Category Archives: Gazette Archive

Gazette: April 2017

October 2020 – Volume XIII: Issue 10

April is National Animal Cruelty Prevention Month

Reliable Retrieve Class

Reliable Retrieve 102 – October 14, 2017 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm

All Levels Welcome

Teaching owners and their dogs how to master their retrieves utilizing both negative and positive reinforcement. This class will teach you how to teach your dog to “fetch,” “hold” and “give.”

Registration online, by phone or e-mail required to attend class.


Four Bar Jump

Four Bar Jump 101 – May 19, 2018 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm
Four Bar Jump 102 – May 26, 2018 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm

All Levels Welcome

The four bar jump is a very challenging exercise of over ten behaviors off leash at multiple distances.

101 Requirement: Must be able to perform (Sit, Stand, Spin, Hup, Down, Come, Stay, Finish)
102 Requirement: Must be fluent with the behaviors in 101 and reliably retrieve a dumbbell.

Registration online, by phone or e-mail required to attend class.


Directed Jump

Directed Jumping 101 – April 29, 2017 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm
Directed Jumping 102 – May 13, 2017 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm

101 Requirement: Dog must understand targeting to a hula hoop or to a piece of food, sit and stay, and be able to jump over a pipe and a board jump.
102 Requirement: Dog must have completed course 101. This course will advance and polish the 101 behaviors.


Nuisance Behaviors

Nuisance Behaviors – Saturday, September 5, 2020 from 8:00 am to 8:45 am

Held on the 5th Saturday of each eligible month.

This open forum class focuses on how to correct and inhibit common nuisance behaviors of dogs and how to train the dog for a more desirable behavior. Some of the behaviors we address are pulling on the leash, jumping up, digging, barking, counter surfing, mouthing and play-biting and more. Please join us if you would like help in training your dog to be a better housemate and companion. Please pre-register.


Dock Diving 101

Dock Diving 101 – April 22, 2018 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Paul Leabhart, previous President of the 3Rivers DockDogs club, will conduct an intro to Dock Diving. This workshop will include demonstrations on how to begin training for dock diving. The class will visit the Dog Pond for demos and to get the dogs in the water.

If you are interested in dock diving with your dog, this is one class you don’t want to miss, learn the facts about techniques, rules and getting yourself prepared for when you do your first event.

Bring your dogs and their favorite toy, there will be experienced Three Rivers Dockdog members, ready to help you and your dog at the pond.

Click here to register and pre-pay.


Updated policy regarding the Bordetella vaccination

All pets must have received the bordetella vaccination at least 10 days prior to their visit to Misty Pines. The waiting period will allow your dog to build sufficient immunity. This includes new and updated vaccinations. Your pet cannot be overdue for vaccinations – NO EXCEPTIONS. For example, if your pet is scheduled to visit Misty Pines on May 14 and received vaccinations on May 5, we cannot accept your pet due to the insufficient 10 day waiting period. Please bring vaccination records with you or fax to the Misty Pines office at 412-367-7387.


Vaccinating to Build Strong Defenses

Vaccines are products designed to trigger protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines stimulate the immune system’s production of antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing organisms that enter the body. Vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity or prevent certain diseases altogether. Experts agree that widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and can improve your pet’s overall quality of life. Most vaccinations should be repeated again in 3-4 weeks if it is the first time a dog has been vaccinated against a particular disease, and given up to 21 days to build the fullest immunity. Optimally a dog should be titer tested before vaccinating to determine if it needs help to build a stronger defense, and if so, it should be vaccinated again towards that particular disease to stimulate the immune system to build a stronger defense towards it.

For most pets, vaccination is effective in preventing future disease and only rarely will a vaccinated pet have insufficient immunity to fight off the disease. The first dose of a vaccine serves to prime the animal’s immune system against the virus or bacteria while subsequent doses help further stimulate the immune system to produce the important antibodies needed to protect an animal from diseases. Many vaccinations provide adequate immunity when administered every few years, while others require more frequent schedules to maintain an acceptable level of immunity that will continually protect your pet. Bordetella is one of these. Many factors are taken into consideration when establishing a pet’s vaccination plan. You and your veterinarian should discuss and tailor a program of vaccinations and preventive health care that will help your pet maintain a lifetime of infectious disease protection. You can discuss and encourage with your veterinarian to vaccinate your dog optimally throughout its life from puppyhood to build a strong immunity.

Brief Overview of Canine Cough

Infectious tracheobronchitis is an inflammation of the mucus membrane of the trachea and bronchi, which causes canine cough, an upper-respiratory illness that is similar to a chest cold in humans. There are at least forty agents that are capable of causing canine cough. The most common organisms associated with Canine Cough are the bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and two viruses called Parainfluenza virus and Adenovirus. Bordetella or any combination thereof is most often passed on through the air. The incubation period of the disease is roughly 3-10 days and an infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness and up to 2 weeks before showing any clinical symptoms. The main symptom is a hacking cough that can sound like a goose honk, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last from a few days to several weeks. Although the cough is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious; however, just as a common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making it susceptible to secondary infections, so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications. Canine cough can be an especially serious problem for puppies and geriatric dogs whose immune systems may be weaker.

Just as in the case of the common cold, canine cough is not “cured” but must run its course; however, any dog displaying signs of a secondary infection should see a veterinarian. Many times an antibiotic will be prescribed as a precaution and sometimes cough suppressants will be used to reduce excessive coughing. Canine cough, just like flu and cold season, is often seasonal. It usually occurs in spring and late fall.

How is it Transmitted?

Airborne organisms are carried in the air by microscopic water vapor and dust particles. The particles, if inhaled, by a susceptible dog, may attach to the lining of the trachea and upper airways. These organisms are easily spread when infected dogs sneeze, bark, cough, or even drool. Some dogs are carriers and can spread the infection for months while not showing any signs. These “carriers” are a source of infection to other dogs. Contact can also occur through hands and clothing. This virus can be present at dog shows, pet stores, your veterinarians office, and even in your own backyard.

Why are the Chances of Catching it Greater in a Kennel?

A dog encounters two conditions in boarding facilities that do not typically occur at home: 1) they are with a number of potentially contagious dogs 2) the stress and excitement of a less familiar environment, both of which can result in lowered resistance to disease. The more frequently a dog visits the kennel, the greater the chance the dog will gain immunity to the disease. Even during a widespread outbreak, only a small percentage of exposed dogs are affected.

How is it Treated?

Many dogs that contract canine cough will display minor signs of coughing that may last 7-10 days and will not require any medication. The majority of dogs will continue to eat and play except for the annoying, dry, non-productive cough.

The dog should be kept warm in an isolated area with good ventilation. It should be free of drafts. The dog can also be put in a steam filled room or use a cold mist vaporizer several times a day. It is important to keep the dog quiet; any excessive barking may irritate the trachea even more. In some cases the dog may develop a secondary infection. The dog may run a fever, not eat, will have a thick yellow or green nasal discharge, and wheezing. The dog with a weak or a compromised immune system may develop secondary health problems like pneumonia which will require immediate veterinary care.

How Can I Protect My Dog?

There are three types of vaccines for canine cough; intranasal, injectable, and oral. Some dogs will develop mild symptoms similar to canine cough when given this vaccine. The symptoms will last for several days and the dog will not require medical treatment, but they can also spread it to other dogs. This is the main reason your dog should not be around other dogs after receiving the vaccine. The downfall with these vaccines is that they have a short duration. High risk dogs should be vaccinated twice a year. A high risk dog would be one that goes to the kennel, grooming shop, daycare, dog park, or is involved in group training classes. Dogs that have been properly vaccinated with Bordetella, Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus can still contract the disease, but the symptoms are usually not as severe and do not last as long. If you plan to board your dog or protect it from exposure, remember to vaccinate at least 10 days, and optimally 21 days to potential exposure to allow full protective immunity to build up. Five days prior just gives a dog a start and only a base line of immunity.

The Importance of Vaccinations and Why Does Misty Pines Require Bordetella every 6 Months?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, for complete canine cough protection, they recommend Intranasal Intra-Trac ll ADT for dogs that are going to be boarded. Some dogs have very compromised immune systems, most notably under the stressors of being in a novelty environment with numbers of dogs. Immunity of Bordetella vaccine has a short duration and has not been scientifically proven to be effective for a full year. The efficacy of the vaccine is anywhere from six to nine months based on various researches. Since we have implemented this policy in 2007, we have seen a substantial decrease in dogs that have developed canine cough while at our facility. Those that have developed it have seemed to have had a shorter duration with milder symptoms and have recovered quickly.

DA2PPC or DHLPP is a multivalent vaccine for dogs that protects against the viruses indicated: D for Distemper, A2 for canine adenovirus Type 2 which offers cross protection to adenovirus type 1, P for canine parvovirus, P for parainfluenza, and L for leptospirosis, H for infectious canine hepatitis which is another name for adenovirus type 1. H is sometimes uses instead of A. In DA2PPC, the C indicates canine coronavirus.

This vaccine is given to puppies at 8 weeks of age, followed by 12 weeks of age, and then 16 weeks of age. This vaccine is given again at 1 year of age and then annually, or every 3 years. Some veterinarians recommended vaccine schedules that may differ from this. DA2PPC does not include Bordetella, but the combination of Bordetella with the DA2PPC helps to prevent canine cough by minimizing the contraction of adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and Bordetella.
Be aware that vaccinating with just the bordetella vaccine alone (contains only the Bordetella agent) may not be fully protective because of the other infectious agents that are involved with producing the disease. Some of the other agents such as Parainfluenza and Adenovirus are part of the routine multivalent vaccinations generally given yearly to dogs.

The intra-nasal Bordetella vaccine may produce immunity slightly faster than the injectable vaccine if the dog has never been previously vaccinated for bordetella.

It is generally assumed that the intranasal route of inoculation works the fastest in getting protective levels of immunity established. However, studies have indicated that in dogs that have been previously immunized by either the intranasal or injectable route and that have some level of immunity already present, vaccination by the injectable route actually boosts immunity faster than the intranasal route.

When the injectable vaccine is given as an annual booster (to boost any immune levels already present) the maximum effects of the vaccine will be achieved after five days of the vaccination.

So when should the intranasal route be utilized? Some veterinarians suggest that it be used only in unvaccinated dogs and in young pups receiving their first vaccination. In these unvaccinated animals the first immunization would be via the intranasal route and then an additional inoculation by the injectable route are given. Then yearly injectable inoculations are given to enhance the protective levels of immunity.

Intranasal vaccines create localized immunity that greatly reduces the incidence of clinical signs and illness.

Dogs that are vaccinated can also shed the virus and cause other dogs to become mildly infected and show mild signs. This shedding usually lasts less than 72 hours. In addition, it takes up to four days after vaccination for dogs to develop protection. When you combine these facts, you will see why it is strongly recommend that a dog not be given intranasal vaccine within 72 hours of coming into contact with other susceptible dogs. Do not give the vaccine the day before a dog show, boarding, etc. Try to give at least four days before contact with other dogs and preferably seven days. This way you will help to protect your dog from becoming infected by other dogs, and help protect those dogs from becoming infected by yours. Discuss and encourage your veterinarian to vaccinate your dog optimally throughout its life to build the strongest immunity to this common canine cough.

An End Note…

It is impossible for us to tell when there might be a dog at Misty Pines that has been exposed to canine cough prior to their arrival. An infected dog may not show visible signs of infection until up to 10 days after being exposed. We are continually making strong efforts to avoid an outbreak in our facility by requiring biannual Bordetella vaccinations, extensive cleaning and disinfecting procedures in our facility, and public awareness about the causes of Canine Cough. While we make every effort to prevent the occurrence of Canine Cough in our kennel, we are unable to give 100% assurance that someone’s dog will not bring it to our facility. This is the same assurance that a teacher can’t give you when your child goes to school and catches a cold or the flu from another student. If Misty Pines detects a coughing dog that is boarding we immediately isolate it into our quarantine room and inform your emergency contact. Misty Pines has dogs that live in our facility 24/7. These dogs are vaccinated to our Misty Pines protocols and they have never been ill with canine cough due to their strong immune system against it.

References:

Journal of The American Veterinary Medical Association
Dr. Foster and Smith Educational Staff
The Merck Veterinary Manual


Training Your Dog To Walk Politely On A Leash

Keep calm and walk the dog

Walking a dog on a loose leash is one of most difficult behaviors for a dog and human to perform together reliably because of much longer durations, distances, distractions (scents), compared to other behaviors. Teaching a dog to stay for a couple minutes, is much easier compared to loose leash walking ten blocks for a couple minutes. Walking your dog on a loose leash is a mental and physical exercise for both you and your dog. It is one of the many ways to connect and bond with your dog.

There are several behaviors and combinations of these behaviors for you and your dog to walk on a loose leash. Training these behaviors make a walk fun and challenging for both you and your dog.

“Heel” is a formal walking behavior where your dog’s front right shoulder is parallel and  eight to twelve inches away from your left leg at whatever speed that left leg is moving, and when that left leg stops, a dog sits promptly facing the same direction as the handler. While heeling, your dog’s head is up and not sniffing the ground. “This Way” is a walking behavior where the dog is trained to turn and follow you while you hold the end of a loose leash, just as a horse would follow you at the end of the lead rope.  “Easy” means to walk slowly. “Pull” means to pull you only on command on a taught leash, which comes in handy when walking uphill. The majority of dogs enjoy pulling. “Take a break” allows the dog to go to the end of a loose leash and sniff the ground. Smelling the environment is an extremely valuable reward. Dogs have 220 million scent receptors and love to investigate, explore, and check out odors in their environment. Saying “Take a break” or “go sniff’ to your dog to check out the environment can be highly rewarding and enjoyable.

Walking your dog should not be a time for your dog to be spreading their pee-mail (scent-marking)   profusely throughout the neighborhood. When dogs profusely scent mark, they are defining their territory. In turn the other dogs in the neighborhood scent mark over your dog’s scent mark. For some dogs scent marking is often perceived as claiming the deed of the territory by other dogs and this can lead to competition, and strong on leash growling reactivity when they see another dog walking towards them.

To teach your dog to heel gather up and loosely hold the leash in the left hand. Begin by shaping this behavior by luring them with a treat or a small toy held in the right hand say “heel” and walk forward, keeping your dog’s right leg parallel to your left leg and keeping their attention on the object or treat in your right hand. Take two steps, stop and simultaneously cueing your dog to “sit” parallel to your left side facing in the same direction as you. Reward with calm praise and a food treat. Repeat “heel,” gradually taking more steps between each stop to sit. Change direction of your walk periodically to keep your dog thinking, and use an upbeat animated tone in your voice to keep your dog’s attention. Start phasing out the lure once you feel the behavior has been shaped. 

Reward your dog whenever it heels beside you. Read and listen to your dog’s body language, before they indicate that they are going to pull, stop and instruct them to sit and to look at you, reward and start “heel” again.  Train “heel” in short progression sequences of distance. Ensure your two step heel is reliable before moving on to a four-step heel, then to a six-step heel and so on. Using a hand signal cue simultaneously as your left leg stops often helps dogs to sit expediently and parallel on your left side. If your dog is pulling without being told to, stop, encourage your dog to come closer to you and start the heeling over again. Certain breeds are more inclined to pull because of selective breeding for this trait, such as the Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamute, or Bernese Mountain Dog. If your dog continues to pull without being asked, a head halter type of collar will be helpful. There are many types of collars and harnesses to aid you in teaching your dog to heel.

Dogs heeling with owners.

It is outside the scope of this article to discuss all the various techniques and methods of teaching owners and dogs to walk politely on a leash. Seek out professional help to teach you the various techniques and methods of teaching your dog to heel, and the other walking behaviors. Once these behaviors are trained into your dog, you and your dog will enjoy and gain the many benefits of walking politely on a loose leash.


Dog Food Ingredient Basics

I was speaking with a friend recently about working on this article. My friend is not just an experienced dog owner and trainer, but also someone who used to work in the pet food industry. We were discussing the fact that once another dog owner learns that you know something about foods, they almost always ask, “So what’s the best dog food?” My friend said, “Yeah, most people want to buy the best foods they can for their dogs – until you tell them what the best foods cost! Then they change the subject!”

You might not think that is funny, but my friend and I laughed for a solid minute, because we have both experienced that exact conversation countless times.

It’s an inescapable fact that quality foods cost money – and the highest quality food cost a lot of money. You simply cannot sell steaks at hamburger prices. And as much as we may want to buy “the best” food for our dogs, most of us have a number – unique to each of us, based on our financial status, the size and number of dogs we own, and perhaps even our relationship with our dogs – to which we will respond, “No, forget it; that’s too much.”

We’ve never made cost a part of WDJ’s dog food selection criteria, and have barely mentioned it in past reviews, precisely because of the fact that one dog owner’s “No, forget it” price may be another person’s food selection starting point. What you can afford or feel comfortable spending on dog food is a personal matter. But the conversation with my friend made me reconsider this particular elephant in the living room. It occurred to me that perhaps it would be helpful to help people identify the higher-quality food in any group of identically prices products.

Initial Selection Criteria

In order to recognize a superior product in a group of food, you have to know what specific attributes indicate quality in a dog food. We look for the following hallmarks of quality:

  • Lots of animal protein at the top of the ingredients list. Ingredients in pet food are listed in order of the weight of that ingredient in the formula, so you want to see a named animal protein or named animal protein meal first on the ingredients list. (“Named” means the species is identified: chicken, beef, lamb, etc. “Meal” means a dry, rendered product made from an identified species.)
  • When a fresh meat is first on the ingredient list, there should be a named animal-protein meal immediately or closely following the meat. Fresh meat contains a lot of moisture (which is heavy), so if meat is first on the list, it acts like a diluted protein source; while it adds an appealing flavor and aroma to the food, it doesn’t actually contribute that much protein. That’s why another named source of animal protein should appear in the top two or three ingredients.
  • When vegetables, fruits, grains, and/or carbohydrate sources such as potatoes, chickpeas, or sweet potatoes are use, they should be while. Fresh, unprocessed food ingredients contain nutrients in all their complex glory, with their vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants intact.
  • Some of us are also looking for products that are made with organic ingredients, and/or humanely raised sustainably farmed ingredients. It may also be meaningful for some of us to buy from companies who support shelters or rescue, manufacture in “green” plants, participate in recycling and waste reduction programs, and so on.

There are also some things to look out for – undesirable attributes that indicate a lower-quality food:

  • Meat by-products, poultry by-products, meat by-product meal, and poultry by-product meal. Many of the animal tissues that are defined as animal by-products are nutritious, but may be handled indifferently.
  • “Generic” fat sources. “Animal fat” can literally be any mixed fat of animal origin. “Poultry” fat is not quite as suspect as “animal fat,” but “chicken fat” or “duck fat” is better (an traceable).
  • Watch out for a practice commonly called “ingredient splitting,” whereby two or more very similar food “fractions” appear on the ingredients list. Because the ingredients are listed in descending order of their weight, a manufacturer can make it appear that a higher-quality ingredient is presented in the food in a higher amount than it really is. This is accomplished by using several fractions or versions as ingredient as separate ingredients (i.e., rice, brewer’s rice, rice bran, rice protein meal). If all the iterations of that ingredient were combined or reconstituted, they would outweigh the higher-quality ingredient, pushing it down on the ingredients list.
  • We don’t recommend foods that use animal plasma or blood meal as a protein source.
  • Added sweeteners. Dogs, like humans, enjoy the taste of sweet foods. Sweeteners effectively persuade many dogs to eat foods comprised mainly of grain fragments (and containing less healthy animal protein and fats).
  • Artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives (such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin). The color of the food doesn’t matter to your dog. And it should be flavored well enough with healthy meats and fats to be enticing. Natural preservatives, such as mixed tocopherols, can be used instead.

* Excerpt from “What Price Is Right” by Nancy Kerns published in the Whole Dog Journal, February 2018 edition.

Shopping for pet foods can be a very frustrating process, especially when there are numerous aisles of variety. There are also the claims of how their food will benefit your pet. However taking the time to read and understand the ingredients list in your dog food purchase will help you to purchase the best diet possible for your pet. Here are some tips.

Take a look at the actual ingredients and you will be surprised at what you find. Take a look at the word “real”, since when has chicken or beef not been “real?” Flavoring can be made from a natural or a chemical substance and the manufacturer may or may not list more detailed information about it. Flavoring agents can also be made from animal digest which is a cooked down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. The animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. These animals can include “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying), road kill, or even euthanized animals.

Most of the grocery store brands have a high economic value (cheap) and contain a large amount of grain or starchy vegetables to provide texture. These high carbohydrate plant products also provide a cheap source of “energy” which also means “calories”. Gluten meals are high protein extracts from which most of the carbohydrate has been removed. They are often used to increase protein percentages without using expensive animal source ingredients. Corn gluten meal is most commonly used for this purpose and offers very little nutritional value and serves mainly to bind food together. In most cases, the foods containing vegetable proteins are the low quality foods.          

Meat by-product meals are inexpensive and less digestible than muscle meat. The ingredients of each batch can vary drastically such as head, feet, bones, etc. This in turn means that the nutritional value is not always consistent. By-products consist of parts of the animal other than meat.

Animal fat is obtained from the tissue of mammals and/or poultry.  Note that the animal source does not have to be specified and is not required to originate from “slaughtered animals.” The rendered animals can be from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. These animals again can be “4-D animals”, road kill, and euthanized animals. Another thing to be aware of is what the animal fat is preserved with.

Preservatives that can be found in pet food are BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, propylene glycol and Propyl Gallate.      

BHA and BHT have been banned from human use in many countries, but are still permitted for use in the United States. There are certain oxidative characteristics and metabolites that may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigencity. Ethoxyquin was originally developed as a stabilizer for rubber and later used as a pesticide for fruit and a color preservative for spices. It has never been proven to be safe for the lifespan of an animal. It has been linked to thyroid, kidney, reproductive, immune related illnesses, and cancer. Propyl Gallate is used as an antioxidant to stabilize cosmetics, food packaging materials, and foods containing fats. It is suspected of causing liver disease and cancer. The preservatives that you want to see in dog food are mixed tocopherols, citric acid, and rosemary extract.

NOTE: Some ingredients, usually fish products, may contain artificial preservatives that are not disclosed on the ingredient list; if they are not added by the manufacturer, they are not required to be listed. Look for assurances by manufacturers using ocean fish products that their foods do NOT contain any artificial preservatives.

Coloring agents have no nutritional value and do not need to be in pet food. They are added mainly to look good to us so in turn we think our dog will enjoy eating it. The reason is that the color of food speaks to humans’ innate perceptions about the value of food items. Coal tar and petrochemicals are the main sources of artificial colors. More than one artificial color has been banned and pulled off the market over the last several decades because it was ultimately found to cause cancer. The safety of those still allowed on the market is highly questionable. Artificial colors contribute to all sorts of health problems, the most notable of which are the symptoms diagnosed as (ADHD), a behavioral pattern often brought on by Yellow #5 food dye. Children are being fed these chemicals in such large quantities that they begin to have nervous system issues such as ADHD, learning disabilities, or violent behavior.

Makes you wonder when our pets are fed these chemicals, if it doesn’t contribute to some behavior problems such as aggression and hyperactivity.

Beef & bone meal and pork & bone meal are common protein sources found in low quality pet foods. They are a byproduct made from beef or pork parts that are unsuitable for human consumption. It can incorporate the entire cow or pigs, including bones, but the quality cut of meats have already been removed. These ingredients are an inexpensive and low quality way to boost the protein percentage in the food. Meat & bone meal can consist of animal parts obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. It can also include pus, cancerous tissue, and decomposed tissue.

Salt is a necessary mineral and is generally present in sufficient quantities in the ingredients pet foods include. Just like for us, too much salt intake is unhealthy for them. In low quality foods, it is often used in excessive amounts to make the food taste more flavorful.

Sweeteners may also be added to pet foods. Examples of them are molasses, corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol, sugar, and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate. Sugars and sweeteners are an unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. It can cause obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis, and allergies. Fructose when used in small quantities, serves as a nutrient for probiotics, specifically bifidobactera. It will eventually ferment it and produce beneficial enzymes.

Menadione Sodium Bisulfate complex is a source of synthetic Vitamin K3 in dog food. Menadione is added as an inexpensive vitamin K supplement in commercial foods. The common statement as to why it is added is “to help with blood clotting”, yet it is scientifically proven that the effectiveness of menadione on blood clotting is inferior. Veterinarians will administer vitamin K1 as an antidote to dogs who have for example ingested rat poison, which causes internal bleeding and serious clotting issues. The synthetic version of Vitamin K3 has not been specifically approved for long term use and has been linked to many serious health issues in humans. It has been banned from use in food and supplements for human use in many European countries due to serious side effects, including permanent damage and deaths. It can cause cytotoxicity in liver cells, has possible mutagen effects, damages the natural vitamin K cycle, causes hemolytic anemia and hyperbilirubinemia, irritation of skin and mucous membranes, allergic reactions and eczema are just some of the health issues associated with menadione.

Ingredients need to be labeled and listed in order according to their weight before processing on the food label along with the guaranteed analysis of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture. A pet food manufacturer could make a mock product that has an acceptable guaranteed analysis of 10% Protein, 6.5% fat, 2.4% fiber and 68% moisture, similar to what you `would see on many canned pet food labels. The only problem would be that the ingredients were old leather work boots, used motor oil, crushed coal, and water.

Contrary to what many people believe, meat sources in “meal” form are not inferior to whole, fresh meats as long as they are from a specified type of animal. Meat meal consists of meat and skin with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. Meat meals have had most of the moisture removed, but meats in their original, “wet” form still contain up to 75% water. Once the food reaches its final moisture content of about 9-12%, the meat will have shrunk to sometimes as little as 1/4 of the original amount, while the already dehydrated meal form remains the same and you get more concentrated protein per pound of finished product. This means that the food may only be left with 4 ounces of actual meat content per pound of fresh meat. Many foods already contain less than one pound of meat per 2-3 pounds of grain to begin with. It is best to pick a food that contains quality meat meal as well as some fresh meat.

The food bag will have a nutritional adequacy statement listed on it. It may state either of the following statements: “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.” This means the product contains the proper amount of protein, calcium, and other recognized essential nutrients needed to meet the needs of the healthy animal. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition.” This means that the product, or “lead” member of a “family” of products, has been fed to dogs or cats under strict guidelines and found to provide proper nutrition. These two statements do not really tell you anything about the product, except that it contains the minimum of nutrients the AAFCO deems appropriate to keep your dog alive and that he will survive while eating it.

Pet food labels may also contain the words “premium”, “ultra”, “gourmet”, “natural”, “human grade”, “human quality”, “table quality”, etc. enticing us to believe that there are higher quality ingredients contained in it. They are not required to contain any different ingredients nor are they required to have higher nutritional standards than any other “complete and balanced” product. The word “natural” does not have an official definition either. “Natural” may be used when there is no use of artificial flavor, artificial color, or artificial preservatives. “Natural” is not the same as “organic.” The latter term refers to the conditions under which the plants were grown or animals were raised. While it is true that many terms used to market a pet food are not legally defined, the manufacturers of quality brands go out of their way to supply their customers with additional information, such as using hormone free animal products, pesticide free grains, providing the USDA grades of ingredients, avoiding genetically modified products and so on.

Manufacturers are not required to include substances in the ingredient list that they did not add to the product themselves. Products they obtain from their suppliers may still contain undesirable ingredients such as synthetic preservatives or other additives. An example is fish meal, which, according to US Coast Guard regulations, must be preserved with Ethoxyquin if it is not intended for human consumption.

Keep in mind that there is no “best” food for all dogs, as each dog is an individual. What works well for one dog may not work as well for another. In addition, it is better for a dog to eat a variety of foods, rather than just one food for its whole life.

Can you imagine as a human eating the same diet every day! When we humans try different kinds of foods, it keeps life interesting and lessens the boredom factor and gives us balanced nutrition. Feeding your dog different diets can help fill in nutritional gaps that a particular food or brand might have, as well as making it less likely that your dog will develop food allergies. The cliché “Variety is the spice of life” very much holds true to dogs also. Saving healthy human leftovers and   periodically mixing that healthy human food (see Ingredients to Avoid below) with your dog’s healthy dog food will help keep your pet healthy and happy.

Bibliography:


Therapy Dog Visits

Locations To Visit

Once your dog has passed their Therapy Dog International certification, it’s time for the fun to begin. Read below for a list of places that are always looking for registered therapy dogs to brighten the day of the patients and residents:

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Interroom Hospice
Contact: Barbara Hammil – 412-371-3726.

Washinton-Greene Alternative Residential Services
Contact: Valerie Loughman – 724-228-7716.

Community Options
Contact: Jessica Kubas – 412-431-7079.

Heritage Hospice
Contact: Erica Kinkade – 724-334-6600.

Adelphoi
Contact: Bethanne Petrylak – 570-579-8700.

Remed
Contact: Tina – 412-477-0901.

Cranberry Township Library
Dog reading program. Looking for 3-4 dogs, the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 – 7:30 pm Contact: Annemarie Lamperski.

Baden Memorial Library
Dog reading program. Need volunteer for 2 Thursdays per month from 5:00pm – 6:30pm and 1 Saturday per month for 1 1/2 hours.
Contact: Kathleen Wagner

Gateway Hospice
Contact: Sr. Linda Larkman OSB, Volunteer Coordinator – 412-737-0969

West Haven Manor
Contact: Karen Zimmerman, Coordinator of Volunteer Services – 724-727-3451

North Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center
Contact: Teri A. Slimick – 724-935-3781

McGuire Memorial
Contact: Susan Matlock – 724-843-3400

Excela Health Home Care and Hospice (Westmoreland County)
Contact: Joan Roth, Volunteer Coordinator – 724-689-1653

Family Hospice Palliative Care
www.familyhospice.com/
Contact: Pam Tomczak – 412-572-8803

Western Pa. Humane Society
coordinates visits to multiple locations in the community with volunteers who have Certified Therapy Dogs.
Contact: Joy Kealey.

Odyssey Health Care
Cliff Mine Rd., Pittsburgh
Contact: Barbara Coulter – 1-800-861-8584

Condordia of Franklin Park
Contact: Carol Kosela – 724-935-1075 ext. 103

VA Hospitals in Pittsburgh
Activities Director – 412-688-6000 ext. 3682

Country Meadows (South Hills)
Activities Director – 412-257-4566

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Volunteer Coordinator – 412-690-6508

Animal Friends
coordinates a Pet Assisted Therapy program that visits multiple locations. To join their therapy group or request visits contact Ann Cadman – 412-847-7031.

Allegheny General Hospital
Jennifer Kopar – 412-359-3067

Tail Waggin Tutors at Baden Library
Laura Bain – 724-869-3960

Heartland Hospice
Barb Kralik, Volunteer Coordinator – 412-919-5617

Caring Hospice Services
Brittany Bailey, Volunteer Coordinator – 412-563-3300

Concordia of Wexford
Michelle Moon – 724-935-1266

Passavant Memorial Homes and Subsidiaries
Colleen Perry, Social Services Coordinator – 412-820-1015 ext. 521
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Services & Teams

If you would like to have Therapy Dogs visit your facility, please contact one of the following Therapy Dog Teams or contact Misty Pines to have your facility listed in the above section so that our teams may contact you. Click the link below for teams that are interested in visiting those in need of therapeutic visits from their furry friends:

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Pets With Heart, Pet Therapy

Sister Sharon Costello: 724-869-6545

sharon@sisterspettherapy.com

Western Pa. Humane Society coordinates visits to multiple locations in the community with volunteers who have Certified Therapy Dogs.

Contact: Joy Kealey.

Animal Friends coordinates a Pet Assisted Therapy program that visits multiple locations.

To join their therapy group or request visits contact Ann Cadman – (412) 847-7031.

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“The golden gift is this: Intimately connected with his own emotions, the dog cannot lie. What he feels, he expresses. What he shows in his body posture is true, without guile, completely and utterly honest. Distanced from our own feelings, bound by our fears, we treasure and are amazed by this quality of complete truth in our dogs.”

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Upcoming Specialty Classes

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Sat 24

Agility Class

Saturday, October 24, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am
Sat 31

Therapy Dog and Service Dog Training

Saturday, October 31, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am