget who you are, she says. “Fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 will start having some level of cognition issues similar to Alzheimer’s” or dementia in humans, Gardner says. She advises taking your dog to a vet if you see signs such as panting and pacing at night, staring or looking off into the distance, head pressing in the corner, “or just not being themselves.” New foods with nutraceuticals and drugs can help reverse some of the changes and improve brain acuity in many dogs. Shojai says Anipryl, the dog version of a human Alzheimer’s drug, “will actually reverse the signs of canine cognitive disorder in a percentage of dogs,” but it doesn’t work in all cases.
GETTY IMAGES; AMY SHOJAI
HEALTHY AGING The two most important things you can give your aging dog are proper diet and preventive care, says Joseph Kinnarney, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and president of Reidsville Veterinary Hospital in North Carolina. “Proper diet and exercise is huge,” Kinnarney adds. Don’t let your dog get fat, he warns. More than half — 53.9
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG IS AFFECTED BY OLD AGE Look for these signs: Graying muzzle Vision loss Diminished hearing House soiling or bowel/ bladder changes Personality changes such as anxiety, nervousness, depression, seeming lost or confused
percent — of dogs in the Kinnarney adds. If your dog U.S. were overweight or is happy, and is not out of obese in 2016, according breath, fatigued, stopping or to the latest statistics showing signs of distress, go from the Association for ahead and walk with them, Pet Obesity Prevention. he says. That’s bad, because obesity But if they’re getting contributes to orthopedic fatigued, cut back on problems, diabetes, arthritis, exercise and see your high blood pressure, heart veterinarian. disease, breathing problems, As dogs age, their bodies skin problems, cancer and change fast. Not seeing a other conditions in dogs. veterinarian at least once The U.S. has the a year is like humans not healthiest food supply going to the doctor for for pets, including five to seven years, dog foods that Kinnarney says. AGING are specially When dogs When a 21- to balanced for start getting 50-pound dog is 10, he’s 60 in human dogs with older, talk to years, according to medical your vet about pet experts. conditions such more frequent as kidney disease, visits. Kinnarney says. Kinnarney says his That, plus good preventive clinic encourages twicecare, is helping dogs live annual visits for aging dogs longer. because “a lot can happen in Exercise helps prevent a six-month period.” weight gain and improves Frequent vet visits overall health for aging dogs, are important to catch
Increased barking Physical discomfort such as reluctance to play or problems with steps, getting into car or other normal activities
Magic, a 10-year-old German Shepherd
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HELP NEGOTIATE THE GOLDEN YEARS Talk to your vet about how you can make simple changes around your home that will help your aging dog stay safer and feel more comfortable.
When dogs can’t see or hear as well as they used to, they may bark or seem lost. They’re so good at adapting that we often don’t notice their vision and hearing changes, Shojai says. “As long as you don’t rearrange the furniture, a blind dog may fool you and still be able to get around without you noticing too much.”
▶ Vision changes Vision loss can decrease your pet’s ability to function in the house, Gardner says. “You have to protect them.” Add night lights around the house to help pets with low vision see at night, suggests Gardner. Place battery-operated tea lights on stairs and near the food bowl and water dish. If you have a pool, pond or other water feature, make
AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION For more on caring for aging dogs:
REIDSVILLE VETERINARY HOSPITAL
PET GUIDE 2017
sure the area is protected. “I see a lot of pets fall in pools and drown because they can’t see as well and their depth perception is off,” Gardner says.
▶ Hearing changes Old dogs with hearing loss may be startled when you come near or reach out to pet them. Make sure your dog can see or feel you coming and approach with caution, Gardner advises. If the dog also has arthritis or another painful condition, startling them may scare or hurt them enough to make them snap, even if they’ve never bitten anyone, she says.
▶ Mobility and fragility Many dogs, especially larger breeds, struggle with mobility issues, Gardner says. You’ll see them circle several times before they lie down and struggle to get up, Gardner says. There can be many causes (arthritis, vertebral disease, muscle wasting) but older dogs need pain management and practical modifications to their environments to keep them steadier and safer, she adds. Add barriers and baby gates to make sure dogs are protected from unsafe areas where they may have trouble. Hardwood, tile and other bare floors are like an ice rink to an old dog, says Gardner. They’re as nervous walking on slick surfaces
as we would be “wearing 6-inch high heels,” she says. She placed yoga mats and non-skid rugs around her home to give her 12-anda-half-year-old Doberman pinscher “a safe runway” through their home. For outdoor steps, decks, tile and concrete, she suggests trying non-slip sealers and paints to give dogs better traction.
ACCOMMODATE AGING We’ve learned that geriatric humans who enter hospice care sooner rather than later live longer and better, Gardner says. There aren’t studies yet to prove the same is true in dogs, but Gardner believes “if we can get these guys when they start getting achy, when they start losing their mind a little bit, and help them early enough, we will be able to ... hopefully extend quantity, not just quality (of life).” “Make it possible for your dog to continue doing the normal things that he loved to do always,” Shojai says. Obedience trials and trick training actually help delay the onset of some brain changes, Shojai adds. “Our dogs don’t know they’re getting older,” Shojai says. “They just know how they feel in this moment. So, as long as they feel good, and you are there, and they’ve got their favorite toys, their favorite person ... they’re happy puppies,” no matter how many birthdays they’ve had. l
treatable conditions sooner. As pets live longer, vets are seeing more cases of cancer, heart disease and kidney disease, Kinnarney notes. Early detection is key because in dogs, the window for treatment is shorter and disease can progress faster than in people. Gardner says 40 percent of the dogs she treats in their homes have not been to their vet in more than a year, but at least half could have benefited from veterinary care such as pain management or a dietary supplement “to make that last year even better.”
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H E A LT H Y D OG
Pot for Pooches Some vets and pet parents swear by marijuana’s healing qualities, but it remains mostly out of reach
teven Siegel’s 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Pumpkin, fell ill and had to be rushed to the hospital. After seeing several specialists, tests determined that Pumpkin was in kidney failure. “I gave her every bit of medicine (that) science could give to us,” Siegel says. Nothing worked well, and Pumpkin’s quality of life deteriorated. The poor pooch was constantly bloated and seemed uncomfortable, to the point that her veterinarian suggested it might be time to let her go. That’s when Siegel, who lives in Florida and has five dogs, did some research and discovered products made for pets that contain cannabidiol, or CBD, an extract of the cannabis plant. “I’m a traditional, oldfashioned guy; it took me years to even consider going to a chiropractor. But either I tried this or the dog would die, and I’d always wonder, ‘What if,’ ” Siegel says. Within a week of giving Pumpkin hemp oil treats
PET GUIDE 2017
made by Green Garden Gold, a Texas-based company that makes hemp-derived products for humans and animals, “the bloating went down. She had more energy. After three weeks, she was down to her normal body size, and by week four she was running around the house and you’d never know she was on death’s door.” While there’s no scientific evidence that cannabis cures canines or other pets, there are plenty of anecdotal reports that ill dogs respond to it in positive ways. As of early 2017, marijuana has become legal in some form, for medical or recreational use, in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Federal law, however, still holds that marijuana is illegal, classified as a Schedule 1 drug with high abuse potential and no accepted medical use. Despite this, humans are seeking medical marijuana to treat cancer symptoms, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and decrease
GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY MOTLEY ZOO RESCUE
BY STACEY FREED
IN 2015, THE NEVADA STATE LEGISLATURE TOSSED A BILL THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED BEWARE THC, a compound found in marijuana, has been found to be harmful if ingested by dogs.
PET OWNERS TO GIVE MEDICINAL MARIJUANA TO THEIR PETS UNDER A VETERINARIAN’S SUPERVISION.
6-year-old John Mayer anxiety, according to the National Cancer Institute. For many dog owners, these reasons are enough to try it when their beloved pets face similar problems. First, some background on marijuana’s effects on
the brain and body. Cannabis sativa, known to most of us as marijuana and hemp, contains compounds called cannabinoids, which bind to receptors in a human — or canine — body. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the cannabinoid best known for the mindaltering properties that pot is known for. CBD, another cannabinoid, has healing properties but does not make a user high. Marijuana has the highest concentrations of these compounds; hemp has trace amounts of THC, which is why products made from industrial hemp (which has less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal to buy, sell, use and ship. Most pet-friendly medicinal marijuana options, including pills, treats, oils, tinctures and supplements, contain CBD but do not have any THC, which is dangerous to dogs. “You should never give your dog THC,” says Alex Berezow, a senior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health. “Their bodies just can’t handle certain compounds. Chocolate will make them sick, and the same thing occurs with THC.” San Francisco veterinarian Jess Trimble says she’s seen dogs who’ve ingested marijuana edibles or remnants of joints picked up from a sidewalk.
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YOU SHOULD NEVER GIVE YOUR DOG THC. THEIR BODIES JUST CAN’T HANDLE CERTAIN COMPOUNDS. CHOCOLATE WILL MAKE THEM SICK, AND THE SAME THING OCCURS WITH THC.”
Hamish “They’ll lose balance, have nausea, noise sensitivity,” she says. w“A high dose can cause a coma.” The Pet Poison Helpline saw a four-fold increase in calls concerning marijuana intoxication in pets from 2012 to 2015, with a dramatic rise in the last 12 months of that time frame, as more states moved to legalize the substance. Trimble and other vets acknowledge the positive results of their patients’ use of some of these products, but they are frustrated 76
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because “there is no standardization, no published dosages, no regulation, no way of knowing what is or isn’t in the product,” says Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian whose practice, Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Ohio, sees numerous patients with epilepsy and terminal cancer. But many pet owners like Lori Aronsohn, a real estate agent in Los Angeles, are willing to take their chances despite the lack of regulation or FDA approval. Pharmaceuticals didn’t help with her 10-and-a-half-year-old Labradoodle Hamish’s nine-year battle with seizures. She used Canna-Pet tablets and liquids to lessen his seizures and fed him pet-friendly CBD edibles to lower his stress levels for car rides after vetprescribed Valium
didn’t work. Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Rescue in Redmond, Wash., gives Barkworthies CBD treats to anxious shelter dogs like John Mayer, a 6-year-old miniature pinscher who suffered from anxiety after a car accident. Now in a foster home, he socializes more with other dogs. New products continue to come onto the market that aim to provide the palliative effects of marijuana without the high. Alison Ettel, CEO and co-founder of Treatwell, a company that specializes in non-psychoactive high-quality cannabis medicines for humans and animals, calls CBD “very 2012.” Treatwell has a pet medication line that uses a ratio of CBDa and THCa
— the compounds in their raw forms. According to Ettel, the cannabinoids work together with a little bit of THC helping boost the powers of the CBD. “We’ve seen THCa draw out tumors on a dog’s skin. CBDa works well with bacterial infections in dogs’ ears and is a good pain reliever,” Ettel says. While vets — even in states where marijuana is legal — could lose their license if they prescribe medicinal marijuana to their patients, many feel the way Osborne does. “It’s a shame (lawmakers) don’t change the federal regulations so that universities and interested vets can run clinical trials and try to get information standardized so we can offer this. There is a need, she says.” l
— ALEX BEREZOW, senior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health
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H E A LT H Y D OG
Doggone Smart A mental workout is just as important as physical exercise for your dog BY DEBBIE SWANSON
PET GUIDE 2017
you think. “Mental stimulation is achieved when any of the senses are engaged ... the opportunity to see, hear, feel and smell things,” explains Reid. Teaching new words, offering dog-safe chews for gnawing and setting up a canine puzzle are among the myriad activities that add an extra bit of stimuli. Here are some ideas to get you started.
DO WHAT COMES NATURALLY A wild dog relies heavily on his senses for survival: sniffing out food and water, finding shelter from the elements, spotting prey.
alking is part of a daily routine for most dog owners. While there’s no denying your canine’s need for physical activity, it’s only one piece of the pie; mental activity is equally important to his well-being. “Exercising the brain can be quite a workout,” says Pamela Reid, certified applied animal behaviorist and vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Behavior Center in Weaverville, N.C. Exercising your dog’s mind is easier than
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H E A LT H Y D OG
PRODUCTS TO CHANGE UP YOUR DOG’S ROUTINE Here are some favorite mind-challenging toys your pup may enjoy:
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PET GUIDE 2017
Once domesticated, working dogs focus on hunting, chasing off intruders or rounding up animals. While many pet dogs don’t have to develop these skills, they still find it invigorating to work their senses. One easy way to stimulate your pup is to take unhurried walks whenever possible. “Walks are a great sensory exercise,” Reid says, suggesting owners take a two-fold approach. In addition to establishing a regular routine, so he can monitor changes over time, also “take novel routes (occasionally) so the dog has new sensory experiences.” Appropriate chewing is also a satisfying experience. “Give (your dog) something he has to manipulate to chew, such as a toy that has to be held in a specific way to
access the chewable parts,” Reid says.
WILL WORK FOR FOOD Although most dogs don’t complain, trotting into the kitchen for a filled dinner bowl isn’t very stimulating. Consider adding some mind work to mealtime. “From day one, we (fed) Ringo out of puzzle toys or through training activities,” Joan Hunter Mayer of Santa Barbara, Calif., says of her recently adopted mixed breed, who enjoys keeping busy. “We also play search games, where he looks for pieces of his food (hidden) around the house.” If you’re short on time, encourage your dog to do something in exchange for the food bowl, such as sitting, shaking or laying down. Change it up and add new tricks to keep it interesting.
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GIVING YOUR DOG A JOB, SUCH AS CARRYING TOYS AND OTHER SUPPLIES ON A HIKE, CAN KEEP
HOUSEHOLD HELPER Patrolling the chicken coop is a great job for a farm dog, but the average house dog can also learn ways to keep the household running smoothly. For example, living in New York City, Amanda Maxwell saw the benefit in teaching her two dogs, Coco and Bentley, to go outside, do their business and return — no small feat given their busy neighborhood. “It took awhile and a lot of focus,” she recalls, adding that treats were the motivator. “If they took their time and got distracted, they didn’t get anything. (Now) I can let them out my building’s front door; they go right away and run back in.”
PET GUIDE 2017
From performing routine tasks such as rounding up his toys at bedtime, to occasional requests such as toggling a light switch on command, having a job can be mentally satisfying.
AT-HOME SILLIES Playing games together is a fun way to challenge your dog’s mind, and it’s also a great bonding experience. You can play right in your home — perfect for days when weather limits outdoor time. Nicole Royer’s German shepherd, Kira, relishes games of hide-and-seek. “She tenaciously searches room to room to find me whenever I hide,” says Royer, of Saginaw, Mich. “We started
the game when she was about 4. She’s 9 now, and it’s one of her favorite ways to play.” Eager to occupy her standard poodle puppy, Bix, Janine Adams of St. Louis set up a homemade game she found on social media. “I put a treat or a piece of kibble in each section of a muffin tin and put a tennis ball on top of each, then set it on the ground,” Adams says. The excited puppy learned to paw and nose the balls to reveal his treats. Whatever activities you choose, don’t stress about time involved or sticking to a schedule; a few changes here and there will break up his day and lead to a more satisfied, well-rounded pooch.
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H E A LT H Y D OG
Researching Retrievers Ongoing study sheds light on ways we can improve our dogs’ health BY PEGGY J. NOONAN
aunched in 2012, the groundbreaking Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, from the nonprofit Morris Animal Foundation, enrolled more than 3,000 dogs whose owners and veterinarians work with researchers to collect information they hope will show how nutrition, genetics and the environment affect the risk of cancer and other diseases in dogs. This largest-ever observational study of its kind — the first project from the foundation’s Canine Lifetime Health Project — is beginning to yield early results. At the start of 2017, 2,982 of the original 3,044 enrolled dogs were still participating. Eighty-four percent of their owners have diligently kept up with vet exams and completed all the required study questionnaires, and their vets have sent in the study-provided biopsy kits used to collect
started out in the 2012 Golden Retriever Lifetime Study
remained involved with the study at the start of 2017
have diligently kept up with vet exams and questionnaires
enrolled regularly have their teeth brushed
were identified as companions or pets by their owners
PET GUIDE 2017
Sammie and Supporter Sophie are among the nearly 3,000 dogs in the golden retriever study.
FOUR LEGS PHOTO/LILIYA BECKTELL
Find details about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study at caninelifetime health.org
and submit samples from the dogs. “We don’t have a lot of cancer diagnoses at this point, which is great news for the dogs,” says Missy Simpson, a veterinarian and epidemiologist with the study. But this means “we still don’t have quite enough of our primary cancer outcomes to do any sort of meaningful research” on canine cancers, so the researchers are looking at “some early surrogate outcomes” that affect risk for other diseases, she adds. According to Simpson, early study results are helping to identify promising areas for additional investigation. She presented some of these preliminary findings at the American Animal Hospital Association and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine conferences in 2016. Here’s a snapshot of the projects and what early findings have shown so far:
EARLY SPAY AND NEUTER Preliminary results suggest the age at which dogs are sterilized has an effect on their risk of becoming overweight or
obese and developing other health issues. Simpson says there isn’t substantial data yet, but it appears that early sterilization leads to overfeeding. “Taking away those sex hormones slows down metabolism” so dogs don’t need as much food, she says. “The hard part is, when they’re very, very young, they need a lot of nutrients,” but they have low calorie demands and it’s difficult to meet nutritional needs without overfeeding. Research indicates that excess weight and obesity are as bad for dogs as they are for humans. Fat cells are linked to inflammation, which is associated with diabetes, other metabolic diseases and cancer. Extra weight also makes chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis, worse. On the upside, early spaying or neutering eliminates the risk for testicular, ovarian and uterine cancer because the surgeries remove these organs from the body. But, Simpson adds, “those cancers tend to be quite rare in dogs ... a lot more rare than we thought they were at one time.” And while they’re still serious diseases, she notes, if a lump develops in a dog’s testicle, “you can always neuter him then.” What’s an owner to do? Does this mean you should not spay or neuter your dog? The data suggest delaying sterilization until later in life may help prevent some dog diseases, but keeping your dog intact has its own downsides, such as the possibility
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Mac, a study participant, runs on a beach in Cape San Blas, Fla., in May 2015.
DENTAL CARE A third of the owners of dogs enrolled in the study brush their pets’ teeth. That’s important, Simpson notes, because, just as in people, good dental care for dogs helps prevent periodontal disease, which can affect not only the dog’s mouth but also cause heart, kidney and liver problems. uTwo percent of the study dogs had preventive care such as tooth cleaning during the previous year. uJust 6 percent had dental tartar and/or gingivitis when examined by a vet.
Retriever Lifetime Study is doing the same thing for dogs. uA new pilot study within the main golden retriever research looks at the fecal microbiome in dogs. Researchers are collecting and analyzing samples to build a baseline picture of what a normal dog microbiome would look like, Simpson explains. uOnce they know what’s normal, researchers hope to learn how the microbiome is affected by things like the dog’s environment (where he lives) or medication (including whether the dog was treated with antibiotics in the last year).
WHAT’S NEXT? MICROBIOME Like humans, dogs have a community of natural bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms in their bodies, known as a microbiome, in their gastrointestinal systems that help digest food, use nutrients, boost immune system function and protect against disease. Researchers are just discovering more about how the human gut microbiome works and affects human health. The Golden
PET GUIDE 2017
MY STRONGEST ADVICE IS TO TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR PET.” — MISSY SIMPSON, epidemiologist with the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study
As the study progresses, the researchers hope to find out more about how canine health is affected by nutrition and obesity, reproductive hormones and geographic location. Until more is known about how these physical, environmental and biological factors affect our canine companions, Simpson says practicing basic healthy habits with your dog helps. “Take your dogs for walks, and play with them, and love them a bunch. You can’t ever go wrong if you do those things.” l
of pregnancy, so the decision is “very much up to the comfort level and preferences of the owners,” Simpson says. “My strongest advice is to talk to your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet.”
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A Helping Hand These four-legged heroes put humans first BY MELANIE D.G. KAPLAN
here is certainly a place for canines who are content just being a friend to the people with whom they share a home. But here, we highlight some extraordinary dogs who work hard to help make the world a better place for us bipeds.
PET GUIDE 2017
STEADY PAWS FOR A CAUSE
with balance and mobility limitations. Today, the two are inseparable. “Charlie helped me learn how to walk without falling down and to get up when that did happen,” says Girard, who also credits his giant pal with emotional healing. “We
GETTY IMAGES; MARK AMIRAULT
Age: 6 | Human: Steve Girard | Location: Westbrook, Maine Charlie, a 6-year-old, 155-pound black-andwhite Great Dane, can’t easily hide under a blanket or travel in a bag — things dogs more than half his size can do — but he’s found his purpose in life: to help steady his human, Steve Girard. Girard, a former military police sergeant with the U.S. Army, was injured by
an explosive blast in the Middle East and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder. As he recovered, he progressed from a wheelchair to a cane but remained unstable on his feet. He and Charlie were paired up in 2012 by the Maine-based Service Dog Project, which trains Great Danes for use by people
became Team Charlie.” Balance-support dogs should be roughly 45 percent of a person’s height and 65 percent of their weight, according to the Service Dog Project, which gives preference to military veterans who might be suffering from ailments such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Girard works at the organization helping match service dogs with other veterans. Sir Charles, as he’s known, can tell when Girard becomes anxious — such as in a crowd — and makes sure to stand close. Simply leaning his big body against Girard’s reminds his partner that he’s there to help. When Girard wakes from a nightmare, Charlie’s right by his face. “No matter what I have gone through or will go through,” Girard says, “Charlie will always be at my side as we push ahead in our lives.”
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When 3-year-old Mack heads to work, he makes a beeline to the beehives. Working for the
Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Apiary Inspection program, the yellow Labrador retriever helps Cybil Preston inspect commercial hives for a deadly bacterial disease called American foulbrood, or AFB. “It takes him four or five hours to do what humans would do in weeks,” says Preston, the state’s chief apiary inspector. Maryland’s bee industry is buzzing, and commercial beekeepers often cross
PET GUIDE 2017
state lines for pollination work. But customers in other states want to know that the Maryland bees are disease-free, so the agriculture department offers to inspect hives before they are transported across state lines. Preston says Maryland is the only state that works with bee dogs, a position held by a number of canines since the ’80s. Mack’s job involves walking by beehives and sniffing the exteriors for traces of AFB infestation. When he detects the odor, he alerts Preston by sitting. To avoid getting
stung, Mack only performs inspections in the cooler months when bees are dormant. Preston says Mack loves working. “If he’s walking along,” she says, “I can hear his sniffing increase and see him start to salivate.” To prepare for the position, Mack scenttrained with Preston for seven months. She saturated some of Mack’s toys with the AFB disease’s scent, so he learned to track it down for a big reward — a ball that he only gets after a find — plus lots of hugs and kisses.
GETTY IMAGES; CYBIL PRESTON
Age: 3 | Handler: Cybil Preston | Location: Jarrettsville, Md.
THIS NOSE KNOWS
GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY JENNIFER MASSEY
In the northern Virginia neighborhood where he lives, Phayu looks — at first glance — like many of his four-legged, floppyeared neighbors. But this 5-year-old Labrador retriever, who jumps on benches, zips through tunnels and climbs ladders and slides at the local park, is constantly practicing his moves for serious work. “They’re canine athletes, so it’s very important to keep them in shape,” says Jennifer Massey,
Phayu’s handler and a volunteer with the Fairfax
County International Urban Search and Rescue Team, an elite group also known as Virginia Task Force 1, which responds to domestic incidents and disasters abroad such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Over the past 25 years with that group and other organizations, Massey and her dogs — she has trained and certified six dogs for search-and-rescue
work — have responded to local requests to search for lost hikers, disoriented people with dementia and missing children. In 2015, Phayu deployed with Massey to Nepal to sniff out survivors of an earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people. Phayu and teammates helped locate a 15-year-old boy who was pulled from the rubble five days after the initial quake. Each month, Phayu trains about 20 hours, working on skills that would scare many dogs away, like walking on a horizontal chain link fence or skipping across piles of concrete rubble. When he locates the scent of a live human, Phayu barks — until Massey arrives with his reward, preferably a felt ring. But the toy alone isn’t valuable, Massey says. “The real reward is someone tugging on the other end.”
Phayu Age: 5 | Handler: Jennifer Massey | Location: Warrenton, Va.
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Protect and Serve
Lyric, an energetic 3-yearold rescue dog, works as a Beagle Brigade detector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She’s based at the international airport near San Juan, Puerto Rico, sniffing carryon baggage heading to the mainland. She’s trained to find prohibited items such as mangoes, guavas, apples, citrus fruits and sweet potatoes, which can carry invasive pests such as fruit flies. Lyric reliably tracks smells, sometimes from surprising distances. When she detects a target scent, she sits by the baggage, waiting for her treat.
Dora, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, works for the
Lucca, a German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, served in the Marine Corps for six years as a specialized search dog. Lucca’s career ended in 2012 when she was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and lost a front leg — but she kept her spirit, says handler Chris Willingham. Last year, she was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, the highest honor any military animal can receive. Now 13, Lucca enjoys retirement — which has included visiting wounded vets at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
PET GUIDE 2017
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Canine Program in El Paso. She is trained to screen vehicles, freight, people and luggage entering the U.S. to potentially thwart illicit crimes, including terrorist activity, drug smuggling and human trafficking. Her average workday is eight hours, but a 16-hour day is not uncommon. Among the most challenging work, handler Felix Benejan says, is screening moving vehicles. Her biggest career find: 29 pounds of liquid methamphetamine in the gas tank of a moving car.
GETTY IMAGES; CRISTOBAL RIVERA AYALA; FELIX BENEJAN; CHRIS WILLINGHAM
These pooches not only provide a service to humans, they go above and beyond the call of duty to help protect their country.
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Help your pooch go green How to live sustainably with your furry best friend
BY MARY HELEN BERG
PET GUIDE 2017
ou buy organic, drive a hybrid and have replaced every light in your home with LED bulbs. But have you thought about your pet’s effect on the planet? “We lavish our pets with all of these products — toys, clothes, grooming items,” says pet expert Darcy Matheson, author of Greening Your Pet Care: Reduce Your Animal’s Environmental Paw Print. “All of these things have their own carbon impact on the Earth.” Luckily, you can spoil your pet and still protect the planet, says Matheson.“My dog, Murphy, sleeps on a giant, white, faux-fur pillow,” she concedes. But as consumers, “we get to vote with our dollar,” she adds. “The more often we demand products that are longer-lasting, sustainable and eco-friendly, the more manufacturers are going to create these products.” Half of all pet owners already buy eco-friendly products, spending $9 billion in 2016, according to the market research firm Packaged Facts. That’s a lot of organic kibble. And as the market for natural products grows, you’ll have plenty of green options that will help reduce your furry friend’s carbon paw print. Here are a few eco-friendly options to consider:
Buying local and organic food is healthiest for both your animal and the environment. But the most sustainable meal contains animal byproducts that would otherwise be discarded, says Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist with the National Resources Defense Council. “My dog loves her food, even if it’s parts of the chicken that I won’t eat,” Rotkin-Ellman says of her 6-year-old mixed breed.
To control ticks and fleas, wash your pet and his bedding frequently. If chemical pest control is needed, be aware that some products contain toxic insecticides that are hazardous to animals as well as people, Rotkin-Ellman notes. Use them only during warm months when pests are most active, and check labels for dangerous ingredients like propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos.
Look beyond the indestructible, plastic doggie igloo for an outdoor shelter. You can repurpose a large wine barrel as lodging, plant a garden on the doghouse roof or buy a home built with ecoFlex, a 100 percent recycled blend of plastic and wood. Any shelter produced from upcycled or reclaimed materials can provide an ecofriendly refuge from bad weather.
THE SCOOP ON POOP Pet waste carries health-threatening bacteria, so pick it up with biodegradable bags before it washes into your local water system, advises Rotkin-Ellman.
Use organic, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners that keep chemicals and preservatives out of the water system while providing gentle grooming for your pet, Matheson says.
“Adopt; don’t shop,” Matheson says. Pet adoption is “the ultimate recycling.” 95
T H E TA I L E N D
Picture Perfect Photo book captures beauty of Little Kids and Their Big Dogs
here’s nothing cuter than a kid bonding with a pooch. In his new book, Little Kids and Their Big Dogs, photographer Andy Seliverstoff proves that and raises the adorable quotient. The 131-page book features nearly 100 images of huge dogs, including St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, Great Danes and mastiffs, sitting, walking and playing with small children. “The main goal of my photo
PET GUIDE 2017
shoots wasn’t just to create beautiful pictures, but to capture the interaction between the children and the animals,” says Seliverstoff, 58, of St. Petersburg, Russia, whose photos have received thousands of likes on his Facebook page (facebook.com/ GDChronicles). Big dogs and small children are perfect together because, in general, “for their size, larger dogs tend to be very grounded and surprisingly gentle,” says Denise
Flaim, an American Kennel Club judge and founder of Revodana Publishing, which published Little Kids, Big Dogs. “They understand that just because you’re big doesn’t mean you have to be a bully, and that’s an awesome message, especially in this day and time we live in.” Seliverstoff is working on the second edition of his book, which will feature even more breeds, and has plans for a calendar and greeting cards in 2018.
ANDY SELIVERSTOFF; PROVIDED BY REVODANA PUBLISHING
BY MICHELLE WASHINGTON