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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
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Charlottesville, VA 22911

Archive for January, 2007

Diet Pills for Dogs

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Jenna

The FDA recently approved Slentrol, a drug designed specifically for dogs which would decrease appetite and fat absorption to promote weight loss. This drug targets the 5% of dogs who are obese and the 20-30% who are considered medically overweight (as compared with the 2/3 rate for American weight covering both ranges).

 

Pros
Like humans, overweight dogs are at a higher risk for developing problems such as diabetes, heart trouble, joint issues, etc.

The use of a diet pill reduces the need to restrict treats and make time for exercise.

Can be used for 3 months.

Cons
Side effects include vomiting, loose stools, diarrhea and lethargy.

Stephanie Slain, humane society spokeswoman comments, “If you’re going to spend 15 minutes, spend it walking your dog instead of cleaning up diarrhea.”

See Mike’s article on nutrition for further information regarding weight management for your dog through nourishing meals.

Cesar Millan and Treat Training

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

We have discussed Cesar Millan in previous issues but there are a variety of training methods available.  In fact, a recent “People” magazine examined the “war” going on between his method and a method which relies on the use of treats.

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #7, January

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Nutrition

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

A dog’s diet is guided by several shifting nutritional factors which necessitate different diets due to age, breed, genetics, body weight, and activity level.  In some cases, even climate becomes a consideration. 

First, we need to look scientifically at the development of the canine’s ability to process food back to their wolf ancestry.  Dogs were primarily carnivores meaning that they’re built to eat, digest and absorb nutrients that are, for the most part, extracted from a meat diet.  An analysis of the teeth and digestive system of the carnivore vs. the herbivore indicates subtle differences that are essential to a proper diet.  Carnivores tear their food and gulp it down with limited, if any, chewing.  Herbivores have broad molars with the ability to break down plant material in preparation for digestion.  The length of the intestine of the dog is far short than that of a plant eating animal of equal size.  The dog needs the direct protein and vitamin source found in meat whereas herbivores have developed with a much longer digestive tract as well as bacteria within it which are able to process indirect proteins found in vegetable matter such as soy.  A vegetarian diet for dogs would not provide for optimal health due to their digestive limitations.

Aspects to pay attention to when shopping for your dog’s healthy meal:

1. The dog’s keenest sense is smell—make it smell good and you’re in business!
2. Taste matters, but not as much as smell.
3. Meat costs more than corn.  Dog food with quality meat byproducts is going to be more expensive than grain based products.  Sorry, but good nutrition will cost you more.
One thing we can say for dogs that we can also say for humans is that, yes, calories in should equal calories out.  Assuming you are feeding your dog a balanced diet, make sure the amount is regulated.  Consider age, exercise, breed, etc and then feed an according amount.  This consideration is why I don’t feed Lizzie treats or table scraps—I’m not interested in carrying around a notebook to total up the nutrition and calories of everything that goes into her mouth!  Meals are enough, and remember if your dog eats too much “lite” dog food he can still get too many calories and get fat!  Along with “calories in, calories out” we can add “you are what you eat!”
4. Dehydrated meat and byproducts weigh less than canned meat which can be 80% water so labels by weight can be confusing.

Minimum requirements for nutrition have been established by the FDA for two phases of a dog’s life – growth/reproduction and adult maintenance.  Go to www.fda.gov and search dog nutrition.  Once there, click on “Selecting nutritious pet foods” for an easy to understand chart.

You’ll note that companies like Purina offer foods that carry minimum requirements but also a more expensive variety (Purina One) which costs more but boasts higher quality content.  This is their effort to compete with more nutritious dog foods which are manufactured by smaller, personalized companies and are available exclusively in pet stores.

The Sense of Sight

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Through educating ourselves about the five senses in dogs compared to our human capabilities, we develop a much greater understanding of the world our canine companions experience.  Sight is our bag!  Our visual system has a greater portion of the brain devoted to it than to any of our other senses—not true for dogs.  The amount of light taken in by the pupil and the amount of the light interpreting structures within the eye (cones and rods) are markedly different between man and dog.  Since dogs originally were active hunters during dawn and dusk, they are more sensitive to levels of brightness but their ability to perceive color falls by the wayside.  When compared to other animals, though, the dog has relatively good vision.  Based on current research, here is what we know:

 

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Virginia Registry of Dangerous Dogs and their Owners

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Jenna

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #7, January 

The “Richmond Times-Dispatch” featured an article describing the development of an Internet-based registry of dangerous dogs modeled after Virginia’s sex-offender registry.  The legislature was organized after a woman and her Shih Tzu were fatally mauled in their own yard by the neighbor’s pit bulls.  This case became the first in Virginia in which an owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter due to the actions of their dog.

The registry is still in progress but is planned to be online by July 1st.  It should include photos of the dogs as well as names and addresses of owners.  Data is already being collected on local dogs via questionnaires sent by the state veterinarian’s office.  So far, 89 localities have reported a total of 292 dangerous dogs.  Virginia law includes dangerous dogs not by breed, but only by those who have a history of violent incidents.

In addition to this legislature, it is now considered by law to be a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, when an owner’s dog seriously injures someone.
The aim of this registry is to keep people aware of any dangers in their community as well as to remind owners of dangerous dogs to take measures to prevent further injuries.

The Gustatory Sense (Taste)

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

In evolutionary terms, the sense of taste helped dogs differentiate harmful, indigestible or poisonous substances (bad taste) from that which was nutritious and digestible (good taste).  Because it is essential for survival, taste is one of the earliest senses developed in dogs.

 

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Breeds We Don’t Do — The Chow

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

As I described in the last issue, there are certain breeds that we just don’t do.  I groomed Chows for 25 years before I decided that I had enough.  Has my experience with the breed been unique?  I went online to find out.  Next Day Pets gives a candid overview of each of the breeds including a graph of characteristics as compared with the average dog.  Here’s what they had to say about Chows:

Archived from “The Paw Report,”  Issue #6:  December

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Winter Grooming

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Adjusting to winter is a little more complicated than just letting the hair grow.  Dogs, especially those who stay outside like your hunting dogs (fox hounds), need to have their houses prepared for winter with more blankets, straw or cedar chips.  Water bowls need to be attended to regularly to avoid freezing.  The body of an outdoor dog will acclimate to the weather as well by producing a thicker coat.  However, dogs who only go out for exercise and to relieve themselves aren’t exposed to the cold long enough for their bodies to start developing thicker coats.  There is a theory that the frequent switching between a cold outdoors and warm house actually confuses the coat and our pets continue to shed through the winter.

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