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.
June 15 2016
Amongst the tragic and brutal news of recent days, it is heartening to see acts of kindness and bravery. Helping animals in need sometimes brings out the best in people, whether it is a Sikh man in India using his turban to save a drowning dog or this group of passers-by who worked together to form a human chain to rescue a dog in distress in Kazakhstan. Small events, big hearts—happy endings.
June 9 2016
You will enjoy what we have in store for you in this summer issue. If, like me, you relish digging into the newest trove of fascinating dog books for your summertime reading, don’t miss our special book section, which highlights our best picks, along with excerpts from some of them. You’ll also see a new feature we call Bark Talks (something like TED talks), which zoom in on our favorite subject with Frans de Waal—just what is behind that unique bond we have with our dogs.
This issue’s cover dog—a coconut-coveting Lab named Bono—is a rising Brazilian wave-riding star. Coconuts, we’re told, are a favorite find among Copacabana canines, and Bono’s no exception. We visit an extremely dog-friendly town in Patagonia, Julie Hecht gives us a run-down on the latest research into dogs’ fondness for following our lead, and we catch up on evolutionary news, including a project that’s wrangling disparate hypothesizers into a joint effort that might result in a date for domestication all can agree on.
Plus, you will meet an amazing woman who is the winner of Bark’s Shelter hero contest, pros and cons (mostly) on e-fencing, airport therapy dogs, and Karen London probes if our dogs make us more appealing (let’s hope she’s right). From a young person’s perspective, we learn how lessons gleaned in the conformation ring included this rule, “always stand by your dog—after all, your dog will always stand by you.” We catch up with Cat Warren as she trains her new scent-detection dog. Our endpiece, by Mat Zucker, takes a humorous look at the nature/nurture question, probing the differences between boy and girl pups. Hope you enjoy it all.FEATURES Shelter Heroes The people and practices making a difference. What’s the Point? Studies focus on dogs’ ability to follow our gestures. By Julie Hecht Summer Reads Best picks from The Bark bookshelves Day One of the Search [Dog Gone] A Golden goes missing during mountain hike and the family reaches out for help. By Pauls Toutonghi The Dog Who Hated Surprises [Pets on the Couch] A vet behaviorist gets to the root cause of a fear-aggressive behavior. By Nicholas H. Dodman, BVMS, DACVB What’s in a Breed? [Pit Bull] Scrutinizing the science behind a misunderstood and complicated behavior. By Bronwen Dickey Shelter Dogs [Underdogs] A woman at a turning point, on the verge of ignoring the unwritten no-dogs-for-kids ban in the service-dog industry. By Melissa Fay Greene Battle Scarred Wounded Warrior Dogs by sculptor James Mellick celebrate America’s canine heroes. By Susan Tasaki Game On! Training a scent-detection dog. By Cat Warren Origin Story State of the debate on canine domestication and the descent of dogs. By Jane Brackman, PhD Dog Days Are Forever Rules for dog-handling … and life. By Erin Tack Endpiece: The Nature/Nurture Question By Mat Zucker It’s a Dog’s Life CRAFTS: Alexandra Thurston’s personalized porcelain plates. DISPATCH from Patagonia: The dogs of El Calafante. By Johnny Runnette SPORTS: On Board Man and dog ride the waves together. By Marcia Triunfol DOGS AT WORK: Stress BustersAirport therapy dogs turn down the volume for harried travelers. By Rebecca Wallick WELLNESS: Canine Disease Forecast, 2016A review of what’s trending in the veterinary world. By Heather Loenser, DVM TRAVEL: Pound Puppy Hikes Exploring Utah’s red rock country with shelter dogs. By Rebecca Wallick BARK TALKS: Frans de Waal, renowned ethologist, talks about animal behavior and his new book. TRAINING: Faux Fences The debate on electronic barriers continues. By Tracy Krulik BEHAVIOR: Animal Attraction Does your dog make you more appealing? By Karen B. London, PhD MASTERWORK: Henri Rousseau, le peintre primitif REVIEWS Underdogs, Dog Merchants, What Is a Dog?, Pit Bull, Heal Q&A with Arlene Weintraub, author of Heal With Bev Thompson BARK TALKS: Kim Kavin, author of The Dog Merchants With Claudia Kawczynska DOGPATCH Dog Parks Rule What’s in a Hug?; LA’s Dog Café States promote their dog-friendliness. Good Kids: Making a difference Heads-Up—It’s Summer Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds; Shakespeare Quotes; Jim Harrison Smiling Dogs: Always Irresistible What’s New: Round-up of new product picks. Poetry S. Siporin, Brian Beatty, Tom Greening
May 19 2016
I began doing sketchbooks in a little 3.5 x 5 inch journal about six years ago. I was already doing to-do lists to keep track of all my nutty daily tasks, and I decided to try to do a painting next to my lists every day if possible. As an art director, turned illustrator, turned art director, I missed painting and knew I’d need to get back in the habit by doing it regularly. I would often start painting with no idea what it was going to be. Buster & Babe, my adopted dogs/children are always by my side in the studio, and are featured often in my drawings and task lists. Buster’s a Jack Russell/Dachshund mix and Babe’s a Wheaton Terrier mix. I enjoy drawing dogs, especially Fox Terriers, Poodles, Bulldogs, and the occasional German Wire-haired Griffon.
Celebrate and Share
May 4 2016
Share your photos of moms & dogs and enter to win a Bark Gift Box. We invite you to share family photos featuring dogs with us. Photos could be of your own mom or even yourself as a dog mom. Bark gift box includes a subscription to the Bark, a book, bumpersticker, a toy, and a treat. Enter by Tues May 10th, 11:59pm. Must submit photo and caption to Bark on facebook, twitter or in the comments below. Prize offer eligible to US residents only but international people are welcome to share their photos too.
Contest ends Tuesday, May 10th 2016, 11:59pm Prize Value: $120.00
Contest is over folks, but you're welcome to continue to share your photos below.
Our winner, Rae, shows her photo of her mom and dog Scout. Photo caption: "Mom isn't much of a dog person (she was badly frightened when young) so this [picture] w/ my Scout was a treat!"
March 30 2016
A quie t and moving ref lect ion on t he transformative relationship we have with our dogs. A walk around a country lake/ holds our attention/an abandoned pup is found by a young son/a family grows/ adventures begin/walking/reflections. Bo and his man/so much to discover. A delightful “cathartic” experience with photos that draw the reader in, inspiring our thoughts too. This is a special book that dog lovers will appreciate.
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