Five Ways to Preventing Heatstroke in your Dog

August 13, 2011

In extreme temperatures, all dogs are at risk - even dogs who you feel may be acclimated to hot weather. However, air temperature is only one consideration. Humidity, sun exposure (or lack of shade), amount of time in the heat, the level of exertion, and availability of water can all affect how well a dog tolerates heat. Be aware of signs of heat distress, such as excessive panting or drooling, reddened gums, listlessness, or rapid heartbeat. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help prevent your dog from getting so overheated that he suffers heat stress or heatstroke.

1) AVOID EXPOSING YOUR DOG UNDULY TO EXTRAORDINARY HEATH. If you must leave your dog outside, ensure he has ample methods for staying cool - plenty of shade, lots of fresh, cool water to drink, and perhaps the cooling breeze of a fan.

2) MODIFY YOUR DOG'S EXERCISE ROUTINE IN HOT WEATHER. Walk him after dark or before dawn. Incorporate swimming or water play into your dog's usual game of fetch. During severe heat, forego any sort of rigorous exercise for a few days.

3) GET HIM WET. Hose your dog down, put him in the tub, mist him with a spray bottle, or wipe his coat with a sopping wet towel. In a dry climate, the evaporation will help lower his body temperature. In a humid environment, you'll need to get some extra air flowing over him for a wet coat to help him cool down.

4) PROVIDE AMPLE WATER. Make sure your dog has lots of fresh, cool water - preferably from more than one source, as dogs always seem to drink more when they have more options.

5) USE AN EVAPORATIVE COOLING VEST, COAT, BANDANNA, OR MAT. There are plenty of these products on the market. Look for garments that are wetted and gradually release water through evaporation (example: HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Dog Coat by TechNiche International). But in a pinch, even a plain cotton T-shirt or bandanna, wetted and worn by the dog, can help provide some evaporative cooling.

* Summary of article written by Nancy Kerns, for Whole Dog Journal Vol. 14 #8, August, 2011


The Morons at Consumer Reports

August 3, 2011

In a recent article called "Tame Your Pet Costs", Consumer Reports magazine states, in summary, that basically all dog foods are the same, nutritionally speaking, as they all meet the minimum standards for nutrition required by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. The article then goes on to indicate that Walmart's Ol' Roy is the best buy, at just 34 cents per pound.

Ol' Roy receives the lowest rating given on DogFoodAdvisor.com, one star. So, lets see what you get for your money when you purchase Ol' Roy. For a mere 34 cents per pound, you get ground yellow corn, meat & bone meal, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal, wheat middlings, & animal fat. Sound appetising?

Let's breakdown these ingredients. It is important to understand that when reading dog food labels, the first 2-3 ingredients listed are the ingredients that make up the majority of the food.

The dominant ingredient in Ol'Roy is corn. Then we have meat & bone meal. What is that?
Meat & bone meal is a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents.

Next we have soybean meal. This is what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.

Now, we're to the chicken by-product meal. This is a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. In other words, this is a mixture of all the stuff that hits the slaughterhouse floor after removing the prime cuts of meat for humans. This can contain almost anything...feet, beaks, internal organs, undeveloped eggs, maggots, feces, basically anything (that is) except real meat. In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered "unfit for human consumption".

Next, wheat middlings - this is nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings.

Lastly, animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere. Common sources are restaurant grease, slaughterhouse waste, diseased cattle, and even euthanized pets. What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent (carcinogen).

So, Consumer Reports, please tell me, after looking at the facts, how you can possibly feel that all dog food is the same?