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As many of you know there has been an effort to help our pets lose weight. My veterinary hospital has been weighing my dogs at every visit; miraculously, one of my couch potatoes lost 2 pounds. Bacall was born to be a plus size and she still doesn=t look like she is ready for a Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers commercial! But, because of her success in the National Canine Weight Check she received a gray polyester thermal blanket made in China. I think the award embarrasses her. Embroidered on one corner is the Slentrol logo. Slentrol is the first FDA-approved prescription medication to manage obesity in dogs. It supposedly works by decreasing appetite in dogs but is not approved for snack- giving owner use or for cats. Of course, it would be much cheaper and less dangerous if owners exercised more self-control in treat giving. (I am always suspicious of new drugs–and gifts made in China.)

Dental treats have their own problems. Although a study reveals that rawhide can remove calculus from teeth more effectively than dog biscuits, they should be sized for the dog and carefully monitored. Chew-ezz and Milk Bones were used in the study over a 3-week period.

As disposable income shrinks it is more important than ever to be careful in giving to animal organizations. If the jar on a counter with the picture of a homeless puppy doesn=t have a telephone number on it– pass on the impulsive urge to contribute. Make sure this is a group you want to support. Limited funds mean limited support for those groups you truly believe are accountable. If giving is difficult at this time consider volunteering time, or purchasing an extra bag of food to donate. Also, it is safe to assume that groups that do pet therapy never solicit funds and are strictly volunteer, with members picking up all expenses out of their own pockets–transportation and extra medical expenses. Hopefully, the legislature will consider adding a member of a therapy club to the Dog Law Advisory Board to advise Harrisburg about the needs of these selfless volunteer therapy teams. During the upcoming discussions about the proposed dog legislation, we need to remember that many groups are stakeholders and readers should know who they are and what they believe. The real policy and mission of each one is evident in the vocabulary used in press releases, etc. For example, beware of a group who uses the term Aguardian@ rather than pet owner. (This term is now part of the PSPCA newsletter dialogue.) ASportsmen kennel@ is a traditional label but it can mean Amoney from hunting@ before Awell bred hunting dogs@. Although the AKC is often called Aelitest, this stand is not without good reason–this organization’s purpose is to safeguard and protect the bred-for-purpose companions we enjoy as friends. Could Cesar have rehabilitated a bomb sniffing Labrador without counting on the breed=s hard-wired love of the water? Doubtful.

Patti Strand once warned about the Ahi-jacking of the humane movement@ by animal rights groups and that seems to be the case and is much too evident in rescues, shelters and SPCAs. There are unprofessional and/or unethical commercial breeders or puppy mills and pet stores and there are problematic rescuers. Most animal lovers embrace some of the policies in several groups but not all of the mission of any one group.

FIELD CERTIFIED. Noted behaviorist William Campbell believes that behavioral stability along with conformation and performance standards should be part of all responsible breeding programs. He calls it Afield certified@. He would have parents rated on their behavior in their home environment and a description of that environment. This would place responsibility for behavior on the owner or the breeder and weed out dogs housed in livestock conditions. Campbell=s suggestion, along with the CGC, could just be the key to problems all owners face today. My last litter of puppies was whelped in an adjoining bedroom and both sire and dam were home-raised. My daughter=s most recent litter was whelped in her bedroom and spent their earliest days in a whelping box placed in the livingroom. New puppy buyers should always buy the breeder in addition to the breed!

May 10, 2008 | Comments are off | Uncategorized, dental health, pet weight loss