Dog's Life: Lifestyle
September 29 2016
Almost three decades ago, a study published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling revealed that 38 percent of respondents considered themselves emotionally closer to their dog than to anyone in their human family. This finding still rings true to many dog lovers. And while not everyone understands or accepts that it’s possible to grieve the death of a dog as much as (and sometimes, more than) the death of a member of our family, it is, nonetheless, a fact.
Our relationships with our dogs are often simpler than those with other people: straightforward interactions, clear expectations, no-strings-attached affection. We also tend to order our daily routine around our dogs’ needs. Not surprising, then, that a hole opens up in our lives when we lose them.
Creating a memorial is one way to begin moving through the grief. Fortunately, the spectrum of possibilities is wide. Among the options: garden stones, plaques, portraits, candles, photo books, paw-and noseprint–engraved charms, lockets holding fur or cremains. Or we can plant a tree, make a donation to a rescue or shelter, assemble a keepsake box or journal on social media. The way we choose to honor our dog’s life is personal, but the motivation is universal; commemorating the bond we shared is a positive step toward accepting their loss.
Dog's Life: Travel
National Conservation Lands
September 25 2016
National Conservation Lands protect 32 million acres of this country’s most ecologically rich and culturally significant landscapes. Each is different, not only in terrain but also in history. These lands are made up of National Monuments and National Conservation Areas and similar designations, Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Scenic and Historic Trails.
They are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management and, unlike other public lands, such as those administered by the National Park Service, they have a much more tolerant policy about off-leash dogs.
There are more than 30 sites in the western states in which you and your dog can freely explore. It’s important to note that while dogs need to be on-leash in developed areas and campgrounds, generally, they are not required by law to be leashed in the backcountry. However, in some regions, for their own safety, dogs should be under leash control; hunting and fishing are allowed on most of these lands, more reason to keep the safety of your dog in mind. Be sure to follow the rules at each individual park, and—of course—to pick up and pack out your dog’s waste.
Steese National Conservation Area
Agua Fria National Monument
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
Ironwood Forest National Monument
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
Sonoran Desert National Monument
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Carrizo Plain National Monument
King Range National Conservation Area
Mojave Trails National Monument
Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area
Sand To Snow National Monument
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area
McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Basin and Range National Monument
Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area
El Malpais National Conservation Area
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area: the cave is off-limits to all but scientists. Around the Fort and backcountry trails are fine.
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
San Juan Islands National Monument
Fall is a great time to visit. For a complete listing of dog-friendly National Conservation Lands, see conservationlands.org
Dog's Life: Travel
Camping in style
September 23 2016
RUSTIC + LUXE + DOGS
Glamping is for those who prefer to take their outdoor experiences with a side of luxury. Like the name—a mash-up of glamour and camping— suggests, it’s a world of tricked-out cabins, yurts, trailers and treehouses that offer appealing creature comforts, including hot water, an indoor bathroom and protection from the elements. Recently, Glampinghub.com, a leading purveyor of rustic-luxury accommodations, introduced a special service for dog-friendly destinations, both here and abroad. Prices range from $138 per night for a yurt in upstate New York to just under $1,700 per night for four tented cabins on a Montana ranch. It’s a new way to experience the call of the wild.
September 14 2016
This May marked the 50th anniversary of one of rock music’s seminal albums — the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Beach Boy founder Brian Wilson’s opus was a compositional and engineering masterpiece that has had a lasting impression on everyone from the Beatles to Radiohead. The 1966 album featured Beach Boy classics—Wouldn’t It Be Nice, God Only Knows, and Sloop John B.
The band members sometimes referred to Wilson as “dog ears” for his uncanny ability to hear sounds that nobody else could detect in the studio. Wilson’s production of the LP was groundbreaking, combining strings with standard rock instrumentation along with improvisational and ambient sounds. Wilson’s two dogs Banana (a Beagle) and Louie (a Weimaraner) also contributed to the record. In one of the more experimental moments on the album, Banana and Louie are heard barking at a train whistle at the close of “Caroline No”—an incongruous moment of pop music styling.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
September 14 2016
1. TOY STORY West Paw Design has a new toy in its collection. The Zogoflex Air Wox is a crazybouncing, three-legged tug; there’s always a place to grab, and its squishy texture is soft on teeth (and hands). Plus, it’s guaranteed against dog damage. What more could you ask?
2. TRAVEL TIDY Take to the hills, the beach, the park or the trail with your dog and Dublin Dog’s Multi-Purpose Field Bag. It opens like a suitcase, has lots of compartments for your training gear, and comes with a dry cinch bag that holds several days’ worth of kibble or treats.
3. POO BE GONE We all do it—walk briskly holding our dog’s leash in one hand and a full poop bag in the other. The Leash Pod, which also dispenses bags, allows us to skip the indignity. Put a full bag in the hidden bin, and when you spy a garbage can, release the bag into it.
4. HANDS-FREE FUN If you love to run with your dog and would also love to have a little more control, Iron Doggy’s Runner’s Choice bungee leash is for you. It attaches to a lightweight belt by a sliding snap buckle and has a series of knots and handles that help you keep the pup on track.
5. RETRO CHIC Your dog doesn’t care what her dish looks like as long as it’s full, but you’ll appreciate Waggo’s Too Hot vintage ceramic dog bowls, which echo casserole dishes of days gone by. They come in four colors and two sizes—two- and four-cup capacity—and are dishwasher and microwave safe. waggo.com
6. TASTY TOPPER Honest Kitchen calls their Functional Liquid Treat a “treat with benefits.” The tasty instant bone broth also has turmeric, the potent kind, and can be used as a between-meal drink or to enhance your dog’s regular meals. It may also tempt picky or reluctant eaters. (Good for cats, too.)
Wellness: Healthy Living
September 13 2016
Fats are the major source of energy for dogs, the energy they supply is a more concentrated source (2.5 times) than either protein or carbohydrates. Not only do they supply energy but they also help keep skin and coat healthy, and foot pads supple. Nutritionally, fatty acids aid in the absorption of vitamins because they transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K and E) into the body from the intestine. They also play a role in cell structure and function, including vision and learning abilities. Plus, they make food, both manufactured or homemade, tastier and more palatable.
Fatty acids are a specific type of polyunsaturated fat and are classified into omega-3s or omega-6s. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are those that the body cannot make for itself, and needs to be supplied daily in the diet, hence they are considered to be essential (this essential status is species-specific). For dogs, the EFAs are omega-3 and omega-6 acids, which are required for them to thrive. In other words, if a body (animal or human) does not receive sufficient amounts of EFAs, critical body functions can be severely disrupted.
While both are important to a diet, it is thought by many nutritionists that commercial pet food (similar to commercial human food) contains too many omega-6s and not enough of the “good fat”, omega-3s. Omega-6s can be found in meat products, egg yolks, whole grains and vegetable oils, while the best source for omega-3s for dogs is cold water fish. Fish oil provides the long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA), that are used for metabolism. Another complication is that fatty acids are very unstable and fragile, and tend to oxidize very quickly. They are easily destroyed by heat, light, and oxygen, thus they break down during processing and storage. It is important to note that the only way you can assure that your dog is getting sufficient amounts of EFAs is to either provide fish, such as mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon, etc., in their diets or add an EFA supplement yourself. If using a supplement, ideally it should be guaranteed-fresh source packaged in an oxygen-free container, such as soft gel capsules that prohibit air from contacting the oil.
Composition and sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) cold water fish and their oil.
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) cold water fish and their oil, eggs from chickens fed omega-3.
- ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) found in flaxseed oil, canola, soy beans, navy or kidney beans and walnut oils, plus green leafy veggies.
It is important to note that, unlike humans, dogs cannot convert ALA to the all-important EPA and DHA, so plant oils are not an ideal source of omega-3s for them. ALA from plant foods are often the primary sources of omega-3 found in dog food. While they are still important, this does mean that your dog’s diet may be lacking in EPA and DHA, causing them to miss out on certain health benefits.
Composition and sources of Omega-6 fatty acids:
- LA (Linoleic acid) that can be found in corn, canola, safflower, sunflower oils, whole grain and body fat of poultry.
- GLA (Gamma linolenic acid) in black current seed oil, borage oil and evening primrose oil.
- AA (Arachidonice acid) found in the body fat of poultry, lean meat, egg yolks, some fish oils.
- DGLA (Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid) found in organ meats.
Benefits of Omega-3s:
As many veterinarians, including Karen Becker, DVM, have noted, “omega-3s have tremendous potential to positively impact your pet’s health.” Here’s a list of what omega-3s contribute to a dog’s health and vitality:
- Support normal neural development, cardiovascular and immune systems, healthy reproduction, and skin and coat health.
- Therapeutic benefits and aid in managing chronic inflammatory disorders, like colitis, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, joint pain due to arthritis and allergic skin problems.
- DHA is important for development of a healthy nervous system and proper development of the retina and visual cortex in fetuses and newborn puppies.
- Manage stress and improvement of brain health and cognitive functioning, especially in senior dogs.
- Support skin and coat health and relieve dry and itchy skin.
- Omega-3s fatty acids have been shown to slow the development and metastasis of certain cancers, while omega-6s have been shown to stimulate tumor development.
- Fish oils have been shown to decrease the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood.Not All Fish Oil Is Created Equally
With the rising popularity of fish oil for both the human and canine health, there are many different manufacturers making a variety of claims. So when selecting which omega-3 oil to purchase you need to consider a few factors including, purity, freshness, potency, bio-availability and sustainability.
Purity: The oil must meet international standards for heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants. You need to check with the manufacturer’s Certificate of Analysis (CoA) to receive third-party verification. Many oils come from areas of the ocean that are heavily trafficked and/or polluted by deep sea oil rigs. Make sure you know what part of the world the fish was caught.
Freshness: EFAs are susceptible to oxidation, which turns them rancid. Look for verification about the freshness from the CoA, and for companies that use smaller vessels. Ask how the fish is kept fresh once it is caught, and how long does it take from the “catch” to the processing plant. The product should be available in an oxygen-free container, such as soft gel capsules that prohibit air from contacting the oil. Freshness is measured by oxidation as shown in the CoA’s anisidine and peroxide values, that should be less than 5 meq/kg.
Potency: The oil must contain DHA and EPA. DHA provides most benefits to dogs, so it should exceed the levels of EPA.
Bio-Availability: The oil must be in a natural form not a synthetic triglyceride which many fish oils are.
Sustainability: Many fish oils are made from fish that are endangered. Choose products made from fish that are certified by organizations such as the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).
It’s important to look for or request a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from the maker before you buy a fish oil product and if you have any questions, the company should be available to address those in a timely manner.
Omega-3s and omega-6s are indeed essential fatty acids, not only because they need to be added to a diet, but because they are essential to overall health. However, as they also add calories, attention needs to be given to the overall caloric count that is provided to a dog in both their food and supplementation. Consultation with your veterinarian is also recommended.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
September 12 2016
The nation’s first dog café, modeled after very successful kitty versions, opened recently in L.A. The café’s mission is to “provide a second chance for shelter dogs that are often overlooked,” according to founder Sarah Wolfgang. “The Dog Cafe is going to put a spin on the way people adopt by totally reinventing the way we connect with homeless dogs.”
In compliance with L.A. Health Department regulations, the cafe is split into two areas, the drink service counter and the “dog zone,” and food service is restricted. Because the animals stay overnight, the Dog Cafe is located in an industrial zone, but this one is in trendy Silver Lake. Customers can grab a cuppa, then move over to the dog lounge, where they can spend time with and, ideally, meet “the one” of their dreams. Out-of-town visitors who miss their dogs are also welcome to stop in and give a shelter dog some quality one-on-one time and donate to a really good cause.
The café is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Admission is $10 per person for a 55-minute block of time (reservations are suggested). A full list of dogs available for adoption can be found on the café’s website.
Learn more about the The Dog Cafe LA.
September 6 2016
Fall, a refreshingly cool and vibrant season, is the perfect time to brush up on our dog lessons.
On the home front, we kick off a new series, Human Grade, Human Made, exploring home cooking for our dogs. Knowing that it should be simpler and more accessible than we’re warned it is, we invited the perfect guide to kick off the series. Greg Martinez, DVM and author of Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet, gives us his “starters” guide. From the front lines—i.e., the kitchen—I provide some additional cooking tips and including how best to determine the number of calories we should be feeding our dogs. While this is really much easier than you may think, there still is a lot of information to impart, so we’ll be continuing the discussion online, where you’ll find the app we’ve created to do the more complicated calculations for you. See thebark.com/food for more. We also go inside to see how designers are applying their craft to making our homes a lot more welcoming to dogs. Plus, interior decorator Vern Yip, who’s a big-dog aficionado, shares a few field-tested pointers. We also go along on a transcontinental bike trip and see how one co-pilot handled all those miles.
Bestselling author and cognitive researcher Alexandra Horowitz has a new book out, Being a Dog, in which she examines the role scent plays in dogs’ lives. We talk with her about the subject, and get the scoop on just what dogs’ noses know, and how that might also inspire our own sniffing.
Jesse Miller tells us how best to determine what method a trainer adheres to—understanding the lingo is vital. Another language lesson comes from Linda Lombardi, who tells us about the challenges shelters face when trying to assign breeds and breed mixes to their charges, and questions the necessity of doing so. We all know about the horrors dogs contend with in hoarding situations, but not much about how that environment might affect their behavior after they’re rescued. Fortunately, researchers are investigating this subject and developing protocols on how best to address these dogs’ needs, so we asked Jessica Hekman, DVM, to examine recent studies and report back to us.
Resource guarding—one of the negative behaviors that hoarded dogs rarely display—is a fairly common canine issue exhibited by many dogs. Animal behaviorist Karen London shares her insights on how to work with dogs who guard everything from food dishes to toys and sometimes, even their humans.
Our cover dog, the adorable Allie, herself offers both a question and a lesson. How did a small dog survive on the loose in an urban wilderness for so long, and how quickly would she adapt to her new life as a much-loved lap dog? See how she did it.
On the international front, our international humane editor, Twig Mowatt visits Bhutan and brings back a story on the importance of cooperation, and how a small country in a remote part of the world took on the challenge of a nationwide spay-and-neuter campaign in partnership with Humane Society International.
On the lit front, we have a couple of lovely, touching essays and a poetry selection that celebrate the love the authors feel for their dogs. I am especially pleased to publish Abigail Thomas again, and to introduce (or reintroduce) readers to the work of poet Janet McCann and the UK’s Lucie Britsch. Hope you enjoy what this issue has for you, thanks for picking us up.FEATURES
Bark Talks with Alexandra Horowitz: Leading cognition researcher tells us about her latest book—get ready to sharpen up the sense of smell.
Human Grade, Human Made: Cooking tips and feeding guidelines.By Claudia Kawczynska
Home Cooking: Get started with home-prepared meals, the slow cooker approach. By Greg Martinez, DVM
Bike Adventure: Transcontinental cycling trek. By Jen Sotolongo
Our House/Dog House: Home design inspired by dogs. By Janice Costa
Eternal Mysteries: Loving a special dog. By Abigail Thomas
Small Country, Big Idea: Spay/neuter project adds to Bhutan’s canine Gross National Happiness. By Twig Mowatt
A Modern Master: The art of William Merritt Chase By Cameron Woo
Endpiece: Losing Blue, Finding Him Too By Lucie BritschIT’S A DOG’S LIFE
HEADS-UP: DIY Checkup - Learn how to do basic at-home physical exams. By Shea Cox, DVM
INNOVATIONS: Knee News - A new device potentially avoids osteotomy and preserves maximum motion. By Jess Elliott
DESIGN: Living with Dogs - Designer tips from a leading expert. By Vern Yip
COGNITION: Memory Crucial for problem solving, prey-hunting, smell recognition and more. By Victoria Stilwell
ENRICHMENT: Scent Stimulation - The way to dogs’ brains is through their noses. By Sheldon Siporin
TRAINING: Truth in Advertising - When shopping for a trainer, look behind the language. By Jesse Miller
SERVICE DOGS: Fighting for Independence - Parents take on school districts that flout the ADA. By Donna Jackel
BEHAVIOR: Resource Guarding - What to do about this pesky behavior. By Karen B. London, PhD
RESEARCH: Helping Dogs Heal - Insights into the behavior of dogs rescued from hoarders. By Jessica Hekman, DVM
HUMANE: What’s in a Name? - A shelter dog’s fate can rest on his label, and the labels are often wrong. By Linda Lombardi
GALLERY: NY DOGS By Violet Lemay
POEMS: By Connie Hills, Elizabeth Devore, and Janet McCannREVIEWS
Being a Dog; The Secret Language of Dogs; Run, Spot, Run; Just Life; Farm Dogs; Home Alone—and Happy!DOGPATCH
Cover Dog—Allie’s incredible journey
Dogs Smell Homecomings
Dog-friendly Community Living
Glamping—Canine camping in style
What’s New—cool stuff for us and our dogs
Memorials; Vaping dangers; Leather cleaner.
Smiling Dogs—Always irresistible and unforgettable.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
August 12 2016
While beaches are a great place for pets to cool off, get some exercise and play, there are some important precautions to take to keep pets safe, even at beaches designated specifically for dogs. Included below are five of the top beach dangers for dogs, along with tips for keeping your dog safe from Trupanion.
1. Sun burns – You may not realize it, but even dogs can get sun burns. Their noses, bellies, and areas with particularly thinner fur are susceptible to the sun’s hot rays so it’s important to protect your pooch. Provide shade with a beach umbrella and consider dog-friendly sunscreen. (Many sunscreens made for humans can be toxic to dogs. Be sure to avoid sunscreen with mineral Zinc Oxide which can harmful to your pup.) Also consider looking into doggy sun goggles to protect your pooch’s eyes from harmful rays.
2. Salt water – Your pup may be inclined to lap up the salty ocean water if he’s thirsty, but the salt, bacteria and parasites in the water can make them sick. Prevent your dog from drinking salt water by providing plenty of fresh water. It’s also important not to let the salt water dry on their fur since it can irritate their skin. Be sure to give your pup a good rinse off with fresh water when he’s done swimming.
3. Seaweed and sea creatures – While exploring the beach you may come across washed up sea life and other items. Keep a close eye on your dog to prevent him from rolling in or eating anything that could make him sick. Some areas also have higher danger of sea creatures like jellyfish so be sure to keep a close watch on the surrounding waters to keep your pet safe.
4. Hot sand – If the sand is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then it’s too hot for your pup’s paw pads. Save your beach trip for a cooler day or go in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat.
5. Big waves – Your dog may be a strong swimmer, but large rolling waves can be very dangerous. You might choose to keep your dog on a leash so that he can’t go out too far, or purchase a dog life jacket in case he gets too tired swimming.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Seven ways to carpe the summer diem.
June 23 2016
Sure, you could sit around inside with your dog, sweating and complaining about the heat. But why do that when there are so many ways to take advantage of the season’s longer days and warmer weather?
Make your dog a warm-weather flop spot. Look for a shady area in your yard, dig a shallow pit sized to fit your pup, line it with a thin layer of concrete and before the concrete dries, poke holes in it for drainage. Once the concrete has set, fill the pit with playground sand, dampen it and let the fun begin.
Plan a toxin-free and dog-friendly landscape. No snail bait, no cocoa mulch, no lethal plants (check out the ASPCA site for a list of ones to avoid), no chemical fertilizers, no fungicides, no herbicides, no pesticides. Ideal landscaping/hardscaping material doesn’t get too hot, is easy on the paws and— in a perfect world—doesn’t track into the house on fuzzy feet; pea gravel and pavers fill the bill.
Have some good, wet fun—summer’s prime time for water play. A caveat, however: keep an eye on your dog for signs of hyponatremia, aka water intoxication, which can come on fast and is life-threatening. Bone up on the symptoms and make sure your dog takes breaks.
Experiment with a new way to cruise. Rent a dog-friendly camper trailer or houseboat and see the world from a whole new perspective. Some camper rental companies will handle delivery, setup and hauling away; do an online search for a company in your preferred vacation spot. For on-the-water accommodations, check out Houseboating.org.
Take in a drive-in. Remember the al fresco movie experience of yesteryear? Some communities revive this lovely summer tradition, and some even allow you to skip the car and loll on a blanket under the stars. Search for summer + drive-in and see what comes up in your area.
Sign up for summer school and learn new skills or master old ones. Training, agility, herding and freestyle are all on the agenda. Then, there are dog camps—the summer camps of your childhood, but way better. For maximum relaxation, match the activity type and level to your and your dog’s temperaments.
Mark your calendar with “dog days” concerts and sporting events. Special offerings tend to pop up this time of the year, perfect for enjoyment with the pooch.
We know we don’t have to tell you this, but while you’re having fun with the pup, keep safety in mind. Stay out of the sun during the warmest hours, have plenty of water available, dab sunscreen on both yourself and your dog (yes, there are sunscreens for dogs), take lots of well-shaded rest breaks and never, never, never leave your dog in the car. If you’re out walking, listen to what your dog’s telling you; let him rest if he wants to and don’t coax him to go faster. Finally, do your best to avoid areas with foxtails, those sticky, diabolical grass awns (seeds) that burrow into fur and skin and, once well in, don’t come out without surgery. If these wild grasses show up in your yard—which they’re prone to do—pull them out while they’re still green.
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