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Newsletter - February 2005

The News At Home

Zoey is our dog and we thought that Cassie would be Zoey‘s dog. Naturally, we wanted a second pup but one of the main reasons for bringing Cassie home was so Zoey would have “one of her own” as good company. Dream on! Zoey never warmed up to Cassie and although eight years have gone by, the two remain amicably disinterested in each other. If I‘m going to be honest, I should add that Zoey seems to enjoy pulling stunts on Cassie just to drive her crazy and that Cassie, poor thing, still falls for every trick in the book. And then it happened. The other day, the house was too quiet so I looked to see what my girls were up to. Lo and behold, they were curled up on the couch, nestled together for the first time since they were puppies. At first I thought that maybe getting older had made them appreciate each other but I wised up within a minute. No sooner had their eyes opened that Zoey looked disgustedly at her sister, gave a little moan and moved to the opposite side of the couch. So much for that!

Seminar News: North Carolina

Get ready North Carolina because I’m presenting a Nutritional Seminar on May 1, 2005 at the APS Felicite Latane Animal Sanctuary 6311 Nicks Road, Mebane (near Chapel Hill), NC. I hope to meet you there! Speaking engagement Check-in time: 8:30am-9-am. We’re going to be doing some “straight talk” about what’s right for your dog, minus the “hype” that comes with all proponents of popular canine diets. Let’s discuss diet supplementation, the need to tailor a diet to an individual dog, the values, limitations and risks of any diet, and the possible differing dietary needs when you are dealing with health issues, lifestyle (performance dogs vs. couch potatoes) and the aging dog.

Much of this seminar will be customized to respond to the information and questions provided on the questionnaires included with the registration forms. Check-in between 8:30am and 9am Speaking engagement runs 9am to 4pm Space is Limited – register early to assure your place Fee is $50 per/person Catered lunch is $8.00 per/person (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) All profits from this seminar will be donated to the Animal Protection Society of Orange County. For further information or questions, please contact Chris O’Connor at or 919.942.0629

Myth of The Month All Picky Eaters Are Fuss Budgets

While this can be true if a dog has been spoiled by his/her owner, there are other reasons that should be considered if your dog doesn’t want to eat on a regular basis. Hormonal fluctuations can affect appetite. This is especially true in the unspayed bitch or the male that knows there’s a bitch in season and in close proximity. Once the female has finished her season, most return to their normal appetite. When health problems arise, many dogs seem to, instinctively, go off a commercial diet. In the case of a prescription diet being needed, many dogs simply refuse to eat them altogether. More and more often, veterinarians seem to be responding with a willingness to feed a home-prepared diet. This can certainly perk up the appetite but even this isn’t a sure-fire way of getting an ill dog to eat. Warming food to room temperature, switching from raw to cooked foods or from cooked to raw foods – all can be helpful.

The texture, temperature and scent of a food should be considerations. When all else fails, new foods with a stronger smell can come to the rescue. For some dogs, it will be a dash of grated parmesan cheese, for others it might be a drizzle of sardine juice from a can. I’ve known dogs that refused any tidbit of food we might think of as being appropriate but they certainly came around when pulverized broccoli was added to the food dish. Others want nothing to do with fresh veggies but will dance for a dash of tomato paste added to the regular food. Let you imagination run wild and try feeding small bits of new foods to see what your dog is interested in. Keep a few things in mind: 1) No additions of fatty foods if the dog is recovering from pancreatitis 2) No addition of meat if your dog is in late stage renal failure (but a little added fat can tempt the appetite!) 3) Cheese tends to be high in sodium and may not be appropriate for a dog needing a sodium restricted diet 4) Heated broths (home-made with no added salt) can be tempting and soothing 5) No large additions of meat for a dog with liver disease - especially not red meats

Remember that your attitude matters. Hover anxiously over the dog or feed with trepidation and you’re unlikely to find success. Feel confident that you’re on the right track, announce feeding time with great excitement in your voice and Fido is much more likely to agree with your enthusiasm. If he doesn’t want his food, give him 10-15 minutes to change his mind (no coaxing!) and remove the bowl. Try again in an hour or so. You’re just as excited about his feeding and you expect the dog to be as well. Show your suspicion that he won’t eat and I bet you’ll be right. Repeat as often as needed and remain positive as you try a variety of approaches. Once you’ve found success, feed at regular intervals. The dog’s internal clock will help him to anticipate meals and react accordingly. When a seemingly healthy dog becomes fussy, it’s time for a vet visit. Once you know that the dog is fine. Consider a few scenarios: Is life boring? Most dogs love having a set routine they can count on but sometimes, life becomes a drag. Try an extra walk per day, take a new route, buy a new toy and spend a little more time being active with your dog. Don’t assume that he’s as happy as you are to watch television. When was the last time you did some training with your dog? Even if s/he knows just about all there is to know, your approval is a big reward. A picky eater will often accept treats after doing a good job. Put small amounts of his dinner in your hand and feed as rewards for a job well done.

How’s your aerobic work-out going? If you’re slacking off, chances are that your dog is as well. Go for a walk and take your dog with you. Increase the length of time and the pace of the walk and see if appetite improves. Is life stressful right now? Dogs react to stress in many ways and one of the most common is refusal to eat. If you’ve just moved, introduced a new person to the home, put the dog in a kennel or are feeling stressed yourself, your dog is likely to turn his nose up at food. Anxious parents have anxious children. Calm parents tend to have calmer children. The same holds true for dogs – probably more so. Take a deep breath, consider the possible reasons that your dog seems to be a fussy eater (don’t forget that some breeds, especially the toys, seem predisposed to this behavior) and take it one step at a time. Acidophilus helps to improve the gut and may be even more important during times of stress. Ester-C is easier on the stomach and stays in the body longer than regular vitamin C. Both can be helpful during stressful situations. The B vitamins (always use a B-Complex/MultiB product) help to increase appetite.


Don't make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans, or they'll treat you like dogs. --Martha Scott



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