Enrichment Activities

(Are Not All Created Equal) Enrichment is a popular term these days in the dog training and dog care world. And for good reason. At its most basic, environmental enrichment refers to a variety of techniques and interventions that are intended to enhance the physical and emotional well being of animals who live under human … Continue reading Enrichment Activities

Did Lassie Love Her Job?

One of the many ways that the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is unique is in how many different roles that dogs have in human society. Most who read this blog share their lives with dogs who are well cared for and who are deeply loved. However, around the world, some dogs lack homes altogether and … Continue reading Did Lassie Love Her Job?

The (Dis)connection between Grain-Free Foods and DCM

Almost 4 years ago, in July of 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a public alert stating that they had reports of an apparent increase in the national incidence of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. At the time, it was speculated (without evidence) that the perceived increase in cases was related to the consumption … Continue reading The (Dis)connection between Grain-Free Foods and DCM

The Eeyore Effect

Measuring the Emotional Toll of Aversive Training Methods The tension between dog trainers who use primarily reward-based methods (positive reinforcement) and those who rely more on aversive methods (positive punishment/negative reinforcement) is not new. Many trainers (myself included) believe that not only are reward-based methods more humane than methods that rely heavily upon aversives, but … Continue reading The Eeyore Effect

Farting French Bulldogs

Yeah. Apparently it's a thing. FLATULENT FREDDIE It is even enough of a thing that a group of scientists from Sao Paulo State University in Brazil decided to study it. More precisely, they studied a few dietary components that might contribute to unpleasant smells produced by members of this adorable (but sometimes stinky) breed. Is … Continue reading Farting French Bulldogs

More Human-Grade Research… and a Rant

Dog foods that are produced with human-grade ingredients have increased in number and popularity in recent years. In addition to containing food ingredients that are classified and handled differently than typical pet food ingredients, these products are usually less highly processed when compared with extruded kibble (see "Human Grade Dog Foods: Some Science" for details). … Continue reading More Human-Grade Research… and a Rant

Wait. Should I like that?

A number of studies have shown that dogs possess the ability to learn new behaviors and even problem solve by observing the actions of other dogs or humans. Several forms of social (aka observational) learning are defined by researchers. Discussions regarding dogs' proficiency, the types of tasks that can be learned, and the relative cognitive … Continue reading Wait. Should I like that?

Give Up the Gullet

I have written about this health issue before; in fact, more than five years ago in the essay "Got Gullet?. Sadly, here we are again, looking at beef gullets and thyroid glands. A Bit of Review The thyroid gland is a small organ found on each side of an animal’s trachea. When a cow is … Continue reading Give Up the Gullet

Elderly Starches

Okay, technically I guess the term is "ancient grains". They are showing up everywhere these days. Even Cheerios has jumped on board. What are Ancient Grains? This term is used to describe grain species that have not been subjected to the modern breeding and selection practices that we have used for the last 200 years … Continue reading Elderly Starches

HPP and Raw Foods

High pressure processing (HPP), also called high pressure pasteurization or cold pasteurization, is a food processing technique that has been used in the human food industry for years. Products that are routinely treated with HPP include ready-to-eat meats and meals, fruit juices, packaged dips, and jams and jellies. Another example - If you enjoy munching … Continue reading HPP and Raw Foods

Free Webinar and Course Preview

Recorded Webinar (Free) Human Grade Meaningful Distinction or Marketing Gimmick? Register for 6-months of full-access to this on-demand webinar Learn about labeling claims of "Human Grade" and what this term actually means (and does not mean) with regard to food quality and selection. Learn about the latest research addressing human grade pet foods. Presented by … Continue reading Free Webinar and Course Preview

Frozen – Let it Go.

No, this is not about a Disney Movie. But it IS about freezing. The freezing of dog food, actually. Raw dog food. The number of brands and forms of commercial raw dog foods available to owners has increased dramatically in recent years.  A common type of raw diet is in the form of frozen rolls … Continue reading Frozen – Let it Go.

Human-Grade Dog Foods: Some Science

In the world of commercial dog foods, the term "human-grade" is an odd duck. The oddness occurs because the term "human-grade," while in use on labels and in marketing materials, actually has no legal definition. Rather, the regulated terms that are used to delineate between foods that are processed, marketed and sold for human consumption … Continue reading Human-Grade Dog Foods: Some Science

Hearing Crickets?

Perhaps one who is wearing a top hat and carrying an umbrella? For Disney fans, Jiminy was the ever-present, somewhat annoying, arthropod who acts as Pinocchio's conscience. For our purposes, he is just another (edible) cricket. Insect Protein - All the Rage: Insect protein as an alternate and renewable protein source for dog foods is … Continue reading Hearing Crickets?

Do These Genes Make Me Look Fat?

The Labs have a problem. Actually, some Labs have a problem. It's in their genes: In 2016, a group of researchers at the University of Cambridge discovered a genetic anomaly in a small group of overweight Labrador Retrievers (1). Specifically, the modification is a short deletion sequence in a gene called POMC. The presence of … Continue reading Do These Genes Make Me Look Fat?