Newsletter - July 2014
In Tori's case, no news is good news. She's holding her own and being a delicious brat, so my focus has been on other animals, squirrels in particular. We planted veggies in large pots on the patio, and squirrels seem determined to eat the seeds and any tiny shoot that happens to appear. I'm not against sharing, but c'mon! The radishes seem to be surviving, and a few leaves of lettuce are still among the living, but the rest is looking sad. I've used coffee grounds on the soil as instructed by a gardener who doesn't have squirrels as dinner guests. The only thing this accomplished is the squirrels dig faster and probably don't sleep well if they've been in the pots after 5 p.m. Does anyone have a non-toxic method of making our veggie pots less attractive to these rats with good couturiers?
Environment/Diet pulls the trigger
"Genetics load the gun, and environment pulls the trigger" is attributed to Dr. Francis Collins and when we talk about environment, we're including nutrition in the conversation. Diet is a big word. It may be simplistic to think of it only as foods being consumed. Soil conditions the food was grown in/on, nutrients (including phytonutrients) within the foods themselves, fat content and the type of fat...these barely touch on some of the issues diet deals with.
An example of genetics: hip dysplasia. But, environment is 100% of what will happen within the possibility of a puppy's genetics. Did the dam overfeed this pup (think singleton puppy, or a very small litter with access to mom at all times)? Did the new puppy owner feed to "maximize potential" because they want a large dog? Did playtime include the free romping that puppies do with each other, or was this pup put into training mode as a gun dog (for example) early? Keep in mind that "early" depends on the breed and the dog him/herself in so far as coordination, and self-control go. Genetics matter - a lot! But once that gun has been loaded...you get the idea.
Included in the diet part of the dog's environment are the toxins s/he may be having to deal with. It may not be overly dramatic to suggest that being exposed to the chemicals in cigarette smoke, pollution, heavy metals, pesticides, cleaning products et al can disrupt normal function even if it was possible for genetic makeup to have no warts at all.
This is a big topic that can't be covered in one newsletter, but let me leave you with one more thing to keep in mind as you consider the dog's diet: is it suitable for the breed disposition? I'm referring to the possible benefits of feeding a lower fat diet to breeds that are predisposed to pancreatitis; a lower oxalate diet to breeds predisposed to calcium oxalate stones; a diet rich in orange, green, and yellow veggies to breeds predisposed to bladder cancer, and always, always as clean a diet as possible i.e. organically grown (not always doable, I understand), purest of supplements, balanced to meet the requirements of the particular dog (athlete, or senior, or arthritic, etc)
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"Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?" ~ Jonathan Safran Foer