Canine Teeth And Tennis Balls

 Tennis balls, the most popular ball on the market for dogs can wreak havoc on your dog’s canine teeth. The outer shell of the tennis ball is abrasive in itself, let alone after it collects dirt from rolling on the ground. Compound that with the fact that it hardens from the saliva in your dog’s mouth. The ball now becomes a round piece of sand paper for your dog’s canine teeth that will wear off the enamel and wear down his canines.

In the 1980′s regular tennis balls were thought to have a dye in them that increased the risk of cancer. Today, that dye is no longer “supposed” to be used in the production of the balls. I believe you would have to check with the manufacturer of the tennis balls to verify that they use a safe, nontoxic dye. Though I’d have my doubts about any that came from China.

If you have a “ball dog” like I do, a much safer ball to use would be a smooth rubber ball. Please be sure it is not a hard ball as your dog can crack a tooth or hurt his mouth when catching it. A smooth soft rubber ball would cut down immensely on the dirt it collects while playing catch with your dog. I doubt your dog would notice the difference as long as you continued to play fetch.

If you continue to use tennis balls, it would be a good idea to spray or wash them off daily with plain water to cut down on the collection of dirt and sand. This should help to preserve your dog’s canine teeth.

Worth mentioning, basketball type balls that have a rough outer shell  will also wear down a dog’s teeth as the dog continues to bite at it, never being able to fully grab it. Dogs that chew on wire crates also have dental problems as this wears down teeth at an alarming rate as well.

Posted in Canine Health | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Buying A Puppy? Remember Health Clearances!

The best advice I can give anyone buying a puppy is to remember to obtain copies of health clearances for both parents. The more health clearances the parents have, the better chance you have of purchasing a healthy puppy. The cost might be more up front for the pup, but I believe you would get that back on what you will save on vet visits.

Each breed of dog is prone to breed specific defects. I will provide a link in this article so you can research the breed you are interested in. I believe the three most important clearances to look for are hips, elbows and eyes. Hip and elbow information can be found at the OFA  (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals). It is important to obtain copies of the certificates for both parents of the pup you are interested in.  Eyes should have an annual evaluation by a veterinarian ophthalmologist and be Cerf certified. Some breeds are prone to Prcd-pra which usually causes blindness.  The pups will not inherit the disease if one parent is clear of the gene.

If buying from a breeder, you should get a 72 hour money back guarantee to take your pup back after being checked by a vet and found to be sick. Also, your contract should have some guarantees with it such as hip dysplasia, etc. Your contract should state you are entitled to a full refund should your pup show signs of hips, eyes, etc within a certain period of time….minimum of 18 months.

Chances are you will not get those clearances when buying a pup from a pet shop. You will know whether or not you are buying from a reputable breeder when you start asking questions.



Posted in Canine Health, Puppy | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Spay Or Neuter: When?

At some point, just about every pup owner finds themselves facing the question of whether or not to spay or neuter their pup. Then comes the decision of when. I think this is one of the most discussed and fought over topics there is in regard to dog ownership. You have the vets saying one thing and people saying another which can make the decision overwhelming.

Vets take the stance that pups should be spayed and neutered at about 6 months of age. Most folks that have researched this issue say that pups should not be fixed until they are a minimum of 18 months old. The preferably age is 2 years old. By that age their growth plates are definitely closed. I tend to agree with the 2 year mark. Waiting until then will decrease the odds of  health issues associated with early spay and neuter such as osteosarcoma  (bone cancer). If you happen to have a female with a recessed vulva, there is a very good chance it will correct itself with her first heat.

I believe most vets and shelters push for early spay or neuter to avoid unwanted litters. I am also not an advocate of unwanted litters, there are too many animals in the shelters now. If you would like to spay or neuter you dog and cannot afford to do so, check with your local animal shelter. Often times, there are low cost programs available to help with the costs. You can contact the rescues in your area or check with your township and county for information on available programs in your area.

Spaying and neutering is a very personal decision. I believe the more knowledge you have on the subject, the better. I’ve added a link to one of the best research papers I’ve ever read on this subject. It is a semi-long read but I believe it is well worth the time. There is no doubt in my mind that you will be able to make an informed decision and have no regrets in the future.

Posted in Neutering A Male, Spaying A Female | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Not Just About Dog Food Ingredients Anymore

In my many years of dog ownership, I’m always amazed at the knowledge there is to stumble upon, not only about dog food ingredients, but the species as a whole and the industry that surrounds them.  Statistics show that even during  the worst decline in the U.S. economy, the one and only industry that had no problem in keeping up revenue was the pet industry!  People are always willing to reward their pet’s unconditional love! 

There are a barrage of treats, foods, supplements and grooming supplies on the market today for our beloved 4 legged family members.  Which brings me to an all important point I have learned as assistant manager of a quaint mom and pop pet nutrition center.  We not only have to worry about which ingredients make up our pet’s treats and food, but where and who manufactures these products.  Just look at the recalls that have plagued the industry over the last 10 years and you can surely agree it is becoming frightening!  I’ve always flipped over the treat bag and feed bag to read ingredient and guaranteed analysis’ panels, now I’m also wary of who is manufacturing same. 

For instance, I was appalled to find out that the Diamond Manufacturing facility was FDA mandated to close down their operating plant due to unsanitary conditions!  This has been on the web for all to read!  Even more shocking, was the various brands of dog and cat foods that were manufactured there.  Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, Canidae, Taste of The Wild, Chicken Soup For The Dog Lover’s Soul, Chicken Soup For The Cat Lover’s Soul,  Kirkland,  Solid Gold, Professional, and no doubt I have left out a few.  So when there was a salmonella outbreak, not only was one food was affected but many. After all, the same machines are used to make all of the various kibbles.

Also, where are the dog food ingredients coming from that go into the manufacturing of these various brands?  During the large Menu Food’s recall which sadly killed many of our beloved pets, the issue was tainted rice being shipped over to the United States from China.  This made many pet owners put their guard up for awhile, but after everything simmered down a bit, we kind of have let those guards down (at least I must admit I have to some extent!)  I now use a food where I can feel comfortable that all ingredients are sourced from local farmers and all are delivered fresh and are not left sitting around for long periods of time. There are pet food manufacturers which have never had a recall, have upstanding reputations and are small family operated businesses that have not yet sold out to the corporate world.  We just have to do our research and find them!

So in closing, I would urge pet owners to just take that little bit of extra time to delve a bit into not only the ingredients in that bag of treats or food, but in where they are being made.  You just may be surprised at what you find!

 ”Thank You Carol Morrow for submitting this great article!!!!”

Posted in Canine Nutrition | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Ethoxyquin: Pesticide In Your Dog’s Food?

One of the deep, dark secrets of many dog food manufacturers is using fish meal preserved with ethoxyquin, a pesticide your dog’s food. They do not have to list it as an ingredient on their dog food bags because they are only required to list ingredients that “they” actually add to the food. It is the fish meal manufacturer that uses ethoxyquin to preserve their fish meal and the dog food manufacturers purchase the fish meal from them. Pretty slick, isn’t it. 

Ethoxyquin was developed by Monsanto in the 50′s and registered as a pesticide in 1965. The EPA has four toxicity classes to classify pesticides. Classes I through III are required to carry a warning on their label. Ethoxyquin falls under Class III for oral, dermal and inhalation which would require it to carry a “caution” label. Do you remember seeing any “caution labels” on any of the dog food bags you’ve read? Because I sure don’t, but yet a huge percentage of dog food manufacturers use fish meal preserved with ethoxyquin in their dog food.

According to the EPA’s own website, ethoxyquin was shown to target the liver and kidneys in experimental animals. It was also associated with contact dermatitis with humans, which ceased when the ethoxyquin was removed from their environment.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why dog food manufacturers would buy fish meal preserved with this pesticide when there are alternatives on the market. No doubt, it has to do with the price and the shelf life.

The good news is, there are some dog food manufacturers that do not use fish meal preserved with ethoxyquin. They choose to pay a little more and buy a safer fish meal for to add to their dog food. If you would like to know what the fish meal they use is preserved with, call and ask them. You should ask if they buy fish meal preserved with ethoxyquin. If they say no, ask them how do they know? Do they test their fish meal? And if so, how often? They will either answer outright or lie and then squirm when you ask the last three questions. Then you will have the manufacturers that tell you they do, but it cooks out in the “heating process”.

Hopefully, as more consumers question dog food companies and show their disapproval, they will be forced to provide us with a safe food for our dogs.

Posted in Canine Health | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off