Pet Nutrition – FDA Concludes “…there is nothing inherently unsafe about a grain-free diet.”

< A version of this article was published in the December 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 11FEB21 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/FDA-Grain-Free-SAFE >

In July of 2018, grain-free pet foods and a disorder called DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in dogs were all over the news for many weeks. A small group of veterinarians and the FDA held a press conference announcing a surge in reported cases of DCM. They attributed the increase due to grain-free pet foods. Yet, at the same time, one of the veterinarians involved seemed also to implicate dog food made with exotic proteins by “boutique pet food companies.” The media circus continued for months, causing panic among pet parents and the pet food industry.

When this all started, animal nutritionists I trust were saying the FDA’s conclusions did not add up. There was no evidence to implicate grain-free foods, exotic proteins, or specific types of pet food companies. They indicated that DCM is a very complicated disorder with many factors. It turns out, the people I trusted were correct as now the FDA is saying the same thing.

At the end of September, Kansas State University held a scientific forum to discuss DCM and pet food. Information presented at the meeting is just now circulating in the media. I’m still digesting the reports and will write more in the future, but here is the good news from the FDA.

The agency concluded that there is nothing inherently unsafe about a grain-free diet.”

Evidence shows that the absence of grains in a dog’s diet is not linked to the development of DCM, as the presence of grains in a dog’s diet does not prevent against DCM. We hope this brings clarity to pet lovers and gives them the confidence and trust to select the best diet for their dogs. “

Additionally, there is no evidence to implicate “exotic proteins” or “boutique pet food companies” as contributing to DCM.  Suppose you were previously feeding dog food without grain or one with exotic proteins or dog food made by a small, family-owned pet food company. In that case, you can feel safe feeding it again.

If you have a dog with DCM or are concerned about DCM, here is the bad news. “The results show that DCM is a multifactorial issue with potential variables including, but not limited to, breed, age, weight, gastrointestinal disease, atopy, infection, and more.” In other words, as many animal nutritionists were saying as early as July 2018, the FDA was off on a wild goose chase. Sadly, much more research needs to be done to help dogs with DCM, and based on what I’ve been reading, much of the research in the past two years may have been a waste of time. I hope I am wrong, as losing a pet to DCM is something no one wants.

Tragically, there is worse news for all of us.  At the September conference, it was stated, “Nevertheless, these observations must be subject to rigorous scientific investigation before conclusions are made.” Which is exactly what did NOT happen before the press conference in July 2018. The FDA should know better and realize they need to do some serious work on their reputation.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Shared Article – Researchers Find No Definitive Link Between DCM and Grain-Free Diets – https://bit.ly/DCM-NOLink-GrainFree-18JUN20

 FDA Update on Heart Disease in Dogs & What Should You Do? – 7JUL19  – http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-7JUL19

Shared Articles – More on the FDA, DCM, and Pet Food – 10JUL19  –  http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-10JUL19

Shared Articles – Do the Vets Behind the FDA Investigation Have A Conflict of Interest?31JUL19http://bit.ly/DCM-FDA-Conflict

Pet Nutrition – Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs – 23JUL18https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/07/22/pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

Podcast – DCM, the FDA, and Dog Food-the Science and the Hype with Canine Nutritionist Linda Casehttp://bit.ly/Blog-DCM-FDA-8AUG19

Podcast – Pet’s in the News–No. 4 Pet Food, DCM and The FDA http://bit.ly/WfMw-DCM-FDA-20JUL19

 

 

Green Acres Pet Nutrition Resources Page
( http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Home )

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Pet Nutrition – Which Companies Are Behind Your Pet’s Food?  – http://bit.ly/PetFoodComp

Other Resources

Pet Product News – June 17, 2020 – Researchers Find No Definitive Link Between DCM and Grain-Free Diets http://www.petproductnews.com/News/Researchers-Find-No-Definitive-Link-Between-DCM-and-Grain-Free-Diets/

Journal of ANIMAL SCIENCE June 15th, 2020 – Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concernshttps://academic.oup.com/jas/article/98/6/skaa155/5857674

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). Don is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. He serves on the PPG Steering Committee and Advocacy Committee and is the Chair of The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©11FEB21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

 

Thank You, Trivia & Gus!

< A version of this article was published in the FEB 2021 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 07FEB21 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/ThankYouTrivia-Gus >

January marks the anniversaries of two of the dogs that have been part of my life. They have both passed, but there is not a day I do not think about them or acknowledge how they helped me to become a better dog trainer and a better person.

Trivia – I had wanted a dog since I was five years old. My parents finally succumbed when I was 17.  I found a puppy at a pet store that was described as “A Poodle/Keeshond mix, and they never found the father.” I didn’t care about the breed; I just wanted a dog. Trivia had wavy hair and was as excited to see me as I was to see her. It was love at first sight. I left the pet shop with her, a collar, a leash, food and water bowls, a couple of toys, a rawhide, and the name of the veterinarian recommended by the pet shop. I was thirty plus dollars poorer but felt like the richest guy on the planet.

Why my parents let me get a dog at this point in our lives, I will never know. I suspect it had something to do with the fact that we had lost my older sister to a brain tumor just days before Christmas. Looking back, their decision makes even less sense, as my dad was scheduled to retire in two months, and they planned on traveling.  I was a junior in high school, active in many extracurricular activities, and had a girlfriend. You know what happened and who did most of the work of caring for Trivia the first few years of her life. My mom. Thank you, mom and dad, for your crazy decision to let me get a dog. It was clearly based on love with no logic involved.

In 1977 I knew nothing about training a dog or the benefits of training a dog, and no one suggested I train Trivia. I regret I did not know then what I know now as I believe I could have made Trivia’s life so much better. Trivia inspires me to help my clients and students do all they can for their furry companions. Thank you, Trivia; you were small but were in no way trivial.  [ FMI – http://bit.ly/TriviaNOV74AUG89 ]

Gus (Laird Gustav MacMoose) – Gus was the first puppy Paula and I raised together. He was a Cairn Terrier, and despite our knowing better, we bought him at a pet shop. Most of my friends in the pet care professions believe that we learn the most from the dogs that are difficult. Paula and I remember Gus as the equivalent of a post-doctoral program.

  • Gus bit me on our first night in puppy class due to my ignorance and the class’s two instructors’ arrogance. That led to my interest in canine behavior and training. [ FMI – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance ]
  • Gus was the epitome of a silent thief. He walked off with tools from people working in our home and stole food right out of our hands and those of some of our staff. He taught me that the management of a dog and his environment was as crucial as training.
  • Within the first few months of his life, Gus developed a chronic urinary tract infection, which caused crystals to form in his urine. His veterinarian felt it was due to nutrition but could offer little advice other than to suggest resources where we could teach ourselves more about his nutritional needs. That led to a lifelong interest in pet nutrition for Paula and me and a commitment to educating others. We eventually found the answer for Gus’ crystals in 1997.[ FMI – http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition ]
  • Thunderstorms were a significant event for Gus. One to two hours before the thunder and lightning started, he would become agitated. By the time the storm arrived, he was barking and lunging at the door to get outside so he could “kill it.” Most dogs that have issues with thunderstorms want to hide. Not Gus. The medications prescribed by his veterinarian were of no help, nor was the
    Don & Gus in 1991, Before the Alpha Roll

    desensitization CD played at very low levels on a world-class sound system. Gus knew the difference between a real storm and one on the stereo. The closest we came to a cure was moving from Wisconsin to Maine, where thunderstorms were not as frequent.

  • Gus started having seizures as he became older, which were diagnosed as idiopathic epilepsy. Like everything else in his life, Gus lived large, even with seizures, each in the Grand Mal category. He was treated for many years with the medications in use at that time. Even then, he would still have a seizure about every ten days. Eventually, we could not increase the dose of his medication without harming his liver. Paula started investigating complementary therapies such as homeopathy and acupuncture. Gus finally found his most significant relief from seizures through acupuncture, which, interestingly, also stooped his reactivity to thunderstorms. Both Paula and I credit Gus for opening our minds to complementary healing modalities that we now use with our pets and ourselves to supplement traditional medicine.

Gus was ultimately the catalyst that caused Paula and me to join the ranks of pet care professionals and to buy Green Acres Kennel Shop. He inspired our interest in behavior, training, nutrition, and complementary healthcare. While there were times, Gus frustrated us beyond belief; there was not a day he did not make us laugh. Thank you, Gus!

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

 Our Pets – Remembering Trivia (13NOV74 – 04AUG89) – https://bit.ly/TriviaNOV74AUG89

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationshiphttp://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too!http://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

In Memory of Gus (1991 – 2004)http://bit.ly/InMemoryOfGus

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). Don is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. He serves on the PPG Steering Committee and Advocacy Committee and is the Chair of The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©07FEB21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

 

Podcast – Pets in the News No 13 – All About Cats

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

< Updated 16JAN21 >

< A short link for this page – insert link >

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from January 16th, 2021, Kate and Don focus on our feline friends. They start by discussing an article entitled “What Makes A Cat” by Dr. Liz Bales that suggests how we can improve our cat’s lives. Bales notes: Just about everything you need to know about cats comes down to one thing. Hunting.

Next, we look at an article that discusses a new study concerning the most common behavior problem in multi-cat homes; the litterbox. Feline Litter Box Problems: The Needs of the Many reports that when one cat is not using the litterbox, all of the cats in the household are experiencing stress, and thus all cats should be treated.

Then Kate discusses an article on feline nail trims. We close with an article from Dr. Karen Becker that discusses the use of an “eye blink” in establishing trust with a cat. You will find links to all of the articles on Don’s blog and the Woof Meow Show podcast page.

You can listen to The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts , at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Contact Info

Don Hanson & Kate Dutra
Green Acres Kennel Shop & The Woof Meow Show
Bangor, ME
(207) 945-6841
https://www.greenacreskennel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresKennelShop/
https://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WoofMeowShow/

Recommended Resources

Links to Articles in the Podcast

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

 Cat Behavior – Inappropriate Elimination (Urination & Defecation)http://bit.ly/Cat-Inapp-ElimUrin

Cat Litter: Who Gets to Choose? – http://bit.ly/CatLitter-Choices

Cat Behavior – Make Your Life Easier – Get Your Cat to Love Their Carrierhttp://bit.ly/Cats-Carriers

 

©16JAN21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Podcast – Cold Weather and Holiday Tips for Pets – 2021

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

< Updated 11JAN21 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Cold2021 >

 

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from Kate and Don discuss the change in the seasons and how reduced daylight, lower temperatures, snow and ice, and affects our pets. They will offer several suggestions on how you can keep your pet safe and happy.

You can find an article that corresponds to this podcast at http://bit.ly/ColdWeatherHolidayTips

You can listen to The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts , at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Contact Info

Don Hanson & Kate Dutra
Green Acres Kennel Shop & The Woof Meow Show
Bangor, ME
(207) 945-6841
https://www.greenacreskennel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresKennelShop/
https://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WoofMeowShow/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Seasonal Issues – Cold Weather and Holiday Tips for Petshttp://bit.ly/ColdWeatherHolidayTips

 

©11JAN21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

What I Feed My Dog and Why I Feed What I Do

< A version of this article was published in the August 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 11DEC20 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/WhatIFeedAndWhy >

At least once a week, someone asks me, “Don, what food do you feed your dog?” Based on experience, they expect me to say, “I feed my dog brand X because it is the best food for all dogs!” Sadly, that is the response they hear far too often from other pet care professionals.

I tell them, “I feed Muppy a variety of different types and brands of foods. Every time I purchase food, I switch the primary protein source. I also mix additional water in with whatever food I am feeding. I do not believe that there is a single brand of food or formula that is or ever will be the “best” for all dogs.”

When I got my first puppy, Trivia, in 1975, I was a teenager. I knew nothing about dogs except that I liked them. I fed her dry food based on the recommendation of her veterinarian. When my wife and could afford our first home in the early ’80s, we continued to feed our dogs kibble.

In 1991 Paula was a vet tech, and we had just purchased our second home and a Cairn Terrier puppy we named Gus. Paula’s boss taught us that not all kibbles were the same, so we started Gus on a premium kibble. However, Gus soon developed health problems that led to his becoming the catalyst for our continuing education on pet nutrition. [ FMIhttp://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition ].

We learned dry food or kibble was developed during World War 2 when steel for cans and meat for dog food was in short supply. Today kibble is the type of food most commonly fed to dogs. Dog food companies promote kibble as if it is the best source of nutrition for a dog. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Kibble exists because it is cheap to manufacture, convenient to feed, has a long shelf-life and is less expensive for the consumer than higher-quality foods. Kibble meets the minimal nutritional requirements so that your dog will survive. It does not provide optimal nutrition that can help your dog thrive.

In 1998 we learned about the benefits of raw diets. We traveled to San Diego to attend a seminar with Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian advocating for the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet for pets. Based on what we learned from Dr. Wysong and Dr. Billinghurst, both veterinarians, we started to explore feeding fresh, whole food to our dogs.

In 2002, we started selling commercially prepared, frozen, raw food in the store. At the time, we had five dogs, so economics dictated that we fed a raw meal once a day and kibble once a day. When we were down to two dogs, we switched to feeding 100% raw. Since then, other options such as freeze-dried, and lightly- cooked diets, have also become available, and they are vastly superior to kibble. While we still sell mostly kibble, we also sell nine different food brands in the non-kibble category.

Just like you, my budget plays a role in what I choose to feed my pets. That’s why we fed a mixture of fresh food and kibble when we had five dogs. We knew that feeding a raw diet only a few times a week would be beneficial. One of the reasons we choose to limit our home to one small dog is so that we can afford to feed her the best.

I believe the best diet for a dog is composed of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone. The food should contain little or no soluble carbohydrates. Such a diet represents what a dog is designed to eat. Even the best kibble contains carbohydrates, and some formulas are over 50% carbs.

As much as possible, ingredients should be human-grade, but that is rare in kibble. When you see chicken on the ingredient list of a bag of dry dog food, you may envision a whole roast chicken, but what is probably in the food is a chicken frame. A chicken frame is the bones and cartilage of a chicken, containing the meat that was not removed for use in human products. Chicken frames are also often used in frozen raw diets. There is nothing inherently wrong with a chicken frame, but it is not what most consumers think is in their pet’s food when they see the word “chicken” on the label.

When Muppy joined us in 2013, we started feeding her various types and brands of food. Today, one meal every day is raw or lightly-cooked food. Her second meal may be the same type of food but is a different brand and protein. It may also be a freeze-dried or canned food, or even a very high quality, low carbohydrate kibble.

In the past 12-months, Muppy has eaten ten different brands of food composed of ten protein sources (beef, bison, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, salmon, sardines, turkey, and whitefish). To learn more about why I believe dietary rotation is so important, go to http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19.

You will note that the above image includes a water faucet. That is because I always add water to Muppy’s food. If she were surviving on her own, she would be looking for living food sources, like mice and other rodents, that are mostly water. If kibble, freeze-dried, or dehydrated food were are fed without adding water, they could be dehydrating.

So that is how I answer the question, “Don, what food do you feed your dog?” What I recommend for your dog will depend on their nutritional needs, your concerns, and your budget.

FMI – On a recent Woof Meow Show podcast, Kate and I talk about what we feed our pets with animal nutritionist and author Linda Case. – https://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatWeFeed-11JUL20

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Things I Wish I Had Known… The Importance of What I Feed My Pets – – WWM-MAR2019 – http://bit.ly/Things-Nutrition-1

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus – Maine Dog Magazine – Winter 2017 http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? http://bit.ly/What-Should-I-Feed-My-Pet

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog? – WWM-JUN2016 – http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourDog

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? http://bit.ly/ShouldIFeedMyPetARawDiet

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton with link to 1 hour video http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

Pet Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense http://bit.ly/DietRotation

Pet Nutrition – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 1 http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19

Pet Nutrition – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 2 http://bit.ly/DietRotation2

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

Podcast – What We Feed Our Pets and Why, with – Don Hanson, Kate Dutra, and Linda Casehttps://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatWeFeed-11JUL20

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Pet-Fooled

Green Acres Pet Nutrition Resources Page
( http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Home )

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Pet Nutrition – Which Companies Are Behind Your Pet’s Food?  – http://bit.ly/PetFoodComp

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©11DEC20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Which Are the Best Treats for Dogs?

< A version of this article was published in the December 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 06DEC20 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/WhichTreats >

There are three typical reasons people give their dog treats. In order of importance, they are: 1) as reinforcement or rewards for desired behavior when training, 2) to keep them busy and occupied, and 3) “just because.” These treats are all used for different purposes, so things that will treat “best” will vary depending on how the treat will be used. However, since all treats are meant to be ingested I look closely at that as sources of nutrition. I recommend looking for these essential qualities in all treats.

All Treats Must be Healthy and Nutritious

When I give my dog something to eat, I want it to be healthy and benefit them nutritionally. That means I need to be an informed consumer and review the actual ingredients list on a package of treats and not let myself get seduced by the name or images on the packaging. Just like pet food, ingredients for treats must be listed in order by weight. When selecting treats for my dog, I want at least one of the top three ingredients to be a specified meat source. It should say something like turkey, chicken, or beef. Ingredients I avoid include; unidentified meat, poultry, by-products, sugar, propylene glycol, chemical preservatives such as BHA, artificial colors or dyes.

I also want to know the number of calories in each treat. Calories are typically reported as “kcal/treat.”

Over 50% of the dogs in America are obese, which is the definition of unhealthy. The average 50-pound dog only needs 700 to 900 calories per day. Some dog biscuits are equivalent to a third of a dog’s daily caloric intake and typically include low-quality ingredients, and are mostly carbohydrates. I prefer to give my dog high-quality calories in their food bowl rather than as a low-grade snack. Calories matter.

What I Look for in Training Treats

My treat bag always contains a variety of five or more different training treats. Some are high-value, meaning they are very palatable and usually at least ninety-percent meat. Freeze-dried meat treats are ideal in this category. I also include many lower-value treats and many treats that fall somewhere between the two. However, all meet my standards for healthy and nutritious, as noted above.

While training treats must be highly palatable, they must also be small, about the size of a pea, so the dog can rapidly consume it. Training is all about rewarding the dog many times for the desired behavior. In a training session, I will typically try to get multiple behaviors per minute. If I need to wait for the dog to consume the treat, it decreases efficiency. It also increases the probability of the dog becoming distracted. Since I may reward the dog ten to twenty-five times in a 5-minute training session, I want the treats to be small to minimize caloric intake. One of the meat treats I frequently use comes out of the package as a 0.75” by 1” rectangle that contains 5 calories. Because the treat is soft, I break it up into 6 to 8 pea-size pieces, limiting calories to 0.6 to  0.8 calories per behavior. Treat companies would love it if I told you to use the entire treat because you would buy more, but you don’t need to.

What I Look for in Treats Used to Keep My Dog “Busy”

Treats used to keep a dog “busy” should be thought of as snacks. Unlike a training treat, we want these treats to keep our dog engaged so that we can do something we need to do. I still want these treats to meet my healthy and nutritious standards noted above. I will always look closely at the ingredients list. Products in the snack category include; bully-sticks, pigs’ ears, beef tracheas, and a wide variety of freeze-dried products like chicken, duck, and turkey necks, cod, and salmon skins, and more. Smoked bones and frozen bones are also great, long-lasting snacks. Since all of these products are meant to be consumed and made from natural, non-manufactured ingredients, your dog needs to be supervised until you are confident that they will safely consume these snacks.

Also found in this category are No-Hide Chews, a long-lasting, easily digestible chew far safer than rawhides. And a Kong toy stuffed with some of your dog kibble and a dollop of peanut butter can also keep your dog busy. When Tikken was a puppy, a Kong would keep her occupied for up to an hour, after which she would take a long nap.

What I Look for in Treats I Give My Dog “Just Because”

Some of you might think I’m stingy, but it’s rare I give a dog something edible for no reason at all. There is almost always some level of interaction with me, which makes it a training exercise my dog loves. The treats I use in this case are often in the snack category described above.

For many, “Just Because” treats are often dog biscuits or other products made of questionable ingredients. Biscuits can often be too high in calories and carbohydrates, both of which contribute to dog obesity.

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

 Green Acres Pet Nutrition Resources Page – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Home

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop – http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Pet Nutrition – Which Companies Are Behind Your Pet’s Food?  – http://bit.ly/PetFoodComp

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

Podcast – What We Feed Our Pets and Why, with – Don Hanson, Kate Dutra, and Linda Case  – https://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatWeFeed-11JUL20

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). Don is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. He serves on the PPG Steering Committee and Advocacy Committee and is the Chair of The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©6-Dec-20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Blog Post – The Deferential Equation – The Importance of Learning Boundaries by Diana Logan

< Updated 03DEC20 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/SHRD-Boundaries-Logan >

The Deferential Equation is an excellent article by my friend Diana Logan of Pet Connection Dog Training that appears in the November 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News. Diana addresses the importance of a puppy learning that not all dogs will appreciate or tolerate an exuberant puppy greeting. I had one of those puppies, my Golden, Tikken. As a puppy, Tik was miss congeniality++++, and her “in your face” overly-enthusiastic greetings towards other dogs were not always well received. I still remember the day she went charging towards my friend’s dog Rey, an older dog who was a card-carrying member of the “Go Away You Obnoxious Puppy” club. What happened next occurred in a couple of seconds. As Tikken was a puppy, she still did not have the training for me to intervene successfully. Tikken was running at full speed, and Rey started showing teeth and growling when Tik was about 10 feet away. Tik just kept charging, flipped on her back when she was about 2 feet from Rey. With her forward momentum slid Tik into Rey like a baseball player sliding into home base. Rey went tumbling and responded with several choice canine expletives, and thankfully, due to Rey’s restraint, no injuries occurred. This is a lesson puppies need to learn early on, before the end of their socialization period at 14 to 16 weeks of age.

Recommended Resources

The Deferential Equation – The Importance of Learning Boundarieshttps://downeastdognews.villagesoup.com/p/the-deferential-equation/1876252

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Especially for New Puppy Parents – http://bit.ly/EspcNewPuppyParents

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 1 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups1

Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 2 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups2

Podcast – Especially for New Puppy Parents – Part 3 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Esp_Pups3

 

 

Podcast – The Eastern Area Agency on Aging Furry Friends Food Bank and Green Acres’ 2020 Annual Fundraiser

< Short Link to this page – https://bit.ly/FFFB-2020 >

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from November 28th, 2020, Don talks with Kelly Adams and Mike Trafton from the Eastern Area Agency on Aging about Green Acres Kennel Shop and The Woof Meow Show’s 13th annual fundraiser for the EAAA Furry Friends Food Bank. Tune in, and you can learn all about the role of the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, the people they help, and how you can help keep senior citizens and their pets together.

Click here to donate to the Furry Friends Food Bank –  https://www.greenacres-donate.com

Click here to learn more about the Eastern Area Agency on Aging – https://www.eaaa.org/

Click here to learn more about the EAAA Furry Friends Food Bank – https://www.eaaa.org/furry-friends-food-bank/

Click here to go to the Friends of the Furry Friends Food Bank Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/GAKS.FFFFB/

You can listen to The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts, at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple podcast app.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Contact Info

Friends of the EAAA Furry Friends Food Bank

Website: https://www.greenacres-donate.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAKS.FFFFB/

Eastern Area Agency on Aging

Phone: 207-941-2865
Address: Main Office – 240 State St., (Twin City Plaza) Brewer, ME
Website: https://www.eaaa.org/ & https://www.eaaa.org/furry-friends-food-bank/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/easternaaa/

Green Acres Kennel Shop & The Woof Meow Show

Phone: 207-945-6841
Address: 1653 Union St., Bangor, ME
Website: www.greenacreskennel.com & www.woofmeowshow.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresKennelShop/ & https://www.facebook.com/WoofMeowShow/

 

©28NOV20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Podcast – Preparing for the Holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

< Updated 18OCT20 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/WfMwHolidayPrep >

The last three months of the year are often your favorite or least favorite time of year. It is a time filled with holidays, more guests in our home than usual, frantic activity, hectic schedules, and yes, stress, and not the good kind but unpleasant distress. All of these things can affect our pets every bit as much as they affect us. In this show, Kate and Don will be discussing ways you can make this time of year less stressful for both your and your pets. We’ll address Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

You can listen to The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts, at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple podcast app.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Contact Info

Don Hanson & Kate Dutra
Green Acres Kennel Shop & The Woof Meow Show
Bangor, ME
(207) 945-6841
https://www.greenacreskennel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresKennelShop/
https://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WoofMeowShow/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

 Halloween Tips for Pets and Their People – http://bit.ly/Halloween-Pets

Preparing Your Pets for the Holidayshttps://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/01/preparing-your-pets-for-the-holidays/

 Other Resources

Mighty Dog Graphics Halloween Postershttps://www.facebook.com/mightydoggraphics/posts/the-halloween-collection-/1328779170582929/

©18OCT20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Where Can I Find A Humane and Ethical Pet Care Professional?

< A version of this article was published in the September 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 20SEP20 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/HumanePetPros >

People often ask me to refer them to other pet care professionals when they are not in the Green Acres’ service area. I know and recommend many such individuals throughout the USA. Still, if I don’t know someone in a specific community, I always refer people to the Pet Professional Guild’s (PPG) Find An Expert page on the PPG website < https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Zip-Code-Search >.

At PPG’s website, you can enter your zip code or country, and you will be able to review a list of pet care professionals that are PPG members that are closest to you. You can click on the details and learn more about them, including the services they offer and how to contact them. If one of these professionals does not provide the services you need, they may still be your best contact for finding someone close to you that does offer what you are seeking.

I recommend PPG members before anyone else because the Pet Professional Guild is unique. They are the only association of pet care professionals in the USA that requires that their members abide by a comprehensive set of Guiding Principles. The following are the non-negotiables in the Guiding Principles.

“To be in any way affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild members understand Force-Free to mean:

No shock, No pain, No choke, No fear, No physical force, No compulsion based methods are ever employed to train or care for a pet.”

In June of 2020, the PPG took the next step by establishing a new Code of Ethical Conduct. The code was developed to address “…the need for a level of oversight in the pet training and services industry, specifically regarding business practices, transparency, and marketing.” It includes a Personal Code of Conduct which requires:

    1. Members consider the emotional, physical and environmental well-being of each client, i.e. both the pet and the guardian/owner/caretaker of the pet, in all actions.
    2. Members do not condone or endorse any treatment by a pet’s guardian that in any way compromises the pet’s physical or mental well-being. PPG members will not be party to any such acts.

The code covers much more, including business practices. It concludes with the statement:

    1. By joining PPG, members agree to PPG’s standards, codes of practice, education and training philosophies. Failure to abide by the Guiding Principles and this Code of Ethical Conduct may result in sanctions up to and including the termination of the member’s membership.

Because of the PPG Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct, I feel confident recommending a PPG member to someone without hesitation. While other organizations represent various pet care professionals, none of them have anything close to the Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct. Therefore I cannot give their members an unqualified endorsement.

The Pet Professional Guilds Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct are based on the knowledge and experience of experts in the world of pet care, animal behavior and training, and in the shelter and rescue world. The rationale for the principles is supported by a series of position statements that include references to peer-reviewed scientific literature that support those documents. Some of the position statements you might find of interest address: Breed Specific Legislation, Dominance Theory in Animal Training, TV Dog Training, The Use of Choke and Prong CollarsThe Use of Shock in Animal Training, and Cat Declawing.

Long before I joined the ranks of pet care professionals, I was a pet parent, and the PPG did not exist. I was not as knowledgeable as I am today. Due to my ignorance, I made some grievous errors, unknowingly electing to work with people who hurt my dog. < FMIhttp://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance >. It was a decision I regret to this day. I do not want this to happen to anyone else.  Please do yourself a favor, make sure the professional you choose is a member of the PPG.

I also encourage you to take advantage of the Pet Professional Guild’s FREE membership, especially for pet owners. By joining, you will receive access to various articles on dogs, cats, birds, and horses. The PPG is a fantastic educational resource for all of its members, professional, and pet parent.

As a member, you will receive a discount on some of the excellent recorded and live webinars offered by the PPG. You will also receive access to an electronic copy of their quarterly publication, Barks From The Guild.

I know you want what’s best for your pet; by joining the PPG, you will get access to information to help you achieve that goal. < FMIhttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Canine-Archives > & < FMIhttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Feline-Archives >

If you have children or grandchildren between the ages of 8 to 20 years old, I encourage you to consider enrolling them in the Pet Professional Guilds Junior Membership program. The program helps children and young adults learn about pets while providing insight into working with animals in a force-free and fear-free way. If you have a child in your life that thinks they want to work with animals, this education program is a great way to help start on this journey. A young adult that has successfully completed the PPG Junior Membership and Accreditation program would be well equipped to apply for an entry-level position at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationshiphttp://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too!http://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

The PPG and AAHA – Making A Kinder World for Dogs –  https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/11/the-ppg-and-aaha-making-a-kinder-world-for-dogs/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

 The Pet Professional Guild and the Shock-Free Coalition with Niki Tudgehttps://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/09/27/podcast-the-woof-meow-show-the-pet-professional-guild-and-the-shock-free-coalition-with-niki-tudge/

 

Pet Professional Guild (PPG) website
( https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/ )

Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Find An Expert pagehttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Zip-Code-Search

Pet Professional Guild Guiding Principleshttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/PPGs-Guiding-Principles

Pet Professional Guild Code of Ethical Conducthttps://petprofessionalguild.com/Code-Of-Ethical-Conduct

Pet Professional Guild Position Statementshttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Position-Statements

PPG Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislationhttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Breed-Specific-Legislation

PPG Position Statement on Dominance Theory in Animal Traininghttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/DominanceTheoryPositionStatement

PPG Position Statement on The Reality of TV Dog Traininghttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Realitydogtrainingpositionstatement

PPG Position Statement on The Use of Choke and Prong Collarshttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/chokeandprongcollarpositionstatement

PPG Position Statement on The Use of Shock in Animal Traininghttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

PPG Position Statement on Cat Declawinghttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Statement-on-Cat-Declawing

PPG FREE Membership for Pet Ownershttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Owner-Members

PPG Barks from the Guildhttps://barksfromtheguild.com/

PPG Canine Article Archiveshttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Canine-Archives

PPG Feline Article Archiveshttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Feline-Archives

PPG Junior Membershiphttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Junior-Members

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). Don is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. He serves on the PPG Steering Committee and Advocacy Committee and is the Chair of The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©20SEP20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >