...and you call your brand Natural - pet industry marketing for $$

Commoditization is what happens when a name brand is perceived as being no more desirable than the store brand.

I spent the last few days at the Global Pet Expo.  This is where thousands of pet product manufacturers gather to display their brand.  In the past I always started my walk of discovery in the Natural category.  This year, after seeing the listing of exhibitors within the commoditized “Natural” category I decided to start my trek in the New Product section and make my way to the Natural segment as last stop.  

The categories were as follows:

  • New
  • International companies
  • Small Animal
  • Boutique
  • Aquatics
  • Everybody in Pet industry
  • Natural

My goal this week was to see who amongst the manufacturers of consumable goods was selling a bag of pipe dream health cure claims and who is the real deal in the world of Commoditized Nature. We cannot continue to ignore the fact that the end consumer, our pets, cannot speak for themselves. Unfortunately, the average pet owner only starts to listen once their pets begin to speak through sickness, when it has become too late for us bleary eyed bull shit believers to do anything substantial to relieve their pain and discomfort.  

The big brands most consumers recognize because of their mass marketing budgets are still in the b.s./pipe dream category. They had the BIGGEST displays and proved again to have the smallest dicks. 

  • The Blue Buffalos with the loss of a $32million class action lawsuit for lying to consumers about the real ingredients in their foods.  Unbelievably, they continued to run their expensive advertising campaign of lies for consumers that are easily manipulated.  Are you one of those consumers? 
  • Nestle-Purina (their arsenal includes Zukes and Merrick) for multiple pet food recalls and deaths due to aflatoxins.  Look at the # of complaints and ratings on a consumer affairs page and look at the various unidentifiable wires and metal pieces found in their kibble bits by consumers. I found the following article to be quite alarming:  

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/24/dog-food-maker-sued-for-allegedly-toxic-chow-but-is-it.html

  • Hills-Science diet – They are continuing to teach backward nutrition in our veterinary schools that promotes the use of corn and by-products (chicken feathers!) as nutritious, versus being unbiased and teaching about the use of whole foods along with quality grains. Their goals are based on bottom line $ and the continued sales for their brand and not pet health.  Is this the right way to guide and teach future health practitioners? 
  • Purdue and Tyson – multiple animal cruelty and abuse allegations continue to this day!!  

These companies were performing at the Global Pet Expo and they were loud. Following suit there were also hundreds of mid-level and small-level brands without the marketing budgets of the big bullshit companies that presented at global. 

Believe me consumers – you are not getting your money’s worth, and it is worse for the animals involved, whether it’s domesticated, feed or wild animals. There will be a great deal of suffering if you continue to buy into these manufacturers’ claims of guaranteed satisfaction. 

The most unnerving part of the Natural category was the not-so-natural exhibitors who intentionally shoved their displays in the middle of some of the most fabulous and ethical pet brands.

Lets talk about chutzpah and sticking out like a sore thumb:  Tyson, Full Moon Farms (owned by Perdue), Zukes (owned by Nestlé Purina)… describing them as wolf in sheep’s clothing is too kind.

If a company cannot be transparent about the ACTUAL ingredients in their foods and what nutritional value the ingredients supply, then how can we be confident in our choices and in believing the claims they make? This is the reason why every pet owner should understand how to read a pet food label.  This is an easy-to-read and -understand article to help you take the next steps in understanding the foods and making the best choices for your pets:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_pet_food_labels

It is unfortunate, but these companies do not deserve our trust.  Yet the average consumer and retailers continue to spend their hard-earned money blindly believing the marketing madness these companies are dishing out. 

Before I move on the ‘real deal’, to the brands that preach transparency, high standards of quality with ingredients, ethical food trials and manufacturing processes, let’s not forget that every company is for sale at the right price and at the right time (recent sales to Purina/Mars & P&G were Merrick, Natural Balance, and now the defunct Natura brands).
 
My understanding as of this moment in time is that the companies I adore and am listing below have NOT YET SOLD OUT to the groups that are continuing the commoditization of the Natural, high quality brands.

Companies that deserve to be in the Natural segment exist.  These are the companies that put their money into their ingredients, quality sourcing, quality assurance, manufacturing, people, process and most-importantly ethical research and development.  They exist in every category from treats to kibble to canned food to raw to freeze dried to de-hydrated to gently-cooked to quality topical treatments.


Who are they? 

  • Primal Pet foods
  • The Honest Kitchen
  • Natures Variety
  • Champion foods
  • Bixbi
  • Caru
  • Dr. Harvey’s
  • Ziwi Peak
  • Koha (Mauri)
  • Rawz
  • Rad Cat

Be aware, be smart. Perhaps your decision to make better choices for your pets will help you to help yourself with your own health.  It is not an accident that almost all of the B.B.S.C (big bull shit companies) I have listed produce the foods we purchase and consume on a daily basis. 

Do you want to know more about why your food choices matter? 

  • Cancer – Accounts for 50% of all disease-related pet deaths each year. 
  • Diabetes/Heart disease/Liver toxicity/kidney disease – Free-feeding, low-moisture foods which are high in carbohydrate content or are made from low quality ingredients are the main contributors to excess weight, heart disease, liver toxicity, and kidney failure.  

Food is our fuel.  Choosing to fuel our pets’ bodies with high value marketing campaigns versus high quality, nutrient-rich, meat-based diets should be an easy decision for everyone. 
 

*Thanks to Maeve Maddox & daily writing tips for the description

Love to play in the snow…

Ever wonder why so many dogs have diarrhea or become very sick a day or two after a snowstorm? 

First, blame yourself for giving him too many snacks on the day you were hunkering down because of the storm.
Did the little fur ball lick his paws after his walk in the snow, ice, salt and mush?  
Did you keep an eagle eye on her as she had her head down? 
Was she licking the snow that contains ice melt products? 

You cannot be nonchalant with your pets. It is our responsibility to keep them safe and clean. Use the proper fitting booties if possible or use paw wax to help reduce the irritation caused by the cold and chemical salts. Whether you use booties or paw wax you should wash your pets paws or wipe them completely with a wet washcloth after each and every outing. 

Ice melt products are toxic if ingested.  They are made from a variety of different salts, including rock salt, or calcium chloride. 
If you think your pet has ingested any toxic salts take them to a vet or an emergency pet hospital ASAP as they may be prone to a seizure or even death due to increased salt level in the brain.   

If you want to have fun in the snow with your dog or you just have to walk in the slush and mush because its unavoidable take the following steps to keep your pets from getting sick:
-    Use booties whenever possible or use paw wax to help reduce irritation from salts and chemicals. 
-    Thoroughly wipe all FOUR paws with a wet washcloth to clean all of the residue from the outside off  of your dogs underbelly, legs, butt and paws, 
-    Cut back on the treats,
-    Make sure your pets have lots of fresh water and even a little broth made without spices, onion or salt so they can stay hydrated.  


The Petropolist

Every Party Has A Pooper

Party Pooper. 

It was around 6 or 7 am – I don’t really know – I was in a stupor walking my dog. 

I’m standing on the corner of Lexington Avenue waiting for the light to turn so we can cross.  There’s a woman across from us looking at her cell phone while her dog is squatting and walking, trying with difficulty to finish his business. Her dog poops and she walks away without picking it up. This gets the rest of the responsible dog people in the neighborhood and me crazed, and it was enough to wake me out of my stupor.  I darted across the street yelling “Hey, hey, ma’am? Ummm, Miss with the white dog? You didn’t pick up his poop.” 

She gave me the finger. 
 
At this point I am a bit enraged and my poor dog, sensing my excitement and agitation, starts barking and she, the poop lady, has now picked up her pace and is hauling ass, not allowing her poor dog to pee. I picked up her dog’s poop and immediately felt sorry for the dog.  This woman didn’t even look at the poop; had she made an attempt to look away from her damned Facebook page while her dog was pooping she would have seen that the feces was black and greasy, with remnants of undigested food and a tail end of fresh blood. 

Having a pet is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. It is time consuming, it is costly, it disrupts our level of independence…. it also reduces anxiety and depression, increases cardiovascular health, builds a stronger immune system hence reducing the risk of developing allergies, enhances social connections and skills and so much more. Pet ownership means being responsible for a life both physiologically and psychologically.  The animals cannot do it without us and we cannot benefit from all they have to give us if we choose to be careless in caring for them.  

So, with her dog’s bagged poop in hand, I started running downhill toward her and her middle finger.  All I wanted to do was shove the bag in her face and tell her what an ass she was, and to tell her that her dog needs to see a vet (if he hadn’t already).  She saw me coming and stopped, which surprised the hell out of me. I slowed my pace as I reached her. She had stopped only to tell me to mind my own business. I just don’t know how to do that when I am at risk of stepping on your sick dog’s gelatinous and bloody poop, which by the way you made a conscious choice to ignore and not clean up.  

While all I wanted to do was fling the bag of poop at her, I instead walked away. 
I was clear about one thing on later thought – that minding my business was not the right choice. Though the middle finger lady angrily walked away from me, I should not have stopped myself from speaking up.  It is sad and unfortunate that this person’s narcissistic behavior is likely contributing to her dog’s suffering. The appearance of her dog’s – YOUR dog’s – poop can alert you to a treatable condition. You just need to be a responsible pet parent and a good neighbor.

Natural Solutions for Minor Ailments – 3 favorites

petropolist1.jpg

Natural Solutions for Minor Ailments – 3 favorites

Anxiety – Catnip is not just for cats.  This herb has a mild sedative effect on both dogs and cats.  It promotes relaxation and calms the nerves when ingested and it’s not a coincidence that this well rounded herb also helps calm an upset/nervous stomach and relieve flatulence.  Here are the options for administering: 

  1. Seep 1 pure organic catnip teabag in 8oz of hot water for 20 minutes and mix it with your pet’s meal 
  2. Use it in tincture form (liquid) and add it to your pet's water – approximately 12 drops of a glycerin-based (not alcohol-based) catnip tincture to 8 oz. of water

Mild Sprains, Fractures (pre & post medical treatment), painful bruising and contusions – ARNICA is an herb from the sunflower family and should only be used in its homeopathic form for pets.  Keep a vial of these pellets in your pets’ first aid kit and skip the topical creams and ointments which can cause gastric upset in dogs and poisoning in cats if ingested (the pellets will not cause these problems).  The Boiron brand is generally sold at most health food stores: http://www.boironusa.com/?products=/arnica30c-pellets/ 

Arnica helps speed healing, reduce pain and reduce the onset of inflammation – it is a great option for mild/simple cases only.

  1. Immediately after an injury has occurred use Arnica 30C – it is best if your pet has not ingested any food or water 30 minutes before and after you administer the Arnica
  2. Try to get 3 to 6 pellets into your pet orally – with homeopathic remedies pellets should not be touched (body oil effects their efficacy). Twist the pellets into the lid of the vial to avoid touching them then pour the pellets between the lip and the gum or into the side of your pets mouth – being careful to not pour it in to the back of your pets mouth. 

If your pet has sustained an injury it is always best to consult a veterinarian.   

Diarrhea – the onset of diarrhea can occur because of many conditions - parasites, pancreatitis, irritable bowel disease, viral or bacterial infections of the GI, Thyroid disease, various food intolerances or allergies.   In this case we are only addressing the onset of diarrhea from dietary indiscretion, sudden diet changes or mild stress.  It is important to know that your pet can become dehydrated when they have diarrhea.  

  1. Option 1 – Broth fast with pumpkin for 12 hours
    1. Start by serving home cooked chicken or beef broth plus pumpkin or slippery elm for 12 hours after the start of diarrhea 
    2. Make your broth using lean muscle meat & water only – do not add herbs, garlic or onions and do not use store bought broth as these are loaded with onions.  Keep your home cooked broth bland  
    3. For every 8 ounces of broth mix in 6 oz. of pure pumpkin or 1 teaspoon of slippery elm for every 25 pounds of your pets body weight.  Let your pet have as much as they want of this mixture for 12 hours  
    4. Do not feed your pet any treats or snacks during this time
  2. Option 2 – Bland diet for 24 hours
    1. Cook 1 lb of lean ground turkey meat in 1 cup of water. Simmer on low to medium heat until the meat is cooked.
    2. Add 8 oz of 100% pure pumpkin to the cooked turkey meat
    3. Feed small portions 3-4 times per day
    4. Do not feed your pet any treats or snacks during this time
  3. For a day or two following the bout with diarrhea it is best to replace 20% of your pets overall meal portion with pumpkin 
    1. Feed your pet smaller portions more often –if you regularly feed your pet 2 times per day increase the number of meals to 3 - 4 without increasing the day’s total amount of food.  This will help their digestive tract get back to better working condition
    2. Do not give your pet bones, treats or table food during this recovery period.  Give their digestive system time to heal

If the diarrhea continues contact your vet for further diagnostics and care.

Has your pet had a recent amputation? How you and your tripawd can adjust.

Has your pet had a recent amputation?  How you and your tripawd can adjust.

If your pet has had a recent amputation or is scheduled for surgery there are many things you can do to prepare yourself and your home to make you and your tripawd comfortable.  

At Home

Remember your pet may be more prone to secondary injuries.  It is important to create a safe environment for your pet.  It will take some time for your pet to adjust to being a tripawd so everything you do to make your home an accident free zone will help in the recovery process.

  • The flooring around the food and water area should be cushioned and provide traction for your pet.  You can use a yoga mat to help them avoid slipping and to improve their stance while they are eating and drinking
  • Raise the food and water bowls to chest level to alleviate stress to the spine, joints and supportive limbs
  • Your floors need to be slip free so your pet can be comfortably mobile within their home environment.  Wood and tile floors are potentials hazards.  Cover with a non-slip floor covering to reduce the risk of injury
  • Put up baby gates to restrict your pet from trying to go up or down stairs without your supervision.  Use a support harness to help your pet navigate stairways or carry them up and down to avoid problems

Support the Supportive Limbs

Be aware!  Watch your pet’s body language and understand it.  The supportive limbs can become weak over time and they require constant maintenance. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight by feeding canned, raw or home cooked foods – avoid dry foods (kibble) which can lead to inflammation
  • Don’t feel sorry for your pet and resort to giving them more treats.  They are probably adjusting better than you are!
  • Weight gain will put stress on the supportive limbs so the proper levels of activity and foods are imperative for their quality of life and overall well-being
  • Clip their nails – It’s important to take care of their paws, paw pads and nails.  Moisturize their elbows and paw pads, coconut oil is a great topical moisturizer that will benefit them if ingested.  Keep their nails trimmed so walking and gripping is easy and comfortable.  Trim any long hairs/fur around and between the paw pads to reduce slippage. 
  • Listen to your pet - they will tell you how far they want to walk, when they are in pain, and when they are ready to run like the wind 
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Therapies

There are various therapeutic options that may suit you and your pets needs including:

  • The Assissi Loop – This is a targeted pulse electromagnetic therapy that can be used on the effected limb to manage inflammation and can be used on the supporting limbs to manage inflammation and pain
  • Chiropractic Sessions - A monthly chiropractic sessions can help with muscular skeletal conditions that may arise from the loss of a limb.  These sessions provide manual manipulation of the spine to address disturbances called vertebral subluxations.  This therapy brings the spine into proper alignment to maintain the proper healthy relationship between the spine and the nervous system.  To find practitioners in your area (http://animalchiropractic.org)
  • Hydro Therapy  -  Increase blood flow to all the limbs, improve range of motion and overall mobility and allow your pet to be active without stressing the joints
  • Cold Laser Therapy – A treatment that benefits chronic and acute conditions in your pet.  It is a non-invasive and non-pharmacologic pain relieving option for treatment of post-surgical inflammation and pain for the supportive limbs and the amputated area.

Supporting Tools

Some pets need additional support after an amputation.  There are harnesses, support slings and wheelchairs available to help you support your pet during their transition to a tripawd or for the long term.

  • The Walkin’ Lift Harnesses and Slings provide front or back support 
  • Walkin' Wheels are customized wheelchairs for your pet that are easy to put on and adjust to fit your pet properly

 

There is a great deal you can do to make your pet comfortable after an amputation.  Remember to prepare yourself as well – 

  • Reduce your anxiety around the situation – an anxious parent makes an anxious pet!
  • Your vet is part of your support system – keep them in the loop on any behavioral, emotional or physical changes 
  • Follow their lead - your pet is resilient and adjusts quickly to physical and environmental changes.  Don’t hold them back because of your fears!

 

 

What If You Get to the Rainbow Bridge Before Your Pets?

Photo by Chad Baker/Photodisc / Getty Images

Ensuring the Hand That Feeds: Estate Planning for Your Pet

By Michael J. Feinfeld

A client recently came to our office with concerns about how to properly plan her estate to include taking care of her pets in the event of her incapacity or death - an issue frequently raised by single, widowed, divorced or elderly clients with pets.  She was rightly concerned that her family members or social networks would not be able to step in quickly enough to take care of her pets.  While non-pet owners, individuals with large immediate families or people who view pets simply as property may minimize such concerns, pet owners in New York State do have several options for protecting their animal companions in the event of their death or incapacity.

This article examines some of the techniques that can be used to plan and to provide resources for a client's animal companions in the event of a client's incapacity, disability or death.  Requesting that a family member or friend act as a pet's caretaker or even providing mechanisms in a Will, Trust or powers of attorney may not provide your chosen caretakers or trustees with the opportunity to step in quickly in the event of an emergency.  In fact, you must do all that you can to inform your own family, friends, neighbors and caretakers of your wishes for the care of your pets.

Providing for pet care upon incapacity or disability:

One of the primary concerns of pet owners living alone (or without another able-bodied person) is how to best arrange for a friend or relative to step in and take over the care of their pet if they are hospitalized or disabled.  In situations where you are not able to feed and care for your pets, it is essential for you to appoint someone who is available and authorized to enter your home and who can access funds and materials to properly care for your animal(s).  This can potentially be arranged on an informal level by requesting friend(s) or relative(s) to care for your pets. When utilizing an informal arrangement, it is a good idea to inform your family members, friends or the person who is responsible for taking care of your affairs as well as any designated agent listed on a durable power of attorney, of a designation of a caretaker for your pet.

Simply informing your caretaker(s) and agent(s) may not provide you with any level of certainty or reassurance, however, since there is no legal means of enforcing your wishes or fiduciary duty regarding the honorary care of your animal companions. An informal arrangement may not be honored by your family, designated agent(s) or fiduciaries tasked with managing your affairs, and your informally designated caretaker may lack the ability to access your funds to care for your pet.

When a more formal arrangement for your pet caretaker is desired, coordinating your arrangements with your current estate plan can further ensure that your pet is cared for in the event of your incapacity.  A New York State Durable Power of Attorney with a Supplemental Gifts Rider expressly empowering your agent to distribute funds and make gifts to your pet's caretaker for the care and maintenance of your pets can help ensure that your wishes are fulfilled. The durable power of attorney and complimentary gift rider, essential building blocks of every estate plan, are very flexible documents which can direct that your agent disburse assets to your pets' appointed caretakers and create a legal obligation on the part of your appointed agent(s) to administer your property with care and according to your wishes (New York General Obligations Law ("GOL") § 5-1505).  Under New York State's power of attorney statute, an optional monitor may be appointed to ensure that your assets are directed towards your pet(s) (GOL § 5-1509).

Although the creation of a power of attorney may provide some enforceable assurance that your pets' caretakers will have access to your funds, unless these power of attorney forms are kept up to date and coordinated with your financial institutions, your agents may have trouble getting your bank and broker to accept their authority over your accounts.  In the wake of increased regulation of financial institutions, banks and brokerage houses have become increasingly skeptical of agents bearing powers of attorney. (See Paul Sullivan, "Power of Attorney Is Not Always A Solution," N.Y. Times 4/22/14).  Moerover, the power of attorney does nothing to protect your pets in the event of your death, since the powers of your designated agent end at death.  If further certainty regarding the care of your pet(s) upon your death is desired, a pet-trust or a bequest to your caretaker in your Will should be considered.

Providing for pet care upon death:

Prior to the enactment of the Trusts for Pets statute in 1996 (New York State Estates Powers and Trusts Law ("EPTL") § 7-8.1), the ability of a pet owner to create a trust or a bequest (a gift in a Will) to benefit an animal was limited.  The principal means of providing for an animal companion at death was to leave a bequest for another individual for their care, since money cannot be left outright to an animal no matter how much a part of your family your pets are.  Leaving bequests to your designated caretaker is still a powerful means of providing assets for your pet's maintenance; however, such a strategy does not ensure that the assets will be used for the care of your pet(s) or allow you to provide express directions for your pet's care.

While assets still may not be given or bequeathed directly to a pet, EPTL 7-8.1 does allow a New York resident to establish a trust for the benefit of their animal companion.  So called "pet-trusts" can be either established in a trust which is formed while the creator is alive, a so called living trust, or via the pet owner's Last Will and Testament, a testamentary trust.  As is standard for all trusts, the creator will appoint a Trustee to manage and distribute assets for the care of the beneficiary i.e., your animal companion.

In addition, if a pet trust is established and funded as part of a living trust, the trust instrument can be drafted to allow your designated Trustee to begin caring for your pet immediately in the event of your disability or incapacity.  The proper establishment of a lifetime trust may also have the further benefit of preventing problems with a bank or broker, since trust accounts are established with the trustee succession in mind.  While the formality of creating a pet trust is more complex and expensive than an informal arrangement and may also add to the expense of drafting your Will (if a testamentary trust is chosen), such an instrument will provide clarity and liquidity to your appointed Trustee(s) and help ensure that your pet will be taken care of the moment the trust becomes operative.

Circulating your plan for care of your pets:

As noted above, even the establishment of a formal pet trust may not ensure a seamless transition for the care of your pet in the event of your death or disability.  Adding to the complexity is the fact that the police and your landlord or your building superintendent may not allow anyone to enter your apartment or home without your express permission or a court's authorization.  Recent calls made by our office to a precinct of New York City Police Department revealed that it is the policy for an officer discovering uncared-for pets upon being dispatched to a home of a deceased or disabled individual to take the animals to the ASPCA or other local pet shelter. Upon further inquiry, I was informed by the community relations office that while an investigating officer may look for documents in the home or ask a doorman or maintenance supervisor whether someone will take the pets, they are under no obligation to do so and may simply take the pets to the shelter.

What may be done then to prevent your pet(s) from being taken to a shelter in the event of your death or incapacity?  While absolute certainty is impossible, it is clear that transparency regarding your plan and your wishes for the care of your animals is the best strategy for ensuring their care.  Let your neighbors, doorman, maintenance supervisor and family members know of your plan and your instructions for who is responsible for your pet(s) in an emergency.  Further, copies of all relevant documents appointing caretakers or a pet trustee for your pets should left in a visible place in your home.  Additional notes and instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency may also be carried on your person outlining who is authorized to care for your animal companions.

Regardless of what route you choose in designating someone to care for your pet(s), sharing your plan with as many people you trust can be an essential tool in ensuring the care of your animal family members in the face of an uncertain world.  For further help regarding planning for your pet(s) or coordinating their care with your estate plan, please contact me at:  mfeinfeld@volkovalaw.com.

A Step-by-Step Training Guide for New Dog Owners

Credit to http://www.americanfamilydogtraining.com/

Credit to http://www.americanfamilydogtraining.com/

By Chris O’Sullivan, Trainer/Rehabilitator

A step-by-step guide for introducing a new dog to his new home environment. 

The best recommendation I can give any client who is planning on bringing home a new pet is: SELF-RESTRAINT

Most of us are so excited to bring home our new pet that we often get caught up in the moment and get ourselves and our new dog over-excited and over-stimulated. Imagine how confusing this can be when you want the dog to calm down and respect your home and possessions.

The better approach for the long term is to spend some time taking the dog on a nice slow walk around your neighborhood before taking the dog home. Give them a chance to explore their new surroundings. Let them get engaged in experiencing all of the new smells, seeing the sights and taking in the sounds of the neighborhood. The idea is to engage the curious part of the brain while keeping the excitement level to a minimum. This nice slow walk will also give the new owner time to get the measure of their new pet and practice their leadership skills before heading home.

When it's time to introduce the dog to its new home I recommend not removing the leash, instead continuing the walk by leading the dog on a slow deliberate tour of the home, walking around the perimeter of every room and piece of furniture. Control the pace and give the dog time to engage its nose, which stimulates the curious part of the brain. By using this approach the dog is learning how to behave in the new environment as well as respect the furnishings and content of their new space. Introduce the dog to its new environment as if you were giving it a tour of a sacred ground, which includes monitoring your own voice and movements. Once the tour is over the leash can be removed with no fanfare. 

In my years working with rescue groups, I have seen perfectly good dogs returned to the shelter simply because they were introduced to their new homes and families with excitement, over-stimulation, and lack of boundaries. Think of it this way, if you introduce a dog to its new home as if it's their new personal dog run and you're their new pack mate, who's fault is it a week later when they're still acting under that impression?

My advice is simply this, think about the dog you want to have in a weeks time and give it the proper impression and provide them the right tools, from the start.

Less is more: In general it is best to not have lots of toys laying around your home - this is especially important when you have a new dog. Introduce toys over a period of a few days or a week and include light gentle playtime over the same time frame.  Practice self-restraint, take control and guide your new dog… You can have fun with your dog and play and let them on the furniture as much as you want but let them earn these perks. Don’t set them up for failure by giving them a wrong first impression.

One final important matter for you and your new dog is to use the correct collar for proper control and safety. I always insist that my clients use a Martingale collar for both safety and training. A snug fitting Martingale is the best way to insure your new dog won’t slip out of its collar. For about ten dollars it’s about the best investment you can make in protecting your new dog.
 

Thanksgiving Do's and Don'ts for your Pets

Credit to Andy Simonds (https://500px.com/AndyRS)

Credit to Andy Simonds (https://500px.com/AndyRS)

You can most definitely share your Thanksgiving meal with your pets but just be mindful!

Here are the need to know facts:

  • No nuts 
  • No onions
  • No garlic (in moderation its’s fine but in the case of the holidays no one seems to be too moderate so we will keep it on the NO list)
  • No turkey skin or cooked bones
  • No grapes or raisins
  • No desserts - this includes any pie with or without chocolate
  • Stay away from spices (especially sage & nutmeg)
  • Please no stuffing - most folks don’t have a clue what the stuffing is made from and many recipes include nuts. 
  • No coffee, coffee grinds
  • No citrus


What you can give them:

  • Turkey muscle meat & gizzard
  • Veggies
  • Sweet Potato


Instead of their normal meal, make a plate of meat, veggies and sweet potato in proportion to your pet's size. The meat should be about 80-85% of the meal for canines and 90-95% for the felines and you can go ahead and mix in the appropriate veggies and sweet potato for the balance.

Have a wonderful day with your family, including the furry ones!

French Bulldogs - The Pamela Anderson of the Dog World

If you are buying versus adopting a Frenchie DO NOT go to a pet store - it is the worst thing you can do for your future with this animal since the breed is prone to lots of health issues without the added factor of poor breeding techniques. Since there are no guarantees in life we can just try to minimize risk and pain by not purchasing this or any breed from an unethical breeder (puppy farms).

DO purchase from a UKC approved breeder who will allow you to see the puppy and it’s mother's living environment.  A good ethical breeder would never produce puppies that do not conform to breed standards or perpetuate existing breed disorders. If you are looking for immediate gratification, getting a well bred healthy Frenchie from a reputable breeder will not bring you immediate gratification but patience will bring you long term gratification - a good breeder rarely has Frenchie puppies available and they DON'T ship their dogs….

DO choose adoption - a great group I found for Frenchie rescue is: www.frenchbulldogrescue.org

Are you financially comfortable and have disposable income? If the answer is yes and you want the scrunchie faced pup then DO bring that Frenchie into your life - remember it will be a life time (9-14 years…) of care, health management and maintenance, higher than average oil/gas bills for heat and electric bills for keeping the air conditioner on at all times. Do you have the financial ability to do this? 

DO your research (that's why you’re here)

Here are a few issues this breed is prone to:

Brachycephalic breeds - this causes their breathing to be less efficient than breeds with longer noses, they have heat and cold sensitivities and overexertion can be risky. This breed needs to be kept comfortable at about 75 degrees - activity in hot or cold climates can be deadly for them so DO plan to keep your bully in a temperature controlled environment where the risk of becoming overheated is eliminated.
DO find a vet  that has extensive experience with the brachycephalic breeds as these breeds have specific requirements with the use of anesthesia and certain meds. DO read this information regarding risks associated with brachycephalic syndrome:https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/brachycephalic-syndrome
 
Spinal disease - inter-vertebral disc disease/degenerative disc  disease. DO keep your Frenchie in good physical condition but be careful with heavy exertion - keep activities moderate and in an environment where the temperature is comfortable for the breed. 

Dry eyes and corneal ulcers - DO keep an eye on your Frenchie's eyes - it is common for them to have dry eyes which lead to corneal ulcers - this is why you need have them on high quality foods and have a vet that is knowledgeable about the breed and it’s issues.  

Foods - sensitivities/allergies - The smell of gas passed from your Frenchie's ass can be disruptive so DON’T feed dry kibble which overtime will burden their overall digestive system and organs. DO keep their calorie intake balanced and use whole foods or high quality wet foods where ever possible.  If your bully has itchy skin or allergies consider a non-processed whole food diet - contact a holistic vet or holistic pet nutrition expert to guide you.

Chews & Bones - This breed has  a higher risk of choking  because of their wide jaws the right size and type of chews as well as supervision while they are chewing is imperative. DO keep and eye on your pup when you give him a chew bone and DON'T be cheap, buy size appropriate products for him to chew on. 

DO hire a good trainer to guide you. This is a sweet breed but without guidance and direction from the new parents you will have hell on wheels to deal with as the breed can be a bit head strong. 

DO NOT leave Frenchies unattended near swimming pools or bodies of water where there may be a risk of drowning. They’re just about as top heavy as Pamela Anderson in Bay Watch but unlike her, this breed is a lousy swimmer and has the tendency sink like a cement block. DO get your pup a life vest. 

How to Date Your Vet or the Truth About Dry Food

Here is the low down – dry pet foods were created for financial gain starting in the 1930’s… grain manufactures and cereal companies needed to find a way to profit from what would normally be considered waste. These were the rejected grains such as wheat, rice and corn that failed USDA inspections for being moldy, rancid, or contained contaminant not safe for humans. The meat and the fish industries followed suit, using their waste and the meats that would not pass USDA inspection due to diseased/downed livestock as way to profit. Mixing these combinations of waste products was the basis of the pet food industry.  If you think times have changed… think again.

Stop the dry food no matter what the manufacturers' marketing gurus claim. Your pet will thrive on a high-quality, species-appropriate wet/canned, cooked or raw diet - fresh meats and produce are always the best nutrition, just like for us.

We have options – if the pet food manufacturers dump so much money into their advertising, do you really think they're focused on how much quality they're putting into those bags and cans?

                                   

           

Will you do "what ever it takes" to make sure your pet is ok?

I still listen to the radio when I run, so the other day, as I’m running The DJ on the radio starts reading a survey done by some veterinary pet insurance company about how far pet parents are willing to go to make sure their pets are healthy.  The survey was purely based on the monetary investment and although many pet parents claim they are “willing to do anything” that anything is based on a dollar value only (in this survey).

What I found incredibly appalling was the lack of understanding of how costly it is to take care of an animal, especially a sick animal - many pet parents think the vets are overpriced and should drop their prices…yes SOME vets ARE overpriced (especially if you live in NYC) but in general these doctors are dealing with crazy irrational humans that want a quick fix for whatever is ailing their pet and they want it at a discount…hmmm thank goodness there is pet insurance and this survey. Yes the overall cost of veterinary care can be prohibitive and more & more people choose euthanasia or assume that their pets are "ok" because the pet is not ‘complaining’ hence waiting until it is too late and much more needs to be done by the doctors to correct an issue that was ignored hence making the cost of care higher.  

One of the biggest issues with veterianry medicine is the lack of good doctors and those who understand & connect proper nutrition (eliminate dry processed foods & poor quality canned products) with the animals overall well being. As a pet owner, I not only want the platinum treatment which to me means that the doctor is knowledgable and doesn't just offer a pretty band-aid for my animals issues - I want someone that understands preventative care and is truthful about the industries poor quality where diet is concerned and the over use of vaccinations and drugs - I want someone who will be part of my animal's well  being and understands prevention is not just an annual visit but a daily activity that leads to better overall health.  This veterinarian is an innovator and an educator and someone that is smart enough to have created a team, a group of knowledgable professionals that understand pet owners dilemmas, limitations and their desire to want immediate gratification and how to deal with these people….yes it’s a huge process and one vet cannot do this - they need a team effort and not everyone needs to have a PHD but they need to be well educated and have common sense skills. I think many vets are lost to the idea of a team effort.

I am one of the lucky ones - I have a group of veterinarians & professionals that I have long relationships with beyond just my animals.  I get the special treatment because I know the questions to ask & understand the need for proper diagnostics to be able to get to the core of the issue, I also understand what prevention is and it is a part of my daily duties as a pet parent. 

There are 5 steps to managing your pets' well being: #1 is your time and effort to be part of the process and not walk blindly and assume that someone else will fix your dog without you making an effort. #2 have a team of knowledgable trustworthy professionals you can go to. #3 is financial (if you have a good vet he is worth every penny). #4 Prevention & proper nutrition #5 Know your pet.

 

I La’ ya Puppy - I think.

I’m kinda quoting a J Lo song  - yes just the "I La Ya" part, because it’s fitting but please know that in no way do I condone her choice to wear fur.  It’s completely asinine that in this day & age a celebrity like J Lo doesn’t give a crap about animal welfare.  She is gorgeous, sexy, and seems like a hell of a smart woman but is fashion so disconnected from suffering that they continue to electrocute and skin these animals in the name of hoity-toity fashion?  

The joe-schmo that buys her fur trimmed coat on sale at Macy’s doesn’t think twice about the fur trimming around the hood - meanwhile she has a dog she adores and would do anything for at home but she is willing to buy this coat with the fur trim? why are the average folk so oblivious? and why are the celebrities so disconnected from the reality of the pain their pleasures are causing?   It takes so little effort to shop with a conscience - imagine how much suffering can be eliminated because of the choices you make.  

If there is such a thing as re-incarnation or an after life and your choices in this life time affected your path in another realm what would you come back as? The fox in the trap that gets skinned alive for his fur so your ass can be warm or would you be one of 50 cats and dogs in a 2x4 crate in china waiting to be clubbed to death so their fur can be used for cheap trim on coats and other winter accessories.   http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/dogs_cats_fur/ 

The fur trade is lucrative because of the humans that continue supporting the fur industry by purchasing fur clothing. The industry will continue to cause pain and suffering because of the J Lo’s and the joe-schmo’s of the world who choose to continue to support it.