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How do you spark your creativity? I like to do it by pulling myself out of my usual routine and putting my brain – and usually body – into new environments. I like to believe that this strips away the superficial and routine thought processes that I thought were important and forces me to focus more on the core matters at hand. Another one of my strategies is to jump into groups of creative people. So, please allow me to tell you that people who work in animal rescue and welfare organizations are amongst the most creative and innovative people that I have ever met.

I can’t tell you why. Maybe it is because they are constantly in life and death mode. Maybe it is because they are usually asked to perform miracles on a shoestring budget. Or maybe it is because people who opt to spend their energy defending creatures who cannot defend themselves are just a little “outside of the box” by nature. Regardless of how the conditions were created, I am always blown away by the result.

That is why I consider myself lucky to have been able to attend Humane Canada’s Animal Welfare 2019 conference which was held right here in Montreal last April.

https://conference.humanecanada.ca/2019

Normally this is just for people working in the Animal Welfare industry, but I was permitted access to all of the panels because I attended as a volunteer. It was worth the effort. There is also a little life lesson embedded there

The topics that were covered could have been straight from any industry conference. They included an extremely practical session on navigating social media, the critical topic of fundraising, and several sessions on managing teams. I sat in on several of the sessions on teams and was astounded to learn how much of the ground that they covered was universally applicable across all industries. Two of the panels that I attended were titled “Building An Effective Team: RIGHT People, RIGHT Role!” and “Building Effective Volunteer Teams with Professionalism, Leadership & Culture”. I took notes the whole time, eager to apply some of the lessons that they were sharing in my own workplace.

One of the highlights for me was hearing the General Manager of Humane Education for the BC SPCA, Craig Naherniak, speak about some his organization’s current initiatives. They are using data science techniques to get views from kids in their summer camp programs about animals and how the BC SPCA is making an impact on awareness.

“ With nearly 1,200 data sets from 20 locations across BC, we have benchmarked some key indicators of program effectiveness and how youth perceptions change when immersed in humane education programming. We measured changes in attitudes and knowledge retention over the course of the week, as well as a follow-up survey 2-3 months after camp.”

Needless to say, I was not expecting to hear about any topics related to analytics at a conference for people who have made careers out of caring for creatures. Clearly, that was my mistake. These folks are sharp and use every tool in their toolbox.

Besides the results of their surveys, I also learned about the monthly magazine for children that the BC SPCA puts out to keep the information on animal welfare flowing even when the kids are not at camp. In addition to achieving the obvious goal of training up new generations of adults who prioritized the well-being of domestic animals and wildlife, the magazine was actually commended by local school boards as a well-crafted tool for promoting early childhood literacy. The magazine is now being used within BC schools to help teach kids how to read.

As if these accomplishments were not already enough, when I spoke to Craig during a break between panels he told me about how the BC SPCA had partnered with BMO to offer a special affinity credit card that helped raise funds for the BC SPCA with each client purchase. These types of credit cards are not common but ask a representative at your bank if they offer something like this.

It’s a rare thing to leave an industry conference both uplifted and impressed but that is exactly how I felt. So, remember that when you give a little bit of yourself to causes like these, you are not just helping out a furry friend but are also opening yourself up to entirely new ways of thinking that can help get your own creative juices flowing. Try it and see.

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by: Nat Lauzon with Mike Grenier

Recently, Montreal Dog Blog had the opportunity to tour the grounds of A Horse Tale Rescue.

Situated on 5 acres of land in Vaudreuil Dorion, A Horse Tale Rescue (AHT) rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes horses in need. If the horse cannot find placement in a loving home, this rescue provides a safe haven for them for the rest of their lives.  But as MDB discovered, the rescue’s impact is much greater than that. 

On a crisp April day, we head to Vaudreuil-Dorion to visit A Horse Tale rescue.  We are welcomed by Mike Grenier, Executive Director (and his wife Sherry Gilmer, who is also a volunteer), Caroline Handy the Barn Manager and Lisa Maria the Fundraising Director.

From the instant we enter the tidy main barn, it’s clear this is a labour of love.

Smiling volunteers buzz back and forth, tending to their work.  The barn itself has been thoughtfully repaired and rejuvenated in recent years to make it a warm, safe space for its equine occupants.

Head halters, grooming gear and blankets hang neatly on the walls – the hooks are labeled by name – Blanco, Cheyenne, Smouch – one for each horse in their care. Toward the back of the barn are stacked hay bales, a weigh scale and a precise feeding schedule for each resident.   The rescue goes through 60-70 bales of hay per week and 350 – 400 bags of shavings per year (which are used to line each stall).

There are 12 stalls and currently, 11 horses. The empty one is kept free for any “just in case” scenarios.  Like any reputable rescue, AHT never takes on more than they can handle and in fact, has had to turn away about a dozen cases this past year alone.

Everything inside the barn is clearly labeled, according to each horse’s needs. It has to be.  Some horses have specific medical and physical protocols – and with 50 regular hands-on volunteers, it would otherwise be a challenge to keep things organized among so many people.   

VOLUNTEERS

Mike’s involvement with the rescue began 5 years ago, after his wife Sherry underwent a kidney transplant.  After recovery, she wanted to volunteer with horses and they checked out an Open House at AHT. With a background in the corporate world and none at all with horses – Mike quickly discovered a new passion.  5 years later, he is the Executive Director for AHT.  And his wife Sherry, is an active volunteer.

Mike Grenier, Caroline Handy & Lisa Maria

Lisa Maria is the Fundraising Director, and also an artisan and Reiki Practitioner by day. She lights up when talking about the rescue’s current herd.  There is a particular joy that the horses bring, obviously – but the kinship of other volunteers is also special.  She feels a unique support network at AHT. Of course, time spent with the horses is the antidote for any bad day – and makes an already good day even better.

Caroline is the Barn Manager.  She is a nature lover at heart, and an incredible freelance artist (horses are inspiring subjects!). Caroline’s children have special needs – and rather than planting them in front of a screen, she has nourished their relationships with the outdoors and the horses at AHT.  Her kids are physically active here, which helps to calm them. And they’ve gained confidence in learning to care for animals too.

In fact, AHT launched a special program in 2017 (the AHT Experience Program) geared especially toward promoting the positive effects of being around horses.  More on that later.

The uniqueness of this place is already evident.  And we haven’t even met the horses yet!  It’s one of the first nice days after a long winter and all of them are out enjoying the sunshine.

Click here to meet the current herd at AHT.

ULYSSES

Ulysses is as breathtaking as they come.  A towering, white draft horse, he is one of the rescue’s star residents.  At 22 years old and about 2000 lbs, he is also the largest.  His imposing size is enough to make anyone a little nervous – until this gentle giant nuzzles delicately for treats and pats on the nose.

Ulysses spent most of his years working on a farm and then in the Montreal caleche industry.  The rescue has taken in 6 retired caleche horses to date.  Ulysses’ working days are well behind him now.  He will live out his retirement years in the comfort, safety and love provided by AHT.  

ROCKY


12 year old Rocky is a former harness racer.  Sidelined by an ankle injury – he then became a riding horse and eventually found his way to AHT.  Extremely social and great with children, he was curious about us before we even approached him. He was waiting readily to greet us and snuffle our pockets for goodies.

Sometimes, the remnants of a horse’s former life will emerge. Rocky, for instance, will occasionally back up to a wheelbarrow in the yard, expecting to be hitched up for the track. From a racing career to living the life of leisure, Rocky has certainly lucked out at AHT.

BUDDY

When we first see Buddy, he is lying on his side, napping comfortably in the warm April sun. He’s dreaming about something because his legs are wheeling as if he’s running.  Buddy is A Horse Tale’s very first rescue.

He was 14 when he arrived via another horse rescue (Refuge RR) in 2013, having only recently been castrated.  His stallion energy and lack of socialization in his later years made his adjustment a challenge – but the safe, loving space provided by AHT has helped him acclimate beautifully into a sweet, gentle creature.   

Caroline shares a touching anecdote about a father who brought his son to meet Buddy.  The child had cerebral palsy. After sharing time with Buddy, his involuntary tremors momentarily subsided – surprising his dad, who had never seen this happen.  In fact, children suffering from CP can benefit from contact with horses – improving cognitive ability, neuromuscular problems and even physical strength. 

AHT recognizes that with so many wonderful herd members like Buddy, their potential to “give back” is immense.

THE AHT EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

The A Horse Tale Experience (AHTE) Program was created to give back to the community by sharing the pleasures and benefits of equine contact.  The program offers a unique opportunity for special and specific needs groups to interact with the horses in a safe, nurturing and structured environment.  

AHT Experience provides guided small-group interactions with the rescued horses and the opportunity for visitors to help with various tasks at the rescue.  Each visit is carefully planned with the visiting group’s coordinator.

The end experience is one which is beneficial to both horse and human alike.

The Experience Program is flourishing at AHT as more community groups become aware of it.   In rescuing horses, the organization has been able to come full circle and give back to the communities it serves.  For more on the program, click here.

EXPANSION PROJECT

While AHT helps horses reconcile with often challenging pasts, they must also look to the future. There is a true need for horse rescue.  Given their size, longevity and care costs – many become in need of sanctuary once their initial “purpose” (working, racing, riding) has been exhausted or their owners simply cannot carry the financial burden.

Cheyenne

Wisely, AHT is careful not to overextend its reach. They are committed to providing the very best care to its charges and currently, they simply do not have the infrastructure to take in more animals.  

Hopefully, that will change.

Project Evolution was launched this year to raise funds for the construction of a new modern barn facility on an adjacent 100 acres (versus the current 5).  This new barn would quadruple the current capacity and be able to comfortably house 40 horses.  

It would also provide year-round access for the AHT Experience Program, allow for wheelchair accessibility and ensure the rescue’s future sustainability.  To learn more or to contribute to this exciting project, click here.

GET INVOLVED

AHT is a non-profit organization and as such, receives no government funding. They rely entirely on the public to keep going. Funds are derived from ongoing memberships (there are currently about 260 members), donations and special events.  If you prefer the hands-on approach, you can volunteer physically at the barn ( feeding, grooming, cleaning, maintenance). You can even choose to sponsor a specific horse!   For more information, click here.

You can also visit the rescue, which is open to the public. They hold an open house almost every Saturday (2-4pm) from March 15 to November 15.

Lastly, there are always a variety of fundraising events in the works. The rescue’s current project is an online auction, active until May 19th! Click here – ask to join and check out the fantastic items up for bids!

 Plus they have a large fundraising BBQ “A Day In The Country” with kids games, horse pics, hay rides, food, etc. on Saturday, July 27th from 11:00-4:00 – everyone is welcome!

____

The animal rescue world can be challenging. The obvious emotional element aside, the ability to do it properly requires a level of organization, commitment and foresight to weather a host of potential problems – from financing to infrastructure and even interpersonal relationships. Like any successful enterprise, it is not enough to simply have good intentions.

Without question, AHT is doing it right. The horses in their care are thriving, healthy and loved – and the lives of their rescuers have been so profoundly affected by the experience, that they’ve been inspired to give back even more. Through education, outreach and a welcoming, open environment – they allow us something we would otherwise not have. The opportunity to be in the presence of these beautiful creatures too.

Our thanks to AHT for making time for our tour. And thanks for everything you do.

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By: Dr. Amanda Glew

Things always seem to happen in a “made to be” way. This was the case of a little cat, who was delightfully named “Flite” because of her auspicious beginnings… She was found in the parking lot of the Dorval airport.

Many of you may of heard of the “Pet Squad” based at the Dorval airport. We have 2 certified dogs from the area that I know of – Keeper and Lexi, with their people Tammy and Tracy. I have known and had the pleasure of working with both humans and canines over the years. Those of you may remember that Keeper represented Canada in the world Canine Agility trials a few years ago, and he also won the best tricks at one of our winter Carnivals in Hudson. Lexi is new to the podium – her claim to fame is having been fostered by me last year, and was such a wonderful dog that I encouraged (or rather told) my good friend Tracy that she was a keeper. So she was adopted through Rosie Animal adoption. Both of these working canines are rescues, which makes me very proud.

Tracy and Tammy are sisters, and they are often asked if I am a sister as well. As I do not have any sisters, I feel very honoured to be a sister by association.  But the thing is about these two ladies, is that stray, hurt and rescue animals, of any species, seem to find their way to these two. Inevitably, I am called in to help in any capacity that I can.  For example, last year Tammy noticed 3 cats left behind when someone sold their house. Quite feral, she took weeks before being able to trap them. Then another few weeks to have them vaccinated, spayed and neutered. I was called in and we managed to vaccinate them under the bed – Tammy pushing them into a wall and me reaching from the top to inject them quickly. Finally, a few more weeks to home them, where they have settled down and lost a lot of their initial fear. It takes a very dedicated animal lover to do all of this.

“Flite”, the rescued feral cat from Dorval airport

So when I was told about this small feral cat that the ladies saw when doing their volunteer duty with their dogs, I was pleased that my staff at the Timberlea Veterinary Clinic were all willing to pitch in. I told them “trap her, bring her to us, and we do the rest”.  Johanne Tassé the founder of the Pet Squad, (and founder of Companion Animal Adoption Centers of Quebec) actually started the rescue. She got the trap and coordinated with a worker from Valet Parking who also loves cats and would see this little stray occasionally. He kept an eye on the trap and called us the morning she was caught. Johanne brought her into TVC. So, it was a real combined effort between the ADM (Aeroport de Montreal), Pet Squad & TVC. After 2 weeks of attempts, Flite finally succumbed to the food in the trap, and was brought in. A day or two in isolation and acclimatizing to the clinic, we anesthetized her, spayed her (she had an early pregnancy, how this happened in the airport is beyond me!), tested for Felv/FIV, vaccinated, microchipped  and dewormed. She has now returned to Tracy’s home for further rehabilitation before her forever home is found. I am pleased to say she is already responding to human touch and kindness.

WhenI next saw a Facebook posting of Tammy and Gryn rounding up a white bunny in the same parking lot this week, I couldn’t help but wonder….. it is the week before Easter, is this a surprise?

So if you are ready to adopt this little feral cat, please contact us at the clinic! (514) 505-6555

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By: Dr. Amanda Glew

After practicing for 30 years, I would not think that I could still learn more new techniques.  Well, I did – a new surgical approach, and an introduction to regenerative medicine.

But this is not about cruciate repair, but instead about a new modality for joint repair called “Platelet Rich Plasma” or PRP. When we do any orthopedic repair, involving the joints, there will inevitably be osteoarthritis (OA). Of course, there are conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and tendonitis, which lead to OA. We have been using various modalities over the last decade – joint supplements (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, green lipped mussel), injections of poly-aminoglycosaminoglycans  (cartrophen, adequan), manual therapies including physio/acupuncture/chiro, light therapy (laser)  and of course a varied line of medication for pain (nsaids, tramadol, gabapentin, steroids). 

We now have a new modality to add to our armamentarium of treatments- the new and evolving area of regenerative medicine, of which there are two currently being investigated – PRP and stem cell injections. Although I am licensed to do stem cell treatments, the cost is quite prohibitive, involving a surgery, harvesting of fat, sending to a laboratory to grow the cells, then re- injecting into the affected area. It usually runs 2- 2.5 k for one treatment.

So when studies about the regenerative effects of platelets started to come out, I was intrigued. Platelets are small fragments of a cell in our blood called thrombocytes, and are usually renowned for their clotting ability. However, we have been using platelets as a treatment for eye diseases for years – by taking plasma separated from the red blood cells, and using them as drops to help healing.

We now know that platelets stimulate cell growth, reduce inflammation, which all aid in healing.  So companies have developed techniques to concentrate these cells from a blood draw, allowing us to separate plasma into an injection. We then are able to inject these cells into an affected joint, all within one minor sedation.  The cost is affordable- around 300-350.

I know how my clients are always looking for less medication, and like alternative therapies. So we invested in the machines and tubes to do the technique, and are now able to offer this for treatments of degenerative joint and tendon diseases at the Timberlea Veterinary Clinic.

The most important thing is that osteoarthritis causes pain. PRP will reduce pain in a joint anywhere from 5-6 months, and can be repeated if needed.  I now have become very proficient at doing joint taps, which is the new skill this old vet has had to master.  So you can teach an old dog new tricks!

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My friend Julie is a MONAT Products Representative and she gave me the chance to try out the MONAT PET Shampoo on my pups. I was thrilled to finally use a brand that creates products for humans and companion animals. In many ways, I treat my pups as my furkids and I am vigilant to only use things that I know that they are safe for them as they are safe for me. I would not dare to use something that I am unsure of being safe.

Not only is the MONAT PET Shampoo safe for my babies, the brand is very much in line with what I want to support as a consumer. The products are naturally based. They use fresh ingredients like carrots, tomatoes, lemons and coconuts. MONAT PET Shampoo is a vegan hair product and it is cruelty free and Leaping Bunny certified. We all can agree that at it is 2019 and there is no need for animals to suffer through animal testing for any sort of product. I was actually happy to read that he MONAT PET Shampoo was tested on humans to test the shampoo’s efficiency.

Let me tell you why MONAT PET Gentle Cleansing Dog Wash is ideal for your pooch: 

  • Gently and effectively cleanses: Dirt, grime, and oils
  • Softens, shine, and smooths: Dog coats are velvety and manageable
  • Moisturizes and soothes: For a health-looking coat of hair
  • Smells “paws”itively amazing: Gardenia scented shampoo for a clean, fresh dog
  • Naturally-based, Sulfate-free, pH-balanced formulas Made for dogs of all hair lengths
  • Shenna before her shower
  • Shenna after her shower
  • Nanners before his shower
  • Nanners after his shower

After giving my pups a good warm shower and a had their fur dried, I saw the great results. MONAT PET made their fur soft, although it was not a blue shampoo for white coats, the dogs were radiating white. They didn’t even smell like wet doggy! They just smelled good! If you are looking for a brand that is in line with your values and that actually works, do not hesitate and contact my friend Julie in order to be part of the MONAT revolution of healthy hair for you and your pup!

You can find Julie through her Facebook Page or send her an email at lescapricieuses.monat@gmail.com

Check out the following Video Review about my pups experience with MONAT PET Shampoo!


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Volume 1 | Chapter 4

How I Improved my Dog’s Nutrition- One Dog’s Journey from Kibble to Raw –Guest Post by Orly Leitner 

DISCLAIMER: This is our personal story of which I am happy to share with you. Everything I keep learning is from hours and hours of research, experimentation and of course, common sense. These instalments will provide you with insight into the challenges that surround transition, balancing nutrition and trying to do everything right. Pet owners should always conduct their own research and consult with a veterinarian before making changes to their pet’s diet. Every dog is unique with its own specific needs and please keep in mind that I am neither a veterinarian, nor a nutritionist. I am a passionate dog and cat enthusiast on the path to becoming a holistic pet nutritionist.

A big thanks to Skai Wantstofly, who unexpectedly and accidentally passed in 2018 at the young age of 16 years. He will always be remembered for being full of vitality and vigor and as the ambassador who taught me that dogs can grow old and still have a great quality of life. A big thank you to all my mentors and teachers who have guided me on this journey and continue to inspire me to keep learning and never stop trying new things. Dr. Peter Dobias, Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Richard Pitcairn, Dr. Jean Dodds, Dr. Andrew Jones and the one person that keeps me grounded, Dr. Amanda Glew.

Dear Friends,

I wanted to apologize for the hiatus I unexpectedly took since June 2018. My beloved Chloe was diagnosed with Lymphoma and I dedicated all my time and energy to providing her the best quality of life that I could for the time she had left with me. With the help of the magnificent team in Oncology at the DMV (Dr. Hugues Lacoste, Eliane Morency and all the support staff) we managed to give her an additional 6 wonderful months. My main goal was to make sure she did not suffer for one minute. Sadly, she stopped responding to the therapy and her quality of life changed. With great anguish I let her go peacefully at home in December. She had a fabulous 14-year life and a piece of my heart will always be missing without her. They are like our children, aren’t they?

So, I now dedicate all my articles to the memory of my beloved Chloe who was my guinea pig in nutrition and as odd as it may sound “If not for the cancer she was in perfect health”.

WHAT’S IN A FOOD LABEL? MORE THAN YOU THINK!

Let’s begin….

RAW FOODS FRESH OR FROZEN – MY FAVOURITE PICK

FOUND MOSTLY IN BOUTIQUE OR PRIVATE PET FOOD SHOPS

Variety is the key: Different protein sources. (Chicken, Fish, Beef, Lamb etc.)

  • Best raw food will come from the freezer and is as close to natural.
  • What is the protein source?  Veggie content and fat content.
  • First thing to look at is whether it is AAFCO compliant. These rules have been updated recently.

i.e. Is it nutritionally balanced for all life stages of your dog.

  • Best to purchase Canadian or US made for purity and food control.

The guaranteed analysis:

  • The fat content can be quite variable amongst different raw foods. It ranges from low to high depending on the brand. Dogs who are underweight will do well on a higher fat content, but if your dog is overweight, you want to keep an eye out for that.
  • Raw contains about 70% water in its natural state.

CANNED FOODS – NEXT BEST THING

Contain about 70% to 80% water and has been processed.

Still a good second choice, if for whatever reason you don’t want to go with raw food.

First thing to look at is the protein and then second, the whole grain, as it is not always necessary or recommended to feed grains at all if your dog is healthy. Grains would be helpful if your dog is ill and needs to offset the amount of protein they are getting. Consult your veterinarian on how to adjust the food, according to the health issue.

Ideally, you want to see meat being listed first and/or second on the label followed by good sources of veggies and fruit. I recommend whole foods and not by products of meat or pulp from veggies and fruit. Human grade ingredients does not mean humans should consume it; but that the ingredients used are human grade.

DEHYDRATED RAW FOOD – ALSO A GOOD ALTERNATIVE

The powdered type of meat, veggies and fruit are reconstituted with warm water. It also has about 70% water content, unless you want to add more then required. It is dehydrated raw, so not processed at high temperatures. Very digestible gruel and also great for dogs with gastrointestinal issues or recovering from surgery. It is easy on the stomach.

DRY FOODS – NOT MY FAVOURITE PICK

Contain 12% moisture on average and lacks moisture.

Food lacking in moisture can lead to deficiencies in your dogs’ body. Every life form needs water. Also, it is processed at high temperatures so, the nutritional value is questionable. The same can be said about our food when we cook the hell out of it, right?

 Oh yeah and eating dry food does not clean your dogs’ teeth, this is a myth. Does eating granola or crunchy crackers clean your teeth? Carbohydrate rich food actually promotes plaque and tartar.

Teeth cleaning is best achieved by brushing your dog’s teeth but if that is not possible, the shearing action and gnawing on dry bones (not cooked) is very helpful to keep teeth cleaner than doing absolutely nothing.

All dry foods need to have some kind of starch or gluten to make the food stick together, like tapioca, potato flour or pea flour. So be aware being grain free doesn’t mean its carbohydrate free.

Chicken Meal or any identified protein meal has had the moisture removed so its dehydrated and ground up. Can contain carcasses, flesh and skin with or without bone.

There are good quality dry foods. Ideally, look for whole foods in the first few ingredients.

GROCERY OR BIG BOX STORE DRY FOODS-THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

Most consumers will want to see meat as the very first ingredient which is really raw meat; great right? but remember, meat is about 70% water that will be dehydrated to make dry food.

So, in reality, the volume of the 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th ingredient will make up the bulk of the pet food.

Sooo, if you see chicken, brown rice, white rice corn and barley as the ingredients guess what the 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th is what you are mostly feeding your dog. The chicken being in the first position, once dehydrated will be maybe less than 20% of the volume. So ideally, you want to see the first 3 ingredients as proteins (meat or fish). If it’s grains as the example above, you are feeding a primarily grain food diet.

Remember, everything is listed by weight before processing on dog food labels. Raw meat with moisture taken out weighs a lot less then grains.

An ingredient listed as “chicken” or “beef” may include the heart, esophagus, tongue and who knows what else. This is true for all foods, unless otherwise indicated.

Unidentified meat meal is very dubious, and it can be anything. I don’t want to scare you, but it can be roadkill, inedible animal parts, shelter kill and all kinds of gross things. Meat meal is not necessarily a bad protein if it is identified. I wouldn’t touch unidentified anything. Meat by-products are not the best choice for a protein source either. It is all the left over, after the best parts have been taken for human consumption. There can be some good parts, like organs and offal’s, but all lumped together with unidentified parts. So overall, it is not the best thing unless you can find out from the company what these by-products are. Meat by-products also can contain blood, bone, brains, stomachs, udders and cleaned intestines.

No food with BHT BHA preservatives should be fed to any pet. Propylene glycol is akin to antifreeze.

Dogs love to eat fatty and sugary foods and easily can become addicted like we do to junk food. The companies make these foods very palatable and they smell good. Just because your dog loves it, doesn’t mean it’s good for them…. Chips and Cheesies anyone?

LABELS

If a label says 100% grain free or 100% natural, then it should be just that. If the label does not say 100%, it must be mostly whatever the claim is. If the seal says “organic”, it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not including added water or salt. If it says, “Made With Organic Ingredients”, it must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, not including added water or salt. If a manufacturer wants to show that a product contains some organic ingredients; but it makes up less than 70% of the total product, it can be listed in the ingredients list. No seal can be used on the product claiming it to be organic.

PRESERVATIVES

Manufacturers must list the preservatives they add. They do not always list preservatives in ingredients, such as, fish meal or chicken that is processed elsewhere. The synthetic preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxy anisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) or ethoxyquin all stop fats from turning rancid. They can keep dog food fresh for about a year. After that, it will start to smell funky. The safety of these synthetic preservatives have been questioned by both consumers and scientists for quite some time. Some manufacturers have voluntarily stopped using BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin and instead, use natural preservatives such as vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and extracts of various plants, such as Rosemary. These natural preservatives will also keep the food fresh, but for less time, so be sure to check the “best by” date label before buying or feeding it to your dog.

READING A LABEL

All dog food labels must list the minimum amount of protein and fat and the maximum percentage of fiber and moisture. Let’s compare labels for protein content.

In this example, we will use one canned food and one dry food. In comparing wet to dry food, we must first convert the wet food to dry matter. Remember, the percentage of a protein in a canned food is the not the same as a dry food.

Let’s do it…. To compare one food to another, we want to be using the Dry Matter basis (DM).

In this example I chose a dry food (that will be nameless) which is available at the big box or grocery store. Here is the guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein Min = 21%

 Crude Fat Min = 10%

Crude Fiber Max = 4.5%

 Moisture Max = 12%

First, we must subtract the listed moisture percentage from 100% to get the total percentage of dry matter. 100-12 = 88%. Then to find the total % of protein on a dry matter basis, divide the crude protein percentage by the dry matter percentage that we just calculated. 21/88 = .24

Now, multiply this number by 100 to give us the total percentage of protein on a dry matter basis. (.24 X 100 = 24%)

So, the total protein percentage is 24% which is higher than what is in the guaranteed analysis.

Next is a popular canned food I chose which brands itself as healthy diet.

Here is the guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein Min = 4%

Crude Fat Min = 2.8%

Crude Fiber Max = 1.5%

Moisture Max = 82%

Using the same formula, we subtract the listed moisture percentage from 100% to get the total percentage of dry matter. 100-82 = 18%. Then to find the total % of protein on a dry matter basis divide the crude protein percentage by the dry matter percentage that we just calculated. 4/12 = .33

Now, multiply this number by 100 to give us the total percentage of protein on a dry matter basis. (.33 X 100 = 33%)

So, in conclusion, if you were just comparing labels without doing the calculation on a dry matter basis (DM), you would think the dry food contained more protein than the canned food. In fact, in this example the canned food contains more protein. The clue is in the amount of moisture.

You can use this formula to compare the fat, fiber and any other nutrients.

This concludes the chapter on food labels. I hope you enjoyed it.

____

For previous Chapters in this series:

Orly Leitner can be reached at: orlyleitner@gmail.com

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I’ve had a number of people writing in lately asking for help and advice for dogs who growl or bite when either having their nails trimmed or having their paws cleaned after being outside. So I thought I’d write about why dogs do this and how to best help them to make nail clipping and foot cleaning a much better experience for everyone.

Contrary to what many people believe, our dogs aren’t being willful or stubborn when they aren’t compliant with what we ask of them. In the case where dogs bite or snap or growl when we’re trying to handle them in a physical manner, they’re simply expressing their discomfort in how we’re handling them. Their growl, snaps and bites are their way of telling us that they’re not comfortable with what we’re doing, and that’s how they ask us to stop. Because these simple actions of either wiping feet or clipping nails scares the dog. Please don’t punish your dog for growling or snapping.

What usually bothers these types of dogs is the actual handling of them. That we’re physically holding them, or their paws, still so that we can do what we need to do. When we’re clipping a dog’s nails, we often not only hold onto the paw, but hold onto each toe separately to hold it still so that we can clip the nail properly. Many people believe that the dog hates the nail clipper, and while this may be true, they learn to not like the clipper because they don’t like what predicts the clipper…the holding of the toe.

Many animals get uncomfortable when they are held still. This can be for nail trims, paw cleaning, ear cleaning, giving eye or ear drops, or general grooming. The less control a dog has over its own body, the more concerned they usually feel. It boils down to feelings of safety. Even though we need to sometimes clip nails or clean paws, or give medication, the dog doesn’t know that we’re doing this for their own good. They don’t understand and it makes them nervous.

To help dogs like this learn to handle and even enjoy getting their nails clipped, or any other grooming needs, we need to take the time to help make positive associations with what they’re frightened of. And we do this with things that the dog loves, usually high value treats, though we can use anything that the dog really enjoys. This can also be a short game of tug, or chasing a toy. Praise is not enough in situations like this.

Desensitizing is a process that can take awhile, so we shouldn’t have any time frame expectations when working on it. When planning on a grooming session, I prefer to do what the dog can handle, be it one nail trim, or just cleaning one paw in one session, as opposed to clipping all their nails or cleaning all their paws.

When desensitizing, it’s important not to hold the dog against its will. The more choice you give your dog, the more comfortable she will feel. It’s also important for the behavior of the handling to predict the amazing thing that the dog loves, such as a small piece of hot dog.

I’d suggest starting with asking the dog to give you a paw. When it does, then give the dog a treat. After a few repetitions, I will then want the dog to leave his paw on my hand for a longer amount of time. I will gradually work up the time the dog leaves his paw there. I won’t rush this at all. It’s important to work at a pace that the dog is comfortable with.

Once the dog can happily leave his paw on your palm for about 10 to 15 seconds then I’d work on handling the actual toes. Holding one toe for less than a second, then treat the dog. It’s also important to let the dog decide when he’s had enough and wants to stop the session. So work on second intervals at a time, I work the dog up to a number of seconds of me holding his toe. Then I gradually work on holding the toe a little firmer, as this is what we tend to do as we actually start clipping the nails.

Once we’re ready to introduce the nail clipper, we again start slow. With just the clipper touching the nail. We don’t even start clipping straight away. We need to make sure the dog is ok with the clipper touching him before we can start trimming.

Once we work up to having the clipper touch the nail for a couple of seconds then we can start with small clips of the nail. Release the dog’s paw after each clip, even if you haven’t cut off all the needs to go.

At the beginning you may only be able to clip one nail at a time. This is totally normal and alright. Most dogs do better with their front paws than their back paws at the beginning.

Positioning of the dog also matters. I find it best for front paws if the dog is sitting in front of me, so they can offer me their paw. For their back paws, I find it easiest when they’re standing, and you lift the paw backwards.

This process can be done to help a dog learn to accept many forms of grooming and husbandry behaviors. You just need to pair something amazing with what the dog doesn’t enjoy. Be mindful that the pairing should be a high valued item to the dog, say either liver treats, hot dogs or even small pieces of cheese. Don’t cheap out when it comes to the treats.

Some dogs do better with a Dremel tool as opposed to a clipper. Some dogs can also be taught to file their own nails on a large scratch board (board you’ve lined with sandpaper) instead of using a clipper. Just find out what your dog likes best and go with that.

Keep it slow. Slow and steady wins the race to help dogs feel more comfortable. Also remember to give the dog as much choice as possible. Dog wants to stop the session? Stop the session. If you do it properly, then soon you’ll find your dog offering his paw for either a nail clip or a paw cleaning.  All because you took the time to make it an enjoyable experience for the dog!

If you need help with any of the desensitization please feel free to contact a local qualified force free trainer. If you’re concerned about how short to cut a dog’s nail and want to avoid cutting their quick, then you can contact a local groomer, or your vet to learn about how short to cut nails and how to identify where the quick is.

Now let’s get clipping! Good luck and Happy Training!

Meira

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Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating your love for others, and letting those close to you know just how much you care. So why not show your furry, feathery, or scaly friends some love on this Valentine’s day by celebrating it with them?
Pet’s are such an important member of the family; and they hold a very special place in our hearts. They’re your best friend for life, and they’ve certainly helped you through some rough times. That’s why, this Valentine’s Day, I’m going to give you some ways that you can thank your pets, by bringing them into the celebration.
So without further adieu, let’s jump right into the many ways that you can show your furry family member’s this Valentine’s Day.

Homemade Heart-Shaped Dog Treats
This is an easy, three ingredient recipe for your pup that’s both tasty and adorable. All you will need is:
*1 cup strawberries
*1 banana
*½ cup plain greek yogurt
*A silicone heart mold pan
And here’s how you do it!
Blend strawberries, banana and greek yogurt in a blender until smooth
Pour into the silicone heart mold
Place in the freezer until frozen
And voila! You have some delicious, nutrient-packed treats for your pup. Of course, it’s important to remember – like with any treat – to give them to your pup in moderation. You can also substitute the fruits used in this recipe for a number of dog friendly fruits.
Trupanion does an excellent job of making a detailed list of fruits that are healthy for your pup, and the nutritional benefits they come with. So if you want to make a variety of frozen fruit snacks, just click here to check them out

Valentine’s Day Cat Treats
The majority of cats are lactose-intolerant, so even though they can consume small amounts of milk, it’s best that they avoid the yogurt treats that are so tasty to your pups. But we’re not about to leave them out of the Valentine’s Day fun, so here is the purrfect recipe for your cats to enjoy!

What you will need for this recipe is:
*150 g of canned tune (in oil)
*1 egg
*1 cup of rice or oat flour
*1 tbsp of dried catnip
*Extra virgin olive oil (just a dab)
And here is how you prepare it:
Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F
Combine all ingredients into a bowl
Roll the dough into ½ tsp sized balls.
Flatten with the back of the spoon
Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden
An optional step is to find a small, heart-shaped item and press it into the center of the treats to leave a heart-shape in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

Let your pet pick something special
If you want to spoil your pet on Valentine’s Day, then what better way is there than letting them pick out their own toy, or by surprising them with a new one? This is especially applicable to the feathery and scaly friends you may not be able to bake a special treat for.
Take your pup to the nearest pet store, and let them pick out something special for Valentine’s Day. If you have a cat, surprise them with a new toy to let them know you care. This can especially be a fun experience for kids who want to do something for their pet on Valentine’s Day. Make it an activity!
If you have a reptile, bird, or small mammal, this can also be a great Valentine’s activity since you can spoil them with a special treat that maybe they don’t get often. For example, your feathery friend could be treated to some peanut-butter and crackers, or yogurt-covered strawberries, while you reptile could be treated to grasshoppers or waxworms.

DIY treat holder
This is the perfect Valentine’s gift for any pet lover, but it also doubles as a fun activity for your kids to do on Valentine’s day. All you will need for this activity is:
*A mason jar (any size)
*Non-toxic paints
*Newspaper
Take the newspaper, and lay it out on any flat surface to prevent paint splatters. This activity is similar to the idea of painting Easter eggs. Paint the body of the jar with any designs that you want. Include paw prints, the pets name, or whatever you think is best!
The end product should be a colorful, hand-painted jar that can be used to hold treats. To top it off, once it has dried, you can fill it with some of the homemade treats introduced at the beginning of this post, and you’ve got yourself the perfect Valentine’s day gift for any pet lover!
And those are just some of the many ways that you can express your love for your pets on Valentine’s Day.
On a more serious note, please remember that it is a day of chocolate’s and roses, which can both be damaging to your pets health. Keep your roses well out of reach, and your chocolates shut in the refrigerator, well out of your pets reach.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day making these fun treats.  Keep those tails wagging!

Vanessa Rose, AHT
Les Anges Gardiennes

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The following is a sponsored post. Montreal Dog Blog makes no endorsements as to the product(s) described herein. Always do your own due diligence. 100% of profit from sponsored posts go to benefit animal rescues at year end. 

Upcoming trends for your puppy’s health in 2019

Pets have for a long time been a source of joy to many families, not just to kids, but to adults as well. Funny enough, it is not only the human style and habits that change from year to year but for pets too. It is pretty natural that you would be thinking of the future of your pup, since, once you have a puppy for a pet, it ceases to be just an animal, but becomes part of your family. However, when it comes to pets, it’s not so much about whether or not they will like the new habits and lifestyle, but rather about how best you can offer care to your pet.

Fortunately for you, this article will break down for you some of the upcoming trends in 2019 that you may want to consider for your puppy’s health.

Alternative therapies

Pet owners are quickly picking up the trend of looking for alternative therapy to handle their pet’s issues. This trend over here is particularly common among pet owners who have used hemp-based products and CBD before. However, most users of alternative therapy for their pets, report that they consider this option as a way to treat specific medical conditions, particularly for preventive care.

Ideally, there is nothing wrong with taking up this habit, if at all for the overall good of your puppy, and not just as a means for pampering your pet.

Human eating habits

It is becoming quite popular the idea of signing up pets for the same eating habits as humans. Ideally, most pet owners have confessed that they feel the need to put their pets through a feeding schedule that looks like their own. For example, if a pet owner is on a diet, say eating organic food, they also put their dogs on a special diet with organic dog food. In 2019 and the years to come, it is highly possible that pet owners will be feeding their pets much better than they do themselves, most especially, the millennials.

However, be careful when taking up this trend, lest you expose your puppy to the risk of malnutrition, among other health risks. Consult your vet to get your facts in check.

Pet technology

Isn’t it fascinating that pet tech is now a thing? Well, given the sophistication of technology, it is not surprising that there is a place for technology is the animal world. Ideally, many people all over the world are becoming pet owners, including the millennials, even at a young age. With such, stories of puppies having Instagram accounts are becoming very popular.

As regards health, experts suggest that pet tech is geared toward nutrition apps, online vet services, fitness trackers, among others. Pet owners are embracing technology as a means to offer the very best care to their canine friends.

Pups and fashion

As the fashion industry continues to evolve, there is more for pets than there were a couple of years back. Pet owners have found pleasure in incorporating some degree of fashion to their pets. While personal preferences mostly drive this, the kind of pets being reared today is more humanized, which means that they get to be treated more like humans would. Ideally, the fashion incorporates warm clothing, particularly in the winter, which is also a means to keep the puppies warm.

In 2019, it is highly likely that there will be more fashion statements in the pet world, ranging from scarfs and hats to paw shoes and leg warmers.

Generally, these upcoming trends are predictions based on how people have gone beyond humanizing pets, in a bid to become better pet owners that breed healthy animals.

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The following is a sponsored post. Montreal Dog Blog makes no endorsements as to the product(s) described herein. Always do your own due diligence. 100% of profit from sponsored posts go to benefit animal rescues at year end. 

5 Clever Ways To Stop Your Dog Pulling On The Lead

When taking your four-legged friend for a walk, you should be the one who’s in control – not the other way round! Pulling on the lead isn’t just frustrating for the owner – it’s actually uncomfortable for the dog too.

So how do you stop your canine companion pulling on their lead? 

Here, PetBucket, the online retailer of discount tick and flea treatment for dogs and cats, reveals five clever ways to stop your pooch pulling on the lead, so you and Fido can enjoy nice – but most importantly, calm – walks together!

  1. Train them from an early age

One of the first things your dog needs to know is how to walk correctly on the lead. This can be taught alongside other techniques like learning to sit and come to heel, and the same positive reinforcement methods – treats! – should be used. 

But while you should reward your pooch for walking on a loose lead; punishing them by jerking the leash when they pull has actually been proven to be ineffective when it comes to training. This is not a strong enough punishment and it can even be damaging to your dog’s neck and spine.

Instead, stop moving forward if you dog pulls and reward them with treats or their favorite toy when they walk by your side. 

Asides from pulling, dogs also have a tendency to stop for sniff breaks. To remedy this, when you are teaching your puppy to walk on a leash, command them to “Go sniff” every five minutes or so. This is a reward, so if your four-legged friend pulls on the leash during this time say “Let’s go” and turn around to walk off, ending the free time.

If you train your dog from a young age not to pull you will likely have few problems down the line when it comes to pulling and other lead behavioral issues. And the good thing is, even the wildest of puppies can be taught successfully to walk calmly and politely on the lead.

  1. Invest in a proper, well-fitting harness or collar

Different kinds of dogs walk better on different kinds of harnesses or collars. Dogs with elongated necks, such as borzois or whippets, need a wider band to their collar, and small dogs with more fragile necks should only be walked wearing a harness. Stronger, more muscular dogs are easier to control wearing a harness. 

Each breed of dog has its own physical uniqueness that will suit it to one or the other, though it is also important to take into account advice from your vet and your own dog’s particular individualisms. If you purchase an inexpensive, ill-fitting harness over a fitted, well-made one, your dog’s training progress may be hindered as it may be uncomfortable or pull against their skin in the wrong places. The right harness or collar can make a huge difference in your pet’s willingness to cooperate with their training, and your ease of mind that they can’t slip out of it and escape.

  1. Explore other harness options

If your dog just isn’t getting along with either a harness or a collar, there are other options to explore. 

For dogs who react very strongly to external stimuli or very strong dogs, a head collar may be the best option. A head collar is worn over the muzzle and the point of contact to the lead is at the chin, so the dog can feel your hands on the lead much more easily. 

This can make teaching your dog to walk on the lead comfortably a lot easier, as long as it is done correctly. The dog must be introduced to the head collar in a way that does not distress it, and it must not fit painfully. Although it might seem strange to your dog at first, it can be a useful training tool that ultimately pays off in a well-behaved dog.

  1. Continued positive reinforcement

Once your dog is walking calmly and appropriately on the lead, keep telling them that they’re doing a really good job with their favorite method of positive reinforcement. For a lot of dogs, this will be by slipping them treats. 

Make sure these treats are healthy and good quality, full of fresh ingredients and few preservatives. If you walk your dog to a place where they can run free, ensure that they have a great time off the lead with balls to chase or other dogs to play with. The enjoyment is part of the reward for walking well, with the bonus that they’ll be tired on the way back and eager to rest when they get home.

  1. Know your dog

If your dog is prone to chasing cats, always be on the alert for passing neighborhood cats, squirrels, or other small, chaseable animals. Knowing they’re likely to act up, you can compensate for their behavior – tempt them with a treat, pause and ask them to sit or lie down, or come to heel and wait until the distraction has passed. 

If you don’t spot the distraction in time, try to keep walking like you normally would. Show your dog that you aren’t reacting to the cat so they shouldn’t, either – dogs pick up on your body language and take their cues from you, so if you show them that the cat is nothing to possible pay attention to, they’ll eventually get the message, too. 

It takes persistence, but this type of subtle reinforcement, combined with nonverbal cues to your dog, will eventually pay off.

About the author

PetBucket is a trusted online retailer that ships discount tick and flea treatment for dogs and cats around the world, as well as pet vitamins and supplements, and medication for heartworm and intestinal worms.

PetBucket stock a range of popular brands, from Revolution and Bravecto, to Nexgard and the Seresto collar. Shop online at petbucket.com 

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